DEATH SQUADS OPERATING IN IRAQ?

03/28/06

The Associated Press reported Monday that a total of at least 151 people were killed in Iraq this past weekend---. Much of the recent killing is seen as the work of Shiite militias or death squads that have infiltrated or are tolerated by Iraqi police under the control of the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry. Many of the victims have been found dumped, mainly in Baghdad, with their hands tied, showing signs of torture and shot in the head. In an apparent effort to clamp down on police wrongdoing, American troops raided an Interior Ministry building and briefly detained about 10 Iraqi policemen after discovering 17 Sudanese prisoners in the facility, Iraqi authorities reported. The raid in Baghdad came a day after U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad spoke out on the need to cap the sectarian, militia-inspired killing, saying "More Iraqis are dying today from the militia violence than from the terrorists." He did not say which militias he meant nor did he define who the terrorists were.

Our guest this segment was investigative reporter Robert Parry. In early 2005, Parry wrote the article "Bush's 'Death Squads,'" which examined the "Salvador Option" in Iraq, referring to the 1980s U.S. government's "supporting El Salvador's right-wing security forces, which operated clandestine 'death squads' to eliminate both leftist guerrillas and their civilian sympathizers." Parry is editor of ConsortiumNews.com. He broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book is "Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. Parry has written that several U.S. officials have talked about employing the Salvadoran option in Iraq- using death squds to fight the insurgency. He writes: "�By employing the “Salvador option� in Iraq, the U.S. military would crank up the pain, especially in Sunni Muslim areas where resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq has been strongest. In effect, Bush would assign other Iraqi ethnic groups the job of leading the “death squad� campaign against the Sunnis.�

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