Wednesday, April 12, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, April 12, 2006 Photo: One Morning in Haditha - March 27, 2006 [see "Too Little, Too Late on Haditha?" below]. Bring ‘em on: U.S. soldier killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad, the eighth American soldier killed since Sunday. [According to ICC, in April 36 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq so far.] Bring ‘em on: “A Multi-National Division – Baghdad servicemember died at approximately 10 a.m. April 12 when he was struck by an improvised explosive device during a patrol east of Baghdad.” (CENTCOM) Bring ‘em on: ”Two Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb south of Baghdad at approximately 9:20 a.m. April 12.” (CENTCOM) Bring ‘em on: ”Three Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers died April 11 at 3:45 p.m. after the vehicle they were riding in was struck by a roadside-bomb north of Baghdad.” (CENTCOM) Bring ‘em on: Two rockets hit the British military base at the Basra airport complex about 3am local time, but there were no damages or casualties. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Alleged car bomb kills at least 20 people near Shi'ite mosque and crowded market in Howaydir north of Baghdad. Hospital officials said casualty tolls were expected to rise as ambulances were still rushing in with victims. [No prizes awarded for guessing who the occupation media is busily blaming for this attack against innocent Iraqi civilians…] Baghdad: Policeman and three civilians killed and four people wounded when roadside bomb strikes police patrol in central Baghdad. Three civilians, including a photographer, killed by gunmen on Baghdad streets. An attack at a barber shop in the southern Dora district left the owner and a customer wounded. Policeman shot dead in Baghdad. Internal affairs officer at Interior Ministry killed by men in two cars while leaving his house in Amil in western Baghdad. A Housing Ministry employee was killed as he drove to work in the same neighbourhood. Police find bodies of three men in different areas of the capital. The identities of the victims were not immediately clear. Gunmen in Baghdad shoot down an Oil Ministry worker at a bus stop. Baquba: Gunmen kill senior regional government intelligence officer and three of his bodyguards in the town of Khanakeen, near Baquba. Baiji: Gunmen shoot dead two Iraqi army soldiers and wound another while they were travelling in a civilian car in central Baiji. In Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, mortar rounds struck a police station, wounding three policemen. Sulayman Beg: Roadside bomb kills two policemen in the town of Sulayman Beg. Ramadi: After killing two drivers, gunmen set on fire two trucks carrying goods for the U.S. military on a road between Ramadi and Rutba, west of Baghdad. Kirkuk: Director of the Northern Gas Company wounded and his wife killed when gunmen attacked them in Kirkuk. Two civilians die when hit by roadside bomb south of Kirkuk. Four others were wounded. Khalis: Two people killed and 20 wounded when car bomb explodes near market in the town of Khalis. Tal Afar: Suicide car bomber drives up to vegetable market in Tal Afar and detonates explosives, killing at least two shoppers and wounding seven others, said police Brig. Abdul-Hamid Khalaf. Four Iraqis, including one policeman and three civilians, killed when roadside bomb explodes near police patrol in Waziriya district. Muqdadiyah: Mortar rounds strike a police station wounding three policemen in Muqdadiyah. Tuz Khurmatu: Two policemen killed and four wounded by roadside bomb in Tuz Khurmatu, 70 km (45 miles) south of Kirkuk. IRAQ NEWS US soldier dies in Tal Afar "from a non-combat related cause." Iraq's interior minister acknowledges existence of death squads within security forces but denies any link with his own ministry. Iraq’s oil production shrinks to 1.8 million barrels a day, way below average output rates prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country. The northern oil fields of Kirkuk now produce (only) about 300,000 barrels a day for local consumption. Fuel imports now consume most of the country’s oil money. It is estimated that Iraq pays nearly $6 billion a year to meet its fuel import bill, about twice as much as it pays to cover food imports. The twin-pipeline via Turkey, which under former leader Saddam Hussein shipped more than 800,000 barrels a day to terminals in Turkey for exports has been shut since the invasion. Even the country’s so-called Strategic Pipeline, which allowed the ministry to ship crude from the northern fields to terminals on the Gulf and from the southern fields to terminals in Turkey is now out of order due to sabotage. REPORTS An email from Ramadi: Date: Apr 11, 2006 3:37 AM
Subject: Help Ramadi people now......peace getting worse hi all peace friends I am Qasem from Iraq at 10/ April 2006 during being in Amman ...I got news about my people in Ramadi....I got news that there is big fighting when US troops start military operation ( as usaul ) . I became sure later that fighting was closed to my house ( almost infront of my family house)...but.... I couldnot contact them at all to make sure if they are ok or not ...all telphone lines and mobile had been already destroyed few monthes ago. I am scared and thinking to go back Iraq to my house now even I cant reaching them I will try strongly..... what happened to my family ??? what can be happened ??? killed ??? US bombing destroyed and killed my family my nephews ???? I need to see them now I realy need to be with them. now my mind full with images of destroyed house that could be my house ,killed family could be my family and dead bodies could be my father,mother brothers ,sisters ,nephews .........it is almost middnight now and I can imagine what kind of night terroble darkness they living in with fighting and explosions sounds and house shaking . I am checking the news that can I knew from the Taxi drivers who arriving to Amman at mid night .....every body came from there saying it is very big fighting and many Hamvees burned and many civilians killed......not clear yet if my family are hurted or not......on tv there is news that 3 US soldiers killed there but as usaul no news about how many Iraqis killed by US troops!!!! 