Media Cover-up of US War Crimes in Iraq

The US military is said to be “looking into whether a US marine shot dead a wounded Iraqi insurgent at point-blank range.” in a mosque in Fallujah. The incident was captured on videotape by an NBC News cameraman.

The video shows Marines walking into the mosque, where several wounded or dead fighters lie on the floor. As one of the Marines approaches the prone body of a man on the floor, he can be heard to say, “He’s not dead. He’s faking dead.” Then a gunshot is heard and the voice says, “Dead now.”

The video of the shooting has been aired on network television in the US and around the World.

The report conveys the impression that this is an “isolated occurrence”, that it does not in any way reflect the practices of the US military in Iraq. The shooting is said to have followed an incident where “a marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent.”

Acknowledging and investigating this single event of an innocent wounded war prisoner is part of the propaganda campaign. It conveys the impression that nobody else is being arbitrarily shot, at point blank range, that the Marines are subjected to a strict code of conduct and that POWs are treated humanely according to the Geneva Convention.

“We follow the law of armed conflict and hold ourselves to a high standard of accountability,” said Lieutenant General John F. Sattler, I Marine Expeditionary Force Commanding General. 

“The facts of this case will be thoroughly pursued to make an informed decision and to protect the rights of all persons involved.”

Needless to say, the incident is presented by the media out of context. Deafening silence: Several thousand people, men women and children were killed in Fallujah by US troops. These deaths are neither the object of investigation nor are they being reported by the Western media.

More generally, the focus on isolated events captured by an embedded cameraman, which can be presented on TV  (in this case involving a single Marine), serve as a convenient cover-up of extensive war crimes and atrocities, ordered by the US Military High Command.

These war crimes are a matter of public record. The massacre of more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 has been confirmed by an authoritative British study:

“The use of air power in areas with lots of civilians appears to be killing a lot of women and children.”

(Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey by Les Roberts, Riyadh Lafta, Richard Garfield, Jamal Khudhairi, by Gilbert Burnham, Lancet, October 2004, summary at )

In other words, the propaganda ploy consists in highlighting:

  • a US Marine shooting a wounded insurgent.

  • The story is then fed into the news chain, with a view to distracting public opinion from the broader issue of war crimes.

  • The occurrence creates indignation.

  • The story is presented as an individual act committed by a Marine who is arrested, pending an investigation.

      What the news reports fail to mention is that the killing of wounded insurgents and the strafing of civilians has become a routine practice of the US military in Iraq. This practice emanates from the military high command, it is part of US military doctrine and training. It is not the result of a spontaneous individual decision by a US serviceman.

      And how best to conceal this routine practice of massacring the Iraqi people: by acknowledging that a Marine arbitrarily or accidentally killed a wounded insurgent in what is described as a insolated incident. And that this Marine will be punished for his acts, if found guilty.

      Meanwhile, the World closes its eyes on the several thousand men, women and children massacred in Fallujah.

      In other words, the media focus on “incidents” of violation of the “law of armed conflict” forecloses broader accusations of war crimes under the provision of the Nuremberg charter directed against the US military and government.

      “The obliteration of Fallujah continues apace. Article 6(b) of the 1945 Nuremberg Charter defines a Nuremberg War Crime in relevant part as the “. . . wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages. . .” According to this definitive definition, the Bush Jr. administration’s destruction of Fallujah constitutes a war crime for which Nazis were tried and executed.” (Francis Boyle,


      On the massacre of wounded combatants:

      See the following Global Research report:

      Take No Prisoners, US Marines execute wounded Iraqi to the cheers of fellow marines, (  Video Clip and text) 

      On the Strafing of Civilians

      Two reports;

      Controversial Cockpit Video on the Strafing of Civilians in Fallujah: Pentagon Investigating its own War Crimes

      Cockpit video footage that shows American pilot attacking and killing a group of apparently unarmed Iraqi civilians.

      The 30-second clip shows the pilot targeting the group of people in a street in the city of Fallujah and asking his mission controller  whether he should “take them out”. He is told to do so and, shortly afterwards, the footage shows a huge explosion. A second voice can be heard on the clip saying: “Oh, dude

      US Apache Helicopter massacring Iraqis (Video) 

      The video, obtained by ABCNEWS, shows grainy images of three Iraqis on the ground handling a long cylindrical object that the helicopter pilots believe is a weapon.

      The pilots, from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, ask their commanders for permission to engage, then take the three men out one by one, using the Apache’s devastating 30 mm cannons

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      About the author:

      Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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