Monday, April 17, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, April 17, 2006 Photo: U.S. soldiers break into and search a home belonging to Iraqi citizens in the Shula section of Baghdad April 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg) [See below "Their resources are limited, so they plant IEDs"] Bring ‘em on: Four U.S. Marines were reported killed in fighting west of Baghdad, bringing the U.S. death toll for this month to 47 — compared with 31 for all of March. Bring ‘em on: Car apparently driven by suicide bomber explodes in front of a U.S. observation post in central Iraq, sending up a huge fireball and damaging buildings and cars on a main road. There were no reports of U.S. casualties. The bombing was part of a coordinated attack by insurgents, who fired mortars and RPG's at several sites occupied by Marines in the center of the city. The Marines fired back, and a U.S. Army tank blew off chunks of a mosque minaret. Bring 'em on: About 50 insurgents mounted a brazen attack on Iraqi forces in Baghdad on Monday, prompting U.S. troops to provide support in a battle that lasted seven hours, a U.S. military spokesman said. The guerrillas attacked Iraqi forces in the mostly Sunni Arab district of Adhamiya in northern Baghdad overnight. Five rebels were killed and one member of the Iraqi forces was wounded. There were no U.S. casualties, said the spokesman. "It was quite a battle. It lasted seven hours," he said.
Aadhamiya under Siege (Update): Update 1pm Baghdad - Several people have been killed in violent clashes, Aljazeea TV is reporting. It is confirming that the Iraqi Army has chosen to not interfere. Association of Muslim Scholars leader Abdul Salam Al Kubaisi said the militia backed by Interior Ministry commandos shelled Aadhamiya using mortars. Baghdadiya TV (Iraqi satellite channel) is saying violent clashes have broken out in Aadhamiya after a police station was attacked. Al Iraqiya TV (Iraqi satellite channel) also reported clashes but said the situation was "under control". It provided no further details. Baghdad TV also reported that the situation was "under control", that Iraqi National Guard had calmed the situation after armed groups attacked Adhamiya. The district of Aadhamiya in northern Baghdad has been under siege from armed groups since pre-dawn hours on Monday, sources in Baghdad as well as Aljazeera are reporting. There are conflicted reports as to who attacked the mainly Sunni district. Aljazeera.net is reporting that "According to unnamed police sources, residents of Adhamiya, a stronghold of Sunni insurgents, began fighting to prevent a Shia militia from entering alongside Iraqi security services." "Adhamiya residents have taken up arms to prevent the Shi'ite militia from entering. There are bodies on Omar bin Abdul Aziz street but police forces can't get to the area," the source said." Reuters said: "The sources said the police commandos were accompanied by members of a Shi'ite Muslim militia. Residents of Adhamiya, a stronghold of Sunni insurgents, took up arms to prevent the Shi'ite militia from entering, the sources said." Baghdad Treasure says: Last night's fierce clashes erupted in central Adhamiya started at 1 a.m. when shootings and sounds of explosions broke out the silence of the night. According to my sources, the people of Aadhamiya have begged the Iraqi Army to intervene but it has no responded to their appeals. Updates to come...
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Roadside bomb targets army patrol in central Baghdad, killing a civilian and wounding nine, including some soldiers. Police discover three bodies of blindfolded and handcuffed men in the neighborhood of Shula. Assailants attack police patrol in western Baghdad in drive-by shooting, wounding two policemen. Four gunmen attack Sunni mosque killing a guard in the Adhamiya district. Roadside bomb wounds one policemen in eastern Baghdad. Gunmen kidnapp doctor in the Dora district. Twelve bodies of men shot to death found in Baghdad’s Dura neighborhood. Three corpses were recovered in the Al Shuala district and two more in the Kadimiyah neighborhood. Three engineers abducted in the eastern Al Amin neighborhood. Baqubah: Explosion of bomb hidden in garbage can near market in New Baghdad wounds at least four civilians. In central Baqouba, roadside bombing near medical clinic kills one civilian and wounds two others. Civilian killed and 10-year-old schoolboy wounded when bomb explodes near school in Baqubah. Two male university students killed when gunmen open fire on the bus they were travelling in in Baquba. A girl student was also wounded in the firing. Basra: Gunmen in Basra kidnap three employees of a state-run electrical company on their way to work. Body of Basra policeman kidnapped three days earlier found near Iranian border. Near Basra, gunmen attack a convoy carrying deputy culture minister, who was attending a poetry festival in the region. His bodyguards exchanged fire with the assailants but there were no casualties. Fallujah: US assault on district of Jebail to the south of Fallujah, results in the deaths of three Iraqi civilians and the injury of 10 others Monday. Riyadh: Body of contractor working with U.S. forces found in Riyadh, a town some 60 km southwest of Baghdad. Hawija: Gunmen kill soldier while he was heading to his work in Hawija, 70 km southwest of Kirkuk. Police followed the gunmen and killed one of them. Kirkuk: Civilian killed and two wounded when gunmen open fire on their car on a highway near Kirkuk. Beiji: Tribal leader assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Beiji. The home of Sherif Mohammad Hussein, sheikh of the al-Buguari tribe, was raided at dawn Monday by unidentified armed men who shot the sheikh dead in his bed and then fled. IRAQ NEWS Iraq’s political crisis deepens after leaders cancelled a much-awaited parliament session following their failure to resolve a bitter dispute over the prime minister. Residents of Baghdad complain that curfew hampers access to medical care. REPORTS Second-class citizens in their own country: Concerns that [Iraqi] interpreters could be working with insurgents prompted the US military to severely restrict interpreters' freedoms earlier this year. They live the life of a garrisoned soldier, but they are forbidden many of the luxuries that make life on a US military base tolerable. Cellular phones, e-mail, satellite TV, computers, video game consoles, CD players, cameras, the weight room, and even the swimming pool are all off limits. Entering the mess hall, interpreters alone are singled out and searched at every meal. They are not allowed to take food to-go for fear they might be feeding an insurgent who is on the base illegally. Some commanders take their interpreters' national ID cards so they can't leave the base without permission. While bans on cellphones are easy to defend, other rules seem hard to justify to many. "It doesn't make any sense at all," says Sgt. Matthew Chipman, from Beardstown, Ill., who is in charge of the interpreters for the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team's 2-1 Battalion, stationed in Mosul. "What are they going to do, send information through the weights or through the swimming pool?" Such rules demonstrate why the US effort here leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of so many Iraqis who find themselves treated as second-class citizens in their own country. And it's not just interpreters who suffer the indignity of US suspicions. At