3 soldiers killed it means hard fighting is there.......and alot of civilians killed........so the hard image about my family is getting bigger. I cant sleep ............now its 3 oclock after midnight...........I wish that I am sharing my family what they facing now .....living with or dying with them. I have to ask my peace freinds to notice this hard day of my family & my people that happened many times for them along the last 3 years. please my friends tell every body you can contact that civilians dying now in iraq and they need your notice for their life and death thanks for all care that you can make Qasem Aldulaimy Iraq / Anbaar / Ramadi
Too Little, Too Late on Haditha? Three Marine officers are being stripped of command, in the first disciplinary action taken as a result of a massacre in Haditha, a town in Western Iraq, first reported by TIME. But the action will be seen by many Iraqis as too little, too late. And it doesn't help that the Marines' announcement is vague and very short on detail, raising more questions than it answers. The Associated Press is reporting that three Marines have been relieved of command and reassigned "in connection with problems during their deployment to Iraq, including their battalion's actions during [the Haditha killings last November]." A spokesman for the First Marine Division, at Camp Pendleton in California, said that the three officers were reassigned because of a "lack of confidence in their leadership abilities," but no charges have been filed against them. The Marines named are Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; Capt. James S. Kimber, commanding officer of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment; and Capt. Lucas M. McConnell, commanding officer of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. In Haditha, where a Marine patrol killed 15 civilians on the morning of Nov 19, the news is certain to be greeted with mystification and scepticism. Although the U.S. military has described the killings as "collateral damage," many residents believe the Marines acted deliberately and maliciously after one of their own was killed in a roadside explosion. The mere reassignment of duties of three officers is unlikely to be seen as justice done. No more details have been released about why Chessani, Kimber and McConnell were picked out for reassignment, whether they will be charged of wrongdoing, ans if other Marines will be punished as well. Washington Post infographic: From 'Biological Laboratories' to Harmless Trailers: Two Iraqi trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops became a center-piece of U.S. claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. But shortly after the fall of Baghdad, an internal report showed the trailers had nothing to do with banned weapons. [Chimpy knew the mobile biological weapons labs were bogus for a year while he still went around claiming they were for real was widely reported in the UK at the time. The "secret" work of the joint U.S.-U.K. team that the WaPo is now reporting as a big leak was all over the Guardian and other British papers at the time. It just didn't get past the curtain of censorship in North America. –- cervantes] British Air Force doctor on trial for refusing to go to Iraq says he believes U.S. moral equivalent of Nazi Germany: Australian-born Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith could face an unlimited jail sentence for disobeying an order to go to Iraq last year and four orders to prepare for his deployment, in the first British case of its kind. "As early as 2004 I regarded the United States to be on a par with Nazi Germany as regards its activities in the Gulf," he told the court. Prosecutor David Perry asked: "Are you saying the U.S. is the moral equivalent of the Third Reich?" to which Kendall-Smith replied "That's correct." COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS Lieut. General Greg Newbold (Ret.) to Bush: “We won't be fooled again”: A military insider sounds off against the war and the "zealots" who pushed it.
In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again. From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But 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. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough. I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice. With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important. (…) The Bush Administration and senior military officials are not alone in their culpability. Members of Congress--from both parties--defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight. Many in the media saw the warning signs and heard cautionary tales before the invasion from wise observers like former Central Command chiefs Joe Hoar and Tony Zinni but gave insufficient weight to their views. These are the same news organizations that now downplay both the heroic and the constructive in Iraq. So what is to be done? We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty. Now we need people in Washington who can construct a unified strategy worthy of them. It is time to send a signal to our nation, our forces and the world that we are uncompromising on our security but are prepared to rethink how we achieve it. 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.
