Saturday, September 30, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, September 30, 2006 The shadow of an Iraqi cyclist cast on a pool of blood in central Baghdad. (AFP Photo) The detained guard of a prominent Sunni politician is suspected of planning a major suicide car bomb attack inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, the U.S. military said Saturday. Khudhir Farhan was taken into custody Friday at the home of Adnan al-Dulaimi, the head of the largest Sunni bloc in parliament, al-Dulaimi told The Associated Press. "The detained individual is suspected of involvement in the planning of a multi-vehicle suicide operation inside Baghdad's International Zone," the U.S. military said in a statement. "Anyhow, they are only suspicions about his involvement, which have not been proved," al-Dulaimi said. Baghdad authorities banned all pedestrian and road traffic from the city. Civilian flights to and from Baghdad airport were halted during the curfew, which was due to last until 6:00 am (0200GMT) on Sunday, officials said Saturday. Occasional cars with security clearance could be seen moving cautiously through deserted streets, while a column of US army Stryker armoured vehicles rolled over a bridge across the Tigris into the downtown Risafa district.
Although no explanation was given for the curfew, residents of the Adamiya neighbourhood in the north of the capital said they heard gunfire and explosions near dusk on Friday. Police reported heavy fighting through the night in the southern flashpoint neighbourhood of Dura where Turki Abdel Jabbar al-Taif, one of the leaders of the powerful Sunni Marsumi tribe, was shot dead on Saturday.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Baghdad police found six corpses today in the eastern section of the capital. A mortar round landed in the south-eastern part of Baghdad, killing five people, including two children and their mother, while injuring another six. Karbala: Gunmen stormed an Iraqi army battalion headquarters, freeing five suspected criminals held there. Unknown gunmen broke into the police Academy headquarters in northern Karbala and released three Iraqi prisoners and soon escaped the scene. The gunmen wore police uniforms and drove cars similar to those used by police. Baqubah: Gunmen opened fire in the center of a market, killing a man and his two sons in attacks in and around the city of Baquba, 60 kilometers north of Baghdad. Two Iraqi policemen were shot dead when armed men attacked their patrol north-east of Baquba. Two civilians were killed in violence west of the Baquba while another was killed in the north. It was not clear how these three were killed. 91 persons were arrested, among them an Egyptian and a member of the ousted Saddam's Baath party. Police said they confiscated a large numbers of arms in the raid. Basra: The governor of Iraq's second city of Basra accused police officers of trying to kill him on Saturday after he survived an ambush on his motorcade in which three bodyguards were wounded. "Gunmen in police uniform and others in civilian clothes tried to assassinate me. I know who they are and am going to go after them legally," Mohammed al-Waeli told reporters after the attack. "They are a group of officers in the Major Crimes Department." Iskandrayia: A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded four in Iskanderiya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad. Hilla: Gunmen abducted and killed a translator for U.S. troops south of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad. Gunmen killed a man who had been working as an interpreter for the US military in an area about 60 miles south of Baghdad. Malik Jebbar was an Iraqi citizen working for the US. Mosul: Iraqi police chief Brigadier Wetheq Al-Hamdani escaped an assassination attempt in which a remote-controlled explosive device targeted his convoy in Mosul. A senior official said the explosion slightly wounded a policeman and that the terrorist was arrested. Kirkuk: An Iraqi police officer and his wife were wounded along with four Iraqi civilians during a car explosion targeting the house of the officer in Kirkuk in Northern Iraq. A source in the Iraqi police in Kirkuk told KUNA that a booby-trapped vehicle blew up outside the house of Colonel Jamal Kamal during which he and his wife were wounded along with four other citizens. Several neighboring homes were also damaged. A car bomb exploded in front of a police colonel's house in Kirkuk wounding 10 people. Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a company manager while he was leaving work in northern Kirkuk and the victim sustained serious injuries. Tal Afar: Police opened fire on a suspected car bomber in Tal Afar, north-west of Baghdad. The vehicle detonated, killing two and wounding 30 others. Taji: (previously unreported death) Pfc. Christopher T. Blaney, 19, of Winter Park, Fla., died in Taji, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident on Sept. 29. Blaney was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. >> NEWS The White House also grappled this week with questions raised by a new book, "State of Denial," by journalist Bob Woodward, who claims Bush resisted demands to boost U.S. troops in Iraq and was misleading Americans about the level of violence there. The book by the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter who helped break the Watergate scandal in the 1970s went on sale on Saturday, two days ahead of schedule. The United States has reportedly warned Iraqi leaders that it may have to cut financial aid to Iraqi police because of a US law that prohibits