Saturday, June 03, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, June 3, 2006 Photo: Protestors demand prisoners to be released outside a British military base in Basra, 550 Km, (341miles) south of Baghdad June 2, 2006. REUTERS/Atef Hassan (IRAQ) An alleged suicide attacker blew up his car bomb at the main market in Basra, killing at least 15 people and injuring 30. The explosion occurred in the late afternoon when a large number of people were in the square, police Capt. Mushtaq Kadhim said. Iraq's second-biggest city has seen growing violence recently, prompting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during a visit last week to declare a monthlong state of emergency in the mainly Shiite city. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: An official at Russia's Embassy in Baghdad says one diplomat has been killed and four embassy employees kidnapped.
Witnesses at the scene told them than gunmen opened fire on a car that belonged to the Russian Embassy in west Baghdad's upscale Mansour district. Interior Ministry Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohamedawi said one person was killed in the incident, which took place just outside the embassy.
Two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb struck their patrol in eastern Baghdad. Police found 22 bodies with signs of torture and bullet wounds in different parts of Baghdad. A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol in central Baghdad, wounding two civilians. Gunmen opened fire on two people in a car, killing one of them and wounding the other, in a drive-by shooting in the Dora neighbourhood in southern Baghdad. One of those killed was a car salesman. Baqubah: Police in Baquba, north of Baghdad, have found the severed heads of seven cousins and a mosque Imam. Small paper notes left with the heads and read by ambulance workers identified one as Sheikh Abdel Aziz al-Mashhadani, the Imam of a Sunni Arab mosque near Baghdad. The note accused him of killing four Shiite physicians. Five of the slain men were security guards at a hospital complex in the capital who had been arrested by Iraqi police on Thursday. Seven Iraqi policemen have been killed in an attack on a police checkpoint in the town of Baquba, 60km (35 miles) north-east of Baghdad. Up to 10 people were also wounded when insurgents attacked the al-Razi checkpoint with rocket-propelled and hand grenades and small arms fire. Three Iraqis were killed in an attack by unknown gunmen on Saturday in the Mualimeen neighborhood. A roadside bomb exploded on the main road between Baquba and Meqdadyah when an ambulance carrying an emergency case aboard. One child was killed and his mother was injured. Gunmen stormed an automobile spare parts shop and killed three people inside in Baquba. Kirkuk: Gunmen killed a member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. A PUK source told KUNA that the assailants were riding a vehicle when they opened fire at Delshad Othman Abdullah, member of the PUK's Kirkuk committee. A dead man in his mid thirties was found lying on the street on Kirkuk-Dibs road. The man's body had received several shot wounds to his head and shoulder. Iraqi farmer Amid Mohammed Jumaa was kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Bashir village southern Kirkuk. Police found the body of a woman beside a highway northwest of Kirkuk. >> NEWS Iraq vows to press on with its own probe into the deaths of civilians in a U.S. raid on the town of Ishaqi, rejecting the U.S. military's exoneration of its forces: Adnan al-Kazimi, an aide to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, said the government would also demand an apology from the United States and compensation for the victims in several cases, including the alleged massacre in the town of Haditha last year. "We have from more than one source that the Ishaqi killings were carried out under questionable circumstances. More than one child was killed. This report was not fair for the Iraqi people and the children who were killed," he told Reuters. The U.S. military had issued a statement about Ishaqi saying allegations that U.S. troops "executed a family ... and then hid the alleged crimes by directing an air strike, are absolutely false." It said troops had been fired on as they raided a house to arrest an al Qaeda suspect. They returned fire and called in air support, which destroyed the building, killing one militant and resulting in "up to nine collateral deaths." (...) Police in Ishaqi say five children, four women and two men were shot in the head, and that the bodies, with hands bound, were dumped in one room before the house was blown up. Maliki, who took office two weeks ago at the helm of a U.S. backed national unity government, is battling a widespread public perception that U.S. troops can shoot and kill with impunity and Iraqi leaders are too weak to do anything about it. "Ishaqi is just another reason why we shouldn't trust the Americans," said Abdullah Hussein, an engineer in Baghdad. "First they lied about the weapons of mass destruction, then there was the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and now it's clear to the world they were guilty in Haditha," he told Reuters. A tribal leader in Ishaqi said it was clear that U.S. forces were above the law in Iraq. "We expect the American soldiers to commit any crime to control this country," added Sarhan Jasim, 55. (...) One man in the town, 40-year-old Obeid Kamil, said on Friday that U.S. soldiers had a "license to kill" Iraqi civilians. "Their action is always to open fire and kill people, which is proof that they are afraid," he said. >> REPORTS U.S. OCCUPATION HQ in BASRA DROWNING IN SHIT In a city that welcomed the American invasion, threats against Iraqis working for the U.S. diplomatic mission are now so widespread that they have not picked up its trash or pumped its sewers for three weeks link >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS FOR IRAQIS HADITHA IS BUT ONE OF A SERIES OF MASS KILLINGS The Haditha massacre is not only about the crimes of a set of individuals or of one unit. It is an example of the systematic and much greater crime of Bush and Blair's war. In the months after the fall of Baghdad, the