DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, May 30, 2006
: American soldiers taking Iraqi children hostages until their father's surrender. (See more photos at the link.)
Bring 'em on
: A U.S. soldier was killed by small arms fire on Monday in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.
The bodies of two marines who went missing after their helicopter crashed on Saturday in western Iraq have been recovered
, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A roadside bomb in southern Baghdad killed one police officer and wounded four.
Bodies of three blindfolded and handcuffed men who had been tortured and shot in the head found in different areas of Baghdad.
A car loaded with mortar rounds and explosives exploded near the Interior Ministry, killing a man there and wounding three city workers on a soccer field.
Two Iraqi women were killed and two other people wounded Tuesday when a mortar bomb slammed near the Ministry of Interior's building in Baghdad.
The Imam of Ansar al-Muhajrin Sunni mosque, was assassinated Tuesday by gunmen in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Shula.
A number of gunmen stormed Abdullah's house adjacent to the mosque and shot him to death.
The Iraqi army said it arrested an insurgent who opened fire at guards at the Ministry of Transport.
A car bomb killed at least five people in the northern Baghdad district of Husaniya.
Gunmen wounded an Egyptian national while he was driving in his car in Tikrit.
The U.S. forces arrested a former major general in Saddam Hussein's army along with his three sons in Tikrit.
Gunmen kidnapped an employee of the Oil Protection Facility in Balad
, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed two brothers on Monday night while they were walking in the street in the city of Samarra
, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.
A suicide bomber in a car killed at least eight people in the Iraqi town of Hilla
, police sources said, adding the death toll was expected to rise. They said the attack occurred near a car dealership in Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad.
Two people from the Mehdi Army militia run by Moqtada al-Sadr were wounded on Monday night during clashes with members from the Iraqi Accordance Front, a Sunni Arab Umbrella Group
, in Aziziya, a small town between Baghdad and Kut, 170 km (105 miles) south of Baghdad.
Police killed three people with suspected links to al-Qaeda in Iraq on Monday near Suwayra, south of Baghdad
, police said on Tuesday.
RAMADI THE NEXT FALLUJAH?
The U.S. military said Monday it was deploying the main reserve fighting force for Iraq, a full 3,500-member armored brigade, as emergency reinforcements for the embattled western province of Anbar, where a surge of violence linked to the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq has severely damaged efforts to turn Sunni Arab tribal leaders against the insurgency. (...)
Gen. George W. Casey, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, has called up the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the main standby reserve force for the roughly 130,000 American troops in Iraq, Maj. Todd Breasseale, a Marine spokesman in Baghdad, confirmed.
The call-up leaves a Marine Expeditionary Unit, which typically includes one combat infantry battalion and air and logistical support, in Kuwait as the only American reserve in the Iraqi theater, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said.
CNN reported last week that as many as two of the brigade's three battalions were headed to Ramadi. U.S. military officials would not comment then, citing security of any ongoing troop movements. (...)
U.S. forces have called in repeated strikes by air and by artillery on the heart of Ramadi. Marines defend a five-block area of downtown that holds the local government, now a sniper's alley where U.S. forces move at a run to elude insurgent guns.
Marines have temporarily suspended new embedding of journalists in Ramadi. Time
magazine, U.S. News & World Report
and the Associated Press, all with embedded reporters already in Ramadi last week, quoted both officers and the enlisted Marines at sandbag firing positions as saying that Ramadi had to have reinforcements to do more than fight insurgents to a draw around the town hall. Time quoted officers as estimating it would take three brigades, up from one. (...)
Rumors routinely circulate of a Fallujah-style clearing operation in Ramadi.
read in full...
A lawyer for Saddam Hussein said one of his witnesses had been killed and complained of restrictions on the case.
The defense did not identify the slain witness or give details on how or when he was killed, but it said the death illustrated the difficulties undermining an effective defense of Saddam and seven former members of his regime.