an air base in Mosul, civilian contractors, soldiers, and Western journalists are given beds and allowed to walk around freely while they wait for flights. Meanwhile, a squad of Iraqi police traveling on a US military flight sleeps on rocks in a fenced-in pen, guarded by US soldiers. An uncomfortable bus journey in Baghdad: Settling on a seat just next to the slide door of the Kia minibus at the Nahdha bus garage in Baghdad, I lit a cigarette and started fiddling with the cell phone to bide time until the bus filled up with passengers. My healthcare clinic is located in a suburb of Baghdad. I take the less conspicuous bus instead of my own car because if feels safer (though that can be argued), and because Kia drivers know plenty of tricks to circumvent roadblocks and other unpleasant surprises on the road. They are very alert and always on the lookout. They do, however, have a reputation for being reckless drivers. Other motorists try hard to avoid them on the streets as much as possible. The 11-passenger Kia minibus itself is featured in the international coverage of Iraq almost daily. Somehow, I doubt that this South Korean-made vehicle operates anywhere else in the world but Iraq. They must have set up a separate assembly line just for us. Twenty minutes and two cigarettes later, and with just five passengers arriving, I dropped the phone. Something else had really piqued my interest. A few metres away, a bus driver and his assistant (or sikin, distorted from the English "second hand") were frisking passengers before they boarded the Chuwadir line bus. Ladies had to open their purses for inspection, and shopping bags were gone into. Women in long black abayas, however, seemed to be exempt from this treatment. In Baghdad, you don't have a sign on the bus marking its destination or stop. Instead, the driver yells, "Chuwadir, Chuwadir," (for instance) at the top of his voice, very much like a street vendor would to call attention to his goods, until the bus is full. Of course, Chuwadir is a district on the eastern edge of Sadr City and, given the recent string of bombings at markets and crowded places over there, this frisking was just one of many measures that Iraqis have taken into their own hands to ensure the security of their neighbourhoods. The two men doing the searching were dead serious about it, despite smiles and jeers from other people in the garage. They also curiously looked like off-duty Mahdi militiamen with their black shirts. Our restless driver, still yelling his destination outside, didn't bother to search any of us, and it looked like we were going to move at last. It's unsettling to stay in a crowded bus garage for long. It's always a potential target. Now, it was just one more passenger to go. Then he boarded. He was hauling an enormous sack full of something on his back. It looked like one of those hanging punching bags that boxers use for practice. He tried to push it behind the only empty seat, which happened to be right across me. It didn't fit so he stuck it between my legs and got seated. That was when I went: "Uh oh." I sat frozen and stared at the sack for about a minute. The bus had already started moving by now. Then I looked up at his face, searching for, I don't know, signs and gestures, anything that would reassure me that he was not what I thought he was. He looked about 20, dressed in a fading striped shirt and plain, almost ragged trousers, puffing smoke from beneath a thick black moustache. I couldn't help but gaze into his shifty, pale brown eyes that seemed to quickly scan everything, but not settle anywhere. He didn't even return my interest, which I took as a deeply troubling sign. Every few seconds, he would glance at the sack a bit surreptitiously and away again. It was still firmly planted between my legs. I continued to fix my stare at him while my hands, which were on my lap and concealed behind the sack, automatically started feeling up the sack. It felt solid, accentuating my fears even more. His hands were hidden and it was bothering me. Taking a casual look around, I noticed that a couple of passengers were also fixated on the sack. An old man next to me was furtively watching my reactions and he kind of gave me a knowing look. They were probably thinking the same, I thought. But no one dared to say a word. What was worse is that he was pretending not to notice the investigative looks from everyone. Thoughts raced in my head. What should I do? If anyone made a threatening move he would most likely just detonate. Should I shout to the driver that this is my stop? Should I slide the door open and jump. Maybe I should try to engage him in conversation? I needed to hear his accent, to determine whether he was Iraqi or Arab. His eyes kept shifting to the street and back. I realised that my body was trembling. I was frozen and my legs felt numb. The only thoughts in my head were what it would feel like to be blown to smithereens. I had absolutely no doubt that I would die instantly, with the cursed sack being so intimately close to me. Then I started lamenting the fact that I didn't make it for the previous bus, or that I didn't sit in the back instead of choosing this particular seat. I suddenly worried about my family. How will they ever know what happened to me? There will be nothing left of me for them to recognise. I swear, I spent so much thinking about it that I forgot about everything else. We reached the first checkpoint on the highway, manned by Iraqi interior ministry commandos. Dozens of vehicles were squeezing through the bottlenecked street. This is his target, I told myself. I saw that his eyes were faster now. There was a noticeable change in his demeanour, and to me that was all the proof that was needed. Still I did nothing. When we slowly approached the group of soldiers that were waving traffic through, I thought this is it. I just closed my eyes hard. Nothing happened. I opened my eyes and almost jumped up in relief. Was I wrong about him? Or could it be that he had another target? Now that I had some blood flowing again to my face I thought it would be a good idea to get off and somehow notify the checkpoint about the suspect. "What have you got in there?" It was the old man motioning to the sack. "Ah. Nothing. Just some used clothes for sale," the man responded with a smile. Everyone else jumped to attention. He untied the strings, took out a couple of T-shirts and displayed them. I found myself unconsciously digging through the sack to see if there was anything under the clothes. Nothing but damn T-shirts. Their resources are limited, so they plant IEDs: There’s nothing quite like invading somebody else’s country and busting into their houses by force to arouse an intense desire to kill you in the patriotic, self-respecting civilians who live there. But your commanders know that, don’t they? Don’t they? "In the States, if police burst into your house, kicking down doors and swearing at you, you would call your lawyer and file a lawsuit," said Wood, 42, from Iowa, who did not accompany Halladay’s Charlie Company, from his battalion, on Thursday’s raid. "Here, there are no lawyers. Their resources are limited, so they plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices) instead." What Could Hakim Say? Abdul Aziz Hakim, leader of the prominent Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, sits in his compound in Baghdad plotting his next move. "For three years, we’ve been bearing the slaughtering, killing, explosions attacking our scholars, our mosques, our facilities, our pilgrims, our barbers, our bakers … our innocents," he said. Earlier that week he raised his arms in front of millions. The power he wields is palpable and unmatched. He called out to the masses for cooperation between Sunnis and Shiites. The crowd chanted back, "America out! America out!" He said nothing in response. What could he say? Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the world's most popular assault rifle, says U.S. soldiers in Iraq using his invention instead of own weapons: "In Vietnam, American soldiers threw away their M-16 rifles and used (Kalashnikov) AK-47s from dead Vietnamese soldiers, with bullets they captured. That was because the climate is different to America, where M-16s may work properly," he said. "Look what's happening now: every day on television we see that the Americans in Iraq have my machine guns and assault rifles in their armored vehicles. Even there American rifles don't work properly." Some U.S. troops in Iraq have reportedly taken to using AK-47s in preference to the standard-issue M-16. The Cold War-era gun, renowned for its durability and easy handling, is plentiful in Iraq. Kalashnikov designed his first weapon in 1947 and is still chief constructor at Izhmash arms factory in Izhevsk in the Urals mountains. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS BBC propaganda: An email to the BBC: The BBC NEWS website's article "After the invasion: Iraqis speak" reads: "The BBC News website spoke to four Iraqis and asked them for their memories of the invasion, what life has been like in the country since and what they feel the future holds." By chance, the four people have something in common…
FIRST PERSON: "I do not think the occupation is necessarily the problem" SECOND PERSON: "I would not call it an invasion, I would call it a liberation" THIRD PERSON: "When the fighting was over we came back. We were amazed when Saddam's statue came down and we said to ourselves: "Now things are better" FORTH PERSON: "Now, I think things here are now slowly becoming stable and we finally are starting to have a working government. They are trying to find solutions to stop things getting out of hand, like after the shrine bombing".
Just a few months ago a poll undertaken for the Ministry of Defence, showed:
82 per cent of Iraqis are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops; 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces; 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation; less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;
It must have been quite difficult for the BBC to find these four Iraqis who seem belonging to a very tiny minority if we have to believe to the Ministry of Defence's poll. Any self-respect left at the BBC? Kind regards, Gabriele Zamparini Disrespectfully Dedicated To The Idiot Asshole Brain-Dead No-Talent Hack Reporters Who Keep Writing About "Gunmen": [D]ozens of Iraqi police remained missing and nine were dead after insurgents ambushed their convoy Thursday evening as they left a U.S. base where they had picked up new vehicles, Iraqi and U.S. officials said. Police heard cries of "Allahu akbar," or God is great, and "long live jihad" broadcast by loudspeaker from a nearby mosque, Maadal said. Suddenly insurgents, including some women, opened fire and triggered a roadside bomb. DESTROYING BAGHDAD IN ORDER TO SAVE IT The coming "pacification" of Baghdad.:
The American military is planning a "second liberation of Baghdad" to be carried out with the Iraqi army when a new government is installed. Pacifying the lawless capital is regarded as essential to establishing the authority of the incoming government and preparing for a significant withdrawal of American troops. Strategic and tactical plans are being laid by US commanders in Iraq and at the US army base in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, under Lieutenant- General David Petraeus. He is regarded as an innovative officer and was formerly responsible for training Iraqi troops. The battle for Baghdad is expected to entail a "carrot-and-stick" approach, offering the beleaguered population protection from sectarian violence in exchange for rooting out insurgent groups and Al-Qaeda. Further: US forces would try to avoid the all-out combat that was used to subdue Falluja in 2004. "If you cut up the city into pieces neighbourhood by neighbourhood, you can prevent it from becoming a major urban fight," said Gouré. Jesus, what balls! Did you read that? Go and read it again. They, the war criminals who bombed a city to drive out some of its residents, then encircled it and prevented all males of fighting age from leaving (military age is ten and above for these guys), launched a bombing raid that destroyed the city, killed thousands, used horrifying chemical weapons in civilian areas, committed war crimes in a fucking hospital (because it was a 'propaganda outlet') - yes they, who did all that, will sincerely try their best not to pulverise Baghdad in the same fashion. Rather, they intend to cut it up into pieces, and destroy it piecemeal. Of course, Baghdad really needs this shit right now. At the moment, it has just come bottom of an international survey assessing the world's most liveable cities; the morgue is overflowing daily; electricity is still only on four about two hours a day; the sewage treatment facilities are so bad that all of the waste from the Western half of the city is simply dumped straight into the Tigris, which is where Baghdad residents get their drinking water from; and the water system that was destroyed as a deliberate act of US policy during the 1990s isn't in great shape either. For such a hateful 'solution' to these problems as that proposed by the occupiers of Iraq to be even comprehensible, you have to completely invert reality. Hence: U.S. officials say they spend much of their time teaching modern democratic practices and personal responsibility to Iraqis raised in a system of favoritism, nepotism and pervasive corruption built during 24 years of deposed president Saddam Hussein's rule. Ah, bless. US officials, totally innocent to such notions as favouritism, nepotism and pervasive corruption, are peripatetics, democratic sages guiding their dear pupils toward the bright day when they can assume "personal responsibility". Do you suppose they sit their students under an apple tree, pick up a copy of Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man and ignite fires in their poor, corruption-sozzled little minds? Perhaps they season it with a soupçon of von Humboldt and, just for those inclined toward religion, a sprinkling of Spinoza? Oh, they do, please say they do! It's just too wonderful. I am pink and merry at the thought, beyond example. When the occupation ends, there will be a Dead Poets Society moment. A grateful phalanx of Iraqis will stand atop their desks, waving off their ever-so-proud-but-sad-to-be-going instructors. O Captain, My Captain, our fearful trip is done!, they will cry, while departing Abu Ghraib masters singe the body electric. (In retrospect it perhaps isn't so surprising that the younger Walt Whitman was a fervent imperialist). Anyway, as I say - bless. Oh, by the way, the US is building an embassy the size of Vatican City in Baghdad, with its own water-treatment plant, electricity generator, independent waste management (ho ho), and a population equal to that of a small town. Unlike the Vatican, however, the embassy will only exert temporal power.
