Thursday, December 22, 2005

War News for Thursday, December 22, 2005 Bring 'em on: A Task Force Baghdad Soldier was killed south of Baghdad Dec. 19 from a roadside bomb. The name of the Soldier is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The incident is under investigation. Bring 'em on: First Lieutenant Michael Cleary of Dallas was killed this week. He was with the Army's Third Division. According to his father, Jack, 1 LT Cleary was working at a bomb factory near Samara with his explosives ordnance disposal unit when they were ambushed outside the facility. Bring 'em on: In addition to the combat casualties suffered during a tour of duty in Iraq last year, an N.C. National Guard brigade also had to medevac 13 men back to a U.S. hospital after volleyball games left them vulnerable to one of the Iraq war's most exotic hazards -- an outbreak of skin ulcers that can grow for years. The victims, all men from the same small unit, contracted cutaneous leishmaniasis, characterized by weeping sores that refuse to heal, said Lt. Col Tim Mauldin, the brigade's top medical officer. "No matter what you do, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger," he said. Bring 'em on: Gunmen launched an attack against a position held by the law and order brigade (an elite police unit) killing four policemen and wounded six others http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=15298 Bring 'em on: South of the capital in Iskandariyah, four civilians were killed and one was wounded when two minibuses were sprayed with gunfire on a highway, a police spokesman said. Bring 'em on: In Al-Sadiyah, southern Baghdad, gunmen kidnapped three women who worked inside the Green Zone, which houses Iraqi government offices and the US and British embassies. Bring 'em on: Two civilians were wounded on Tuesday when the car they were traveling in was struck by a roadside bomb in the east of Baghdad, the U.S military said in a statement. Bring 'em on: Four civilians were killed on Wednesday when gunmen opened fire on two trucks in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. Bring 'em on: A Shi'ite shrine was blown up in the town of Dujail, 90 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, as Saddam Hussein was on trial in Baghdad for crimes against local people in the 1980s, local security forces said. Bring 'em on: Three Iraqi police commandos were killed and four wounded on Wednesday when a makeshift bomb went off near their patrol in the city of Samarra, local security forces said. Bring 'em on: One civilian was killed and another was wounded on Wednesday when gunmen opened fire on them in the oil-refining town of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, local security forces said. Bring 'em on: Iraqi police found the bodies on Wednesday of two Iraqi contractors working with the U.S forces in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, local security forces said. Bring 'em on: A car bomb detonated an Iraqi police patrol in southern Baghdad on Thursday, wounding eight policemen, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua A week from the forgotten battlefield: The head of district education department and one school staff were kidnapped Wednesday and their bodies were found Thursday in Afghanistan's central province of Ghazni, a local official said. A U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded in a firefight with insurgents Thursday in southern Afghanistan, the military said. A U.S. soldier and one Afghan National Army soldier were also wounded in the firefight, but were in stable condition at a nearby U.S. medical facility. One insurgent was killed, it said. A suicide attacker and two passerbys were killed while two others were injured Friday afternoon in a suicide bomb explosion in Afghan capital Kabul, a police officer said. The names of two city soldiers injured in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan earlier this week have been released. Capt. Manuel Panchana-Moya, 26, hails from Montreal and Pte. Ryan Crawford, 21, is from Kelowna, B.C. Panchana-Moya suffered a broken leg in the attack, while Crawford sustained a broken ankle and foot. Two Norwegian military vehicles were hit by a suicide bomber in the centre of the Afghanistan capital Kabul on Friday morning. None of the Norwegian soldiers were injured, but the suicide bomber died in the blast. Sgt. 1st Class John D. Morton, 31, ofStanton, Ky., died in Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan on Dec. 15, when his dismounted patrol came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. Morton was assigned to the 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Surveillance), 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vicenza, Italy. Men on a motorcycle have opened fire on students leaving school in volatile southern Afghanistan, killing a pupil and a janitor, a provincial official said. The attack in Lashkargah, capital of insurgency-hit Helmand province, comes two days after a schoolteacher was shot dead in the province. Mullah Abdul Salam Rcoketi, a former Taliban commander and member of Afghanistan's post-Taliban parliament, on Saturday called on his former comrades to give up militancy and join government. A car bomb exploded in the Afghan capital, Kabul, today, killing the driver. Kabul's deputy police chief, General Shafiq Fazli, said two civilians were also wounded in the attack. Afghan police quell riot. It was not immediately clear what sparked the