DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2006
An Iraqi civilian tries to extinguish fire engulfing a heap of damaged cars, after a suicide car bomb attack, in Kirkuk, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday Sept. 17, 2006. A series of five bomb attacks including two suicide car bombings in the northern city of Kirkuk Sunday left more than 20 people dead and nearly 80 wounded, police said. (AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)
Police said Saturday they had recovered 48 bodies from across Baghdad
, bringing the toll of clandestine killings since Monday to at least 180 people -- most of them shot execution-style. (Update from yesterday's total.)
One Iraqi soldier killed and three injured by bomb allegedly placed in corpse.
Louise Roug of the LA Times also reports a second bomb, left in a bag near a downtown shopping area, killed one person and injured four others. A third bomb hit a police patrol in Zafarniya, killing three and injuring two.
A brother of one of Saddam's co-accused in the trial for genocide and crimes against humanity against Kurds in the 1980s was kidnapped from his Baghdad home on Friday, relatives and a defence lawyer said.
Reuters also reports:
- Two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in the northern Adhamiya district of Baghdad, police said.
- Two Iraqi soldiers and a civilian were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near an army patrol near al-Shaab national football stadium in central Baghdad, a source in the Ministry of Interior said.
- A total of 24 bodies, tortured and with a single shot to the head, were found in different areas of Baghdad during the last 24 hours, a Ministry of Interior source said.
North of Baghdad near Baqubah, a bomb hit a police patrol, killing three police officers and injuring a fourth.
On Sunday, rebel violence in Baghdad saw two Iraqi policemen killed when their patrol came under fire by unknown gunmen on the northern outskirts of the city, on the road to the town of Taji.
A local oil pipeline was sabotaged when a bomb was planted beneath it in the town of Balad, 80 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
In Tikrit, just north of Baghdad, police and witnesses described intense fighting involving rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
One witness, Salim Shammari, a 43-year-old taxi driver, said he watched four armed men attack the municipality building, guarded by American troops. "They shouted to everybody to leave the place," he said. Shammari said the rebels were well armed. "One of them said: 'We do not want any anybody to stay here,'" Shammari recalled. "We immediately ran away." Hiding in a house, he heard fierce shooting, he said. Police Lt. Saad Jabir confirmed that the firefight injured several people.
Series of attacks in Kirkuk kills 24, injures dozens
YAHYA BARZANJI, Associated Press Writer September 17, 2006
KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) - A series of attacks - including two suicide car bombings - in the northern city of Kirkuk Sunday killed 24 people and wounded dozens, police said. . . .The northern Kurdish area is the only existing federal region in Iraq. The Kurdish region is much more economically stable and peaceful than other parts of Iraq.
Just outside the region, a suicide truck bomb exploded in the morning in the center of Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad, killing 18 and wounding 55, police Brig. Sarhat Qadir said. A few hours later, a suicide car bomb rammed into a joint U.S.-Iraqi army patrol in the south of the city, killing at least three bystanders and wounding eight others, he said.
Two roadside bombs later targeted police patrols in separate parts of the city. One killed two civilians and wounded four, while the second wounded three civilians, Qadir said.
Shortly afterward, a parked car bomb exploded near the house of Sunni sheik Waasif al-Obeidi, killing one of his bodyguards and wounding two guards and six bystanders, Qadir said. Al-Obeidi was not in his house at the time.
In the afternoon, a parked car bomb exploded as a joint Iraqi police and army patrol passed by in southern Kirkuk, wounding two policemen and four soldiers, police Col. Burhan Tayib said.
In the truck suicide bombing, a gunman in the truck opened fire on civilians before the vehicle exploded near the city's criminal court and the headquarters of two main Kurdish political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Qadir said.
The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is run by Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, while the president of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, runs the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
UPDATE: AFP gives death toll in Kirkuk as 27
, further details on the targets and the extent of casualties. According to the AFP report, the suicide truck bomb attack targeted a police investigation center, rather than the Kurdish political parties. (This is a significant discrepancy which could lead to different conclusions about the motives of the perpetrators -- C
) AFP gives 65 injured in that attack.
