The Real Head-Drilling “Butchers” of Iraq

The most harrowing scene in American Sniper involves an Iraqi character nicknamed “The Butcher” torturing and executing an Iraqi child by taking a power drill to his skull. The scene lends credibility to the narrative of Chris Kyle as basically a hero facing villains. In the film, “The Butcher” is a lieutenant of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Sunni insurgent, terrorist, and founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which later became ISIS.

However, in the Iraq of the real world, power drilling human heads is more of a predilection, not of Sunni insurgents, but of their enemies in the Shiite militias.

Abu Deraa
Abu Deraa

For one, there is the warlord Abu Deraa, nicknamed “the Shiite Zarqawi,” who according to the UK’s Sunday Times (emphasis added):

“…is thought to be responsible for the murder of thousands of civilians, mostly Sunnis, and is said to take personal delight in killing — sometimes with a bullet to the head, sometimes by driving a drill into the skulls of his victims. On other occasions, Iraqis say, he gives them a choice of being shot or battered to death with concrete building blocks.”

AQI/ISIS falsely claimed to have killed him in 2006, but after years of hiding in Iran, he recently reemerged in Baghdad once again leading a militia.

Hadi al-Amiri
Hadi al-Amiri

Then there is Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Iran-backed Badr Brigade. According to The Washington Post, “A leaked 2009 State Department cable said sources had indicated that Amiri may have personally ordered attacks on up to 2,000 Sunnis.” The Post continues (emphasis added):

“…in 2005 and 2006, sectarian killings in Iraq surged as Badr death squads worked under the cloak of the police force.

The 2009 State Department cable, referring to that era, said that ‘one of [Amiri’s] preferred methods of killing allegedly involved using a power drill to pierce the skulls of his adversaries.‘”

Electric Drill Amiri is now, according to the Post, effectively the head of security in Iraq:

“Iraq’s parliament voted Saturday to put an affiliate of an Iranian-backed paramilitary group in charge of a key security ministry, a move that could strike a serious blow to efforts to unite Sunnis and Shiites to wrest back their country from Islamist extremists.

The new interior minister is Mohammed Ghabban, a little-known Shiite politician with the Badr Organization. But there is little doubt that Hadi al-Amiri, head of the party and its military wing, will wield the real power in the ministry.”

Both of these Iran-sponsored real-life head-drilling “butchers” of Iraq rose to power thanks to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, and are now commanding forces either in the US-backed Iraqi government, or under its protection, fighting alongside the US military against the now ISIS-led Sunni insurgency. At the end of the day, the American Sniper was not the enemy of the Iraqi Butchers, but their benefactor.

As radio host Scott Horton never tires reminding his listeners, the chief role of the American troops in Iraq was to fight a bloody civil war on behalf of the Shiite side and to install Iran-backed Shiite militias in power. These militias used death squads to ethnically cleanse Baghdad and other cities of Sunnis, and, as Will Grigg never tires reminding his readers, imposed a Sharia-compliant constitution over a once-secular country. This Shiite jihad was, in effect, Chris Kyle’s true mission, for which millions of American Christians now lionize him.

Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher” on the Chris Kyle Type

“There are four types of people who join the military. For some, it’s a family trade. Others are patriots, eager to serve. Next you have those who just need a job. Then there’s the kind who want a legal means of killing other people.”

– The title character of the 2012 movie Jack Reacher, played by Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, listing the "four types" to Rosamund Pike's Helen Rodin.
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, listing the “four types” to Rosamund Pike’s Helen Rodin.

As for the fourth type, Reacher was referring to another character in the film, an American sniper prosecuted for murders both in Iraq and the US.

Jack Reacher's "American Sniper": James Barr, played by Joseph Sikora.
Jack Reacher’s “American Sniper”: James Barr, played by Joseph Sikora.

Judging from Kyle’s own words, this character is a much more accurate portrayal of Chris Kyle’s psyche than the one created by Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper.

