Sunday, February 12, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2006 Bring 'em on Explosion in Green Zone, no report on casualties. NPR at 9:00 ET reports this was a mortar strike Bring 'em on: Reuters Alertnet Factbox as of 11:30 GMT *RAMADI - Six insurgents were killed and another wounded on Saturday when U.S forces conducted an air strike in the city of Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S military said on Sunday. *MUQDADIYA - Clashes between insurgents and Iraqi army soldiers conducting a raid killed one rebel in Muqdadiya, 90 km (50 miles) north east of Baghdad. The army arrested 40 suspected insurgents in the same operation. *BAGHDAD - A 53-year-old male detainee at Abu Ghraib prison died on Saturday as a result of complications from an assault by an unknown number of detainees, the U.S military said in a statement. *MAHAWEEL - The bodies of three people, bound and shot in the head and chest, were found in Mahaweel, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. The bodies showed signs of torture. *ISKANDARIYA - The bodies of two people, bound and shot in the head and chest, were found in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. The bodies showed signs of torture. *BAGHDAD - Three police commandos and a civilian were killed and four commandos wounded when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up near a check point in southern Baghdad, police said. *KIRKUK - Gunmen killed four policemen while they were driving in a civilian car in the main road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. *KIFL - Gunmen wearing police uniforms killed a civilian on Saturday in Kifl, a town about 150 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. *NEAR LATIFIYA - Police retrieved the body of a dead person from the river on Saturday near Latifiya, south of Baghdad. *BAQUBA - A director of sport education of Diyala province was killed by gunmen in the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. *YATHRIB - Gunmen kidnapped three truck drivers who were carrying equipment to a U.S military base on Saturday in Yathrib, a region near Balad, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. *BAIJI - Gunmen blew up a gas station on Saturday near the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad. BAGHDAD - Twelve civilians were wounded when two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession near an Iraqi police patrol in central Baghdad, police said. SAMARRA - The Iraqi army found three Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims who were among a group of 12, including an Iraqi driver, kidnapped by gunmen in Samarra on Friday, Iraqi army officials said. HAWIJA - Gunmen shot dead a doctor and wounded an employee working in the main hospital in Hawija, 70 km south west of the northern city of Kirkuk, on Saturday, police said. KIRKUK - Four policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. KIRKUK - The corpse of a Kurdish contractor working with the U.S army was found on Saturday in Kirkuk, police said. KIRKUK - Two civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb near their patrol in Kirkuk, police said. BAGHDAD - Two civilians were killed, including a child, and three were wounded, when a roadside bomb targeting police commandos exploded in a northern district of the capital, police said. OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY Ruling Shiite bloc re-nominates Jaafari as Prime Minister. Reuters reports that he was selected by a single vote, and that Muqtada al-Sadr played the role of kingmaker by throwing his support to Jaafari. Border controls impoverish smuggler villages
By Ann Scott Tyson, Washington Post | February 12, 2006 OM AL-KABARI, Iraq -- In this once-thriving smuggling village on Iraq's border with Syria, the last donkeys are dying. Mothers complain they have no shoes for their children and only soup to feed them. Men sit idly playing checkers and bemoaning the night when American scout helicopters swooped overhead, spelling the end of their livelihoods. ''We could get around everything, but not the helicopters," sighed Mahmood Ahmed, 29, who, along with most of the men in this village of 400 people, admitted he was a smuggler. ''We're having nightmares about them." With their income shriveling, the smugglers could no longer afford food for the hundreds of donkeys they used to haul 30-gallon drums of benzene, cartons of cigarettes, and other goods into Syria. ''There is no grass, no money to feed them. So they all died," said Yassin Ali, 39, pointing to a mangy, skeletal white donkey lying listless nearby. The dramatic downturn in the fortunes of villages along the border is one sign that a surge of American and Iraqi troops into the region in recent months has sharply curtailed illegal traffic over the frontier, US and Iraqi officials and local residents say. US commanders last year launched a plan to gain better control of Iraq's borders to try to stop the flow of outside fighters, weapons, and cash to the Iraqi insurgency. Several thousand additional US and Iraqi troops have been sent into regions near Syria since last summer to bolster a growing contingent of Iraqi border guards. Scores of border forts have been built or refurbished and manned, and there are plans to erect a double chain-link fence along the border during the coming year, according to US and Iraqi officials.
BTW, Tyson's story goes on to say that contrary to accusations by U.S. officials, the Syrians are patrolling the border even more aggressively than the Americans. Video shows British troops brutally beating Iraqi teenagers UK's News of the World breaks disturbing story.
