Fallout from Basra

“What our police found in their car was very disturbing – weapons, explosives, and a remote control detonator. These are the weapons of terrorists. We believe these soldiers were planning an attack on a market or other civilian targets,” Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, spokesman for the Mehdi Army said.

It was widely reported that British troops stormed a prison in Basra (ramming an armored vehicle into a police station, according to the Washington Post) to release two of their men who were detained by the Iraqis. It is still unclear whether the soldiers were detained for plans to execute what amounts to an act of terror – by any definition. A crucial line that was originally printed in a September 20 Washington Post report was eventually omitted, although questionable implications remain untouched:

“Monday’s clashes stemmed from the arrest by Iraqi police on Sunday of two Britons, [omitted]whom Iraqi police accused of planting bombs. ”

Censorship just doesn’t go these days. The omitted text is based on arbitrary speculation, still, The Post quickly retitled the article, and dropped the Iraqi co-author to the status of italicized contributor in the endnote. While it led the original Post report, it is tucked away in the back of the edited article that appears in in subsequent printings:
Washington Post
Iraq Mirror
Free Republic
Liberty Post

China Dailyrelayed a statement that ”
“Two persons wearing Arab uniforms opened fire at a police station in Basra. A police patrol followed the attackers and captured them to discover they were two British soldiers,” Washington Post reported last Wednesday that:


“about 500 civilians and policemen held a protest in downtown Basra denouncing ‘British aggression.’ The demonstrators, waving pistols and AK-47s, shouted “No to occupation!” and carried banners condemning “British aggression” and demanding the freed soldiers be tried in an Iraqi court as “terrorists.”

Today, al-Jazeera proclaims that fact must be separated from fiction the true intentions (if any) of the British should be known.


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