Ask why she was murdered? and the US forces of occupation will say she was a 'terrorist'! She was 22 years of age, her name was Nahrain and she was a mother of two children, named Aayesha (3 years old) and Haydar (only 40 day old baby). Nahrain's parents are both Shia, and her loving husband is Sunni making her a symbol of Iraq's social harmony that stretches from the beginning of time. Nahrain never imagined her story would one day be told on the news or the internet, and that she will be described as a 'terrorist' killed during an American military operation as part of their 'war on terror'. Nahrain was asleep in her bed besides her husband (Ahmed AlJarmoot) who was seriously injured from the severity of the shooting to which the family were subjected. "When the soldiers arrived, they first threw bombs at the front door in order to break it down" says Ahmed's sister. She went on "after gaining an entry to the family private residence, they started shooting heavily; their dogs went in with them. Then they started body-searching everyone; they showed no respect to the women. As for their helicopters, they did not stop the heavy and indiscriminate shelling of the area surrounding the place. Then, a US soldier entered the bedroom and shot some 30 bullets, after which he called for medical help because he claimed he did not know he had just shot dead a woman. We immediately knew she was killed and Ahmed was seriously injured". "The soldier then went away and brought back with him 20 of his fellow soldiers, who carried with them cameras. The photographed the dead body of Nahrain after placing a Kalashnikov on her chest", Ahmed's sister continued. US soldiers often place weapons on their victims' bodies in order to hide their crimes by suggest that their victim had been armed and shooting at the soldiers. Ahmed's sister went on to say "Next, they started beating up her brothers without any apparent reason before arresting them and leaving the family house with the dead body of Nahrain". If indeed Nahrain had been shooting at the US soldiers of occupation, then she would have died defending her home, her honour and her family in the ugly face of the occupation sending a message to the world of what the Iraqis think of the criminal occupation and its soldiers. If she was not shooting at the soldiers, then she could not have been a 'terrorist', and instead she was murdered in cold blood like many other innocent Iraqis who lose their lives every day by the bullets of the criminal occupation. ”Iraqi women are being used and abused by the occupiers in order to win this war on the Iraqi people“: Excerpts from speeches made by Hana Ibrahim of the Women's Will Association during her visits to the UK, on the 6th, 8th, 9th ,10th and 11th Dec 2005 at meetings in London.
Dear friends, I have heard President Bush talking angrily about domestic assaults on pregnant women as a double crime; against the woman and against her baby. I would agree with him and support such a campaign, but what of the Iraqi women under the continuous and repeated barbaric bombing of the Iraqi villages, towns and cities? What of the pregnant and nursing women of Iraq? What of the elderly and sick women of Iraq, facing the horrors of the most deadly and lethal American weapons? Are their welfare any less important? This hypocrisy is sickening. What of the 8 200 Iraqi families wondering in the western desert (as we speak) without any shelter or aid, as their city by the Syrian border, Al Qaim is being bombed for the fifth time. All NGOs in Iraq have admitted their inability to reach them. These communities are still suffering from the horrors of war, launched by the most powerful army in the world, Contrary to Mr Bush's claim, for these people the American military hostilities are not over yet. I think most of you know that in any war on a country, women and children suffer disproportionately more than any other section of society. It is absurd therefore to unleash, deadly and new weapons on Iraq, devastate the fragile infrastructure, destroy our cities loot our public buildings and dismantle all government institutions in the name of democracy and human rights. Even more absurdly in the name of Women's rights! Where are the values of democracy and civilisation that Bush wants to bring to Iraq? All we have seen is mass killing, prohibited weapons, imprisonment, abuse and torture, continue unabated. Iraqi women must be humiliated, their houses must be ruined, their communities devastated, their children must be maimed, their livelihoods destroyed, for the sake of Bush's democracy! We all know, when Bush talks about democracy, he means victory for capitalism and market economy. (…) We believe the US has launched a deliberate campaign of de-population of all the western border cities (border with Syria), in order to build one of the biggest military bases in the country for the next stage in the war on Terror! I have with me, horror stories from the fresh American attacks on Haditha and the other surrounding towns and villages. I havehorrific stories of American soldiers forcing their way into people's houses and killing everyone and anyone that happens to be in their way. I can show you pictures from the fourth attack on AlQaim. Iyman Al Khamas one of our women activists, would risk her life and visit all the villages, towns and cities attacked by the Americans in order to document the atrocities committed against the defenceless population of these cities. (…) Dear friends, Iraqi women are being used and abused by the occupiers in order to win this war on the Iraqi people. She is being attacked and humiliated by the American occupiers not for the sole purpose of hurting her but for the sake of hurting her family and her society. While women are being bombed, killed, injured, displaced, arrested imprisoned, humiliated and abused in one part of the country, we have meaningless initiatives such as the 25% women in the Iraqi national assembly, as if a simple measure as this will end the Iraqi women's miseries. We had all these strange political parties we have not heard of before the war, going around the country recruiting women, in order to use them for their political end. At the end of the day, these women are loyal to these political parties not to the Iraqi women's cause. There are about 300 NGO organisations concerned with women issues, yet the status of the Iraqi women seem to deteriorate all the time! Suggesting that women concerns and cause can be treated as an isolated issue not as a part of the cause and the plight of the Iraqi people isan absurd concept to say the least! How can Iraqi women cause be advanced while her society is being fragmented and her communities destroyed? How can she make progress while the country is being fleeced? How can women miseries end, while our schools and hospitals are falling apart? Women's rights are being deliberately used as another source of division and strife within our society, in order to further the cause of the occupiers. This illegal war and brutal occupation of Iraq must end soon, we must all work together men and women, Iraqis and non Iraqis to accelerate its demise. Only then Iraqis, can start meaningful reconstruction, in which women will play a vital part. We are not happy for your soldiers to be sent so far away from home, in order to kill and be killed. Iraqis are tired of wars, they want as all people of the world do, to take charge of their own destiny live in dignity and peace with the rest of the world.