riot, or whether there were any injuries or deaths. He said police had responded by only firing into the air. All 35 soldiers aboard a Nevada National Guard helicopter hit by enemy fire in Afghanistan narrowly escaped death during a combat mission, the unit's battalion commander says. Three policemen were killed in an ambush by Taliban guerrillas in southern Afghanistan in the latest violence ahead of the opening of a new parliament next week, police said today. The three were killed on Friday night while patrolling a highway in Zabul province. One Taliban fighter was killed in the clash that followed the ambush, said Mohammad Nabi Mullah Khel, a senior provincial Nato's very public announcement on 8 December that it will send an additional 6,000 troops to Taleban-infested southern Afghanistan next spring and Washington's more cryptic remarks that it wants to withdraw 4,000 troops from the same region at the same time are being read very differently by all those affected. Most Afghans and many diplomats in the capital, Kabul, see it as the start of a US withdrawal from Afghanistan, no matter how profusely Washington's spin machine insists that "the US will never abandon the Afghans". Three Italian peacekeepers have been slightly injured in an apparent suicide attack in the western Afghan city of Herat, police and Nato officials say. The three members of the Nato-led peacekeeping force were travelling into Herat from the airport when a car drew up alongside their vehicle and blew up. Officials say at least one man who was in the car died. Of Life, Liberties, and the pursuit of Terror: Religious parties deal blow to US hopes for Iraq: The Bush administration's hopes for a government of national unity in Iraq, led by its favoured candidate, Ayad Allawi, the secular and pro-western former prime minister, received a setback last night. Preliminary results showed that most voters opted for Sunni and Shia religious parties in a parliament in which nationalists who want an early timetable for a withdrawal of US and British troops will have a stronger voice. Pentagon's domestic spying operations target opponents of Iraq war: As Congress moves toward passage of a bill to extend the USA Patriot Act, scattered reports are surfacing in the US media of a massive expansion of domestic spying operations by the US military. The reports make clear that US citizens engaged in peaceful and legal political activity in opposition to the war in Iraq and aggressive military recruiting tactics are being monitored by military intelligence agencies and included in rapidly expanding secret data banks. The White House is, according to a November 27 report in the Washington Post, considering a proposal by a presidential commission on intelligence established by President Bush that would empower a recently formed Pentagon intelligence agency to “carry out domestic criminal investigations and clandestine operations against potential threats inside the United States.” The panel asserted that this step could be taken by presidential order and Pentagon directive without congressional authorization. The proposal would effectively scuttle the 1878 Posse Comitatus law that bars the military, with few exceptions, from carrying out domestic policing operations. It is only one link in a chain of already existing operations and pending measures that add up to a vast expansion of the domestic role of the military and the creation of a “Big Brother”-style apparatus for government spying and political repression. That the military is using the threat of terrorist attacks as a pretense to spy on opponents of the war was documented in a segment broadcast Tuesday on the NBC Nightly News program. NBC investigative correspondent Lisa Myers reported that NBC News had obtained a secret 400-page Defense Department document listing more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent ten-month period. Secret spying started on U.S.-Afghan contacts: The National Security Agency first began eavesdropping without warrants on telephone calls and e-mail messages between the United States and Afghanistan months before President George W. Bush officially authorized a broader version of the agency's special domestic collection program, according to current and former government officials Guantánamo detainees tell of torture in Afghanistan: Eight men at the American prison camp in Guantánamo Bay have separately given their lawyers "consistent accounts" of being tortured at a secret jail in Afghanistan at various periods between 2002 and 2004, the New-York based Human Rights Watch said Sunday. The men, five of whom were identified by name, told their lawyers that they had been arrested in various countries, most commonly in Asia and the Middle East, the rights group said. Some recounted having been flown to Afghanistan and then driven just a few minutes from the landing strip to the prison and hearing from Afghan guards that they were near Kabul. A report released by the rights group to detail the accounts said the prisoners called the place the "dark prison," and said they were chained to walls, deprived of food and drinking water, and kept in total darkness with loud rap or heavy metal music blaring for weeks at a time. One prisoner, identified as Benyam Mohammad, an Ethiopian who grew up in Britain, told his lawyer of being "hung up" in a lightless cell for days at a time, as his legs swelled and his hands and wrists became numb. The prisoners said that they were guarded by