The Fallujah Option in Baghdad? Of all the war crimes that have flowed from the originating war crime of George W. Bush's unprovoked invasion of Iraq, perhaps the most flagrant was the wanton destruction of Fallujah in November 2004. Now, as ignominious defeat looms for Bush's Babylonian folly, some of the key players in fomenting the war are urging that the "Fallujah Option" be applied to an even bigger target: Baghdad. What these influential warmongers openly call for is the "pacification" of Baghdad: a brutal firestorm by U.S. forces, ravaging both Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias in a "horrific" operation that will inevitably lead to "skyrocketing body counts," as warhawk Reuel Marc Gerecht wrote cheerfully last week in the ever-bloodthirsty editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal. [Via Robert Dreyfus on TomDispatch.com.] Gerecht's war whoop quickly ricocheted around the rightwing media echo chamber and gave public voice to the private counsels emanating from a group whose members now comprise the leadership of the U.S. government: The Project for the New American Century. As oft noted here, PNAC was founded by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the now-indicted Lewis Libby, among others. In September 2000, they publicly called for sending American forces into Iraq - even if Saddam Hussein was already gone - as well as planting new U.S. bases in Central Asia, putting weapons in space, building new nukes and funding a vast militarization of American society. Being such savvy inside players and all, they recognized that this lunatic program of aggression and world domination would not be accepted by the American people - unless, of course, the nation happened to be struck by a "catalyzing event" like "a new Pearl Harbor." Who says dreams don't come true? Gerecht, an ex-CIA man, is a Senior Fellow at PNAC. He was one of the many munchkins who laid the groundwork for the mass deception that led to the war by constantly undermining any CIA report that failed to conform to the warmongers' highly profitable fantasies of America's imminent destruction by the broken, toothless regime of Saddam Hussein. The intelligence services' many caveats about this bogus threat were placed directly on Bush's desk, as the National Journal reports, but the P-Nackers in the White House tossed them aside. They dreamed of war, and they got it. But the natives failed to play their part in the imperial masque macabre. As noted here last week, they have churlishly failed to show proper appreciation for being slaughtered, looted, tortured and controlled. Even the Shiites, hailed by the Bushists just a few weeks ago as salt-of-the-earth lovers of moderate democracy, are now denounced as hate-filled sectarians, even worse than the Sunni insurgents - who are suddenly being courted by Bush's man in Baghdad, the P-Nacker Khalilzad, the BBC reports. Not that the Shiite death squads - backed by the U.S.-backed Iraqi government - have been all bad, mind you. Sure, they've been kidnapping Sunni civilians, drilling holes in their skulls, beheading them then dumping the corpses on city streets or burying them in schoolyards - but all of this been "healthy," says Gerecht, because it has made the Sunnis and Kurds fear "Shiite power." Or something. To be honest, Gerecht's column is filled with so many canards, delusions and logical inconsistencies that it often leaves the plane of rational discourse altogether. But its import is clear: by daring to defy Washington's edicts now and then, the Shiites have gotten too big for their britches and must be brought to heel - along with the rest of the scum who are making the Dear Leader look bad back home. You think that's a joke, but it's not. One of Gerecht's main reasons for "pacifying" Baghdad in a hydra-headed war on every ethnic faction is because "the U.S. media will never write many optimistic stories about Iraq if journalists fear going outside" the city's fortified Green Zone. There you have the Bushist vision in a nutshell. The war is not actually happening in the real world, where real people are dying by the tens of thousands; no, it's really being fought on the monitors of Fox News, CNN and NBC, in the flimsy pages of the New York Times and Washington Post, and on the overheated airwaves of talk radio. Baghdad must be pacified - like Grozny, like Guernica - so that Americans can see a few more peppy stories on the tube on their way to the ballgame or the mall. The fate of Fallujah provides a template of the grim fate awaiting Baghdad if Gerecht and the government P-Nackers have their way. Fallujah was encircled in a ring of iron; water, electricity and food supplies were cut off (a flagrant war crime). The city was bombed for eight weeks, then hit by an all-out ground attack with both conventional and chemical weapons - white phosphorous and napalm - which killed thousands of civilians and left more than 200,000 homeless. Among the first targets were Fallujah's hospitals and clinics (another flagrant war crime): some were destroyed, killing doctors and patients alike, others were seized and closed, all in order to prevent any stories about civilian casualties from reaching the Western media, the Pentagon's "information warfare" specialists told the New York Times. Once again, manufactured image trumped blood-stained reality. Perhaps this cup will pass from Baghdad. Perhaps Bush and his P-Nackers will instead move forward with their frenzied plans for a nuclear strike on Iran, as the New Yorker reported last week. But Gerecht's article is a perfect snapshot of the depraved minds that now rule America. Somewhere, somehow - and soon - another city is going to die.
