Your tax dollars still at work
(1) The Chinese news agency Xinhuanet, on its Arabic-language site: "Sixteen people killed or wounded, most of them members of the Iraqi Police, by American fire south of Baghdad".
Five members of the Iraqi security forces met their death, and 11 other people including two women were wounded, in a firefight and American bombing of a location by mistake, in the city of Hilla, capital of Babil province in southern Iraq.(2) Here is the American version of the very same incident, from the multinational forces Iraq website, headed "Coalition Forces detain suspected Special Forces criminal":
A source in the Hilla police force told Xinhuanet by phone that "an American patrol arrived in the district of alJamiya in central Hilla around 3:00 on the morning Thursday, where the Provincial Building is located, and one of the building's guards noticed them and pointed his rifle at them, believing them to be armed persons attempting an attack on the Provincial Building, and one of the American soldiers fired at him, killing him immediately. "
The source continued: "Members of the Iraqi police stationed nearby came out when they heard the sound of firearms, and they pointed their guns at the American soldiers, who fired at them, and there followed a firefight between the two sides, during which air-support intervened, and there was an air-strike against the station from which the Iraqi police had come, resulting in the killing of four policemen, and the wounding of nine others. He added two women were wounded in their home by shrapnel from the air-strike on the police station, and a number of police vehicles were destroyed."
The source said he thinks the incident was unintentional, and that this resulted from each side thinking the other was an armed group, and not an official force.
(3) And here is this report by the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq, aggregating reports on resistance-oriented sites, headed: "Six killed in helicopter attack by the occupation in Hilla":
BAGHDAD – Coalition forces detained a suspected Iranian-backed Special Groups criminal and two other suspects early this morning in the al-Hillah area, south of Baghdad.
Reports indicate the targeted suspect planned to assassinate Hillah police leaders and attempted to gather intelligence for Special Groups attacks to disrupt security in the area. He is also suspected of distributing $100,000 to Special Groups cells south of Baghdad.
During the operation, while the ground force was moving to the target area, unknown individuals fired upon Coalition forces, who returned fire in self-defense. A Coalition force helicopter also engaged the unknown individuals. One vehicle was destroyed, several structures were damaged, and three civilians were reportedly wounded. The incident is under investigation at this time.
When the ground force arrived at the target area, they captured the targeted individual and two other suspects without further incident.
"Iraqi and Coalition forces will continue to seek out and bring to justice criminals who target law enforcement personnel and threaten the security of Iraqi citizens," said Cmdr. Scott Rye, MNF-I spokesman.
American occupation forces called in a helicopter attack during a firefight with the Mahdi Army militia Thursday in Hilla, which was the scene last week of fighting between government forces and that militia. A source in the government police said five people died in the pre-dawn incident, four of them members of the police. The source said the fighting started after American soldiers dressed in civilian clothing entered the alJamiya district in central Hilla. A spokesman for the main hospital in Hilla said they received six bodies after the fight, among them four who were members of the government police. And he said there 15 injured, about half of them civilians.All of which appears to offer three choices: (1) Complete case of mistaken identity (which wouldn't explain what the Americans were trying doing there in the first place); (2) successful American arrest operation against a single Iranian agent in the so-called "Special Groups", after a slight interruption to take care of "unknown individuals"; (3) An American continuation of the war against the Madhi Army, continued from last week, only now in plain-clothes (which would leave open the question whether the police station they bombed was suspected of Mahdi-Army leanings, or whether that part was a mistake).
The American occupation army said armed persons opened fire on their forces while they were on an operation to arrest a member of what they call the "Special Groups", which is the expression the American occupation army uses to designate members of the Mahdi Army. Hilla is one of the many southern cities where last week government forces fought with the Mahdi Army militia. American occupation forces operated along side government units, and called in air strikes [also during those operations] last week.
Here's what English-language readers got to see on the subject: "US Forces clash with Gunmen in Iraq's Hilla", a Reuters-based report in the WaPo which doesn't really take a position on what was going on. It quotes a US spokesman who said this was triggered by fire from "unknown individuals" against the Americans, without saying what the plainclothes Americans were doing there in the first place. And the people the helicopter-fire "engaged with" were also "unknown individuals" (except that the hospital official identified four of them as members of the government police force).
I don't know about you, but it seems to me what this indicates is that the American forces are continuing the war on Sadrists, aka the pursuit of Iranian agents, only now in what is supposed to be a covert way, while still relying on air-strikes. So that the militias now supporting Maliki in a covert way would now include the Badr Organization and other party-based groups, and also the covert militias of the armed forces of the United States. And the way you can have air-strikes in support of covert operations, is with the help of completely misleading and dishonest "multinational forces--Iraq" announcements.
Or none at all, as in the case of the still-unexplained in airstrikes in Sadr City on Tuesday.