Coalition Provisional Authority staffer, attorney, and women's rights advocate Fern Holland, another CPA staffer, and their translator were killed on a road near Hillah Iraq by police from Karbala.
At the Hilla jail, where the men were held until Polish troops took them into custody, the jailers insisted that the men were actual Iraqi policemen and not impersonators.
"We knew some of them," one man said. "Their commander (in Karbala) had been a criminal before Saddam left, so we knew his gang. They had been in jail here before. But then they got jobs as policemen in Karbala -- we knew this before this happened. We couldn't believe that the Americans gave police jobs to criminals like these."
The shooting Tuesday night raised two possibilities: that guerrillas had adopted a new tactic of posing as police to carry out attacks, or that some members of the security forces being trained by U.S. troops are turning to violence.
One possibility is that the criminals-turned-policemen were simply cut-throat robbers. If they were not just killing to rob then do they just hate Americans and want to kill them for fun or did they do this to pursue larger political goals? They might have been out to kill Holland becauise she was investigating human rights violations against iraqi women.
The more important question is just what background checks are used by US forces when selecting candidates to train as police? Even with the most careful process of selection the odds are against getting non-corrupt police that are eager to fairly and evenly uphold the laws in Iraq.
Update: The Friday March 12, 2004 Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing from Iraq by Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt confirms the involvement of active duty Iraqi police in the slaying of Fern Holland, Robert J. Zangas and an Iraqi woman who served as their translator.
Q: Hi. Mark Stone, ABC. Could you confirm whether anyone was detained as a result of the shootings and also -- of the CPA shooting, and also whether they were indeed policemen or people dressed as policemen? And if they were policemen, this calls into question the -- how the policemen that are recruited are checked.
(Off-mike conferral between briefers.)
Kimmitt: There were eight persons detained as part of the incident. We understand that -- correction: six persons were detained as part of the incident. Four of those persons were carrying current and, we believe, valid Iraqi police service identification. The fifth was a former policeman under the Hussein regime, and the sixth person was a civilian. Those persons are all under coalition custody being interrogated at this time.
On Monday, U.S. troops arrested one current and two former ICDC soldiers for selling weapons to insurgents and carrying out bomb attacks on the homes of Iraqis cooperating with American forces in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown north of Baghdad.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 March 11 02:50 PM MidEast Iraq New Regime Failures|