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FLASHBACK: Number of Iraqi Mass Graves Cited in USAID Report Discredited


In an account that might be more aptly titled The Incredible Shrinking Mass Graves, the Observer revealed that a claim by Tony Blair that "400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves" was false and that o要ly 5,000 bodies have been discovered so far. Tony Blair's claim was prominently featured in a report entitled Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves that was published by USAID and remains unchanged o要 its website...

[30197]



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FLASHBACK: Number of Iraqi Mass Graves Cited in USAID Report Discredited

U.S. Foreign Aid Watch Organization

Published July 22, 2004

In an account that might be more aptly titled  The Incredible Shrinking Mass Graves,  the Observer revealed that a claim by Tony Blair that  "400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves" was false and that o要ly 5,000 bodies have been discovered so far.  Tony Blair's claim was prominently featured in a report entitled  Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves that was published by USAID and remains unchanged o要 its website.

 
According to an article by the Guardian:
On December 14 Blair repeated the claim in a statement issued by Downing Street in response to the arrest of Saddam Hussein and posted o要 the Labour party website that: "The remains of 400 000 human beings [have] already [been] found in mass graves."

The admission that the figure has been hugely inflated follows a week in which Blair accepted responsibility for charges in the Butler report over the way in which Downing Street pushed intelligence reports "to the outer limits" in the case for the threat posed by Iraq.
         (later in the article)
It comes amid inflation from an estimate by Human Rights Watch in May 2003 of 290 000 "missing" to the latest claims by the Iraqi Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, that o要e million are missing.

At the heart of the questions are the numbers so far identified in Iraq's graves. Of 270 suspected grave sites identified in the last year, 55 have now been examined, revealing -- according to the best estimates that The Observer has been able to obtain -- about 5 000 bodies.
The  numbers of mass graves in Iraq continues to inflate (from 400,000 to 500,000)  despite the fact they have been admitted to be false according to an article o要 Wanniski.com:
 
The reason I write you today, Senator, is that a similar problem has come up with you. Im afraid you are still relying o要 faulty intelligence in saying, as you did o要 the weekend talk shows, that the war could be justified because of Saddams cruelty to his own people. Here is how you put it o要 "Meet the Press," in response to a question from Tim Russert:
SEN. ROBERTS: Well, that was then. This is now. I know I stood o要 a gravesite at Hillah in Iraq and looked at 18,000 bodies being unearthed, you know, o要e at a time; 500,000 were dead. I think we're probably in better shape. I know the people in Iraq are in better shape, if we can achieve the stability, which is a very tough challenge over there. But I don't think anybody in terms of threat to regional stability, to Israel, the possibility of reconstituting--he did have the capability of the weapons of mass destruction. I think we're better off without Saddam there.

I was a bit puzzled, Senator, because I have been following the "genocide" issue in Iraq for several years and wondered how you could get these numbers. If you were not chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I wouldnt bother you today, because most members of Congress have bought the genocide story that has become embedded in the national consciousness because it has been repeated to many times. As a result, I contacted your staff {your eyes and ears, so to speak), and asked: "Can you help me better understand where Senator Roberts gets the numbers of Iraqis killed by Saddam Hussein... particularly the number 500,000. He used it several times in the weekend talk shows. There have been reports of as many as 200,000 killed in the Anfal campaign of 1987-88, but so far no mass graves have been found in Kurdistan, none at all. The Senator also says he watched 18,000 bodies being unearthed at a gravesite at Hillah. The most recent number I've seen relating to that area is 2,200. The Senator's inference is that these dead were victims of genocide, when all the accounts say the victims were Shiite rebels who were attempting to overthrow the government -- and were of the belief the USA would come to protect them because they were incited to rebel by CIA agents."


:: Article nr. 30197 sent on 31-jan-2007 07:00 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=30197

Link: www.foreignaidwatch.org/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=810&theme=Printer



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