Who wants civil war in Iraq?: It is normal for capitalist governments to lie through their teeth to justify war and aggression. Even allowing for this normal deception, the Bush administration suffers from a wider than usual credibility gap. If Bush says "It's a beautiful day," one's first impulse is to scan the sky for clouds and check that you've brought your umbrella. So when George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon generals and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq say they are trying their hardest to avoid "civil war" in that occupied oil-rich country, it's even more normal to suspect that U.S. agencies are provoking that civil war, creating incidents that encourage different parts of the Iraqi population to fight each other and in general using "divide and conquer" tactics that British imperialism, now a U.S. junior partner, used in the heyday of the Empire. The suspicious bombing of the golden dome mosque in Samarra in February began a rapid increase in the killings of civilian Iraqis. Even worse for the Iraqis, many of the killings appeared to be pitting members of the Sunni Moslem religious group against members of the Shiite group. No organization ever took public responsibility for the bombing, and the killings were carried out by private militias, often masked and of unclear origin. What arouses greater suspicions is that some U.S. strategists began at the end of 2004 to suggest the U.S. occupation adopt the "Salvador option." The headline in a Jan. 14, 2005, Newsweek article was: "The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq," just as it did in El Salvador to kill Salvadoran progressives, unionists and any civilians in the way, and just as it did with the "Phoenix Program," another death-squad venture in Vietnam. Once it became clear that "shock and awe" had failed to subdue the Iraqis, this bloody option started gaining support in U.S. imperialist circles. To add substance to these suspicions, the Iraq puppet government's interior minister, up to now someone who cooperated with the U.S. occupation, has admitted that death squads and unauthorized armed groups have been carrying out sectarian killings in the country. In a BBC interview on April 11, Bayan Jabr denied these groups were his responsibility. He added that there are non-governmental armed groups called the Facility Protection Service, set up in 2003 by the U.S. occupation, that number 150,000 effectives. Jabr said these 150,000 hired guns are "out of order, not under our control," along with another 30,000 private security guards. This total of armed agents is even more than the number of regular U.S. troops operating in Iraq. Whatever ax Jabr has to grind, his comments mean the U.S. has a wide supply of mercenary personnel capable of carrying out provocations and acting as death squads-in other words, executing the "Salvador option." The Bush administration has certainly proved capable of lying about such a strategy. Anyone born earlier than yesterday can only assume it is lying once again. REVOLT AGAINST RUMMY PRELUDE TO A MILITARY COUP IN THE U.S.?
Why Rumsfeld's time is up: Who, in the final analysis, is responsible for the mess, Rumsfeld or Bush? If president Harry Truman was correct in coining his famous dictum, "The buck stops here" (meaning at the president's desk), the ultimate blame couldn't be placed on Rumsfeld. Sure, he was the chief architect of war strategy in Iraq. However, in the final analysis, it was Bush, not Rumsfeld, who decided to wage that war. Rumsfeld has now reached a point in the Iraqi imbroglio when he has to spend too much time conducting his personal war of attrition with the growing ranks of his critics. Besides, he has collected so much baggage that his effectiveness has suffered irretrievable damage. In this sense, it matters little that he still has the support of President Bush - whose own credibility on Iraq is steadily diminishing. Rumsfeld's only real choice is to resign. The Revolt Against Rumsfeld: It's an odd thought, but a military coup in this country right now would probably have a moderating influence. Not that an actual coup is pending; still less is one desirable. But we are witnessing the rumblings of an officers' revolt, and things could get ugly if it were to take hold and roar. The revolt is a reluctant one, aimed specifically at the personage of Donald Rumsfeld and the way he is conducting the war in Iraq. It is startling to hear, in private conversations, how widely and deeply the U.S. officer corps despises this secretary of defense. The joke in some Pentagon circles is that if Rumsfeld were meeting with the service chiefs and commanders and a group of terrorists barged into the room and kidnapped him, not a single general would lift a finger to help him. Some of the most respected retired generals are publicly criticizing Rumsfeld and his policies in a manner that's nearly unprecedented in the United States, where civilian control of the military is accepted as a hallowed principle. Gen. Anthony Zinni, a Marine with a long record of command positions (his last was as head of U.S. Central Command, which runs military operations in the Persian Gulf and South Asia), called last month for Rumsfeld's resignation. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who ran the program to train the Iraqi military, followed with a New York Times op-ed piece lambasting Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically," and a man who "has put the Pentagon at the mercy of his ego, his Cold Warrior's view of the world, and his unrealistic confidence in technology to replace manpower." But the most eye-popping instance appears in this week's Time magazine, where retired Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, the former operations director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, not only slams the secretary and what he calls "the unnecessary war" but also urges active-duty officers who share his views to speak up. Newbold resigned his position in late 2002-quite a gesture, since he was widely regarded as a candidate for the next Marine Corps commandant. His fellow officers knew he resigned over the coming war in Iraq. The public and the president did not. He writes in Time:
I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat-al-Qaeda. ... [T]he Pentagon's military leaders ... with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. ... It is time for senior military leaders to discard caution in expressing their views and ensure that the President hears them clearly. And that we won't be fooled again.
