Thursday, December 29, 2005

War News for Thursday, December 29, 2005 Bring 'em on: A Task Force Baghdad Soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle while on patrol in eastern Baghdad Dec. 29. Bring 'em on: A suicide bomber, wearing a police uniform, killed four Iraqi policemen and wounded five at checkpoint close to the interior ministry in Baghdad on Thursday Bring 'em on: U.S. fighter jets dropped two 500-pound (225-kg) bombs on a village in northern Iraq, killing 10 Iraqis they suspected of planting explosive devices on a nearby road, the U.S. military said on Thursday. The incident occurred on Tuesday in a small village near the town of Hawija Bring 'em on: The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Dec. 27, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their dismounted patrol. (CENTCOM never released anything on this attack.) Bring 'em on: The head of Saklawiya police station was seriously wounded when gunmen attacked him while he was heading to Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, police said. Bring 'em on: In Balad, 80 kilometres north of Baghdad, two Iraqi soldiers were killed when gunmen opened fire on the vehicle in which they were travelling. Bring 'em on: Spc. Dane O. Carver, 20, of Freeport, Mich., died in Khalidiyah, Iraq on Dec. 26, when his HMMWV came under attack by enemy forces using small arms fire. Carver was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, Saginaw, Mich. (CENTCOM never released anything on this attack.) Bring 'em on: In Tikrit, northern Iraq, gunmen attacked an Iraqi army patrol west of the city, killing two soldiers and wounding seven. Bring 'em on: Three policemen were wounded when a car bomb attacked their patrol in the town of Samarra. Bring 'em on: Gunmen killed two soldiers and wounded seven in an ambush on an Iraqi army patrol on Tuesday in Dhibai village near Dujail, about 60 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The patrol was struck by a roadside bomb before gunmen fired upon the soldiers, in an apparently well-planned attack. Bring 'em on: One of the Mortar rounds landed close to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines’ combat operations center — less than 100 yards away from the chow hall — wounding one officer when shrapnel tore through the front door of the building. A week from the forgotten battlefield: Seven people were killed in a gunbattle in a tribal region near the Afghan border as Pakistani Islamic militants raided homes searching for rivals, residents and a representative of the militants said on Thursday. Two rebels and a policeman have been killed in a shootout in central Afghanistan. An Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman says coalition soldiers and Afghan police were on patrol when 15 rebels attacked them. But a U-S military spokesman says the attack by enemy forces was "a failure." Five Afghan police officers are recovering from injuries suffered in an attack by suspected insurgents.Authorities say the militants opened fire in eastern Afghanistan at a convoy of vehicles carrying a provincial police chief. The chief wasn't hurt, but five of his escorts were. One policeman and three Taliban militants were killed Friday in a firefight between the two sides in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, a spokesperson of the Interior Ministry said Saturday. A primary school in the Afghan southern province of Kandahar was set on fire by suspect Taliban militants Thursday night, said an Afghan official on Friday. Two suspect Taliban militants crashed into the school of Cholghar village of Panjwayee district of Kandahar last night setting fire to the library, desks and books, Abdul Hakim Angar, an intelligence officer of Kandahar told Xinhua. Fortunately it took place at night and caused no casualty, he added. A rocket explosion shook Afghan capital Kabul Saturday night but left no casualty, a local official said. Three persons including one policeman were kidnapped Saturday by Taliban militants in Afghanistan's western province of Farah, a local official said Sunday. A land mine exploded on a highway in southern Afghanistan, killing four suspected Taliban insurgents as they tried to plant the explosive on the road, a government official said Sunday. Two soldiers from the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan and two Afghan civilians were wounded on Monday in an explosion in the north of the country, officials said. A top Taliban commander said more than 200 rebel fighters were willing to become suicide attackers against U.S. forces and their allies -- a claim dismissed as propaganda Monday by Afghanistan's government, which said the hard-line militia was weakening. A roadside explosion hit a patrol of international peacekeepers in northern Afghanistan, injuring two foreign soldiers and two Afghan civilians, officials said. The nationalities of the peacekeepers were not immediately released, but several sources said they were Dutch and British. A consignment of over 100 tonnes of explosives meant for use by Border Road Organisation for road construction in Afghanistan has gone missing from a merchant ship off the coast of Mumbai, sending alarm bells in security establishments. A U.S. soldier was killed and four others injured in a vehicle roll-over accident on Wednesday in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, the U.S.