DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, June 29, 2006
by Jimmy Margulies.
Bring 'em on
: A 33-year-old soldier from Louisiana was killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, his family said Wednesday. The Department of Defense has not released the circumstances of Army Sgt. Terry Wallace's death. Wallace, a member of the 42nd Field Artillery Unit based at Ford Hood, Texas.
Iraqi and U.S. troops battled Shi'ite militiamen in a village northeast of Baghdad on Thursday
, and witnesses and police said U.S. helicopters bombed orchards to flush out gunmen hiding in the palm groves.
Iraqi security officials said Iranian fighters had been captured in the fighting, in which the commander of an Iraqi quick reaction force and two soldiers were shot dead by a sniper. They did not say how the Iranians had been identified. The U.S. military had no immediate comment. Police said the fighting was still going on at 6 p.m. (3 p.m. British time) in the predominantly Shi'ite village of Khairnabat, 3 km (two miles) north of Baquba, capital of Diyala province. Local residents reported hearing shooting and explosions. Baquba's quick reaction force, an Interior Ministry unit, responded and clashed with the fighters, the captain said. Iraqi and U.S. military reinforcements then arrived and sealed off the village.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A trash collector was killed in a drive-by shootings today in Western Baghdad.
Gunmen in a civilian car intercepted a car carrying Kadhim Challoub, who was in charge of the guards at Baghdad University, ordered his driver and his guard out, then killed the security chief on the eastern side of the capital.
A roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol missed its target but killed one civilian and wounded another in Northern Baghdad.
Two merchants were shot to death near the Civil Defence office as they were waiting for a car to take them to work in the neighbourhood of Sadiyah in Southwestern Baghdad.
Baker Abdul-Amir Dhahi was killed when a bomb exploded near the bakery where he worked in the insurgent stronghold of Dora.
Electrical worker Asaad Hassan Muhi was gunned down while he was heading to work in western Baghdad.
A parked car bomb in Southeastern Baghdad struck a police patrol, wounding two policemen.
A bomb exploded in southern Baghdad killing a woman and wounding her three sons as they were in their car.
Police found the body a man who had been blindfolded, handcuffed and shot in the head in western Baghdad.
Two civilians were wounded in a roadside bomb attack in eastern Baghdad's Al-Salekh neighbourhood.
Unidentified armed men killed Thursday a police officer in west Baghdad 24 hours after his kidnap.
The body of Fox News photographer Osama Qadir was found Thursday, four days after being kidnapped in Al-Shaab district east of Baghdad.
Reporters and photographers in the media gathering at Palestine Hotel said that Qadir's family told them of his death after being shoot in the head and chest.
Gunmen on a motorcycle killed a policeman in Karbala.
Attackers firing from a car shot to death a 34-year-old man working in a construction equipment shop in Karbala.
Five bodies, including one of a woman and a child, were found in Karbala.
Gunmen killed a former Baath Party and his wife as they were driving in the centre of Kut
, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad.
Four corpses were recovered from Kut.
A civilian was killed north of Baquba.
(Near) An unmanned military surveillance helicopter operated by Japanese forces crashed in southern Iraq
, but no casualties were reported, the military said. The remote-controlled chopper crashed during a surveillance flight near the Japanese army base in Samawah.
Five bodies, including two of women, were found in Hilla.
Two of them were recovered from the Euphrates river.
The bodies of seven men were found in the Tigris River south of Baghdad.
All had gunshot wounds and showed signs of torture.
A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded in Riyadh
, a town 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, killing an Iraqi soldier and wounding another seven.
The bodies of two men with gunshot wounds, and showing signs of torture, were found beside the river Euphrates in the town of Mussayab
, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad.
The body of an unidentified man was found on a road in the town of Mahaweel
, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad.
A suicide bomber struck the funeral of a soldier in Kirkuk, killing five people and wounding 13
. The attacker blew himself up at about 9 p.m. (1 p.m. EDT) in the tent where the funeral was being held. The five people killed included one policeman. Two other officers were among the wounded.