Newbold isn't urging active-duty senior officers to go public, just to speak out directly to the president (whose handlers famously filter the bad news from official reports before they hit the Oval Office). Still, in a climate where the secretary of defense hammers three-star generals for daring to suggest that our troops in Iraq are fighting "insurgents" and not just "terrorists," Newbold's invocation reads like a revolutionary manifesto. Generals of the Pentagon, unite! You have nothing to lose but your stars! If Rumsfeld is in less danger than these calls for his head might suggest, it's in part because not many generals want to lose those stars-and quite a lot of colonels would like to earn some. (Remember: Zinni, Eaton, and Newbold are retired generals; they have no more promotions to risk.) The patron saint, but also the object lesson, of the many officers who are mulling their options-whether to heed Newbold's rallying cry or keep their heads down and shoes polished-is Gen. Eric Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff who spoke truth to power and got slammed for his troubles. Shortly before the invasion, Shinseki told the Senate armed services committee that "a few hundred thousand" troops would be needed to impose order after the war was over. Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy secretary of defense, upbraided him in public the next day; Rumsfeld named Shinseki's successor a year in advance of his scheduled retirement, thus undercutting his authority for the rest of his term. In his Times op-ed, Gen. Eaton wrote of Shinseki's punishment, "The rest of the senior brass got the message, and nobody has complained since." Zinni, Eaton, and Newbold are explicitly trying to supplant the lesson of Shinseki with an earlier lesson-one that was propagated throughout the U.S. armed forces in the late 1990s but laid aside once the war in Iraq got under way. It came from a book called Dereliction of Duty, by H.R. McMaster, then an Army major, now a colonel. Based on extensive research into declassified files, the book concluded that during the 1960s, the Joint Chiefs of Staff betrayed their constitutional duties by failing to provide their honest military judgment to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as they plunged into the quagmire of Vietnam. When McMaster's book was published in 1997, during the Clinton administration, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then the JCS chairman, ordered all his service chiefs and commanders to read it and follow its lessons to the letter-to express disagreements to their superiors, even at the risk of getting yelled at. William Cohen, Clinton's secretary of defense, echoed the sentiment. Ever since, Dereliction of Duty has been a must-read for all senior officers. At a small, on-the-record press lunch last week with Gen. Zinni (who was promoting his new book, The Battle for Peace), I asked him what would have happened had even two other active-duty generals appeared before Congress-or resigned and called a press conference-to support Shinseki's testimony. Gen. Zinni said he thought President Bush would have had a harder time rallying political support for the invasion. I also asked him why, in the three years since the war's start, not a single active-duty general has mustered the courage (or recklessness, disloyalty, call it what you will) to follow Shinseki's example-or, to put it another way, to follow the lesson in Dereliction of Duty. Gen. Zinni referred to another book, a favorite of officers for nearly four decades now-Anton Myrer's 1968 novel, Once an Eagle. It's about two Army officers, friends from childhood, and their rise through the ranks: Sam Damon, a straight-arrow field commander, and Courtney Massengale, a scheming Pentagon careerist. Gen. Zinni said the two characters are widely seen in his profession as symbols for the two types of military officer-and the two paths of military promotion. He stopped short of saying so explicitly, but he suggested that the Pentagon's upper ranks contain too many Courtney Massengales and not enough Sam Damons. He acknowledged other reasons many generals have declined to follow Shinseki, et al. into dissent. Some have no problem with the war or the way it has been conducted. Many others take very seriously the principle of civilian control; they firmly believe it is not their place to disagree with the president and his duly appointed secretary of defense-certainly not to do so in public, especially while the nation is at war. As a matter of principle, we should be glad that they feel this way. There are plenty of lessons from books, movies, and history that support this view as well: Seven Days in May (a charismatic general mounts a coup to keep the president from signing a nuclear-test-ban treaty with the Soviets), Dr. Strangelove (a loony general launches a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union without presidential authority), and the true-life tale of Gen. Douglas MacArthur (heroic commander of Korean War troops publicly advocates going beyond the 38th parallel and invading Communist China, forcing President Harry Truman to recall him). MacArthur's legacy in particular has kept even the boldest generals deeply reluctant to criticize civilian leaders over the decades. Rumsfeld's arrogance, his "casualness and swagger" as Gen. Newbold put it-which have caused so many strategic blunders, so much death and disaster-have started to tip some officers over the edge. They may prove a good influence in the short run. But if Rumsfeld resists their encroachments and fights back, the whole hierarchy of command could implode as officers feel compelled not merely to stay silent but to choose one side or the other. And if the rebel officers win, they might find they like the taste of bureaucratic victory-and feel less constrained to renew the internecine combat when other, less momentous disputes arise in the future. Both paths are cluttered with drear and danger. Does President Bush know this is going on? If he does, he would do the nation-and the Constitution-a big favor if he launched a different sort of pre-emptive attack and got rid of Rumsfeld now. On the Possibility of a Military Coup in the United States of America: About the possibilities of a military coup in the United States, historian Andrew Jonas said this;
"Coup d’etat in the United States would be too fantastic to contemplate, not only because few would actually entertain the idea, but also because the bulk of the people are strongly attached to the prevailing political system and would rise in defense of a political leader even though they might not like him. The environment most hospitable to coups d’etat is one in which political apathy prevails as the dominant style.”
