Thursday, July 06, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, June 6, 2006 Photo: Neighbor and eyewitness Hussein Mohammed, 33, points to the charred and blood splattered floor and wall where he found the body of the young Iraqi girl who was allegedly raped then killed along with family members in their home, Thursday, July 6, 2006, in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad, Iraq. Former US Army Pfc. Steve D. Green was charged Monday in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina, with rape and four counts of murder. At least four other U.S. soldiers still in Iraq are under investigation in the attack. (AP Photo/Ali al-Mahmouri) (See below “Eyewitness testimony of us rape, murder in Iraq”) A powerful car bomb explosion hit a Shia shrine in the southern Iraqi city of Kufa, killing more than 12 people and wounding about 50 others, police and witnesses said, according to BBC. The attack took place at about 0715 (0315 GMT) near the shrine of Maitham al-Tamar, some 160km south of Baghdad. Police said a yellow minibus exploded next to two buses carrying Shia pilgrims, and medics said many of the victims were Iranians. Iranian state TV said five Iranians were killed and 22 wounded. [In Arab media originated reports such as the above one from Aljazeera Magazine there's no mention of a suicide bomber having been involved, as is categorically stated in Western media stories being released about the attack, such as the following one from Reuters Alertnet -- zig]
A suicide car bomber blasted two coaches carrying Iranian pilgrims outside a Shi'ite Muslim shrine in Iraq at dawn killing 12 people and wounding 41. The bomber drove his car between the two Iranian coaches as they arrived at the Maithem al-Tamar shrine in Kufa, a religious centre on the outskirts of the main Shi'ite holy city of Najaf, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. Eight of the dead were Iranians, three of those women.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: An Iraqi former judge was killed and his son and driver wounded when gunmen ambushed his car in western Baghdad. Saleh Hassan Yass al-Awsi was a Sunni Arab and a leading figure in an association of former judges who are lobbying Iraq's new parliament to be allowed to return to work after they were dismissed by the U.S. occupation authority. (N.W. of) A suicide car bomb struck a joint Iraqi-U.S. checkpoint near Ana town, about 150 miles northwest of Baghdad, wounding two Iraqi solders. Thirty-five corpses have been discovered in different areas of the Iraqi capital over the past 24 hours, most of them showing signs of torture, police reported. Five of the corpses were found in the insurgent-dominated western district of Amiriyah, while the rest were scattered throughout the capital, with the majority showing signs of torture and killed with a bullet to the head. Two car bombs exploded one after the other in the neighbourhood of Washash killing three and wounding eight. A roadside bomb struck an electric pylon in eastern Baghdad, wounding one civilian and causing power outages. Police also defused three other bombs in the area. Baqubah: Gunmen killed a police major from the Interior Ministry as he was driving near Baqouba. Madain: Two civilians were killed by mortar rounds during an early morning insurgent assault on the main police station in Madain, just south of the capital. A mortar barrage struck a police station in Madain, southeast of Baghdad, killing two people, including a woman, and wounding seven policemen. Mosul: Gunmen killed a real estate broker at his office in Mosul. A roadside bomb also struck a police patrol in the northern city, wounding one of the policemen. Kirkuk: Two Iraqis were wounded in an explosion that rocked central Kirkuk. Several explosions and attacks were witnessed across Kirkuk targeting police checkpoints but no casualties have been reported. Six people were shot dead in a number of incidents in Kirkuk, including four members of the same family who were murdered southwest of the city while driving on the highway. Al Zab: (Near Kirkuk) Iraqi police found the body of a beheaded man in the small town of al-Zab, near Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad. Khaffajiyah: Four Iraqi civilians were injured in the town of Khaffajiyah during a mortar firing mission conducted by Coalition Forces. Coalition Forces were conducting counter-insurgency operations by firing mortar rounds at a known historical site from which anti-Iraqi forces had previously launched attacks. >> NEWS REPORT: PURPORTED SUCCESSOR OF ZARQAWI IN EGYPT JAIL Abu Hamza al-Muhajir (the immigrant), the purported successor of al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is in an Egyptian prison and not Iraq, a lawyer claimed on Thursday. According to Al-Masri al-Yawm newspaper, lawyer Mamduh Ismail conveyed he had met