TODAY we expose a rogue squad of British soldiers who savagely attacked a defenceless bunch of Iraqi teenagers —and with 42 brutal blows brought shame on our nation and its proud army. The horrifying scenes on these pages will shock the world and ignite a huge military scandal. They were captured on a secret home video — apparently filmed for "fun" by a corporal—and show at least eight of his hulking comrades cruelly: DRAGGING four weedy rioters—all apparently in their early teens—off the street and behind the high walls of a secluded army compound, BEATING them senseless with vicious blows from batons, boots and fists, IGNORING their pitiful pleas for mercy, until the incident climaxes with what appears to be an NCO delivering a sickening full-force kick in the genitals of a cringeing lad pinned to the ground. All the while the callous cameraman delivers a stomach-churning commentary urging his mates on, cackling with laughter and screaming: "Oh yes! Oh yes! You're gonna get it. Yes, naughty little boys! You little f***ers, you little f***ers. DIE! Ha, ha!" snip The cowardly beating is believed to have taken place in early 2004 amid a series of street riots in southern Iraq. Troops were involved in running battles with hundreds of screaming demonstrators armed with stones, sticks, shovels and home-made grenades. The atmosphere and tension comes across vividly in the video, believed to have been shot from a rooftop within the troops' HQ compound. The muzzle of an Army SA80 rifle laid on its side is visible in the foreground.
Video is available here. Tony Blair promises an investigation. Riverbend's aunt's home raided by Iraqi troops (corrected to aunt's home.) The Raid... Excerpt:
t came ten minutes later. A big clanging sound on the garden gate and voices yelling “Ifta7u [OPEN UP]”. I heard my uncle outside, calling out, “We’re opening the gate, we’re opening…” It was moments and they were inside the house. Suddenly, the house was filled with strange men, yelling out orders and stomping into rooms. It was chaotic. We could see flashing lights in the garden and lights coming from the hallways. I could hear Ammoo S. talking loudly outside, telling them his wife and the ‘children’ were the only ones in the house. What were they looking for? Was there something wrong? He asked. Suddenly, two of them were in the living room. We were all sitting on the sofa, near my aunt. My cousin B. was by then awake, eyes wide with fear. They were holding large lights or ‘torches’ and one of them pointed a Klashnikov at us. “Is there anyone here but you and them?” One of them barked at my aunt. “No- it’s only us and my husband outside with you- you can check the house.” T.’s hands went up to block the glaring light of the torch and one of the men yelled at her to put her hands down, they fell limply in her lap. I squinted in the strong light and as my sight adjusted, I noticed they were wearing masks, only their eyes and mouths showing. I glanced at my cousins and noted that T. was barely breathing. J. was sitting perfectly still, eyes focused on nothing in particular, I vaguely noted that her sweater was on backwards. One of them stood with the Klashnikov pointed at us, and the other one began opening cabinets and checking behind doors. We were silent. The only sounds came from my aunt, who was praying in a tremulous whisper and little B., who was sucking away at his thumb, eyes wide with fear. I could hear the rest of the troops walking around the house, opening closets, doors and cabinets.
According to Riverbend, they raided every house in the neighborhood, looking for who knows what. She goes on to say that an elderly neighbor died of a heart attack. The troops took about a dozen men from the area. American forces surrounded the neighborhood during the action. Trial of Saddam to resume on Monday amid continuing turmoil. Saddam has been boycotting the proceedings; chief prosecutor threatens to force him to attend; defense team petitions for removal of court-appointed lawyers, with support of Human Rights Watch. Department of "So what else is new?" Chicago Tribune story on upcoming Foreign Affairs article by Paul Pillar. Susan covered this yesterday, but this is another summary that adds bite. Excerpt:
WASHINGTON -- The former CIA official charged with managing the U.S. government's secret intelligence assessments on Iraq says the Bush administration chose war first and then misleadingly used raw data to assemble a public case for its decision to invade. Paul Pillar, who was the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Middle East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, said the Bush administration also played on the nation's fears in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, falsely linking Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein's regime even though intelligence agencies had not produced a single analysis supporting "the notion of an alliance" between the two. Instead, Pillar writes in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs, connections were drawn between the terrorists and Iraq because "the administration wanted to hitch the Iraq expedition to the `war on terror' and the threat the American public feared most, thereby capitalizing on the country's militant post-9/11 mood." The specific critiques in Pillar's 4,500-word essay, titled, "Intelligence, Policy and the War in Iraq," are not new. But it apparently is the first time such attacks are being publicly leveled by such a high-ranking intelligence official directly involved behind the scenes--before, during and after the invasion of Iraq nearly three years ago. Because of his position, Pillar would have had access to, and likely intimate knowledge about, virtually every piece of Iraq-related intelligence maintained across all agencies within the U.S. government. Pillar also wrote in his essay that the administration went to war without first considering any strategic-level intelligence assessments "on any aspect of Iraq" and that the intelligence community foreshadowed many post-Hussein woes, though the findings were largely ignored before the March 2003 invasion.
Funerals across the country for five U.S. troops killed on Feb. 1


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