249 prisoners who had been suspected of ties to the insurgency have been released from three U.S. detention centers in Iraq.
An Iraqi Justice Ministry official says the freed prisoners are part of a group of two thousand cleared for release by a joint committee. There are still 14,000 detainees, including five women, in prisons nationwide.
Work tarted on a multimillion-dollar international airport near Najaf, financed mostly by a low-interest loan from Iran.
The airport is designed to serve Shiite religious pilgrims visiting Najaf's shrines and provide a major boost to the economy of Iraqi's impoverished Shiite south.
It's a coalition of the dwindling
: The U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq is losing two of its most important allies - Italy and South Korea - and up to half a dozen other members could draw down their forces or pull out entirely by the end of the year.
Autopsy reports reveal homicides of detainees in U.S. custody
(released by the ACLU 10/24/05)
DOD003164 - DOD003170; DOD 003301
Title of Record:
Final Autopsy Report (Addendum); Death Certificate
Description of Record:
Died as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) due to strangulation as evidenced by the recently fractured hyoid bone in the neck and soft tissue hemorrhage extending downward to the level of the right thyroid cartilage. Autopsy reveleaved bone fracture, rib fractures, contusions in mid abdomen, back and buttocks extending to the left flank, abrasions, lateral buttocks. Contusions, back of legs and knees; abrasions on knees, left fingers and encircling to left wrist. Lacerations and superficial cuts, right 4th and 5th fingers. Also, blunt force injuries, predominatnly recent contusions (bruises) on the torso and lower extremities. Abrasions on left wrist are consistent with use of restraints. No evidence of defense injuries or natural disease. Manner of death is homicide. DOD 003329 refers to this case as "strangulation, found outside isolation unit."
Date of Death:
Place of Death:
Whitehorse Detainment Facility, Nasiriyah, Iraq
Cause of Death:
Manner of Death:
BLOODY SCENES HAUNT A MARINE
Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones says he is tormented by two memories of Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq.
The first is of the body of his best friend and fellow Marine blown apart just after dawn by a roadside bomb. The second is of the lifeless form of a small Iraqi girl, one of two dozen unarmed civilians allegedly killed by members of his Camp Pendleton unit - Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. (...)
Briones said he took pictures of at least 15 bodies before his camera batteries died. He said he then helped other Marines remove the bodies and place them in body bags. He said his worst moment, and one that haunts him to this day, was picking up the body of a young girl who was shot in the head.
"I held her out like this," he said, demonstrating with his arms extended, "but her head was bobbing up and down and the insides fell on my legs."
As he spoke, his mother, Susie Briones, 40, a Hanford community college teacher, who was sitting beside him at the kitchen table, silently wiped away tears.
Earlier she confided to a reporter that her son called frequently from Iraq after he experienced nightmares over the little girl.
"He called me many times," she said, "about carrying this little girl in his hands and her brains splattering on his boots. He'd say, 'Mom, I can't clean my boots. I can't clean my boots. I see her.' " (...)
In early April, less than 36 hours after his return from Iraq, Ryan Briones got into serious trouble in his hometown that he and his family say was related to stress from the Haditha incident [some 'incident' indeed - zig].
Briones was charged with stealing a pickup truck, crashing it into a house, leaving the scene of the accident, driving under the influence and resisting arrest. A picture of the spectacular crash with a white Ford F-150 lodged in a Hanford living room appeared on the Hanford Sentinel's front page April 4.
Released from Kings County jail April 5 on $35,000 bond, Briones has a court date set in mid-June.
read in full...
A DONKEY TOO FAR
SAS troops blew up the wrong house, destroyed three cars and ran over two donkeys during a bungled night-time raid in Iraq.
Fifty British and US Special Forces swooped on a home, thought to be where a terror cell was hiding 20 SA16 surface-to-air missiles and an SA80 assault gun.
Acting on information from US intelligence, the SAS abseiled from a helicopter on to the roof and blew in the roof and walls.
