WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, February 16, 2006
Bring 'em on: - A civilian was killed and two policemen and a civilian were wounded when a car bomb exploded near a police patrol in central Baghdad, police said.
- Six civilians were killed and 13 others wounded when a car bomb went off near a crowded market in the Shula district of the capital, police said.
- Three civilians were wounded when a car bomb went off near a police patrol in northern Baghdad, police said.
- Four policemen and two civilians were wounded when a bomb attached to a bicycle went off targeting a police patrol in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
- Three civilians were wounded when a bomb placed on a wooden cart went off near U.S. forces in Baquba, police said.
- Three civilians were wounded when two roadside bombs went off in two different districts targeted U.S. forces in Baquba, police said.
- Gunmen killed Mukhaibir al-Alwani, a tribal leader and brother of the governor of Anbar province, in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, police and hospital sources said.
- The bodies of two people, bound and with gunshot wounds to the head, were found in eastern Baghdad, police aid.
- Police found the bodies of two people, bound and blindfolded, in Jurf AlSakhar, about 85 km (53 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
- Gunmen killed an army captain along with his driver in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
- Gunmen killed an army lieutenant colonel in western Baghdad, police said.
Bring 'em on: Car bomb blast in Baghdad targets convoy of Nouri al-Nouri, former government human rights official dismissed in December over discovery of tortured detainees in Baghdad government building. Al-Nouri escaped the blast unharmed but four civilians were wounded.
Bring 'em on: Gunmen killed two more policemen and two civilians _ one Iraqi and the other Egyptian _ in an attack on a vehicle in west Baghdad's Amariyah district, and another policeman was shot dead in the Amil area, police. A mechanic was gunned down by three gunmen in southern Baghdad's Dora district.
Bring 'em on: Jordanian Embassy driver of Iraqi nationality seriously wounded in a western Baghdad drive-by shooting.
Bring 'em on: Three prominent tribal figures driving to a funeral killed by gunmen spraying machine-gun fire from a minibus in Khan Bani Saad, about 25 miles northeast of Baghdad.
The Abu Ghraib files: Salon has obtained files and other electronic documents from an internal Army investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal. The material, which includes more than 1,000 photographs, videos and supporting documents from the Army's probe, may represent all of the photographic and video evidence that pertains to that investigation.
The files, from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CID), include hundreds of images that have never been publicly released. Along with the unpublished material, the material obtained by Salon also appears to include all of the famous photographs published after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in April 2004, as well as the photographs and videos published Wednesday by the Australian television news show "Dateline."
The source who gave the CID material to Salon is someone who spent time at Abu Ghraib as a uniformed member of the military and is familiar with the CID investigation.
The DVD containing the material includes a June 6, 2004, CID investigation report written by Special Agent James E. Seigmund. That report includes the following summary of the material included: "A review of all the computer media submitted to this office revealed a total of 1,325 images of suspected detainee abuse, 93 video files of suspected detainee abuse, 660 images of adult pornography, 546 images of suspected dead Iraqi detainees, 29 images of soldiers in simulated sexual acts, 20 images of a soldier with a Swastika drawn between his eyes, 37 images of Military Working dogs being used in abuse of detainees and 125 images of questionable acts."
The photographs we are showing in the accompanying gallery represent a small fraction of these visual materials. None, as far as we know, have been published elsewhere.
Accompanying texts from the CID investigation provide fairly detailed explanations for many of the photographs, including dates and times and the identities of both Iraqis and Americans. Based on time signatures of the digital cameras used, all the photographs and videos were taken between Oct. 18, 2003, and Dec. 30, 2003.
It is noteworthy that some of the CID documents refer to CIA personnel as interrogators of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. But no CIA officers have been prosecuted for any crimes that occurred within the prison, despite the death of at least one Iraqi during a CIA interrogation there.
Human-rights and civil-liberties groups have been locked in a legal battle with the Department of Defense since mid-2004, demanding that it release the remaining visual documents from Abu Ghraib in its possession. It is not clear whether the material obtained by Salon is identical to that sought by these groups, although it seems highly likely that it is.
Barbara Olshansky, deputy legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, "We brought the lawsuit because we wanted to make sure the public knew what the government was doing, particularly at these detention facilities," and, "It is the public's right to know."
Based on a verbal description of the files and images, Olshansky said she believes that the material obtained by Salon represents all of the Abu Ghraib images and video the Pentagon has been fighting to keep confidential. "I'm guessing that what you have is a pretty rare and complete set," she said.
Meanwhile, military trials of the soldiers who served at Abu Ghraib continue. Next month, two more enlisted men, both dog handlers, will face a military court at Fort Meade in Maryland. No high-ranking officer or official has yet been charged in the abuse scandal that blackened America's reputation across the world.
America -- and the world -- has the right to know what was done in our name: Abu Ghraib cannot be allowed to fade away like some half-forgotten domestic political controversy, which may have prompted newsmagazine covers at the time, but now seems as irrelevant as the 2002 elections. Abu Ghraib is not an issue of partisan sound bites or refighting the decision to invade Iraq. Grotesque violations of every value that America proclaims occurred within the walls of that prison. These abuses were carried out by soldiers who wore our flag on their uniforms and apparently believed that Americans here at home would approve of their conduct. Rather than hiding what they did out of shame, they commemorated their sadism with a visual record.
That is why Salon is willing to publish these troubling photographs, even as we are ashamed to live in a country that somehow came to accept that torture and prisoner abuse were simply business as usual.New pictures reveal extent of abuse at Abu Ghraib jail: Damning new photographs and videos purporting to show the abuse and even murder of Iraqi prisoners at the infamous Abu Ghraib jail have been broadcast on Australian television and picked up by Arab channels.