al-Muhajir, also known as Sharif Hazaa, or Abu Ayub al-Masri, in Cairo's Tura prison, where he has been held for the past seven years. "Sharif Hazaa is in Tura prison, and I met him two days ago while I was visiting some of my clients," Ismail told the newspaper. The US army media centre in Iraq said in respone: "We cannot comment on the news that... al-Masri is in an Egyptian prison and not in Iraq, we have to clarify that from the Egyptian government." It should be mentioned that a claim posted on an Islamist website last month said that Abu Hamza al-Muhajir personally killed two U.S. soldiers who were captured in Iraq on June 16, 2006. Their bodies were later found mutilated and booby-trapped [according to the U.S. military and one unnamed "Iraqi general" -- zig] in Yusufiya, Iraq on June 19, 2006. link LT. WATADA FORMALLY CHARGED BY ARMY Today, July 5, 2006, First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada was formally charged with three articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: missing movement (Article 87), two counts of contempt towards officials (Article 88), and three counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman (Article 133). If convicted of all charges by a general court-martial, Lt. Watada could be sentenced to over seven years in a military prison. Lt. Watada's lawyer, Eric Seitz, said this morning: "We expected the missing movement charge, but we are somewhat astounded by the contempt and conduct unbecoming charges. These additional charges open up the substance of Lt. Watada's statements for review and raise important First Amendment issues. We are delighted that the Army has given us the opportunity to litigate these questions." Most previous prosecutions of Article 88 took place during the Civil War and World War I, and the last known prosecution was in 1965 (Howe vs. U.S.). Lt. Howe was protesting the Vietnam War. read in full... >> REPORTS EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY OF US RAPE, MURDER IN IRAQ On an afternoon in March 2006, a force of 10 to 15 American troops raided the home of Qasim Hamzah Rashid al-Janabi [in Mahmudiyah], who was born in 1970 and who worked as a guard at a state-owned potato storehouse. Al-Janabi lived with his wife, Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin, and their four children - 'Abir (born 1991), Hadil (born 1999), Muhammad (1998), and Ahmad (1996). (...) The neighbor of the martyred family told the correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam the following: "At 2pm a force of Americans raided the home of the martyr Qasim, God rest his soul. They surrounded him and I heard the sound of gunfire. Then the gunfire fell silent. An hour later I saw clouds of smoke rising from the room and then the occupation troops came quickly out of the house. They surrounded the area together with Shi'i 'Iraqi National Guard' forces, and they told us that terrorists from al-Qa'idah had entered the house and killed them all. They wouldn't let any of us into the house. But I told one of the 'National Guard' soldiers that I was their neighbor and that I wanted to see them so that I could tell al-Hajj Abu al-Qasim the news about his son and his son's family, so one of the soldiers agreed to let me enter. "So I went into the house and found in the first room the late Qasim and his wife and Hadil. Their bodies were swimming in blood. Their blood had spewed out of their bodies with such force that it had flowed out from under the door of the room. I turned them over but there was no response; their lives were already gone." The neighbor continued his account: "Then I went into 'Abir's room. Fire was coming out of her. Her head and her chest were on fire. She had been put in a pitiful position; they had lifted her white gown to her neck and torn her bra. Blood was flowing from between her legs even though she had died a quarter of an hour earlier, and in spite of the intensity of the fire in the room. She had died, may God rest her soul. I knew her from the first instant. I knew she had been raped since she had been turned on her face and the lower part of her body was raised while her hands and feet had been tied. By God, I couldn't control myself and broke into tears over her, but I quickly extinguished the fire burning from her head and chest. The fire had burned up her breasts, the hair on her head, and the flesh on her face. I covered her privates with a piece of cloth, God rest her soul. And at that moment, I thought to myself that if I go out talking and threatening, that they would arrest me, so I took control of myself and resolved to leave the house calmly so that I could be a witness to tell the story of this tragedy. "After three hours the [American] occupation troops surrounded the house and told the people of the area that the family had been killed by terrorists because they were Shi'ah. Nobody