DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, May 29, 2006
: Iraqi firemen extinguish a burning U.S. Humvee as soldiers treat victims after a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad May 29, 2006. REUTERS/Ali Jasim (See below "In Baghdad's Tahariyat Square…")
Bring 'em on
: With deep regret the [UK] Ministry of Defence can confirm that two members of the Queen's Dragoon Guards were killed and two others suffered minor injuries in an incident which took place in Basra, Iraq, yesterday, 28 May 2006, at around 2130 local time. The incident appears to have been an attack from an Improvised Explosive Device. The soldiers were from the Queen's Dragoons Guards part of the Basra City Battlegroup. (UK MoD)
CBS personnel killed and injured after their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Iraq
. Veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed, CBS said in a statement. Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was in critical condition at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad after undergoing surgery.
The three journalists were covering American troops for Memorial Day while with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The journalists had gotten out of their armored vehicle after a "curious incident," CBS said. A nearby car packed with explosives then detonated, the network said.
The U.S. military said a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi contractor also were killed in the attack on their convoy. Six U.S. soldiers were wounded in the attack, the military said.
In Baghdad's Tahariyat Square, a car bomb targeting an American convoy killed one civilian and wounded nine.
It was not known if there were any U.S. casualties, but at least one Humvee was seen on fire.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Sunni tribal chief who sent fighters to help U.S. troops in western Iraq died in a hail of bullets
: Sheik Osama al-Jadaan was ambushed by gunmen as he was being driven in Baghdad's Mansour district. Al-Jadaan's driver and one of his bodyguards also were killed.
Al-Jadaan was a leader of the Karabila tribe, which has thousands of members in Anbar province, an insurgent hotbed stretching from west of Baghdad to the Syrian border. He had announced an agreement with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government to help security forces track down al-Qaida members and foreign fighters.
A car bomb placed near Baghdad's main Sunni Abu Hanifa mosque killed at least nine Iraqis and wounded 25.
The bomb exploded at noon in north Baghdad's Azamiyah neighborhood and was so powerful it vaporized the vehicle. Following the attack, clashes erupted between insurgents and the Iraqi army in the area.
A bomb planted in a parked minivan killed at least seven and wounded 20 at the entrance to an open-air market selling clothes in the northern Baghdad suburb of Kazimiyah.
A parked car exploded near Ibin al-Haitham college in Azamiyah in northern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding at least five, including four Iraqi soldiers.
Twelve people were killed and 24 were wounded when a car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol detonated in Adhamiya district, northern Baghdad.
Most of the victims were students from a nearby university.
A second bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol near the square killed one person and wounded 10, including four police.
A roadside bomb killed two police officers and wounded three others in downtown Baghdad's Karradah district.
One man was killed and six were injured when a bomb hidden in a minivan exploded in Baghdad.
Gunmen killed two police officers when they attacked a convoy in western Baghdad.
Two other Pakistanis were killed in a militant attack in Baghdad.
A suicide car bomber blew up a police patrol in Baghdad's southern district of Masbah on Monday, killing three and wounding five others.
. Among the casualties, a policeman was killed and two was wounded.
A car bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in Karrada district, central Baghdad, killing one person and wounding four people.
The Pakistani government confirmed on Monday that two of its nationals were killed in Iraq when their sleeping places in a U.S. military camp in Baghdad came under mortar attack on May 22.
The two Pakistanis were employed with a company and were working at the camp as laborer and electrician.
A group of attackers seriously wounded several police colonels in Ghazaliyah near Baghdad.
A roadside bomb killed 10 Iraqis who worked for an organization of Iranian dissidents living in Iraq.
The blast targeted a public bus near Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad in Diyala province. Twelve people were wounded, police said. All the dead were Iraqi employees heading to the main camp of the Mujahedeen Khalq, which opposes Iran's regime.
To the south of Baghdad, Hilla police reported four mortar rounds had fallen into the town of Iskandariya, wounding 10 civilians.
Gunmen opened fire at an army checkpoint on Saturday, killing one soldier and wounding two others near the town of Dujail
, 90 km north of Baghdad.
Two police officers, identified as former Baathists, were killed in Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Baghdad.
An Iraqi civilian was injured when a car exploded in Kirkuk.
Two Pakistani drivers kidnapped in Iraq last week have been killed and their bodies have been sent to Kuwait for repatriation to the country
, a TV channel reported on Monday. There was no official confirmation of the deaths.