The images are likely to trigger outrage because they show more graphically than before the scenes of humiliation which took place at Abu Ghraib in late 2003. Iraqis will be watching them on television days after seeing film of British soldiers beating up young men in the city of Amarah in southern Iraq and amid continuing Muslim fury over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed.
The 60 pictures appearing to show a man with a cut throat, another suffering from severe head injuries and a naked man hanging upside down from a bed were broadcast last night on the Dateline programme by the state-owned Special Broadcasting Service.
SBS said in a statement: "The extent of the abuse shown in the photos suggests that the torture and abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib in 2004 is much worse than is currently understood."
They include photos of six corpses and injuries which could have been caused by shotguns. One reveals a prisoner with apparent burn marks on his left forearm and another shows a bound man in an orange jumpsuit being menaced by a dog.
Video broadcast by Dateline appears to show prisoners being forced to masturbate to the camera with another showing a man hitting his head against a wall. The still images show soldiers who have already been prosecuted for their part in the abuse, including Pte Lynndie England and Spc Charles Graner.
The new pictures, broadcast at a time when anti-Western feeling is running high among Muslims across the world over the publication of the cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed, may finally torpedo the reputation of the US occupation in the eyes of Iraqis. The pictures were among dozens at the centre of a legal battle in the US to block their publication. They are among more than 100 stills and four videos taken at the Baghdad prison which the US administration is fighting to keep secret in a court case with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The pictures show guards smiling as they stand beside blood-soaked and hooded prisoners, some of whom are tied to an unidentified apparatus. The release of further pictures of torture will make it more difficult for the US to claim that what happened in Abu Ghraib in 2003 and 2004 was isolated and the work of low-level guards acting on their own initiative. Mr Singh said the images were evidence of "systematic and widespread abuse" of prisoners by US soldiers.
The photos were being broadcast by Arab television stations yesterday evening.
New Abu Ghraib images disgust Iraq: Iraqis have expressed outrage after new revelations of prisoner abuse at Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, warning the images would further inflame already intense anti-Western sentiment.
For many Iraqis the new pictures, which date back to the 2003 prison abuse scandal, drove home for them wrongs of the occupation in their country. "I felt disgusted when I saw those pictures and I felt at the same time how weak our government is that it can't help its own people," said Sadun Mohammed, sitting in his shop reading an article it in the newspaper.
Mike Carey, the producer of the Australian program Dateline, which aired the photographs and videos doubted they could worsen the situation in Iraq. "I don't think anything that we do here in Australia is going to make their risk any greater or smaller," he said.
Fadel al-Sharaa, a representative of firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr's political movement disagreed, however, and expected the photographs to inflame popular sentiment. "It seems that the occupier still doesn't understand the nature of the Iraqi people," he said. "The Iraqi people cannot be insulted and this will create massive hostility against the occupier."
Outside the ministry of justice in central Baghdad, civil servant Jenan Abed Mohammed expressed her anger over the latest images. "This is a massive insult for all Iraqis and Muslims," she said. "The occupier doesn't understand the true meaning of freedom, which is what they claim they came to Iraq for."
Sunni politician Adnan al-Dulaimi, of the National Concord Front which competed in elections for the first time in December, also expressed shock. "These images are painful and shocking for every Iraqi," he aid, "All must respect human rights, even those of criminals in prison."
Her Master's Voice: CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr should be given some kind of award for the most outrageously off-target reporting on the newly released photos and videos of U.S. torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In her numerous appearances during the morning news cycle on CNN after the images were first broadcast on Australia's SBS television, Starr described what she saw as the "root of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal" as such:
"Let's start by reminding everybody that under U.S. military law and practice, the only photographs that can be taken are official photographs for documentation purposes about the status of prisoners when they are in military detention. That's it. Anything else is not acceptable. And of course, that is what the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal is all about."What? Here I thought the "scandal" was that the U.S. military was systematically abusing prisoners. These new photos, with their documentation of violently inflicted open wounds, obliterate any notion that what occurred at Abu Ghraib was anything short of torture by all accepted definitions of the term. They reveal some horrifying scenes of naked, humiliated, bloodied prisoners, some with apparent gunshot wounds. In a video broadcast on Australia's SBS, naked, hooded prisoners were seen being forced to masturbate in front of the camera.
But, according to CNN's Starr, the real transgression was that some soldiers documented the torture in violation of "U.S. military law and practice."
Starr concluded another report saying the Pentagon is concerned that if the images "appear in the Islamic world, they are concerned they will incite unrest in the Islamic world and therefore put U.S. military troops at risk." CNN anchor Zain Vergee then shot back, "And they were swiftly put on Arab TV. As you say, they're out there."
They were swiftly put on Arab TV. Is there something devious about that? Is "Arab TV" somehow committing some transgression against freedom and democracy by broadcasting these images that were first put out by Australian TV in a country Bush claims as his ally?
Iraq's human rights minister calls on U.S to hand over all Iraqi inmates to Iraqi government: "We are very worried about the Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib. The multinational forces and the British forces should hand them over to the (Iraqi) government," Zuhair al-Chalabi told Reuters.
"This is a very dangerous issue that the Iraqi government should review," he said. "The Iraqi government should move immediately to have the prisons and the prisoners delivered to the ministry of justice. U.S. forces are holding about 14,000 detainees in Iraq.
Powerful Sadr party wants occupation forces to leave: A problem now facing the US and Britain is that one of the most powerful groups within the Shia United Iraqi Alliance, with 128 seats in the 275 seat parliament, wants foreign forces to leave. This is the party following Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical nationalist cleric, which is staunchly anti-occupation.
The provincial council in Basra has voted to maintain a boycott of British forces which are supposedly in Iraq only to support local security forces, though some of these are now refusing to have anything to do with the British Army. Denmark yesterday said it wanted a clear declaration of support for its troops from the Iraqi government. The Iraqi Ministry of Transport, under the control of followers of Mr Sadr, has frozen all contracts with Danish and Norwegian companies in protest at the publication of the cartoons.
