May 21, 2008

He Says, She Says: The Propaganda War Continues In Iraq

Associated Press reporter Bushra Juhi:

Two Iraqi officials said the shooting occurred about 5:30 a.m. in the Obeidi neighborhood after three roadside bombs targeted joint U.S.-Iraqi troops. But the U.S. military said its forces were not involved in any events in the area.

It was not clear who opened fire after the explosions. Eleven bystanders were killed and one person wounded, one of the police officials said. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information.

AP Television News footage showed the body of a man in a track suit covered by a blue blanket and another body in a blood-spattered wooden coffin nearby.

AFP offers a near identical account also claiming 11 bystanders (innocence implied) were killed, in accounts obviously coming from the same Iraqi police sources. Insurgents and their sympathizers have routinely masqueraded as police officers throughout the war, and news outlets have dutifully published their accounts, many of which we later determined to be entirely false.

SGT Brooke N. Murphy, MNF-I PAO, responded immediately to these claims via email:

We can definitely state there was no IED attack on a U.S.-Iraqi convoy in Obeidi at dawn this a.m. That's not talking about any particular area, we do not discuss ongoing operations. I can state we specifically target those committing a violent act or about to commit a violent act.

We would warn residents against moving toward any engagement, especially
when armed. We absolutely do not target law-abiding Iraqi citizens.

So there were not 11 (innocent) bystanders killed. Who died? Anyone? As a matter of fact, yes.

Murphy then sent a breaking MNF-I release that states that 11 Iranian-backed "Special Groups" forces were killed in New Baghdad:

Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers have killed 11 Special Group (SG) criminals in an ongoing operation in the New Baghdad security district in eastern Baghdad, May 21.

MND-B Soldiers observed as a special groups militant, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, exited a sports utility vehicle. The individual scanned the area and motioned a suspicious truck forward. Then Soldiers then watched as the militants emplaced an improvised-explosive device.

They engaged the suspect with small-arms fire and killed him.

Nearby, MND-B Soldiers encountered four SG militants, who were armed with AK-47 and RPK rifles, travelling in a SUV. They engaged the vehicle and killed the four militants.

MND-B Soldiers engaged and killed another SG militant carrying a rocket-propelled grenade. At another location in New Baghdad, MND-B Soldiers noticed a SG militant armed with a modified AK-47, who was conducting reconnaissance from a vehicle in a suspicious manner. The Soldiers engaged the armed SG militant and killed him.

Nearby, MND-B Soldiers spotted a militant in an alley. The SG militant moved away from the alley, holding an AK-47 in a firing position. An MND-B Soldier engaged and killed him. Another SG militant, who was driving a tan SUV in New Baghdad, made several passes by MND-B Soldiers.

He stopped the vehicle and attempted to hand an AK-47 to his SG militant cohorts. An MND-B Soldier shot and killed him.

Who do you trust to have the story right, the anonymous media robo-calling police sources, or a named Army soldier issuing formal releases?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 21, 2008 09:22 AM

After the Byrding of Haditha, Abu Grahib, Beauchamp and a host of others I think we can safely conclude that many of our citizens believe the worst of our fighting forces WITHOUT any evidence of any sort.

Posted by: megapotamus at May 21, 2008 11:29 AM

CY. Can you please link the last part? Thanks.

Posted by: Eric at May 21, 2008 10:07 PM

AP has an article about an airstrike in Beiji that killed eight people, including two children. Local officials say they were all civilians, but the military says there were 6 Al Qaeda militants. Further, in the photo section, there are photos of a funeral from Beiji. AP Photos on Yahoo still has them being called Shepards.

Posted by: BohicaTwentyTwo at May 23, 2008 08:14 AM

Neither of your links address the topic you were talking about. Are you eating paint chips?

Posted by: Eric at May 23, 2008 02:41 PM

Any time you see "It was not clear who ... ", it's usually clear enough "who."

Posted by: DoorHold at May 25, 2008 10:39 AM