Monday, March 13, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, March 13, 2006
Photo: The business card of Ali Shalal Qaissi, an Abu Ghraib torture victim, and the advocacy group for former prisoners that he helped start.
Bring 'em on: U.S. soldier dies of wounds from roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad.
Bring 'em on: U.S. marine killed by "enemy combat action" in Anbar province.
Bring 'em on: Anti-tank rockets, handguns fired on Danish troops patrolling near Al Hartha outside Basra. No casualties reported.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Up to six car bombs rip through east Sadr City neighborhood, killing 46 people and wounding 204.
Four hanged men dangling from electricity pylons found in Sadr city, hours after car bombs and mortars shells ripped through teeming market streets, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 200. [see above.]
Bodies of four people found in eastern Sadr city district of the capital. They had been shot and there were signs of torture.
Four policemen and six civilians wounded when roadside bomb hits police patrol in central Baghdad.
Bodies of two men, with hands tied and shot in the head, found in sewage system of a southeastern Baghdad suburb.
Two civilians killed and four wounded by explosion of car bomb targeting U.S. military convoy in southern Baghdad.
Child killed and three people wounded when mortar round lands on house in Shula district of Baghdad.
Nine people wounded, including four Iraqi police officers, by roadside bomb near Iraqi police patrol in southern Baghdad.
Car bomb apparently targeting U.S. military convoy misses, wounds four civilians in Harthiye neighborhood.
Members of security company fire on vehicle in central Baghdad, killing two guards for Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi.
Two police officers killed and four wounded in two separate car bomb attacks targeting police patrols in Kirkuk.
One person killed and six wounded when roadside bomb goes off in Taji, about 20 km north of Baghdad.
Governor of Iraq's Salahaddin province survives unhurt car bomb attack on his convoy in Tikrit. Five of his bodyguards seriously wounded.
Five people killed and 18 wounded when bomb targeting a police patrol explodes in Tikrit.
Five policemen killed and 15 injured in roadside bomb explosion as police respond to false report of bodies inside store in Tikrit. A civilian bystander was also killed.
One civilian killed and three wounded when roadside bomb targeting police patrol goes off in Iskandariya, south of Baghdad.
Al-Sadr describes US, Israel and Britain as "Triad of Evil" in television interview: Speaking on state-run Iraqiya television, the anti-American al-Sadr also said last month's attack on a Shi'ite shrine in the central city of Samarra was carried "in collusion with the occupiers and the Zionist Entity of Israel," meaning for the U.S. and Israel.
"Those who carry arms could be takfiri [Sunni Muslim] extremists, Saddamists or others. But those who control arms are the Triad of Evil that are Israel, America and Britain," said the black-turbaned cleric during the one-hour interview.
"The candidate for prime minister must demand the withdrawal of the occupiers, or put a timetable for their pullout. I don't support any person who does not say that," al-Sadr declared. "What is important is that the occupiers leave because they are behind what is happening in Iraq."
"Putting a timetable on foreign troop withdrawal represents a victory for Iraqis not for terrorists," he said.
Former Iraqi judge acknowledges sentencing 148 Shiites to death, insists they were given trial and confessed trying to assassinate Saddam: The question of the Shiites' prosecution is a key point in the trial of Saddam Hussein and seven former members of his regime. The eight are charged with killing the Shiites, as well as illegal imprisonment and torture of hundreds of others - including women and children - in a crackdown launched against the town of Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt against Saddam.
Saddam has admitted that he ordered the trial of the 148 before his Revolutionary Court. But he said he had the right to do so because they were accused in the attempt to kill him. Prosecutors have said the trial was "imaginary," that the 148 did not even appear before the Revolutionary Court that sentenced them to death.
Occupation-backed Iraqi group claims to kill five top Al-Qaeda/Zarqawi lieutenants: The claim came in a statement posted on an Islamic Web site and attributed to the Anbar Revenge Brigade, recently formed by tribal leaders of the western Anbar province.
"Your brothers, heroes of the Revenge Brigade, carried out the killing of five important elements of al-Qaida group, avenging the death of the sons of our Ramadi city," the statement said. It listed the names of four alleged al-Qaida leaders. The fifth man, it said, was from Ansar al-Sunnah, a terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida.
The claim was the first Internet posting by the Anbar Revenge Brigades and could not be independently verified.
U.S. should pull troops from Iraq after this summer if political conditions do not improve, says top Democrat Senator: Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who is aiming for the 2008 presidential race, said the Iraqis must have a constitution that unites fighting factions of the society or "it's game over." "We can't want peace in Iraq more than the Iraqis want it," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We can't want it more than they want it. And if they don't step up to the ball, we're going to be gone."