Iraq 'death squad caught in act': Gen Peterson, who is in charge of training the Iraqi police, told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that US forces had stumbled across the first evidence of death squads within the interior ministry.
The 22 interior ministry traffic policemen, dressed in police commando uniforms, were arrested in late January at an Iraqi army checkpoint in northern Baghdad and asked what they were doing. They told soldiers they were taking a Sunni man away to be shot dead.
"The amazing thing is... they tell you exactly what they're going to do," Gen Peterson said.
Gen Peterson said US forces were holding four of the men at the Abu Ghraib prison and that the 18 other men were being detained at an Iraqi jail. The Sunni man, who was accused of murder, is also being detained.
Subsequent investigations found the four men in US custody are linked to the Badr Organisation, the armed militia of one of Iraq's main Shia parties, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. But Gen Peterson said he was convinced Iraqi Interior Minster Bayan Jabr, a member of Sciri, had no knowledge of or involvement in the death squads.
"May your mustache be cursed": It's supposed to be a serious affair, but after three months and 12 hearings, the Saddam Hussein trial has become like a TV sitcom steeped in Iraqi pop culture and local vernacular. Interest in the trial has spiked since a new tough chief judge, Raouf Abdel-Rahman, took over last month and cracked down on the chaos that had marked the early hearings, which began Oct. 19. Proceedings are broadcast on state television with a 20-minute delay. Many Iraqis who cannot follow the hearings during business hours watch in the evenings on satellite stations, some of which show the day's full hearing.
Perceptions of the trial among Iraqis depend in large part on their sectarian affiliations. Yet, Iraqis are united over one thing - the trial's entertainment value. "The toughness of the new judge has turned the whole thing into a farce," said Ismail Ibrahim, a 45-year-old Sunni engineer who watches the hearings at work. "It's funny."
Over two sessions Monday and Tuesday, Saddam and Ibrahim [Saddam's half brother] dominated the proceedings with some vintage courtroom theatrics. But in a series of instances, they appeared to break new ground. "May your mustache be cursed," Saddam shouted at Abdel-Rahman. It's a great insult among Iraq's Arab majority to curse a man's mustache, considered to be a symbol of honor among adult males. Abdel-Rahman is a Kurd and sports no mustache.
In another exchange, Abdel-Rahman tried to restore order Tuesday by banging his gavel."Hit your own head with that gavel," shouted Saddam, who insisted on addressing the court while seated, ignoring the judge's angry protests.
The most bizarre moment of Tuesday's hearing came when Ibrahim briefly abandoned his native Arabic and began to speak in English, explaining the location of his detention facility. "I don't understand English, please speak to me in Arabic," said a perplexed Abdel-Rahman.
UK Military under fire for 'abandoning' more than 1,000 veterans with mental problems: Dramatic figures have been released revealing that at least 1,333 servicemen and women - almost 1.5 per cent of those who served in the Iraq war - have returned from the Middle East with serious psychiatric problems.
The official statistics, which have been passed to The Independent, identify those who were diagnosed with mental health problems while on duty. Many Iraq veterans are now receiving little or no treatment for a variety of mental health problems.
Questions have also been raised about the level of care being given to regular soldiers, reservists and members of the TA, some of whose symptoms emerged after ending active service. Many are not included in the figure of 1,333. Many claim they have been abandoned by the military establishment.
Out of the 1,333 diagnosed as suffering from mental health problems, 182 have been found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder while 601 are judged to have adjustment disorder or, in laymen's terms, " combat stress". A further 237 are classified as suffering from depression and 167 suffer other forms of mental illness or substance misuse.
One of the military's most senior psychiatrists, Group Captain Frank McManus, has acknowledged reservists in particular are suffering from lack of psychiatric care from the MoD. He said: "They have a particularly rough deal. Once they are demobilised and return to civilian life they are not entitled to health care. They are more vulnerable because in their normal working day and life they have no contact with the military, they are surrounded by people who cannot begin to understand what they went through in Iraq."
L/Cpl David McGough: It was seeing the terrible injuries suffered by children which was the most shattering experience for David McGough in Iraq. Their pain and tears, the distress of the families, are memories which still haunt him after returning home. L/Cpl McGough, 24, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, served in Iraq for three months after the invasion during some of the fiercest fighting. He treated Iraqi civilians as well as US and British military.
"Some of the children suffered from burns, others had shrapnel and bullet wounds. It was very distressing," he said. "When I was there I just carried on with what I was doing. We were working 14, 16 hours a day. It was two weeks after we got back that I began to feel really bad. I started having blackouts and vomiting. The RSM (Regimental Sergeant Major) was actually quite sympathetic, and tried to help me the best he could. But the Army does not accept that I am suffering from mental problems. I am on Prozac, but that is from my GP."
Behind the Steel Curtain: The Real Face of the Occupation: White flags on top of houses and cars, plenty of American and Iraqi military vehicles, too many check points and blocks on the road, many frightening walking patrols, curfew after sunset, heaps and heaps of destroyed houses, shops, offices, the only bridge, hospitals and medical care centers, walls covered with bullets shots, and elections posters...empty faces with bleak looks wonder in the streets. This is Al-Qaim picture after the Steel Curtain military operation which began on November 5, 2005 with 3000 thousands American and Iraqi troops participating in it.
Our driver was impatient with blocked roads, he takes the nearest dusty detour whenever he saw a queue. We arrived Qaim around six pm; the darkness was already thick. Our car was almost shot by the Americans, but the driver was very quick in going down the side road. "That's how families get killed" said Abu Adel, a lovable old man who asked for a lift, and who was very keen on showing us his high education by using broken English phrases. Abu Adel was very angry because some Iraqis make use of the refugees' misfortune and ask for double or triple rents. He preferred to put his family in a hut rather than being blackmailed.
