Yasser Salihee is dead.
He was on his way to drive his family to a swimming pool in western
Baghdad when he was struck by a single bullet to head – he died
Some say he was an unintentional casualty of war. Some whisper “the
wolves got him.”
You see, since May, Dr. Salihee, had been reporting on the similarities
between the death squads used in El Salvador to obliterate their “insurgency” and the
US military’s creation of the “Wolf Brigade” that has been unleashed to eliminate
the Iraqi “insurgency.” Our government calls it Operation Lightening.
To be clear, there is no shame in the game of the US military – they make
no secret that the Wolf Brigade is modeled after the death squads in El
In fact, up until April 2005, the main advisor to the Wolf Brigade was a man
named James Steele.
According to New York Times Magazine, Jim Steele was in charge of a team
of 55 Special Forces advisers in El Salvador who “trained front-line battalions
that were accused of significant human rights abuses.” In fact while Jim Steele
was in charge, “whole villages were targeted by the armed forces and their
When battered and methodically beaten dead bodies started showing up in Iraq,
Dr Salihee started reporting. Dr Salihee wrote about bodies in the morgue with
their hands tied or handcuffed behind their backs. Bodies with their eyes blindfolded
appearing to have been tortured, whipped with cords and subjected to electric
shocks. Bodies beaten with blunt objects and shot to death, often with a single
bullet. Bodies found in mass graves and bodies floating in rivers.
Dr Salihee also reported that many of the members of the Wolf Brigade came
from Saddam Hussein’s Special Forces and Republican Guards. Indeed, these men
were decorated veterans of homicide, genocide and torture.
On June 28th 2005, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran Dr Salihee’s last article.
The very first sentence read: “Days after Iraq's new Shiite-led government
was announced on April 28, the director of Baghdad's central morgue began noticing
that the bodies of Sunni Muslim men were turning up after the men had been
detained by people wearing Iraqi police uniforms.”
Dr Salihee, along with reporter Tom Lasseter, went on to state: “further evidence
that a police force created, trained and funded by the United States has been
abusing human rights …would complicate the Bush administration’s efforts to
muster greater domestic support for its Iraq policy.”
The most chilling words however, were the words from the mouth of a young
man who was abducted by men in police uniforms. "The commandos told
me to keep the body outside of the refrigerator so that the dogs could
eat it because
he's a terrorist and he deserves it."
Yasser Salihee, translator, physician, special correspondent, husband,
father to two-year-old Danya, was killed 4 days before his story ran.
The Wolf Brigade says that they are patriots. They utilize television
to depict the insurgency’s humiliation. In fact, “Terrorist in the Grip of Justice” is
the most watched TV program in the country. They wear snappy red berets and
ride around in white $55,000 vehicles. When children get too out of hand their
parents threaten them with “calling the wolves.” One young man was quoted as
saying “when I see them I feel safe. I feel we have a country with a government.”
It appears Operation Lightning has quite a fan base.
I remember a time in the United States when bodies with their hands tied
behind their backs were found floating in rivers. Bodies never identified
ones. Bodies buried in mass graves.
The organization that put them there has quite a fan base too.
A few weeks ago, during the trial of the Klansman that helped kill and
then bury the bodies of three young men, former Mayor Harlan Majure, testified
Klansman Edgar Ray Killen was a good man and the Klan “did a lot of good up
Three young men, civil rights workers, were shot and killed forty years
ago because “the law” in the land of Mississippi branded them trouble makers.
In 1892, Fredrick Douglas said “Crime has a power to reproduce itself and
create conditions favorable to its own existence.”
Yasser Salihee is dead.
Lizz Brown is host of the Morning Wake Up Call, WGNU Radio,
St. Louis. She can be reached through her website: http://www.lizzbrown.com/