Biden said if knew what he knows now when Congress voted on the Iraq war resolution, he would have opposed it. "This has been a debacle," he said.
Rove Says Troops Will Remain In Iraq: President Bush's top political adviser says the administration will not pull American troops out ofIraq until victory is won.
Karl Rove made the comment Saturday at Bowling Green State University. He spoke at a Republican fundraiser hosted by Representative Paul Gillmore, from northwest Ohio. Rove says abandoning Iraq now would signal to US allies that America can't be trusted.
Britain to cut forces in Iraq by 10 percent - a reduction of about 800 troops - by May because Iraqi security forces are becoming more capable of handling security, Defense Secretary John Reid said Monday.
"Security incident" at Baghdad airport prompts U.S. embassy to bar employees from using commercial flights: Unconfirmed reports from private security contractors in the Iraqi capital said explosives had been found before they were loaded onto a commercial airline flight on Saturday. But Iraq's Transport Ministry flatly denied any such incident took place. The British-based firm which runs security at the airport said it would issue a statement later.
"As the result of a recent security incident at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP), the U.S. Embassy is prohibiting outgoing travel by all U.S. government employees on commercial airlines departing BIAP until further notice," the embassy said in a consular notice distributed in Baghdad.
Transport Ministry spokesman Ahmed Moussawi said: "No explosives were found. This report is untrue ... Nothing happened."
Iraqi minister tells US to stop meddling: In a remarkable broadside against the US, Mr [Abdul Karim al-Enzy, National Security Minister] charged that it was deliberately slowing Iraq's redevelopment because of a self-serving agenda that included oil and the "war on terror".
The attack came as the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, told a Senate inquiry in Washington that Iraq's political leaders needed "to recognise the seriousness of the situation and form a government of national unity that will govern from the centre, and to do it in a reasonably prompt manner".
To that end, US diplomats have demanded a more generous sharing of key portfolios among Iraq's religious and ethnic populations than the dominant Shiite religious parties are willing to concede. In particular, they are urging the dismissal of the hardline Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr.
But in an interview with the Herald, Mr Enzy snapped: "The last time I checked, Bayan Jabr was Interior Minister of Iraq - not of the US or the UN. He is one of our best and this is interference in our business."
Mr Enzy argued that if the US-led coalition in Iraq had been more serious about rebuilding the country's security forces in the first year of the occupation, it could now be making substantial cuts in foreign troop numbers in Iraq. "We don't want foreign forces here, but it's impossible for them to leave now, because we're on the edge of civil war," he said.
"The truth is the Americans don't want us to reach the levels of courage and competence needed to deal with the insurgency because they want to stay here. They came for their own strategic interests. A lot of the world's oil is in this region and they want to use Iraq as a battlefield in the war on terror because they believe they can contain the terrorism in Iraq."
The minister's spiel was symptomatic of a rising anti-American sentiment among Iraq's Shiite majority. Mr Enzy said many Iraqis believed the US wanted civil war in the hope it would break the power of the religious parties still struggling to form a government.
"This is not the view of the Government; it is street talk. But it could be why the coalition forces are being targeted in the [Shiite areas] of the south and east."
The Iraqi Resistance: Professionals at work:
March 06, 2006 By Greg Grant, Special to the Army Times [Excerpts]
Each network concentrates its operations in a small geographic area such as a neighborhood or village, allowing each to focus on a specific U.S. unit and quickly learn its tactics and procedures.
"This fight changes every day," said Army Capt. Stephen Capeheart, an intelligence officer with the 3rd Infantry Division. "The enemy will change itself within 48 hours." The insurgents "take note of our patrols and shift their operations where we're not as visible on a continuous basis," said Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin of the 3rd ID. "Once they see our snipers or detect a presence, they move to another area and then wait and wait and wait until we're not around and then infiltrate back in. They're very patient."
Those cells also shadow future assassination victims, such as Iraqi army and police officers. "The cell will sometimes spend weeks reconning the target to determine patterns and make sure they get it right," Conkle said. "We've even had reports that they're taxi drivers; they pick up the Iraqi security force guy and take him to his house so they know where he lives."
IEDs are built at factories in small villages that ring Baghdad and smuggled into the city, where a few large suppliers sell them to insurgent networks. Insurgents "have a system in place where they store their munitions in hidden caches until they're ready to bring them into the city," Crombe said.