-led coalition forces said. A remote-control bomb exploded on a mountainous road in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing one U.S. service member and wounding two, officials said. Al-Qaida insurgents attacked a Special Forces camp in Afghanistan during a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, The New York Daily News reported. No U.S. personnel were injured in the attack on the base. Politics: On the Iraq Election: Noam Chomsky interviewed by Andy Clark: Police Infiltrate Protests, Videotapes Show: Undercover New York City police officers have conducted covert surveillance in the last 16 months of people protesting the Iraq war, bicycle riders taking part in mass rallies and even mourners at a street vigil for a cyclist killed in an accident, a series of videotapes show. In glimpses and in glaring detail, the videotape images reveal the robust presence of disguised officers or others working with them at seven public gatherings since August 2004. The officers hoist protest signs. They hold flowers with mourners. They ride in bicycle events. At the vigil for the cyclist, an officer in biking gear wore a button that said, "I am a shameless agitator." She also carried a camera and videotaped the roughly 15 people present. Beyond collecting information, some of the undercover officers or their associates are seen on the tape having influence on events. At a demonstration last year during the Republican National Convention, the sham arrest of a man secretly working with the police led to a bruising confrontation between officers in riot gear and bystanders. A New Phase of Bright Spinning Lies About Iraq: Three days before Christmas, the Bush administration launched a new salvo of bright spinning lies about the Iraq war. “In an interview with reporters traveling with him on an Air Force cargo plane to Baghdad,” the Associated Press reported, Donald Rumsfeld “hinted that a preliminary decision had been made to go below the 138,000 baseline” of U.S. troops in Iraq. Throughout 2006, until Election Day in early November, this kind of story will be a frequent media refrain as the Bush regime does whatever it can to prevent a loss of Republican majorities in the House and Senate. By continuing to fortify large military bases in Iraq -- and by continuing to escalate an air war there courtesy of U.S. taxpayers but largely outside the U.S. media frame -- the White House is determined to exploit every weakness and contradiction of antiwar sentiment inside the United States. Mayor of London Calls Bushies "A Gang of Thugs" Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, England, threw a bash for anti-war activists this evening and denounced the Bush Administration as "a gang of thugs." He praised the work of those present from the US and the UK who have worked to end the war, including offering high praise for Cindy Sheehan, who also spoke. "You are the majority of Londoners," Livingstone said, referring to those who want the war ended and who view the behavior of the Bush Administration as criminal. In reference to reports that Bush wanted to bomb the headquarters of Al Jazeera, Livingstone said "Anywhere else we call that Murder Incorporated." About Iraq on the Record: 237 specific misleading statements made by Bush: On March 19, 2003, U.S. forces began military operations in Iraq. Addressing the nation about the purpose of the war on the day the bombing began, President Bush stated: “The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.” Two years later, many doubts have been raised regarding the Administration’s assertions about the threat posed by Iraq. Prepared at the direction of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Iraq on the Record is a searchable collection of 237 specific misleading statements made by Bush Administration officials about the threat posed by Iraq. It contains statements that were misleading based on what was known to the Administration at the time the statements were made. It does not include statements that appear mistaken only in hindsight. If a statement was an accurate reflection of U.S. intelligence at the time it was made, it was excluded even if it now appears erroneous. For more information on how the statements were selected, see the full methodology. The Iraq on the Record Report is a comprehensive examination of these statements. Iraq on the Record Voice Of God Revealed To Be Cheney On Oval Office Intercom: Telephone logs recorded by the National Security Agency and obtained by Congress as part of an ongoing investigation suggest that the vice president may have used the Oval Office intercom system to address President Bush at crucial moments, giving categorical directives in a voice the president believed to be that of God. While journalists and presidential historians had long noted Bush's deep faith and Cheney's powerful influence in the White House, few had drawn a direct correlation between the two until Tuesday, when transcripts of meetings that took place in March and April of 2002 became available. In a transcript of an intercom exchange recorded in March 2002, a voice positively identified as the vice president's identifies himself as "the Lord thy God" and promotes the invasion of Iraq, as well as the use of torture in prisoner interrogations. A close examination of Bush's public statements and Secret Service time logs tracking the vice president reveals a consistent pattern, one which links Bush's belief that he had received word from God with Cheney's use of the White House's telephone-based intercom system. CONYERS CALLS FOR BUSH IMPEACH: Powerful, Congressional representative and Detroit Democrat John Conyers has introduced a House resolution to create a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration. Conyers' resolution