DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, July 2, 2006
: An Iraqi man in underwear being interrogated by US occupation soldiers inside his own home and in front of his wife and children. His son is on his knees looking at the soldiers and wondering why are these US soldiers here doing this to us. We never hurt them or threatened their country or even interests of their ruling class? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Assafir, 7/1/06). [Uruknet caption: Foreign occupation troops interrogate Iraqi citizens after forcing their way into their home in Ramadi, June 29, 2006. (AP Photo/Jacob Silberberg)]
Bring 'em on
: Sgt. Bryan C. Luckey, 25, of Tampa, Fla., died on June 29, in Mosul, Iraq, when he was shot by enemy forces while on mounted patrol. Luckey was assigned to the 562nd Engineer Company, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
: At least 66 people have been killed by a car bomb in a busy Baghdad market in a Shiite neighbourhood Saturday, despite a massive security crackdown in the Iraqi capital.
A US military vehicle which attempted to approach the blast scene withdrew in a hail of stones thrown by angry residents.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A Shiite legislator escaped an assassination attempt when a roadside bomb missed his convoy in downtown Baghdad
. Iyad Jamal al-Din, a cleric from the secular Allawi List bloc in parliament, said the explosion just missed his convoy as he was leaving his house in Karradah to attend a legislative session. Three civilians were wounded in the attack.
A roadside bomb killed the assistant commander of the Iraqi army's seventh division
, and wounded his driver.
A gunfight erupted between gunmen and police in the insurgent stronghold of Dora in southern Baghdad
, wounding one policeman and a 7-year-old child.
Liqa Yassin, a Shiite lawmaker from the Iraqi Accordance Front escaped an abduction attempt
in the neighborhood of Dora in southern Baghdad.
Two car bombs went off in central Baghdad killing a civilian and wounding 16 others.
The two blasts occurred almost simultaneously at about 11:00 a. m. (0700 GMT), one in Arasat al-Hendiyah street in southern Baghdad and the other near a popular shoe store in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Hurriyah. A civilian was killed and three wounded, including a police commander, in Arasat al-Hendiyah street, while 13 people were wounded in the Hurriyah neighborhood.
Ten people were wounded in car bomb blast which missed a police patrol in central Baghdad's Karradah district.
A bomb blew in the windows of a popular Baghdad restaurant killing two people and wounding 13.
Between 10 to 15 mortar rounds slammed into Adhamiya, a neighbourhood in western Baghdad that has seen considerable insurgency activity.
A Reuters cameraman at the scene reported hearing gunfire. There was no immediate word of casualties.
Three mortar rounds landed in front of Yarmuk hospital, one of Baghdad's main medical centres, wounding three people.
Two members of a family were killed and three wounded when bombs exploded outside their house in Baquba
, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed three people in three different incidents in Baquba.
An Iraqi soldier was wounded when a roadside bomb went off near his patrol in Buhriz
, just south of Baquba.
Gunmen killed a man accused of collaborating with the American forces in Garma
, west of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed two funeral-goers in Khairnabat
, near Baquba.
Conflicting reports from police, officials and parliamentary colleagues on Sunday indicated gunmen had attacked the motorcade of a woman member of Iraq's parliament on Sunday.
It seemed she had survived a kidnap attempt but that several of her bodyguards had been abducted, though accounts varied.
Four people were killed and 22 wounded when a bomb exploded in a market in a town just south of Baghdad.
The police chief of Muqdidiya was seriously wounded when gunmen stormed his house in the town north of Baquba.
Two policemen were killed and two wounded in clashes with gunmen in Rashad
, a small town 40 km southwest of Kirkuk.
Gunmen killed one person and seriously wounded another in two different incidents in Mosul
, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad.
The morgue in Mosul received the body of a person who had gunshot wounds.
Clashes between insurgents and Iraqi police southwest of Kirkuk left one policeman and two insurgents dead.
The largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament said it was suspending its participation in the legislature until a kidnapped colleague was released
, dealing a blow to efforts to involve the disaffected minority in the political process.
The Iraqi government offered a $50,000 reward for Abu Ayyub al-Masri
, who replaced al-Zarqawi as leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. The announcement came just two days after the U.S. administration approved up to $5 million in exchange for al-Masri, whose real name is Abu Hamza al-Muhajer.
Slovakia Announces Immediate Withdrawal Of All Troops From Iraq
: "The (new) government should immediately prepare the timetable of the withdrawal," [Robert] Fico [whose Smer-Social Democracy party is expected to form the new Slovak Cabinet next week] said in an interview with state-run radio.
Slovakia has 104 troops in Iraq, stationed in Hillah in the Polish sector. (…) "Our presence will not contribute a tiny bit to the security in Iraq ... we do not belong there," Fico said.
IRAQI GOVERNMENT FREEZES UNION BANK ACCOUNTS
Just confirmed reports that the Iraqi regime has frozen all the bank accounts of the Iraqi Oil Workers' Union, both abroad and within Iraq.