The question to ask is whether ‘political apathy’ now ‘prevails as the dominant style’ in the United States of today or not? With the unending ‘war on terror’ resulting in a heavy tampering of the American Constitution by the current US Administration, and the consequent granting of virtually limitless powers to the President of United States for the duration of the unending war, a real 'Constitutional Conundrum' has been created. Ironically, this self-granting of limitless powers in turn has now manifested itself in an inverse power vacuum being created at the decision making level that is now becoming more and more visible with each passing day. Despite the fact that American nation seems to understand more than any other nation that the armed forces exist to support and defend government, not to be the government, yet faced with an intractable national problem on the one hand, and having an efficient and capable military on the other, it is all too enticing to start viewing the military as a gainful solution or as the ‘ultimate saviors’ a la certain banana republics where the military does indeed call the shots. The seeds of the outrage are all there. The war-ravaged economy is in the dumps, American casualties in Iraq are mounting with Iraq itself now in the throes of a civil war, corruption in high places is rampant, the environment is in trouble, the delicate subject of ‘immigration’ has been given a needless prod resulting in massive protests and political scandals are exploding on almost daily basis in Washington. In addition to all this, despite a national and international uproar, the current American leadership seems to be inching inexorably towards yet another war--this time with Iran. Americans becoming frustrated with democracy and disheartened with the apparent inability of their elected government to negoatiate the nation’s confounding impasses, thus, is a natural response. Unable to effect a change themselves, they may now be looking for someone or something that could produce workable solutions. Despite its misuse by the civilian leadership, the one institution of government in which the Americans continue to retain faith is their military. Ever since Washington’s warnings about the dangers of large military establishments in his farewell address, Americans have generally regarded their armed forces with a careful mix of awe and respect. For over two centuries that admiration was rewarded, and most Americans have come to consider the very idea of a military coup outrageous. To be sure, there always were eccentric conspiracy theorists that saw the Pentagon’s hand in the assassination of President Kennedy, President Nixon’s downfall, and similar events yet not very many Americans would think that a military coup d’etat in America of today is a tangible possibility. That fact may be slowly, but surely, changing. According to a very recent Guardian report, for example, the US government is increasingly faced with a intensifying split between its civilian and military leadership over the war on Iraq after a fourth retired general called for the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to stand down. This latest was retired Major General Charles Swannack, who led the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq. The other three were Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, the former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Major General Paul Eaton, who oversaw the training of Iraqi troops until 2004 and retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, the former head of US Central Command. The unparalleled ferocity of the attacks and repeated calls for serving officers to go public with their dissent was starting to cause concern among military analysts. "If this opens up so we have more and more officers speaking up and blaming Rumsfeld and blaming senior civilians, then it is possibly heading towards a fairly dangerous civilian-military crisis," opined Andrew Bacevich, a military historian at Boston University. Richard Gabriel fittingly observed in his book ‘To Serve with Honor’ that, “When one discusses dissent, loyalty, and the limits of military obligations, the central problem is that the military represents a threat to civil order not because it will usurp authority, but because it does not speak out on critical policy decisions. The soldier fails to live up to his oath to serve the country if he does not speak out when he sees his civilian or military superiors executing policies he feels to be wrong.” While Gabriel was right when he described military leadership’s responsibilities vis-à-vis the civilian leadership, he may have been off the mark when he dismissed the military’s potential to threaten civil order. Efforts to carve a role for the military in America’s civilian affairs can be traced to as far back as the Carter administration. According to two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Knut Royce in a July 1983 series in the San Francisco Examiner, a presidential directive had been drafted by a few Carter administration personnel in 1979 “to allow the military to take control of the government for 90 days in the event of an emergency.” A requirement on page one of the directive said, "Keeping the government functioning after a nuclear war is a secret, costly project that detractors claim jeopardizes US traditions and saves a privileged few." There was a heated debate, Royce noted, within the Carter administration as to just what constituted an "emergency." Then again during the Iran-Contra affair it came to light that a few high officials of the US government were planning a possible military/civilian coup. Miami Herald on July 5, 1987 ran the story. The article, by Alfonzo Chardy, revealed Oliver North's involvement in plans for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to take over federal, state and local functions during an ill-defined national emergency. With the unending ‘war on terror’ continuing endlessly, the incessant chant of ‘enemies all around’ and the inevitable militarization of the American society, the armed forces have now penetrated many vital aspects of American society. There now is an entire generation of young Americans who have grown up comfortable with the sight of military personnel strutting about their streets and on their campuses. Military uniforms now draw no stares. Furthermore, with the ever increasing importance attached to agencies like Homeland Security and FEMA, the military is now ideally positioned in thousands of communities to support the supposed coup. Given these treacherous times, there are increasing indications that Americans' traditional and strong resistance to any military interference into civilian affairs may be waning. The time may not be very far when they start re-thinking the appeal and need of that resistance. Indeed, many may already be comparing the military’s principled competence with the shenanigans and uselessness of their elected officials, and finding the former more capable. American public’s unease too is now increasing in a direct proportion to the top military brass’s voicing of its opinion. The terms ‘impeachment’, ‘censuring’, ‘removal from power’ etc. have now become a common lexicon not just in the fringe media. Never before has the threat of disorder occasioned by an increasingly isolated Chief Executive so precipitated with each passing day. Needless to say that the inept civilian leadership, on all sides of the American political spectrum, direly necessitates a strong headship in these troubled times. With the current US administration getting the lowest ever job approval ratings from American public; the country now suffers from a deep pessimism about politicians and government after years of false promises and outright lies. Ruling politicians and their proposals seem rotten and repetitive. With surfacing of reports of vote rigging in the last elections, the American voters now seem to have also given up hope of finding answers through the ballot. Even a cursory glance at the alternative media shows that an increasing number of Americans have come to view the chief function of their government as inventing a security threat and then turning the job over to the military. If that be the case, some may argue, why not remove the corrupt middlemen and entrust the task directly to the military. The "environment of apathy" Janos characterized as a forerunner to a coup seems to have arrived in America. America, ladies and gentlemen, has entered a dangerous phase.
