Tuesday, June 06, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, June 6, 2006 Photo: A morgue employee removes a man's head from a box found on the streets of Baquba, Iraq, June 3, 2006. Witnesses said a note in the box said the head belonged to Sheikh Abdel Aziz Hamad al Mashhadani, the Imam of a Sunni mosque on the outskirts of Baghdad, and accused him of killing four physicians from the Baghdad area. Reuters/Helmiy al Azawi Bring 'em on: A naval reservist from Roseville was killed in a roadside bomb explosion in western Iraq Monday. According to family and friends, 44-year-old Gary Rovinski was assigned to a convoy support team that escorted supplies. He had been in Iraq since early March with the Seabees naval construction force. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Eleven students were killed in southern Baghdad when gunmen in two cars stopped their bus and riddled it with bullets. The attack took place in the southern neighbourhood of Dura, scene of numerous attacks. The students were returning from a local technical college when they were attacked. Gunmen dressed as Interior Ministry commandos stormed into the al-Rawafid Security Co.'s east Baghdad headquarters and took away 50 people, many of them former military personnel from Saddam Hussein's regime. Three mortar rounds landed at the Nadha bus station in central Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding seven others. The bus facility is near the Iraqi Interior Ministry and police said the compound was the target of the attack. Gunmen shot and killed a Baghdad neighborhood council member and two of his bodyguards. Sha'ban Nidham was traveling by car in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Jihad when gunmen opened fired on the vehicle. A roadside bomb exploded near an American military convoy in central Baghdad, killing a woman and wounding three pedestrians. The three-vehicle convoy was traveling near one of Baghdad's bus stations when the bomb detonated. The convoy kept moving. A roadside bomb killed one woman in Baghdad. Two people, including a teenage girl, were later killed when police who had sealed off the area opened fire when their car failed to stop despite warnings. A man and his wife were gunned down in the western Furat district. Four civilians were wounded in a roadside bombing that targeted a police patrol behind the University of Technology in eastern Baghdad. Police found the body of a 25-year-old woman, wearing an Islamic headscarf and shot in the head in al-Bayaa neighbourhood. A man's body was also found in the Kadhimiyah neighborhood of Baghdad. A car bomb killed three people and wounded 12 others in southwestern Baghdad on Tuesday. No other details were immediately available about the blast in the capital's Ammil district. Baqubah: Three people, including a policeman and a woman, were shot dead in separate incidents in and around the town of Baquba, northeast of the capital. Hadid: Iraqi police found nine heads Tuesday morning along a highway in the town of Hadid, about eight miles (13 km) west of Baquba. According to authorities, the heads were wrapped in black plastic bags and shoved into fruit boxes. Their identities could not be immediate confirmed. Basra: A British military patrol early Tuesday escaped an apparent attack in Salekh, outside Basra, a military spokesman said. "Some sort of explosion went off near one of our patrol vehicles at 4 am (0000 GMT) today, but there were no casualties among coalition forces," Major Sebastian Muntz said. British troops faced resistance from citizens during an operation in Qarmat Alid, no casualties [Video] Shotlist:
British troops blockading entry to Qarmat Ali, Basra residents around soldiers
Gunmen shot dead five people who came to collect the body of a victim killed earlier in the day. Ramadi: US forces bombed the central Iraqi town of Ramadi on Tuesday following a string of violent clashes that occurred Monday between Iraqi insurgents and US troops. The bombing left 19 Iraqis injured and killed much livestock in the area. Some buildings were also destroyed by the intensity of the shelling. [Video] Shotlist:
Shots of destroyed buildings and homes, toys and children shoes lay on the wreckage Interview with Iraqi civilian, Qaseem Jamal (in Arabic) Shot of a destroyed house Shot of a dead horse laying on the ground Interior shot from destroyed house Interview with Iraqi civilian, Ahmad Ayman (in Arabic) Interior shots of a destroyed house Interview with Iraqi civilian, Kadir Sami (in Arabic) Shots of dead animals Shot of a woman shouting vengeance
