Monday, May 08, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, May 8, 2006 Photo: The tail of a British helicopter after it was shot down in Basra. (AFP/Essam al-Sudani) (See below “The Basra volcano”) Bring 'em on: A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 11:10 a.m. today when an improvised-explosive device struck his vehicle during a patrol southeast of Baghdad. (CENTCOM) Bring 'em on: A Soldier from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division was killed and another Soldier was wounded May 7 near Tal Afar. (CENTCOM) Bring ‘em on: A roadside bomb exploded near a US convoy on a road between Najaf and Karbala, with witnesses reporting casualties. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: A car bomb exploded near police patrol on Palestine street in eastern Baghdad, killing two policemen and wounding 12 Iraqis.. In western Baghdad, suspected insurgents stopped a bus carrying Higher Education Ministry employees to work, fatally shooting the driver and wounding a policeman who was working on the bus as a guard. U.S. military reports that one “suspected insurgent” was killed and one wounded when their bomb-making factory exploded in the basement of one of Baghdad's two more important Sunni Arab shrines. Six bodies found in various locations in Iraq's capital on Monday. 15 people -- including four police officers -- wounded when a roadside bomb and a car bomb exploded nearly simultaneously along Palestine street in eastern Baghdad. A car bomb exploded near a courthouse in Baghdad, killing at least five people. The Iraqi interior ministry said 10 others were wounded in the attack. US military said it killed wanted "terrorist" Ali Wali<7a>, a member of the mainly Kurdish Ansar al-Islam militant group, in a Baghdad raid. The military said Ali Wali, a known chemical expert, was killed during a raid in Baghdad's upscale Mansour district. Medics said they had received a body of a salesman working in a shop who was killed by unknown assailants in Baghdad's Palestine street. Five civilians killed and eight wounded when a roadside bomb went off at al-Tayaran Square, western Baghdad. An attacker detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi army checkpoint in the neighborhood of Adhamiyah in Baghdad, killing at least six Iraqi soldiers and three civilians Heavy clashes erupted between “insurgents” and Iraqi army soldiers in Baghdad's Adhamiya district. There was no immediate word on the number of casualties. A suicide bomber apparently targeting a police patrol blew himself up near the headquarters of the state-sponsored al-Sabah newspaper, in the Waziriya neighborhood. One civilian was killed and six were wounded. Karbala: A bomber apparently targeting the Shiite Ahl al-Bait mosque set off his explosives when his car became snarled in heavy traffic, witnesses said. Several cars were destroyed in the blast, just half a mile from the Imam al-Hussein and Imam al-Abbas shrines. Witnesses said more than 20 people were killed. However, the director of the main hospital in Karbala said three civilians were killed and 23 were wounded. Baqubah: Political activist Aqil al-Maliki shot dead by gunmen in Baquba. Muqdadiya: Gunmen in two cars killed two men in drive-by shooting in a market in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km northeast of Baghdad. Mahaweel: Corpses of three police commandos, kidnapped two days ago, found in a small river with a single bullet to the head in the town of Mahaweel, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad. Khalisa: Bodies of two Iraqi journalists working for the Iraqi al-Nahrain satellite channel found with a single bullet to the head after they were kidnapped on Sunday in al-Khalisa, a town about 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad. Mussayab: ”Insurgents” bombed Iraqi oil pipeline near Mussayab city, about 30 miles south of Baghdad, sending up a large plume of black smoke. The pipeline carries oil from Dora refinery in Baghdad to Mussayab power station, and police Col. Ahmed Mijwal said the attack had closed the station. ”Insurgent” killed and two policemen wounded during clashes that erupted after a bomb exploded near an oil pipeline in Mussayab, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad. Daquq: Gunmen killed civilian in the small town of Daquq, 30 km (20 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Al Atheem: Four personal body guards of Iraqi President killed near Al-Atheem town north of Baghdad, a close presidential source announced on Monday. The source said in press statements today that a bomb which was planted on the side of the road exploded as a private presidential convoy was passing by near the town. Tikrit: An armed group raided at dawn al-Sharqat prison in Tikrit and killed an Iraqi inmate. Kirkuk: Gunmen kidnapped an Iraqi army officer as he was heading to work. His whereabouts remained unknown. >> THE BASRA VOLCANO
