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UK Troops Hunting Death Squads Assault Iraqi Police Headquarters then Blow it Up

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posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 12:59 AM
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news.bbc.co.uk...

UK forces in Basra have stormed the headquarters of an Iraqi police unit, fearing 178 prisoners would be killed, a military spokesman said.

The spokesman said it was a continuation of an operation begun earlier this month against the serious crimes unit at Jamiat police station.


Also...



news.yahoo.com...

British and Iraqi forces seized one of the main police stations in
Iraq's southern city of Basra on Monday because they said the Major Crimes Unit had become a "criminal enterprise."
ADVERTISEMENT

British military spokesman Captain Tane Dunlop said the troops carried out medical assessments of detainees at the building before transferring them to another police station.

"We (then) used explosives to put the building beyond use so it can no longer be used by the criminal enterprise," he said.


Okay, sounds pretty serious.

We all know that death squads are operating in Iraq, and we all know they are made up, in part, of Iraqi police officers.

What shocks me about this story is the fact that the troops stormed the police station to make arrests, and then demolished the building, which will, most likely eventually have to be rebuilt. Why blow up the building? Was the building an insurgent?

If they're trying to remove safehouses and the like, why not level all of Iraq and then offer to have politically-connected contractors rebuild it at a 30-300% markup - oh wait, that's already being done.

Okay, maybe I'm being too cynical, but all I've been reading for months on end is how the Iraqis need infrastructure, and here we are, turning it to rubble and dust for no apparent reason. The stated reason doesn't wash as far as I'm concerned, unless this signals the disbanding of the police force in Basra. Don't the police need a HQ?

Can someone help me understand this?

[edit on 25-12-2006 by WyrdeOne]

[edit on 25-12-2006 by WyrdeOne]

[edit on 25-12-2006 by WyrdeOne]




posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 06:53 AM
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Hmm remember folks these are the Iraqi security forces that are going to take over once the coalition leaves Iraq.

As for destroying the building given that it was a base for death squads there was no reason to keep the building intact. Denying the enemy a base of operations is a part of warfare so I don't even see a problem here. As for replacing the building with what is hopefully a legit Police station there must be plenty of buildings in Basra that could be used.


Having said that Iraq is about corporate profits more then anything else so a new Police station may be built.



posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 12:37 PM
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I guess I just don't understand what makes the police station a threat? I can see why we wouldn't want terrorists in uniforms, kidnapping, torturing, and killing their countrymen with our protection, but what's the building got to do with it?

Yaknow?

Seems to me that if you arrest the criminals, you don't blow up their house when it could be used by someone else. Removing the crooked cops from the police station should have cleared the way for some decent cops to take up residence.

If we found a gang of terrorists holed up in a water treatment plant, would we arrest the terrorists, and then blow up the infrastructure to insure no other bad guys could take up residence?

It just doesn't make sense to me...



posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 01:15 PM
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It makes perfect sense from two perspectives, one, as a psychological statement to the locals (ne'er again shall evil flourish in this place, young Frodo Baggins), and two, as an illustration of the lack of any real control and planning that the coalition forces have in Iraq.



posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 03:29 PM
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If the building itself had remained intact the possibility remained that the death squads could have still used it as a part of there operations.

I don't necessary support the use of massive amounts of firepower in an urban area because the damage inflicted will turn the locals against you. Here we have a case of the enemy being denied a base of operations without half a city block being wiped out. Thats a pretty good day at the office.

They might not know exactly which members of the Police who worked in that station are corrupt everyone might have been obtained as a precaution.

You cant not demolish a building because of the purpose it serves for the simple reason that you would give the enemy an advantage that you dont have.

[edit on 25-12-2006 by xpert11]



posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 03:58 PM
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So, is the destruction of the Iraqi Police Headquarters meant to be punitive in this case, or preventative?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the crooked cops can just set up shop in another location.

I think the last thing we should be doing at this point is demolishing the Iraqi infrastructure when it's not strictly necessary from an operational standpoint. If you have some insurgents in a building, and they're dug in, and the building isn't a hospital or a school or something, (or a water treatment plant), by all means blow it up to kill them all.

But don't get them out and then blow it up! It's not a trench in the hills we're talking about, it's a necessary piece of Iraqi infrastructure. It's their country, yaknow? We can't just blow their country to bits for no reason and feel good about ourselves.

What about my earlier example. If the building was a water treatment plant or something, would we just blow it to Hell and clap ourselves on the back, and talk about how we had denied insurgents a base of operations?

C'mon...

The whole country is a base of operations. If we're going to use that logic, we might as well reduce the entire country to rubble using air-dropped munitions!



posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 04:38 PM
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Calling the police station a center of "criminal enterprise" and a symbol of oppression for the city's residents, the military said the building was demolished with explosives after a pre-dawn assault by around 1,000 troops backed by tanks.