The Iraqi regime's decision comes in the wake of a series of anti-union measures, including the disbanding of the council of the lawyers' union, freezing the writers' union accounts and the September 2005 decree making all trade union activity illegal. For that anti-union act the regime used the pretext of promising the promulgation of a future law to 'regulate' trade union organisations and their activities.
This action follows in the footsteps of US administrator Paul Bremer. In 2004 Paul Bremer, the occupation's then pro-consul in Iraq, declared trade union activity in the state sector illegal. That decision re-enacted Saddam Hussein's 1987 decree banning workers' unions in the state sector by declaring them to be 'civil servants' rather than 'workers'.
Iraq's enormous oil wealth is being groomed for Production Sharing Agreements, which would transfer effective control over all aspects of oil policy, production and marketing to multination oil companies. The oil workers' union is one of the most effective opponents of this policy, organising an anti-privatisation conference last year and another one to come this year.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Iraqis live in fear of the invisible hands that are trying to undermine whatever security the country may still have. "People don't want to talk anymore. Those who speak out, end up dead," said Abu Mustafa, who asked me to withhold his full name.
Ali Ismail lives in the vulnerable Al-Shurta neighbourhood in western Baghdad. He said, "Several Iraqi and US sources allege that Al-Qaeda has moved into Al-Adhamiya. That means this neighbourhood will be treated with the same harshness shown in Falluja and Talaafar and other cities similarly accused. The strange thing is that the same sources used to claim Al-Qaeda was hiding in Al-Dawra in southern Baghdad. Stranger still, those sources say that the Al-Qaeda leadership is in Al-Huweija, west of Kirkuk. You can imagine how many areas are still to be attacked, and how many dozens of people, even hundreds, will have to die."
Janan Ali is an expert in Iraqi domestic policies commented; " I don't know why the occupation forces and the new Iraqi forces insist on violence and forget the real reason young people are drawn to guns. The occupation forces and Iraqi security services are heavy-handed, and the harshness they use breeds violence."
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RAPE AND MURDER IN MAHMUDIYA
I heard a commentator on TV talking about the latest reported American atrocity in Iraq, an incident of rape and murder in Mahmudiya. He noted that "these things happen in war" and also that "there are criminals in society in general, and it's no surprise there are in the military, just like in government and the clergy and everywhere else, as well." Both of those observations are certainly true. But they only reinforce the point that wasn't
made, which is that these are just some of the many reasons why you don't launch an illegal war under false pretenses. Had Iraq actually attacked the United States (a highly improbable event), then this atrocity, like all the others (reported and unreported), could indeed be excused by the "these things happen in war" excuse. But it wasn't, and they can't.
But the main point I wanted to make about this incident is actually hidden in the fine print:
The killing of the family was originally reported by the military as due to "insurgent activity," American officials said.
The same, of course, was true in the Haditha massacre of 24 Iraqis, who were also originally reported as being killed by "insurgent activity" (i.e., IED). So the next time you see statistics, also reported by the American military, about the percentage of the deaths in Iraq which are caused by "insurgent activity," keep these incidents in mind. Statistics only have validity when the underlying data is valid. When the underlying data is provided by the U.S. military, forget about it.
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Bring 'em on
: Two British soldiers have been killed in fighting in Afghanistan after their base came under attack, the Ministry of Defence said. The soldiers, from the 3rd Para Battlegroup, died in the town of Sangin, in the Helmand province in the south of the country. The MoD said fighting broke out on Saturday after a British base was attacked by fighters with light weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.
CONSERVATIVE PUNDITS REVEAL MURDEROUS PLOT BY THE TRAVEL SECTION OF THE NYT!
I learned today from Michelle Malkin, Powerline's John Hinderaker, Red State, and David Horowitz, among others, that The New York Times
not only wants to help Al Qaeda launch terrorist attacks on the United States, but that newspaper also want to do everything possible to enable The Terrorists to assassinate Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. That is the conclusion which these sober leaders of "conservative" punditry drew after reading this article in the Times
' Travel section, which features the tiny, charming village of St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where both Cheney and Rumsfeld have vacation homes.
Darkly lurking beneath the rustic, playful tone of the NYT
Travel article is a homicidal plot on the part of the reporters and editors of the Times
to provide a roadmap to their Al Qaeda allies so that they find Cheney and Rumsfeld (and maybe even Mrs. Rumsfeld) and murder them. (...)
Michelle says she learned of this murderous plot from Front Page Magazine, to which she courteously provided a "hat tip." That Front Page article is authored by David Horowitz, and is headlined:
"The NY Times points cranks, radicals, al-Qaeda operatives and would be assassins to the summer homes of Cheney and Rumsfeld" (...)So, to recap - America is currently at war and its enemies are domestic liberals and The New York Times. This war was started by Al Gore and Jimmy Carter when they opposed the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times is allied with Al Qaeda and their latest plot against America is to provide their terrorist friends with a roadmap to the vacation homes of Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld so that they can be assassinated. That is what is being reported today by three of the largest "conservative" blogs on the Internet, along with Horowitz, the leader of the conservative effort to wipe out anti-conservative bias on college campuses. (...)