Little noticed news of the week: UAVs: I stumbled upon this while searching Google News for something else; I haven't seen it reported anywhere.
Piloted remotely from a Nevada air base half a world away or by soldiers on the scene, unmanned aircraft have become so indispensable in Iraq and in the war on terror that by next year the U.S. could be spending nearly seven times more on the vehicles than it did before the 9/11 attacks. Underscoring their importance, spending on the planes is expected to total at least $12 billion over the next five years. The spike in annual spending - from $300 million in 2001 when terrorists attacked America to perhaps $2 billion next year - will pay for at least 132 UAVs, including a new version for the Navy, beefed up models for the Army and a major effort to solve technical problems. At least 700 unmanned aerial vehicles of all shapes and sizes are being used in Iraq, with dozens often jostling for room in the crowded airspace 24 hours a day. At least five times in December, the larger unmanned Air Force Predators flown remotely by airmen sitting at consoles in a Nevada Air Force base bombed insurgent strongholds in western Anbar province.
This is all, to use the crude vernacular, an imperialist's wet dream -- the ability to fight "wars" (we use that term loosely; "commit acts of terrorism" would probably be more accurate) without needing soldiers motivated enough to risk their own lives, and without risking the adverse public reaction that results when "our own" soldiers are killed. And also, I should note, one which falls completely under the public radar as far as moral outrage. Soldiers reacting angrily to the murder of one of their own by massacring an Iraqi family can produce worldwide condemnation, however mild; some unknown person sitting at a desk in Nevada and "accidentally" doing the same won't even make the news. This rapid expansion of the power to commit impersonal murder is a very ominous development, not a totally new one obviously, but one that poses an increasing threat to the people of the world. Why I'm not for "peace": I've written before about why I say I'm an "antiwar" activist, not a "peace" activist. And, thanks to Whatever It Is, I'm Against It, who has the screen shot, we have today's perfect illustration of the point: a headline on the Pentagon website, reading:
President Defends Iraq War for Peace
WIIIAI describes this as "Orwellian," but it's not exactly. The headline doesn't say that war is peace, it says the U.S. is waging a war "for peace." Me, I'm part of the group waging war against war. Not war in general. The current war against Afghanistan. The current war against Iraq. The current war against the Palestinian people. The potential future wars against Iran, or Syria, or Venezuela, or Cuba, or North Korea. Imperialist wars. A war resistor's plea to Iraq Body Count:
IBC, My name is Pablo Paredes, I am the only Navy public War Resistor thus far in the criminal acts being perpetrated against the people of Iraq. (I speak only of Iraq as your website is dedicated to that theater) My resistance was met with a Court Martial and a minor sentence. I was then Administratively separated from the Navy and effectively blacklisted by my characterization of discharge. None of this matters to me. I do not regret my actions i wish only that i could do more to bring an end to this massacre that continues in Iraq. I am writing to you with a grave concern. I have read much of the literature on your website and it has led me to the conclusion that we share some of the same goals in regards to ending this massacre. My concerns come in the effect that your methodology and appearance are having. if this is your goal or not is not my concern, but you are perceived as the end all be all, definitive authority on Iraqi civilian casualties. This is not a perception relegated to the mainstream in the US and England but even in the left in this country and abroad, Anti-war folks are perceiving you this way as well. This for me is a problem. As someone who was ready to do serious time for refusing to take part in the current massacre i am really frustrated that educated people especially in the peace movement would accept a number as low as 30000 more or less to quote our president as the definitive estimate. This is obviously what our compliant media would like and obviously what the war criminals who have led our country to war would like. But i believe that in your hearts it is not what you folks who's bios i read and admire, set out to do with IBC. Even at antiwar events when i give the conservative number of well over 100 thousand Iraqi civilians killed thus far i am stared at as though i am a conspiracy theorist. Conspiracy theorists find their info in best sellers and sci fi i got my numbers from a British Medical Journal. No one with credentials in such a field of study has belittled the study and most with experience in such studies with such methodologies hail the work or mention it is excessively conservative. I realise i am writing a sizable e-mail but i consider this a very serious issue. I speak very often at rallies and anti-war events and i often say to people that our task is not convincing conservatives of liberal ideas or war hawks of Pacifist philosophy, our difficult assignment is to change the reality in Iraq from being an abstraction to everyday Americans to becoming a harsh reality which must be stopped. I truly believe this is the case and the polls telling us 60+ percent of the us population have dumped the war tell me I'm right. Remaining as respectful as i can, i have to tell you that it becomes increasingly harder for me to bring the reality and the cost of war to everyday folks and shine a light on it. It becomes unbearably difficult to do this when such insultingly low numbers of what the true civilian cost of this aggression has been for the land of Mesopotamia, are hailed as the definitive figure. Now i realize IBC never claims to have the exact numbers and even admit you are well below but this fact has to become prominently displayed on your website and you have a duty to make statements and letters to editors etc. when politicians and media sources site your numbers as fact or closest thing to fact without admitting how low ball they are. I hope i have not insulted anyone and i hope that my request is taken in the good spirits that it is made. I know you all wish to end this massacre but a big part of that is forcing America to see that the Iraq Body count is a number with 6 painful zeros attached to it not 5 and that the majority of these deaths are via our tax dollars not insurgencies or anti-coalition forces or whatever the name we are giving to people who wont roll over and take occupation is this week. Please consider taking action on this matter, it is of grave importance. Humanity and Solidarity, Pablo