Iraqi police in the northern city of Kirkuk found the body of a 15-year-old girl who had been kidnapped five days ago.
Two bodies, one of them headless, were recovered from the northern oil hub of Kirkuk.
Unidentified militants assassinated a dentist in front of his clinic in Kirkuk.
An Iraqi woman was also injured when militants opened fire from a civilian car towards Yunis.
(Near) Militants kidnapped an employee in the education department of Kirkuk
while he was in Kirkuk-Tikrit road on an official job.
[???] Eyewitnesses' indicated that fierce armed confrontations occurred yesterday between an Iraqi tribal members and foreign fighters near Fallujah village in the western province of Anbar.
The eyewitnesses told KUNA that several of the foreign fighters were killed during the clashes as they were trying to seize a residential compound. [???]
An Iraqi army checkpoint in Falluja came under mortar fire that killed two soldiers and wounded one.
When the soldiers returned fire, one civilian was killed and two wounded
Romania plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of this year
, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said on Thursday. The announcement regarding Romania's 890 troops follows a similar move by Italy, while Japan began withdrawing its troops from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq last week.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
US SOLDIER WHO KILLED HANDCUFFED IRAQI FREED
This is what they get after killing handcuffed Iraqi.
He is free.
An American soldier convicted in the fatal shooting of a handcuffed Iraqi cow herder in 2004 was freed from a military prison
Why he is free?
He thought he lunged at the soldier who was holding him, and that he wasn't aware Kadir's hands were bound.
That is a good reason.
And there is more.
A 13-year-old girl was killed and her mother and sister wounded. Waruch was discharged without being accused of a crime.
Again free and not charged.
it was unlikely they would find sufficient evidence against him.
dozens of soldiers were accused of crimes against Iraqis since the first troops deployed for Iraq, but despite strong evidence and convictions in some cases, only a small percentage resulted in punishments.
the military did not immediately conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting of the three women by Waruch. The Army Criminal Investigation Command did not begin a formal investigation until more than a year after the Feb. 18, 2004, shootings,link
PLIGHT OF IRAQI WOMEN UNDER THE BARBAROUS OCCUPATION
A recent editorial on Middle East Online sheds light on the suffering of female detainees in Iraq.
The situation of Iraqi women inside U.S.-run jails in Iraq is not less appalling than what male detainees faced in Abu Ghraib prison.
The article details what "female security detainees" face inside those prisons and reasons for their detention by the occupation authorities.
The U.S. occupation authorities apply the term "security detainee" to all "security detainees arrested under the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1546 on the grounds that they are considered an imperative threat to the stability and security of Iraq".
"Security detainee" is anyone who has been subject to random arrest, regardless of sex, age or circumstances.
According to many rights organisations, female detainees held "for security reasons," in U.S.-run jails in Iraq are subject to inhuman treatment, degradation and physical and psychological torture.
They're also kept under unhealthy and unhygienic conditions of detention.
Organisations that took part in documenting the detention of female Iraqi detainees include independent women's and human rights groups operating inside Iraq and abroad (such as Women's Will, Occupation Watch, the Iraqi League and the Human Rights' Voice of Freedom), official and political party publications (notably those produced by the Association of Muslim Scholars, the Iraqi Islamic Party, the Iraqi National Media and Culture Organisation), and international agencies and human rights and anti-war organisations (Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, and the Brussells Tribunal).
A shroud of secrecy and misinformation covers the estimated 30,000 to 100,000 detainees who've been held in Iraq since the war started in March 2003, including female detainees, with occupation authorities persistently refusing to give specific details about the number and status of detainees.
The same applies to the extent and whereabouts of female detainees held in U.S. jails in Iraq. (...)