Gunmen shot dead the body guard of Osama al-Najafi, a former minister of Industry and Minerals
In separate attacks, gunmen killed two former Baath party members and a former army brigadier.
In Fallujah, a roadside bomb detonated in the centre of the city, followed a few minutes later by a car bomb attack and a blast from an explosives-rigged motorcycle in separate areas of the city.
All three attacks targeted police patrols, said police Lt Mohammed Ismail. The attacks killed a total of four people, including two policemen, and wounded 10 others, including four policemen, he said. He would not provide details of which attack the casualties resulted from. Shortly afterward, a mortar round hit the area of a US and Iraqi police base in the centre of the city, and clashes erupted between gunmen and police nearby. Another mortar fell in an Iraqi army base in western Fallujah but did not cause any casualties, Ismail said.
As usual, thanks to Whisker for the assistance.
OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY
Russian Finance Minister announces agreement to write off Iraqi debt to Russia
. Pending technical negotiations, expectation is to reduce debt from $11 billion to $1 billion.
Iraqi government says it has arrested the Mufti an armed group responsible for killing more than one thousand citizens in the Al-Taji coast area. No information on what group they are talking about. "Mufti" means a spiritual guide or cleric who would have provided religious justification for the group's activities. Make of it what you will. -- C
NYT Reporters discuss lack of progress in eliminating Shiite militias from Iraqi police
Edward Wong, Paul von Zielbauer, New York Times
Sunday, September 17, 2006 (09-17) 04:00 PDT Baghdad -- Shiite militiamen and criminals are entrenched throughout Iraq's police and internal security forces and are blocking recent efforts by some Iraqi leaders and the U.S. military to root them out, a step critical to winning the trust of skeptical Sunni Arabs and quelling the sectarian conflict, Iraqi and Western officials say.
Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, who oversees the police, lacks the political support to purge many of the worst offenders, including senior managers who tolerated or encouraged the infiltration of Shiite militias into the police under the previous government, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials who work with the ministry and the police.
No one expected a housecleaning to be easy, and some headway has been made in firing people. But despite that progress, recent difficulties reveal the magnitude of the task facing al-Bolani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. When he took office in late May, al-Maliki said one of his top goals was to reform the Shiite-led Interior Ministry -- which had, to minority Sunni Arabs, become synonymous with government complicity in abduction, torture and killing.
The ministry recently discovered that more than 1,200 police officers and other employees had been convicted years ago of murder, rape and other violent crimes, said a Western diplomat who has close contact with the ministry. Some were even on death row. Few have been fired.
Despite the importance U.S. commanders place on hiring more Sunni Arabs for the overwhelmingly Shiite police force, the ministry still has no way to screen recruits by sect or for militia allegiance. Such loyalties are the root cause of the ministry's problems. A senior U.S. commander said that of the 27 paramilitary police battalions, "we think five or six battalions probably have leaders that have led that part of the organization in a way that is either criminal or sectarian or both." Death squads in uniforms could be responsible for the recent surge in sectarian violence, with at least 165 bodies found across Baghdad since Wednesday.
There is little accountability. The government has stopped allowing joint Iraqi and American teams to inspect Iraqi prisons. No senior ministry officials have been prosecuted on charges of detainee mistreatment, in spite of fresh discoveries of abuse and torture, including a little-reported case involving children packed into a prison of more than 1,400 inmates. Internal investigations into secret prisons, corruption and other potential criminal activity are often blocked.
Read in Full
Maliki again calls for national reconciliation
. Talk is cheap --- C
U.S.-sponsored Iraqi Army lacks independent logistics capability
REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press Writer
TAJI, Iraq -- Iraq has one of the world's largest oil reserves, but the Iraqi army can't get enough fuel for its tanks. It also can't get spare parts for its trucks or supply ammunition on its own. While the U.S. training program has made great progress teaching Iraqi soldiers how to fight, the force still relies on American help for distributing supplies -- a dependency that is another obstacle to sending U.S. troops home.
"Just because you stand up all the fighters, all the combat arms organizations, they're not self-sustaining until they have some form of a logistics system," said Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead, commander of the 3rd Corps Support Command. "It's not there yet."