They then arrested two Iraqi brothers, who were later found to be totally innocent.
Squaddies have dubbed the mission at Majar Al Kabir, near Basra, "A Donkey Too Far," after the failed WW2 operation made into the movie A Bridge Too Far.
A Whitehall source said: "An armoured column hit a donkey on the way in and a Challenger II crushed cars as it turned around. Then an armoured vehicle ran over another donkey."
WELCOME TO LIBERATED BAGHDAD: RUNNING WATER 1 HOUR A DAY
"Leaving aside security," Kassim the carpet salesman asked rhetorically, "when you come home, what do you need?" He ticked off the answers on the fingers on his right hand: "Electricity. Water. Food."
"Getting any of this in Baghdad is a problem," he said.
The Iraqi Shiite's elegant, two-story house in the busy central Baghdad district of Karrada gets power four hours a day - "one hour on, six hours off," said Kassim, a divorced father of three.
Running water is available for one hour, between 1 and 2 in the morning. Kassim pours the water into giant plastic jugs he stores in his bathroom, kitchen and on the rooftop.
"It's a good thing that I go to bed late," he said.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
MINUTES OF MEETING OF THE LAST SESSION OF THE NEWLY 'ELECTED' IRAQI PARLIAMENT
(May 28, 2006):
"After a closed stormy session, the members of parliament agreed on the number of security guards for each member of parliament.
The two chambers of the parliament agreed that 20 security guards should be assigned to each member of parliament and 30 security guards for each minister.
Apparently, the mere number of personal security guards had become a contentious issue reflecting the jockeying of power among the various factions; as the I'itilaf (Shi'aa) insisted on the number 15 and the Kurdish and Sunni wanted 25.
The issue of the privileges of the presidency of the parliament was postponed till the coming Monday, and conflicting statements have been issued regarding what these privileges should be.
Shi'aa parliament members insist that an agreement has been reached, while the Sunni members deny that it has.
Apparently, the issue of privilege has created a deep chasm in parliament, for while the Sunni insist on giving the parliament President wide privileges, the Shi'aa and Kurds want to spread these privileges among the two vice-presidents of parliament".Update:
By the way, what is the cost of these security guards, who are foreign mercenaries and whose average daily salary is $1,000 (for their blood is more expensive than Iraqi blood)?
278 members of parliament X 20 security guards each X $1,000 = $5,560,000 per day
37 ministers (11 of whom are shadow ministers, i.e. without any work) X 30 security guards X $1,000 = $1,100,000 per day
Hence, the total is $6,670,000 per day which comes to $2,473,520,000 per year (there are no holidays for security, you see)
read in full...
SCOTT RITTER: THE HARDEST WORD
One has to wonder as to what must have been going through the minds of those who were advising George W Bush and Tony Blair to "come clean", so to speak, about their respective shortcomings regarding the conduct of the war in Iraq. With over 2,460 American and 106 UK soldiers killed in Iraq (not to mention untold thousands of dead Iraqis), the two people in the world most responsible for the ongoing debacle in Iraq displayed the combination of indifference and ignorance that got them neck deep in a quagmire of their own making to begin with.
President Bush kicked himself for "talking too tough", while the British prime minister ruminated on the decision to disband the Ba'athist infrastructure that held Iraq together in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein. Neither expressed any regret over the decision to invade Iraq in the first place.
Bush made no reference to the exaggerated and falsified claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction he and his loyal ally bandied about so freely in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Blair, recently returned from a visit to Baghdad where he met with the newly appointed prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, did not reflect on the reality that the Iraq of Saddam Hussein was a more peaceful and prosperous land before British and American troops overthrew the Iraqi president and condemned Iraq to the horrific reality of insurgent-fed civil strife. (...)