Iraqi FM said Baghdad will never take part in any military aggression on Iran
: Speaking to IRNA, the minister said that Baghdad had repeatedly declared that it would never allow its territory to become a launching pad for any military action or be used to materialize threats against Iran.
He was responding to a question at a press conference here on whether Iraq would allow the US to use its soil to materialize threats on Iran.
"Iraq's security and stability is intertwined with the security and stability of Iran," Zebari said. (…)
Zebari, talking to reporters, said his country believes peaceful nuclear technology is Iran's indisputable right. He further said that any provocation or moves against Iran that exacerbates the problem and endangers its security would have negative effects on security in the entire region.
"Given the wisdom of Iranian officials and their logical attitude," said the foreign minister, "Iraq is confident that Tehran's nuclear problem will be settled through peaceful ways."
Italy to pull 1,100 of its troops from Iraq in June
, the new government said Friday, giving its first specific numbers about the planned withdrawal. "In June we will reduce our troops from 2,700 to 1,600," Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said during an evening television show.
Al-Sadr calls on Iraqi Parliament to take immediate measures for the withdrawal of the US troops from the country
: He addressed the US President George Bush urging him to respect the just demands of the Iraqi government and people about the withdrawal of the troops from the country.
Muqtada al-Sadr explained that after the end of political disagreement and the formation of a new government, Iraq doesn't need international help any more.
Speaker of Iraq's national assembly condemns arrest of the brother of a member of parliament by US and Iraqi forces in a raid on her house on Friday
: Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said in a statement that US and Iraqi forces arrested the brother of Sunni Arab parliamentarian Taysir Awwad at her home.
"I condemn the arrest which violates the immunity of the house because she is a member of parliament," he said.
The US military had no immediate comment.
Multi-National Forces are offering a USD 2,500 reward for information on a wanted sniper that has been targeting policemen and civilians in Kirkuk.
Hundreds of British security guards in Iraq being urged to resign en masse next month over a pay dispute
that could cripple operations at diplomatic missions and put the safety of officials at risk.
The unprecedented industrial action by staff at Control Risks raises questions about the use of private security companies for tasks such as guarding embassies and convoys and acting as bodyguards for diplomats and aid workers in conflict zones. Since the US-led invasion of Iraq, dozens of private security companies have made hundreds of millions of pounds from dangerous jobs. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office spent £110 million on private security in the first 21/2 years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
But with less money being spent on reconstruction and more security firms competing for the work, the contracts have become more competitive.
Control Risks, whose 450 employees in Iraq provide close protection for British diplomats and aid workers, had its contract renewed by the Foreign Office, but only after it reduced charges by cutting salaries to some frontline staff by 19 to 37 per cent. (…)
The dispute is a blow to Control Risks, which promotes itself as a respectable company in a business that attracts a motley collection of players, including mercenaries and conmen.
IT TAKES TWO TO PLAY 4th GENERATION WARFARE
"THEY'RE MORE EFFECTIVELY NETWORKED THAN WE ARE"
[During a U.S. raid in Ad Duluiyah] suddenly [First Lt. Brian] Feldmayer [of Charlie Company, part of the Army’s first “digital division,”] cuts off the conversation and urges the man and the interpreter around a corner. "He says he knows who the bad guys are around here," Feldmayer says.
The interpreter takes notes as the informant rattles off names and addresses.
If the Pentagon's vision of networked forces were realized here, he would be typing into a handheld computer, wirelessly connected to a network. The names would immediately be cross-checked with databases of known guerrillas and disseminated to local commanders.
But for now, the patrol's interpreter writes down the Ad Duluiyah suspects on paper, using a pencil.
It's at this point, just beyond the edge of the American network, where the guerrillas are best connected. Using disposable cellphones, anonymous e-mail addresses at public Internet cafés, and "lessons learned" Web sites that rival Cavnet, disparate guerrilla groups coordinate attacks, share tactics, hire bomb makers, and draw in fresh recruits.
It's an ad hoc, constantly changing web of connections, so it's hard for U.S. spooks to know where to listen in next.
It also lets the insurgents keep a loose command structure, without much hierarchy-just like the network-centric theorists call for.
Even if their communications are compromised, only a small cell is exposed, not the entire insurgency.
