Friday, March 25, 2005

War News for Thursday and Friday, March 24 and 25, 2005 Bring ‘em on: Eleven Iraqi soldiers killed, nine Iraqi and two US soldiers wounded by Ramadi car bomb. Bring ‘em on: Five female Iraqi translators working for US Army assassinated in Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Fighting between insurgents and Iraqi security forces reported in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Two US patrols ambushed by roadside bombs near Mosul. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed in fighting near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: US troops fighting insurgents in Tal Afar for two days. Bring ‘em on: Twelve Iraqis soldiers wounded in Baghdad ambush. Bring ‘em on: Insurgents execute two Iraqi soldiers near Abu Ghraib. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi soldiers kidnapped near Beiji. Bring ‘em on: Four US soldiers wounded in ambush near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Three Iraqi soldiers killed, six wounded by car bomb near Iskandariyah. Bring ‘em on: Joint US/Iraqi patrol ambushed by car bomb near Abu Ghraib. Five Iraqi soldiers killed in fratricide incident near Rabia. Contractor casualties. “Titan Corp., the largest supplier of translators and linguists to the U.S. military, had at least 131 personnel or subcontractors killed in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion - the most for any contractor, according to the Labor Department. The dead numbered 15 in 2003 and at least 116 since 2004. Halliburton Co. units had the second-highest death toll - 61 - including 26 employees and 35 subcontractors. An Iraqi subcontractor for Environmental Chemical Corp., which cleans up ammunition sites, had the third-highest casualties - 22. Overall, there have been at least 273 contractor deaths, including 23 in 2003, 209 last year and 41 so far this year, according to Labor Department figures. That's over 50 percent more than the 173 deaths of U.K. and allied troops, according to figures compiled by the Brookings Institution in Washington.” They wouldn’t lie to us, would they? “New details from an intense battle between insurgents and Iraqi police commandos supported by U.S. forces cast doubt Thursday on Iraqi government statements that 85 insurgents were killed. Accounts of the fighting continued to indicate that a major battle involving dozens of insurgents occurred Tuesday on the eastern shore of Lake Tharthar, about 50 miles northwest of Baghdad. But two U.S. military officials said Thursday that no bodies were found by American troops who later arrived at the scene. A spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, meanwhile, said he presumed that the death toll was accurate but played down the scope of the fighting.” Oh, Canada. “An American war dodger who fled the U.S. military because he believed the invasion of Iraq was criminal has lost his bid for refugee status in Canada in a case closely watched on both sides of the border. In a written ruling released yesterday, the Immigration and Refugee Board said Jeremy Hinzman had not made a convincing argument that he faced persecution in the United States.” Rummy’s Army. “The U.S. Army is ordering more people to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan involuntarily from a seldom-used personnel pool as part of a mobilization that began last summer. They are part of the Army's Individual Ready Reserve, made up of soldiers who have completed their volunteer active-duty service commitment but remain eligible to be called back into uniform for years after returning to civilian life. The Army, straining to maintain troop levels in Iraq, last June said it would summon more than 5,600 people on the IRR in an effort to have about 4,400 soldiers fit for duty in Iraq and Afghanistan after granting exemption requests for medical reasons and other hardships. Lt. Col. Pamela Hart said on Wednesday the Army has now increased the number of IRR soldiers it needs to about 4,650, which means a total of about 6,100 will get mobilization orders." Ghost detainees. "Senior defense officials have described the CIA practice of hiding unregistered detainees at Abu Ghraib prison as ad hoc and unauthorized, but a review of Army documents shows that the agency's ‘ghosting’ program was systematic and known to three senior intelligence officials in Iraq. Army and Pentagon investigations have acknowledged a limited amount of ghosting, but more than a dozen documents and investigative statements obtained by The Washington Post show that unregistered CIA detainees were brought to Abu Ghraib several times a week in late 2003, and that they were hidden in a special row of cells. Military police soldiers came up with a rough system to keep track of such detainees with single-digit identification numbers, while others were dropped off unnamed, unannounced and unaccounted for.” Torture policy. “The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan says that over the past three years, the United States has routinely handed over dozens of low-level terrorism suspects to Uzbekistan, an authoritarian regime that systematically uses torture to obtain terrorist confessions during interrogations. The former ambassador, Craig Murray, also contends that the CIA and the British intelligence agency MI6 routinely cited information in their regular intelligence briefings that has been passed on by Uzbek authorities and was almost certainly obtained under torture. Murray's assertions, made in a telephone interview with the Globe and in a series of confidential memos to the British Foreign Office, raise questions about the close cooperation between the United States and war-on-terror allies such as Uzbekistan. The State Department's annual human rights reports detail how Uzbek authorities routinely use torture to elicit confessions, allegedly burning one man on his genitals, killing another with a pair of pliers, and apparently boiling two prisoners alive.” Commentary Editorial: “Perhaps as shocking as reports that more than 100 people have died, nearly a quarter of them in homicides, in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan was the lack of outrage over this news. While Congress has been busy trying to save a single life and questioning baseball players about steroid use, no one has called for an investigation of the ongoing treatment of prisoners at the hands of the American military. Someone should. When news of the prison abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq began to leak out, U.S. defense officials said such behavior was an aberration. Hundreds of photos and subsequent investigations showed this was not the case. Now, with the disclosure that the number of detainee deaths is far higher than the military previously reported, officials are again downplaying the severity. If Congress learned its lessons from Abu Ghraib, it will not take the military's word this time.” Analysis: “Two years after being shocked and awed into ‘freedom’, freedom on the ground is a meaningless concept for large swathes of the Iraqi population. Sunnis and Shi'ites alike tell Asia Times Online of a brutalization of every-day life. Highways in and out of Baghdad are suicidal: the Americans can't control any of them. Anyone is a potential kidnapping target, either for the Sunni guerrilla or criminal gangs. Officials at the Oil and Electricity Ministries tell of at least one attack a day. Oil pipelines are attacked and distribution interrupted virtually every week. There's a prison camp syndrome: almost 10,000 Iraqis incarcerated at any one time, in three large jails, including the infamous Abu Ghraib. There's also an Abu Ghraib syndrome: all-round denunciation of torture, electroshocks and beatings. The Americans and the Iraqi police proceed with the same ‘round up the usual suspects’ tactic: but even if the ‘suspects’ are not part of the resistance, their families are always well taken care of, so they inevitably join the resistance actively when they leave jail.” Opinion: “So let me get this straight. Rice believes that our region harbors ‘ideologies of hatred’ and that it is populated by ‘those people.’ Those terrorists. This absurd generalization embodies the fallacy that underlies the entire U.S. ‘war on terrorism,’ which has severely damaged America's reputation and credibility around the world and which has led to the disastrous policies that will harm relations between the U.S. and the Arab world for decades to come. To suggest that a group of extremists is representative of the people of the Middle East is outrageous. It's as if someone were to suggest that the criminals of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are representative of American people and American values. It's like considering the criminals of massacres such as Sabra and Chatila, or Deir Yasin, as representative of their people and their religious values.” Casualty Reports Local story: Minnesota soldier killed in Iraq. Local story: Iowa Guardsman wounded in Iraq.


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