Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
HOW MODERN MONEY WORKS — Economist Alan Nasser presents a slashing indictment of the vicious nature of finance capitalism; The Bio-Social Facts of American Capitalism: David Price excavates the racist anthropology of Earnest Hooten and his government allies; Is Zero-Tolerance Policing Worth More Chokehold Deaths? Martha Rosenberg and Robert Wilbur assay the deadly legacy of the Broken Windows theory of criminology; Gaming the White Man’s Money: Louis Proyect offers a short history of tribal casinos; Death by Incarceration: Troy Thomas reports from inside prison on the cruelty of life without parole sentences. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on how the murder of Michael Brown got lost in the media coverage; JoAnn Wypijewski on class warfare from Martinsburg to Ferguson; Mike Whitney on the coming stock market crash; Chris Floyd on DC’s Insane Clown Posse; Lee Ballinger on the warped nostalgia for the Alamo; and Nathaniel St. Clair on “Boyhood.”
US Soldiers Massacre 22 in Baghdad Mosque

War Crime in a Mosque

by PATRICK COCKBURN

Arbil, Iraq.

US forces killed 22 people and wounded eight at a mosque in east Baghdad in an incident likely to lead to increased tensions with the Shia community. Police said the US troops had retaliated after coming under fire.

Videotape showed a heap of male bodies with gunshot wounds on the floor of the Imam’s living quarters in what was said to be the Al Mustafa mosque. There were 5.56mm shell casings on the floor, which is the type of ammunition used by US soldiers. A weeping man in white Arab robes is shown stepping among the bodies.

At the office of Dawa, the party of the Prime Minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Haidar al-Obaidi, a senior Dawa official, said: "The lives of Iraqis are not cheap. If the American blood is valuable to them, the Iraqi blood is valuable to us."

The US military would neither confirm not deny the incident but the US army in Iraq has been strongly criticized over the past week for killing Iraqi civilians and falsely claiming that they were insurgents or caught in cross fire.

The shooting took place in a neighborhood dominated by the Mehdi Army militia of the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and some of those who died may have belonged to his movement. Salam al-Maliki, an official of the Sadr bloc, said that a hospital to which the wounded had been taken was later surrounded by US troops.

Hazin al-Araji, an aide to Mr Sadr, claimed: "The American forces went into the Mustafa mosque at prayers and killed more than 20 worshippers. They tied them up and shot them."

The killings may mark another step in the deteriorating relations between the US and Iraq’s Shia community, 60 per cent of the population. Shia leaders fear that the US is trying to rob them of the fruits of their success in the election on December 15 when the Shia coalition won 130 out of 275 seats. Another US military move likely to be resented was a raid yesterday on a building of the Interior Ministry, controlled by Shias, in the mistaken belief that it was a torture centre. It turned out to contain 17 Sudanese legally detained for breach of residency laws who had not been mistreated.

The US is desperately seeking to pressure Iraqi politicians into forming a national unity government to reverse the country’s slide into sectarian civil war. The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, asked the Iraqi leadership to "overcome the strife that threatens to rip apart Iraq" . Forty, bodies, some beheaded, were found yesterday in Baghdad and Baquba. The prolonged failure to form a government underlines the deep fissures dividing the Shia, Sunni and Kurdish communities and make it unlikely that national unity government would be effective. Even before last night’s events the Shia coalition resented the campaign by President Jalal Talabani, supported by the US and UK, to get rid of Mr Jaafari as Prime Minister. The US and UK want Sunni politicians, as well as Iyad Allawi, to be members of a new administration.

"The US and UK were shocked that the Shia coalition did so well," said a participant in the negotiations to form a government. "Since then they hoped it would split. But the Shia parties have stuck behind Jaafari … Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and the Hawza [Shia religious hierarchy] are for Shia unity and the Iranians want the coalition to stay together."

The present government, formed following the election on January 30 last year, is a Shia-Kurdish alliance. One Kurdish observer said: "For the Kurds it would be suicidal to side with the Sunni and Iyad Allawi because they would alienate 60 per cent of the population."