As U.S. commanders worked the past three years to build Iraqi security forces, priority went to forming combat units capable of fighting Sunni Arab insurgents. The task of maintaining those troops was left to U.S.-led coalition forces -- who got Iraqis to their missions, gave them ammunition, fed them and, in many cases, even gave them their pay.
Even in areas where Iraqis have taken over security duties, they need help getting supplies from central and regional storage facilities. In volatile Anbar province, a hotbed of insurgents, it has been especially challenging for the Iraqis to keep troops supplied with food and water.
So there is now an emphasis on building an effective Iraqi logistics operation. Of the roughly 120,000 Iraqi soldiers, about 10 percent to 15 percent are involved in supply-related activities, said Maj. Gerald Ostlund, a coalition spokesman. By contrast, for every combat soldier in American and other foreign contingents, there are three performing support or logistics roles, U.S. officials say.
Read in Full
U.S. has imprisoned AP photographer for 5 months without charges
By ROBERT TANNER, AP National writer
The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.
Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system. Hussein, 35, is a native of Fallujah who began work for the AP in September 2004. He photographed events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained on April 12 of this year.
"We want the rule of law to prevail. He either needs to be charged or released. Indefinite detention is not acceptable," said Tom Curley, AP's president and chief executive officer. "We've come to the conclusion that this is unacceptable under Iraqi law, or Geneva Conventions, or any military procedure."
Hussein is one of an estimated 14,000 people detained by the U.S. military worldwide — 13,000 of them in Iraq. They are held in limbo where few are ever charged with a specific crime or given a chance before any court or tribunal to argue for their freedom. In Hussein's case, the military has not provided any concrete evidence to back up the vague allegations they have raised about him, Curley and other AP executives said.
Read in Full Seen any pictures from Fallujah or Ramadi lately? -- C
No surprise, Sunni leaders are not enthusiastic about the Baghdad security plan
. Brig. Gen. in the police blames Baathists and al Qaeda for the bodies littering the streets, Sunnis blame Shiite "security" forces.
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. BAGHDAD, Sept. 16 — Dozens more bodies have been discovered in Baghdad in the past two days, bringing the four-day total to at least 165 and prompting some Sunni Arab leaders to raise new questions about the recent security operation intended take back Baghdad from the insurgents, deaths squads and militias who have been waging sectarian warfare.
“If the result of the security plan is an increase in bodies and killings according to their identification, I think it moves toward a catastrophe,” said Dhafir al-Ani, a senior member of the main Sunni Arab political bloc in Parliament.
At least 21 bodies were discovered throughout the capital on Saturday after 35 were found Friday, Iraqi police officials said. Most of those bodies were found between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday, according to an Interior Ministry official. He said many victims had clear signs of torture or had been blindfolded, gagged or shot in the head at close range.
On Thursday, the senior American military spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, said scores of mutilated bodies found in the middle of the week appeared to be “from murder execution-style type activity.” He said the rise in killings was occurring in parts of Baghdad where American forces had not swept through as part of the new security push.
A senior Iraqi police spokesman, Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, said in an interview on Saturday that the bodies discovered over the past two days were being found “all over Baghdad.” He blamed “insurgents, Al Qaeda, and groups related to the Baath Party.” These perpetrators, he said, “know how to kill and how to torture.”
Yet Sunni Arab leaders have voiced increasing concern that the Iraqi government has failed to crack down on death squads linked to Shiite militias that have run rampant since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra in February unleashed a wave of sectarian violence.
“The government should be brave this time and work seriously to end the militias that now work freely” throughout the capital, Mr. Ani said in an interview on Saturday. Many people who are killed are not identified, or the government never announces their names, he said, adding, “The real number of the people who are killed is more than what is announced.”
