Friday, June 16, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 2006 A woman walks past a shop damaged by a car bomb attack in Baghdad, June 16, 2006. (Ali Jasim/Reuters) As is often the case, this incident was reported only in the photo caption REPORTED SECURITY INCIDENTS 11 killed, 25 wounded in suicide bombing at Shiite mosque in Baghdad. The bombing came 1 hour before the main Friday prayers, avoiding greater casualties. This AFP story also has the following incidents: People's Daily gives the death toll from the Sab al-Bur attack as 3. Unidentified Gunmen ambushed five trucks near Iraq's near Fallujah on Friday morning, killing the five drivers, before setting the trucks on fire. Xinhua also has these incidents: A high ranking Iraqi police officer was assassinated in front of his house by unidentified gunmen on Friday Mosul, an Interior Ministry source said. KUNA also has some attacks not mentioned elsewhere that did not cause casualties. Gunmen killed Yusif al-Hassan, a senior member of the Muslim Scholars Association, near the mosque where he led prayers in Basra. The MSA is a Sunni organization opposed to the occupation. OTHER NEWS AND IN-DEPTH REPORTING UK downplays suggestions that coalition troops may hand over control to Iraqi forces in the south in coming weeks, say "it's a matter for the Iraqi government," as Japan prepares to withdraw its forces.
LONDON (AFP) - The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that any decision to transfer power from the US-led coalition to Iraqi forces is a matter for the Baghdad government, after reports the first handover could happen next week. Newspapers in Japan reported Friday that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will announce the end of his country's military mission in Iraq's Muthanna province next week. Japanese troops are constitutionally barred from combat and the 600-strong contingent working on the reconstruction effort in the south of the country is currently protected by British and Australian forces. But both the MoD and Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said they could not comment on reports that Tokyo had been told that Iraqi troops will assume control there next week. Speaking in Brussels, where Blair is attending an EU summit, his official spokesman said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said recently there would be a province-by-province transfer "if circumstances allow", possibly from July. "I cannot confirm these reports because essentially, first and foremost, this is a matter for the Iraqi government," he told reporters. "But the way this would work is that the Iraqi government would decide when it is ready to take over a province."
Investigation launched of death of 3 Iraqis in U.S. custody in May. Excerpt:
NBC News and news services. Updated: 8:31 a.m. ET June 16, 2006 BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military said on Friday it had started a criminal investigation into the deaths last month of three men in the custody of U.S.-led forces in Iraq. Several U.S. soldiers were apparently involved in the deaths, which were witnessed by other soldiers who reported the incident, military sources at the Pentagon told NBC's Jim Miklaszewski. "It doesn't look good" for those men being investigated, one of the sources said.
Iraq's Deputy Justice Minister says Shia militias control jails. Al-Jazeera story presented here in full:
Iraq's prisons are overrun by Shia militias who abuse and kill inmates, the Iraqi deputy justice minister has said. "Our jails are infiltrated by the militias from top to bottom, from Basra to Baghdad," Pusho Ibrahim Yei said, adding that of special concern were the prisons run by Iraq's interior ministry that house 1,797 inmates, 90% of whom are Sunni Arabs. He also said the government had suspended the transfer of prisons and prisoners from US to Iraqi control. "We cannot control the prisons. It is as simple as that," he said on Friday. Yei said he had written to the US officer in charge of US-run prisons in Iraq, asking him to suspend plans to transfer five facilities housing more than 15,000 inmates to Iraqi control, saying his ministry was "unprepared" for that. US army Major-General John Gardner told The Washington Post that the transfer would not take place "until each respective facility and the Iraqi corrections system have demonstrated the ability to maintain" US standards of care and custody. Yei said that because of concern over treatment of inmates at prisons run by the interior and defence ministries, the Iraqi police and army had agreed to turn over all their prisoners by the end of June to the justice ministry, whose facilities now house 7,426 inmates. Some local officials, however, were already resisting the transfer order, the Post said. Without naming Shia militias as the abusers, Yei said since 2004 they had released or helped about 725 prisoners in several cities to escape from jail. In some instances, Sunni and foreign inmates were taken out of jail and shot to death by the militias, he added. Salam al-Zobaie, the deputy prime minister, described the treatment of prisoners in the interior ministry prisons as "inhumane", and produced photographs showing signs of torture on prisoners' bodies. Muhammad al-Dayni, a Sunni parliament member who made a surprise visit last week to an interior ministry prison in Baquba, north of Baghdad, said: "The detention facilities of the ministries of defence and interior are places for the most brutal human rights abuse." Dayni said he saw as many as 120 detainees kept in a 10.5m by 12m cell. "They told us that they've been raped. "Their families were called in and tortured to force the detainees to testify against other people," he said.
