Thursday, June 01, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, June 1, 2006 Photo: Frame grab from Channel 4's program "Iraq: The Women's Story" (See below "Iraqi children teach US soldiers ethics and morals") SECURITY INCIDENTS In Country: A ruling party official in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region accused Turkish forces of shelling villages inside Iraq and said one shepherd was wounded in an incident on Wednesday. Baghdad: A bomb struck a group of construction workers seeking jobs in central Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least two and wounding 18. The explosives were hidden in a plastic bag on Tayaran Square as the men were gathered near a stall selling breakfast food. Baghdad police found the bullet-riddled body of a man clothed in an Arab robe with his hands and legs bound. A mortar round landed in the Green Zone, but no casualties were reported. Gunmen shot to death two mechanics at their workshop in an industrial area in the al-Bayaa neighborhood in western Baghdad. The bodies of four people were found in two different districts of the capital. An explosive device was detonated in Baghdad, killing two Iraqis and wounding 15 others. Security sources said that the explosive device blew up in the central district of Bab al-Sharqi. All the casualties were civilians, the sources said. Further details were not immediately available. Baqubah: Five people were killed and three others injured in an attack on their vehicle by unknown militants in Al-Hashimiyat district in Baquba. Three civilians were injured in a bomb explosion near a shop in Baladrose in Baquba. A bomb exploded near a home in Al-Jazeera district in Baquba, injuring one civilian. Bani Saad: A civilian was injured in an explosion in a market in Bani Saad town in southern Diyala. Karbala: Gunmen gunned down a policeman on Wednesday in Kerbala. Police found the body of an old man who had been shot dead in Kerbala. Samawah: An explosive device blew up in Samawah, 300 kilometres south of Baghdad, killing two Iraqis and injuring another three. Witnesses told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that an explosive device planted by the side of the road leading to the town of Rumeitha blew up as vehicles drove by. The explosion killed two and injured another three civilians who were driving on the road. >> NEWS A U.S. military inquiry into whether Marines tried to cover up the killings of Iraqi civilians in Haditha will conclude that some officers gave false reports to their superiors, who then failed to scrutinize the information: The Washington Post, citing an unidentified Army official, said the three-month investigation was also expected to call for changes in how U.S. troops are trained for duty in Iraq. >> REPORTS Nearly 140 people were killed in Basra this month alone. Iraq's national unemployment rate surpassed 60 percent last year. "And the rate rose further in the first quarter of this year, as many policemen and army members quit their jobs due to threats by militants groups," [Mohamed Taha al-Mousawi, an adviser at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs ] said. He added that his ministry had no plans to promote employment until the security situation had improved. GUNS BECOMING AS IMPORTANT AS FOOD Under Saddam Hussein possession of weapons was highly regulated. But after the invasion of Iraq, the military collapsed and many armouries and ammunition dumps were left unprotected. In an environment of a lack of security, these came to supply a growing appetite for guns. To begin with people bought guns - or took those discarded on the streets - as a defence against the eruption of lawlessness after the fall of Baghdad. Recently, after the bombing of the al-Askariyah shrine in Samarra in February this year, a wave of reprisal killings drastically increased the desire of each Iraqi family to have at least one gun. "I think it is important for every Iraqi to have a weapon to protect himself and his family," Abu Hasan, a weapons merchant in Baghdad told IPS. "There is no security at all in Iraq now and we have no real government to protect us. The occupation forces protect themselves only." (...) Samir, another weapons merchant, says his business has had its ups and downs. "When the occupation forces entered Baghdad, the Iraqi army dropped their weapons in the streets and Iraqi people went and took these weapons and kept them in their houses." This brought a temporary setback to business, he said. "In 2003 it was difficult to find someone to buy my guns because everyone had one or maybe more in his house. In 2004, and after the resistance grew, Iraqis started looking for weapons. Iraqi people started buying weapons for resistance, and others gave their weapons as gifts for use in the resistance." The demand has now risen again. Many Iraqis commonly have pistols or Kalashnikovs, to protect themselves both from death squads and sectarian violence. Others use them against occupation forces. The fighters have relatively sophisticated weapons. Some are said to have small missiles and mortars. read in full... DISPATCH FROM ADHAMIYA Today I was in Adhameya for a gallery opening, to interview artists and show some of the different things happening here. Even in Baghdad, in the midst of the war, we have an art gallery opening! There were 2 blasts today in Adhamiya, while I was covering the gallery. The attacks targeted a police station and an Iraqi National Guard base near Delal square. They blocked the street for more than two hours and I was trapped there. then they started making raids on homes and searching inside homes nearby the blasts. I took a few shots of the soldiers when they entered the gallery we were in. they were standing in the front door and i took a shot of them from the window. The shot wasn't too clear, but it's clear enough to see ther were soldiers in the gallery doorway. Today I interviewed a member of UNESCO who runs an organisation that work on planting flowers around Baghdad, but the new government prevented them from doing that. They prevented this because the organization existed before the