The IED cell that places and detonates the bomb includes a lookout, a triggerman and an emplacer. The emplacer is one of the most valued members, because experience is required to produce the maximum casualties and damage. This cell also often has a rifleman with an AK47. "When the triggerman detonates the IED and gunners (in U.S. Humvees) swivel in to track them, the cell's rifleman fires a few rounds to distract the gunners," Conkle said.U.S. Combat Officers Slap Down Rumsfeld's' Lies:
No, They're Not "Foreign Fighters"
Yes, They're "Pissed Off Iraqis"
Yes, "They Have An Infinite Supply Of Replacements"
No, They're Not Just "Sunni"Why are Marines Training in US Neighborhoods?: The Toledo Blade is reporting that the US Marine Corps is again conducting urban warfare training exersizes in the streets of the USA, this time attacking downtown office buildings in Toledo, Ohio.
Are we to believe that this is to help them in their imperial mission overseas? That downtown office buildings in Ohio more closely resemble the terrain in Iraq than custom built taxpayer set pieces on the hundreds of bases around this country? Or is it simply that they want the soldiers and citizens to get used to seeing each other in such circumstances?
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The Progress Myth in Iraq: I'm sorry, I know we are not allowed to use the V-word in relation to Iraq, because so many brilliant neo-cons have assured us this war is nothing like Vietnam (Vietnam, lotsa jungle; Iraq lotsa sand-big differences). But you must admit that press conferences with Donny Rum are wonderfully reminiscent of the Five O'Clock Follies, those wacky but endearing daily press briefings on Southeast Asia by military officers who made Baghdad Bob sound like a pessimist.
Rumsfeld's performance was so reminiscent of all the times the military in Vietnam blamed the media for reporting "bad news'" when there was nothing else to report. A briefing officer once memorably asked the press, "Who's side are you on?" The answer is what it's always been: We root for America, but our job is to report as accurately as we can what the situation is.
You could rely on other sources. For example, the Pentagon is still investigating itself to find out why it is paying American soldiers to make up good news about the war, which it then passes on to a Republican public relations firm, which in turn pays people in the Iraqi media to print the stuff-thus fooling the Iraqis or somebody. When last heard from, the general in charge of investigating this federally funded Baghdad Bobism said he hadn't found anything about it to be illegal yet, so it apparently continues.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told the Los Angeles Times Iraq is "really vulnerable" to civil war if there is another attack like the al-Askari bombing. By invading, said Khalilzad, the United States has "opened the Pandora's box" of sectarian strife in Iraq.
Could I suggest something kind of grown-up? Despite Rumsfeld's rationalizing, we are in a deep pile of poop here, and we're best likely to come out of it OK by pulling together. So could we stop this cheap old McCarthyite trick of pretending that correspondents who are in fact risking their lives and doing their best to bring the rest of us accurate information are somehow disloyal or connected to al-Qaida?
Wrong, yes, of course they could be wrong. But there is now a three-year record of who has been right about what is happening in Iraq, Rumsfeld or the media. And the score is: Press-1,095, Rumsfeld-zero.
"When I left we were winning": It may surprise most in the media to learn that the U.S. has now been waging war in Iraq for precisely the same length of time that passed between the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1965 and the humbling of President Lyndon Johnson at the polls that led him to promise to exit the White House in 1968.
As a survivor of the late-1960s, I can recall that three years sure seemed like a long time THEN, as the Vietnam war escalated. Yet the months and years slip by now, with the daily deaths and other carnage in Iraq seemingly occurring in slow motion, while newspapers refuse to cry, "enough!"
Perhaps they need to be reminded that many more years passed after that LBJ turning point before the killing ended--and that the majority of the 55,000 Americans who died in Vietnam were lost in that drawn out when-will-it-ever-end finish.
I was reminded of all this today by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's reply at a Senate hearing, when asked what would happen if a real civil war did break out in Iraq (something our own ambassador almost promised earlier this week). "The plan is to prevent a civil war and, to the extent one were to occur, to have the Iraqi security forces deal with it, to the extent they are able to," he said.
Of course, we all know "the extent they are able to." Good morning, Vietnam.
Gen. Peter Pace told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" this week that, contrary to much evidence, things were actually "going well" in Iraq, adding, inanely, "though I wouldn't put a smiley face on it." This is the man who chairs the Joint Chiefs.
Rumsfeld will leave his post in a little less than three years, and his war (civil or not) will quite likely still rage. I can imagine him looking back and saying, in a haunting echo of those old Vietnam veteran bumper stickers: "I don't know what happened. When I left we were winning."