the financing of foreign security forces that commit gross violations of human rights unpunished. The New York Times said the US Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said in an interview that "at this point" Iraq had not been formally notified that its national police were in violation of the legislation, known as the Leahy Law. UK Defence Secretary denied that senior military commanders have urged the government to switch troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. [Des] Browne scotched a newspaper report Friday claiming that officers wanted to see a swift drop in the 7,500 soldiers in Iraq to help the 5,000 troops battling resurgent Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The Guardian said that commanders wanted an "early and significant cut" to soldier numbers in Iraq, where British forces patrol the south of the country around the second city of Basra. >> REPORTS It may take decades to change anti-American feelings around the world that have been aggravated by war in Iraq, U.S. policy toward Israel and America's "sex and violence" culture, the State Department official in charge of dealing with the U.S. image abroad said Thursday. "The anti-Americanism, the concern around the world ... this ideological struggle, it's not going to change" quickly, Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes said in an interview with the Associated Press. "It's going to be the work of years and maybe decades." A June poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that America's image in 15 nations dropped sharply in 2006. According to that poll, America's continued involvement in Iraq was seen as a worse problem than Iran and its nuclear ambitions. >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS US TROOPS REACHING BREAKING POINT IN IRAQ Iraq is devouring resources at an unprecedented pace and producing nothing in return. There's no more "happy talk" from officials in the Bush administration about how "Iraq will pay for itself" through oil revenues as Paul Wolfowitz foolishly stated prior to the invasion. Iraq has become a black-hole swallowing up boatloads of cash that otherwise would have been earmarked for education, health care, infrastructure and security. The war is bankrupting the nation while grooming the next generation's terrorists. This is the very definition of failure. The Iraqi mission is not only over-budget but overextended. The cracks and fissures in the military are quickly becoming gaping holes. The Army and Marines are trying to find creative ways to put more boots on the ground, but their only option is to increase deployments to the theatre. Some of the troops are presently on their 4th tour of duty and it is likely that even more of the National Guard will be called up, leaving the country vulnerable to terrorist attack or natural disaster. The Washington Times reports that "The increased demand for troops comes at a time when military analysts say it is stressed to the breaking point....Non-deployed combat brigades are experiencing low-readiness ratings due mostly to lack of usable weapons and equipment. The wear and tear in Iraq is ruining M1A1 tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, Humvees and other equipment at such a fast pace that the Army has neither the money nor the industrial base to replace them." The military is in a shambles and headed for a calamity. America's enemies should be thrilled that Don Rumsfeld is still overseeing all operations in Iraq. His incompetence is only matched by his astonishing inability to learn from his mistakes. It's plain that America will not prevail with Rumsfeld in command. Overextended, over-budgeted and mismanaged, the war in Iraq is foundering and the war on terror has been exposed as a fraud. (the NIE report) There is no good news from Iraq. It's all bad. The magnitude of America's defeat is becoming clearer and clearer with each passing day. Rumsfeld's cheery propaganda campaign has fallen on hard times and will have no effect on the wars' final outcome. The problem is the policy; it is untenable and will require a thorough overhaul. We should expect to see dramatic changes following the elections. The Iraq Survey Group, steered by committee-chair and Bush family friend James Baker, will release their findings right after the November balloting. Judging by their guarded comments, big changes are ahead. Perhaps, the troops will move to the perimeter and let the Iraqis kill each other in a full-blown civil war. Whatever transpires, the first phase of the Iraqi fiasco is nearly over. read in full... IRAQIS DON'T WANT DESTRUCTIVE "U.S. DEMOCRACY" A recent poll conducted by the University of Maryland shows that the majority of the Iraqi public wants the U.S. troops out of their country within one year. (...) Just across the board, in the last three or four weeks, we've had eight or 10 of the most important Iraqi leaders come through town," the Brookings Institution's Ken Pollack argued. "And what every single one of them has said, it has been the leitmotif [theme] of every word out of their mouth, is you cannot leave us. If you leave us, the country is absolutely going to come apart at the seams." "What the poll demonstrates is the radically different perspective of the people on the streets, whose feeling is, 'our lives are miserable now and you Americans clearly aren't doing anything for us, so why don't you get out? Maybe if you get out, maybe things will improve," Pollack said. (...) U.S. Occupation Authority, backed by Iraqi officials routinely make big promises to the devastated civilian population whenever an