>> NEWS US troops accused of new murders in Iraq: In the latest in a string of allegations against US forces, [Omar al-Juburi, spokesman for the human rights section of the The Iraqi Islamic Party, the main Sunni Arab political party led by VP Tareq al-Hashemi] said 29 Iraqis were killed in May in separate incidents in the towns of Latifiyah and Yusifiyah, south of Baghdad, and in the capital itself. "On May 13, US forces launched an air assault on a civilian car in Latifiyah and killed six people," Juburi told reporters. "On the same day US aircraft attacked the house of a civilian, Saadun Mohsen Hassan, and killed seven members of his family," he added. Juburi said US forces carried out another air strike the next day on the house of Sheikh Yassin Saleh Shallal in Yusifiyah, "killing 13 people -- including women and children." Three other Iraqis were killed in US raids in Baghdad, he said. Iraqi PM said he would release 2,500 prisoners with no clear evidence against them or who were mistakenly detained, in a move to help reach "national reconciliation." A military court Tuesday cleared three British soldiers of killing an Iraqi teenager who drowned after allegedly being forced into a canal. Last month, Vice Judge Advocate General Michael Hunter ordered a fourth soldier, Lance Cpl. James Cooke, 22, be found not guilty of manslaughter. He did not give a reason for his ruling. Prosecutors alleged the teenager and three other suspected looters were put into the water to "teach them a lesson." Trip to recently excavated mass graves containing the bodies of at least 38 people allegedly killed by Saddam Hussein's regime: Evidence at the site is expected to be used in a yet-to-be scheduled trial. Hussein is currently on trial for his alleged involvement in the killing of 148 Shiite residents of Dujayl. He is then due to be tried for the 1988 Anfal campaign involving the use of chemical weapons against Kurds in northern Iraq. The trip to the southern gravesite was arranged by U.S. and Iraqi officials investigating the slayings of an estimated 100,000 to 180,000 victims of a government crackdown on a Shiite uprising. That rebellion in 1991 followed the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops after the Persian Gulf War. >> REPORTS Iraq's crude oil production has reached 1.95m bpd, 15% more than the average output for the past 10 months, according to Southern Oil director Hashem Al Hashemi. He said average production over the past 10 months has been 1.7m bpd. Iraq's oil sector has been hamstrung by years of sanctions, war and sabotage. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has 78 open investigations into fraud and corruption in the Coalition Provisional Authority. This spring, two men pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud. Last winter, two Army officers were arrested on similar charges. Those cases appear to be only the beginning of reconstruction fraud cases. Amount of Iraq coverage on the three biggest TV networks' weeknight newscasts dropped by nearly 60 percent from 2003 to the first four months of 2006, according to the independent Tyndall Report tracking service. Even before Monday's attack [on CBS journalists] in a relatively placid section of Baghdad, some network TV correspondents had reached the conclusion that, even as they were risking their lives in the war zone, audiences and producers in America had grown weary of much of the coverage from Iraq. MAY DEADLIEST MONTH IN BAGHDAD SINCE 2003 INVASION Excluding the capital's nearly daily bombings, new Iraqi government documents show that more Baghdad residents died in shootings, stabbings and other violence in May than in any other month since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The numbers and accounts from residents depict neighborhoods descending further into violence and fear. Last month, 1,398 bodies were brought to the central morgue, according to Ministry of Health statistics, 243 more than April. The count doesn't include soldiers or civilian victims of explosions, on whom autopsies are not usually conducted. Since 2003, at least 30,240 bodies have been brought to the morgue, the vast majority of them shot by gunmen who are seldom caught or prosecuted. read in full... NEW EVIDENCE OF COVER-UP BY U.S. MILITARY IN ISHAQI KILLINGS A brother of a victim, Hashim Ibrahim Awad Abass, in Al Hamadania, Iraq, told ABC News today that Marines killed his brother needlessly. According to the victim's brother, Marines came to his family's village at 2 a.m. on April 25 and first raided a home, where they discovered a shovel and an AK-47. They then went to his brother's house, dragged him into the street, arrested him and took him away. A little while later, Abass' brother heard gunfire outside the village. Waking up at the crack of dawn, he rushed to the police department to report his brother missing. Abass told ABC News the police informed him that a body had been dropped off earlier by the Americans and that he should go and have a look. It was his brother, he said. Later that day, Marines came to the family home and dropped off the incident report. ABC News obtained a copy of the death report, which is written in Arabic on one side and English on the other. "We spotted a man digging on the side of the road from our ambush site," reads the statement. "I made the call and engaged. He was pronounced dead at the scene with only a shovel and AK-47," according to the statement. Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins, with another Marine acting as a witness, signed the death report. Eight Marines could face murder charges in the death of Abass, and other charges for possibly attempting to cover up the killing. Residents told ABC News over the weekend that a Marine sergeant had lied on an official report about the death of a civilian, saying the man appeared to be planting a bomb. But several Marines have confessed to dragging the man from his house, shooting him and putting a shovel and weapon next to his body. read in full... "WE ARE IN TROUBLE IN IRAQ" Military commanders in the field in Iraq admit in private reports to the Pentagon the war "is lost" and that the U.S. military is unable to stem the mounting violence killing 1,000 Iraqi civilians a month. Even worse, they report the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha is "just the tip of the iceberg" with overstressed, out-of-control Americans soldiers pushed beyond the breaking point both physically and mentally. "We are in trouble in Iraq," says retired army general Barry McCaffrey. "Our forces can't sustain this pace, and I'm afraid the American people are walking away from this war." Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has clamped a tight security lid on the increasingly pessimistic reports coming out of field commanders in Iraq, threatening swift action against any military personnel who leak details to the press or public. read in full... A UNIT OUT OF CONTROL The wife of a staff sergeant with Kilo Company, the Marine Unit charged with killing civilians at Haditha, tells Newsweek magazine that the unit was a hotbed of drug abuse, alcoholism and violence. "There were problems in Kilo company with drugs, alcohol, hazing [violent initiation games], you name it," she said. "I think it's more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha." Journalists stationed with the unit described Kilo Company and the Third Batallion of Marines as a "unit out of control," where morale had plummeted and rules went out the window. read in full... IRAQI RESISTANCE REPORT FOR MONDAY, 5 JUNE 2006 In a dispatch posted at 10:20am Makkah time Monday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a huge force of hundreds of US troops began moving into al-Anbar province at 3am local time before dawn Monday morning. The columns of American troops had constant air cover from American warplanes as they advanced up the main highway into al-Anbar Province. These are the forces that the United States said it was drawing out of Kuwait to reinforce its beleaguered troops in western Iraq. Correspondents for Mafkarat al-Islam in Abu Ghurayb, al-Karmah, al-Fallujah, ar-Ramadi, ‘Amiriyat al-Fallujah, and al-Habbaniyah reported that the hundreds of troops are accompanied by dozens of military vehicles of various types. The correspondents reported that the Americans who are riding in on the vehicles do not resemble the US troops already in al-Anbar Province. They have beards and long hair. Some are not wearing the regular American uniform, a large number of them wearing undershirts and have red bandanas on their heads. The giant vehicles that the new American troops are driving also differ from those any of the vehicles that the US has brought into the country since it invaded in 2003. The correspondents reported that a number of those fresh troops settled in al-Fallujah and al-Habbaniyah. A large part of them went into ar-Ramadi where the al-Warrar base is located. read in full… >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS LA TIMES: GIVE THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT AN F The quarterly report to Congress issued May 30 by the Department of Defense, "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq," like the weekly reports the State Department issues on Iraq, is profoundly flawed. It does more than simply spin the situation to provide false assurances to lawmakers and the public. It makes basic analytical and statistical mistakes, fails to define key terms, provides undefined and unverifiable survey information and deals with key issues by omission. It deserves an overall grade of F. The report provides a fundamentally false picture of the political situation in Iraq and of the difficulties ahead. It does not prepare Congress or the American people for the years of effort that will