THREE YEARS AFTER THE INVASION
Iraq is not a mess. It is a disaster: As the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the wall of denial around the British government has started to crack. Kim Howells, the Foreign Office minister, admitted yesterday that the country that Tony Blair wants as a beacon, model and catalyst of democracy in the Middle East is "a mess". It is a rather mild, domesticated word for the daily slaughter of incipient civil war.
The discovery last week of the body of Tom Cox, the American hostage kidnapped along with Norman Kember, the Briton, last November, might help to bring the horror home to the American and British people. But it is the raised level of casualties among Iraqis that is the true measure of the "mess" for which George Bush and Mr Blair bear responsibility. According to Iraq Body Count, the average daily death toll rose from 20 in the first year of the occupation to 31 in the second and 36 in the third. We make these points not to rehearse old arguments about the wisdom of the invasion. As Sir Menzies Campbell, the new Liberal Democrat leader, writes on page 39 today, what matters now is that we learn from the mistakes of Iraq. "Coalition strategy on Iraq, both pre- and post-conflict, has followed a flawed pattern: a reliance on force; a belief that ends justify means; and a disregard for the lessons of history." The result is not a "mess", Mr Howells. It is an unforgivable disaster.
Iraq: The reckoning:
PERSONAL FREEDOM AND SECURITY
Iraqis have gained freedom of speech, with many new newspapers and TV channels, but the secular middle classes increasingly fear Islamist militias. Hundreds of thousands of the better-off have fled the country.
"The future of Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. After years of dictatorship, Iraq will soon be liberated. For the first time in decades, Iraqis will soon choose their own representative government. Coalition military operations are progressing and will succeed. We will eliminate the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, deliver humanitarian aid, and secure the freedom of the Iraqi people. We will create an environment where Iraqis can determine their own fate democratically and peacefully."
- Joint statement by George Bush and Tony Blair, 8 April 2003
"Not only has the Iraqi government failed to provide minimal protection for its citizens, it has pursued a policy of rounding up and torturing innocent men and women. Its failure to punish those who have committed torture has added to the breakdown of the rule of law."
- Amnesty International, 9 March 2006
14,000 prisoners still being held in Iraq by coalition forces at the end of November 2005.
It seemed a reasonable assumption that Iraq's oil industry, crippled by sanctions, could swiftly be revived after the invasion, but the insurgency has wrecked those hopes. Incompetence in the Coalition Provisional Authority and lack of security have also ruined reconstruction, with basic services almost all in a worse state than before the war, despite billions of dollars in investment.
"We reaffirm our commitment to protect Iraq's natural resources, as the patrimony of the people of Iraq, which should be used only for their benefit."
- Blair and Bush, 8 April 2003
"Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is a rather wealthy country. Iraq has tremendous resources that belong to the Iraqi people. And so there are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction."
- White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, 18 February 2003
"The US never intended to completely rebuild Iraq. This was just supposed to be a jump-start."
- Brigadier General William McCoy, Army Corps of Engineers commander, January 2006
$9bn of US taxpayers' money unaccounted for in Iraq.
Fears of civil war are increasing as Iraqi politicians wrangle over the formation of a government nearly three months after the election. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, detested by Sunni politicians because of his links to Shia militias, refuses to stand aside so that a unity government can be formed.
"Having liberated Iraq as promised, we will help that country to found a just and representative government, as promised. Our goal is a swift transition to Iraqi control of their own affairs. People of Iraq will be secure, and the people of Iraq will run their own country."
- George Bush, 1 July 2003
"The Prime Minister and I have made our choice: Iraq will be free; Iraq will be independent; Iraq will be a peaceful nation; and we will not waver in the face of fear and intimidation."
- Joint Bush and Blair statement, 16 April 2004
"Almost three years after the invasion, it is still not certain whether, or in what sense, Iraq is a nation. And after two elections and a referendum on the constitution, Iraq barely has a government."
- Conservative US columnist George Will, March 2006
86 days since the Iraqi people voted on 15 December 2005, without a government being formed.
The coalition authorities admit that much of the insurgency is fuelled by a lack of economic opportunity. While the occupation has brought more money to some, mainly in Baghdad, life has been made more difficult for most by shortages of water and power, sky-high prices - and the ever-present danger of violent death.
"Our progress has been uneven but progress is being made. We are improving roads and schools and health clinics and working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity and water. And together with our allies, we will help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens."
- George Bush, 27 June 2005
"The Iraqi people are suffering from a desperate lack of jobs, housing, health care and electricity ... If you compare this to the situation in the 1980s, you will see a major deterioration of the situation."