Electricity is cut for more than a month now, after the main station was bombed, and the converters were bombed and the wires were cut. In the morning Qaim looked horrible. The General Hospital was 90% destroyed, the medical care centers, the schools, shops, houses...
Dr. Hamdi Al-Aaloossy, the director came to meet us outside his office, he canceled a meeting with the reconstruction committee "They are just ink on paper, those meetings" he said. Dr. Hamdi is usually a very calm and considerate man. This time he was really sad and fed up. The destruction this time was ultimate. He was repeating a line from a classical Arabic poem about how to complete building while others destroy what is built. He showed us the gynecology, the pediatric, the emergency departments, the blood bank, the new doctors' house. All of them completely destroyed. "They were hit by several missiles. Thanks heavens there was no one here, just a mentally retarded and epileptic cleaning worker." Dr Hamdi was especially sad about the gynecology dept. It was newly rebuilt in record efforts and time, with the help of The German Red Cross. It was not opened yet. All the machines and equipments were destroyed, even the ambulances in the hospital garage were bombed. They were empty. There were 5 of them. Two were destroyed in the garage. A third was destroyed when the driver Mahmood Chiad Abid tried to rescue a family in Karabla on October 1, 2005, killing him. The rest show obvious evidences of shots.
Modhhir Najim Abdulla, a security officer in the hospital took us to his uncle's bombed house where 17 women, children, and civilians were killed. The house of Arkan was just heaps of concrete blocks; the roof was flattened to the ground. There were 5 families living there. Not one of them was a stranger or a fighter.
"I just want to know why, I want a justification" Modhhir began, "the bombing began on Nov 5, loud speakers were saying stay at home, do not move out, and we did. 15 minutes later the bombing began. They did not announce evacuation. We had no chance to leave". On Nov 7, we heard that our uncle's house was bombed. We could not go to check; we went to the nearest American troops and told them. They accompanied us, and this is what we found
Modhhir was not crying, but his voice was full of rage. His sister (Najla')who was the wife of his cousin too, was pregnant in her 9th month. She was supposed to have cesarean operation because she was a week late for her due time. "I can not describe her and her baby when we removed the bodies". Another cousin's baby was only 25 days. A third child's body was not found until 2 days later. Modhhir brought the family's IDs, death certificates, and photos.
They are (name, age, relation to Arkan and cause of death)
Arkan Abdulla Family:
1-Alia Amir, 50, wife, smashed skull, broken ribs, burns and injuries in the chest and abdomen
2- Asma'a Arkan, 23, daughter, suffocation
3- In'am Arkan, 14, daughter, smashed skull
4- Lubna Arkan, 12, daughter, injury in the head and suffocation
5- Abdul Razzaq Arkan, 10, son, broken ribs and suffocation
6- Mahmood Arkan, 22, son, broken skull and suffocation
Saddam Arkan Abdulla Family
7- Khatar Dahham, 28, daughter in law, injuries and broken skull
8- Dhuha S. Arkan, 10, grand daughter, broken skull and injuries in head
9- Abdulla S. Arkan, 9, grandson, intestine tear
10-Thammir S.Arkan, 4, grandson, broken ribs, bleeding inside chest and broken legs
11- Amir S. Arkan, 7, grandson, smashed skull, suffocation and legs injury
12- Yahia S. Arkan, 3, grandson, smashed skull
13- Saja S. Arkan, 2, grand daughter, smashed skull, tissue tear and broken ribs
Fanar Arkan Abdulla Family
14- Najla'a Najim, 22, daughter in law, smashed skull, suffocation
15- Leila Fanar Arkan, fetus, given birth and death certificate at the same time
16- Ahmad Salih Amir, 25 days, nephew, injuries in head, chest and ribs.
17- Khattab Mahmood Arkan, 2, grandson, smashed skull
"Who of these do you recognize as terrorist? this one, this, or may be this". The pictures were of women in a party, many children in different occasions...This is my sister, this is her son, this is my youngest cousin....etc. He was pointing to the faces and naming them. I felt that the list was endless. "Please stop", I said.
"Why do you think your uncle's house was bombed?" I asked
"I do not know. I want them to answer this question. They bombed three houses in this street. In the other one 7 children and women were killed. It is Fuad's house, there. The third one was empty, but it is no more than ruins. You can see it. May be they had wrong information about these houses, I do not know, may be they made a mistake...but these are not excuses. Even the American soldiers, the Iraqis, the CNN reporter were crying when they saw what happened to my family". The family was buried in the garden.
The stories of buried families under the rubbles became familiar in Qaim. In Mohssin Mohammad's house, near the electricity station, a family of 20 were killed, and in Mohssin Hommadi's house 35 were killed, we were told... "We used the food refrigerator to put the human bodies", A., an employee in the hospital said.
AM, another employee from Rummana said "we saw 14 Chinook airplanes bombing, we heard that there is a major attack on Huseiba. 5 days later we heard that the attack was on Karabla and Ebeidy which was hit by "50 missiles from dawn to sunrise at 6 am. A man said that they used white phosphorus
"How did he know that?"
"He said that when the dead were buried, their clothes were intact, but the bodies were like ashes when they were held. In Rummana they collected all the men, and the Iraqis who accompanied them would point to some who are then taken away. The troops are still occupying the schools and the medical center. They tell the families to leave then they blast the house. They did that with 15 houses in Rummana. In one month, at least 150 were killed in Rummana. On Nov 15, they forced the families to spend the night outside in Ebeidy. Two newly born babies died in the cold".
Next day we tried to go to Rummana . It was worse than AM described. The bridge, was bombed twice. First, no cars were able to cross, only on foot. Then, it was bombed again in three pieces, which raise their heads from the Euphrates as eternal witness of the American colonial barbarism.
To read this article, after linking through the heading to the Brussells Tribunal / People vs. Total War Incorporated site, choose first "Eyewitness: Stories from inside Iraq" and then "Al Qaim revisited".
