Tuesday, June 13, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, June 13, 2006 Photo: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, left, and White House Counselor Dan Barlett, ride in a military helicopter wearing helmets and flak jackets for a trip from Baghdad International Airport to U.S. Embassy in the Greenzone Tuesday, June 13, 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq. Snow and Bartlett traveled with President Bush who made a surprise visit to Baghdad. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (See below "Bush trip to Iraq kept secret, even to his host") Bring 'em on: A U.S. soldier died on Monday of wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, the U.S. military reported. Bring 'em on: A second U.S. soldier died also on Monday of wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Four mortars slammed into Baghdad's southern Dora district, killing 2 people and wounding 11. Gunmen shot dead Baghdad University Professor Muthana Harith Jassim. A professor at the Engineering College of Baghdad University was gunned down in a drive-by shooting as he was leaving his house in the upscale Mansour neighborhood. Police found 6 bodies, showing signs of torture, in different parts of Baghdad. Iraqi police found eight bodies, including one policeman, in western Baghdad. One Iraqi police officer was killed and five others wounded when two roadside bombs hit their patrol near a bridge in southeastern Baghdad. Karbala: Gunmen shot dead a police captain and wounded 2 of his bodyguards in Kerbala. Kut: A policeman was killed and 2 wounded when their patrol was attacked in the city of Kut 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad. Samarra: Four civilians were killed and seven injured when a bomb targeting a passing police patrol went off in the centre of Samarra. No police officers were injured. Kirkuk: At least five car bombs exploded during a two-hour period in Kirkuk, killing at least 14 people and wounding 20 others. The attacks targeted two high-ranking police officials, including the chief of police, an Iraqi police patrol and an office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Police casualties numbered two among the dead and six among the wounded.
Video: At least 24 people were killed and 40 others injured on Tuesday by five car bomb attacks in Kirkuk Shotlist: Arrival of fire brigade, incident area, damaged vehicles, helicopter on the air Fire being extinguished, onlookers, police officials, destroyed vehicle, details Shots of bodies being taken from the ambulance, their relatives crying, injured people Shots injured people being brought to the hospital, being treated, and police officials in the hospital Shots of blood on ground, dead people on the hospital bed, details Interview with Chief of Police Burhan Tayyip Taha (in Arabic) Exterior of the hospital, arrival of ambulance Shots of head on ground, destroyed vehicles
A suicide bomber in a car was shot by guards as he tried to attack the police headquarters in Kirkuk. He blew himself up, killing two policemen and wounding 10 civilians. A suicide bomber in a car blew himself up at one of the local offices of a Kurdish party headed by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, wounding two people. Shortly afterwards, a suicide bomber in a car was shot by guards as tried to attack the same building. A suicide bomber in a car attacked another office of that party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, wounding four guards. A roadside exploded outside a law college, killing one person and wounding two. Ramadi: The US military issued a statement Tuesday saying that US-led coalition troops had killed one terrorist suspect and detained 23 others during raids north of Ramadi Monday. >> NEWS Bush trip to Iraq kept secret, even to his host: The trip was known only to a handful of aides and a small number of journalists sworn to secrecy because of obvious security threats for Bush and members of his entourage. The prime minister had been invited to the embassy on the pretense of taking part in a video conference with Bush, supposedly at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains. The videoconference went on as scheduled, but with Bush appearing alongside al-Maliki. What had been announced as a two-day meeting at Camp David was part of a ruse to conceal Bush's Baghdad trip and a cover story to bring al-Maliki and his cabinet to the green zone. Bush sat in the cockpit of Air Force One when the plane landed at Baghdad's airport after the 11-hour overnight flight, [White House Counselor Dan] Bartlett said. The president wore a 25-pound flak jacket during the helicopter flight from the airport to the Green Zone, Bartlett said. Air Force One landed in hazy daylight at Baghdad Airport, where the temperature was above 100 degrees. Bush transferred to a helicopter for the six-minute ride to the green zone. Iraq has formally notified the U.N. Security Council that it wants the U.S.