DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, June 17, 2006
: 6.15.06: Iraqis burn Israeli and US flags as they demonstrate against the U.S. occupation in the holy city of Karbala. (AFP/Mohammed Sawaf)
Bring 'em on:
U.S. troops searched Saturday for two soldiers who went missing after an attack that killed one of their comrades at a traffic checkpoint in the so-called "Triangle of Death" just south of Baghdad, the military said.
U.S. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said four raids had been carried out since Friday's attack and that ground forces, helicopters and airplanes were taking part in the search.
The soldiers came under attack at a traffic checkpoint southwest of Youssifiyah, 12 miles south of Baghdad. A quick reaction force arrived at the scene after hearing small arms fire and explosions, according to the military.
"We are currently using every means at our disposal on the ground, in the air and in the water to find them," Caldwell said.
He said that troops at an adjacent traffic control point heard an explosion and small arms fire just before dark in the vicinity of the checkpoint where the attack occurred at a canal crossing near the Euphrates River.
A quick reaction force reached the scene within 15 minutes, found the dead soldier but not the other two. A dive team was to search the canal.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
(Update) On Friday, a suspected shoe bomber targeting a Shiite imam who criticized terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi blew himself up inside the Buratha mosque during the main weekly religious service, killing 13 people and wounding 28.
That attack was carried out despite a four-hour driving ban intended to prevent suicide car bombs during Friday prayers.
The mosque's imam, a leading Shiite politician, blamed al-Qaida in Iraq. He said the terrorist group was trying to reassert itself after the death of its leader in a U.S. airstrike last week.
"Al-Qaida is trying to restore some respect after the killing of the terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by targeting one of the leading Shiite clerics, but they will fail," said the imam, Jalal Eddin al-Sagheer.
The imam, who was not injured, said the bombing came after guards found two pairs of shoes containing explosives outside the mosque. The guards entered the mosque and began searching everyone who had carried their shoes inside, he said.
When they approached the attacker, he detonated what would have been a third pair of explosives-laden shoes, he said.
But the Interior Ministry, noting the scale of destruction, suggested the attacker may have detonated a vest rather than shoes. Police Lt. Thaer Mahmoud said the attacker was indeed wearing a suicide vest.
The device contained metal balls and fragments, according to an Interior Ministry police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. Metal balls and fragments could fit into either shoes or a vest.
It was the second attack on the Buratha mosque in just over two months. On April 7, four suicide bombers, including a woman, set off their explosives during Friday prayers, killing at least 85 worshippers. The U.S. military blamed al-Zarqawi.
Al-Sagheer said the terrorist group had threatened to kill him in an Internet posting this week. A similar warning preceded the April attack, he said.
A car bomb exploded near Iraq's National Theatre in central Baghdad, killing one person and wounding five.
Two people were killed and 16 wounded when four mortar rounds struck a house and a shop in Baghdad's Sab al-Bur neighbourhood.
A mortar shell was fired at one of Baghdad's oldest markets in the suburb of Kazimiyah.
At least four people were killed and 13 wounded.
A bomb in a plastic bag exploded at an outdoor market for secondhand goods, killing two people and wounding 24.
A roadside bomb missed a police patrol in Karradah, a popular shopping area in downtown Baghdad, killing one civilian and wounding two.
A suicide car bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol near Wathiq Square in the Karradah neighborhood, killing seven people, including four soldiers, and wounding 10 people, including two civilians.
In the New Baghdad area, a bomb left aboard a minibus exploded, killing three passengers and wounding 15 others.
Unknown gunmen killed the owner of a vegetables store in the Somar neighborhood.
The store exploded shortly after the police forces removed the dead body. The store was demolished and a child was killed due to the blast.
Police found two bodies, handcuffed and shot in the head, in separate areas of eastern Baghdad.
Gunmen attacked the house of Iraqi army Col. Makki Mindil, killing him after engaging his guards in a gunfight.
Four guards also were wounded in the attack in Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Baghdad. The bullet-riddled body of another Iraqi soldier was found elsewhere in the city.
A suicide car bomber exploded his vehicle as it was being towed near a police checkpoint in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad, killing four civilians
, said Capt. Rashid al-Samarie. He said the bomber claimed his car had broken down and hired a tractor to tow it while he rode inside.