US touted Haditha as a success story. The US army had rebuilt a vital power station at the Haditha dam and felt confident enough to hand over security to a small contingent of Azerbaijani troops. But in the summer of 2003 US troops rounded up over 700 young men in a mass sweep. The raids fuelled growing anger at the occupation. By April 2004, Haditha joined the revolt across Iraq. The US responded by isolating the town, blowing up most of its bridges and inserting teams of snipers. Later they shipped in Iraqi death squads. The town rose in rebellion, driving out US troops and the local authorities imposed by the occupation. In the summer of 2005 Haditha's hospital was destroyed in fighting. The cousin of Iraq's ambassador to Washington was shot dead by US troops during a raid on his house. One resident told the Arabic Al-Quds newspaper that US troops were threatening to kill civilians if attacks by the resistance did not stop. On 19 November US soldiers turned those threats into reality. It shows how appalling the situation is today that the Haditha massacre hardly features in Iraqi news. For Iraqis the slaughter at Haditha is but one of a series of mass killings. Last month US troops opened fire on two families driving through the northern city of Mosul. Soldiers then fired on locals who rushed to help the survivors, a wounded girl and an elderly lady. On 15 May US troops raided a village near al-Latifiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, and cut down 25 civilians who fled into a field. In August 2005, 23 worshippers were gunned down by a US tank gunner as they left Friday prayers in a Ramadi mosque. Nine of the victims were children. In March this year, 37 Shia Muslim worshipers were executed under the orders of a US officer as they gathered for prayers in a Baghdad mosque. The British and US troops must get out now. Every day they stay another Haditha threatens. read in full... ROBERT FISK: COULD HADITHA BE JUST THE TIP OF THE MASS GRAVE? I remember clearly the first suspicions I had that murder most foul might be taking place in our name in Iraq. I was in the Baghdad mortuary, counting corpses, when one of the city's senior medical officials, an old friend, told me of his fears. "Everyone brings bodies here," he said. "But when the Americans bring bodies in, we are instructed that under no circumstances are we ever to do post-mortems. We were given to understand that this had already been done. Sometimes we'd get a piece of paper like this one with a body." And here the man handed me a U.S. military document showing with the hand-drawn outline of a man's body and the words "trauma wounds." What kind of trauma is now being experienced in Iraq? Just who is doing the mass killing? Who is dumping so many bodies on garbage heaps? After Haditha, we are going to reshape our suspicions. read in full... GEORGE BUSH AND THE HADITHA MASSACRE "If laws were broken there will be punishment." Really? The war itself is a violation of international law, along with the abuse and torture of prisoners, the kidnapping of alleged terrorists, their rendition to torture regimes allied with Washington, the network of secret CIA prisons, and the denial of due process and Geneva Convention rights to those swept up in America's international dragnet. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, the military chiefs and others who plotted and launched a war based on lies are the prime law-breakers. And the Republican and Democratic leaders and media yes-men who promoted the war and continue to defend the occupation are their accomplices. Haditha was a war crime, and of a particularly gruesome sort, because the perpetrators systematically cornered and executed men, women and children over a span of five hours. But what of the destruction of entire towns, such as Fallujah and Tall Afar, in which thousands of innocent civilians died? These are hailed by Bush and the media as great victories. Such is the carnage inflicted by the American occupation upon the Iraqi people that, at least according to some US press reports, the horrors that occurred in Haditha have not yet made a major impact on the consciousness of the Iraqi population. The Los Angeles Times in a June 1 report on the massacre quoted Hassan Bazzaz, a political analyst in Baghdad, as saying, "It doesn't mean that much to hear that 20 people were killed by the Americans. Every single day people are killed and thrown in the streets, in the garbage cans. They're scared to death. They don't even have time to think about what happened in Haditha." read in full... US MILITARY LIES ABOUT ISHAQ IRAQ MURDERS Of course. Just consider. The US investigation said 1) four people died and 2) they took fire from the house and 3) the troops acted appropriately. But the AP video shows at least five children and four women killed. Furthermore, this picture from AP shows at least six corpses, four of what are discernible are children. Has no one questioned the discrepancy in the death toll? Tsk, tsk ... What will this kind of justice breed, I wonder ... Iraqi PM Maliki must be wondering the same thing today. He just received a sharp rebuke from the White House:
The White House on Friday sought to soften criticism by Iraq's prime minister over allegations that U.S. Marines killed two dozen unarmed civilians in the western town of Haditha last November. White House press secretary Tony Snow said that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had told U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad that he had been misquoted. But Snow was unable to explain what al-Maliki told Khalilzad or how he had been misquoted. "That is a little too complicated for me to try to read out," Snow said at a briefing where he was pressed to explain how al-Maliki's remarks were supposed to have been distorted. "It becomes a little convoluted and so I don't want to make a real clear characterization because it's a little hazy to me," Snow said. The prime minister was quoted a day earlier as saying the Haditha deaths were "a horrible crime." He also was quoted as saying, "This is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces. No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It's unacceptable."