UN News agency reports that child labor is a major and growing problem in Iraq. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD - Child labour remains an overriding concern in Iraq, according to one local NGO. "We found that child labour has increased by nearly 15 percent, with many children working in unsafe environments," said Saleh Muhammad, spokesperson for the Baghdad-based Children Saving Association, one of the few organisations dealing with the issue. "We developed a study on child labour, which is less extensive in the north of the country, where the situation is considered more stable." The phenomena had emerged before the launch of the US-led invasion and occupation of the country in 2003, with reports of child labour increasing during the period of UN-imposed sanctions against the regime of former President Saddam Hussein. In April 2005, a survey conducted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs found that children between the ages of two and five years (some 7 percent of the total) were engaged in child labour, usually in the form of street-begging. "We've begun to see more children on the streets of the capital compared to last year," said senior ministry official Haydar Ahmed. "And many of them are begging rather than working." The report further indicated that 16 percent of boys and 43 percent of girls were illiterate. Only 50 percent of the children surveyed reported that both their parents were still alive. Children are also vulnerable to abuse. The ministry is currently working with UNICEF to ensure that children living and working on the streets are eventually re-united and reintegrated with their families and communities. "UNICEF is engaged in a project for out-of-school children, so they're in school acquiring knowledge and skills rather than working," said Patrizia Di Giovanni, child protection officer of UNICEF. "This is being organised through the Ministry of Education through an 'accelerated learning' project." Di Giovanni went on to explain that further support was being provided to street and working children via a number of children-friendly drop-in-centres, supported by UNICEF, designed to help children in need of special protection. In the meantime, though, many children continue to work gruelling jobs, in hopes of improving the lots of their families. "I hope one day to return to school," said 9-year-old Hussein Abdel Rahman, who sells cigarettes on the streets of the capital. "But now, I have to help my father because he's sick and alone, and he can't put food on the table."
Global Research discusses the new boogieman the U.S. has invented to succeed Zarqawi. Excerpt:
No sooner did the corporate media parade gruesome photos of the freshly killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, or the person we are expected to believe was al-Zarqawi, then it set about arranging his successor, as evil Muslim boogiemen must remain front and center in the forever war against manufactured terrorism. “An Egyptian associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claims to have succeeded him as the new leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, even though an Islamic Web site said Monday that another man was in power,” reports the Bush Ministry of Scary Campfire Stories, Fox News division. “Brig. Gen. Carter Ham said at a Pentagon news conference on Wednesday that Abu al-Masri, whose name surfaced shortly after reports of Zarqawi’s death became widespread as a successor, had claimed to be in charge of Al Qaeda in Iraq.” In short, the covert op pseudo-gang “al-Qaeda in Iraq” needs a new face, as the demonization of the resistance must continue. According to Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, “If you had to pick somebody” as the probable new boogieman, it would be Abu al-Masri. Caldwell did not bother to tell us who would do the picking but this is of course a no-brainer—the picking was accomplished in the PSYOP unit at the Pentagon. Several candidates were bantered around the corporate media prior to al-Masri’s selection: most notably Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Iraqi, pegged as an “al-Qaeda” leader or “emir” (since he is dead, al-Iraqi was quickly removed from the candidate list) and Abdullah Rashid al-Baghdadi, who we are told is sort of the CEO of the Iraqi resistance (the Mujahedeen Shura Council). Obviously, for the Pentagon, al-Masri has the most attractive skillset and thus he was appointed. Now it is up to the corporate media to build him up, probably only to eventually tear him down, as al-Zarqawi (or rather his stand-in) was torn down with the help of a couple 500lb bombs.