be needed even under "best-case" conditions nor for the risk of far more serious forms of civil conflict. Some of its political reporting is simply incompetent. For example, the report repeatedly states that 77% of the Iraqi population voted in the December 2005 election. Given that the CIA estimates that almost 40% of the population is 14 or younger, there is no conceivable way that 77% of the population could have voted. The report says 12.2 million voters turned out. The CIA estimates Iraq's population is 26.8 million. This means roughly 46% of the population voted. The far more serious problem, however, is the spin the report puts on the entire Iraqi political process. Political participation surely rose. But that wasn't because of acceptance of the new government or an embrace of a democratic political process; it reflected a steady sharpening of sectarian divisions, as Sunnis tried to make up for their decision to boycott earlier elections. The report touts a "true unity government with broad-based buy-in from major electoral lists and all of Iraq's communities." But its own data tell a different story. The one largely secular party won only 9% of parliament. The sectarian Shiite party, the United Iraqi Alliance, got 47%. The equally sectarian Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front got 16%, and the Kurdish Coalition got 19%. That hardly adds up to "unity." read in full... THE EMERGENCE OF THE RESISTANCE JOURNALISTS In his lecture at Toronto in October 2005, Robert Fisk correctly pointed out the slant of the majority of Western media reporters is to parrot the 'official' or 'government' line, citing an article in the Los Angeles Times in which about 20 references were made to 'according to government officials' in a variety of combinations. Fisk also questioned the journalistic professionalism of reporters who morally side against oppressed people. However, the outcome of his lecture, in which Fisk related many of his own experiences and interpretation of events, appeared to give the impression to the audience that Robert Fisk, armed with his extensive in-depth and in-touch experiences that expand over several decades, was the only 'true' journalist having the courage to expose the underbelly of the injustices incurred in the Middle East, and in Northern Ireland before that. After the lecture, I discussed this observation with Fisk and pointed out the emergence of truly dedicated young Iraqi journalists, many of whom have been actively, courageously and consistently working with, for example, Islam Memo site. (Note the previous posting on Thoulouiya, for a recent example. Several of them have been killed by the American occupation forces, such as Khalid Abdul Jabbar (picture below) near Balad on April 9, 2005. He had refused to work with AP and Reuters for a $1,000 salary describing them as "more dangerous than the occupation weapons themselves". His salary with Islam Memo was $30 per month). In preparing their reports on the events and casualties, these reporters often quote members of the 'Iraqi police' or the 'Iraqi Army', with their name and rank, as well as locals who witnessed the event being reported. Often, their reports precede by hours any of the 'corporate media' reporting of the same event. They seem to be in most Iraqi cities. They report every few hours, if the development of the news require so. Why would Fisk not give them due reference and respect for their stand, professionalism and dangerous journalistic mission? Fisk lamely admitted their value and mentioned that he had the opportunity to train some of them himself during one of his visits to Baghdad. He also promised that he will mention them in his coming lectures and interviews that he was going to give on the next leg of his tour in the West coast of the USA. He never did. These genuine reporters, along with those who are "video recording" Resistance attacks against the occupation forces, are the Iraqi Resistance Journalists. They are the 'human dimension' to reporting that escapes presenter Jon Snow and the 'corporate media' journalists in covering "the bloody reality of war under the US-led occupation" in Iraq. read in full... INFERNO IN IRAQ Had the Shi'a leadership at large, and Sistani in particular, told the Americans to pack their bags in the spring of 2004, when Sunni and Shi'a alike rose against the Occupation, Iraq would now be a free country with a reasonable prospect of communal harmony, founded on joint struggle against the invader. Instead Sistani and his entourage joined forces with the Americans to suppress the revolt of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army in the south and the Sunni resistance in the north and west of the country, with the aim of taking power in Baghdad under us tutelage, and building a sectarian