cites "the Iraq war and ... possible impeachable offenses; as well as resolutions proposing both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney [that] should be censured by Congress based on the uncontroverted evidence of their abuse of power." The report is entitled "Demand Censure and Accountability for Misconduct by Bush and Cheney in Iraq War." War News: ICRC stretched to the limit in 2005: The director of operations at the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) tells swissinfo that 2005 has been a "very demanding" year. Pierre Krähenbühl said natural disasters, armed conflicts and visits to around 2,400 prisons in nearly 80 countries had prompted a record response from the Swiss-run organisation. Challenge of the IEDs: One of the most difficult challenges in Fourth Generation military theory is the problem Fourth Generation war poses for operational art. Put simply, 4GW is hard to operationalize. Operational art is not a thing, but a linkage: the connection between the tactical and strategic levels of war. General Dynamics Awarded $19 Million for Bradley Fighting Vehicle Reactive Armor: General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) , received a $19 million contract modification from the U.S. Army (Picatinny, N.J.) for the production of enhanced-capability reactive armor tile sets for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System. This award modifies a contract initially awarded on November 5, 2004, and brings the total contract value to $122 million. The reactive armor system is composed of tiles that fasten to the vehicle's exterior and provide the ability to withstand direct hits from a variety of anti-armor munitions, including shoulder-fired rocket propelled grenades. Installed on U.S. Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicles currently in Iraq, the General Dynamics reactive armor system is saving lives and preventing crippling vehicle damage. Only one Medal of Honor given in conflicts: American troops have been fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than four years, but just one soldier from those wars has received the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor for bravery. The lack of such medals - by comparison, two were awarded for fighting in Somalia - reflects today's unconventional warfare and the superior weaponry of U.S. forces, military experts say. It's not that today's troops lack valor, but they lack opportunities to display it in the extraordinary way that would merit the Medal of Honor. Resources: DNO finds oil in north Iraq well: Norwegian oil group DNO has struck oil in a well in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq, the company said. It said that the Tawke number 1 well, spudded on November 28, had found oil in a first prospective reservoir at a depth of 350 metres. It said that the oil was similar to oil found in other similar reservoirs in Northern Iraq. Iraq must decide who controls oil: To entice foreign companies to develop Iraq's oil sector, the nation's next government will not only have to tackle violence that has scared away investors, it also will have to determine who controls the country's lucrative oil fields. Despite the oil industry's many problems — falling production, crumbling infrastructure and relentless insurgent attacks — the prize of one of the world's largest proven reserves is so enticing that some foreign companies have taken the risk of investing. Most have been small companies that bypass the central government in Baghdad and sign agreements with regional Kurdish officials in the north, just to get a foothold in the market. The real test will be if Iraq can manage to entice the world's top oil companies, which are needed to rebuild the industry. Iraq hopes to produce 2.5 million barrels of oil day by end-2006: Iraq hopes to produce at least 2.5 mln barrels of oil a day by the end of 2006 but will need significant foreign investment to reach that target, Iraqi Finance Minister Ali Allawi told CNBC Europe television. Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum earlier this month said the country hoped to turn out 3 mln barrels a day by the end of 2006 and 3.5 mln by December 2007, compared with current production of about 2 mln barrels a day. The United States and the Iraqi Oil Prize: "America, our coalition, and Iraqi leaders are working towards the same goal -- a democratic Iraq that can defend itself, and that will serve as a model of freedom for the Middle East." This is how President Bush summarized the White House's policy in Iraq in his 18 December 2005 address to the nation. In his address, the president sought to reassure the US public about events in Iraq. Three days have passed since the 15 December legislative elections, which were held under extremely tough conditions and which will possibly represent an important step towards pacifying the situation and bringing it back to normal. Yet, the basic question that needs to be asked is: Which political forces will gain legitimacy through these elections, and who will head the sovereign government in "liberated" Iraq? S Iraq Oil Exports Still Down On Bad Weather: Iraq's southern oil exports remained shut in Wednesday due to strong winds, officials and agents said. Tuesday, calm seas had revived hopes that four tankers berthed alongside Basra and Khor al-Amaya terminals since Saturday would be able to set sail after the resumption of pilot services. But renewed strong winds prevented the pilot tugs reaching Iraq's two offshore terminals, where 16 or 17 tankers are now