Afghans and Americans in civilian clothes, the report said, and that their American interrogators did not wear uniforms, leading the rights group to suggest that "the prison may have been operated by personnel from the Central Intelligence Agency." U.S. Command in Kuwait Supplies the Sinews of War: Imagine what it takes to provide the essentials to a city of 160,000 people. Now imagine that as you supply those needs, the constant danger of improvised explosive devices, car bombs or small-arms fire lurks. Then imagine the typical trip covering about the distance from Washington, D.C., to Dallas and back. Both situations are real: Servicemembers in Iraq couldn't do much without the logistics support their compatriots based in Kuwait provide through convoys. TERROR REBORN IN FALLUJA RUINS: FIRST they made me change out of my western clothes into a flowing black burqa and slippers. Then I squeezed on to the back seat of a car packed with other women and children for the nerve-jangling journey ahead. A toddler was told to sit on my lap so I was almost hidden from view. The driver warned me not to speak if we were stopped, in case Iraqi National Guards noticed my foreign accent. All the precautions were in place for a perilous drive past roadblocks into Falluja, the shattered Iraqi city that no western newspaper reporter has entered for more than a year without the supervision of coalition forces. Moments later we were waved forward and my visit to Iraq’s most defiant insurgent stronghold had begun. For the next five days residents and insurgents alike smuggled me around the ruined city, showing me the searing reality of life under American siege. In November 2004 I was the last western reporter to leave Falluja before the US Army launched Operation Phantom Fury, an air and land assault aimed at eliminating insurgents from a city that had become a bastion of resistance to coalition rule. A young Iraqi doctor testifies on the horror in Iraq: You were in Fallujah during the first siege in April 2004. Can you tell me something about what you witnessed there? The day prior to the siege of Fallujah I had a day off. I was home alone and Al-Jazeera transmitted images of the first bombings. Together with a few other doctors I decided to go to Fallujah. I left a note for my family explaining where I was and that I hoped to see them again when I returned. When we arrived at Fallujah the bombings had started and we entered the city through the desert, as all the roads were blocked. Fallujah lies along the Euphrates and to get to the hospital one has to traverse a bridge across the river. It was impossible to reach the hospital, since American troops had closed the bridge. We turned back to town and established a field clinic. During our stay in Fallujah, American snipers controlled a part of the city, which we called the ‘ghost area’. Everything that moved became a target and even ambulances weren’t spared. An ambulance was hit by a missile right before our eyes and completely burned out. This incident was reported by BBC news.[iii][iii] I was wounded in the chest by shrapnel during this attack. OIL: Healthy world economy boosts demand for OPEC oil: OPEC, supplier of about a third of the world's oil, raised projected demand for its crude next year to 28.7 million barrels per day, an increase of 134,000 bpd from the previous forecast and fractionally lower than the figure for this year. The projection is above the cartel's current output ceiling of 28 million for the 10 members with quotas. Including non-quota Iraq, OPEC 2005 output has averaged 29.9 million bpd. In its monthly report, the exporter organization said it expected world oil demand to rise by 1.6 million bpd, or 1.9 percent, with China playing a leading role as its consumption climbs to more than one fifth of the world's total. Iran pipeline: India moots joint consortium: India today proposed building the over $7 billion Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline by two consortiums, comprising international firms, Indian, Pakistani and Iranian national oil companies. Indian consultants suggested that the pipeline could be built in a total of 55 months from the date of political clearance by the three countries. Actual construction will take just 32 months while detailed engineering and financial closure would take another 19 months. Oil And Iraq's Economic Strategy: While the strategic role of oil in Iraq is well known, oil policy after the fall of the former regime became controversial in two aspects; first, because of the debate over public versus private ownership of the industry; and second, the allocation pattern of oil revenues1. The early call for privatization of the oil industry raised fears that the Iraqis might lose their oil wealth to foreign giants. But the issue faded because of domestic political pressure and terrorist attacks on the oil infrastructure. It is essential, therefore, that any new government has a clear position regarding privatization of the oil industry which, in our opinion, should be viewed as part of a long-term development strategy. Also necessary is that governments should be committed to a long-term policy for the allocation of oil revenues to neutralize its political power. For obvious reasons, the policy of maximizing oil production and exports (revenues) has gained the support of all concerned parties. Oil steadies at $58 on milder forecast: U.S. crude was down six cents at $58.00 at 1511 GMT, after shedding $1.93 on Friday. London