DAILY WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY, August 25, 2006
Looters ravaged a former British base Friday, a day after the camp was turned over to Iraqi troops
, taking everything from doors and window frames to corrugated roofing and metal pipes, authorities said.
About 1,200 British troops had been stationed at Camp Abu Naji in Amarah, 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, and the base had come under almost daily attack. The troops pulled out Thursday to redeploy along the border with Iran to crack down on weapons smuggling.
Shortly after the troops pulled out, Iraqi police managed to disperse looters by firing warning shots into the air, said Dhaffar Jabbar, spokesman for the Maysan provincial governor's office. But the looters returned Friday.
"The British forces left Abu Naji and the locals started looting everything," 1st Lt. Rifaat Taha Yaseen of the Iraqi army's 10th Division told AP Television News. "They took everything from the buildings."
The withdrawal sparked wide-scale looting at the base and then intense clashes late Thursday between Iraqi army forces guarding the camp and unknown attackers, a military intelligence official said. The volatile situation worsened when the 2nd Battalion of the Iraqi army's 4th Brigade mutinied and attacked a local military outpost, said the official, who spoke on condition that his name not be used.
The British soldiers, members of the Queen's Royal Hussars, are preparing to trade their heavy Challenger 2 tanks and Warrior fighting vehicles for lightweight Land Rovers, Burbridge said. They expect to become a flexible, mobile force with no fixed base and receive supplies by airdrops. (…)
Burbridge acknowledged that constant shelling of the base in Amarah by militia forces, including 17 mortar rounds fired in recent days that wounded three people, were part of the reason the camp closed.
"By no longer presenting a static target, we reduce the ability of the militias to strike us," he said. But he rejected Sadr's claim that the British had been defeated and pushed out of Amarah. "It's very difficult to claim a victory without causing significant casualties."
The mood was quite different in Amarah, where jubilant residents flocked to Sadr's office to offer their congratulations. Drivers in the street honked their car horns in celebration. Some prepared to take to the streets to rejoice.
"Today is a holiday in our province," said Abu Mustaffa, an unemployed 45-year-old from the city's al-Hussein district. "Thanks be to God!"
Abu Mustaffa said anger toward the British reached fever pitch in recent days after soldiers entered a mosque and arrested several local men. The provincial government is controlled by Sadr's movement, he said.
(See below "The Long March")
U.S. tanks shelled a mosque in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Ramadi on Friday
after coming under rocket-propelled grenade and machinegun fire from the building, the U.S. military said.
A doctor at Ramadi hospital told Reuters three people had been killed and 22 wounded by the U.S. fire, which the U.S. military said was provoked by a "complex attack" that also included hand grenades and improvised explosives.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
The capital was rocked by a series of explosions in the hours before a vehicle curfew decreed to protect worshippers heading to their mosques
, but there was no immediate confirmation that anyone had been hurt. "There were clashes between terrorists and friendly forces in Shuala neighbourhood. There are no reports of casualties yet," said Brigadier General Abdul Karim Khalaf of the Iraqi interior ministry's new press office.
Nine people died in separate attacks in various parts of Baquba
, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad.
Khan Bani Saad:
A roadside bomb attack killed an Iraqi army officer and wounded four of his soldiers in the Khan Bani Saad district outside Baquba.
Members of Moqtada Al Sadr's Mehdi Army militia clashed with fellow Shiites, the guards of a local mosque.
Two people were killed in the firefight.
A police officer was killed in a drive-by shooting in downtown Samarra
, 60 miles north of Baghdad.
Two Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers stationed in Iraq have been airlifted to Germany for treatment after being injured in an accident in which their Humvee went off a road and was submerged in a canal.
Two workers in a bakery were killed by gunmen in the centre of the northern town of Tikrit.
Three others were wounded, police said.
Security forces in Kirkuk said that three tortured and bullet-riddled bodies were found by the roadside Thursday.
Six people, including three policemen, were wounded in a hand-grenade attack on a market in Hawija
, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.
A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded in the small town of Rashad
, 30 km (18 miles) south of Kirkuk, killing one soldier and wounding two others.