waiting to load cargoes. "The weather is horrible," said a shipping agent in Iraq. "And it looks like it will remain for at least two more days." Kurds plan to invade South: Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan. Five days of interviews with Kurdish leaders and troops in the region suggest that U.S. plans to bring unity to Iraq before withdrawing American troops by training and equipping a national army aren't gaining traction. Instead, some troops that are formally under U.S. and Iraqi national command are preparing to protect territory and ethnic and religious interests in the event of Iraq's fragmentation, which many of them think is inevitable. The soldiers said that while they wore Iraqi army uniforms they still considered themselves members of the Peshmerga — the Kurdish militia — and were awaiting orders from Kurdish leaders to break ranks. Many said they wouldn't hesitate to kill their Iraqi army comrades, especially Arabs, if a fight for an independent Kurdistan erupted. Crude Oil: OPEC To Decide On Production Cuts In January: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, won't decide on possible production cuts until the end of January, OPEC President Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said, Russian news agency Interfax reported Monday. Energy Watch: U.S. sanctions against Iran do not allow for the possibility of direct investment of American firms, while European hopes of new upstream deals in Iran wane, leaving room for Asian majors such as China and India to fill the void. But Iran is no easy market to break. Despite signing several memoranda of understanding for major oil development projects over the past year, Indian and Chinese firms remain unsatisfied over Iran`s buyback scheme, which asks companies to pay back from the proceeds of incremental production. Such contracts can deliver an acceptable rate of return of over 15 percent, but are not the most attractive types of investment. Chinese firms have outbid major rivals in Iran where foreign investment is thorny. Sinopec recently sent a delegation to Iran to hold talks on the progress of an MoU, which gave the Chinese firm a 51 percent stake in development of the onshore Yadavaran field on the condition that Sinopec remains committed to a 30-year contract to purchase Iranian liquefied natural gas. But it remains uncertain whether Sinopec has the means to receive the 250 million tons foreseen in the MOU, or for that matter whether Iran has the ability to produce such volumes. After a number of Western firms dropped out of the race, India`s Oil and Natural Gas Corp. remains the only foreign firm to possibly hold a stake in the Yadavaran field, with an arrangement similar to China`s. But Indian firms also face similar problems in Iran. After a consortium of Indian firms secured a 25-year contract with the oil ministry`s National Iranian Gas Export Co. six months ago, the deal has yet to materialize as it awaits approval from the Supreme Economic Council, chaired by Iran`s new president, who is fighting to appoint a new oil minister. UAE set to earn $39b in oil revenue this year: The UAE is projected to net a record $39 billion in oil export revenues in 2005 and oil income will surge above $40 billion next year, according to official US data. Strong crude prices have already filled the UAE's coffers as its income soared to its highest ever level of around $29.8 billion in 2004, when crude prices averaged nearly $36 a barrel, said the Energy Information Administration(EIA) of the US Energy Department. 'The UAE's net oil export revenues are expected to climb to $39 billion in 2005 and rise further to reach $42.7 billion in 2006 due to high oil prices,' EIA said. The 2005 revenues were calculated on the basis of an average oil price of around $45 a barrel and the UAE's average output of nearly 2.3 million bpd. Higher revenues in 2006 means crude prices are expected to remain strong and the UAE will continue to produce as high as 2.3 million bpd or even more. Egyptian oil minister says Egypt will build world's biggest refinery: Egypt is to build the world's biggest oil refinery in conjunction with Arab investors, Egypt's Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy said in comments published Friday. The refinery will have a capacity of 500,000 barrels per day, the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyassah quoted Fahmy as saying. It was not clear why the minister reportedly said the refinery would be "the world's biggest" as South Korea, for instance, has two refineries with a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day and more. Kuwait may ask oil giants back: Kuwait Ending nearly a decade of debate and delays, Kuwait is close to opening up its lucrative oil production business to foreign companies, 30 years after they were first expelled from the country OPEC Exploring Oil in Moscow: On Saturday, an OPEC delegation headed by president of the cartel Ahmad al-Sabah arrived in Moscow. The delegation wants to find out Russian plans of oil production and export in an attempt to coordinate their efforts. OPEC is afraid again that Russia will increase its share on the world market for the cartel account. However, exactly in this moment Russian oil production export is having big problems. China, DPRK agree on joint offshore oil exploitation: China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) signed an agreement here Saturday on the joint exploitation of offshore oil. The document was signed after Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan met with a DPRK government