"They're more effectively networked than we are," says Hammes, the guerrilla-war expert. "They have a worldwide, secure communications network. And all it cost them was two dinars."
read in full…
Anti-U.S. rebels active in Fallujah turn against digital cameras U.S. troops installed to monitor their movement: The cameras can monitor movement of people at least three kilometers away and have apparently restricted the rebels' ability to raid U.S. camps.
Residents say they have counted at least 35 such cameras guarding U.S. troops' concentrations close to the restive city of Falluja.
And recently several of these high-tech cameras were destroyed mainly by rebel sniper fire. (…)
Falluja has resurfaced as a major stronghold of anti-U.S. resistance despite a massive U.S. assault that had almost turned the city of nearly 300,000 inhabitants into ruins.At least 1,000 UK soldiers desert
: Cases of soldiers deserting the army are said to be rising
More than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted since the start of the Iraq war, the BBC has learned.
Figures for those still missing are 86 from 2001, 118 from 2002, 134 from 2003, 229 from 2004, 377 from 2005, and 189 for this year so far.
The news comes as Parliament debates a law that will forbid military personnel from refusing to participate in the occupation of a foreign country. (…)
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington told, Parliament last Monday that the number of absconders had trebled since the invasion with more soldiers "questioning the morality and legality of the occupation".
Video of a young survivor of the Haditha Massacre
. Her entire family was murdered by American soldiers in their home.
On November 19 of last year a massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians occurred in Haditha located about 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. The killing rampage by 12 US Marines included seven women and three children who were shot point blank inside their homes. The war crime surfaced only because of its recent strong condemnation by Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a retired US Marine.
The Iraqi Hammurabi Organization for Monitoring Human Rights and Democracy documented the massacre and produced a video showing corpses lined up at the local morgue with bullet wounds in the head and chest. The video shows homes with bullet holes in the walls, pieces of human flesh, pools of blood, and clothes scattered on floors. Iraqi civilian witnesses described the horrible killing rampage by the US Marines.
Poll: For the first time since the Iraq invasion, fewer than four-in-ten Americans believe the war was worth fighting.
76 per cent of respondents think there have been an unacceptable number of U.S. military casualties in Iraq
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
SO THIS IS THE NEWS ON IRAQ?
On her last visit to the U.S., Faiza al-Arji, a native Shia Iraqi woman, whose blog "A Family in Baghdad" provides details of everyday developments in Iraq, was invited by a non-governmental American organization opposed to the war, went to different states, and spoke about the truth of what's happening in Iraq.
Her greatest disappointment, she says, was to discover that the mainstream media of a country, which claims to be the world's foremost protector of freedoms and human rights, is not as objective as we're being told. (...)
"When I passed through the offices of CNN, Fox News and other major news agencies," says Al-Arji, "I saw they were funded by government-friendly sources. I smiled to myself"
"Their news reports were clipped and vague, and essentially meaningless. For example, they showed President Bush saying, 'we are making progress in Iraq.' A commander from the occupied forces would also be shown for a few seconds saying that everything was going smoothly. Then they would flash a picture of a safe, beautiful Baghdad before the war--the Tigris river was beautiful, glimmering and clean. Then the news piece would be over."
"People pay attention for seconds, waiting for a new and useful sentence. When they don't hear it, they turn and talk about something else. I said to myself: So this is the news on Iraq? What might the American citizen actually understand from this?"
"I started asking people in my interviews: In the past three years, do you remember seeing one Iraqi opposing the war in the mainstream media? They shook their heads and say no. I would then tell them that the U.S. media is in partnership with the government in this war. You Americans don't know anything about Iraq, about Islam, about our culture, our civilization, our religion, I said. All that reaches you is through the lens of a distorted, biased and deceitful media that sows disdain and discrimination and justifies wars and hatred between us.
read in full...
URANIUM AS A FORCE MULTIPLIER
It always pays to listen, and to listen exactly, to what the senior U.S. military officials say about fighting wars. In 1991, Gen. Colin Powell sent 500,000 men with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, lots of 70-ton Abrams Tanks and other soldier equipment for a 100-hour war against a weak third world country - Iraq. It was called the Powell Doctrine and required a quick enemy defeat by "overwhelming force," "defined goals" and an "exit strategy."
Another George Bush, George Bush the second, sent only 145,000 troopers for the much more ambitious conquering and occupation of Iraq 12 years later. What changed?