States of denial - states of terror: For decades we have been conned into thinking that voting every few years is a sure sign that we have the governments that represent us but of course as most of us don't even bother to vote, and those that do, do it out of a reflex action, we have what might be called negative feedback. Divorced from the political process, devoid of a genuine voice of opposition let alone a genuine alternative, only strengthens the state's control as the increasingly repressive laws demonstrate. On the one hand it is argued that we have allowed this state of affairs to come to pass because the great majority genuinely believe that we are under attack from the 'forces of darkness', therefore such draconian repression is a 'necessary evil' if we are to protect 'our way of life'. The paradox is not lost on me even if it is on those who accept such an argument-the killing us to save us syndrome-but on the other hand, it can be argued that we have gone along with the lie precisely because this is only explanation we are presented with. Many of us find that the explanation-that we have a murderous and utterly ruthless ruling class-too outrageous to accept. How can it be that allegedly civilised and educated people can perform such unthinkable acts? On the face of it, it seems impossible, we are, after all, the defenders of civilisation, we pride ourselves on our culture, our learning, our compassion. But history reveals precisely this, literally millions of people exterminated, entire cultures wiped out, all to preserve the 'Western way of life', a way of life that is not only immoral and unjust but now obviously unsustainable no matter how many light bulbs you switch off. And I argue that is precisely the unsustainability of 'our way of life' that has given rise to the current situation for it is simply inconceivable that those who rule us will alter their policies voluntarily, there is just too much at stake no matter that they're turning the planet into shit. Thus the ante must be continually raised if the populace are to be kept in their place which explains the never-ending series of 'threats' to which our 'way of life' is continually subjected, with each successive 'threat' built on the one preceding it. Note for example that prior to the invasion of Iraq we were told that once the tyrant Hussein was removed, peace and security would be restored (just as were told that once the 'Red Menace' was no more, we could sleep safe in our beds) yet the occupation has led to the emergence of even greater threats, now it's Iran and no doubt following Iran it will be North Korea, then China, then...? Yet there is a great irony in the current situation for the ruling elites have created a paradoxical situation whereby having effectively disenfranchised the populace by gutting the political process, they have no means of achieving any kind of endorsement for their policies. Thus the drive to create the necessary structures for 'Der Tag', that is, when it becomes necessary to rule by brute force or in cruder terms 'fuck the populace and just do as you're told!' Our 'democracy' is revealed for what it really is, a sham, a cardboard cut-out, good as a point-of-sale device but even the advertising has worn thin. Conceivably we'll stagger along for a few more 'elections' but eventually the entire house of cards will collapse, most likely not because of anything we do but because the rest of the planet will do it for us, and not to save our sorry arses but to save their own. After all, USUK can only invade just so many countries before coming to even greater grief than they have already. This is after all not 1870 (or thereabouts) when all it took was a couple of gunboats, some redcoats and a couple of tons of opium. How Blair Lied Over 7/7 and Iraq: A copy of the report into the bombings by the Home Office has concluded what Blair has long denied: that Britain's home grown suicide bombers were inspired by the invasion of Iraq. Initial drafts of the report are said to say that Iraq was a key "contributory factor" in the "radicalization" of the bombers, along with issues such as economic deprivation, social exclusion and disaffection with their community elders. The full Home Office report will not be published for another five weeks, but the same conclusion has been reached by an extremely timely book called "7/7 - the London Bombings - Islam and the Iraq War", written by Milan Rai, who founded the British branch of Voices in the Wilderness. In the book, Rai sets out to prove "how Tony Blair lied" to the British people over the 7/7 bombings. He cites secret intelligence documents that show that Blair knew that the Iraq war could increase the risk of a terrorist attack in the UK, yet he repeatedly denied the fact. To build his case, Rai details some of the statements made by the British government that included this one by the Prime Minster's Official spokesperson some four days after the bombing: "It is not right in anyway to suggest that this kind of terrorism was spawned by the Iraq war. It was something that was active before then". The British government line was simple: Because al-Qaeda had attacked targets before Iraq, then Iraq could not be the cause of the bombings. The British government line was also sinister. The message from the government was that if you questioned the government line you were being sympathetic with the bombers. It was a repetition of Bush's stance on the War on Terror: you are either with us or against us. "Blair repeatedly implied that those who try to understand the causes of the violence end up justifying that violence" writes Rai. This line led one journalist to remark: "I noticed at the beginning that the people who were asking about the issue of Iraq [were] made to feel, and I feel that way, as if they were justifying what the terrorist has done". The reason that the Blair government had to attack its critics was it was hiding a dirty secret. It was