- Barham Saleh (planning minister) in 'Living conditions in Iraq 2004', a survey by Iraqi authorities and UN
"Although a large percentage in Iraq is connected to water, electricity and sewage networks, the supply is too unstable to make a difference to their lives."
- Staffan de Mistura, UNDP representative, May 2005
5.2 average number of hours of electricity in Baghdad homes
ARMY AND POLICE REFORM
The new Iraqi army and police force is one of the most controversial and secretive aspects of the occupation. Apart from doubts about the loyalty and effectiveness of troops trained by the coalition, there are fears that police and paramilitaries are functioning as death squads.
"As the Iraqi security forces stand up, the confidence of the Iraqi people is growing - and Iraqis are providing the vital intelligence needed to track down the terrorists."
- Bush at US naval academy, 30 November 2005
"Many cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees held in facilities controlled by the Iraqi authorities have been reported since the handover of power in June 2004. Among other methods, victims have been subjected to electric shocks or have been beaten with plastic cable. The picture that is emerging is one in which the Iraqi authorities are systematically violating the rights of detainees in breach of guarantees contained both in Iraqi legislation and in international law and standards."
- Amnesty International, March 2006
60 battalions in the reconstituted Iraqi army are Shia, outnumbering the 45 Sunni and three Kurdish battalions.
THE DEATH TOLL
37,589 maximum number of civilian deaths since the Iraq invasion in 2003, according to Iraq Body Count, which bases its estimates on media reports. The minimum figure it gives for the same period is 33,489
100,000 the estimate of civilian deaths since the invasion, published in 'The Lancet' in the autumn of 2004, based on statistical analysis
2,306 US military deaths since the invasion
16,653 US military personnel wounded in action since the invasion
103 British military deaths since the invasion. Figures for British wounded are not available
103 other coalition military deaths since the invasion
1,110 highest monthly total of bodies brought into Baghdad mortuary during the past 12 months. The lowest figure was 780
100,000 estimate of civilian deaths since the invasion, published in the Lancet in the autumn of 2004, Based on statistical analysis
Pope Bush and Cardinal Bishop Blair: The obvious implication of claiming divine intervention is that we should not hold Mr Blair accountable; he is merely a soldier of God - how convenient, in fact he is a real Bliar! Also note, since neither Blair nor Bush is a follower of Islam they are not qualified to earn the title of religious fanatics or extremists or similar terms; even though they hear voices of God telling them attack countries with invisible WMDs but visible oil.
Indeed, God Almighty will judge Blair and everyone in the hereafter. But there is also judgement in this present life, on planet earth. If religions only advocated judgement in the hereafter, then earth would be a paradise for criminals. Like a criminal, fundamentalist Blair is asking everyone to overlook his actions for now and wait for the divine verdict in the next life. It is a pity for Blair and Bush that the medieval Catholic doctrine of cleansing ones sins, and reserving a place in heaven with payments made in gold has been abolished. They would have been so much at ease knowing that they could pay off all their sins on earth.
Now, both Blair and Bush have claimed to have a hotline to God, they are the new self-appointed 'prophets' of God. Did God Almighty communicate to them about the urgency to find WMDs, as they could face danger within 45 minutes? Did God get so desperate for war, He asked Tony to plagiarise and produce a dodgy dossier to convince everyone else? If God inspired Tony and Bush to war, then Abu-Ghraib rapes, torture, executions, Camp-X-Ray incarceration, Fallujah massacre using phosphorus bombs, and the killing of the 100,000 plus civilians, must have been part of God's overall plan, a from of neo-inquisition perhaps. The orphans and the widows in Iraq would see the God of Bush and Tony as the one with two horns! Anyway what happened to that hotline when no WMDs were found in Iraq? Yes, we know the spin - the devil's disciples must have stolen the WMDs out of Iraq into Iran and Syria, yeah right!!!
For decades, the Secular West have been scorning Muslims, for simply referring to Islam in any shape or form, using pejorative terms like fanatics, fundamentalists, extremists, militants etc. Even the most apolitical spiritual Muslim is described in such terms for simply being devout in his or personal capacity, which ironically conforms to the secular interpretation of religion. Yet, now their leaders confess to hearing voices which they are translating as divine communication. For sure you cannot find religious nuts like this in Hamas or Al-Qaeda, none from such organisation have made such fanatical claims.
IRAN UNDER THE GUN
Iran claims US has offered peace talks: A senior Iranian intelligence official showed Channel 4 News a letter in Persian purportedly signed by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador in Baghdad, inviting Iranian representatives to Iraq for talks.