Many of its 127 prisoners, all suspected criminals, were found crowded into a small cell, living in "appalling conditions," the military said. A number had crushed feet or hands and gunshot wounds to the knee, apparent signs of torture.
news.yahoo.com...

Emphasis added.

Remember the movie "Forrest Gump", where Forrest had the childhood home of Jenny bulldozed? It was done for what it represented.



posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by WyrdeOne
So, is the destruction of the Iraqi Police Headquarters meant to be punitive in this case, or preventative?


Its more preventive then anything else although it may make a small impact on the enemy operations.



Correct me if I'm wrong, but the crooked cops can just set up shop in another location.


While that is true the cause has more to do with the lack of screening then the current topic. Put another way there are symptoms of other problems that appear in an incident like this.




What about my earlier example. If the building was a water treatment plant or something, would we just blow it to Hell and clap ourselves on the back, and talk about how we had denied insurgents a base of operations?


Well this is where no one has put any thought into a matter like this in Iraq. A water treatment plant is a typical target that the insurgents have sabotaged and has been rebuild at great cost.
I wouldn't have any qualms destroying a water treatment plant because the smart thing to do would be to supply the local population with water filters this would mean that the insurgents wouldn't gain anything by sabotaging the plant. If the plant was destroyed because it was being used as a base by the insurgents no great harm would be done.

Keeping military force on a lease is a sure way to lose a war.



posted on Dec, 25 2006 @ 04:42 PM
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Yeah, I just found this too...



www.nytimes.com...

The building had symbolic importance because before the war it had been used by Saddam Hussein’s police and many of those taken there were never heard from again.


So at least that's a reason (maybe not a very logical reason, but a reason nonetheless).

That's all I was looking for...

[edit on 25-12-2006 by WyrdeOne]



posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 08:31 AM
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Hmmm.....

I'm of a rather suspicious disposition when it comes to this stuff, and it seems that eventually one's darkest suppositions can sometimes prove to be correct when all the smoke has cleared.

Did anyone see the TV footage of the building being blown up? This was hardly a controlled demolition. This seems to me to have been something of a rush job with little care for the damage done to neighbouring buildings.

Why the urgency?

One possible answer to that question is that the building contained evidence of things that the coalition forces would prefer to keep secret. I don't know what evidence that might have been, but it's at least as logical as blowing up a perfectly good building simply because it was used under Saddam's rule (which is now being looked upon with nostalgia by most Iraqis, quite an achievement by Occupation forces).

Here is a BBC news item that suggests that the Basra city council were pretty upset about the raid and demoliton. It's also of interest from a propaganda point of view. I found the link at Information Clearing House, and they had the following paragraph pasted from the original story they'd linked to:


Basra City Council has withdrawn co-operation from UK forces in southern Iraq after the police's serious crimes unit was disbanded by troops. More than 1,000 troops blew up a police station run by the unit, which has been blamed for robberies and death squads.


Now, when you click on the link, the headline has been changed and the story altered:


Mohammed al Abadi, head of the city's council, had said the raid was illegal and threatened to stop co-operation.

He said local officials had not been informed of the operation and that it violated earlier agreements to move the prisoners without military action.

And Basra police commander Brigadier General Ali Ibrahim said: "This storming operation is illegal and violates human rights.

"We think that what the operation sought to achieve is very simple and could have been settled by Iraqi troops."


And WyrdeOne - you're not the only one to be puzzled by this.


A spokesman conceded some elements of the council were unhappy but said the UK and the Iraqi government would explain the reasons for them.


Reasons which are not in the BBC report.

The whole thing doesn't add up. One wonders what will happen to many of the files and computers seized from the building. I suspect that there will be a cull of "inconvenient" paperwork. As a final sign that this story is not to be trusted completely, the final sentence is:


In September 2005, two SAS soldiers were rescued from Jamiat after being accused of shooting dead a local policeman and wounding another.


Let's forget that they had bomb-making equipment in the back of their car and were disguised as locals...

All in all, a far from satisfying story that raises more questions than it answers.



posted on Dec, 26 2006 @ 09:58 PM
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Originally posted by rich23

Let's forget that they had bomb-making equipment in the back of their car and were disguised as locals...

You mean the two Special reconosance agents, right?
In what do you mean "bomb making equipment" ? Some C-4 ? Mabye even door blasting material.....or is that type of equipment far from what a normal heavily armed agent in a hostile would carry....just passing some food for thought.

But after all its about who you believe and who you trust....



posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 12:31 AM
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Originally posted by devilwasp
But after all its about who you believe and who you trust....


Exactly right.

A little while ago there was an interview on Radio 4 with a guy who was in the British Army in Cyprus during the troubles that led up to partition. His job was to resolve conflicts between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. He said that one night, at an Army "formal do", he met some UK and US intelligence people and fell into conversation with them. When he told them what he did, they laughed and sympathised... because they had the job of fomenting the conflict between the two sides. "The plan here was always for partition," they said. And so it proved.

He rather lost interest in his job after that conversation, apparently.

