Thursday, June 22, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, June 22, 2006 Photo: When I first saw this sign, I missed one word on it and thought it read, "From Falluja to Kufa, Leave this country" (min al falluja ilal kufa, hatha al balad '3ufa). So, I took a picture, thinking that here was a sign expressing ultimate pessimism and the great wish that many Iraqis have for leaving their country. When I uploaded the photo to my computer, I noticed the word, 'man 3ufa', ie. 'we won't leave/let go of.' So the sign actually reads, "God is Great. From Falluja to Kufa, we won't let go of this country (won't give up on this country)." So its actually an expression of the patriotism and optimism of the artist. Bring 'em on: Three U.S. Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Iraq's Anbar Province. Bring 'em on: A U.S. Marine assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq's Anbar Province died "after being attacked while conducting security operations," a military release stated. Bring 'em on: U.S. soldier assigned to Multi-National Division Baghdad died Wednesday morning when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb south of the Iraqi capital. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Two Iraqi policemen were wounded in a blast in southwestern Baghdad. Two policemen were wounded and a police vehicle was damaged in the attack. Fourteen bodies of workers in an electricity plant were found in the city morgue on Tuesday. They were abducted and killed on June 12, the Association of Muslim Scholars said in a statement. A bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded in the Alawwi area in central Baghdad, killing two civilians and injuring eight others. Najaf: Gunmen riding a motorcycle shot dead a police officer in Najaf. Taji: (Update) The kidnappers of more than 100 Iraqi government employees have freed about half of their hostages: The industry ministry workers were snatched by gunmen Wednesday after their shift ended at a factory north of Baghdad. "Women hostages and those who were Sunnis were set free, and we believe that now about 40 to 50 employees are still held captive," an interior ministry official said on Thursday.
Iraqi police stormed a farm north of Baghdad and freed at least 17 people who were snatched a day earlier in a mass kidnapping of about 85 workers and family members at the end of a factory shift. Iraqi soldiers said they had found several bodies in a violent area north of Baghdad where factory workers were abducted by gunmen a day earlier. "Only 30 employees were kidnapped, of whom 25 were released the same day and only five now are still being held," an official in the minister's office told Reuters.
Karbala: An Iraqi ayatollah who spent nearly 15 years in exile in Southern California was shot twice as he was returning home after delivering a sermon in the holy city of Karbala last week but survived the assassination attempt, his son, spiritual leader of an Irvine mosque, said Wednesday. Sayed Mortada Al-Qazwini, 76, who joyously returned to Iraq two weeks after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003, refused to wear a bulletproof vest and mostly shunned security provided to him by the government and Shiite religious authorities, said Moustafa Al-Qazwini. Dhuluiya: Gunmen killed an Iraqi soldier in his home in Dhuluiya, 40 km (25 miles) north of Baghdad. Iraqi forces found a civilian car with two bodies in the town of Bani Saad, west of Baquba. One of the bodies is of an Iraqi Army engineer with a rank of a captain. The governor of Iraq's Diyala province was wounded and his driver and bodyguard killed when a bomb exploded near his convoy in the city of Baquba. Raad al-Mowla was travelling home from work when the shrapnel from the blast punctured his car's tyre causing it to overturn. The police source said Mowla was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Iraq for treatment. Hawija: Gunmen killed a carpenter on Wednesday in Hawija, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Kirkuk: Iraqi soldiers killed a gunman and arrested two on Wednesday after coming under attack in Kirkuk. (W. of) An Iraqi civilian was shot dead by unknown militants west of Kirkuk. A source at the police in Kirkuk told KUNA that unknown gunmen, who were riding a black Opel Vectra, opened fire at Mohammad Mohsen Hussein and killed him. >> NEWS 8 U.S. Troops Charged in Iraqi's Death: Seven Marines and a Navy medical corpsman were charged Wednesday with premeditated murder, kidnapping, conspiracy and other offenses in connection with the April 26 death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamandiya and an alleged cover-up. The defendants are accused of breaking into a home in the town west of Baghdad, dragging out an unarmed, disabled 52-year-old Iraqi named Hashim Ibrahim Awad and killing him. An AK-47 and a shovel were