Scoop Editor's Note: Thanks to the alert reader who brought these two items to our attention. The first item recounts the June 24th shooting by a U.S. army sniper of a reporter working for the Knight Ridder news service. The second item is an investigative report under the dead reporter's byline, it relates an account of the reporter's inquiries into the mysterious deaths of a large number of Iraqi's, allegedly first detained by Iraqi police forces prior to being found murdered.
Reporter shot to death in
By Tom Lasseter
Knight Ridder Newspapers
Posted on Wed, Jun. 29, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Yasser Salihee, an Iraqi special correspondent for Knight Ridder, was shot to death in Baghdad last Friday.
The shot appears to have been fired by a U.S. military sniper, though there were Iraqi soldiers in the area who also may have been shooting at the time.
Salihee, 30, had the day off and was driving alone near his home in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Amariyah when a single bullet pierced his windshield and then his skull.
He was shot as his car neared a joint patrol of American and Iraqi troops who'd stopped to search a building for snipers. American and Iraqi soldiers are frequently targeted by suicide car bombers.
The U.S. Army is investigating the incident.
U.S. Humvees blocked three of the entry points to the intersection that Salihee was approaching. The one he was driving toward was manned by Iraqi and American soldiers on foot. It's unclear how well he could have seen those troops, and whether they were standing in the road and waving motorists away, or taking cover by the side of the road in case of sniper attack.
Sunni men in Baghdad targeted by
attackers in police uniforms
By Tom Lasseter and Yasser Salihee
Knight Ridder Newspapers
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Days after Iraq's new Shiite-led government was announced on April 28, the bodies of Sunni Muslim men began turning up at the capital's central morgue after the men had been detained by people wearing Iraqi police uniforms.
Faik Baqr, the director and chief forensic investigator at the central Baghdad morgue, said the corpses first caught his attention because the men appeared to have been killed in methodical fashion. Their hands had been tied or handcuffed behind their backs, their eyes were blindfolded and they appeared to have been tortured. In most cases, the dead men looked as if they'd been whipped with a cord, subjected to electric shocks or beaten with a blunt object and shot to death, often with single bullets to their heads.
Marks on the bodies were similar to the injuries found on prisoners who were rescued from secret Interior Ministry jails by representatives of the Iraqi ministry for human rights, according to family accounts and medical records.
Iraqi and American officials said the murders aren't being investigated systematically, but in dozens of interviews with families and Iraqi officials, and a review of medical records, a Knight Ridder reporter and two special correspondents found more than 30 examples of this type of killing in less than a week. They include 12 cases with specific dates, times, names and witnesses who said they might come forward if asked by law enforcement.
The Interior Ministry, which oversees the Iraqi police, denies any involvement in the killings. But eyewitnesses said that many of the dead were apprehended by large groups of men driving white Toyota Land Cruisers with police markings. The men were wearing police commando uniforms and bulletproof vests, carrying expensive 9-millimeter Glock pistols and using sophisticated radios, the witnesses said.
U.S. officials, who have advisers in the Interior Ministry, have said that they're aware of the abductions and killings, but that they think the murders are the work of insurgents posing as police.