A History of the Car Bomb (Excerpt): [At the time of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan] US special forces experts would now provide high-tech explosives and teach state-of-the-art sabotage techniques, including the fabrication of ANFO (ammonium nitrate-fuel oil) car bombs, to Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (or ISI) officers under the command of Brigadier Mohammed Yousaf. These officers, in turn, would tutor thousands of Afghan and foreign mujahideen, including the future cadre of al-Qaeda, in scores of training camps financed by the Saudis. "Under ISI direction," Coll wrote, "the mujahideen received training and malleable explosives to mount car-bomb and even camel-bomb attacks in Soviet-occupied cities, usually designed to kill Soviet soldiers and commanders. Casey endorsed these despite the qualms of some CIA career officers." Mujahideen car bombers, working with teams of snipers and assassins, not only terrorized uniformed Soviet forces in a series of devastating attacks in Afghanistan but also massacred left-wing intelligentsia in Kabul, the country's capital. "Yousaf and the Afghan car-bombing squads he trained," wrote Coll, "regarded Kabul University professors as fair game," as well as movie theaters and cultural events. Although some members of the US National Security Council reportedly denounced the bombings and assassinations as "outright terrorism", Casey was delighted with the results. Meanwhile, "by the late 1980s, the ISI had effectively eliminated all the secular, leftist and royalist political parties that had first formed when Afghan refugees fled communist rule." As a result, most of the billions of dollars that the Saudis and Washington pumped into Afghanistan ended up in the hands of radical Islamist groups sponsored by the ISI. They were also the chief recipients of huge quantities of CIA-supplied plastic explosives as well as thousands of advanced E-cell delay detonators. It was the greatest technology transfer of terrorist technique in history. The Nazi influence on the CIA: In 2005 Sky Television [UK] produced and published a documentary called Secrets of the CIA describing the history of "one of the most powerful organizations in the world" with a billion dollar budget and more than 25.000 employees, making it "more powerful than most developing nations". The extraordinary thing about the documentary is that it was produced and aired by a main stream media, five years after CIA had for the first time confirmed that a high-ranking Nazi general placed his anti-Soviet spy ring at the disposal of the United States during the early days of the Cold War, and it is still one of the few responses from established media. The National Archives said in a release in September 2000 that the CIA had filed an affidavit in U.S. District Court "acknowledging an intelligence relationship with German General Reinhard Gehlen that it has kept secret for 50 years", in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by researcher Carl Oglesby, wrote UPI The intelligence agency pledged to release its records on the general in accordance with the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. The Act established the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), which or more than two years has been declassifying documents related to World War II war crimes and releasing them through the National Archives. The US Army Intelligence Officer Robert Livingstone was deployed in Austria in 1946. The Second World War was over, and the intelligence officers were "under tremendous pressure to provide information about the Soviet troop movements and Soviet political movements against Hungary and Czechoslovakia". "We had nobody, so we went and recruited somebody, and no doubt we didn't look to close on the background of these people", says Robert Livingstone to Sky News. According to former Congressman Elizabeth Holtzman "using Nazi war criminals was how the CIA got started." One of these Nazi criminals was Reinhard Gehlen, who had been Hitler's senior intelligence officer on the Eastern Front during the war. Gehlen served as the head of the German intelligence service, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), and his network of agents in Europe - including Nazis who were bailed out of prisoner of war camps by U.S. intelligence officers - was known as the Gehlen Organization. Only a month before the end of the war, they realized that they had lost and decided to bury their files and give them to the Americans. "They felt that they could make a better deal with the USA", explains Robert Livingstone. The remains of what was known as the Gehlen Organization, hundreds of Nazi intelligence officers, were brought to USA after the war, where they received millions of dollars in funding from the U.S. until 1956. They were trained as CIA agents in secret training facilities, and then sent back to Germany to spy on the Russians. "Some of them were Nazis, and some of them were hardcore war criminals who should have been tried, and many of them got away with murder", says Linda Hunt, author of Secret Agenda that investigates the cooperation between CIA and former Nazi officials. The Nazis were guaranteed that they would not be charged with war crimes committed while they worked for Hitler. In Secret Agenda Linda Hunt, a former CNN investigative reporter also reveals how the branch of the US government made the same trade off with Nazi scientists who were guilty of war crimes. Many are aware that the US used Nazi scientists during the cold war, but Hunt also reveals for the first time that the project to recruit and utilize Nazi scientific talent, code-named "Paperclip", did in fact continue until 1973. According to Hunt Several Nazi scientists participated in various "Dachau-like experiments" on over seven thousand U.S. soldiers on the effects of LSD, sodium penthathol and other chemicals at Edgewood, Maryland, between 1947 and 1966. In the 1950s CIA ran another secret project called MK Ultra, a response to fears that the Soviet Union had found a way to control people's minds. Aside from LSD, mescaline and amphetamine, the CIA experiments involved sensory deprivation and sleep deprivation, both key elements in the interrogation methods sanctioned by Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, for use in prison facilities in US controlled Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan. These experiments led to the new scientific methods of torture practiced today in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other prison facilities. BEYOND IRAQ IRAN
Blair tells Bush Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community, government sources claimed yesterday. What alternative did Iran's leaders have? By the mere act of contingency planning for the first use of nuclear weapons, the Bush administration has guaranteed that not just Iran, but probably many other nations that see themselves as remotely threatened by the U.S., will seek to obtain either nuclear weapons, or some other similarly catastrophic weapon for the purpose of resisting such nuclear blackmail. The rushed announcement Tuesday by Iran that its scientists and engineers had succeeded in creating some enriched uranium is almost certainly a direct result of the administration's nuclear threats. Most sane observers have calculated that if Iran is really planning on developing a nuclear weapon, it is years--perhaps even a decade--away from that goal. That was plenty of time to reassure Iran that it would not need the bomb, or to use international diplomacy to discourage the country from embarking on such a wasteful, expensive and dangerous project. Instead, by threatening to nuke Iran's nuclear research and processing facilities, the administration has predictably put Iran onto a crash course for developing the bomb. What alternative did Iran's leaders have after all the administration's bombast?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We won't be fooled again" --- Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, former operations director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressing Bush in an April 9 Time magazine article.


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