I'm going to do something we seldom do here, and that is to make an extended personal statement -- the reason being that the available reporting on this is so warped that I can't let it stand on its own. The discussion, both here and in Iraq, over Maliki's suggestion of a possible amnesty for resistance fighters who have attacked occupation forces, has been truly Orwellian. People in the U.S., including I am sorry to say much of the Democratic congressional delegation and a good part of the liberal blogosphere and chattering classes, apparently do not understand that the United States attacked and invaded Iraq. The Iraqi army fought back. Ultimately much of it went underground and continued to fight in guerilla mode. There has been no peace settlement. In fact, although as far as I know nobody has pointed this out, the government of Iraq never surrendered. When a war ends and a peace treaty is signed, combatants return to home, and POWs are released. People who fight against foreign invaders are not terrorists, criminals, or murderers. Obviously, if the new Iraqi government ever wishes to end the insurgency and establish a true national unity government, it must come to agreement with the resistance and bring it into the political structure. This Washington Post story tells the bizarre story of Maliki trying to maneuver between reality and his American masters. On Wednesday, he gave a press conference, in Arabic, which was televised, at which he said, "reconciliation could include an amnesty for those 'who weren't involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood. Also, it includes talks with the armed men who opposed the political process and now want to turn back to political activity.'" Yesterday, he fired an aide who had, in essence, repeated Maliki's own words to reporters, saying "Mr. Adnan Kadhimi doesn't represent the Iraqi government in this issue, and Mr. Kadhimi is not an adviser or spokesman for the prime minister. It is not true what some of the media outlets, including The Washington Post, have said about the willingness of the Iraqi government to talk with armed groups." Not true, except that Maliki said it himself, on television. Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A., in the warped Congressional debate on Iraq staged by the Republicans, Republican Senators defended the amnesty idea - which I suppose they have to do since the administration line is that the new Iraq government is sovereign and legitimate -- while Democrats and their supporters attack them for supporting amnesty for "terrorists" who have "murdered" American forces "serving heroically in Iraq to provide all Iraqis a better future." Listen folks -- get this straight. It's a war. That's what happens in wars, people try to kill each other. If Iraqi resistance fighters who attack U.S. forces are terrorists and murderers, then by the precise same standard, U.S. troops in Iraq are terrorists who have murdered tens of thousands of Iraqis. You can't have it both ways. RELEASES FROM THE U.S. MILITARY Chief Journalist Lucy Quinn, USN, of the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, sent us the following and asked us to post it. From time to time we get such requests from military information services, and I thought our readers might be interested in how they want us to view the mission. You can follow the links on these sites and learn more. C. USJFCOM hosts Joint National Training Capability training technology exposition.
By JOC(SW/AW) Chris Hoffpauir USJFCOM Public Affairs (SUFFOLK, Va. – June 1, 2006) – U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) gave visiting general and flag officers a walking tour of displays and technology demonstrations today to showcase the command's efforts in training transformation. USJFCOM's Joint Warfighter Center (JWFC) coordinated the event to highlight current and future investment strategies for supporting joint and service training programs. The demonstrations provided a unique opportunity for service, combatant command and DoD officials to see the latest technologies and Joint National Training Capability (JNTC) initiatives the command is pursuing. "This technology demonstration is part of USJFCOM's ongoing effort to foster a rapid transition of innovative science and technology from the laboratory to the field, focus research and development activities, and promote partnerships with industry that expedite capability solutions," JWFC Commander and USJFCOM's Director of Joint Training Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Jon Gallinetti said in a letter welcoming the group. Navy Capt. David Frost, director of the JNTC Joint Management Office at JWFC, said today's event focused on the technologies used to provide credible opposing forces (OPFOR) for training. "Having realistic opposing forces is one of the key elements of the JNTC initiative," Frost said. "What we're demonstrating here is what we're doing within the OPFOR realm and where our investments are going. We're using 80 to 90 percent of what's on display today now in JNTC-enabled exercises.
Also, our friend Brian, who is interested in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, asked us to post this about their training as they prepare (apparently) to return to Iraq. 24th MEU ‘Leathernecks’ train for war.
ABOARD USS IWO JIMA(June 15, 2006) -- Marines with Alpha and Weapons Companies, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) tested their fast roping skills June 14 while underway aboard the USS Iwo Jima. As the Ground Combat Element of the 24th MEU, each infantry Marine may be called upon to enter a number of chaotic battlefield situations that may not allow a helicopter to land. Fast-roping is a technique used to deploy Marines quickly without the aircraft landing - helping to preserve air assets from enemy fire. Fast-roping can also be used as a means of engaging the enemy in a tactical manner with an elite, quick-reaction force. Marines with the MEU are undergoing an aggressive program to further enhance their technique by first sending Marines down the rope from a stationary aircraft and progressing to fast roping from an aircraft hovering above the flight deck. The MEU completed its last overseas deployment -- a seven-month tour in Iraq -- in February 2005 and returns to the front lines of the Global War on Terrorism equipped to operate as a flexible force capable of devastating the enemy in both small-scale, low intensity conflicts and larger, Marine Air Ground Task Force-size engagements. The 24th MEU last week began an expected six-month deployment to the European and Central Command theaters of operation. The MEU is composed of its command element; Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment; Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 365 (Reinforced); and MEU Service Support Group 24.
Quote of the Day The Republican-controlled Congress maintained its track record of providing absolutely no checks and balances on the Bush administration's war-making this week when it voted 351-67 in the House and 98-1 in the Senate to authorize another $66 billion in "emergency" spending for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. What was truly frustrating about the House vote, however, was the failure of the Democrats to use the emergency funding debate as an opening to object to Bush's determination to keep the U.S. fully engaged in a war that the overwhelming majority of Americans characterize as a mistake. -- Editorial in the Madison, WI Capital Times


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