lying. The mother of ideologies of hate: There is surely distaste in much of the Middle East for some western freedoms, particularly those that challenge Islamic tradition or law. Some may hate "our freedom of religion"---those in Afghanistan who demonstrated in favor of the Christian convert's death penalty, for example. Some may hate "our freedom of speech"---when it allows insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, for example. But such hatreds are matched by our homegrown ones. A lot of Americans hate the fact that gay people have the freedom to marry in Massachusetts. Bush declares that it threatens heterosexual marriage. There are people in this country who go to military funerals waving signs declaring "God Hates Fags!" Talk about an ideology of hatred. So it shouldn't surprise Americans that some people from societies where women don't show their faces in public (and haven't for centuries) may feel revulsion at some of our freedoms. But if Condi were to look for hatreds reflected in ideologies in the Middle East, I'd imagine America's freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly actually rank low on the list. (Indeed, a Zogby poll taken in June 2002 showed that in nine Muslim countries the most admired country in the world was the U.S.) Getting real, what more substantial hatreds flourish in the "old Middle East"? And do any of them by their very existence threaten our children's future or require American intervention to eradicate? In no particular order: The Middle East has its share of ethnic and religious animosities, many of them longstanding. There is anti-Semitism, surely. But as one scholar points out, "Until the late 19th century, anti-Semitism as an ideology remained largely absent from Arab and Muslim culture."Twentieth century events, notably the establishment of the state of Israel and simultaneous dispossession of around 750,000 Palestinian refugees, have exacerbated this problem. Hatreds involving Jews, or Berbers or Kurds for that matter, have their analogues around the world. Americans and other westerners are not in a position to lecture the people of the Middle East about such hatreds, which in any event don't threaten "our freedoms." Many people in the Middle East hate the regimes under which they live. That of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, for example. If you read Human Rights Watch reports on the torture of imprisoned antiwar demonstrators you'll get some inkling of why many fear and despise Mubarak's government. That sentiment is reflected in the ideology of, for instance, the Muslim Brotherhood which, while de facto the largest opposition political party, is banned from fielding candidates for office. It's perfectly understandable. They don't hate others' freedoms but their own lack of them. Many hate western imperialism, which carved up the Arab lands after World War I, abetted the formation of Israel, installed puppet rulers, intervened arrogantly into inter-Arab quarrels, and (with the U.S. in the lead) insisted on maintaining sanctions against Iraq that killed half a million children. They hate U.S. Middle East policy. Opinion surveys make this clear. Between 2002 and 2004 the percentage of Egyptians expressing a negative attitude towards the U.S. rose from 76 to 98; Morrocans, 61 to 88; Saudis, 87 to 94. According to the Washington Post, "Those polled said their opinions were shaped by U.S. policies, rather than by values or culture. When asked: 'What is the first thought when you hear 'America'?' respondents overwhelmingly said: 'Unfair foreign policy.' And when asked what the United States could do to improve its image in the Arab world, the most frequently provided answers were 'Stop supporting Israel' and 'Change your Middle East policy.'" Now this "negative attitude" felt by tens of millions of reasonable people doesn't produce a single ideology. It factors into ideologies in the Middle East as diverse as Baathism, militant Shiism, Marxism and the worldview of the 9-11 hijackers. Hatred of unfairness is not itself an ideology but a very common human characteristic. 9-11 was "the outcome of an ideology of hatred" in the sense that the attacks were pulled off by men sharing a hatred of U.S. policy and the conviction that it was morally justifiable to slaughter thousands of civilians to express that hatred. The former feeling they share with the great majority of people throughout the Middle East (and world); the latter they share with relatively few. The al-Qaeda operatives hoped to spark a global jihad against the U.S., provoking responses to 9-11 that would generate more hatred on both sides. They probably figured that the more hatred there is, the less qualms jihadis would feel in targeting innocent people indiscriminately. That goes for their opponents as well. Thousands in Abu Ghraib, overwhelmingly innocent, have been subjected to humiliation and torture reflecting their captors' racist-tinged hatred. Bin Laden must be delighted at how the Bush administration has responded to 9-11. Condi may think the region and world "safer" as a result of the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, the saber-rattling at Syria and Iran, the tougher line towards the Palestinian Authority. But the overwhelming evidence suggests the "War on Terror" has generated both more hatred and more terror. That war too reflects an ideology, expressed in the New National Security Strategy document of September 2002 and other official papers. Its components include the insistence that the U.S. should maintain global primacy through "full spectrum dominance," that it's well and good to engage in unprovoked ("preemptive") attacks on other nations in order to acquire geopolitical advantage, that "regime change" orchestrated by the U.S. is justifiable, and that existing international laws and treaties can and should be ignored if to so is in the interest of corporate America. The current ideology of capitalist imperialism draws upon Christian fundamentalism, including Christian Zionist and millenarianism. It is the mother of ideologies of hate, and "must be dealt with." Now It's Time to Play 'Iraq or Iran?': Can you guess whether these conservative columnists are writing about Iraq in 2002 or Iran in 2006? (Answers at the bottom)