left near the body to make it appear Awad was an insurgent caught digging a hole to plant a roadside bomb, military investigators said. The troops had been searching for an insurgent, and after finding his home empty, they went next door and pulled out Awad, legal papers said. In the U.S. military, a charge of premeditated murder carries a maximum penalty of death. U.S. Senate rejects calls on Iraq troop pullout: In an 86-13 vote, the Senate turned back a proposal from some Democrats that would require the administration to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007, with redeployments beginning this year. No Republicans voted in favor of the plan. Minutes later, the Senate rejected by 60-39 the proposal more popular with Democrats, a nonbinding resolution that would call for the administration to begin withdrawing troops, but with no timetable for the war's end. That vote was mostly along party lines. >> REPORTS al-Sadr calls on countries with foreign troops in Iraq to follow Japan's move and pull out: "The withdrawal of Japanese troops is a good step and I hope that all countries with occupation forces in Iraq would follow suit in a quick and organised way that would not hurt the Iraqi people," Sadr said at a joint press conference with former prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari in the Shiite shrine city of Najaf. Sadr, who led a bloody rebellion against US and coalition forces in 2004, has remained staunchly opposed to a foreign troop presence in Iraq despite the participation of his supporters in the government. He is also against the creation of two autonomous federations in the Shiite centre and south, a position advocated by his bitter rival Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of parliament's most powerful Shiite party the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIRI) in Iraq. link to excerpt >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS ME BIG U.S. LIBERATOR MAN; YOU STUPID NATIVE Islam Memo reported on June 9 that giant loudspeakers, set up by the US military in the centre of Ramadi, had announced: "To all armed men, your emir has died, and there is no need anymore for you to fight. Therefore, drop your weapons and surrender to the American and Iraqi forces and we promise that we shall not harm you." [Now we know what hopelessly incompetent former Hollywood writers do for a living. They turn out this inane shit, modeled on the scripts for Tarzan movies produced back in the 1940s. "Ugh. Me Big U.S. Liberator Man. Ugh. Put down your gun. Your big "emir" man dead. Ugh. You one dumb piece of shit who only fight because big "emir" man tell you to. Ugh. You give up now, we treat you good. Ugh. Like Abu G. Or maybe torture cell. Ugh. Or maybe just kill you, wife and kids. Ha Ha Ha. Ugh."] The announcement was met by repeated volleys of mortars and rocket-propelled grenades from Iraqi resistance fighters. [And no doubt had the reporter been able to get close enough, volleys of hilarity as well, at the sheer condescending dimwittedness of it. The resistance reply certainly takes literary criticism to a whole new level.] [It would appear that the "emirs" at the Pentagon have not a clue they're dealing with an armed resistance using the most up to date technology, not a bunch of simple-minded characters from a bad Sinbad The Sailor movie, riding around on camels and mouthing stupid dialogue about "emirs." This charming mix of arrogance and stupidity is an old problem for Imperial armies, and one of the reasons they lose wars of occupation with reliable regularity. [Arrogant underestimation of the enemy (the announcement above is a classic) has been prominent in the defeat of every lost Imperial war of occupation since the revolutions against colonialism began in the 1950s. This war is no exception.] link HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE There was a facinating piece on the wires today:
Australian security guards mistakenly opened fire at the bodyguards of Iraqi Trade Minister Abdul Falah al-Sudani in western Baghdad on Wednesday, killing one of them and wounding two others, an Interior Ministry source said. (…)
Al-Sudani is a power within the dominant Shi'ite bloc. As trade minister he's responsible amongst other things for overseeing the importation of much of the basic foodstuffs such as wheat that in a country with 60% unemployment and a shattered distribution network the population rely upon for survival. Like most Iraqi politicians he was less than impressed when a large cargo Australian wheat contaminated with Iron ore arrived in Iraq back in May 2005. Subsequent contracts went to other suppliers. I find myself wondering how friendly an eye he'll cast over the next bid from AWB [Australian Wheat Board].* On balance I'd say this sort of thing probably isn't the best way to regain access to a market that you've been a major player in for 57 years. read in full... US FORCES MAY SOON BE ASKED TO LEAVE In an exclusive interview with The Australian, former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage has given a gloomy assessment of the situation. "The British used to make a big deal of walking around in their berets in the south," he said. "Now they won't even go to the latrines without their helmets. The south has got much rougher, it's mainly Shia on Shia violence." Mr Armitage said much of the violence came from differences over how the Islamic religion should be interpreted. And he said he believed the Iraqis would soon ask the US to leave their country. read in full... FISK'S CRYSTAL BALL