in town believed that story because Abu 'Abir was known as one of the best people of the city, one of the noblest, and not Shi'i, but a Sunni monotheist. Everyone doubted their story and so after the sunset prayers the occupation troops took the four bodies away to the American base. Then the next day they handed them over to the al-Mahmudiyah government hospital and told the hospital administration that terrorists had killed the family. That morning I went with relatives of the deceased to the hospital. We received the bodies and buried them, may God have mercy on them." read in full... CONCERN OVER REPORTS OF CHILD TRAFFICKING IN IRAQ Local officials and aid workers have expressed concern over the alarming rate at which children are disappearing countrywide in Iraq's current unstable environment. "At least five children are disappearing every week," said Omar Khalif, vice-president of the Iraqi Families Association (IFA), an NGO established in 2004 to register cases of missing children. "And the number could be much higher as we don't have access to government statistics. In some cases, we've received information that they were trafficked to Europe through neighbouring countries." According to local investigators and the IFA, unconfirmed information suggests that children are being sold to many countries in Europe, particularly the UK and the Netherlands. However, there is no detailed information on who is buying them and for what reason. read in full... IRAQ CORRUPTION UNPRECEDENTED A committee investigating corruption in Iraq says it has reached unprecedented levels and those responsible are nearly untouchable. Judge Radi Hamza Radi, head of the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity set up in 2004, says corruption has "exploded" since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. Judge Radi blamed "the weakness of state institutions during the transition period which saw several governments succeed each other in a short period of time". "Also, the absence of serious punishment hasn't helped us control this plague," he added. Eight former ministers are under investigation, including former defence minister Hazem Shaalan, who is accused of "squandering" $A1.76 billion. Of 1,400 court cases filed 42 involved high-ranking officials. read in full… >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS WHAT THEY'RE DYING FOR: OIL, LILY PADS AND PUPPETS It is clear by now that the United States' invasion and occupation of Iraq has two primary objectives, plus a third that stems from the first two. The first two can be summarized as: oil and "lily pads". The third is to maintain some kind of government to legitimize U.S. access to both. Contrary to conventional wisdom, these objectives have been pursued relentlessly and consistently, from the formulation of this policy in 2001 and 2002 to its continuing and increasingly violent application at the present time. These objectives are an integral part of the United States' long-term strategy to preserve its dominant economic and strategic position into the 21st century. Secondary objectives, such as privatization of the Iraqi economy or a profitable military alliance with a new government, may or may not be achieved, but it is the primary objectives that have driven this policy from its inception and by which the U.S. government will ultimately measure its success or failure. (…) "Lily pads" are a new generation of U.S. military bases strategically positioned and designed to play an integral role in this grand scheme. The U.S. is building four large lily pads in Iraq, classified as Contingency Operating Bases and including extensive Air Force facilities, and eight or ten smaller ones called Enduring Bases. But what is new and different about these bases? There are already about 900 U.S. military installations in other countries all over the world, and most of them have been there for decades. (…) This brings us to the third U.S. objective, the "political process" that takes place in the Green Zone, the super lily pad where the crown jewel of the occupation, the $600 million U.S. Embassy, is being built. In 1990, U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft advised against an invasion of Iraq because, sooner or later, the Iraqis would demand an election, which "our guys will lose". The purpose behind all the reactive twists and turns of U.S. policy in Iraq has been not so much to form a sovereign government as to prevent the formation of the government Scowcroft predicted, one that will undermine the primary goals of U.S. policy by asking the U.S. to withdraw its forces or by reasserting Iraq's ownership of its oil. So how does the U.S. do this? Two years ago, I suggested to a friend who is a military historian and a supporter of the war in Iraq that the U.S. is simply following a classic "divide and conquer" strategy. He responded, "How