The body of an Iraqi soldier with multiple gunshot wounds, bearing signs of torture, was found in an area near the Syrian border just east of Qaim
, 500 km (300 miles) west of Baghdad.
Iraq's PM has banned television channels from broadcasting gory images of daily bloodshed in the country
, the interior ministry said in a statement.
During a visit to the ministry on Wednesday, Maliki issued an order prohibiting broadcasters from showing "blood and killings that magnify the horror" and warned of legal action against those violating the order.
THREATENED TEACHERS FLEEING IRAQ
"When I was a child, I dreamt of being a professor so that I could give knowledge to thousands of people in my country," said Hala Jumeiri, an engineering professor at Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad. "I fulfilled my dream - but today I'm fleeing Iraq for my own safety because violence has reached the classroom."
Jumeiri and her family are packing their bags and will leave the country in the next few days after she received threats and two of her colleagues were killed for doing their jobs.
"Gangs want to destroy the scientific minds of Iraq and with the current lack of security, even giving a low mark to a student in an exam can be reason enough to be threatened or killed," Jumeiri said.
Being a teacher in Iraq today has become as dangerous as being a soldier in action, teachers say, and it's a risk many are not willing to take. (...)
Such is the prevalence of violence in Iraq, that students have started killing professors.
"My husband was a professor at Baghdad University. One of his students was not doing well and he had to fail him for this year," said Salua Muhammad, 51. "He was killed on 26 July. His colleagues said the reason was that he failed a student who got upset and shot him at the door of the college."
The victim, Dr Barak Farouk, 58, is one of dozens of other professors who have been killed in similar circumstances, according to the Ministry of Higher Education. (...)
There are no reliable statistics on how many professors have left Iraq since the US-led coalition forces began occupying Iraq three years ago, but UPUI statistics show that more than 10,000 professionals in general, including doctors, have already gone.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
THE LONG MARCH: OPERATION IRAQI BUG-OUT QUIETLY BEGINS
British Leave Iraqi Base; Militia Supporters Jubilant (WP):
(See above "The withdrawal sparked wide-scale looting at the base…")
And so the grand retreat begins. Will Bush and his bootlicking warbloggers now denounce Tony Blair for "cutting and running?" Or will they call it a "masterstroke of strategic repositioning" - which is doubtless the kind of thing they will say if America's inevitable bug-out comes before the end of Bush's term.
If it happens afterwards,
of course, it will be a"shameful and cowardly defeat for American honor" or some such. Although the true shame is the cowardly refusal by the U.S. Establishment to acknowledge that Bush has committed a monstrous war crime in Iraq, permanently staining the nation's honor. But how many thousands of Iraqis and Americans will have to die before the hour of the inevitable comes round at last?
THE US IS PUSHING FOR CIVIL WAR IN IRAQ!
This was reported today in a Yahoo! article:
A statement by the General Command of the Armed Forces said Iraqi soldiers raided the Al-Sediq Sunni mosque...
Think about that. The "armed forces" that are largely tied to Shiite militias are raiding Sunni mosques.
In another related Yahoo! article the absurdity is apparent:
The Stryker Brigade troops are among 12,000 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers rushed to Baghdad this month in hopes of controlling attacks by insurgents loyal to Saddam and the sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites.
How can we pretend to claim we are trying to control "sectarian violence" by using sectarian militias to raid our adversary?
I am neither defending or excusing either side of this conflict. But there are lots of information that are missing about the "civil war," especially since the US claims to be trying to prevent it. I got at least two questions:
1) Why are we propping up the Shiite militias under the disguise of Iraqi Security Forces?
2) Of all the deaths being reported lately, what are the breakdown of sectarian divisions. What I am getting at is that thousands have died this summer and the handfull we read about are generally Shiites. Could the vast majority be Sunnis being targeted by the "militias"? This could help understand and/or explain (not justify) Sunni attacks against Shiites.
Also, from the first cited Yahoo! article:
On Thursday, U.S. officials confirmed that 2,625 roadside bombs - directed mostly against American or Iraqi forces - exploded or were discovered before detonation in July, a sharp rise compared to 1,454 bombs in January.
That fact is very telling. While there definitely is a "civil war" between the US-backed militias now in power and the Sunni majority, the majority of attacks are still against the occupiers and those who collaborate with the occupiers (namely the Shiite and Kuridsh "militias").