war. The blasts and gunfire occured while I was shooting this interview. I was trying to film the blasts, but the National Guard prevented me from doing that. they just took the tape. They said go back inside, and took the tape. I had just filmed the first blast and there was a lot of smoke and fire at the end of the street i was standing in and there were Iraqi soldiers running toward the bomb site. They were shooting in the air and running. The video i shot was very close to them and very clear. But they didn't know for what channel I worked, and they didn't ask me for my badge. There were Americans at the bomb site, maybe 10 humvees, and a lot of infantry in the street as well. read in full... "WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I'M IN A F-- VIETNAM MOVIE?" After a recent meeting with local tribal sheiks in Fallujah, Marine Lt. Col. Jim Haldeman walked to the back of the room and pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. The gathering was supposed to be an exercise in civic empowerment but quickly degenerated into the Iraqis demanding that they get identification cards designating them as sheiks, which would bar local security forces from arresting them on the streets. "All of these guys are f-- muj," Haldeman said, using the Arabic term for "holy warriors," mujahedeen, which American troops frequently use to describe the insurgents. Haldeman took a deep drag from his cigarette. "I've never been so nervous around a group of men," he said. Haldeman, 50, of West Kingston, R.I., later added that he was sure that a lot of the men in the crowd would have slit his throat if they'd had the opportunity. Walking down an alley in Hit a few days earlier, stepping over pools of sewage, Lance Cpl. Greg Allen had watched the Marines around him. They were picking through garbage, tugging on wires and kicking boxes, looking for bombs and mines and hoping that if they found one it wouldn't go off. "They (insurgents) are doing a hell of a job fighting this war. They know they can't take us head on but they can do a lot of damage with bombs," said Allen, 19, of Syracuse, N.Y. "There's no one out here to fight." (...) Later, he and his men walked along the Euphrates River, looking for a metal stake that an informant said marked a weapons cache. The sun burned, and palm trees and crops formed a lush green swath along the riverbank. "There's been reports of a .50 (caliber) sniper rifle out there. Maybe they called this in just to get us out here and take a shot. A .50-cal would go straight through our (body armor) plates," Coffey said, looking at the buildings across the river. "Why do I feel like I'm in a f-- Vietnam movie?" read in full... IRAQI CHILDREN TEACH US SOLDIERS ETHICS AND MORALS Shame on you invaders, Iraqi children age 9-10 years old teach you ethics and morals, from the video link "Iraq: The Women's Story", the presenter talks to children: [I've inserted the complete dialog -- zig]
Children: It's not right that an hospital should be bombed. Children and babies. It's not right. those Americans have come to destroy everything. Presenter: Will you resist them or not? Children: Yes! We will resist them! Presenter: You'll resist them until they leave your country? Children: Yes! Presenter: This exists the world over. Would any man want his home occupied? Children: No! Presenter: It's impossible. So tell the Americans. Destroy whatever you want but don't detroy what's within our hearts. We have to fight until you leave! No matter what they do. No matter how much destruction they cause. Children: [clapping, cheering]
And god.... how they resist, do you think it's just children talk?, think again, watch here: Iraqi Kids resist US occupation [amazing video clip of an Iraqi kid throwing a grenade at a passing U.S. military convoy -- zig] read in full… ["Iraq: The Women's Story", a UK Channel 4 "Dispatches" program aired May 8, 2006, is presented by an Iraqi woman "who chose not to reveal her identity"; with a smuggled camera she documented the destruction of Al Qaem, in Western Iraq, by the U.S. military in "Operation Iron Fist", carried out in September 2005. Highly recommended. See the complete video-- zig] >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS MY LAI . . . HADITHA . . . AND AMERICA'S WHITEWASHERS Vietnam is far away in time and memory. But now Americans have to cope with new unpleasant realities: a government that lied to them, so as to enlist their support for an illegitimate war; then Abu Ghraib, and the realization that the military is far from squeaky-clean when it comes to torture, human rights and compliance with international law. Now, it is the pride of the military, the marines, who are being put to the test. And this may turn out to be a test like no other in the history of the Corps. Revenge for the killing of a fellow marine is no reason to kill innocent, defenseless Iraqi women and children; nor is frustration, even when insurgents are at times fed and sheltered by civilians in the area, or when complicity is suspected. Criminal reprisal as an answer to physical and/or mental strain is just unacceptable behavior in human beings, much less in soldiers. When soldiers get to a point where they are apt to crack, they should be kept in their barracks or sent home. Just what role does the military leadership play in all this? Commanders, doctors and chaplains . . . aren't they all gravely derelict? How many more Hadithas are there . . . will we ever know what happened in Fallujah, and so many other places where the US military has no reason or right to be? One must wonder. One, two . . . three decades from now some of these people who are committing crimes in Iraq, or those whitewashing their behavior, are likely to be in positions of political power in these United States. One could even become senator, president, or secretary of state. The whitewash, it appears, never ends. read in full... A CULTURE OF MURDER Just like the SS, Gestapo, Stasi, and the Savak before them there are some in the US Marines and those who support and cover up for them are now seen as worshipping in a culture of murder. Today, the