Monday, May 23, 2005
War News for Monday, May 23, 2005
Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers injured in three separate suicide bombing attacks in
Bring ‘em on: Five people killed and 18 wounded in suicide truck bombing in Tuz Khurmatu.
Bring ‘em on: Three US soldiers killed in two insurgent attacks in
Bring ‘em on: More than 150 foreigners have been kidnapped in
Bring ‘em on: At least three people killed and more than 70 injured in car bombing outside a
Bring ‘em on: Iraqi Maj. Gen. escaped assassination when two roadside bombs exploded by his convoy between
Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqi soldiers killed and one wounded in a mortar attack at a joint army/police base in
Bring ‘em on: Two people killed and two injured when a mortar round landed on a house in
New offensive: Seven Iraqi battalions backed by
Without providing numbers of troops,
Sophisticated and lethal: Iraq's insurgents are conducting increasingly sophisticated and lethal attacks on the private security companies that are crucial to the nation's reconstruction and the eventual departure of U.S. troops, contractors and U.S. officials say.
These contractors and officials point to the surprising level of planning and brutality involved in a May 8 attack on the British security company Hart Security Ltd., which provides protection to convoys, homes and individuals in
Twelve out of 18 Iraqi and international guards were killed in the attack, in which insurgents ambushed a convoy escorting cargo for the U.S. forces from Baghdad to a base in al-Asat, about 90 miles west of the city.
Once resistance from the security team ended, the attackers moved in to finish off the wounded, then piled several of the bodies on top of a bomb so they could not be removed without setting off an explosion, sources said.
The terrorists taped the event, presumably to develop a training and recruiting tool and to study to refine their techniques. The six-minute video is available on the Internet with a claim of responsibility from the terrorist group Ansar al-Sunnah Army.
Retaliation: Signs of sectarian warfare are everywhere in
For more than a year, insurgents have targeted Shia mosques, neighborhoods and religious ceremonies across
Hopefully this will go somewhere: One day after a large group of anti-American Sunni leaders pledged to enter the political process, a rebel Shiite cleric who led uprisings against the American military suggested Sunday that he would forgo military efforts and work to ease rising sectarian tensions throughout
The cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, led bloody revolts against American forces last year and was accused of murdering a rival Shiite cleric the year before. Many American officials view him as untrustworthy and continue to fear that he has been lying low so he can bring his militia back in force.
In an interview Sunday night with the Arabiya satellite news channel, Mr. Sadr declared that he now wanted to solve problems "politically, socially and peacefully."
Daily Life in Occupied
Entrepreneur: Ali Hameed quit his job as a taxi driver because he no longer felt safe on
Last week, in a shabby ward in the city's Al Karama hospital, he lay bandaged on a bed, one kidney lighter and $1,400 (about £765) richer after a three-hour operation.
In a nearby room, his body similarly bandaged, lay the man who had paid for it - the other player in a grim new black market trade in organs that is one of
Mr Hameed received a good price for his kidney. Would-be buyers with an eye for a bargain can now pick up a new kidney for as little as $700, given the desperation of fit and healthy Iraqis for money.
School days: For Khalid and her classmates at
How To Win Muslim Hearts And Minds
Chicanery, Fraud And Profiteering
The Justice Department takes an unexpected position: To its accusers, the security company Custer Battles exemplifies corporate profiteering in postinvasion
In a lawsuit now in federal court, two former associates of the company say it bilked the American-led coalition out of millions, turning in hugely inflated invoices from phantom supplier companies among other misdeeds. If successful, the suit, brought under the False Claims Act, could recover triple damages for the government and handsome rewards for the whistle-blowers.
Custer Battles has denied wrongdoing and the accusation remains to be proved. But before a trial can proceed at all - before any company can be sued for fraud in the chaos of occupied
Lawyers for Custer Battles argue that the False Claims Act - the prime legal tool against contractor fraud - does not apply because the company signed contracts with the Coalition Provisional Authority, not the American government, and was mainly paid with Iraqi money seized or managed by the
Lawyers for the whistle-blowers and the Justice Department argue that the law does apply. All sides agree that the case will set a precedent and that the stakes are high, and not only for Custer Battles.
