Killed to Impress America

Have the US government’s policies in the Middle East condoned an open season on brown men? You bet. The Macedonian right killed seven ‘mujahedeen’ to show they were just as serious as anyone else in the war on terror. It’s the limit case of the kinds of barbarism we’ve seen following the attacks of September 11, 2001. The New York Times had this note on the affair last month:

The migrants – six Pakistanis and one Indian – had hoped to make their way to Western Europe, when they were contacted by the traffickers, and offered the possibility of traveling to Greece, the Interior Ministry official said. The Pakistanis were later identified as Muhammed Riaz, Omar Farooq, Syed Bilal, Hussein Shah, Asif Javed, and Khalid Iqbal. The name of the Indian remains unknown.

They were brought across the border and housed in Delcevo for one night, after which they were driven to Skopje and taken to an apartment, where they were given food and clothing. The official could not say how long the men were kept in the apartment.

At the same time a special police unit, called the Lions, formed by and under the direct control of the interior minister, was instructed to train for an antiterrorist operation at their base in Katlanovo, a village close to Skopje.

“Only their general knew that they were not real terrorists,” said the official.

At 2 a.m. on March 2, the official said, the seven Asian men were driven in a minivan to a vineyard on the outskirts of Skopje and left there. Once their driver left, four members of the Lions opened fire on the men with automatic weapons, killing all seven.

Within hours, Mr. Boskovski appeared outside the United States Embassy in Skopje accompanied by television camera crews, an armored personnel carrier and members of the Lions, where he announced the shooting and explained that the police had been monitoring the men, who were suspected of connections with Al Qaeda and ethnic Albanian rebels, to prevent them from carrying out attacks against the British, American and German Embassies.

In an apparently contradictory statement, he also said the shooting occurred when a routine police patrol had been ambushed.

Autopsies performed on the men as well as police photos suggested that all the shooting had come from the police side, and that the police had tried to stage the crime scene.

All seven bodies had multiple bullet wounds and in one case as many as 53, according to the Interior Ministry. Later, the police showed pictures of a Lada jeep with two bullet holes in it as proof that a gun battle had taken place.”

Via Yasser.

Update

Of course, The Guardian got the story way before the Times.