Now we know why the US refused to sign on to the International Criminal Court, to save itself an almost daily humiliation, methinks. read in full... THE MEGA-ARMED-AND-SHOOTING-COLLAPSING-HOUSE-THAT-STILL-STANDS STORY Okay, this time [the Ishaqi massacre uncovered in the MSM by the BBC] what happened was the fucking house collapsed and somehow, who only knows, riddled eleven civilians' bodies with wounds resembling bullet-holes. Oh, and the house also seems to have shot up a car on the way down. Oh, and it also shot up its own walls and the floor and furniture. And also, it doesn't seem to have really collapsed. The walls are still standing, albeit more perforated than a hedgehog's bed. Iraqi police and local residents say that US troops entered the house and shot all eleven people, but really, how believable is that compared to the mega-armed-and-shooting-collapsing-house-that-still-stands story? read in full... HOW THE OCCUPATION'S PRIDE AND GLORY BECAME AN “IRAQI” The headline of [the New York Times] article "Iraqi Assails U.S. for Strikes on Civilians" I find it imperialistic and slightly derogatory. Why not say Iraqi PM, for example? Space issues, will be the reply. Fine, why not "Maliki Assails ..."? or "Iraq assails". If it were Blair, let's say, would they have said "Brit Assails", or "Briton". No, definitely not. Is it because Maliki is demanding the investigation portfolio be turned over to the Iraqis once it is concluded? A few weeks ago, Maliki was their pride and glory, their prized view at the zoo. They [US media and war administration] heralded him as the second coming of Christ. They heaped praise and adulation on a man many Iraqis never knew and was a member of the Da'wa - we all know who they really are. But now that he is speaking up, he is suddenly referred to as Iraqi. I wonder if Khalilzad has delivert any covert threats. read in full... MORE, LOTS MORE I can only hope that my fellow citizens are not being told that this latest outrage tumbling out of Iraq is some isolated incident; that Herr Rumsfeld will diligently investigate it, and dispense timely justice to all guilty parties (below the rank of Lieutenant, of course). Just in case your Uncle Bob or Aunt Sophie has been asking you "Exactly what the hell is going on in Iraq?" and you're looking for hard facts to help them get off the fence, here you are. Keep in mind these are just a few instances compiled by one citizen sitting in Toledo with an old computer connected to the internet - an indication that there just might be even more going on. Keep in mind also, that the following acts are criminal violations of the law not just because they are really horrid inhumanities, but because Congress, the U.S. Constitution, and international law (yes, there are international laws binding on the U.S.) explicitly prohibit the very kinds of atrocities now rotting at the feet of George W. Bush. Each section below begins with the relevant law or treaty violated in Iraq or Afghanistan. read in full… A BIG PUBLIC RELATIONS PROBLEM I would love to know the name of the Republican aide who described the various massacres in Iraq to the WaPo as "a big public relations problem." Speaking of public relations, the WaPo has some more details about the "core warrior values" course, including some of the scenarios used (If a roadside bomb has a detonation cord leading to a clearly marked clinic, can you blow the shit out of the clinic? Yes, yes you can.). The script says that soldiers "should think through the possible consequences of engaging a questionable target in an area heavily populated by noncombatants." Which is funny, because that seems to have been precisely what they didn't do in Ishaqi, even if you accept the military's claim that the civilians were "collateral deaths" and not shot at close range, as the video of the bodies suggests. (...) More on the "core warrior values" training: "The training package includes five possible scenarios, including encountering a roadside bomb and being engaged by enemy fire from a mosque or school... Servicemembers will discuss the ethical and legal issues in each scenario, and the proper reaction". However, Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell, chief of staff of Multinational Corps Iraq reassures us, "The training will not overly sensitize servicemembers, because it will still emphasize every servicemember's right to self-defense." Phew. I know I was worried about service members becoming overly sensitized by this hippy-dippy core warrior values training. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces retook a southern Afghanistan town from suspected Taliban rebels in heavy fighting that left as many as 20 rebels dead. A suicide car bomber targeting a Canadian military convoy detonated yesterday in southern Afghanistan, killing himself and three civilians. Dozens of militants tried to storm the police station in the town of Miana Shien. A spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province said 12 Taleban were killed and four policemen injured in the clash. Clashes with Taleban fighters have also taken place in Helmand and Uruzgan provinces. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Having experienced a Cairo summer the first time I was in Egypt, I really can't imagine how life goes on in Baghdad now that the power is down to an unreliable hour or two a day. It's closer to hell than any human being who isn't Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld should ever have to go."-- Billmon at Whiskey Bar


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