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Friday, June 02, 2006

Inhuman Elements

PIRACY: New version.Just recently the Net news buzz is filled with loss of life.

Depressing as it is, once more Indonesia has been hit by nature. The Indonesian island of Java was hit by an earthquake last Saturday, and relief efforts have been slow. Indonesian authorities report that a rising estimate of 6,200 have died, at least 30,000 people have been injured and more than 105,000 homes destroyed or damaged, leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

Meanwhile, after the Abu Ghraib scandal that involved the torture of Iraqi prisoners of war, the US military forces in Iraq come under under scrutiny once again as the massacre of Iraqi civilians are being revealed. New evidence that US forces may have been responsible for the deliberate killing of 11 innocent Iraqi civilians in the town of Ishaqi in March comes in the wake of the alleged massacre in Haditha, where US marines are suspected of massacring up to 24 Iraqi civilians, including five children aged between 14 and two, in November 2005 to avenge a comrade.

Recent news that a pregnant Iraqi woman in labour and her cousin were shot dead by US forces as they rushed to hospital along a closed road will not help matters.

US-led troops in Iraq are to undergo 30 days of ethical training in the wake of the alleged murder of civilians in Haditha.

Possibly just as disturbing is the news that sources indicate a cover-up by the American military in relation to rogue soldiers. In other news, another US military cover seems to be emerging, this time to do with reports that say US army officials withheld information about the death of NFL star turned soldier Pat Tillman.

Tillman died in Afghanistan in 2004 and for weeks afterwards US army officials said he was killed by enemy fire. But army chiefs knew he had in fact been shot by fellow US troops, a report carried by the Washington Post says.

Continuing with Iraq, and departing from her usual acid tone, New York Post columnist Maureen Dowd mentions the rising death tally of journalists reporting from Iraq with heart-breaking poignancy.

In her "Live From Baghdad: More Dying" article published May 31, she reveals that with the latest attack, involving CBS TV journalist Kimberly Dozier who managed to escaped with serious injuries, the number of journalists killed in Iraq has reached 71, more than the number killed in Vietnam or World War II.

Dowd comments: There is a tragic anonymity about this war. Soldiers die but we don't know who they are, other than their names, which turn up in small print. The Iraqi civilians who die don't even get their names in the small print.

Journalists die and we know who they are. But we don't know who killed them, and their killers will never be brought to justice. The enemy has no face, just a finger on a detonator.

Finally, another faceless enemy is appearing on the Internet, but this time their finger is on a new virus. Internet pirates are hijacking home computers through websites and demanding payment to return valuable files.

Computer experts say the criminals have developed a new type of virus, nicknamed "ransomware", which effectively blackmails its victims by taking away important files from their computers and returning them for a price.

Picture courtesy of Manchester Evening News.

More news | The War In Iraq

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