UPDATE II: The outright derangement generated by this madness has now led one of the imbeciles who likely read Malkin and Powerline's blog to post the home address and telephone number of the Times photographers on his website.
UPDATE III: Another upstanding, patriotic blogger -- after linking to the blog which posted the address of the Times photographer -- has now posted this:
So, in the school of what's good for the goose is good for the gander, we are providing this link so YOU may help the blogosphere in locating the homes (perhaps with photos?) of the editors and reporters of the New York Times. (...)He's urging people to find the names and addresses of New York Times editors and reporters in order to "hunt them down and do America a favor." And he said that right after he posted the link to the address of the Times photographer. And this is just the beginning of this syndrome, not the end.
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AMERICA'S INCREASING DEMOCRACY DEFICIT
In the post-World War II period, America was seen by many as the "City on the Hill," an imperfect yet nonetheless shining beacon of government of, by, and for the people. But President George W. Bush's harsh criticisms of the New York Times and other media outlets for their reporting on covert and potentially illegal spying programs underscores once again the degree to which a major crack has appeared in America's democratic edifice.
The Bush administration's reasoning is founded on a twisted form of Catch-22 logic. It goes something like this:
1. This war on terrorism is our new Cold War, and it will last a generation or two.
2. Because we are at war it is necessary to engage in certain behaviors-renditions, torture, domestic surveillance, secret prisons.
3. We cannot tell you what we are doing because it will compromise national security during a time of war.
4. The courts cannot review what we are doing because it will compromise national security during a time of war.
5. Any newspaper reporter or news outlet that reports a leak of these programs can be put under oath and forced to reveal sources, under threat of going to jail for contempt.
6. Only select members of Congress can know. But they cannot tell anyone because it will compromise national security.
7. When Congress passes laws, the president has the right to ignore them if he believes they infringe upon his war powers or his role as Commander in Chief.
8. The courts cannot review the president's decision in Rule no. 7 because it would compromise national security.
Taken in their totality, these eight rules amount to an end-run around the Constitution. By the time one reaches the final rule, you realize how fragile American democracy has become. President George W. Bush has yet to exercise a single veto, the only president in modern history never to do so, because he doesn't need to-he simply ignores any congressional laws he doesn't like.
It leaves Congress as mostly an advisory body to the president. It leaves the courts as a peripheral institution without its historical oversight role. And it leaves civil liberties-and Americans who are used to enjoying them-in a very precarious position.
America used to call this by another name-autocracy.
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GUANTANMO INTERROGATORS TRAINED BY TORTURE SCHOOL INSTRUCTORS
SALON has learned that interrogators working at Guantanamo Bay were given instruction in tactics and technique from a US Army school that trains soldiers to survive torture.
Salon magazine uncovered evidence of the link between the two military entities in documents turned over to the American Civil Liberties Union. The report shows that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay received instruction from the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape school at Fort Bragg, N. C.. The Army declined a request for an interview, and commented that "We do not teach interrogation techniques."
Excerpts from the registation restricted article follow...
A March 22, 2005, sworn statement by the former chief of the Interrogation Control Element at Guantánamo said instructors from SERE also taught their methods to interrogators of the prisoners in Cuba.
"When I arrived at GTMO," reads the statement, "my predecessor arranged for SERE instructors to teach their techniques to the interrogators at GTMO ... The instructors did give some briefings to the Joint Interrogation Group interrogators."
"This is the missing link," declared Leonard Rubenstein, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights. "It is proof that the SERE training was in fact used, for a time at least, as a basis for interrogations at Guantánamo." "That is what I inferred had happened," agreed retired Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, former commanding general of the Southeast Regional Army Medical Command, "but I have never seen this documented anywhere." The sworn statement suggests that Fort Bragg was the incubator of the abuse that later migrated from Guantánamo to Abu Ghraib, and is further evidence of the systematic nature of torture in the war on terror.
The interrogations chief, whose name is redacted, but who is listed as serving at Guantánamo from December 2002 until June 2003, asserts that instructors from the SERE school taught techniques to interrogators at Guantánamo sometime before his arrival, a period when the Department of Defense was developing some of the aggressive and controversial interrogation protocols that later surfaced in Iraq. The statement was produced as part of an investigation by Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt into alleged "degrading and abusive" treatment of prisoner Mohammed al-Khatani, the so-called 20th hijacker.
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BLAIR AND THE GLOBALISATION 'DEBATES'
I've suggested before that the PM loves to invoke the frisson of democratic debate precisely when he intends to steamroller something through parliament, ignore dissent, caricature opposing views and announce immediate success. Via Andrew Bartlett, I find this:
Complaining about globalization is as pointless as trying to turn back the tide. There are, I notice, no such debates in China.Did you read that correctly? Resistance is futile, and we need to eliminate debate like China.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "On the second day of final exams, I saw a sign announcing the death of three fellow students killed by a car bomb in Al-Karrada. Another sign told us of the death of a professor in the mechanical engineering department. A third announced the death of a teaching assistant who had been working on his PhD. How do you expect me to perform well when death is around every corner?" -- Mohamed Adnan, an engineering student at Baghdad University