Several female detainees, who were subject to various forms of torture and abuse, were interviewed by Amnesty International, and most of them complained of having been "beaten, threatened with rape, verbally abused and held in solitary confinement for long periods of time," according to Middle East Online article.
Also Anne Clwyd, a British human rights envoy to Iraq, decided to uncover the inhuman treatment Iraqi women face during detention when she learned of "the arrest and subsequent torture of a 70-year-old woman, whose torturers forced her into a makeshift bridle and then mounted her like a donkey," the article further stated.
Amongst the most degrading treatment Iraqi female detainees faced, according to a report by the Iraqi Women's Will organisation, is "being brought in nude for questioning and hence subject to derisive and humiliating remarks by interrogators, wardens and translators."
Hoda Al-Ezawi, one of those detainees, described how U.S. soldiers kept her in solitary confinement for 156 days.
Al-Ezawi's sister was also detained, and locked up inside a cell along with the corpse of their dead brother.
Al-Ezawi along with her two daughters, Nora, 15, and Sara, 20, were detained by the U.S. occupying forces and the Iraqi National Guard in February 2005 on the charge of supporting anti-occupation resistance.
Other forms of torture include forcing detainees stand up for long hours while being subject to continual threat and intimidation.
read in full:
AMERICANS SEEING THROUGH THE GOOD NEWS PROPAGANDA OFFENSIVE?
There is good reason for talk about getting out of Iraq. All polls show a strong trend toward withdrawal, most show a majority now favor withdrawal. A USA Today
/Gallup poll shows that a large majority of Americans, 57%, believe Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing from Iraq. Only 39% believe that decision should be left to the president and his advisors. Similarly, a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN found by a 53% to 41% majority, Americans think the United States should set a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The Washington Post
/ABC poll did not find majority support for withdrawal, by a slim margin of 51% to 47%, but the poll found the trend strongly moving toward withdrawal in all category of voters.
All these polls come at a time of a PR blitz by the Bush administration - the killing of Zarqawi, the new "unity" government taking shape in Iraq and the president's surprise visit to Iraq. Despite all this "good" news the unpopularity of the war is hurting the president.
Perhaps the American public is seeing through the good news propaganda offensive. In fact, the news on the ground is anything but good. On the same day that Bush went to Baghdad, a memo to the State Department from the U.S. ambassador in Iraq described things on the ground in Baghdad to be deteriorating by all measures. Associated Press reported a deadly week for US soldiers with 16 GI's killed in Iraq. And in Baghdad, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, tightened an already draconian security clampdown by calling for a state of emergency in the city. Downtown streets were seeing hours long gun battles involving Iraq and American troops fighting Shiite and Sunni Arab gunmen. This was occurring despite ten days of thousands of troops being put into the streets of Baghdad trying to restore some semblance of order.
At the same time Maliki was releasing a plan to end the occupation and the insurgency. However, the plan offered by Maliki was severally muted from the original draft proposed. Newsweek
reports intense pressure on Maliki to change the plan and reported significant changes reporting:
"Four key clauses were taken out, including one that insisted on distinguishing between 'national resistance' forces and 'terrorists,' and another one that would reverse the dismissals of many former Baathist party officials under the country's deBaathfication program. Explicit language about controlling party militias and 'death squads' was missing as well from the final draft. That left a much vaguer statement of principles, but one that everyone could agree to put on the table."
The plan also calls for withdrawal, but does not specify an actual date. There continues to be conflict with some in the Parliament who want to set an actual date of withdrawal. Newsweek reports that a senior coalition military official, who did not want to be identified "did not outright rule out the idea of a date. 'One of the advantages of a timetable-all of a sudden there is a date which is a much more explicit thing than an abstract condition,' he said. 'That's the sort of assurance that [the Sunnis] are looking for.'"
One of the most controversial issues raised in the discussions over Maliki's plan is amnesty for insurgents. Newsweek reports: "Everyone agrees for instance that a bomb set off in a mosque is terrorism. But if a roadside bomb is set off targeting soldiers, but killing innocent bystanders-is that resistance, or terrorism?"