"This is an important case because there are a lot of companies over there with poorly constructed contracts and little oversight," said Steven L. Schooner, an expert on procurement at the
Renditions, Doublespeak And Murder
Renditions: The CIA Gulfstream V jet touched down at a small airport west of here just before 9 p.m. on a subfreezing night in December 2001. A half-dozen agents wearing hoods that covered their faces stepped down from the aircraft and hurried across the tarmac to take custody of two prisoners, suspected Islamic radicals from
Inside an airport police station, Swedish officers watched as the CIA operatives pulled out scissors and rapidly sliced off the prisoners' clothes, including their underwear, according to newly released Swedish government documents and eyewitness statements. They probed inside the men's mouths and ears and examined their hair before dressing the pair in sweat suits and draping hoods over their heads. The suspects were then marched in chains to the plane, where they were strapped to mattresses on the floor in the back of the cabin.
So began an operation the CIA calls an "extraordinary rendition," the forcible and highly secret transfer of terrorism suspects to their home countries or other nations where they can be interrogated with fewer legal protections.
The practice has generated increasing criticism from civil liberties groups; in
"Should Swedish officers have taken those measures, I would have prosecuted them without hesitation for the misuse of public power and probably would have asked for a prison sentence," the investigator, Mats Melin, said in an interview.
Doublespeak: For shock and awe, there's nothing to beat an American government spokesperson discussing humanitarian action and revealing both double standards and a failure to grasp the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.
Like precision bombing that does "collateral damage" to their own troops, the officials making these pronouncements often miss the point, whether it’s the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) urging NGOs to promote their American funding in high-risk war zones or the latest State Department verdict on Uzbekistan.
After the Uzbek regime of President Islam Karimov mowed down perhaps hundreds of its citizens following a politically-inspired jailbreak, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher carefully urged restraint by both sides.
He added: "We urge the government … to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other humanitarian organisations full access to the region so we can get the facts, so that they can help take care of people that may need their help."
Leaving aside whether humanitarian agencies are there to "get the facts" for America, the U.S. stance on ICRC access to those in need in Uzbekistan is directly at odds with its blocking of ICRC and Iraqi Red Crescent Society access to the Falluja enclave in Iraq during a 2004 siege.
That siege that mocked almost every aspect of the Geneva Conventions that make up international humanitarian law.
Murder: The highly-decorated commanding officer of a regiment at the centre of allegations of brutality in
Col Jorge Mendonca, who received the Distinguished Service Order for his command of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR) in
Baha Mousa, 26, a hotel receptionist in
The investigation will focus on allegations that at least one of the regiment's officers was aware of the nature of the prisoners' interrogation.
After more than 20 years of calm, fighters based in northern
''We want to break the peace we were forced to accept,'' Piryar Gabary told an Associated Press reporter visiting
Such talk, however, doesn't sit well with the Iraqi Kurdish leadership, which is wary of provoking
The situation illustrates the Iraqi Kurds' delicate position in the reshuffled deck that has emerged in post-Saddam Hussein
The Uzbek president, Islam Karimov, told Mr Annan that he was opposed to any foreign involvement in the aftermath of his country's worst bloodshed since it gained independence from the
"He said he had the situation under control and was taking every measure to bring those responsible to account, and didn't need an international team to establish the facts," Mr Annan said in
Massive cover-up: The number of people murdered on "Bloody Friday" 13 May in the Uzbek town of
But our inquiries have also established that the incident which sparked the massacre was initiated by the storming of a prison which led to the "insurgents" themselves also murdering 54 men and women in cold blood.
While some of these "insurgents" that the autocratic government of Islam Karimov was seeking to quell in
Top 10: Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov has put the lid on a rebellion, but it's just a matter of time before he gets burned so badly that he has to run for his life from a country that ranks in the world's top 10 in both natural wealth and torture.
While we're waiting for the 25 million angry and poor Uzbeks to come to a boil again, here's evidence that George W. Bush doesn't neglect human rights—at least when the human is one of his low friends in high places.
It's also proof that Bush has been nothing more than a puppet, a front man, for his entire public life.