US War Crimes: Urbicide in Al Qaim (Photo album, 18 Dec 2005)Iraq's new intellectual property laws stifle any chance of escaping US control: The trademark and patent offices in Baghdad reopened soon after the invasion on 19th September 2003. Since then they have been working primarily with Iraq's original pre-invasion system, but some major changes have been introduced as part of the occupation's time as the Coalition Provisional Authority.
The changes were part of a more radical overhaul of Iraq Intellectual Property (IP) law by Abu Ghazaleh Intellectual Property (AGIP), the largest IP company in every one of the 22 Arab states and commissioned by the CPA. General orders, such as an amendment to article 7.5 of Iraq's IP law, bind Iraq to international agreements, effectively barring Iraqis from using inventions discovered previously in any country covered by WTO or Paris Convention agreements.
This affects all new technologies, from improvements to fuel and refining technologies, through to drugs and medical equipment. It's not good news. One likely outcome of the measure for example will be to further curtail the dependence of Iraq's oil sector on western controllers, as new pumping and refining equipment, leased from and maintained by big oil, becomes an integral part of Iraq's economic survival during the construction phases.
The amendments reintroduce the concept of employer rights, currently well established in Western countries, where anything invented in the course of a person's employment belongs to the company. This means any improvement to the refining process by someone hired to take care of the refinery systems by the company that built the plant will be automatically held and controlled by the company.
Section 50 has been added to give foreigners equal rights to take out a patent as Iraqis, thus making the process of patenting new inventions substantially easier for multinationals.
More famously Order 81 (section 52-79 on the original 2004 order by Paul Bremer), which has been introduced onto the statute books and is now being weighted alongside the stipulations of Iraq's original 1970 laws, prohibits the use of new seeds in the previously unregulated Iraqi agricultural sector. Whilst allowing the use of traditional seed stock, the order effectively prohibits the production of next-generation seed unless it is bought from a multinational. Ownership of biological patents was barred under the Saddam Hussein regime.
New IEDs 'go through the heaviest armor like a hot knife through butter': In 2003, IEDs were little more than artillery shells that, when exploded, caused an extensive blast and scattered shrapnel indiscriminately. But these were less effective in piercing armored targets. Then the insurgents started packing the IEDs with more explosives, even nails, ball bearings, glass and gravel - eventually using anti-tank missiles instead of artillery shells.
Since early 2005, insurgents have been using a "shaped charge", an IED adapted to concentrate the force of the blast, giving it a better chance of piercing armored vehicles. Describing the capacity of the shaped-charge IED, John Pike, director of US defense policy group GlobalSecurity.org, told the BBC News website that it could "go through the heaviest armor like a hot knife through butter". Insurgents have also advanced with regard to the detonators they use. With the US forces using electronic jammers to block radio-wave detonators, they have moved on to using infra-red lasers.
For US troops in Iraq, the most unsafe place seems to be inside their vehicles. Instead of using vehicles that could set off a pressure-detonated IED, the US forces are opting for foot patrols. The insurgents have responded to that by laying IEDs near likely foot paths.
The battle of the roadside bombs in Iraq is not just about detonating or defusing IEDs. It is about innovation and counter-innovation, ingenuity and guile. And the insurgents seem always a step ahead.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Why They Hate Us: When U.S. officials condemn the violence arising out of the anti-Mohammed cartoons published by the European press, they fail to recognize that the anger in the Middle East goes a lot deeper than the adverse reaction to the cartoons reflects.
For example, read the transcript of the federal court sentencing of Ramzi Yousef, the terrorist who attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. Whether you agree with anything he said is irrelevant. When you read the invective that he hurled at the judge just before his sentencing, you can reach but one conclusion: This is a very angry man. It is that same anger and rage that smoldered within many Middle Eastern men throughout the 1990s and into this century, culminating in the second terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon on 9/11.
No matter how angry Muslims become over the mocking of their religious symbols (i.e., the Koran and Mohammed), what U.S. officials would prefer to ignore is the depth of anger that Muslims also feel at having been subjected to the arrogant, pretentious, brutal, and humiliating conduct of U.S. government officials. In fact, one cannot help but wonder whether the anger that has built up within Middle Easterners as a consequence of U.S. governmental conduct in that part of the world has contributed to the enormous anti-Western reaction to the publishing of tasteless cartoons by a Danish newspaper.
After 9/11, many Americans had no idea why there was so much anger and rage in the Middle East, especially against the United States. All their lives, Americans had been taught that foreign policy was for federal "experts" and, thus, they had chosen not to concern themselves with what their federal officials were doing to people abroad. Innocently believing that federal overseas personnel, including the CIA and the military, had been helping foreigners for decades, Americans had no reason to doubt the official U.S. pronouncement immediately after 9/11: "We are innocent. The terrorists hate us for our freedom and values. That's why they have attacked us."
What Americans didn't realize is that federal officials were being disingenuous when they made that pronouncement. U.S. officials knew full-well that that their decades-old U.S. interventionist policies in the Middle East were at the bottom of the volcanic rage that people bore in that part of the world.
1. The U.S. government's international paramilitary force, the CIA, covertly engineered the ouster of the popular and democratically elected prime minister of Iran and replaced him with a brutal dictator whose secret police tortured and terrorized the Iranian people for decades. Yet to this day, Americans cannot fathom why so many Iranians still hate the U.S. government.
2. The United States and other Western nations actively supported Saddam Hussein and his tyrannical regime, even delivering him the infamous weapons of mass destruction that U.S. officials later used as an excuse to invade Iraq.