"We have begun shredding documents that show local staff surnames. In March, a few members approached us to ask what provisions we would make for them if we evacuate." Zalmay Khalizad "Baghdad-memo leaked to 'Washington Post'"
Months ago, author Robert Fisk said that he could foresee a dramatic event taking place in Iraq that would reshape the public's attitude towards the war; something comparable to the TET Offensive in Vietnam, which was the turning point for America's fortunes in that war. Could the disparate Iraqi resistance actually mount an attack on the Green Zone, the last refuge for America's puppet regime? Here's what Fisk says:
"Sometimes I wonder if there will be a moment when reality and myth, truth and lies, will actually collide. When will the detonation come? When the insurgents wipe out an entire US base? When they pour over the walls of the Green Zone and turn it into the same trashed blocks as the rest of Baghdad? Or will we then be told-as we have been in the past-that this just shows the "desperation" of the insurgents, that these terrible acts only prove that the "terrorist" know they are losing?" (Robert Fisk, "What does Democracy really mean in the Middle East" Aug, 2005)
Khalizad's frantic memo seems to indicate that such an assault is possible and that the occupants should prepare accordingly. read in full... TODAY IS THE DAY MY HEAD FINALLY EXPLODES Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Coma) sez:
Congressman Hoekstra and I are here today to say that we have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons...Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent.
The information released today proves that weapons of mass destruction are, in fact, in Iraq. It is essential for the American people to understand that these weapons are in Iraq. I will continue to advocate for the complete declassification of this report so we can more fully understand the complete WMD picture inside Iraq.
You know, at this point any American who scoffs at Iran for electing a Holocaust-denying president has no basis for being smug. Because this is exactly the same level of nuts. It's one thing for weirdos with websites to talk like this, but it's really something else when prominent politicians jump into the pool of crazy. For anyone who's confused by this, here's an explanation: • Between 1981 and 1991, Iraq produced almost 4,000 tons of chemical weapons agent, which they used to fill perhaps 130,000 munitions. This is obviously a gigantic amount, much of which they expended in their war with Iran as well as against Iraqis. (For more details, see here.) • After the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq was required to turn over all remaining chemical weapons to U.N. inspectors for destruction. UNSCOM received and destroyed 690 tons worth, as well as 3,000 tons of precursor chemicals. • UNSCOM determined Iraq hadn't turned over everything it has produced during the eighties. Iraq claimed it had secretly destroyed everything unaccounted for in 1991. • Essentially everything Iraq produced during the eighties was of low quality and decayed within a few years to near-harmlessness That's where things stood when we invaded Iraq. I bet someone $1000 that Iraq hadn't intentionally kept anything. However, I assumed there would still be shells scattered all over Iraq that the Saddam regime had lost track of, so that was built into the terms of the bet. Why did I assume this? BECAUSE IT WAS SO FREAKING OBVIOUS. Governments, as you may have noticed, don't do everything perfectly. According to its inspector general, the Defense Department can't account for $1 trillion in spending. The Army can't find 56 airplanes and 32 tanks. But not just that: we're still finding misplaced chemical munitions in America from WORLD WAR I. In fact, some were discovered in a fancy Washington, D.C. subdivision in 1993. And these were never even USED in the U.S.