-led multinational force to remain in place for now as Iraqi troops and police are not yet ready to ensure security on their own. "While great achievements have been gained by the people of Iraq in the realm of political development, the continuation of the mandate of the multinational force in Iraq remains necessary and essential for our security," Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said in a letter dated June 9 and circulated at the United Nations on Tuesday. The letter's release coincided with a five-hour visit to Baghdad by President Bush, who told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that "when America gives its word, it keeps its word." A resolution adopted by the 15-nation Security Council in November extended the force's mandate through the end of 2006 but called for a review by June 15. The resolution said the council would terminate the mandate at any time if Iraq's government asked it to do so. Tens of thousands of Iraqi and multinational forces to deploy Wednesday throughout Baghdad, securing roads, launching raids against insurgent hideouts and calling in airstrikes if necessary. [my emphasis -- zig] Iraqi security forces planned to deploy 75,000 Iraqi and multinational forces in Baghdad as part of al-Maliki's ambitious plan to crack down on security in the capital, a top Iraqi police official said. Iraq is considering inviting members of insurgent groups to national reconciliation talks, a source in the prime minister's office said on Monday. Leaders will meet to agree a definition of "resistance" groups and then some of their members will be invited to take part in the talks on July 22. Oil exports from Iraq's northern fields have resumed more than four months after insurgents sabotaged twin pipelines carrying Iraqi crude to Turkey, oil officials said Tuesday. Iraq began pumping oil on Saturday and it is currently pumping around 21,000 barrels of oil a day -- just a trickle of the pipeline's full capacity. >> REPORTS Bush gets boost from Zarqawi death: Bush's approval rating in the Friday to Sunday telephone survey of 1,002 adults stood at 38 percent, up two points from a June 1-4 poll before Zarqawi's demise, the USA Today/Gallup Poll said. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed described Zarqawi's death as a "major achievement," and 48 percent said they believed the United States could probably or definitely win the war in Iraq, up from 39 percent in April. Forty-seven percent believed things were going well in Iraq, up from 38 percent in March. On the other hand, 53 percent said things were going badly, down from 60 percent in March. Still, 51 percent said Washington made a mistake in sending troops into Iraq, against 46 percent who said it had not -- in April those figures were 57 percent and 42 percent respectively. DAHR JAMAIL: RAMADI AS FALLUJAH REDUX Fearful residents are now pouring out of Ramadi after the US military has been assaulting the city for months with tactics like cutting water, electricity and medical aid, imposing curfews, and attacking by means of snipers and random air strikes. This time, Iraqis there are right to fear the worst - an all out attack on the city, similar to what was done to nearby Fallujah. (...) By now, we all know the scene when the US military in Iraq decides to attack an entire city ... we've seen this standard operating procedure repeated, to one degree or another, in Haditha, Al-Qa'im, Samarra, parts of Baghdad, Balad, Najaf and Fallujah twice ... so far. The city is sealed for weeks if not months, water and electricity are cut, medical aid is cut, curfews imposed, mobility impaired, air strikes utilized, then the real attack begins. Now in Ramadi, the real attack has begun. Warplanes are streaking the sky as bombings increase, loudspeakers aimed into the city warn civilians of a "fierce impending attack," (even though it has already begun), and thousands of families remain trapped in their homes, just like in Fallujah during both attacks on that city. Again, many who remain in the city cannot afford to leave because they are so poor, or they lack transportation, or they want to guard their home because it is all they have left. (...) The fact that the 1,500 US troops who were recently brought into Iraq, specifically to Ramadi, went unreported by most, if not all, corporate media outlets didn't come as a surprise to the residents of Ramadi, however, as street battles between troops and resistance fighters have been raging for months now. The media blackout on Ramadi is already rivaling the blackout on the draconian measures employed by the military during the November 2004 siege of Fallujah, if not surpassing it. Thus far, the military have remained reluctant to allow even embedded reporters to travel with them in Ramadi. With each passing US assault on an Iraqi city, the media blackout grows darker - and with Ramadi, it is the darkest yet. [my emphasis -- zig] read in full... THE HEMORRHAGING IRAQI ARMY Erratic pay, inadequate food and poor living conditions are driving several hundred Iraqi soldiers out of the army every month. Lt. Moktat Uosef is a company commander in the 4th Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division. U.S. Marines working with the brigade told Stars and Stripes, the U.S. armed forces newspaper, that its strength dropped from 2,200 soldiers in December to 1,400 in May. "Many of my soldiers have not gotten paid in six months," Uosef said. "Sometimes, they don't eat for two or three days at a time. I tell my commander, but what else am I supposed to do?" Desertions are a major problem