else do you do it?" I answered that you don't, to which he replied, "But we are doing it". It was necessary from the outset for the United States to find some basis on which to divide the people of Iraq to create a constituency for exiles who would implement U.S. policy. The Kurds were natural allies for the U.S. but they only comprise 20% of the population and are concentrated in one corner of the country. While Sunnis and Shias have coexisted in central Iraq for centuries and educated secular Iraqis do not identify themselves primarily by sect, the more isolated Shias in the south provided a constituency that could be mobilized by formerly exiled Islamist leaders and American promises of political power. Although Shias from southern Iraq have played a significant role in U.S. plans, Shia Islamist political parties were not the first choice of U.S. policymakers to lead an Iraqi puppet government. In 1998, 40 Americans who shaped what soon became U.S. policy signed a letter to President Clinton asking the U.S. government to "recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the Iraqi National Congress" (Ahmad Chalabi et al.). The signatories included Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Carlucci, Perle, Armitage, Feith, Abrams, Bolton and Khalilzad. read in full… ALL IRAQ IS ABU GHRAIB A'beer Qassim al-Janaby, a 15-year-old Iraqi girl, was with her family in Mahmudiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, when US troops raided the house. A group of soldiers have been charged with her rape and the murder of her father, mother, and nine-year-old sister. They are also accused of setting A'beer's body on fire. The al-Janaby family lived near a US checkpoint, and the killings happened at 2pm on March 11. As usual, a US spokesman ascribed the killings to "Sunni Arab insurgents active in the area", contrary to local eyewitnesses. A'beer's rape and murder is neither incidental nor the product of a US soldier's "personality disorder": it is part of a pattern that includes Abu Ghraib, as well as the Haditha, Ishaqi and Qaiem massacres. And we see this pattern as serving a strategic function beyond indiscriminate revenge: to couple collective humiliation with intimidation and terror. Today, four years into the Anglo-American occupation, the whole of Iraq has become Abu Ghraib, with our streets as prison corridors and homes as cells. Iraqis are attacked in detention, on the streets and in their homes. read in full... SABOTAGING PEACE IN IRAQ The events in Iraq during the past week make it clear, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that neither the Bush administration nor its puppet Shiite theocrats in Iraq want peace. Ten days ago, the U.S.-installed government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made a grand show of offering "national reconciliation" with the Iraqi insurgency. In what seemed at first to be an olive branch to the insurgents, Maliki began dropping hints that the regime in Baghdad might offer a package deal to the resistance, including a broad amnesty for armed, anti-occupation fighters and an outreach to the deposed Iraqi Baath party. It was, according to Maliki and to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, a sincere effort to strike a deal that could end the fighting in Iraq and which conceivably could lead to the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Last week, in this space, I wrote skeptically about the thin possibility that Maliki might strike a deal with the resistance. By now, it is obvious that the Maliki-Khalilzad supposed reconciliation plan was no such thing. Khalilzad, President Jalal Talabani and Maliki have been conducting on-again, off-again talks with parts of the Iraqi resistance for at least a year, but appear to have no intention of offering the insurgent groups a deal they can accept. Instead, Khalilzad and the leaders of the Iraq government are engaged in a cynical, divide-and-conquer maneuver that can only guarantee the war in Iraq will grind on for years. (...) Khalilzad and Maliki didn't bother disguising their ploy. Ambassador Khalilzad chose David Ignatius of The Washington Post to deliver his cynical message that the entire Maliki reconciliation plan is only an effort to co-opt malleable-or gullible-parts of the resistance. In a phone call to Ignatius, Khalilzad announced that he-and Maliki-were pushing for "conditional amnesty for Iraqi insurgents as part of a broader reconciliation effort, and negotiations with insurgent groups about terms and conditions for ending the fighting." But he also made clear that he was not talking about a blanket peace accord but merely "outreach to elements of the Sunni insurgency that (in theory) can be co-opted. read in full... FALLUJA DEXY STARTS WHITEWASHING RAMADI It's official, Dexter Filkins was born trash and he'll die trash. There's no hope for him.