-imagine how frequently we'd find them if we'd actually fought battles with them on American soil. Was this evidence America was secretly hiding a chemical weapons arsenal? The answer is no. Likewise, I assume people will still be finding decayed chemical weapons in Iraq fifty years from now. The question was whether the Saddam regime actually had an arsenal it was aware of. The CIA's Duelfer report spent $1 billion to confirm that Iraq had been telling the truth when it said it had nothing from 1991 onwards. So, the answer is no. But that doesn't matter. Rick Santorum, like all Holocaust deniers, Will. Never. Give. Up. read in full... THE AMERICAN RECORD IN IRAQ National Public Radio foreign correspondent Loren Jenkins, serving in NPR's Baghdad bureau, met earlier this month with a senior Shiite cleric, a man who was described in the NPR report as "a moderate" and as a person trying to lead his Shiite followers into practicing peace and reconciliation. He had been jailed by Saddam Hussein and forced into exile. Jenkins asked him: "What would you think if you had to go back to Saddam Hussein?" The cleric replied that he'd "rather see Iraq under Saddam Hussein than the way it is now." When one considers what the people of Iraq have experienced as a result of the American bombings, invasion, regime change, and occupation since 2003, should this attitude be surprising, even from such an individual? I was moved to compile a list of the many kinds of misfortune which have fallen upon the heads of the Iraqi people as a result of the American liberation of their homeland. It's depressing reading, and you may not want to read it all, but I think it's important to have it summarized in one place. read in full... TO "CUT AND RUN" BY ANY OTHER NAME... Republicans are shocked, shocked, that Democrats are calling for withdrawals in Iraq. Good golly, Miss Molly, do you want the free world to collapse? Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, called any withdrawal of troops "a significant step on the road to disaster." "The options on the table have been there from the beginning," he said. "Withdraw and fail, or commit and succeed." Meanwhile, in a galaxy not so far away:
In the last four months, the Army has tagged 7,000 Humvees and 17,000 other pieces of equipment to be shipped to the United States to be rebuilt. They then will be distributed among reserve units at home or possibly returned to equip Iraqi security forces. The military said the shipments will result in a reduction in the amount of U.S. equipment in Iraq, a cut made possible because the areas patrolled by American troops is shrinking. The move also anticipates that the number of American troops in Iraq will decline. [....] Analysts say removing so much equipment now suggests commanders are laying the groundwork for a big reduction. ''It is much harder to move equipment than it is to move people,'' said Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute. ''So if the Army is increasing its movement of equipment out of the country, that may signal that it expects fewer soldiers in Iraq six or 12 months from now.''
So be vewy, vewy qwiet...as long as you don't say the dreaded word "timetable," everything will be alright. link WAR CRIMES AND WORLD DOMINATION Some have said that the World Trade Center was intentionally destroyed, and over 3000 people were murdered to create a Pearl Harbor stile event to justify the Iraq war. People are free in America to speculate if they want, but we don't have to speculate about the mass murder of some three hundred thousand people in Iraq. It is obvious that America is stealing their oil and privatizing every aspect of the peoples lives. Iraq has been turned into one giant Bush, Cheney, Halliburton, Bechtel, "free market zone', just another name for total corporate enslavement. The Bush regime has broken virtually every one of the Geneva Conventions. They have committed crimes for which there are not yet laws written. Crimes against the earth and the environment. His father before him was the first to use depleted uranium weapons, but the son, Dubya, has far exceeded the senior Bush, by spreading over 1000 metric tons of the deadly U238-isotope, America's nuclear waste, over Iraq and Afghanistan, making childhood leukemia and spontaneous abortions commonplace, dooming the people of both countries to endless suffering and premature death. According to a UN Sub Commission report, cancer in Iraq has increased 1000%, and deformities 600%. Depleted Uranium has rendered Iraqi lands infertile, entered the food chain, and contaminated the ground water. With a half-life of 4.5 billion years the Uranium 238 dropped on Iraq and Afganistan by Bush and his father have rendered much of the two countries permanently unfit for human habitation. (...) As the U.S. presidential election approaches a grave danger may be looming over the American people. It seems that the neocons have gone beyond the point of return. They have more than proven their ruthlessness and willingness to do what ever it takes to hold onto power. They have trampled on both international law and the constitutional laws of the