Based on what I know of the historical record, I certainly don't trust the US or UK to do anything other than act (sneakily) in terms of their own (primarily the US', in fact) geopolitical interests.

EDIT to add:

The easiest way to mould a story for propaganda purposes is to omit the details that give the game away. Thus, the British press concentrated on the rescue of the soldiers from jail and the "reason" they ended up there in the first place. They omit the fact that the soldiers were trying to look like locals and the contents of the car's boot, pertinent information in my book.

[edit on 27-12-2006 by rich23]



posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 01:19 AM
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On the other hand, there's this article from The Times, giving a plausible account of what was going on in Basra.


The Serious Crimes Unit was regarded as one of the most corrupt elements of the British-mentored and trained constabulary in Iraq’s second city.

In Saddam Hussein’s time, local security forces dragged hundreds of people to the al-Jameat compound in the middle of the night. They were never heard of again. It became known as the “station of death”.

The two-storey building had been reopened by the British as a police station, part of the coalition’s optimistic attempts to restore order after Saddam’s overthrow.

Before long it was nicknamed “Gestapo HQ” by British officers. The horrors taking place behind its thick white walls were feared to compare with the sadistic excesses of the toppled dictatorship.


Where the article starts to "not add up" to me is in its suggestion that the two arrested British soldiers already referred to were involved in undercover monitoring of the Serious Crimes Unit:

Britain ordered undercover troops to mount surveillance. The intelligence-gathering operation went wrong when two officers became involved in a shootout with plainclothes Iraqi police. The pair were arrested and taken to al-Jameat in September 2005. Under interrogation they were punched and kicked. This time the British forces would stand for no nonsense; they bulldozed the side of the police station. The men, who had been moved to a different location, were freed.


This needs more investigation than I can do right now.



posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 07:31 AM
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they had the troops to destroy the building, but they didn't have the troops to keep the building out of the hands of those who would use it for such purposes??

that's what I read into it? what should have happened was that they went in, removed those who were the offenders, brought in legit police/troops whatever, and kept the police functions operating there....they couldn't, so they just blew it...no more police, to act as death squads, or course there's no more police to keep the peace either....
but, the more I hear washington's yapping, the more I think there's at least a few in washington that really don't want a peaceful Iraq...



posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 08:06 AM
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Just to clarify, this wasn't THE Police station in Basra, this was just the HQ of a particular unit that was suspected of committing murder and torture.

Stands to reason that if you want to send a message, especially to the people, that this is not tolerated and will not happen again, you would pull it down. Symbolism, you see.



posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 08:09 AM
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as now being reported this is all connected to the capture of the two Brit special forces some time back and the rescue when they bulldozed the building. THis is the same unit and another building 'gone' - whatever is going on it's less about symbolism than people like to think and more about not leaving any trace of...



posted on Dec, 27 2006 @ 11:55 AM
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Originally posted by rich23
The easiest way to mould a story for propaganda purposes is to omit the details that give the game away. Thus, the British press concentrated on the rescue of the soldiers from jail and the "reason" they ended up there in the first place. They omit the fact that the soldiers were trying to look like locals and the contents of the car's boot, pertinent information in my book.

[edit on 27-12-2006 by rich23]

Yes the news focus on WHAT happened not why, which IMO would have helped them, you should read "the operators" or even "first into action" they both cover the MOD's intelligence services (mostly 14th intel which I believe was absorbed by the SRR.)
Contents of the car boot? You mean the 1 picture? Come on, the whole job of the SRR is to act and look like the enemy to gather intelligence, they are not the sword, they are its eyes and ears.
Rich have you ever heard of a unit called, "the incriment"? If not I suggest you look it up, they would probably have more say in that kind of operation than the SRR.



posted on Jan, 1 2007 @ 03:16 AM
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Wecomeinpeace Hit the nail on the head; basically it looks good on Iraqi TV.

I can imagine on Iraqi TV the following coalition commercial….
It’s like: “Are the police raping, kidnapping or disembowelling the neighbourhood? Have they demanded that your wife wear a veil? Or that you join the local religion? Then call the British on 0….
We from the U.K like to see things blown up in time for the evening news. The coalition of the increasingly unwilling will remove your local Yob Mob torture and execution centre for absolutely free.”


So basically what the soldiers did was very good. Because if I was an Iraqi I would be grateful if I could only see an advert like the hypothetical one above.

Also…
It’s like when I smoked at school. We used to have to go to certain hiding places, and often the school would cut them down, or try tidying them up.
Of course they were a few places we could always go to smoke because they were behind buildings, but you were far more likely to get caught round there. But in the case of the military clearly the fact something is a building does not mean it is an obstacle.

Besides unemployment is now 55% in Iraq; I'm sure they’ll be people who will have good time rebuilding it (providing they are from the right sect). Besides why should we bother rebuilding stuff in Iraq if we are going to give it to our enemy, the Muslim Fundamentalists?


[edit on 090705 by Liberal1984]



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