One of the most under-reported stories in Iraq in the past several years has been the use of live fire on civilian demonstrators by Iraqi government police and armed forces.
On March 27, 2005, the Iraqi police fired on a peaceful demonstration of about 30 employees of the Ministry of Science in Iraq, killing one protester and injuring several others. The incident went completely unreported in US papers of record according to a Lexis-Nexis search. Here’s the report as it appears on Wikileaks.
AT 1309C, IPS [Iraqi Police Service] REPORTED A PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION AT THE MINISTRY OF SCIENCE. THE DEMONSTRATION CONSISTED OF ABOUT 30X PEOPLE, AND THEY WERE PROTESTING FOR MORE MONEY IN ___ SALARY. MINISTRY GUARDS FIRED ON THE DEMONSTRATORS. BDA: 1X CIV KILLED, 4X CIV INJ, NO CF INJ/DAMAGE.
On June 28, that same year, another demonstration for better provision of essential city services was fired upon by Iraqi police. Here’s the report as it appears on wikileaks.
AT 1010D, A DEMONSTRATION OF APPROX 1800X PEOPLE FORMED IN AS ___. THEY COMPLAINED ABOUT THE LACK OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND GOVERNMENTAL CORRUPTION. THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL CHAIRMAN ATTEMPTED TO TALK TO THE CROWD IN AN ATTEMPT TO DISPERSE THEM. THIS ___ OF HIM BEING STONED. THE IPS [Iraqi Police Services] FIRED WARNING SHOTS IN ORDER TO DISPERSE THE CROWD. BDA: 2X CIV KILLED, 9X CIV INJ, 1X IPS WIA, NO CF INJ/DAMAGE.
Two civilians were killed and nine injured. Again, this went unreported in mainstream American media. And this was just one day before President George W. Bush claimed “The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom,” and trumpeted his own accomplishments in handing over control of Iraq to a functioning civilian democratic government.
There are many more of these events which I will try to document, time and eyestrain permitting, from the Wikileaks leak. Certainly, it’s very important to note the lede which most of the world’s media have been following–that the US turned over Iraqi prisoners to Iraqi authorities despite knowing that they would be tortured or even killed.
But it seems equally important to note that in the years in which the Bush administration was trumpeting Iraq’s transition into a democracy, the murder of protesting civilians by Iraqi forces seemed to be a habitual occurrence. Simply imagine that you or your co-workers are striking for better wages, the police show up, and begin shooting into the crowd, killing one of your co-workers; in any other country, this would be proof positive of a broken government, not a glorious transitioning liberal democracy. This is even more startling, when one considers that this is occurring in an environment where all city services and economic concerns are declining, rather than improving, thanks to Iraqi and US corruption alike, and where the most fundamental democratic processes do not function as a way of making the populace’s will manifest.
Here are some more instances of lethal force used on unarmed protesters and demonstrations. LN = Local Nationals, IA= Iraqi Police
Iraqi police fire into a crowd of unemployed protesters, killing one on June 18, 2008; the incident was not reported in US papers of record.
(FRIENDLY FIRE) GREEN-WHITE
___ X BAYJI IP FIRED AT UNEMPLOYED DEMONSTRATORS KILLING ___ X IP AND WOUNDING ___ X IP ___.
Again, frightened by a fruit-wielding crowd, the Iraqi police fire into a crowd, injuring one August 21, 2008.
*ESCALATION OF FORCE BY IA IN : ___ CIV INJ, ___ CF INJ/DAMAGE
AT 221230DAUG06 MND CS TOC RECEIVED INFORMATION FROM ___ THAT AT 211315DAUG06 PEOPLE IN (___) WERE THROWING ___ TOMATOES, WATERMELON AND EGGPLANTS AT AN IA PATROL. THE PATROL FIRED IN TO THE AIR INJURING A LOCAL NATIONAL. THE WOUNDED MAN’___ NAME IS ___. HE WAS INJURED IN HIS RIGHT ARM.
LATER A DEMONSTRATION STARTED AS A RESULT OF THIS ACCIDENT. ___ SENT AN IP PATROL TO CONTROL THE SITUATION. THE PATROL RETURNED WITH NSTR. NO FURTHER INFORMATION IS AVAIL.
Iraqi police fire into a crowd protesting lack of job opportunities, killing two and injuring three on July 27, 2008. Again, no reports of this incident in our papers of record.
FRIENDLY ACTION) ESCALATION OF FORCE RPT ___ IPS, /___ CAV : ___ CIV KIA ___ CIV WIA
___ IA BDE REPORTS ___ IP CONDUCTED EOF WARNING SHOTS ON LN PROTESTING JOB OPENINGS IN ‘___ AND (___ GRID). EOF RESULTED IN 2X LN KIA, 3X LN WIA– EXTENT OF INJURIES UNKNOWN. NO CF WERE PRESENT AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT
___: UPDATE ___ GOING TO TALK WITH IA COMMANDER ABOUT EOF TO FIND OUT MORE DETAILS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED BUT HE WAS NOT THERE.
UPDATE: -___ IA RIOT CONTROL BN COMMANDER CONFIRMS THAT THE INCIDENT DID HAPPEN. THE ___ DIVISION COMMANDER STATED THAT THIS WAS AN UNFORTUNATE EVENT AND QUICKLY MOVED ON TO THE NEXT SUBJECT.