A mortar barrage killed one civilian and wounded three others, all from the same family, in Mahmoudiya.
(Near) Gunmen in two trucks stormed two villages in the early hours Friday and killed three people and kidnapped nine others.
The two villages are located near the town of Suwayrah, 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Baghdad.
One person was killed and another kidnapped when men dressed in Iraqi army uniforms attacked a house in Al-Jahar village near the town of Madain
, 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of baghdad. "The gunmen stormed the house, dragged the two men out and killed one of them in front of the house and took away the other," a police officer said.
(Near) Three Iraqi policemen were wounded when four mortar rounds landed on a police station of Ameriyat al-Fallujah town
, 7 km south of Fallujah.
The Iraqi police found three unidentified bodies near the cemetery of Khaldiyah town
, some 80 km west of Baghdad, he said. The bodies showed signs of torture with bullets in the head and chest
Gunmen in a speeding car killed a College of Nursing student in northern Mosul as he walked near his dormitory.
(Near) Two mortar shells struck Iraqi Army facilities near Wadi Al-Zgheitoun, without causing damage.
An Iraqi army soldier was shot dead by gunmen in the northern town of Hawija
Gunmen in a car shot dead a civilian near his house in the town of Mahaweel
, 75 km (45 miles) south of Baghdad.
Iraqi detainees were held with their eyes taped shut in tiny box-like cells for up to seven days at a time while loud music blared at a special operations holding facility in 2004
, a US military investigation found.
The investigation conducted by Brigadier General Richard Formica following the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2004 also found that detainees were fed only bread and water for up to 17 days at another special operations location.
Formica's report, released in heavily redacted form Friday in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, dismissed other allegations that prisoners were physically abused or humiliated at the so-called tactical holding facilities. (...)
The allegations about the tiny cells were brought by three detainees, who gave remarkably similar stories of being held for days in boxes of crates so small that they had to sit with their knees to their chests.
One of the detainees said he was kept inside for two days, another for five days, and the third for seven days.
The one kept for seven days alleged "that before he was placed in the box his clothes were cut off. He alleges that while held in the box, his captors duct-taped his mouth and nose, making it hard for him to breath."
"He further alleges that water was thrown on him, that he was beaten, kicked, electrocuted, and a Kurd threatened to bring (redacted) two wives there and have sex with them in front of him," it said.
"He alleges he was not given food or water for five days," the report said.
The general recommended no disciplinary action against any US special operations personnel.
Iraqi insurgents are using new "pop and drop" bombs that are quickly set down in the path of US or Iraqi forces
, a US commander said.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
DEATH TO 'AL-ZARQAWI'! LONG MAY HE LIVE!
Since the 'death' of 'al-Zarqawi' reams have been written from both a 'left' and right perspective on the significance of his death or even, as I along with other writers have asserted, whether the damn fellow existed in the first place, at least as he has been portrayed.
Regardless, the one thing that seems to be missing from all the 'analysis' (whether he existed or not is not really relevant), and that is the role of these 'personalities' in the scheme of things, or rather their use in mystifying events and their causes.*
The BBC produced an extremely hurried so-called documentary the other night on the 'life and death' of the man, that regurgitated every piece of US propaganda without criticism including the seminal Colin Powell speech at the UN in early 2003.
The gist of the piece was that 'al-Zarqawi' was pivotal to the so-called insurgency and that with his death, things could only get better. Central to the propaganda piece was the notion that behind the 'insurgency' is 'al-Qu'eda', Iraq branch. 'al-Zarqawi' then is the 'match that ignited the fire'.
All notions that the 'insurgency' is not only home-grown but a direct response to the invasion and occupation has to be expunged from the public consciousness. Equally as important is linking the 'insurgency' to an 'international conspiracy', from which springs the 'war on terror'. (...)
And given the nature of 'news' reporting these days-which by the way is no mere result of technology, that is, 24-hour 'rolling news' etc-but a reflection of the ideology of the state which would have us believe that we are all at the mercy of forces over which we have no control.
At best we respond to them but an 'al-Zarqawi' character is to all intents and purposes a 'lose cannon'; a "psychopath" as the BBC described him, a force that acts outside of history. This is precisely why the BBC uses the word to describe him, as a psychopath is not susceptible to logic, nor does a psychopath have a conscience.