regime on demographic preponderance and foreign arms. The confessional parliamentarism of this option has predictably guaranteed a deepening of sectarian hatreds, as the taint of collaboration with the enemy spread downwards, leading to indiscriminate retaliation and then reciprocal massacres by jihadis on one side and death squads on the other. The progenitors of this mayhem are now using it as a pretext to prolong their invasion of the country, with kickbacks to Sunni politicians to induce them to plead with America to stay, as if the occupation that has unleashed it were the remedy rather than source of an ongoing catastrophe. The reality is that there is only one way to halt this spiral of violence: the path refused by Sistani in 2004, and now taken up once again by Muqtada al-Sadr-a national agreement between Sunni and Shi'a leaders, the maquis in the provinces and the militias in the capital, to secure the expulsion of all occupying forces from the country without further ado. 'Cut off the head of the snake and remove all evil', as Muqtada exhorted on returning from Lebanon to a shattered Samarra and Baghdad. His militias, largely made up of the urban poor, are recruited in quarters that were once strongholds of Iraqi communism. The expeditionary armies from America and Britain could not last a month in Iraq, if the Shi'a at large followed the example of their Sunni compatriots. Indeed, it would take only a vote in the puppet parliament demanding the immediate withdrawal of foreign forces to make the position of Washington and London untenable. Given the modern history of Iraq, there would still be many grave tensions in the relations between the two communities, not to speak of the recent role of the Kurds as the Gurkhas of the invader. But until the spreading poison of Western intrusion is removed, there is no chance of wounds, past or present, healing. The Anglo-American armies need to be driven out of the country, bag and baggage, for Iraq to have any future. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: A roadside bomb killed two U.S. soldiers when it exploded by a military vehicle in eastern Afghanistan, a U.S. military spokeswoman said. A US soldier has died in Afghanistan, but hostile action is not suspected, the US military announced. A state of war is gripping southern Afghanistan as Taleban fighters win public support and it will spread unless newly deployed British troops regain control, a [UK] security think-tank warned on Tuesday. Entire districts in the restive province of Helmand have already been lost to insurgents who have learnt new bomb-making skills from the bloody campaign in Iraq, said Emmanuel Reinert, executive director of the Senlis Council. In a new report on southern Afghanistan, the council said: "Helmand is in a state of war, once again. The nature of instability in Helmand has shifted from random insurgency to a state of prolonged and organised violence that threatens the very foundations of the new Afghanistan." Hardline military tactics used by US troops, who were in charge of security in the south following the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, have left the local population fearful and wary of foreign soldiers, it said. The report by the think-tank, which has offices in London, Paris, Brussels and Kabul, found that 80 per cent of the people in Helmand support insurgent groups. "The British troops will need to regain control ... otherwise the whole of southern Afghanistan will be lost to the Taleban insurgents," Reinert told a London news conference to launch the report Iranian President says a nuclear weapon has no place in the defense doctrine of his country: "Iran has never strived towards creating a weapon for mass destruction and atomic bombs have no place in the defense doctrine of our country", Ahmadinejad said. An Israeli soldier opened fire inside a village mosque in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday before committing suicide, Palestinian witnesses said. According to AFP, the soldier barged into the Aqabeh village mosque, southeast of Jenin, opened fire in the place of worship and sprayed bullets toward neighbouring houses before turning the gun on himself and committing suicide. No other casualties were reported in the incident. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Haditha was no more a function of 'inadequate training' than was My Lai or Abu Ghraib. Each of them was a direct consequence of US policies at the highest levels, policies that said the US had the right to apply deadly force halfway around the world in pursuit of what its leaders had decided in secret were the country's national interest." -- Bruce Jackson, ex-Marine and currently Professor at University at Buffalo


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