land. They cannot risk that a Kucinich or a Kennedy might obtain the office of president in this country ever again lest they face prosecution for their many crimes against America, humanity, and the planet. They cannot even pass their power to another republican, so terrible and dark are their crimes. (...) It would seam that the preparations are in place to turn America into either a slave labor manufacturing giant or a slave labor driven war machine. All that is needed is a large terrorist event, the declaration of martial law, the institution of the shadow government, and the transferal of millions of Americans into huge manufacturing prisons. America might end up resembling World War Two era Japan. The entire island of Japan, every man woman and child had been conscripted to serve in the war effort against America. The American government learned a very hard lesson while fighting Japan. An entire country transformed into a war machine was a nearly an unbeatable foe. Should the neocons transform a country the size of America into such a war machine, and continue their depleted uranium radioactive march across the continents there will be great death and suffering ahead for humanity. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: Bring 'em on: Four U.S. soldiers have been killed and another wounded in clashes with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. "Coalition forces attacked enemy extremists in a remote area of the Kamdesh District while conducting security operations to interdict enemy movement through northern Nuristan," the U.S. military said in a statement. "During the mission, four U.S. soldiers were killed." The statement said one soldier was wounded in the clash and was evacuated to a coalition hospital. He was in stable condition, it added.
Officials at Fort Drum have confirmed that three of the four soldiers killed yesterday in Afghanistan were from Fort Drum.
A suicide attacker detonated his explosives-filled car near a military convoy in the city of Kandahar, killing one and wounding nine. Two Canadian soldiers were injured and the attacker was killed. In addition, an Afghan bystander was killed and seven others injured, including one policeman and six civilians. Militants claim to have shot down a military helicopter which crashed on Wednesday. Four soldiers died when the Bell 412 helicopter crashed in Bannu. A spokesman for local militants in North Waziristan, Abdullah Farhad, told the BBC via telephone that the helicopter crash on Wednesday had been caused by a missile fired by militants shortly after it took off from a military base in Bannu. GEORGE IN HUNGARYLAND Bush is in Hungary to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising, which George has always found deeply inspirational and moving since he first heard of it this morning after breakfast. He called it "the idea of a revolution that celebrated the notion that all men and women should be free." Celebrated? He does know it was crushed, right? Of course Bush being Bush drew from the events of 1956 his usual conclusion about the universal desire to be free, without quite noticing that they were about the desire of a small nation to be free from the occupying army of a large imperial power attempting to impose its ideology on them. That might have been a less comfortable lesson, and Bush doesn't like those. read in full... THE DEATH OF NEWS Our very lives and liberty are at unprecedented risk because our press has long since disappeared into "the media"--a mammoth antidemocratic oligopoly that is far more responsive to its owners, big shareholders and good buddies in the government than it is to the rest of us, the people of this country. Surely other factors too have helped wipe out the news: an institutional overreliance on official sources; the reportorial star system, with its corruptive salaries and honoraria, and all those opportunities to hobnob with important criminals; the propaganda drive against "the liberal media"; the stupefying influence of TV, which has dragged much of the print world into its too-speedy orbit; etc. The fundamental reason for the disappearance of the news, however, is the media cartel itself. Fixated on the bottom line, it cuts the costs of real reporting while overplaying cheap crapola; and in its endless drive for more, it is an ally of the very junta whose high crimes and misdemeanors it should be exposing to the rest of us. It is past time, therefore, to go beyond the charting and analysis of media ownership, to boycotts, strikes and protests of the media cartel itself. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "There's no way to win an occupation. It's just a matter of choosing the size of your humiliation." -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak speaking to Dick Cheney nearly two years ago


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