While the U.S. and Maliki trumpeted support of some insurgent groups for the plan, the key insurgent groups refused to accept it. Eleven insurgent groups said they do not recognize the legitimacy of the Maliki government. And, they want a more rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops, release of all prisoners from U.S. and Iraqi jails, and the funding for the rebuilding of homes and infrastructure in Iraq destroyed by the occupation. An unidentified insurgent commander told the London Times
: "The government is very aware that those it says it is negotiating with are not representatives of the main organizations. This whole so-called reconciliation plan is being exaggerated as a breakthrough to help to promote Maliki and his government as well as to aid the Americans to find a face-saving way out of Iraq."
More likely that "a face-saving way out of Iraq" the Maliki plan is more to assist President Bush's party in the mid-term elections.
read in full:
THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQI HEARTS AND MINDS
Even if you've read a ton of reporting from Iraq, you haven't read this:
Americans, led to believe that their soldiers and Marines would be welcomed as liberators by the Iraqi people, have no idea what the occupation is really like from the perspective of Iraqis who endure it. Although I am American, born and raised in New York City, I came closer to experiencing what it might feel like to be Iraqi than many of my colleagues. I often say that the secret to my success in Iraq as a journalist is my melanin advantage. I inherited my Iranian father's Middle Eastern features, which allowed me to go unnoticed in Iraq, blend into crowds, march in demonstrations, sit in mosques, walk through Falluja's worst neighborhoods.
I also benefited from being able to speak Arabic-in particular its Iraqi dialect, which I hastily learned in Baghdad upon my arrival and continued to develop throughout my time in Iraq.
My skin color and language skills allowed me to relate to the American occupier in a different way, for he looked at me as if I were just another haji, the "gook" of the war in Iraq. I first realized my advantage in April 2003, when I was sitting with a group of American soldiers and another soldier walked up and wondered what this haji (me) had done to get arrested by them. Later that summer I walked in the direction of an American tank and heard one soldier say about me, "That's the biggest fuckin' Iraqi (pronounced eye-raki) I ever saw." A soldier by the gun said, "I don't care how big he is, if he doesn't stop movin' I'm gonna shoot him."
I was lucky enough to have an American passport in my pocket, which I promptly took out and waved, shouting: "Don't shoot! I'm an American!" It was my first encounter with hostile American checkpoints but hardly my last, and I grew to fear the unpredictable American military, which could kill me for looking like an Iraqi male of fighting age. Countless Iraqis were not lucky enough to speak American English or carry a U.S. passport, and often entire families were killed in their cars when they approached American checkpoints.
In 2004 the British medical journal The Lancet estimated that by September 2004 100,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the American occupation and said that most of them had died violently, mostly in American airstrikes. Although this figure was challenged by many, especially partisans of the war, it seems perfectly plausible to me based on what I have seen in Iraq, having spent most of the postwar period there...
It's a really long piece, but read it all.
Seriously. All of it
Nir Rosen's report on the American callous and criminal occupying force is highly disturbing, even though it is still a limited and watered-down version of the total ugly and disturbing picture about this criminal war and its subsequent occupation results.
-- Excerpt from comment #12632 by Fadel Abdallah on 6/28 at 10:40 pmA VET SPEAKS OUT
I served two years in Iraq and it's in total disarray contrary to what the Bush propaganda machine want you to believe. To you armchair civilian chickenhawks who sit in your warm, secure, comfortable homes watching FOX News; if your so damn gung-ho get off your flag waving lame ass's and prove how patriotic you really are by enlisting, let's see the true color of your blood. In Iraq you'll come to your senses real quick when you smell the air permeated with the foul odor of death. The innocent Iraqi people are more than willing to share their daily suffering of losing a family member or friend. Having their homes reduced to rubble, living in constant fear day and night. And who do they blame ? They blame the people of America for allowing George Bush to destroy their country.