Blair shared his reflective insights at moment when the people of the United Kingdom were wrestling with new revelations concerning how he misled their attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, into putting forward a legal finding that enabled Britain to go to war with Iraq void of a second United Nations security council resolution. Blair had apparently told Lord Goldsmith that Iraq was in "material breach" of its obligations, despite the fact that no new intelligence on WMD had been unearthed, and UN weapons inspectors were on the ground in Iraq receiving total cooperation from the Iraqi government. Not a peep from the prime minister on this matter, though. (...)
Perhaps the advisors of Bush and Blair thought they were going to put a human face on two leaders who had been so vilified over the Iraq debacle. If so they failed. The joint press conference was little more than a pathetic show where two failed politicians voiced their continued support of failed policies, which had gotten their respective nations embroiled in a failed war. To quote Blair: "What more can I say? Probably not wise to say anything more at all."
read in full...
THE REST IS JUST CONSEQUENCES
Tony Blair is a fairly bright man, and George W. Bush is not as dim as he seems, so how can they be so obtuse about Iraq? De-Baathification, re-Baathification, retro-Baathification - nothing can change the basic fact that the Baath party that had ruled Iraq since the 1960s was deeply nationalist and profoundly hostile to the United States (because it is Israel's closest ally) and to Britain (the former imperial ruler of Iraq).
Fire all the Baathists, and they will go underground and join the resistance.
Leave them in their jobs, and they will be a fifth column of spies and saboteurs for the resistance.
Likewise for the empty debate about whether US Proconsul Paul Bremer made a fatal mistake by disbanding the entire Iraqi Army in the spring of 2003.
Disband the army, and several hundred thousand trained men will take their skills and their weapons and join the resistance.
Leave the existing army in place, and its officers will sell the foreign occupation troops out to the resistance at every opportunity while awaiting the right moment for a national uprising against the foreigners.
The original decision to invade Iraq was the fatal mistake; the rest is just consequences.
read in full...
THE PENTAGON'S TIMELY STRAWMAN
Only time right now for some quick thoughts on Haditha. Or rather, Haditha's elevation as Iraq's official, bad apple atrocity.
Even for those who try to pay attention to what filters through the fog of war crimes, these things tend to run together. Haditha isn't Abu Sifa where, according to Iraqi police, US forces "on a rampage" executed a family of 11, then bombed their house, burned their cars and slaughtered their animals. What more will we hear of Abu Sifa, now Haditha has become the representative and inevitable example of honour's exception?
Because along with Haditha comes Jesse Macbeth, allegedly a former Army Ranger and Iraq war veteran, whose claims that massacre was method rather than madness rapidly went viral on the Net. His story was unsubstantiated and exteme, yet plausible because it was extreme, and provided a template to the pattern of force on exhibit in Iraq. A pattern rarely admitted by the West's institutional media.
But Macbeth, it now appears, is the Pentagon's timely strawman to buttress its case for Haditha's exceptionalism, and to discredit influential anti-war voices such as Iraq Veterans Against the War. Whether unaware or not of his status as a COINTELPRO asset, it doesn't matter, because regardless, Macbeth became a lucky charm for those who refuse to believe the program of horror in which US troops are engaged, and there are many. Similar stories may now be said to have been "debunked," without examination or a straining of battlefield ethics.
read in full...
THE IRAQ WAR - ON DRUGS
"It concerns us when we hear military doctors say, 'It's wonderful that we have these drugs [sleeping pills, antidepressants and tranquilizers]
available to cope with second or third deployments,'" Joyce Raezer of the National Military Family Association told In These Times.
"But that statement makes military spouses cringe," she continues, "Soldiers are saying 'we don't have time to recover.'"
Marine psychiatrist Cmdr. Paul S. Hammer confirmed to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Rick Rogers that Marines with PTSD are returning to Iraq.
In many cases, their problem is labeled stress. "Army docs have told me that commanders pressured them not to diagnose PTSD because it would cut into combat power-the ability to project men and women into war," says Robinson. "The docs admit that the decision [to misdiagnose] is unethical, but are unwilling to take the huge career risk of becoming a whistle blower."