Last November Khalilzad - who speaks Persian and dealt with the Iranians during negotiations over Afghanistan - said he had been authorised by President George W Bush to try to engage Iran and that its co-operation was needed to secure long-term peace in Iraq.
Most of Iraq's senior Shi'ite politicians lived in exile in Iran during the latter years of Saddam Hussein's rule, and the British and the Americans have both accused Iranian elements of arming and training Shi'ite militant groups.
The Iranian official claimed the invitation was renewed two weeks ago, just as America ratcheted up the rhetoric over Iran's nuclear programme.
A source close to the Iranian government said Tehran was open to a meeting but it would have to be in a neutral country. While the Americans would like to limit discussions to Iraq, the Iranians hoped this might eventually enable them to have a dialogue about the nuclear programme.
Facts don't seem to matter in the chilling atmosphere of the terror war: History seems to vanish into the aeries of the House dome. Democrat Tom Lantos asked his "colleagues to imagine this terrorist state [Iran], armed with nuclear weapons, and in possession of large amounts of nuclear weapons material. Even if it did not put these destructive materials up for sale, a nuclear-armed Iran would terrorize and destabilize the entire Middle East."
No Member mentioned Israel, which has invaded several of her neighbors, and has an estimated 200 nuclear weapons. Nor did anyone refer to the fact that only one nation had ever used nuclear weapons. That same nation de-stabilized the Middle East by illegally making war against Iraq.
Déjà Vu: With the US President George Bush's approval ratings hitting new lows with the bottom no where in sight, Iran about to open the first oil bourse priced in Euros on March 20th, 2006 in Teheran, the US Federal Reserve stopping to publish M3 figures (the most reliable indicator on the amount of dollars circulating in the world) only three days later from March 23, 2006 onward, the by-now-familiar pattern of bullying Iran into submission on its nuclear program well on the way, Britain saying that Iran is only months away from a nuke, US Vice President Dick Cheney and America's rep to the UNO John Bolton threatening Iran with all available means from AIPAC forum and the beleaguered Iranian ambassador retorting back with 'let the ball roll', I have distinct feeling of déjà vu.
My apologies in advance if it seems like I am being overly alarmist, but for me the warning bells have started to ring non-stop. The clock has begun to furiously tick away on its final run to H-hour. It is time to revisit the article "The Coming 9/11 for Dummies" written by me in August last year.
The Coming 9/11 for Dummies
Cheney the cornered rat: These must be sobering days for Vice President Dick Cheney as he reflects on recent events from his secret Fortress of Solitude. The latest CBS News poll found that only 18 percent of the public has a favorable view of Cheney. How bad is a rating of 18 percent? According to a quick review of polling archives, it arguably makes Cheney:
- Less popular than former football star O.J. Simpson was after his arrest and trial for murdering his estranged wife and her companion. Three in 10, 29 percent, of all Americans had a favorable view of Simpson in an October 1995 Gallup poll.
- Less popular with Americans than Joseph Stalin is with Russians. In 2003, fully 20 percent said Stalin, blamed for millions of deaths in the former Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s, was a "wise and humane" leader. Thirty-one percent also said they wouldn't object if Uncle Joe came back to rule again, according to surveys conducted by Russian pollsters.
- Far less popular than former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey days after he announced in August 2004 that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with a man and would resign. His job approval rating bumped from 43 to 45 percent.
Milosevic as a cautionary example: Milosevic is dead. He feared he was being poisoned, but he was an old, sick man, and he may have died of heart disease. In any event, the Western Powers behind the victors' justice show trial to which he was being subjected don't come out of this looking good. Either they poisoned him, or, knowing he was ill, they denied him necessary medical care causing his death. The reason to kill him was to avoid having to hear his testimony that all of the things he did were done with the express consent of the same Western Powers behind the show trial. At Dayton, Milosevic was the man 'you could do business with', and they did business with him, including sanctioning the things for which he was being tried, up to the point when it became more convenient to break up Serbia.
Saddam, or the guy they have playing Saddam, is in exactly the same position. He was sponsored by the Western Powers when it was convenient to use a strong and united Iraq for various purposes, including attacking Iran, and cut adrift when it was decided that the Western Powers would prefer a divided Iraq.
For a few years after the Second World War, we lived in a period when people actually believed there was a new era of morality in international affairs. Vestiges of this delusion still exist in the perception that we need to punish war crimes of the type allegedly - and no doubt actually - perpetrated by the likes of Milosevic and Saddam. The trials are partly the automatic exercise of international legal officials who set off like clockwork to enforce their delusions, and partly intended by the victors, in sitting metaphorically in the judges' chairs, as proof that the victors are really the good guys. Since we know the 'good guys' tell the bad guys what to do, up to the point when the 'good guys' tell lies in order to start wars to remove the bad guys, the whole thing is just a joke.