in Anbar Province, the major stronghold of the insurgency. But officials say logistical problems are hurting morale far more than danger is. In April, hundreds of soldiers staged what amounted to a short strike, refusing for two days to go on patrol. The job action strained their relationship with U.S. troops. "We won't make any real progress until we stop hemorrhaging the personnel," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Kenny, who commands the Marines working with the 2nd Brigade, 7th Army. read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS A MANUFACTURED BLESSING It is sincerely a corporate media circus, a multi-dimensional propaganda effort designed to convince the public al-Zarqawi was indeed alive and then killed by our fearless soldiers in Iraq. As we know, al-Zarqawi was killed some time ago, prior to the neocon invasion of Iraq, and his image was subsequently adopted by the Pentagon, refashioned, and trotted out by Colin Powell at the United Nations. All manner of super-human nastiness was attributed to the ghost of al-Zarqawi, from ricin attacks to a spate of gruesome beheadings. Somewhere along the line, the propagandists in the Pentagon decided to kill al-Zarqawi, and thus chalk up a victory against those who hate our way of life and our freedom to stand in line to use Diebold voting machines. (...) Reading the details of the al-Zarqawi fiction, we are expected to suspend all doubt, for instance the stupidity of terrorists and the inability of the Pentagon to catch or kill the stupid terrorists. "In an exclusive interview, an Iraqi army colonel told CNN Friday that intelligence from cell phone technology helped U.S. forces find and kill al-Zarqawi.... Col. Dhiya Tamimi said he worked with U.S. forces to monitor al-Zarqawi and his associates' cell phones, helping to lead to Wednesday night's airstrike." Now, if you were a hunted terrorist with a $25 million bounty on your head, would you be casually using a cell phone? Obviously, this al-Zarqawi guy wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. If al-Zarqawi and his associates were such blithering idiots, why didn't the Pentagon catch them long ago? Not even Osama used his satellite phone after he caught wind of the United States snooping on him, or so we are told. But never mind. All of this is like watching Independence Day and believing aliens might actually invade. Anyway, the al-Zarqawi story has all but wiped the Haditha massacre off the front pages, so for our leader and the neocons it is a blessing, albeit it a manufactured blessing. read in full... HOW MANY MORE TURNING POINTS? Our papers are filled with discussions of whether or not, after so many Iraqi "turning points" that weren't, this one is. Our "cautious" President nonetheless hailed Zarqawi's death as "a victory in the global war on terror" and spoke -- in one of those plagiarized Churchillian phrases his speechwriters favor (perhaps because they transport us out of the ugly present and back into a version of World War II once seen in movie theaters) -- of how this might represent "an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle." This is "cautious" only compared to a President who, as late as November 2005, used "victory" fifteen times in a single speech on Iraq. One "victory" to a speech is indeed something of a victory deficit for him. But haven't we been through all this before? Haven't we had our turning points, turned our many "corners," passed all those "milestones" again and again? When Saddam's sons were killed in a shootout at their safe house, when Saddam was plucked from his "spiderhole," when endless "key lieutenants" of Zarqawi were reported rounded up or killed, when several elections took place? Now, Zarqawi has been plucked from his "spiderhole" too... well, whatever it was, under whatever circumstances those were. (...) I wonder what they'll be saying in November 2006? February 2007? Or in any of those post-Zarqawi "years to come"? The real question is: How many more turning points and ebbing tides can the American people (and the American media) take? read in full... BON APPÉTIT, AMERICA Throughout Bush's tenure in the White House, our Commander in Chef and his staff of gourmets have prepared a veritable smorgasbord of propagandistic delights for the psyches of those who still cling to the myth of America's innate superiority. American Exceptionalism is a pathological fiction which our wealthy and corporate elites have cynically employed for years to justify their acts of imperialism, exploitation, enslavement, and genocide. America's current regime has taken this rationalization for crimes against humanity to new heights. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death is the latest Haute cuisine to emerge from the perverse kitchen of America's ruling elite. Bush's sub-30% approval rating indicated that the minds of America's masses were starving for propaganda to realign their thinking. Strauss's disciples responded with a particularly delicious meal. On 6/8/06 George Bush presided over the execution of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. A butcher of over a hundred thousand human beings sentenced a murderer of a relative handful of people to die by explosion. American justice was served, ladies and gentlemen.