"A nuclear Ira[ ], either out of calculation that it could win a nuclear exchange with Israel, or out of a fanatical derangement, clearly poses an existential threat to Israel." -- Tony Blankley "Surely the burden of proof is on those who say the United States should stay its disarming hand until the U.N. has reached yet another set of undertakings with an Ira[ ] that is contemptuous of such things." -- George Will "Right now -- and until we might have to abandon the Security Council and go it alone -- the war option against Ira[ ] enjoys international legitimacy." -- Charles Krauthammer "Perhaps we could put aside our national, ongoing, post-9/11 Muslim butt-kissing contest and get on with the business at hand: Bombing Syria back to the stone age and then permanently disarming Ira[ ]." -- Ann Coulter "Conventional wisdom holds that there are really only two options for dealing with Ira[ ]: military strikes (by us or Israel) or the usual bundle of conferences, ineffective sanctions and windy UN speeches that lead to nothing." -- Jonah Goldberg "You know in a sane world, every country would unite against Ira[ ] and blow it off the face of the Earth. That would be the sane thing to do." -- Bill O'Reilly "We must be sure that Ira[ ] becomes a 'nuclear-free zone.' " -- Oliver North "On balance, war with Ira[ ] may not be inevitable but is highly probable." -- Bob Novak
ANSWERS: Blankley-Iran, Will-Iraq, Krauthammer-Iraq, Coulter-Iran, Goldberg-Iran, O'Reilly-Iran, North-Iraq, Novak-Iraq WHO'S THE BIGGEST CRIMINAL, SADDAM OR BUSH?
Halabja Gassing of Kurds: "Voice of America" , which claims to be "a trusted source of news and information since 1942' announced on April 4 that " Iraq's former leader Saddam Hussein faces new charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the 1980s crackdown against the Kurds, including the infamous gassing of thousands of civilians in thevillage of Halabja." US leaders and media had made Halabja part of campaign in 2002-03 for a regime change in Iraq. John Stauber , co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception said before the invasion in 2003 ," I have been absolutely stunned by the statements of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, especially the secretary of state who went to Halubjah recently and said the U.S. should have acted sooner there because of what occurred there, which is the gassing of thousands of men, women, and men. And here is the ultimate hypocrisy. I think this has become the primary justification now for the war. But the event occurred in 1988. The chemicals were supplied by the Reagan administration. And after the gassing of civilians in Halubjah, there was a bipartisan effort to try to pass the 1988 prevention of genocide act." That act was killed by the administration. (…) Stephen Pelletire , who left CIA to become a professor at US war College ," was specifically asked to investigate Halabjah said ," -- We know the circumstances under which the alleged attack took place. It was a battle. The Iranians had infiltrated the town and were attempting to take it over so they could use it as a staging ground to perpetuate-to perpetrate an invasion into Iraq. The Iraqi commander ordered the use of chemical weapons in order to drive the Iranians out of the town. Those chemicals were delivered by mortar shells. Chemical Ali had nothing to do with this operation. That was a decision of the Iraqi commander on the spot, and he took that decision because it was essential to regain the town. Now, the Kurds that were killed, and it's an unfortunate expression, collateral damage. The Iraqis were not aiming at the Kurds, they were aiming at the Iranians. "And there was a report done by the D.I.A. at the time, which also investigated it, in which the D.I.A. determined because of the condition of the bodies that the Kurds had been killed by Iranian gas, not by Iraqi gas. And they determined this because the extremities were blue, and that indicated a cyanide-based gas, and the Iraqis didn't have it. "Finally, the journalists who appeared on the spot and investigated it and took those awful pictures which everyone has seen, never counted more than a few score of bodies, and the original stories, and you can go back and look at the Christian Science Monitor and other reports of what went on by reporters in the town, all uniformly saying a couple of hundred people killed, now that's been swollen to the point where we're now claiming between 3,000 and 5,000. Saddam's Crimes Pale in Comparison to those of the Neocons: Saddam's alleged massacre of 100,000 Kurds is small when compared to the number of Iraqis killed over the last decade and a half by the United States, the United Nations, and Britain. According to Beth Daponte, a demographer at the Commerce Department in 1992, Bush's Senior's invasion of Iraq killed 158,000 Iraqis (Daponte was subsequently fired for releasing this information), but this figure pales in comparison to the numbers who perished in the following decade under sanctions. Numbers vary, but it is commonly believed between 500,000 and 750,000 (the government of Iraq claimed over a million) children died from malnutrition and disease under the sanctions and 1.5 million Iraqis in total lost their lives (see this chart on the Virginia Tech website). According to a study reaching "conservative assumptions" conducted by the Lancet Medical Journal, more than 100,000 Iraqis have died since Bush Junior's invasion and occupation. The Lancet "estimate excludes Falluja, a hotspot for violence. If the data from this town is included, the compiled studies point to about 250,000 excess deaths since the outbreak of the U.S.-led war," John Stokes concludes. In short, the United States, United Nations, Britain, and the "coalition of the killing" are responsible for the death of well over two million people in Iraq (and an incalculable number of others are certain to die in the Middle East and elsewhere from the use of depleted uranium and other toxins). Saddam's crimes are minute in this context and he is little more than a piker when compared to Bush Senior, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Bush Junior, and the perfidious Straussian neocons. One day we may be fortunate enough to witness the trial, conviction, and imprisonment of the above war criminals. However, the way things are going-engineered "civil war" in Iraq and rumblings of a terrible shock and awe campaign launched against Iran, ultimately resulting in possibly a few million more dead people-I am not holding my breath.