Why send 355,000 fewer troopers for a much larger, tougher, sure to get you killed job? The American war policies did not change. The answer is that the Americans had millions of pounds of a deadly microscopic "helper" called depleted uranium as a "force multiplier" deployed in Iraq.
A force multiplier is a technological method to multiply the aggressiveness and lethality of an armed force. Dr. Katsuma Yagasaki of Ryukyus University in Okinawa, a physicist, stated publicly that the atomicity equivalent of the weaponized uranium gas deployed in Iraq by U.S. military forces is hundreds of thousands of times the radioactivity of the Nagasaki atomic bomb.
Marion Fulk, who started working on nuclear weapons more than 60 years ago during the Manhattan Project, says, "I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people." A leading scientist, Leuren Moret, speaking out on the use of depleted uranium today, says flatly, "Iraq is uninhabitable," due to widespread radiation poisoning.
read in full...
THE PLOY THAT DIDN'T WORK
On Friday 26 May, just hours after Tony Blair and George Bush began talks in Washington on the "progress" of their occupation of Iraq, a curious article appeared on the BBC's website. Headlined "Iran FM begins first Baghdad trip", it was posted at 0617 GMT. Penned by one Pam O'Toole, it painted a faux-objective, strangely upbeat, picture of the Iranian foreign minister's impending visit to Iraq.
This was all the more extraordinary because the US and British governments, through compliant sections of the media - including the BBC which is now virtually the official mouthpiece of the Blair government - have been engaged in a propaganda campaign demonising the Tehran government in preparation for an aerial assault on Iran. (...)
The BBC article was almost certainly part of the stage management for Blair's talks with Bush. It would not have gone unnoticed by the president's media minders. It certainly reads as if it were meant to send a public signal to the American president that Blair wanted out of Iraq, wanted no part of a bombing campaign against Iran, and was prepared to enter negotiations with Tehran. Indeed the article underlined the fact that Tehran controls the fate of the Green Zone government.
It is not surprising that Blair would want to emphasise this point by making it public through the BBC. Britain's military position in Iraq's south is dangerously untenable. The safety of British troops already depends on Britain's accommodation with Tehran's Iraqi surrogates.
If this was the ploy it didn't work. Blair backed down. Perhaps he unexpectedly caved in to Bush before the article could hit the airwaves and the web. On the night of Thursday 25 May, Blair "looking weary and under pressure after his visit to Iraq" (to quote the Sydney Morning Herald
) stood beside Bush to insist that despite reports there were no plans to withdraw US or British forces. In classic Stalinist style, O'Toole's article, suddenly redundant, disappeared as if it had never existed.
On Friday 26 May, the puppet Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, said that Iran had the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program.
Who knows what blackmail Bush applied to get Blair to stay in Iraq. (...) In any event, George screwed Tony again. British troops will remain in Iraq, in spite of Blair's misgivings.
The pro-Iranian politicians of the Iraqi puppet government would certainly have welcomed the withdrawal of the Coalition from the Southern provinces and the handing of formal control to their sectarian militias and the police and army units they own.Tehran will be angered by the Coalition's failure to withdraw and in response it is likely to use its surrogate forces to gradually apply more and more military pressure to the Coalition's outnumbered troops in the South. Tony Blair has only himself to blame.
read in full…
THE BANALITY OF GUN VIOLENCE
In the last few weeks friends of mine in Iraq have experienced a rash of deaths amongst their friends and coworkers.
It began with a courier we know being killed by gunfire. I'm still not sure whether it was at some kind of checkpoint, a carjacking, or other random violence.
At least five friends of Omar and his brother Mhyar were killed in the previous 2 or 3 weeks. One of those killed was the brother of a guy named Wisam, Omar's best friend.
I've never met Wisam personally, but because Omar is often at his house and, because of the curfew, stays the night often as well, I've had a few chance conversations with him.
He's a nice guy, though a bit strange-his nickname is Weirdo! He and Omar bond over their love for metal, metallica, and other similar things any American boy in his late teens/early 20s might be prone to.
Wisam's brother was killed last week in a carjacking gone wrong. Apparently he shot back, but wasn't able to scare them off or stop the assault. They shot back, and he was killed.
Two days later, the husband of Um Abeer, a woman who works with Omar's mother, was killed in another carjacking. Both times the deaths were caused by guns.