“But after you kill your enemy, you see it’s okay. You say, Great. You do it again. And again. (…) I loved what I did. I still do. If circumstances were different–if my family didn’t need me–I’d be back in a heartbeat. I’m not lying or exaggerating to say it was fun.”

– Chris Kyle, American Sniper

Continue reading “Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher” on the Chris Kyle Type”

X-Files: Only for a pre-9/11 World

scully_mulder_top

Scully: Why would somebody want to sabotage the Space Shuttle?

Mulder: Well, if you were a terrorist, there probably isn’t a more potent symbol of American progress and prosperity. And if you’re an opponent of big science, NASA itself represents a vast money trench that exists outside the crucible and debate of the democratic process.   — “Space” broadcast date November 3, 1993.

The sci-fi cult classic X-Files turns 20 this week. The show has been off the air for 11 years but its popularity more than persists with a fan base we’re guessing falls squarely into the X-Gen range. And that’s okay. It was a show of a certain zeitgeist, but that zeitgeist is pretty much gone. In no way is that better conveyed than in the above quote by super sleuth Fox “Spooky” Mulder. In our world today — exactly 12 years from the 9/11 attacks — it’s painfully clear that the World Trade Center, not the Space Shuttle, was the potent symbol of prosperity for terrorists, and that the Pentagon was an equally acute expression of American empire — if not, too,  a “vast money trench that exists outside the crucible of the democratic process.” It still is.

President Clinton & a burning Waco in 1993
President Clinton in front of a burning Waco (1993)

The show’s solid but underwhelming premiere aired on September 10, 1993,  just months after the horrific federal siege and killing of 76 men, women and children at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. For many of us it was the first witness to the militarization of federal authority (FBI/ATF), and a horrifying peek behind the technicolor curtain so carefully weaved by the New Frontier Baby Boomerism of the Clinton Administration.

Nothing seemed real and the X-Files’ writers were happy to indulge that mistrust and cynicism with a fictional Washington forever machinating against America’s interests, culminating in an alien conspiracy in which the monsters worked directly with powerful bureaucrats to take over the world. When Mulder declared “the truth is out there,” we wanted to believe, too, at least one Sunday night a week.
Continue reading “X-Files: Only for a pre-9/11 World”

Although Zero Dark Thirty didn’t get the Oscar – – –

Governments survive on myth. Truth is dangerous. As Chief Nazi “Information Officer” Goebbels put it, “…the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.”

While the main stream media averts its eyes, the Emperor shivers.

Why would you shoot your highest-value-in-history information-laden target in the head immediately, before he can talk, especially since he isn’t armed and doesn’t resist? And then deep-six the body at sea out of respect for his religious preferences. But you get that wrong. And you don’t want to release photos because, well – – – – ah – – –

We need better scripts!  It’s even been suggested Uncle should hire better fiction writers. Maybe they should tap Philip Kraske – – –

“But I think, in this case” — a long pause — “the best we can do is the impression of photos, the news of photos, rather than the photos themselves. Photo-shopping some old photos is but the work of an hour, and then we release them on a limited, official basis. We send –“

“Forget it,” said the CIA man flatly. “The Truthers will go through ten thousand photos of bin Laden till they find the one we used.”

… “Well now, I don’t know here,” said the Marine general. You don’t release any photos, sir, and you’re not going to convince your grandmother. With all respect.”

Others nodded vigorously. The Rainmaker wondered if any of them had greater intellect than the chairs they sat on.

…”Let’s remember, dear ones, that our job is not to convince, but merely to give people one or two good reasons not to believe any other version. This is a distinction that I’m always having to explain to various agencies. Sometimes, as in an espionage op, you do indeed need to convince. But this is a public psy op. Here we play with a natural advantage” — a tiny chuckle — “and I would imagine it drives the 9-11 Truthers nuts: Americans naturally believe their government.  — Philip Kraske, Zero Light Twenty (or Forty — Whatever)

So, why would you shoot your highest-value-in-history information-laden target in the head immediately, before he can talk?

Did Celebrity Hipster force Pamela Geller into brief Self Awareness?