1969 letter to Nixon about "The bloodbath hypothesis": 4-10-06 By Scott Laderman, History News Network [Excerpt] Of course, critics of U.S. policy, such as dozens of soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas, pointed out [in 1969] an obvious logical shortcoming in the bloodbath hypothesis.
"No one wants to witness a 'blood bath' in Viet Nam," the soldiers wrote in a letter to President Nixon in November 1969. "The slaughter which you predict will occur upon our withdrawal is certainly an ugly possibility. But the slaughter in which we are now participating has already cost 40,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives.... We urge you to end our part in this massacre."
Letter from Thomas J. Burke, et al., to Richard M. Nixon, November 26, 1969, Nixon Presidential Materials Staff, White House Central Files, Subject Files: Speeches (Gen), Box 113, Folder: SP3-56/Con, 11/6/69 -- 2/16/70, National Archives II, College Park, Maryland BEYOND IRAQ IRAN
The impossible option: "Nobody in the Pentagon," [Seymour] Hersh continued, "seriously thinks (the use of tactical nuclear weapons) could be - it's an impossible option. They (Pentagon planners) wanted to get rid of it (but) ... the White House said, 'No.' And as I write, they (Pentagon planners) are going to come back to the president with a formal recommendation that they take this, this plan, this (tactical nuclear weapons) option out of the plan. And, if it doesn't happen, some people claim they will actually resign over the issue." Tehran has won: It's now only a matter of time until Iran builds a nuclear weapon: For years, Israeli foreign and defence ministers have been predicting that Iran would be at the "point of no return" within six months. Time would pass and nothing would happen. But on Tuesday the Israeli predictions finally came true: Iran joined the nuclear club by enriching uranium. In its confrontation with the West, Iran now holds almost all aces. Short of a military invasion, which is not feasible, there is nothing the US, Israel or Europe can do to stop Iran gaining a nuclear weapon. Analysts like Gary Samore, vicepresident of the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation and author of a detailed report on Iran's nuclear strategy, estimates Tehran could have a nuclear weapon capability within three to five years. Mark Fitzpatrick, a specialist on proliferation at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and author of a recent report on Iran's strategic weapons, estimates five years. Five years is a relatively short period in international relations, and Iran could go all-out from this week to speed up its nuclear programme, determined to secure a nuclear bomb as quickly as possible. There would be an advantage in doing so. Iran's power has already grown since the Iraq war, with the spread of Tehran's influence in southern Iraq; the bomb would make Iran the predominant power in its immediate neighbourhood. One option available to Iran over the next few weeks would be to go back to negotiations with the Europeans or Russia or the UN. Tehran could keep such talks going until a suitable moment, such as the final year of a Bush administration when the US is focused on the presidential election, and then restart its uranium enrichment programme. But in reality, there is no need for Iran to delay. This is the perfect time for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to make a push for the bomb, given that the US is weakened by its involvement in Iraq. And once Iran has the bomb, it will be secure from a US attack. There is not much the west can do. It is good that western diplomats try to stop the Iranians. But if the diplomats are sensible, they should be devoting at least as much time to planning for a world in which Iran becomes the first middle eastern nation other than Israel to have the bomb.
Helping the needy: I just came across this:
WOODBRIDGE, Va., April 9, 2006 -- The Landstuhl Hospital Care Project added $4,400 to its coffers April 7 to buy items needed by wounded, injured and sick servicemembers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, and hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Karen Grimord, the project's coordinator. The money was raised during the "Hook & C's Karaoke" 2nd annual benefit, held here this year at American Legion Post 364.... This marked the fourth benefit held by the Landstuhl Hospital Care Project since Grimord and her husband Brian founded it in November 2004. "We try to provide mostly clothing items, but we've also extended to hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan that need supplies, including bed sheets," Grimord said. "The project started supporting three hospitals In Iraq in 2005 and one in Afghanistan this year."
... the hospital in Afghanistan asked for bed sheets and pillows to use on litters.... Wait a minute -- we have to run fund-raisers to buy bedsheets and pillows for our own military hospitals? Apparently so, and we're not ashamed of it -- in fact, this story is on a Department of Defense Web site. QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Given the level of hatred for America in the Islamic world now, the best way for Bush to promote reform would probably be to oppose it.” -- Billmon


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