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|Posted: Sun Oct 12, 2003 4:04 pm Post subject: U.S. : Sick nazi invader politics
By Patrick Cockburn in Dhuluaya
12 October 2003
US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers,
have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and
lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective
punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas
attacking US troops.
The stumps of palm trees, some 70 years old, protrude from the brown
earth scoured by the bulldozers beside the road at Dhuluaya, a small
town 50 miles north of Baghdad. Local women were yesterday busily
bundling together the branches of the uprooted orange and lemon trees
and carrying then back to their homes for firewood.
Nusayef Jassim, one of 32 farmers who saw their fruit trees
destroyed, said: "They told us that the resistance fighters hide in
our farms, but this is not true. They didn't capture anything. They
didn't find any weapons."
Other farmers said that US troops had told them, over a loudspeaker
in Arabic, that the fruit groves were being bulldozed to punish the
farmers for not informing on the resistance which is very active in
this Sunni Muslim district.
"They made a sort of joke against us by playing jazz music while they
were cutting down the trees," said one man. Ambushes of US troops
have taken place around Dhuluaya. But Sheikh Hussein Ali Saleh al-
Jabouri, a member of a delegation that went to the nearby US base to
ask for compensation for the loss of the fruit trees, said American
officers described what had happened as "a punishment of local people
because 'you know who is in the resistance and do not tell us'." What
the Israelis had done by way of collective punishment of Palestinians
was now happening in Iraq, Sheikh Hussein added.
The destruction of the fruit trees took place in the second half of
last month but, like much which happens in rural Iraq, word of what
occurred has only slowly filtered out. The destruction of crops took
place along a kilometre-long stretch of road just after it passes
over a bridge.
Farmers say that 50 families lost their livelihoods, but a petition
addressed to the coalition forces in Dhuluaya pleading in erratic
English for compensation, lists only 32 people. The petition
says: "Tens of poor families depend completely on earning their life
on these orchards and now they became very poor and have nothing and
waiting for hunger and death."
The children of one woman who owned some fruit trees lay down in
front of a bulldozer but were dragged away, according to eyewitnesses
who did not want to give their names. They said that one American
soldier broke down and cried during the operation. When a reporter
from the newspaper Iraq Today attempted to take a photograph of the
bulldozers at work a soldier grabbed his camera and tried to smash
it. The same paper quotes Lt Col Springman, a US commander in the
region, as saying: "We asked the farmers several times to stop the
attacks, or to tell us who was responsible, but the farmers didn't
Informing US troops about the identity of their attackers would be
extremely dangerous in Iraqi villages, where most people are related
and everyone knows each other. The farmers who lost their fruit trees
all belong to the Khazraji tribe and are unlikely to give information
about fellow tribesmen if they are, in fact, attacking US troops.
Asked how much his lost orchard was worth, Nusayef Jassim said in a
distraught voice: "It is as if someone cut off my hands and you asked
me how much my hands were worth."
12 October 2003 09:33
This is how Bush&co think of rebuilding the country and gainig trust from the local people.
Once again they show the world how to keep terrorism alive.
My blog: Rev. Ferre's surfin' habits
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