The men and women arriving home in caskets are no longer able to speak the truth. Now their loved one's must endure and struggle with the pain of losing a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother a friend. And what exactly were the reasons for dying ? For George Bush's noble cause of spreading democracy, finding WMD's, freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny. I don't think so. Yes, many of us truly did think going into Iraq was all about protecting America from terrorists. It's taken me a while, after many sleepless nights, to figure out what our governments real intentions and purposes were for engaging in this illegal war of aggression. The Iraqi people are not terrorists nor was their government hiding weapons of mass destruction. Have I earned my right to speak out against this war ... your damn right I have and I live with the constant nightmare every day. And I personally don't give a rats ass if you think I'm unpatriotic for standing up for what believe to be a evil political cover up.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Taliban forces engaged a coalition convoy in Helmand province, wounding one coalition soldier and damaging a vehicle.
Coalition aircraft fired on Taliban positions, but no assessment had been made of Taliban losses.
A coalition vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the southern Zabul province, slightly wounding two soldier.
The nationalities of the soldiers were not immediately released.
One soldier was killed and three wounded when U.S.-led troops on patrol in southern Afghanistan hit a land mine.
The blast in Nawzad district of Helmand province on Wednesday was believed to have been caused by an old land mine, the U.S. military said.
An attack in northern Afghanistan left three German soldiers slightly injured.
A patrol of two armored vehicles was shot at during the night just south of Kunduz, and the German soldiers returned fire, the command center said.
(update) It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two British soldiers in Afghanistan.
During a planned operation in the Sangin valley, northern Helmand province, in the early morning of 27 June, a UK patrol came under attack. One further soldier was seriously wounded. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening. Next of kin have now been informed. The men's families have requested that the MOD does not release their names, and have asked the media - specifically - to respect their wish that no information or images which could lead to the identification of the soldiers is published or broadcast. The MOD looks forward to the co-operation of the media in this, at what is such a difficult time for the families involved. (UK MoD)
Captain David Patton of the Special Boat Service, who came from Coleraine in County Londonderry [Northern Ireland], was one of two soldiers who died in a Taleban rocket attack on an army vehicle, in the Helmand Province.
(update) The full details of how two special forces soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in a daring attack emerged today. The men were part of a "snatch squad" tasked to raid a compound in the village of Sangin after an intelligence tip-off that placed two senior Taliban commanders in the area. After an assault led by two companies from the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, the pair were captured but then around 75 Taliban fighters launched an ambush as the troops tried to withdraw.U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Bush over-stepped his authority in creating military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees
: The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed tribunals were illegal under U.S. law and the Geneva Convention.
The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.
Two years ago, the court rejected Bush's claim to have the authority to seize and detain terrorism suspects and indefinitely deny them access to courts or lawyers.
In this followup case, the justices focused solely on the issue of trials for some of the men, among them 19-year-old Canadian Omar Khadr, captured in Afghanistan in 2002 during the U.S.-led invasion.
TAKING 1.3 MILLION HOSTAGES TO EXCHANGE FOR 1
So Israel bombed several bridges in Gaza, which sort of has an arguable operational purpose, preventing their captured soldier being moved, although bantustanization is so clearly part of the Israeli strategy for keeping the Palestinian state weak that one assumes it was something they always planned to do given an even slightly plausible excuse. But destroying water and power supplies for the entire Gaza Strip? Seizing the labor minister, deputy prime minister, etc? Buzzing the Syrian presidents' palace (actually, causing sonic booms overhead)? And after all this time, do the Israelis really think that collective punishment, taking 1.3 million hostages to exchange for 1, will make the Palestinian people blame Hamas rather than Israel and turn against it?
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "The reason the past always repeats itself, is because the past was a repetitious lie to begin with." -- Mike Hastie, Vietnam Veteran, June 27, 2006 (Uncle Sam And His Endless Body Bags)