UK Ministry of Defence criticized for using unapproved drug on wounded soldiers
. I'm afraid I don't know enough about this to state an opinion. It's a drug to enhance blood clotting, which stops bleeding but can cause heart attacks. They're using it in desperate circumstances, which may be justifiable. I'll try to get more info -- C
Robert Fisk writes that a new U.S. military creed is associated with spate of atrocities
By Robert Fisk
09/16/06 "The Independent" -- -- In the week that George Bush took to fantasising that his blood-soaked "war on terror" would lead the 21st century into a "shining age of human liberty" I went through my mail bag to find a frightening letter addressed to me by an American veteran whose son is serving as a lieutenant colonel and medical doctor with US forces in Baghdad. Put simply, my American friend believes the change of military creed under the Bush administration--from that of "soldier" to that of "warrior"--is encouraging American troops to commit atrocities.
From Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo to Bagram, to the battlefields of Iraq and to the "black" prisons of the CIA, humiliation and beatings, rape, anal rape and murder have now become so commonplace that each new outrage is creeping into the inside pages of our newspapers. My reporting notebooks are full of Afghan and Iraqi complaints of torture and beatings from August 2002, and then from 2003 to the present point. How, I keep asking myself, did this happen? Obviously, the trail leads to the top. But where did this cult of cruelty begin?
So first, here's the official US Army "Soldier's Creed", originally drawn up to prevent anymore Vietnam atrocities:
"I am an American soldier.
I am a member of the United States Army--a protector of the greatest nation on earth. Because I am proud of the uniform I wear, I will always act in ways creditable to the military service and the nation that it is sworn to guard ...
No matter what situation I am in, I will never do anything for pleasure, profit or personal safety, which will disgrace my uniform, my unit or my country.
I will use every means I have, even beyond the line of duty, to restrain my Army comrades from actions, disgraceful to themselves and the uniform.
I am proud of my country and it's flag.
I will try to make the people of this nation proud of the service I represent for I am an American soldier."
Now here's the new version of what is called the "Warrior Ethos":
I am an American soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the Unites States and live the Army values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American soldier.
Like most Europeans--and an awful lot of Americans--I was quite unaware of this ferocious "code" for US armed forces, although it's not hard to see how it fits in with Bush's rantings. I'm tempted to point this out in detail, but my American veteran did so with such eloquence in his letter to me that the response should come in his words: "The Warrior Creed," he wrote, "allows no end to any conflict accept total destruction of the 'enemy'. It allows no defeat ... and does not allow one ever to stop fighting (lending itself to the idea of the 'long war'). It says nothing about following orders, it says nothing about obeying laws or showing restraint. It says nothing about dishonourable actions ...".
Read in Full Are there any active or recently discharged members of the U.S. Army who can comment on this? -- C
Highlights from Whisker's Roundup of the Wounded
Just three today - but there are plenty more where these came from -- C
Army Spc. Richard S. Yarosh, 24, was "severely injured" during a tank explosion in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sept. 1, said Karen Bixby, a friend of the family. Yarosh is a cavalry scout in the 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Bixby did not give details of Yarosh's injuries
Lance Cpl. Corey Smith, 19, of Luna Pier, who lost his left foot and sustained shrapnel injures to both his legs, buttocks, ear, and stomach in Iraq, still wants to return to service in the war-torn country.
A mortar attack outside Ramadi caused the injuries that led doctors to amputate Corporal Smith's left foot about four inches above the ankle.
Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremiah J. Hill, home on leave recovering from injuries suffered when his humvee was blown up in Iraq on July 14, will be honored at 6:45 p.m. Friday at Struthers High School stadium before the Struthers-Poland football game.
Jeremiah did not lose any limbs or suffer shrapnel wounds when a powerful improvised explosive device exploded about 1 1/2 feet from the driver's side door of the humvee that he was driving as part of a convoy. However, he and the other two Marines in the vehicle suffered severe concussions. Jeremiah also has some hearing loss as a result of the explosion, and his body is still sore. Note: Many troops who have suffered severe concussions as a result of explosions have brain damage that may not be immediately obvious but which results in substantial long-term occupational and social impairment. Often, the reason for personality changes, difficulty concentrating, angry outbursts, etc., goes unrecognized. -- C
Quote of the Day
Lest We Forget
15 September 2002: A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure 'regime change' even before he took power in January 2001.
The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a 'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
The plan shows Bush's cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: 'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'
-- Neil Mackay