US Military Affairs
Eye-opener: Army Capts. Dave Fulton and Geoff Heiple spent 12 months dodging roadside bombs and rounding up insurgents along Baghdad's "highway of death" — the six miles of pavement linking downtown Baghdad to the capital city's airport. Two weeks after returning stateside to
Instead, as Fulton and Heiple sipped Budweisers pulled from Styrofoam coolers next to the door, they spotted nearly a dozen familiar faces from their cavalry battalion, which had just ended a yearlong combat tour in
Letter to the editor: The May 15 article “Women fight policies on road to combat roles” (Europe edition; “Women fighting policies on road to combat roles,”
Current conflicts aren’t conventional and they aren’t linear. We are fighting on an asymmetrical battlefield where units must be co-located to accomplish the mission. Arguments attempting to use “geography of the battlefield” to keep females from a theoretical “front line” are not valid.
Those who attempt to prevent females from serving their nation in combat should recognize that we have a volunteer Army. Women raise their hands voluntarily to support and defend the Constitution, and they are willing to fight to protect others. Isn’t it ironic that we are willing to fight for the rights of women in other countries, while some in our nation’s capital suggest women don’t have the right to contribute to that fight?
Nothing new: Senior Bush administration officials reacted with outrage to a Newsweek report that
The allegations, both at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, contain detailed descriptions of what Muslim prisoners said was mishandling of the Koran — sometimes in a deliberately provocative manner.
In one instance, an Iraqi detainee alleged that a soldier had a guard dog carry a copy of the Koran in its mouth. In another, guards at
My thoughts exactly: Newsweek's editor-in-chief, Richard Smith, engages today in yet another public mea culpa over the Koran desecration story: "Trust is hard won and easily lost," he writes anxiously, "and to our readers, we pledge to earn their renewed confidence." And make no mistake: procedures will be changed to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
This is like watching Darkness at Noon in real life. Newsweek made a small error in a 300-word blurb a couple of weeks ago, and since then the right-wing media hate machine, like a jackal sensing a rare opportunity for blood, has somehow managed to convince them they bear responsibility for riots in Afghanistan that were staged by extremists who obviously used the Newsweek article as nothing more than pretext.
This is really pissing me off. For the record, let's recap what we've learned over the past year or so:
Pictures from Abu Ghraib showed naked prisoners being stacked like cordwood and mocked by female guards — and there's worse stuff in Pentagon files that Congress has decided not to allow out of its locked vaults. There have been confirmed reports from
Needless to say, this isn't exhaustive. In the light of this, Newsweek's offense, which was pretty minor to begin with, is about the equivalent of jaywalking across a busy city street.
Newsweek and the rest of the media need to get up off their knees and start fighting back. They've done enough apologizing.
Even Kathleen Parker doesn’t buy it: Even the most liberal-bashing, war-mongering, beef-eating American surely struggled to keep a straight face as the Bush administration expressed moral indignation about a Newsweek story that went belly-up on account of ... bad intelligence.
If anyone on God's green earth should understand that sometimes information is flawed, that one would be President George W. Bush, whose arguments in favor of invading
I can't ignore the absurdity of the White House's new role as institutional victim. My eyes have rolled so many times, my sockets are sore.
Editorial: At present, there are only two Sunni Arabs among the 55 members of the committee the government has chosen to draw up a constitution. A principal challenge facing the drafters will be to create a structure unified enough to hold the disparate communities of Iraq together in a single national identity, yet loose enough to protect the Kurdish minority from the Arab majority -- and moderate or secular Muslims from partisans of Islamic law, or shariah. If Sunni Arabs sense they are being excluded from drafting such a rule book for the new
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made this point during her trip to
Opinion: How does Donald Rumsfeld survive as defense secretary?
Much of what has happened to the military on his watch has been catastrophic. In
The military spent decades rebuilding its reputation and regaining the respect of the vast majority of the American people after the debacle in
The insurgency in
Now the military is in a fix. Many of the troops have served multiple tours in
A senior American officer, quoted last week in The Times, said that while he still believed the effort in
As if all this were not enough, there is also the grotesque and deeply shameful issue that will always be a part of Mr. Rumsfeld's legacy - the manner in which American troops have treated prisoners under their control in