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April 01, 2004 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-01

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2A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 1, 2004


U.S. contractors mutilated in Iraq NEWS IN BRIEF

I w _

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - In a scene reminis-
cent of Somalia, frenzied crowds dragged the
burned, mutilated bodies of four American con-
tractors through the streets of a town west of
Baghdad yesterday and strung two of them up
from a bridge after rebels ambushed their SUVs.
Five U.S. soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division
also were killed when a bomb exploded under
their M-113 armored personnel carrier north of
Fallujah, making it the bloodiest day for Ameri-
cans in Iraq since Jan. 8.
The four contract workers were killed in Fallu-
jah, a Sunni Triangle city about 35 miles west of
Baghdad and scene of some of the worst violence
on both sides of the conflict since the beginning
of the American occupation a year ago.
Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Ameri-
cans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on
two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles left both
SUVs in flames.
Residents in Fallujah said insurgents attacked
the contractors with small arms fire and rocket-
propelled grenades. After the attack, a jubilant
crowd of civilians, none of whom appeared to be
armed, gathered to celebrate, dragging the bodies
through the street and hanging two of them from
the bridge. Many of those in the crowd were
excited young boys who shouted slogans in front
of television cameras.
Associated Press Television News pictures
showed one man beating a charred corpse with a
metal pole. Others tied a yellow rope to a body,
hooked it to a car and dragged it down the main
street of town. Two blackened and mangled
corpses were hung from the green, iron bridge
spanning the Euphrates River.
"The people of Fallujah hung some of the bod-
ies on the old bridge like slaughtered sheep," resi-

dent Abdul Aziz Mohammed said. Some corpses
were dismembered, he said.
The White House blamed terrorists and rem-
nants of Saddam Hussein's former regime for the
"horrific attacks" on the American contractors.
"It is offensive, it is despicable the way these
individuals have been treated," White House press
secretary Scott McClellan said.
Referring to the planned June 30 transfer of
sovereignty to Iraqis, McClellan said "the best
way to honor those that lost their lives" is to con-
tinue with efforts to bring democracy to Iraq.
State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said
the contractors, all men, "were trying to make a
difference and to help others."
U.S. officials did not identify the dead or the
nature of their work because the next of kin had
not yet been notified.
However, early evidence indicated they worked
for Blackwater Security Consulting, a company
based in Moyock, N.C., the company said in a
The security firm hires former military mem-
bers from the United States and other countries to
provide security training and guard services. In
Iraq, the company was hired by the Pentagon to
provide security for convoys that delivered food
in the Fallujah area, the company statement said.
The abuse and mutilation of the contractors'
corpses was similar to the scene more than a
decade ago in Somalia, when a mob dragged
corpses of U.S. soldiers through the streets of
Mogadishu, eventually leading to the American
withdrawal from the African nation.
Yesterday, a man held a printed sign with a skull
and crossbones and the phrase "Fallujah is the
cemetery for Americans" beneath the blackened
corpses after they were pulled from the vehicles.

VIENNA, Austria
OPEC to cut oil output; gas prices may rise
With fuel costs already at uncomfortable levels for consumers, OPEC took a
step that could push prices even higher by announcing yesterday that it would cut
its crude-oil production target by 4 percent.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries hopes the cut, which takes
effect today, will prevent a slide in prices this spring, when the global demand for
oil usually slips to a seasonal low.
Some analysts said the cut could soon push crude prices above the psychologi-
cally important threshold of $40 per barrel, though futures markets fell yesterday.
The decision could also worsen the pain for U.S. motorists, who have been paying
the highest prices in recent years for gasoline.
OPEC, which pumps about a third of the world's oil, agreed in talks at its head-
quarters in Vienna to reduce its output target by 1 million barrels per day.
Although it had announced plans for the cut when its members met last month in
Algiers, Algeria, a subsequent surge in prices led a few of the group's 11 mem-
bers to suggest postponing the decrease.
Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates proposed postponing the cut.

Rice's credibility key to commission inquiry
When she testifies before the commission reviewing the Sept. 11 attacks, Con-
doleezza Rice will face pointed questions about what outgoing Clinton administra-
tion officials told her about terrorism - and how urgently the new Bush
administration regarded al-Qaida's threat.
She also may face questions about her credibility.
"We want to hear from Dr. Rice ... (about) the kind of threats and dangers that
were apparent to her before 9-11," said Thomas Kean, the Republican chairman of
the Sept. 11 commission and a former New Jersey governor.
"We want to talk about the day of (Sept. 11) and the immediate response of the
White House. We want to understand what substantive differences there are, per-
haps in testimony between Dr. Rice and any other witnesses," he said.
In a reversal, the White House agreed Tuesday to allow Rice to testify publicly
and under oath before the 10-member panel as early as next week. The administra-
tion previously had insisted she meet privately with the commission, citing consti-
tutional concerns, but eventually bowed to public pressure.

Flames engulf the remains of a person killed in Fallujah, west
of Baghdad, after gunmen attacked two civilian cars yesterday
that residents said were carrying up to eight foreign nationals.


Orthodox Jews stake
east Jerusalem claim
Ultra-Orthodox Jews armed with
assault rifles lugged boxes, sofas and pot-
ted plants into two buildings in a crowd-
ed Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem at
daybreak yesterday, sparking clashes
between Israeli troops and residents.
Israeli officials said the group had
the right to live in the buildings in east
Jerusalem, which Israel annexed -after
capturing it in the 1967 Mideast War.
Palestinian officials said the incident
proved Israel was less interested in
peace than intightening itsegraspon.
east Jerusalem, which they want for the
capital of a future state.
Later yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon defended his plan to unilat-
erally withdraw from most or all of the
Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank. A
day earlier, he agreed to a binding refer-
endum among his rebellious Likud Party
members on the "disengagement" plan.
Missing student
found alive in marsh
A missing University of Wisconsin
student was found alive yesterday in a
marsh, four days after she vanished
from her nearby apartment with no coat
or purse.
Police gave no details on what hap-

pened to Audrey Seiler, including
whether she was abducted. Seiler, 20,
had non-life-threatening injuries and
was taken to a hospital, Officer Larry
Kamholz said.
Police with weapons drawn were seen
walking through the parking lot of a
building near the marsh, authorities said.
Kamholz said Seiler was found after an
employee at a nearby office building
called police to report what she thought
was a body in the marsh less than two
miles from Seiler's off-campus apartment.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands
World court orders
U.S. death row review
The world court ordered the United
States yesterday to review the death

penalty cases of 51 Mexicans, includ-
ing one scheduled to die May 18 in
Oklahoma, saying their right to con-
sular assistance was violated.
The ruling by the International Court
of Justice could mean a reprieve or
chance of appeal for dozens of Mexican
prisoners. It also could have implica-
tions for other foreign citizens in U.S.
prisons who were not told they could
receive help from their governments.
The State Department has not
responded to the ruling. Officials in
Oklahoma and Texas, where three of the
Mexican inmates are on death row, said
no immediate action was being taken.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports


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