Like Randy Newman, I love LA. Only here, is anything truly possibly and what I mean by anything is yes, the comedic stylings of Russell Brand and Pamela Geller in one studio. Hilarity ensued.

From BrandX:

Pamela Geller doesn’t much care for Islam (or, after being interviewed by Russell, BrandX). On her blog, Atlas Shrugs, she daily reports on crimes allegedly committed by Muslims – and only Muslims – wherever in the world they might be, painting a picture for her largely white and scared suburban audience of a world where swarthy Others are hell bent on the global imposition of Sharia law. Fathers, watch your daughters: Muhammed’s coming to town and he wants her to wear a burka.

The odd, weird, curious thing about Pamela’s Islamophobia, though, is that while she’ll own it in front of a bunch of flag-waving Tea Partiers protesting a mosque, she’ll back away from it in front of a crowd of young Hollywood liberals. Indeed, the way she spoke during her appearance on BrandX, you’d almost think she didn’t want to turn the Middle East to glass.

Oh Pam! Did you too fall for the Brand charm? Is the ‘The Rock of Ages’ star, the cure for self parodic racism and religious bigotry?

My vote for BrandX break out star is the handsome young rabble-rouser Ron Paul youth and Marine veteran Jayel Aheram. You can read more of his work on drones, Bradley Manning and Iraq here.

HT: Charles Davis

VERIFIED: Where Wars Do — and Don’t Come From

Where wars DO come from:

It is not civilizations that promote clashes. They occur when old-fashioned leaders look for old-fashioned ways to solve problems by rousing their people to armed confrontation.–Kenichi Ohmae, The End Of The Nation State, (New York: The Free Press 1995), p. 11.

Why of course the people don’t want war. … That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along –Head Nazi Hermann Goering

Mr. Bertie Felstead: “A German began singing All Through The Night, then more voices joined in and the British troops responded with Good King Wencelas… the next morning, all the soldiers were shouting to one another, “Hello Tommy, Hello Fritz” … The Germans started it, coming out of their trenches and walking over to us. Nobody decided for us – we just climbed over our parapet and went over to them, we thought nobody would shoot at us if we all mingled together… There wouldn’t have been a war if it had been left to the public. We didn’t want to fight but we thought we were defending England. England’s Oldest Man Remembers The 1915 Christmas Truce

People do not make wars; governments do. –U.S. President Ronald Reagan

President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials… made at least 935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. …an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that …led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses. –Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith, False Pretenses: Iraq THE WAR CARD Orchestrated Deception on the Path to War, www.publicintegrity.org

Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. …The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose–especially their lives. …the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace. Yours not to reason why; Yours but to do and die. That is their motto The Anti-war Speech That Earned Eugene Debs 10 Years in Prison, Socialist Party convention in Canton, Ohio, 16 June 1918

By contrast, where wars DON’T come from:

…we preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times we did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be left alone. Soldiers came and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came…They say we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape but we were so hemmed in we had to fight. Crazy Horse/Tashunkewitko

The Aztec strategy of war was based on the capture of prisoners by individual warriors, not on working as a group to kill the enemy in battle. By the time the Aztecs came to recognize what warfare meant in European terms, it was too late. Aztec

New England’s first Indian war, the Pequot War of 1636-37, provides a case study of the intensified warfare Europeans brought to America. Allied with the Narragansetts, traditional enemies of the Pequots, the colonists attacked at dawn. … The slaughter shocked the Narragansetts, who had wanted merely to subjugate the Pequots, not exterminate them. The Narragansetts reproached the English for their style of warfare, crying, “It is naught, it is naught, because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” In turn, Capt. John Underhill scoffed, saying that the Narragansett style of fighting was “more for pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies.” Underhill’s analysis of the role of warfare in Narragansett society was correct, and might accurately be applied to other tribes as well. Through the centuries, whites frequently accused their Native allies of not fighting hard enough. -James W. Loewen, LIES MY TEACHER TOLD ME, (New York, NY: Touchstone 1996), p. 118