This is also why without a hint of irony, the media has 'al-Zarqawi' flying all over the place and indeed often in different places at the same time! A 'Will-O-the-Wisp', who can transport himself to any convenient location that suits the script writers. 'al-Zarqawi' is, in every sense of the word, an invention, whether he exists or not as a 'real person' just as a well known actor becomes the part he or she plays to the degree that the public can no longer distinguish between the two.
In this regard, it is important that he not actually appear 'in person', only via anonymous videos, audio tapes or written statements, else he ceases to be a character and instead becomes a 'real' person. Kept at a distance he can made into anything the media/state want him to be.
This can only happen because 'al-Zarqawi' operates as a 'celebrity', a cypher, a symbol for all that ails Capitalism. He has no real history anymore than Saddam Hussein does except the one invented for him at any given time and supplied to the public. There is nothing paradoxical about Saddam the 'ally' and Saddam the 'devil', as the nature of the way the 'news' works never makes the connection between the different 'Saddams'. 'Saddam' exists outside of history in just the same way 'al-Zarqawi' does.
read in full...
Not withstanding the fact that Aristotle had said long back that, "the gods too are fond of a joke" and that there were no American gods then, now there are and we the hadjis of the world need to understand that like all gods, the American gods too are fond of a joke.
Not withstanding the fact that the term "hadji" is used by American forces in Iraq as the word "gook" was for Vietnamese to signify the subhuman scum of the earth and that the term "hadji" had to be coined for Iraqis because unfortunately there are no 'Mai Lais' in Iraq, only Fallujahs and Hadithas and Ramadis and Ishaqis, we the hadjis of the world understand that American gods too are fond of a joke. (...)
Not withstanding the fact that that the vast majority of Americans have no clue whatsoever that there indeed is a larger global reality and not just in the sense that the price of gas goes up because of us dark skinned hadji terrorists living in desolate sandy tracts of planet earth, we the hadjis of the world understand that American gods too are fond of a joke.
Not withstanding the fact that the mini American gods have swallowed the blatant lies of their supreme gods for far too long and that these lies have now started to devour them from inside out and that the "great American life" is becoming increasingly hard to swallow even as they flaunt their values in the face of us hadjis and that they are in fact reduced to nothing more than the resident bullies of human race on planet earth, we the hadjis of the world understand that American gods too are fond of a joke.
Not withstanding the fact that far too many mini American gods are so thoroughly drenched in popular myths and propaganda that their supreme gods have created for them that they are now unable to recognize reality even if it hits them in the face and that they desperately need to cling to the absurd myths conjured by their supreme gods, we the hadjis of the world understand that American gods too are fond of a joke. (...)
Not withstanding the fact that we do appreciate that the ultimate American god is a god alone having no similarity whatsoever with the rest of the worlds' gods and that in this god's name the American mini gods have been destroying whole nations, peoples and the planet for centuries, we the hadjis of the world understand that American gods too are fond of a joke. (...)
Not withstanding the fact that some of us have indeed read William Shakespeare's profound words that say, "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that", we the hadjis of the world understand that American gods too are fond of a joke.
Yet, despite all the understanding that most of us hadjis have of the American gods' inviolable right to violate us in any way that they like, some of us do not.
They tend to push back.
Write that on the wall somewhere.
read in full...
REFLECTIONS ON THE "CIVIL WAR" IN IRAQ
I do not believe the canard of "ethnic strife" in Iraq. There certainly is violence and chaos and it is being ascribed to ethnic motives -- a paradigm Americans have been educated to understand, thus the tailoring of the "ethnic strife" theory to their intellectual resources and capacities. What Americans cannot do is bring a political understanding to the Iraqi situation. What they lack is a grasp of political economy -- the filter through which alone they could assess their nation's peril and determine to neutralize it. This is not to say Americans are stupid, but it is to say that they have not been educated to understand the economic imperatives that drive industrial economies. It is for the purposes of undereducating them that the vast network of disinformation has existed and exists -- from the McCarthy congressional witch hunts to Fox News, from Hollywood to the tame academic environment, from the entertainment opiates to those of the most obscurantist religious sects.