For Wisam, his situation is made even worse by the fact that his father died two weeks earlier. No, he wasn't killed by gun violence or deathsquads, just a good old fashioned heart attack.
I was having dinner with my friend Rafat last night and I mentioned to him that it had been a good two days. Two days since I heard of any of Omar's friends being killed, or any other friends for that matter.
That's when Rafat told me that the husband of his friend's sister was killed the day before yesterday.
read in full…
BECAUSE NOTHING SAYS "I'M SORRY" LIKE SNIPERS
The Haditha massacre story seems to be heating up, as it did not do after the initial Time
magazine article in March, because the media have been waiting since then for the Pentagon to do the investigating for them. This is a little troubling because the Pentagon's track record is not good, not just on Abu Ghraib but on Haditha itself. When the Marines' first story (the civilians were killed by an IED) was disproved, the Pentagon simply accepted their second story (gun battle) without investigating. Without the Time
article, that would have been the end of it (unlike after My Lai, no American military personnel came forward to tell the truth). Dunno, maybe it's just me, but if US Marines are pointing guns at four-year olds and pulling the trigger, I'd like that looked into. A detail from the London Times
, which sent a reporter to talk to a 10-year old survivor: "An American unit attended the funeral to apologise, but not before it had positioned snipers around the mourners". Hearts and minds, eh?
read in full…
"THE NAZIS CALLED US TERRORISTS"
Three years ago I met a Dutch journalist, Willem Oltman, at the International Campaign Against US Aggression on Iraq in Cairo, Egypt.
Oltman described his teen years during World War II in the Dutch resistance movement. "The Nazis called us terrorists," he exclaimed. "Now as the US invades and occupies other countries you do the same thing," he added.
>> BEYOND IRAQ
In Kabul, a traffic accident involving U.S. troops is blamed for sparking city-wide rioting
, and gunfire was later heard near the U.S. Embassy. Authorities say at least five people have been killed, and another 60 injured. The unrest started after three U.S. Humvee vehicles coming into the city from the outskirts before the vehicles ran into a rush-hour traffic jam, hitting several civilian cars, witnesses said. At least three people were killed and 16 injured in the crash, while U.S. forces killed one person and wounded two when they fired on dozens of stone-throwing rioters shouting "Death to America!".
Associated Press Television footage showed hundreds of angry young men hurling rocks at what appeared to be three U.S. military trucks and three dun-colored Humvees as they sped from the area after the crash, their windscreens cracked by the stones. A center-mounted machine gun on one of the Humvees was seen firing into the air over the crowd as the vehicle sped away.
Hundreds of Afghan army troops and NATO peacekeepers in tanks were deployed around the city, as chanting protesters marched on the presidential palace and rioters smashed police guard boxes, set fire to police cars and ransacked buildings, including the compound of aid group CARE International. Computers were set on fire and smoke billowed from the buildings, according to an Associated Press reporter.
Hundreds of protesters marched to the palace of U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai in the city center, shouting "Death to Karzai! Death to America!"
AP reporters elsewhere in the city heard a 20-second burst of heavy automatic gunfire, apparently coming from the direction of the U.S. Embassy. It subsided but gunfire was then heard sporadically. Staff at the U.S. Embassy were moved to a secure location within the heavily fortified embassy, said Chris Harris, an embassy spokesman. He had no immediate information on the reported gunfire.
A mob had gathered outside the British embassy and was trying to force its way into Wazir Akbar Khan, where most of the city's embassies and international organisations are based. They were held back by scores of soldiers who were blocking the main roads to the area, a reporter on the scene said. "We are hearing a lot of gunshots," UN employee Marina Walter said from a government office in the centre of the city.Five Canadian soldiers injured and as many as six Taliban militants killed during gunbattle in Kandahar
- the city that was headquarters to the Taliban.
More than 50 Taliban militants believed killed in U.S. airstrike on Kajaki district in Helmand provinces
, although police had yet to reach the mountainous location to confirm the casualties, said provincial deputy governor, Amir Mohammed Akhunzada.
Taliban have regained control of all southwestern provinces of Afghanistan
, Al Jazeera television quoted the group commander, Mullah Dadullah, as saying.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "The Coalition troops in the south [of Iraq] are effectively already hostages of Iran." -- Gavin Gatenby, Possum News Network