U.K. MoD press release: Five personnel are missing presumed dead following the crash of a Lynx helicopter in Basra City on Saturday 6 May 2006. Wing Commander John Coxen RAF Lieutenant Commander Darren Chapman, Fleet Air Arm Captain David Dobson, Army Air Corps Flight Lieutenant Sarah-Jayne Mulvihill RAF Marine Paul Collins A commander of the Mehdi Army claims his men brought down the British helicopter with a Russian-made, shoulder-fired missile launched from a building in the north-western al-Ashaar district of the city. There was, however, no confirmation of this. There's the real importance of yesterday's bloodshed -- a reminder that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and the rest of the marjaiyah aren't the only ones calling the shots. Just as he did two years ago, Moqtada has demonstrated his ability to hijack the anti-American feelings being encouraged by the senior Shiite leaders -- where they seek to stockpile resentment for the right moment, keeping their proverbial powder dry, al-Sadr says, "Nahh, let's go ahead and start this party now." Why? Because every time he jumps the gun this way, he comes out of the resulting strife with more clout. THREAT FACING BRITISH FORCES ESCALATING IN IRAQ The attack on the helicopter is a racheting up of the threat facing the UK forces. British commanders had drastically restricted movements by road after a series of deaths caused by sophisticated bombs allegedly supplied by Iran. Transport by air was adopted as a far safer option. However, the large numbers of operations had left crews more vulnerable to attacks. Safety devices fitted to helicopters protected them from surface-to-air missiles - but not from rocket-propelled grenades. There has been another reason for curtailing the number of ground convoys. Co-operation and joint patrols with the Iraqi police have dwindled to the extent that British soldiers no longer leave their heavily fortified bases unless absolutely necessary. The main aim now is to keep as low a profile as possible while preparing for the withdrawal of the bulk of the 8,000 plus British forces during the next 12 months. read in full... BASRA - THE SUPERIOR BRITISH OCCUPIERS AGAIN Basra is now described as calm after yesterday's clashes with Mahdi Army supporters. The fighting broke out after a British helicopter crashed. It drew out a huge crowd of people who, hearing that it had been downed by a rocket, yelled "Victory to the Mahdi Army!" Then, fighting. I say that, but it is not clear that 'fighting' is the appropriate word, positing as it does a false equivalence between rock-throwing anti-occupation protesters and gun-wielding occupiers. The Observer's report says: In the ensuing fighting, unconfirmed reports suggested that four Iraqis - some of them bystanders and thought to include a child - had also been killed. Soldiers fired three live rounds as they moved to seal off the area. A curfew was imposed from 8pm local time in a bid to restore calm. That would be a murder of unarmed civilians rather than fighting. Other reports add that 42 additional people were wounded in "the fighting" (I suspect that if the demonstrators had been in possession of any guns, the word "crossfire" would have been used, albeit their absence has never prevented its use with regard to Palestine). At any rate, Basra is no longer a 'safe zone' if it ever was. Recent events suggest that the tales of British sensitive handling of their delicate imperial patch are no more convincing for their subjects than they are for those who must retail them. read in full... BBC IN FULL PROPAGANDA MODE Q&A: Basra helicopter crash [excerpt] Who is capable of this sort of attack? The Mahdi Army, insurgents loyal to the Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is known to have weapons capable of bringing down a helicopter. They are better paid than the Iraqi army and they have access to weapons allegedly coming from across the Iranian border. What is the state of relations between authorities in southern Iraq and British forces? (…) Analysts say rival Shia factions have been taking advantage of the disorder to further their political ambitions and/or illegal activities such as smuggling. However, the presence of an "occupying force" makes it difficult for them to enhance their positions. read in full…
>> NEWS Pentagon says it’s putting off next month's scheduled deployment of a Germany-based Army brigade of about 3,500 soldiers to Iraq, as officials pondered a broader cut in the U.S. force. Iraqi “leaders” again holding last-minute talks to form a new government. Iraq's interior minister says his police had arrested a general in the ministry on suspicion of involvement in kidnaps and death squads: Bayan Jabor, who is fighting to keep his job in a new government in the face of criticism that he has tolerated Shi'ite militias inside his ministry, made the announcement in an interview on Al Jazeera television. "We have arrested an officer, a major general ... along with 17 people who kidnapped citizens and in some cases killed them. He is now in jail and under investigation," he said. "We also found a terror group in the 16th brigade that carries out killings of citizens," he added. >> REPORTS [April 28]: The correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported residents along the Shatt al-'Arab waterway report that US and British heavy military equipment has been moved up towards the border and that air patrols by American war planes have been increased in order to intensify reconnaissance of the frontier. Residents of al-Basrah told Mafkarat al-Islam that the offices of pro-Iranian Shi'i parties in the city have been distributing arms to their members. The sources say that most of the weapons being distributed come from Iran and were smuggled over the border to the southern cities of al-Basrah and al-'Amarah. (...) Local observers doubt that the US is preparing a strike against Iran. It is thought, rather, that the US and Britain on one side and Iran on the other are escalating activities against each other on Iraqi soil as a form of applying pressure to each other. read in full IRAQ HAS BECOME A DUMPING GROUND FOR ALL SORTS OF GOODS Quality is not a criterion anymore, as traders have a free hand to import what they want from wherever they want. In fact Iraq is perhaps the only country in the world relying solely on imports if we exclude its crude exports. The Trade Ministry does not have the power to monitor the imports and the interior ministry lacks the means to control border points through which these imports