That Iraqis live in a state of terror is hard to dispute, but I doubt that astute Iraqis call it a "civil war" -- unless they are in the service of the occupation and training to suppress the people's call for ending the occupation. Ordinary Iraqis, judging from independent journalistic sources and accounts in the foreign press, complain of murder and abductions, of rapes and disappearances, of massacres and detentions, of bombing raids and chemical weapons -- and they have no doubt that this violence is generated under and because of the occupation. Everything is a struggle: access to employment, electricity, medicines, schools, security. I would like to ask the promoters of the "civil war" theory: who is responsible for this massive humanitarian crime, the American invasion of Iraq or the Iraqi "civil war"?
read in full...
U.S. IS RUNNING AFTER A MIRAGE
U.S. military failure has been demonstrated by the inability of the most well-funded, sophisticated armed force in the world to defeat the resistance of a small country and its poor people. Technology can level entire neighborhoods, but it cannot break the human dignity of the Iraqi people. Americans can develop their presence in Iraq, but they cannot destroy the belief of Iraqis that they have the right to live as any other people in the world. They will not bow to Americans, even if they stay for centuries. In this regard, we should remember that Iraqi Christians have defended their ancestral culture for more than 4000 years, and that the Palestinian people have defended their land since the 100 year.
Occupying Iraq is an economic disaster, because the costs of the war for the US have increased beyond any economic gain it would have from controlling Iraqi oil. Whatever the motive for invasion, and whatever control the U.S. may exert on Iraq's resources now, it is only temporary. This is because no Iraqi [EXCEPT SOME INDIVIDUAL PROFITERS! :)] can accept oil plans imposed on them by military force. Our fathers struggled for the nationalization of our oil.
When this was accomplished, Iraq proved capable of directing oil production and sale and using the profits to develop and advance Iraq. Why would Iraqis accept the handover of contracts and profits to U.S. oil companies while they suffer in poverty? Why would Iraqis allow foreign oil companies to control the quantity, price, and profits of their oil? The US is running after a mirage.
The occupation is a political disaster because none in the world can argue that the US is playing a progressive [?liberating] role. The Iraq war proved that the US isn't working for peace, development and progress. What the U.S. administration wants is an empire, which it has no right--nor ability--to impose on the world. We see now the hesitation of other governments to support the U.S. occupation. (...)
How can the world--Americans included--be identified with such brutal and savage enterprise like the war and occupation of Iraq? The U.S. administration has succeeded in nothing but destruction, bloodshed, and lies. The occupation is a disaster for the United States, but for Iraqi society, it is an utter catastrophe. With the aid of its allies, the US has destroyed all that Iraqis built in modern times.
We will need 15-20 years after the end of the occupation to restore what Iraq achieved since the first world war. It should come as no surprise that Iraqis will continue struggling against the occupation in order to restore their society. Resistance is the only road to true liberty, democracy, dignity and achieving their interests, both as individuals and as a people.
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WHERE IS THE VOICE OF SANITY
The evil that is being enacted on our planet could only happen because of a sufficient number of people who are passively standing on the sideline and doing nothing about it. Not doing anything about the evil we see being acted out in the world is to ourselves become an unwitting instrument of evil, as our in-action allows, enables, and feeds the further propagation of evil in the field. Evil is truly calling us to pick up an empowered role, whatever that is, and "act," as if we are actors in a play or characters in a dream. Recognizing our responsibility for the collective situation we find ourselves in, we access our ability to respond creatively in the world and act-ively do something about it.
Something is being revealed to us about ourselves by the fact that we are being ruled by people who are mad. Imagine, what would we do if we truly recognized that our government is being run by people who have collectively gone mad? What would we do if we realized that the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet, the person with his finger on the button, is a genuine psychopath? This is not a make believe question: How would we respond if enough of us not only recognized that our leaders were truly insane, but that we urgently needed to do something about it? What do we imagine we would do? This is a very relevant question, as this is the true nature of our current situation.
Do we go belly-up, imagining that there is nothing that we could possibly do about our insane situation? Do we imagine ourselves collapsing into impotence, being totally dis-empowered, unable to do anything about being ruled by a bunch of psychopaths? Or do we imagine that enough of us, realizing the gravitas of our situation, connect with each other and access our collective genius so that we can truly make a positive change in the world? The question is: Will the darkness that is manifesting in our world destroy our species or wake us up to our true nature? The choice, and responsibility, is truly ours.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Gotta fight 'em there or they'll attack us here. I wish we would have just dropped a big bomb and done the job." -- a trucker in central Illinois