The real 'new world order' may be those countries like Venezuela - with much of South America following - and Iran, and even North Korea, who have seen what is really going on and are no longer willing to play the games dictated by the Americans and the British and their allies. There is absolutely no advantage for countries with lesser power to follow the old protocol, of being used up and then thrown away. It is much better, for democracies and dictators alike, to say 'to hell with you' and simply not engage with the victimizers.
Something must be right with Bush...: I do have an idea of why North Americans voted for Bush; they were motivated primarily by fear.
Whenever one is guided by fear, the irrational and rational blend easily. Fear alone could have given Bush an election that was already in Kerry's hands, and there is no doubt that there was fear pervading US soil the day of elections. Both Bin Laden's video and the continuous reiterations by the mass media of attacks and destructive images, along with those anthrax attacks that came and vanished, so effective and at the same time so ephemeral, helped build an atmosphere adequate not only for Bush's win, but also allowing him to pass the National Security laws; the most far reaching and illegal laws of US history. Today, these laws squash human and civil rights, to include home privacy, freedom of speech, of religion, and academic freedom.. As an example,, in his recent State of the Union, Mr. Bush made public a plan that allows telephone and mail interventions without prior judicial warrant, as declared by US laws. Nevertheless, Bush is only formalizing what was previously being done. It's no surprise that Chavez ironically calls him "Mr. Danger".
This "Mr. Danger" who led his citizens into a war by claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, later acknowledging that he knew that they did not exist. This "Mr. Danger" who created lunar craters in Afghanistan in search of a "never found" Bin Laden. This "Mr. Danger" who has sent young soldiers to kill and be killed in an absurd war. This "Mr. Danger" who has suspicious oil businesses, and also has friends with suspicious oil businesses. There is so much to talk about him, that in my huge ignorance I can't find what's that right with him that he claims to have.
Like Umberto Eco said, we should not pretend that governments are led by philosophers and erudite people, but may rightly expect people with good sense and lucid ideas. Bush demonstrates that is easier and easier for leaders to gain the citizenry's support by means of fear, distrust and hate, and more and more difficult to attain it through sincerity.
Among the minority who still believe that something is right with Bush, the most avid activist is he. We who are a minority according to him but a majority according to simple mathematics, those who live south of the imperial border (maybe in their own belly, as we have been swallowed so long ago), have and breathe another reality, a reality not waiting any magical bushism to camouflage the misery to which we have been directed.
We, Latin-Americans, confirm that something must be right with Mr. George Walker Bush, for in the end, and without him wanting it, he has united more and more people around the globe in solidarity and given them (given us) the clarity to know that Earth should not and will not be annexed to his Majesty Bush's Empire, and that its inhabitants, I mean, us (and the US people excluded and forgotten), deserve and demand respect.
Yes, something must be right with Bush, something wonderful and prodigiously beautiful. The increasing union of people around an achievable hope is the best testimony.
- Ulises Juárez Polanco is a young Nicaraguan writer, columnist and translator.
How Islamic inventors changed the world: From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new exhibition opens ["1001 Inventions: Discover the Muslim Heritage in Our World", currently at the Science Museum in Manchester, UK], Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and identifies the men of genius behind them.
[Invention #4 of the list:]
Various polls have been conducted since 2001 to ascertain the job approval ratings of President George W. Bush. These polls were conducted by leading media giants and other respectable institutions. The names of these organizations are CBS News, Zogby International, Gallup Poll, CNN/USA Today, Fox News, Quinnipic University, PEW Research Center and Associated Press/IPSOS. These results can be reached here.
The respondents were asked the same question since 2001 through to 2005. The question was;
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?"
When averaged out, only 11 % disapproved the President's job handling immediately post-9/11/2001. Almost 50 % disapprove today--an alarming increase of about four and a half times the 2001 count.
The conclusion of the polls is only one i.e. the disapproval rating of the US President's job handling is on a shocking rise.
What exactly has been President George W. Bush's job? Simply put, to push the agenda of his sponsors who would like this century to belong to United States of America in the shape of an Empire with all challenges to it obliterated forcefully-a fact not many Americans were aware of in the year 2001. So in other words the increasing disapproval of the way George W. Bush is handling his Presidential duties is also a direct disapproval of his sponsor's agenda, of which the Americans are now becoming ever more aware.