"The military has an obligation to ensure your readiness," says Raezer. "It is in its long-term benefit to have the person healthy." But those goals may conflict with themselves and with reality. Ready for deployment is not the same as mentally healthy, and the army's long-term interests smack hard against its need for warm bodies, no matter how dangerous continued action may be to an individual's mental health.
read in full...
THE EVIL IN OUR GOVERNMENT
Is the Bush Regime a state sponsor of terrorism?
A powerful case can be made that it is. (...)
The criminal Bush Regime has now murdered more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein. The Bush Regime is also responsible for 20,000 US casualties (dead, maimed for life, and wounded).
Bush damns the "axis of evil." But who has the "axis of evil" attacked? Iran has attacked no one. North Korea has attacked no country for more than a half century. Iraq attacked Kuwait a decade and a half ago, apparently after securing permission from the US ambassador.
Isn't the real axis of evil Bush-Blair-Olmert? Bush and Blair have attacked two countries, slaughtering their citizens. Olmert is urging them on to attack a third country-Iran.
Where does the danger to the world reside? In Iran, a small religious country where the family is intact and the government is constrained by religious authority and ancient traditions, or in the US where propaganda rules and the powerful executive branch has removed itself from accountability by breaking the constitutional restraints on its power?
Why is the US superpower orchestrating fear of puny Iran?
The US government has spent the past half century interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, overthrowing or assassinating their chosen leaders and imposing its puppets on foreign peoples. To what country has Iran done this, or Iraq, or North Korea?
Americans think that they are the salt of the earth. The hubris that comes from this self-righteous belief makes Americans blind to the evil of their leaders. How can American leaders be evil when Americans are so good and so wonderful? (…)
The former terrible tyrant ruler of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, is on trial for killing 150 people. The US government murdered 500,000 Iraqi children prior to Bush's invasion. When the US government murders people, whether Serbs, Branch Davidians at Waco, or Iraqi women and children, it is "collateral damage." But we put Saddam Hussein on trial for putting down rebellions.
Gentle reader, do you believe that the Bush Regime will not shoot you down in the streets if you have a rebellion?
-- Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Four aid workers were killed by a gunman riding a motorbike in northern Afghanistan.
Three female employees of ActionAid International and their male driver - all of whom were Afghan - died when the gunman pulled alongside their vehicle and opened fire, Khan Ahmdar, the governor of Jawzjan province, said.
Hundreds of Afghan and coalition troops took up positions around the Afghan capital on Tuesday to prevent further anti-American riots.
The city of 4 million was calm as stores reopened and residents commuted to work. The death toll from the unrest rose to at least 11, most of them from gunshot wounds
, according to three city hospitals where casualties were taken. Kabul Emergency Hospital said it had 66 wounded, all shot. Dozens of other wounded residents were at other hospitals.
WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR CONJURING UP THIS NONSENSE?
"Israel has warned European and American intelligence bodies of possible attempts by Hizbullah cells, led by Imad Mugniyah, to carry out terror attacks during the upcoming World Cup tournament in Germany," reports Yedioth Internet. "According to the report, the terror plot is aimed at proving to the international community that Tehran is capable of retaliation if attacked."
Of course, if Iran actually does this, it will demonstrate its leadership has gone stark raving bonkers, as it would provide an ironclad pretext for Israel and the United States to shock and awe the nation into Stone Age submission. Considering this, and the fact the Israelis and neocons are shopping for just a handy pretext, we can assume with a fair degree of accuracy the above mentioned "intelligence bodies," with the unmentioned Mossad taking the lead, are responsible for conjuring up this nonsense.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Every response was 'kill', every chant we had, whether it was in line for the chow hall or PT was somehow involved with killing. And not simply killing the enemy, we had one just standing in line for chow which was "1, 2, 3, attack the chow hall (repeat) Kill the women, Kill the Children, Kill, Kill, Kill 'em All" -- a former marine recruit describing boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, 2002