Brent was down one cent at $57.12 after sliding $2.27 on Friday. "The weather and the high crude inventory levels are the main factors weighing down prices. This trend should carry on until the end of the year, with prices to hold between $55-$58," said Tetsu Emori, Mitsui Bussan Futures' chief commodities strategist. U.S. prices rose to a one-month peak of $61.90 earlier last week following a bout of colder weather in the U.S. northeast, the world's biggest heating oil market. Syria May Import Oil to Meet Plans to Double Refining: Syria, the third largest non-OPEC oil producer in the Middle East, may import crude from neighboring states as part of a plan to double its refining capacity and export products including gasoline to Europe, the country's oil minister said. The Arab state has plans for two new refineries that would boost Syria's processing capacity to the same level as its oil production at about 425,000 barrels, Petroleum Minister Ibrahim Haddad Haddad said in a Dec. 13 interview in Kuwait. Oil pipeline blast in Nigeria kills eight: Eight people were killed by an explosion at a Nigerian oil pipeline after it was attacked by unidentified gunmen, a local government official said on Tuesday. The attack on the pipeline operated by Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, located in the Opobo Channel in Nigeria's remote southern delta, also caused a major oil spill and fire, industry and community sources said on Tuesday. Kuwaiti MPs oppose mega oil project: Twenty Kuwaiti lawmakers have declared their 'decisive' opposition to a controversial 8.5 bln usd oil project unless each contract with foreign firms is approved by parliament. The MPs said a government bill, which was approved by parliament's financial and economic affairs committee in June, does not provide sufficient constitutional guarantees to safeguard natural resources. They insisted that after negotiating every individual agreement with international oil companies, the government must seek parliamentary approval before signature. Oil Prices Rise Ahead of Key Market Data: February light, sweet crude rose 24 cents to $58.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on its first day of trading as the front-month contract. February Brent crude futures on London‘s ICE Futures exchange rose 16 cents to $56.33 a barrel. A Dow Jones Newswires poll of analysts found they expect the U.S. Energy Department to report a decline of 1.1 million barrels in crude oil inventories and a decline of the same size in distillate stocks due to last week‘s heavy snowstorms in the eastern United States. Distillates include heating oil. Heating oil rose half a cent to $1.7260 a gallon, gasoline gained almost a cent to $1.5175 a gallon, while natural gas edged lower to $14.00 per 1,000 cubic feet. Iraq resumes nothern oil exports: Iraq has resumed pumping oil from its northern fields to the Turkish port of Ceyhan after a two month stoppage caused by a major act of sabotage. 'The pumping of petrol resumed on Wednesday in Kirkuk and nearly 350,000 barrels have been transported today,' said a technical official from the national oil company, speaking on condition of anonymity. Pumping resumed after the 16 oil and gas pipelines were damaged in the sabotage on October 20. Senate Blocks Alaska Refuge Drilling: The Senate blocked an attempt to open an Alaska wildlife refuge to oil drilling Wednesday, foiling an attempt by drilling backers to force the measure through Congress as part of a must-have defense spending bill. It was a stinging defeat for Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, one of the Senate's most powerful members peace vigils: St. Gregory's Episcopal Church at Deerfield and Wilmot Roads was open throughout the night for prayer during a snowy Dec. 14 as part of an 18-hour peace vigil for Iraq. CASUALTY REPORTS: Spc. Audrey Bocock preventative medicine specialist with Hawaii's 29th Brigade Combat Team, is recovering from hip surgery. She broke her left hip jumping off a transport vehicle in Iraq in May, but didn't realize the extent of her injury until September. Sgt. Ryan Coffield of Fayetteville sniper in the U.S. Army, is lucky to be alive. He was shot in the neck Oct. 2 while on a rooftop in Ad Duluiyah, Iraq, where he was protecting his unit at a roadside security checkpoint. Chaplain David Sivret was one of 69 people wounded in the blast. After being knocked unconscious, Sivret woke up with a shattered eardrum, broken ribs and an injured knee. First Lt. Michael Cleary, 24, a platoon leader in the 3rd Infantry Division, led his unit to a bomb factory Tuesday near Samarra, Iraq. The unit destroyed the factory and was returning from its mission when it was ambushed by insurgent forces. A roadside bomb was detonated. Cleary died as a passenger in a transport vehicle just 10 days shy of his return home. Staff Sgt. Johnnie V. Mason, 32, of Rio Vista, Texas, died Monday from injuries suffered in the explosion, the Army said. The 101st Airborne Division soldier was an explosive ordnance disposal supervisor. Samuel Tapia, 20, was in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when he died following small arms fire, Marine Corps officials announced Wednesday morning. Sgt. Timothy R. Boyce, 29, of North Salt Lake, Utah, suffered a brain aneurysm in Iraq on Wednesday. He was airlifted to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, where he died Thursday, the Army said.


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