father of the US Marine who was killed in Haditha in November - the Marine whose death it is said fuelled the rage to murder women and children - has come out praising the Marines of Kilo Company and believes their killing of women and children was justified. This old man can't see beyond his own hate and grief and desires the blood of innocents to satisfy his bloodlust for revenge. He has said the "terrorists" were hiding among the women and children. Actually the terrorists were riding the Humvees and killed the women and children. (...) Americans were shocked when it was alleged Palestinians cheered the despicable attacks on the WTC on 9-11. They could not understand how people could celebrate death. Go to the Yahoo chatboards and discussion boards. See how many Americans are cheering the killing of the two women above, cheering the fact an unborn child was killed. MAYBE THIS IS OUR EXIT STRATEGY This afternoon's "good news from Iraq," courtesy of the Associated Press:
The shooting death of a pregnant Iraqi, apparently by U.S. troops, as she was rushing to a hospital threw an intense spotlight Wednesday on the troubling issue of Iraqi civilian deaths. Iraqi police and witnesses said the troops gunned down the woman and her cousin in their car. The U.S. military said the car entered a clearly marked prohibited area but failed to stop despite repeated signals; shots were fired to disable the vehicle, it said. . . . Speeding toward U.S. military checkpoints, convoys or living next door to a suspected insurgent hideout has cost many Iraqis their lives since U.S. troops invaded in 2003. Although figures are not available, it is commonly believed by Iraqis that hundreds of people may have died this way.
You'd almost think someone got word that Iraqis are shrugging off the Haditha massacre, and decided to see if one more atrocity on top of the pile would make Iraqis mad enough to rise up en masse and kick us out. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: The Afghan army is planning an assault on a district in the southern province of Uruzgan in Taleban control for more than 24 hours after being stormed by the rebels late Tuesday, an army general said. The strike on Chora district was being planned with coalition forces and police, said General Rahmatullah Raufi, military commander for southern Afghanistan. "The district is out of our hands," the general said. The Taliban's spring offensive is fast turning into a massive resistance against the foreign presence all over Afghanistan. And the indications are that the resistance could transcend a simple Taliban-led insurgency to evolve into a powerful Islamic movement. Thousands of Taliban have emerged in the provinces of Helmand, Ghazni, Urgzan, Kandahar, Kunar and Zabul, and in all of them the story is the same: where allied forces have taken on the Taliban, the ANA [Afghan National Army] holds the "fort". In places beyond the access of allied forces, the Taliban are in control. In the less-populated Farah and Nimroze provinces, where the Taliban have a nominal presence, violent incidents against the ANA have begun. The same is true in western Herat province on the border with Iran. THE "WAR PARADIGM" Sidney Blumenthal digs up the Bush Regime's ruling philosophy: the "war paradigm," the specious justification for an imperial presidency above the law -- which the Bushists mean to be a permanent mutation of the American state, not just an emergency measure. I've been ranting ,with varying degrees of coherence, about this coup d'etat since October 2001, but Blumenthal -- who, like Al Gore, has been on righteous fire since escaping the shadow of Bill Clinton -- provides one of the most succinct explications of what is the central and most profound crisis of our time. Here's a chilling excerpt:
The war paradigm is Bush's "Da Vinci Code," the difference being that its high priests acknowledge in private that it is real. They fervently believe that the Constitution is fatally flawed and must be severely circumscribed. The Bush administration's "holy grail," another phrase officials use in private, is to remove suspects' rights to due process, speedy trial and exculpatory evidence. The war paradigm, which they contrast with a caricatured "law enforcement paradigm," is to be constantly strengthened to conduct a permanent war against terror, which can never be finally defeated. There is no exit strategy from emergency.
read in full... INFORMATION OVERKILL Try to imagine these organizations [the so-called U.S. "intelligence community", the CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, etc. - zig], each filled with thousands of employees, most of them believing in intelligence and that they are in the process of delivering it, sorting through and pouring out information of every sort. Globally, all those billions of telephone calls, cell-phone calls, letters and e-mails to be monitored, all those satellite photos to be checked and interpreted, all those data to be mined, all that territory to be mapped, all that "humint" to sort through, not to speak of the "open source" material in the media, online, in foreign documents of every sort, spewing into our world in a Babel of languages and images. From such a tangled web of intelligence organizations, fighting for turf, squirreling away money in black accounts, running covert operations (not to speak of secret prisons and interrogations, kidnappings and assassinations), surveilling everyone in hearing or sight, and monitoring the universe, undoubtedly comes a tangled mass of information, however computerized, beyond the ken of any set of human beings. This is the definition not of "intelligence", but of information overkill. It is a perfect formula either for drowning in data or cherry-picking only the data and analyses that suit your pre-existing plans and urges. read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "How many untold massacres - and 'mistakes' - by US forces are there in Iraq? When will we stop saying 'bad apples' and start saying 'rotted tree?'" -- Truth about Iraqis blogspot


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