flow. There are no fines, no penalties to deter traders bluffing the hapless Iraqi consumers. Defrauding customers and not serving them seems to have become the ultimate aim of the new generation of post-U.S. invasion traders. read in full… >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS THE DRUG OF WAR If one repeatedly rubs their hand lightly across a rough surface, the hand will become numb to the sensation and to any sensation of equal or lesser intensity. This holds true for the mind. If one constantly exposes themselves to extreme situations, then all sensations there after of equal or lesser intensity offer no stimulation. A heroin addict must constantly increase the dose because the mind has grown tolerant to a lower dosage. A cocaine addict must snort more and more to obtain the same rush of endorphins that was felt the first time. This constant increase to obtain a desired effect is met with graduation to a more intense medium or fatality. However, a higher dosage or different medium does not always exist to take the addict to the next level, and even if he were to continue to utilize his current choices, the supply is not always infinite. When the supply diminishes, one is left numb to all sensation, and hence follows an increasingly desperate situation. For the soldier; war is his drug. His mind grows an addiction to its ravenous stimuli from abnormally stressful situations. His time within this medium is finite, and when it comes to an end, he will find it hard to deal with his unwanted addiction. This is the tragedy of all those who have fallen to the drug of war, myself included. read in full... AN ACT OF EXCEPTIONAL CRUELTY Even by the stupefying standards of Iraq's unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country's top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty. Nobody but her killers knew just how much she had suffered until a film showing her death on February 22 at the hands of two musclebound men in military uniforms emerged last week. Her family's worst fears of what might have happened have been far exceeded by the reality. Bahjat was abducted after making three live broadcasts from the dge of her native city of Samarra on the day its golden-domed Shi'ite mosque was blown up, allegedly by Sunni terrorists. Roadblocks prevented her from entering the city and her anxiety was obvious to everyone who saw her final report. Night was falling and tensions were high. Two men drove up in a pick-up truck, asking for her. She appealed to a small crowd that had gathered around her crew but nobody was willing to help her. It was reported at the time that she had been shot dead with her cameraman and sound man. We now know that it was not that swift for Bahjat. read in full... PREPONDERANCE MATTERS Although just about everyone on the planet then [at the start of the Iraq invasion - zig] believed, to one degree or another, in American preponderance, no one believed in it more firmly or deeply than the top officials of the Bush administration. And what glorious, theocratic dreams they had based on that belief. Best of all, they could dream on the cheap, so sure were they that their foes would be as dazzled by our preponderance as they were. As Paul Wolfowitz put it, Iraq was a country that "floats on a sea of oil" and we, of course, were going to be floating atop it. We would have, in the phrase of that moment, "permanent access" to Iraq for all time to come. Now, a cool $300-400 billion later with only perhaps another trillion dollars to go...) As it happened, a bunch of Sunni "bitter-enders" weren't as impressed with us as we were and the rest of the unraveling you know; and now, it seems, nobody's all that impressed. Not the North Koreans. Not certainly, the Iranians, who are, if anything, too radically unimpressed with the preponderance of American power for their own good. Anyway, you would think, under such circumstances, that someone up there might perhaps ponder a bit. But, by the evidence, no such luck -- despite the revolt of the retired generals (seven or eight of them standing in for a bevy of disgruntled, angry non-retirees). What rethinking there has been seems just so completely retro-imperial, so-Vietnam, that it's hard to even find words to sum it up. read in full… FAILURE IN IRAQ The [U.S.] administration is strategically exhausted. Its only solution to the problem of Iran is to repeat the Iraq playbook. The speeches, the refusal to negotiate directly with Iran, the unnerving presence of Iranian exiles whispering sweet promises in Washington, the framing of the issue as one of the "credibility of the Security Council" are all straight out of the campaign that successfully fooled a majority of the nation, convincing them that Iraq was an urgent threat and somehow linked to September 11. Thus, it falls to those of us outside of the governing circles to detail the failures, to forge new strategies and champion a new course. Some are already doing just that; more are needed. Most importantly, we must expose fully the mistakes of this strategy and of those who developed it so that America does not lurch into an unnecessary war. Not again. read in full... ACCEPTING REALITY: AMERICA LOST THE WAR IN IRAQ America has lost the war in Iraq. The chance for victory vanished long ago with the hearts, minds, arms, legs and lives of the Iraqi people. The insurgence hasn’t won; rather the American government never obtained the formula to win. America, led by war-bent hawks (Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz) entered this war with many interests. Among them, the control of a major supply of Mideast oil, military bases, reconstruction contracts for cronies (i.e. Halliburton and Bechtel), a new ally/puppet in the