Now something has to be done to check the distressing trend because very regrettably for the sponsors of George W. Bush, this is happening at an extremely inopportune time for a few awfully simple reasons.
To begin with, the new American Century agenda is just in its launch phase and can be aborted only at great peril to its authors, the neocons, who are also the sponsors of George W. Bush. Secondly, the lead actors in this drama have already crossed the point of no return on this trajectory. It is all the way from now onwards. There is no retreat. Period. So many lies have been told, so many heinous crimes already committed that the choice for the cabal is frighteningly clear. They stick with the plan on the outside chance of becoming American idols or abort it and face definite prospects of having criminal proceedings initiated against them. In other words they have the choice of either becoming heroes or zeros.
Philip Giraldi, a former intelligence officer in the CIA (and DIA), writes in the American Conservative , "In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States."
According to Philip Giraldi, "the United States is developing a plan for the bombing of supposed military targets in Iran, which would include the use of NUCLEAR WEAPONS. The US strike would take place after a 9/11-type terrorist attack on the US. However, the US attack would not depend on Iran actually being involved in the terrorism. In short, the planned attack on Iran would be analogous to the unprovoked attack on Iraq."
Furthermore, the effects of the old 9/11 seem to be waning on the American public because of the relentless onslaught of the alternative media. The London bombings too have not been allowed to have the desired effect of boosting the flagging public support in Britain and United States towards the Empire building exercise. The gallant efforts of the substitute media made sure that the cock and bull stories are finally seen for what these are.
One thing is absolutely clear. The American people have to be brought back on board before the launch of the next phase of the Empire building plan. The next phase has been spelled out clearly by the same people who underwrote phase-1. The Project for New American Century is the alma mater of George W. Bush's sponsors and the womb of the New American Century idea. Its Executive Director himself outlines the future plan in as many words ;
"…lest we forget, one reason the Bush administration promulgated the possibility of military preemption in its strategic doctrine was the fact that, in this day and age, one could not count on timely warning of when states or terrorist groups might be on the verge of obtaining a devastating capability that puts America and its allies in serious danger. With denial and deception capabilities in our adversaries growing, and the seeming holes in U.S. intelligence's collection capabilities, senior policymakers will rarely, if ever, be able to count on getting "date certains" to guide key decisions. All of which returns us to the fact that we have to keep an eye on the bigger picture: What kind of regime is Iran? What is the history we do know of its clandestine nuclear program? What are its avowed aims toward the U.S. and our allies? Why is it developing a ballistic missile warhead capable of delivering a nuclear weapon? And, last, what remains of its ties to and support for terrorists?
None of this means that the U.S. should be planning an attack tomorrow. There are numerous practical problems we would confront in carrying out that decision, even if that were in theory the right one to make. But it does mean that we have no reason to relax, nor can we postpone difficult decisions indefinitely."
Please note that the esteemed Executive Director does not promote an attack on Iran tomorrow. He does not, however, rule out the day after tomorrow either. He also does not want the powers that be to 'relax' and 'postpone difficult decisions indefinitely'.
Thus between tomorrow when he does not advocate the attack on Iran and the day after that he does not rule it out, the American public has to be brought back onboard to go along with the admittedly 'difficult decisions' that cannot be 'postponed indefinitely'.
So what can be done to check the rising trend of disapproval of the President's Job handling rating in the meanwhile? To answer this question, let us first see what were the most apparent reasons for the high approval ratings of the year 2001? These were:
The event of 9/11/2001.
A tidal wave of national and international sympathy post-9/11/2001.
Let us take a cue from the polls cited at the beginning. A whopping 84 % of respondents approved the President's job handling immediately post 9/11/2001, with only 11 % disapproving. If the President's job handling approval ratings have to go back up to that level, a similar event must take place. That is a no-brainer.
One cannot be 'date certain' but another 9/11 seems to be the only option. It is as simple as that. There is one exception though. This coming 9/11 has to be bloodier, more spectacular and more devastating than the earlier 9/11. For not only the emerging doubts in the American public's mind have to be erased but the approval ratings too have to be brought back to the post original 9/11 time for the next phase of Empire building exercise to take off--a double task.
Any ideas that come to mind for the weapon of choice? Any one?
A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn't. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles' feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing - concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It's kind of like 'Xerox'; it's a ubiquitous term. Anybody who is a terrorist is labeled 'al-Qaida.' (But) they're not foreigners, they're Iraqis."
- US Capt. David Conkle, intelligence officer with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq, commenting on how the term "al-Qaida" is now applied to any anti-occupation fighter in Iraq, regardless of affiliation.