Our refusal to leave or have a rational reconciliation plan is what is keeping this war going, despite the fact that the vast majority of Iraqi's want us out now and that most recognize that we are not helping with security (the MoD poll from last year found that only 1% felt we were helping with security, while nearly half supported blowing us up and 82% wanted us to leave ASAP).
Prime Minister al-Maliki's reasonable offer was largely opposed by the US Congress and watered-down by the very Shiite militias (through their political wings in government) attacking Sunnis. Newsweek
reported about the "softened version":
At a press conference after the session, U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said, "I urge the insurgents to lay down their arms and join the democratic process." Without some form of amnesty, it's difficult to see how they would ever do that.
To summarize, we are not trying to prevent civil war. We are provoking it by taking sides, using Shiite "militias" (aka Iraqi Security Forces) to raid and attack Sunnis, and refusing to acknowledge the reality of this dirty war.
read in full...
IRAQI COURT SENTENCES PEOPLE TO BE BEHEADED?
I just saw this:
Iraqi court issues death sentences against nine in Najaf
BAGHDAD, Aug 22 (KUNA) -- An Iraqi court on Tuesday issued death sentences against nine people charged with terrorism, manslaughter and looting-related crimes in a number of towns.
A spokesman in the Central Criminal court in Najaf said that beheading sentences were issued against nine suspects who have been indicted while 18 others were given life sentences.
A judicial source told reporters that crimes in the governorate of Najaf have jumped during the past eight months compared to last year.
He said that nearly 407 crimes have been committed during the first eight month of 2006 compared with 447 crimes last year. (end) mhg.
Can anyone confirm that this was the sentence actually handed down?
Because if it is then there is nothing different between the Iraqi government and the Zarqawi terrorists who behead their victims or the US pilots who squash houses of civilians with their precision bombing.
Wow! Some democracy, huh? Iraq the Model indeed ... yet another testament to the great war of liberation which has pushed Iraq forward into the community of nations.
"WORLD TRADE CENTER": GREAT MOVIE, PITY ABOUT THE BIG LIE
Most of the controversy over World Trade Center
has focused on whether, as the fifth anniversary of the attacks approaches, it is still too soon for a cinematic depiction of these horrendous events. For some people, perhaps that may well be the case. I myself don't think it's too soon for such a film; but I do worry that, powerful and evocative as it is, it may, however inadvertently, only deepen waning support for the war in Iraq,
Despite the near flood of documentaries on the terrorist attacks heading toward the small screen this September, Stone's film, for many Americans, may end up being the definitive cinematic record of what it felt like to be inside the hellish cyclone known to them simply by the numbers "9/11".
To offer a faithful re-creation of that historical catastrophe, however, Stone owed viewers the whole truth, not merely a brilliant, graphic portrayal of what happened and how it affected the lives of some of those involved.
As it ends, a written postscript appears that describes what happened to the buried Port Authority policemen, their families, and the ex-marine who helped rescue them (whose last line is: "We're going to need some good men out there to revenge this").
We learn that the two men survived an unbearable number of surgeries and are living with their families. Next we read that the ex-marine rejoined and later did two tours of duty in Iraq. At that moment, I wanted to shout out, "Don't you mean Afghanistan?" Then I imagined the satisfaction Cheney and sore-loser Senator Joseph Lieberman would take in this not-quite-spelled-out linkage of September 11 and Iraq.
I kept waiting for what never came - even a note in the postscript reminding the audience of those who had actually committed the crime. This is where, by omission, Stone's film ends up reinforcing the Bush administration's Big Lie. You could easily have left the theater thinking that the saintly ex-marine had gone off to fight those who attacked the United States.
That evening, I wrote the words that should have appeared in the postscript: "Government officials later confirmed that the organization that plotted the destruction of the World Trade Center was al-Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, a Saudi, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian. Nineteen men executed the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Fifteen of them came from Saudi Arabia; the remaining four from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Lebanon. None of them came from Iraq." (…)
How could Stone leave it up to viewers to discover for themselves who committed this crime? And how could he leave the audience with the impression that there was a connection, as Cheney has never stopped saying, between September 11 and Iraq?