delegation led by Vice Premier Ro Tu Chol. Vast natural gas reserves could supply South America: Deep under the earth in Bolivia lies enough natural gas to supply South American consumers and industry for years, a windfall that could ease the astonishing poverty in one of the continent's poorest countries. The problem: Morales is trumpeting a vague plan to "nationalize" a gas exploration and production industry dominated by foreign companies, but Bolivia doesn't have the cash or expertise to take over the job, Latin American experts and oil analysts say. Morales said this week that there will be no seizures of assets of the big oil companies who have invested $3.5 billion in Bolivia: Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Britain's BG Group PLC, France's Total SA and the Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA. He also suggested this week that Bolivia will "strengthen our relations with state oil companies and welcome and value their proposals." But he also says the nation's gas reserves have been "looted," and insists that current gas production contracts are illegal and must be re-negotiated. A Story About Oil You NEED To Hear: (from the Daily Kos) On March 23, 2006, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System will cease publication of the M3 monetary aggregate. The Board will also cease publishing the following components: large-denomination time deposits, repurchase agreements (RPs), and Eurodollars. The Board will continue to publish institutional money market mutual funds as a memorandum item in this release. Casualty Reports: wounded: On his third or fourth day in Iraq, both of Camuso's eardrums were perforated when a roadside bomb exploded a few feet from his Humvee. Camuso has mild hearing loss and occasional headaches from the March 2004 blast. A homemade bomb that struck a military detachment in Iraq critically wounded city firefighter Michael J. McMullen, a Maryland Army National Guard sergeant whose unit reportedly was attacked Christmas Eve. He suffered abdominal and spinal injuries and that efforts were under way to stabilize and transfer the soldier to a military hospital in Europe. Lt. Col. Bob Chappell, commander of the Culpeper Army Reserve Unit serving in northwestern Iraq, was injured last week when his Humvee was attacked. Chappell, who required 14 stitches to his head, spent three days in the intensive care ward. He is now in Al Kasik, Iraq, recovering from wounds that included an injured right knee, cuts to his arms and hands, two black eyes and bruises on his leg, foot and ribs. Lance Corporal Matt Cummings was hit by shrapnel in both legs last year, and just finished physical therapy. Injured in Iraq last month, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ryan Kules was moved out of intensive care last week. He suffered severe injuries Nov. 27 when he was thrown from his vehicle during a roadside bomb attack outside of Camp Taji, about 15 miles north of Baghdad. The force of the explosion threw Ryan nearly 100 feet. His left leg was severed just below the hip and his right arm below the shoulder, the father said. It's a question Cpl. John Chmill, bomb blast victim, has gotten a lot since returning from Iraq. He lost his left eye and part of his left hand when a suicide bomber in an Iraqi police car plowed into his truck. He could easily have been killed. The shot severed Jay's (Briseno) spinal cord and left him paralyzed from the chin down. Two subsequent cardiac arrests cut off oxygen to his brain, leaving him brain damaged. Kyle Anderson, a U.S. Marine who suffered brain damage in an Oct. 11, 2004, bomb explosion in Iraq, is out of the hospital and recovering at home. Anderson, 20, underwent successful surgery to reconstruct his skull in mid-November--yet to regain speech but has learned sign language--He gets around with the help of a walker but still suffers from nerve damage that limits the mobility of his right arm and leg. After months of surgery and recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Army Sgt. Tony Wood was back home yesterday for a Christmas Day homecoming his family had been wishing for. Wood was in a coma for 45 days. He endured several rounds of surgery to remove shrapnel lodged in much of his body. Shrapnel had ripped his right arm and chest and sliced through internal organs. Four days later, Wood was flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Medics worked frantically to keep Tom Brooks from bleeding to death when a mortar attack in Iraq ripped open his left leg and blew away part of his foot. Today, Pfc. Damarcus Wilson will wake up in the comfort of his childhood home. The 20-year-old soldier had a piece of car bomb metal lodged in his brain and tubes draining fluid from his head. Nick Beintema has been coming to Lodi for Physical Therapy several times a week. What's amazing is he's not alone. One of his best friends who also lost a leg while fighting in Iraq is helping him along the way. Mitch Ehlke, a Marine reservist who lost a leg in Iraq will be one of the first injured Idaho soldiers to receive money under new traumatic injury insurance legislation. Sergeant Brent Bartlett suffered a pelvic fracture when he was pinned against a military vehicle. He's in Illinois now and will travel to Texas before returning to Alaska. Killed: Sgt. Regina Reali Sgt. Cheyenne Willey Sergeant Myla Maravillosa Tony O. Cardinal Spec. Dane Carver Sgt. Dominic R. Coles Army Chief Warrant Officer Richard Salter Army Chief Warrant Officer Richard M. Salter


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