region, securing Israeli dominance, showcasing new products for the arms community, and the greater concept of making Baghdad a haven for US corporate expansion (thereby planting a McDonalds and Starbucks on every street corner). In this excess of interests, the US neglected a major factor in the equation—the Iraqi people. read in full… WHY HAS RESISTANCE TO THE WAR IN IRAQ BEEN INEFFECTIVE? The answer is fear. Before the invasion, Americans were recovering from collective post-traumatic-stress disorder. We'd had the beejeebers frightened out of us by 9/11. The Bush Administration played on this anxiety. The White House propaganda machine convinced a majority of Americans that Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama bin Laden, was responsible for the attacks, and was an imminent threat to attack again. Over time this false impression eroded. Today, Americans are not as fearful as they were in 2003. And, George Bush is no longer the trusted leader he was at the time he beat the drums for war in Iraq. Indeed, there has been such a shift against the war in Iraq that it seems unlikely that Bush can play the fear card again. That he can persuade a majority of Americans that an attack on Iran is a good idea, particularly if that attack involves the use of nuclear weapons. The next six months loom as a pivotal period in US history. We'll have an election to determine whether or not the Bush juggernaut rolls on unimpeded. And, we're likely to see a "preemptive" attack on Iran. During this critical interval there are two types of actions that Americans can take to protect our democracy: political and economic. We can take political action to ensure that Democrats regain their majority in the House or Senate and stall the Bush express on Capitol Hill. We can also engage in economic direct action: a widespread boycott or a strike. These days Americans are more familiar with the former than the latter. Since July, a national boycott against Exxon-Mobil has been gaining momentum. May 1st there was a massive national workers' boycott supporting immigrant rights. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ IRAN
"President Ahmadinejad has written a letter to George W. Bush, which is to be handed to the Swiss embassy," which represents the U.S. interests in Iran, government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters. "In this letter, while analyzing the world situation and finding the roots of the problems, he has proposed new ways for getting out of the existing vulnerable world situation," Elham added. In July Iran will ditch the dollar in favour of the euro as the currency in which it will accept payments for its oil and natural gas exports, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Friday. The switch, first mooted months ago, was expected but Ahmadinejad's decision comes just as Washington is stepping up pressure on other United Nations Security Council members to act against Tehran for flouting agreements taken with the UN's nuclear watchdog. Some observers beleive the Iranian move could deal a severe blow the the American currency as many central banks from oil importing nations could choose to stock up their currency reserves with euros rather than dollars.
Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.
read in full... BUSH = TERRORISM AS FOURTH MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM FACING U.S. Myself, I find it very telling that the President of the United States is considered to be as big a problem as terrorism, the exact same issue that has been his strong point and the one that helped, if not solely responsible for, his re-election. Did I say that? I mean, helped him to steal the 2004 election without much notice. When are the people of this nation going to really stand up to this villain. Oh the irony. read in full... RACISM AND RELIGIOUS DESECRATION AS US POLICY It was the potshot heard round the world that touched off a counter-crusade. Packaged in western free speech cliches, and marketed as innocent satire, the newspaper Jylland-Posten's depiction of the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist/suicide bomber with a ticking bomb for a turban was "provocation-entrapment" propaganda. Dual-use entertainment, in this case frivolous caricature, is an unexamined aspect of "full spectrum information dominance." The US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's "Information Operations Roadmap" mandates that 'information warfare' utilize all cultural venues to further its agenda- news, posters, books, movies, art, internet, and music etc. (...) If propaganda is a weapon of war, Islam is under carpet bombing. Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels described the methods, which define those used today: "Concentrating the fire of all the media on one particular point- a single theme, a single enemy, a single idea- the campaign uses this concentration of all media, but progressively..." Theme: "War on Terror" Enemy: Muslims. Addressing the 2006 AIPAC "Now is the Time to Stop Iran" Conference, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Daniel Gillerman summarized the Idea: "While it may be true- and probably is- that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim." Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami put it another way: "the West needs an enemy, and this time it is Islam. And Islamophobia becomes part of all policies of the great powers, of hegemonic powers." read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We agreed with Americans only at the point of removing Saddam Hussein. The relationship ended at that point." -- Sheik Abu Mohammed Baghdadi, a cleric in Najaf close to Sistani.


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