This is the tragic failure of Stone's World Trade Center.
It undercuts the historical value of the film and reinforces the Biggest Lie of the past five years, still believed by far too many Americans - that in Iraq, Americans are fighting those who attacked their country.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Four coalition and four Afghan soldiers have been wounded in separate explosions in the eastern and southern parts of the country
: A military spokesman says the coalition troops were wounded when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the Khogyani district of eastern Nangarhar province. No details of the soldiers' nationalities nor the extent of their wounds were given.
The Danish military leadership has withdrawn all of its troops from Musa Qala base in Afghanistan following massive attacks by Afghan rebels
, Copenhagen's Berlingske Tidende newspaper reported Friday. Many Danish soldiers had been injured - two seriously and several others slightly - in almost daily attacks since they occupied the base in the treacherous Helmand province on July 21, the newspaper reported.
INTO THE DARK
This column stands foursquare with the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, when he warns that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. We know, as does the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, that this statement is an incontrovertible fact, a matter of scientific certainty. And how can we and the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, be so sure that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large?
Because these attacks will be instigated at the order of the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense.
This astonishing admission was buried deep in a story which was itself submerged by mounds of gray newsprint and glossy underwear ads in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times
. There - in an article by military analyst William Arkin, detailing the vast expansion of the secret armies being massed by the former Nixon bureaucrat now lording it over the Pentagon - came the revelation of Rumsfeld's plan to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception." According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization - the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" - will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.
In other words - and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan - the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people - your family, your friends, your lovers, you - in order to further their geopolitical ambitions.
read in full...
MASS MURDER IN THE SKIES: WAS THE PLOT FEASIBLE?
Now we have news of the recent, supposedly real-world, terrorist plot to destroy commercial airplanes by smuggling onboard the benign precursors to a deadly explosive, and mixing up a batch of liquid death in the lavatories. So, The Register
has got to ask, were these guys for real, or have they, and the counterterrorist officials supposedly protecting us, been watching too many action movies?
Making a quantity of TATP [triacetone triperoxide, a high explosive that supposedly can be made from common household chemicals unlikely to be caught by airport screeners] sufficient to bring down an airplane is not quite as simple as ducking into the toilet and mixing two harmless liquids together. (…)
Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.
It's best to fly first class and order Champagne. The bucket full of ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be adequate - especially if you have those cold gel-packs handy to supplement the ice, and the Styrofoam chiller handy for insulation - to get you through the cookery without starting a fire in the lavvie.
Once the plane is over the ocean, very discreetly bring all of your gear into the toilet. You might need to make several trips to avoid drawing attention. Once your kit is in place, put a beaker containing the peroxide / acetone mixture into the ice water bath (Champagne bucket), and start adding the acid, drop by drop, while stirring constantly. Watch the reaction temperature carefully. The mixture will heat, and if it gets too hot, you'll end up with a weak explosive. In fact, if it gets really hot, you'll get a premature explosion possibly sufficient to kill you, but probably no one else.
After a few hours - assuming, by some miracle, that the fumes haven't overcome you or alerted passengers or the flight crew to your activities - you'll have a quantity of TATP with which to carry out your mission. Now all you need to do is dry it for an hour or two. (...)
So the fabled binary liquid explosive - that is, the sudden mixing of hydrogen peroxide and acetone with sulfuric acid to create a plane-killing explosion, is out of the question. Meanwhile, making TATP ahead of time carries a risk that the mission will fail due to premature detonation, although it is the only plausible approach.
Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy. (...)
But the Hollywood myth of binary liquid explosives now moves governments and drives public policy. We have reacted to a movie plot. Liquids are now banned in aircraft cabins (while crystalline white powders would be banned instead, if anyone in charge were serious about security). Nearly everything must now go into the hold, where adequate amounts of explosives can easily be detonated from the cabin with cell phones, which are generally not banned.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
:"This morning [the ‘terrorists’] fired on us during a patrol and I shot back. Now I have to pay for some bullets because I fired too many. It's an Interior Ministry rule. I just want to go back to my hometown." -- Ali Abdul Ghani, Iraqi police commando in Baghdad