Instead of continuing to fight for the downtown, or rebuild it, they are going to get rid of it, or at least a very large part of it. They say they are planning to bulldoze about three blocks in the middle of the city, part of which has been reduced to ruins by the fighting, and convert them into a Green Zone, a version of the fortified and largely stable area that houses the Iraqi and American leadership in Baghdad.
That's what he writes today in "In Ramadi, Fetid Quarters and Unrelenting Battles" (New York Times). Bully Boy really needs the 'award winning' Dexy. You'd think there'd be fall out for Dexy after he was outed (by the Washington Post) as the go-to-guy when the military needs to spread propaganda but it didn't happen. The same crowd that screamed for the head of Judith Miller took a pass on nailing Dexy to the wall. They'll probably continue to do so. A) He's not a woman and b) they're apparently caught up in the lies of the war as well. (Which might be why they offer so much cover to war crimes even when the courts find that, yes, they did happen.) "Reduced to ruins by the fighting"? That's a nice way to "cover" what's gone on in Ramadi, kind of like the way Dexy was at Falluja in November of 2004 and didn't see anything there either, right? In the pages of the Times, Scott Shane sneered, mocked and trashed those who were raising the issue of white phosphorus being used in Falluja ("The mainstream American news media, whose reporters had witnessed the fighting and apparently seen no evidence of this, largely ignored the claim."). Of course, he had to show up a few days later with his hat in his hand, begging. Because white phosphorus was used in Falluja. Dexy didn't tell you, Dexy didn't seem to notice anything that went down. So it makes sense that the military would see him as their ideal plant for all propaganda and it makes sense that they'd see their guy in Falluja as just the one they'd need in Ramadi as well. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: Bring 'em on: A coalition soldier was killed Wednesday in an attack in southeastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military announced Thursday. The fighting in Paktika province also wounded a 10-year-old Afghan girl. Coalition soldiers were on patrol when a group of extremists fired on them in Paktika's Gayan district, the military said. HAS THE U.S. DECIDED TO WITHDRAW PLANS TO ATTACK IRAN? The standoff over Iran's nuclear program has reached its peak with Iran rejecting a deadline to respond to an international proposal aimed at ending the current crisis, saying it would respond in a month, which, according to the Iranian calendar, begins July 23. (…) Some experts suggested that this might hasten the American government's plans to launch a military strike to destroy Tehran's nuclear sites. But a report published Sunday on the New Yorker Magazine cited Pentagon officers saying that bombing Iran's nuclear facilities would probably fail to destroy the country's nuclear program, and warning the American President George W. Bush that any attack launched against Iran's nuclear sites could have "serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States". "A crucial issue in the military's dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit," according to the report. (...) "The target array in Iran is huge, but it's amorphous," Seymour Hersh, in one of his most recent articles, quoted a high-ranking general as telling him. "The question we face is, when does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?" The U.S. Army's continuous failures in Iraq, together with the numerous scandals uncovering the American President's lies in the run up to war, including flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and alleged links between the former Iraqi leader and Al Qaeda network, has affected America's approach to Iran. "We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq," he said. read in full… BUSH LEGACY: CHAOS From deteriorating security in Afghanistan and Somalia to mayhem in the Middle East, confrontation with Iran and eroding relations with Russia, the White House suddenly sees crisis in every direction. North Korea's long-range missile test Tuesday, although unsuccessful, was another reminder of the bleak foreign policy landscape that faces President Bush even outside of Iraq. Few foreign policy experts foresee the reclusive Stalinist state giving up the nuclear weapons it appears to have acquired, making it another in a long list of world problems that threaten to cloud the closing years of the Bush administration, according to foreign policy experts in both parties. "I am hard-pressed to think of any other moment in modern times where there have been so many challenges facing this country simultaneously," said Richard N. Haass, a former senior Bush administration official who heads the Council on Foreign Relations. "The danger is that Mr. Bush will hand over a White House to a successor that will face a far messier world, with far fewer resources left to cope with it." read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Be polite, be professional and have a plan to kill everyone you meet."-- reading on a poster displayed in the US base in Ramadi reads (Another poster refers to the name of the military unit and says: "Kilo Company: Killed more people than cancer.")


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