3. In their role as imperial international policeman, U.S. officials turned on Saddam when he invaded Kuwait, even though the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was no more the business of the U.S. government than the U.S. invasion of Panama or Grenada was the business of Iraq. Moreover, the fact that U.S. officials had supported Saddam's attack on Iran and then later had turned a passive eye on his intention to attack Kuwait makes U.S. officials look even worse. Thousands of Iraqis were massacred and maimed by U.S. bombs and missiles in the Persian Gulf War, decimating Iraqi families.
4. After the Persian Gulf War, U.S. officials inspired Kurds and Shi'ites to rebel against Saddam and then stood aside as Saddam massacred them.
5. Brutal economic sanctions were imposed on Iraq and then continued, year after year, for more than a decade, with the aim of forcing the Iraqi people to oust Saddam from power. The sanctions contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children from disease and infection, especially from dirty water.
To this day, many Americans remain ignorant of the major role that the sanctions played in the smoldering anger and rage within the Middle East, culminating on 9/11.To get a sense of the continuous year-after-year horror of the sanctions as well as the cruel and brutal games that U.S. bureaucrats played with the infamous "oil for food" program, carefully read the articles listed on this page.
High UN officials even resigned in protest at the genocide caused by the sanctions. Ramzi Yousef mentioned the deaths of the Iraqi children in his angry tirade to the judge.
Is it difficult to understand how Middle East anger turned into rage when UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, expressing the callous mindset of her federal associates, told 60 Minutes that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children from the sanctions were "worth it"?
6. There were the infamous no-fly zones over Iraq, by which U.S. officials continued killing Iraqis with bombs and missiles, even though the zones had never been authorized by either the UN or the U.S. Congress.
7. U.S. troops were knowingly and deliberately stationed on Islamic holy lands, in utter disregard for religious sensibilities of Muslims. In fact, is it not easier to understand the depth of the adverse Muslim reaction to the stationing of U.S. troops in those areas given the recent adverse reactions to U.S. military abuse of the Koran and to the publication of the cartoons mocking Mohammed? Does anyone honestly believe that U.S. officials were unaware of the potential for such adverse reaction when they stationed U.S. troops in those areas?
8. The U.S. government invaded and waged a war of aggression against Iraq under false and deceptive claims regarding weapons of mass destruction and then continued a brutal military occupation of the country under the deceptive rubric of "spreading democracy." The invasion and occupation have killed and maimed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi people - innocent in the sense that neither they nor their government ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so.
9. U.S. military and paramilitary forces tortured, sexually abused, raped, and murdered Iraqi men taken into custody. What better way to turn anger into rage than to knowingly and deliberately humiliate Iraqi men in such a manner rather than treat them like men and soldiers entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention, especially given that most of them were doing nothing worse than defending their nation against an illegal invasion and war of aggression by a foreign power?
10. The U.S. government has long provided unconditional financial and military support to the Israeli government as well as foreign aid to such pro-U.S. authoritarian regimes as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt.
When someone is trying to kill you, it's of course important to defend yourself. But it's also important to try to figure out why he's trying to kill you. After all, if you're doing something wrong that has gotten him angry, then isn't it better to simply stop committing the wrongful act? In that case, his anger might dissipate, and he might even no longer want to kill you.
Today, there are Americans who cry, "It's too late. They already hate us and will always hate us and so we've got to keep killing them before they kill us."
But unless the entire Middle East is nuked, it is impossible to kill "all of them" because there will always be brothers, sisters, cousins, parents, children, grandchildren, or just friends of the dead who will seek vengeance.
Muslim papers rage at UK Iraq abuse: The scandals of torture in Iraq are returning to TV screens and newspaper headlines... It is possible that the British prime minister's statement recalls the statements of American officials after the Abu Ghraib scandals and that his promise to launch an investigation will be no better than the investigation carried out by the Americans.
- ALI QASIM IN SYRIA'S AL-THAWRAH
It seems that the Anglo-American occupation forces need to build more detention camps and prisons in which the ugliest crimes against humanity are practised so that they can carry out their mission to impose their democratic lessons on the Iraqis, who do not want to learn and are resisting by all means this savage occupation of their country.
- EDITORIAL IN EGYPT'S AL-JUMHURIYAH
The published pictures of British soldiers... demonstrate the extent of the black grudge harboured by those occupiers against our kinsfolk in Iraq.
- NAWWAF ABD-AL-HAJA IN JORDAN'S AL-DUSTUR
The videotape which shows British soldiers occupying Iraq savagely attacking unarmed Iraqi youngsters... reveals the scale of the lie which they have used to humiliate Iraq's young people... It is clear that this cowardly act is not an individual or isolated case.
- ALI TU'AYMAT IN QATAR'S AL-WATAN
Let us pray that the world will not forget the pictures of British soldiers heavily beating, kicking and slapping teenage Iraqi boys. This happened not a century ago but barely 48 hours ago.
- AHMAD DAHBUR IN PALESTINIAN AL-HAYAT AL-JADIDAH
It turns out British and US troops have treated prisoners of war in exactly the same way... The scandals of Abu Ghraib I and II have, in principle, shown that big countries such as the US and Britain always do as they please on any battlefield. The moral statements in the name of democracy that the two countries have delivered on various occasions are merely persuasive propaganda to justify their brutal political practices towards other, weak countries.
- INDONESIA'S JAWA POS
It is now the duty of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to lodge a strong protest against this brutality, and it would be better for the UK government to confess its troops' excesses and apologise to the Iraqi people, in addition to severely punishing the soldiers responsible.
- PAKISTAN'S MASHRIQ
In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency: Middle East Report N°50 by the International Crisis Group:
Political Strategies [excerpt]:
Crisis Group has not uncovered a statement in which an insurgent organisation explicitly and unambiguously acknowledged that it or any other group was waging a strategy of ethnic or sectarian-based conflict. To the extent documents have been put forward by Western officials or media, the relevant insurgent groups have openly and swiftly challenged them.
