Carry On Killing
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Now at midnight all the agents, and the superhuman crew,
Come out and round up everyone that knows more than they do
- Bob Dylan
Damn the blind eyes of anyone who still can't see after Basra.
How it began:
"Two persons wearing Arab uniforms opened fire at a police station in Basra. A police patrol followed the attackers and captured them to discover they were two British soldiers," an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. The two soldiers were using a civilian car packed with explosives, the source said.
Here are the two while in Iraqi police custody. Reuters appended a note to each photo over the wire: "ATTENTION EDITORS - THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT REQUESTS THAT THE IDENTIFICATION OF THIS MAN IS NOT REVEALED, EITHER VIA PIXELLATION OF THEIR FACES OR BY NOT PUBLISHING THE PHOTOS."
As you probably know, they didn't remain in custody for long:
British forces using tanks broke down the walls of the central jail in the southern city of Basra late Monday and freed two Britons, allegedly undercover commandos, who had been arrested on charges of shooting two Iraqi policemen.
Witnesses said about 150 Iraqi prisoners also fled the jail.
Violence flared earlier in the day as demonstrators hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at British tanks; at least four people were killed.
The British Defense Ministry spun, but found it difficult to maneuver with its pants about its ankles. "We‘ve heard nothing to suggest we stormed the prison," a defense ministry spokesman in London said. "We understand there were negotiations." When it found some equilibrium, it changed its story to better comport with the undeniables: "We understand that the authorities ordered their release. Unfortunately they weren't released and we became concerned for their safety and as a result a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle broke down the perimeter wall in one place."
These hard men, likely SAS ops, must have had some stories to tell, otherwise tanks would not have negotiated their way through the prison walls of Britain's reputed hosts so soon after their capture.
Walking into the untidied mess of this astonishing and grotesque and predictable story feels a bit like the British detective catching the killer red-handed: "Well well well, what have we here?" We have long had reason to suspect imperial instigation to Iraq's sectarian violence, but here, as clearly as we've ever seen it, is the provocateur state revealed: two British "undercover soldiers" in Arab dress, caught firing upon police from a car laden with explosives. And the British government all but admitting its culpability by breaking them out of prison.
It doesn't make sense? Only if you haven't been paying attention. This is the subtext of the Iraq tragedy: blow up the Hajis and play the Sunnis on the Shias; create the chaos that introduces the conditions necessary for the long-game, and the long-held aspirations of the neoconservatives to divide Iraq into ethnographic bantustans.
I wonder what will be made of this story by those who think escalating bloodshed in Iraq is a measure of the failure of US policy, and not its success, and who believe black ops and false flags are figments of our paranoiac fantasies. Probably, as with so much that would bedevil their worldview if only they were intellectually honest enough to permit it, this too will be filtered out and forgotten. But our burden is we won't forget. And damned if the Iraqis will.
A British soldier jumps from a burning tank which was set ablaze after a shooting incident in the southern Iraqi city of Basra September 19, 2005. Angry crowds attacked a British tank with petrol bombs and rocks in Basra on Monday after Iraqi authorities said they had detained two British undercover soldiers in the southern city for firing on police.