Iraqi town or village is damaged in any of those "noble" invasions aimed at crushing "terrorists". Pledges include rebuilding the destroyed cities and paying families of the victims who had been either killed or wounded in U.S. attacks. Also numerous articles published by local media speak about amounts of money already earmarked for the "noble" purpose. $25 million was allocated to the city of Samarra, after it had been destroyed in the massive U.S. offensive in the city in October, 2004. According to residents, U.S. forces continue bombing the city and there has been no trace of the money. Mr. Abu Rihab says his house had been destroyed in one of the U.S. raids on the city, adding that the damage costs $300,000._Abu Rihab has so far received nothing. "U.S. warplanes struck my home, destroyed my house and two cars as well as my store, which sells air-conditioning equipment. I have a right to compensation, since I had nothing to do with the so-called mujahedeen or resistance," he says. In neighborhood of al-Jibriya, Mohammed Nadeem's life has been turned into a tragedy as a result of the U.S. indiscriminate bombardment of the area. "U.S. warplanes bombarded my sister's home. The bombing turned the house into a heap of debris. We had to dig up the corpses of my sister, her husband and three children from the ruins. We have submitted several applications for compensation, but to no avail," Nadeem said. These are among many other stories revealing the extent of mistrust Iraqis now harbor for the U.S. occupiers. read in full... GEORGE BUSH'S IRAQ IN 21 QUESTIONS So what exactly does "victory" in George Bush's Iraq look like 1,288 days after the invasion of that country began with a "shock-and-awe" attack on downtown Baghdad? A surprising amount of information related to this has appeared in the press in recent weeks, but in purely scattershot form. Here, it's all brought together in 21 questions (and answers) that add up to a grim but realistic snapshot of Bush's Iraq. The attempt to reclaim the capital, dipped in a sea of blood in recent months -- or the "battle of Baghdad," as the administration likes to term it -- is now the center of administration military strategy and operations. So let's start with this question: How many freelance militias are there in Baghdad? The answer is "23" according to a "senior [U.S.] military official" in Baghdad -- so write Richard A. Oppel, Jr. and Hosham Hussein in the New York Times; but, according to National Public Radio, the answer is "at least 23." Antonio Castaneda of the Associated Press says that there are 23 "known" militias. However you figure it, that's a staggering number of militias, mainly Shiite but some Sunni, for one large city. (...) How many American and Iraqi troops and police are now trying to regain control of the capital and suppress the raging violence there? 15,000 U.S. troops, 9,000 Iraqi army soldiers, 12,000 Iraqi national police and 22,000 local police, according to the commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. James Thurman -- and yet the mayhem in that city has barely been checked at all. How many Iraqi soldiers are missing from the American campaign in Baghdad? Six Iraqi battalions or 3,000 troops, again according to General Thurman, who requested them from the Iraqi government. These turn out to be Shiite troops from other provinces who have refused orders to be transferred from their home areas to Baghdad. In the capital itself, American troops are reported to be deeply dissatisfied with their Iraqi allies. ("Some U.S. soldiers say the Iraqis serving alongside them are among the worst they've ever seen -- seeming more loyal to militias than the government.") (...) How much of Bush's Iraq can now be covered by Western journalists? Approximately 2%, according to New York Times journalist Dexter Filkins, now back from Baghdad on a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. Filkins claims that "98 percent of Iraq, and even most of Baghdad, has now become 'off-limits' for Western journalists." There are, he says, many situations in Iraq "even too dangerous for Iraqi reporters to report on." (Such journalists, working for Western news outlets, "live in constant fear of their association with the newspaper being exposed, which could cost them their lives. 'Most of the Iraqis who work for us don't even tell their families that they work for us,' said Filkins.") (...) How many speeches has George W. Bush made in the last month extolling his War on Terror and its Iraqi "central front"? 6 so far, not including press conferences, comments made while greeting foreign leaders, and the like: to the American Legion National Convention on August 31, in a radio address to the American people on September 2, in a speech on his Global War on Terror to the Military Officers Association on September 5, in a speech on "progress" in the Global War on Terror before the Georgia Public Policy Foundation on September 7, in a TV address to the nation memorializing September 11, and in a speech to the UN on September 19. read in full... DEPLETED URANIUM - FAR WORSE THAN 9/11 In 1979, depleted uranium (DU) particles escaped from the National Lead Industries factory near Albany, N.Y.,which was manufacturing DU weapons for the U.S military. The particles traveled 26 miles and were discovered in a laboratory filter by Dr. Leonard Dietz, a nuclear physicist. This discovery led to a shut down of the factory in 1980, for releasing morethan 0.85 pounds of DU dust into the atmosphere every month, and involved a cleanup of contaminated properties costing over 100 million dollars. Imagine a far worse scenario. Terrorists acquire a million pounds of the deadly dust and scatter it in populated areas throughout the U.S. Hundreds of children report symptoms. Many acquire cancer and leukemia, suffering an early and painful death. Huge increases in severe birth defects are reported. Oncologists are overwhelmed. Soccer fields, sand lots and parks, traditional play areas for kids, are no longer safe. People lose their most basic freedom, the ability to go outside and safely breathe. Sounds worse than 9/11? Welcome to Iraq and Afghanistan. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: A suicide bomber detonated himself next to Afghanistan's Interior Ministry on Saturday, killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 40, an official said. The Interior Ministry spokesman, Zemeri Bashary, said 12 people were killed, including two policemen, and that 42 were injured. Today to hours 12,30, the Caporal Greater Cardella Vincenzo is passed awaynear the Unit of Intensive Therapy of the Military Policlinico of the "Celio" where it had been ricoverato in serious conditions as a result of the attack happened near Kabul the 26 september. (Google translation from Italian) MILITARY POLICY IN AFGHANISTAN 'BARKING MAD' There have been critics enough of the US-led military actions under way in Afghanistan, but now military commanders, too, have begun to question just what they are doing in Afghanistan. Most prominently, an officer who was an aide to the British forces in Helmand, the southern district of Afghanistan that has witnessed the strongest fighting between the Taliban and international forces, has come out with strong criticism of the British army in Afghanistan - and quit the army. Captain Leo Docherty said the British campaign in Helmand province was "a textbook case of how to screw up a counterinsurgency". His statements came in an open letter that was reported in the British media - but not followed up in much public debate. The officer raised the fundamental question of the development of Afghanistan arising from the campaign to capture Sangin town in Helmand, a military campaign in which he participated. Docherty says British troops managed to capture the Taliban stronghold, but then had nothing to offer by way of development. "The military is just one side of the triangle," he said. "Where were the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office?" As forces sat back with little to offer, the Taliban hit back and British troops there were bunkered up and under daily attack, he wrote. "Now the ground has been lost and all we're doing in places like Sangin is surviving," said Docherty. "It's completely barking mad." read in full... DETAINEE BILL AND THE DAWNING OF A FASCIST AMERICA As Steve Douglas notes, "the Schmittian drives for the arrogation of all power into the hands of a 'unitary executive' Presidential dictatorship," in the case of both Hitler and Bush, are "essentially, identical." In the wake of the Reichstag fire in early 1933, blamed on the Comintern, Hitler and the Nazis, with "the support of a terrified populace ... suspended civil rights and civil liberties, fattened their war machine and rode the fascist tide into a full-blown dictatorship," writes Harvey Wasserman. After the Reichstag fire, Paul von Hindenburg signed the fateful emergency decree, thus providing Hitler's SA and SS with the legality required to round up the opposition and throw them in makeshift concentration camps run by local Gauleiters and SA leaders. "The rest, as they say, is history," notes Wasserman. Bush, or rather his neocons, who subscribe to the Schmittian drive "for the arrogation of all power into the hands of a 'unitary executive' Presidential dictatorship," have their own gesetzvertretende Verordnungen or "law-substituting decrees," or rather Constitution-substituting decrees, in particular scrubbing the Fourteenth Amendment. "The military trials bill approved by Congress lends legislative support for the first time to broad rules for the detention, interrogation, prosecution and trials of terrorism suspects far different from those in the familiar American criminal justice system," explains the Washington Post. "President Bush's argument that the government requires extraordinary power to respond to the unusual threat of terrorism helped him win final support for a system of military trials with highly truncated defendant's rights.... Included in the bill, passed by Republican majorities in the Senate yesterday and the House on Wednesday are unique rules that bar terrorism suspects from challenging their detention or treatment through traditional habeas corpus petitions. They allow prosecutors, under certain conditions, to use evidence collected through hearsay or coercion to seek criminal convictions." Naturally, we are told this "arrogation of all power into the hands" of the unitary decider will apply only to "foreign nationals," that is to say Muslims. Hitler said much the same. The enemies of the fatherland were foreigners-and their German fellow travelers-members of the comintern (communist international), Hitler declared, and such subversion required austere measures, including interning thousands in concentration camps, subjecting them to interrogation, torture, and summary execution. read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I don't know which is more bothersome - the entire city of Baghdad being locked down, or the thought that someone could pull off a car bombing inside the Green Zone." -- from Freedom's On The March! Oh, Wait... by Stranger in Blah3


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