Likewise, Crisis Group could not find a videotaped execution in which the victim was killed exclusively on account of his religious or ethnic affiliation. Despite otherwise comprehensive claims of responsibility, none of these groups takes credit for bombings targeting Shiites as Shiites (e.g, attacks against mosques or worshippers). This applies in particular to Zarqawi's group, which has systematically denied the accusation. Instead, Tandhim al-Qa'ida and other insurgents regularly claim that their intended victims are members of the Badr Corps, spies, or applicants for security sector jobs - information that the U.S. and the Iraqi government are accused of deliberately concealing.
In sum, while disagreements undoubtedly exist, and policies also likely differ, all insurgent groups take a similar public stand, adamantly rejecting the notion that they are deliberately stoking sectarian tensions.Communication Strategies [excerpt]:
On an issue that has prompted considerable speculation among Western observers - whether some insurgent groups are open to negotiations with the U.S. and Iraqi authorities - the armed opposition is also, at a minimum, displaying considerable surface unity. Despite repeated and, in recent months, increased reporting regarding such contacts, no armed group so far has even hinted in its media outlets at the possibility of negotiations. On the contrary, they repeatedly denounce and target individuals or parties claiming to enjoy close contact with the insurgency and to be serving as mediators or to speak on behalf of Sunni Arabs while participating in the political process. In their public pronouncements, all insurgent groups not only categorically reject any cooperation with the occupier, but castigate it as the ultimate form of dishonour. Recent reports of negotiations between the U.S. and more "nationalistic" groups aimed at countering jihadists appear questionable; although some forms of communication cannot be excluded, one would expect that any serious, protracted discussions would be reflected in insurgent communications (preparing the ground for an overt policy shift) and give rise to some form of criticism between groups.
Full report in Word format
Full report in pdf format
[Thanks Helena for the link]
Three things to remember: 1: Problem, Reaction, Solution. Create a problem, ( 9-11, shoe bombers, angry out of control Muslims, burning churches, etc.), get the reaction, (shock, anger, fear, etc.), and , provide a solution, (more spying on the American people, continuation of the Patriot act, bombing , invading, and occupying countries that harbor terrorists, etc.)
2: Who benefits. Ask "who benefits" from all of these events. Is it the Muslim people who have been provoked to anger , OR , people who can take control of other countries resources and use their land as permanent military bases, all the while, making billions of dollars for the military Industrial Complex, and "Big Oil".
3: Follow the Money. When you see where all the American tax dollars finally end up after Congress and the President approve the budget , then you will understand the reasons behind all war and terror, or, as they say in the "business": Order out of chaos.
Amnesty International Annual Lecture by Noam Chomsky: I have been writing about terror for 25 years, ever since the Reagan administration declared its War on Terror. I've been using definitions that seem to be doubly appropriate: first, they make sense; and second, they are the official definitions of those waging the war. To take one of these official definitions, terrorism is "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature...through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear," typically targeting civilians. The British government's definition is about the same: "Terrorism is the use, or threat, of action which is violent, damaging or disrupting, and is intended to influence the government or intimidate the public and is for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, or ideological cause." These definitions seem fairly clear and close to ordinary usage. There also seems to be general agreement that they are appropriate when discussing the terrorism of enemies.
But a problem at once arises. These definitions yield an entirely unacceptable consequence: it follows that the US is a leading terrorist state, dramatically so during the Reaganite war on terror. Merely to take the most uncontroversial case, Reagan's state-directed terrorist war against Nicaragua was condemned by the World Court, backed by two Security Council resolutions (vetoed by the US, with Britain politely abstaining). Another completely clear case is Cuba, where the record by now is voluminous, and not controversial. And there is a long list beyond them.
We may ask, however, whether such crimes as the state-directed attack against Nicaragua are really terrorism, or whether they rise to the level of the much higher crime of aggression. The concept of aggression was defined clearly enough by Justice Jackson at Nuremberg in terms that were basically reiterated in an authoritative General Assembly resolution. An "aggressor," Jackson proposed to the Tribunal, is a state that is the first to commit such actions as "Invasion of its armed forces, with or without a declaration of war, of the territory of another State," or "Provision of support to armed bands formed in the territory of another State, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the invaded State, to take in its own territory, all the measures in its power to deprive those bands of all assistance or protection." The first provision unambiguously applies to the US-UK invasion of Iraq. The second, just as clearly, applies to the US war against Nicaragua. However, we might give the current incumbents in Washington and their mentors the benefit of the doubt, considering them guilty only of the lesser crime of international terrorism, on a huge and unprecedented scale.
It may also be recalled the aggression was defined at Nuremberg as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole" - all the evil in the tortured land of Iraq that flowed from the US-UK invasion, for example, and in Nicaragua too, if the charge is not reduced to international terrorism. And in Lebanon, and all too many other victims who are easily dismissed on grounds of wrong agency - right to the present. A week ago (January 13), a CIA predator drone attacked a village in Pakistan, murdering dozens of civilians, entire families, who just happened to live in a suspected al-Qaeda hideout. Such routine actions elicit little notice, a legacy of the poisoning of the moral culture by centuries of imperial thuggery.
There are ways to deal constructively with the threat of terror, though not those preferred by "bin Laden's indispensable ally," or those who try to avoid the real world by striking heroic poses about Islamo-fascism, or who simply claim that no proposals are made when there are quite straightforward proposals that they do not like. The constructive ways have to begin with an honest look in the mirror, never an easy task, always a necessary one.
No conflict of interest?: I have to chuckle at the incongruous nature of another unfolding drama, that being the trial of Saddam Hussein. We Americans sit back and wave a scolding finger at the former Iraqi dictator, chiding him for the crime of brutally suppressing those who attempted to assassinate him in 1982 in the village of Dujail (an assassination attempt no one has said did not take place), all the while ignoring the fact that we bombed Iraq in June 1993 using as justification an alleged assassination attempt.