Father, we thank you for providing us with this blessed bounty which will satisfy our wretched masses' ravenous appetite for violence, drama, revenge, and evidence of their righteousness. And bless Israel, the World Bank, Tony Blair, and Fox News. Amen.
read in full... SO YOU THOUGHT IRAQIS WOULD RECEIVE JUSTICE? Sovereignty in Iraq. It is worth remembering those three words when you weigh the number of atrocities committed by US troops and private security (former US, UK, South African and other military personnel) firms against the number of those charged, punished or even incarcerated. I told you about how the US military blatantly lied about Ishaqi. And for the past two years they lied about Falluja and the use of White Phosphorous in addition to shooting at civilians carrying white flags, blowing up hospitals, and wome and children. (The excuse was that every male above the age of 15 was legitimate target, every person carrying a white flag was a terrorist, every hospital was a terrorist stronghold, every ... well you get the picture. Just keep it in mind the next time a US soldier surrenders or is captured, git?) The world public have seen video evidence, pictures, heard testimony and despite all of this the Western military man is NEVER WRONG. The fault is on the Iraqis for being ... Iraqis. So, is anyone really surprised that military contractors videotaping strafing civilian cars are found illegible for criminal charges. Yes, that means investigators found no criminal act had been committed. (...) Imperialism. Racism. Xenophobia. Islamophobia. Death cult. Bloodthirsty. Nazi. Nazi. Nazi. Is anyone beginning to see the pattern here? How do Iraqis get justice for the crimes perpetrated against them? How do they protect their families and friends and ensure they to do not get ground down by the merciless inhuman racist war machine that has occupied their land? read in full... PHILOSOPHY OR NO PHILOSOPHY? Let's talk philosophy for a minute. Bush, today: "But the enemy doesn't stand for anything. ... They have no positive philosophy." And in an interview with Al Arabiya last October: "They don't have a philosophy." But 11 days before that: "And we're facing an enemy that is ruthless and cold-blooded, an enemy that actually has a philosophy, and the philosophy is so opposite of ours, it is the exact opposite of what America stands for." And in February: "Ours is an enemy that has no conscience, but they do have a philosophy." And in March: "I see them bound by a philosophy with plans and tactics to impose their will on other countries." And 18 days ago: "They have a point of view, they have a philosophy". So, George, philosophy or no philosophy? read in full... WHY IS THE U.S. STILL IN IRAQ? It's become crystal clear that the U.S. went to Iraq on a fake foundation of lies and deception. And now it's stuck in the war, looking for ways to get out of a situation the Bush administration created without thinking of a long-term plan. But the Americans' patience appears to be wearing and President Bush will soon have to reconsider his decision to "stay the course in Iraq". The U.S. can't afford an extended war in Iraq, but also a U.S. defeat in Iraq is something the American President would never admit or declare. The best option for the U. S. is to come up with a new story to justify the need to withdraw all forces from Iraq without acknowledging defeat. The U.S. has plenty of spin masters and appeasing media that can portray defeat as victory and the vast majority of Americans will believe it, even if the rest of the world didn't. Remember 911? read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: A US military truck hit a motorbike and killed its rider today before ploughing into a house in the Afghan capital, two weeks after another crash involving US forces sparked deadly riots. Canadian soldiers are continuing a major campaign against the Taliban in the Panjwai region, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar. The massive operation, which includes Afghan police and military, started late Sunday after coalition forces learned hundreds of Taliban would be gathering in the area. OTHER WAYS THEY ARE WAGING ASYMMETRICAL WARFARE AGAINST US Duncan C. emailed me to point out that, as the three recent suicides at Guantanamo have shown, our enemy is even more devious and ruthless than we supposed:
Military officials on Saturday suggested that the three suicides were a form of a coordinated protest. "They are smart, they are creative, they are committed," Admiral Harris said. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.
But this doesn't exhaust the asymmetric tactics they've adopted. Reliable sources indicate our terrorist foes are also using these even more appalling methods to attack us: 1. Crying 2. Begging for Mercy 3. Getting Tuberculosis 4. Forcing Us To Torture Them 5. Not Being A Terrorist 6. Being Four Years Old read in full... SOUNDS LIKE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO ME
"Madrid, 12 June (AKI) - The National Court - Spain's terrorism and organised crime tribunal - on Monday announced it will investigate the alleged use of Spanish airports by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) flights for the illegal transfer of terrorism suspects to secret jails around the world. ... ... ... " [emhasis added - mfi]
Terrorism and organised crime eh? Sounds like the Bush administration to me. Well if the cap fits ... ... ... read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY:"The rest of the world is completely convinced that we are busy torturing people" -- Oona A. Hathaway, an expert in international law at Yale Law School, commenting on the Pentagon's decision to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment"


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