If the Kuwaiti government, with the help of some anti-Saddam elements in the U.S. government, cooks up a scheme where they fabricate an assassination attempt against a former president in an effort to keep American policy regarding Iraq "on track," there is not a flicker of concern from the hypermoralistic citizens of the United States. However, woe be it to the dictator who survives an attempt on his life from a village whose leadership had been infiltrated by agents of a nation with which he was at the time locked in a life-or-death struggle and then seeks accountability from those responsible.
This, it appears, is a crime of horrific proportions, so big that it currently stands as the only one Saddam Hussein has been tried for. It doesn't matter much to the "law and order" society in America that the pro-Iranian group, the Dawa Party, which planned and executed the failed assassination attempt in 1982, now occupies the highest position of power in Iraq (Ibrahim Jafari, the current Iraqi Prime Minister, was the president of Dawa) and is responsible for carrying out justice against Saddam. No conflict of interest here, or so it would seem for most Americans.
CHENEY'S GOT A GUN
Scandal fatigue: Peter Daou points to a disturbing trend Americans currently face: scandal fatigue. Daou recalls a blog entry written by Steve Benen which chronicled Bush-related scandals that had occurred in the span of one week. Daou writes,
Each of these stories constitutes a full-blown crisis that would have caused a massive firestorm for any other administration. But a cursory glance at the online editions of national papers and news outlets as well as a scan of the major cable news nets would lead you to believe that the most important piece of news today is that a British man accused of killing his wide and child will return to the U.S. to face trial.Our senses are being overloaded, our levels of outrage have peaked. But then in comes Cheney's trigger-happy hunting foray. Suddenly, a nation's attention is united. So, are we being distracted from the real news? The continuing defense of illegal warrantless wiretaps, FEMA's scandalous response to Katrina, force-feeding at Guantanamo, former CIA officials pointing to improper use of intelligence, or being fired for opposing torture, Cheney's involvement in the Libby leak, the budget.
It's hard to wrap your mind around this kind of inhumanity and egregious leadership. There's just no rationalizing it and it's hard to see any immediate end to it. No laughs there. But Cheney shooting a lawyer? Hilarity ensues. There's an almost slumber party slap-happiness to the jokes. You find yourself giggling even before Jon Stewart gets to the punchline. You were waiting to laugh. And I think this reaction has everything to do with the American public having some sense of the level of scandal that surrounds this administration. Give us something human to hate and to mock.
Daou's point is well made: Once journalists, activists, and politicians (who give a damn) discover a scandal, it is their responsibilty to follow through, to push it to its "ultimate conclusion." Along with vigilance to the facts, it's also important to focus on the (in)humans behind these scandals. That's what makes them real, that's what makes allegations stick.
The Czech novelist Milan Kundera says that, "He learned he could recognize a person who was not a Stalinist by his laughter -- the ability to laugh was a sign that someone could be trusted, for it signified irreverence, a refusal to take history and its policemen seriously. Ever since then, he says, he has been 'terrified by a world that is losing its sense of humor.'"
There's no shame in reveling in Cheney's front-page blunder. Just as long as you turn to page A12 to find out what's really going on.
Like in a Tarrantino movie: I imagine that Cheney and the President have hunted together. What would have happened if Cheney had shot the President? I think if he shot Bush this way, Bush isn't 78 and he's in pretty good shape, and he's kinda macho. I think he would've gotten up and shot Cheney back. And I think they would've started blasting each other like in a Tarrantino movie.
Was Cheney boozing it up?: Yes. Cheney told Fox News host Brit Hume that he drank beer before he went out hunting: "We'd taken a break at lunch -- go down under an old -- ancient oak tree there on the place and have a barbecue. I had a beer at lunch. After lunch we take a break, go back to ranch headquarters. Then we took about an hourlong tour of ranch, with a ranch hand driving the vehicle, looking at game. We didn't go back into the field to hunt quail until about, oh, sometime after 3 p.m." Cheney contended that no one in his hunting party had been drinking during the hunt.
Ranch host Katharine Armstrong at first denied there was any drinking going on: "No, zero, zippo, and I don't drink at all," she said. "No one was drinking." Later, Armstrong was described as saying that "no one that day was drinking, although she sa[id] there may have been beer available during a picnic lunch that preceded the incident," and quoted as saying," There may be a beer or two in there. But remember not everyone in the party was shooting." Those quotes were later scrubbed by the reporting agency, MSNBC, from its website.
According to the AP, "Gilbert San Miguel, chief deputy sheriff for Kenedy County, said his department's investigation had found that alcohol was not a factor in the shooting, but he would not elaborate about how that had been determined." But the importance of this tidbit is rather debatable, considering that San Miguel and his fellow officers didn't interview Cheney until Sunday morning, long after Cheney shot Whittington.
In his early life, Dick Cheney was convicted of two DWIs in an eight-month span.
IRAN AND BEYOND
Bush plans huge propaganda campaign in Iran: The Bush administration made an emergency request to Congress yesterday for a seven-fold increase in funding to mount the biggest ever propaganda campaign against the Tehran government, in a further sign of the worsening crisis between Iran and the west.
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said the $75m (£43m) in extra funds, on top of $10m already allocated for later this year, would be used to broadcast US radio and television programmes into Iran, help pay for Iranians to study in America and support pro-democracy groups inside the country.
Iran's new friends:When the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna voted to refer Iran's energy case to the United Nations Security Council earlier this month, there were three notable "no" votes. One was from Syria, a predictable supporter of Iran. The other two were from Cuba and Venezuela, two leftist and anti-American regimes that Iran has shown special interest in cultivating. A third nation in Latin America that has attracted the attention of Iran is Bolivia, which recently installed a leftist president, Evo Morales.
These efforts are presumably part of an Iranian campaign to strengthen its relationships with developing nations that might rally to Iran's side as it fends off American and European efforts to halt its nuclear development program.