Saturday, October 14, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SATURDAY, October 14, 2005 SHAOLA, March 28, 2003_An eight-year-old girl, killed in a US bombing raid, is washed for burial. (Kael Alford) (from the Photo Essay: Unembedded in Iraq: The human face of a war-ravaged country Kael Alford et al., Mother Jones) In a battle in the northern city of Mosul, Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops killed 10 insurgents and detained at least 50 Thursday night, a police official said, adding that a police officer was also killed. The U.S. military said a dozen insurgents were killed in several incidents, and 12 coalition soldiers and five security forces were wounded. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Two bombs exploded in a parking lot in the Rasheed district in central Baghdad, killing one person and injuring four others. The bombs, hidden in a pair of parked cars, set other cars and a nearby building aflame. A journalist working for government-run TV was killed in a drive-by shooting in southern Baghdad. Raed Qais al-Shammari, a technician with the al-Iraqiya station, had been standing near his home talking with a friend when he was shot by an unidentified gunman from a car in the Dora neighborhood. Iraqi police found 25 unidentified bodies in different parts of Baghdad during the past 24 hours, a police source said on Saturday. "Our patrols found 25 bodies during the past 24 hours in several Baghdad's neighborhoods," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. Two members of the National Police were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in Baghdad. Diyala Prv: The Iraqi army reported that six gunmen and a female bystander were killed during a clash with US and Iraqi forces southwest of the provincial capital of Baquba in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. Baqubah: Two civilians were killed by gunmen in Baquba. Gunmen killed four people in three separate incidents in Baquba. al-Rasoul: Seven people were killed in a mortar attack near Baqouba. Five others were injured in the attack on the village of al-Rasoul. Khalis: A police officer was killed and another was wounded when gunmen attacked a police patrol in Khalis north of Baquba. Dinwaniyah: Unidentified gunmen driving by in a car killed teacher Mohammed Muhsin al-Marmadhi as he was leaving his home in Diwaniyah, 80 miles south of Baghdad. Khan Bani Saad: A battle between Iraqi soldiers and insurgents left six people wounded in Khan Bani Saad south of Baquba. Saifiyah: Gunmen attacked a farmhouse in Saifiyah and killed an entire family, including five women and three children. Mahmoudiya: A family of four were killed in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, by unidentified assailants dressed in military-style uniforms who stormed into their house around dawn. Duluiyah: Authorities found the decapitated corpses of seven people. The decapitated bodies were found late Friday in an orchard in the city of Duluiyah, 45 miles north of Baghdad. Three had been among a group of 17 construction workers kidnapped Thursday while traveling home to the predominantly Shiite town of Balad, police said. The corpses of the other 14 workers were found earlier Friday, also all beheaded. Suwayrah: The bodies of two unidentified men were fished from the Tigris river in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad. Four bodies, all lacking their heads were fished out of the Tigris river in the village of Suweira just downstream from the capital. Amara: A Baathist official with the former regime of Saddam Hussein was dragged from his house on Saturday morning by gunmen in the southern city of Amara. His body was later found near the bus station. Balad: Iraqi police patrols found 26 bodies scattered in different parts of the town of Balad, some 80 km north of Baghdad. The bullet-ridden bodies were all bound. Samarra: A shopkeeper was shot dead in the central city of Samarra. Hawija: Three policemen were wounded when two mortar rounds hit their building near the town of Hawija southwest of the northern city of Kirkuk. >> NEWS As the security situation in Baghdad has deteriorated over the past month, there has been growing talk among Iraqi politicians about a "government of national salvation" - a coup, in effect - that would impose martial law throughout the country. This coup talk is probably unrealistic, but it illustrates the rising desperation among Iraqis as the country slips deeper into civil war. The coup rumors come from several directions. U.S. officials have received reports that a prominent Sunni politician, Salah Mutlak, visited Arab capitals over the summer and promoted the idea of a national-salvation government and suggested, erroneously, that it would have American support. Meanwhile, top officials of the Iraqi intelligence service have discussed a plan in which Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would step aside in favor of a five-man ruling commission that would suspend Parliament, declare martial law and call back some officers of the old Iraqi army. The ministry in charge of Iraq's police force will change top commanders and has already fired some 3,000 employees accused of corruption or rights abuses, a spokesman said Saturday. >> REPORTS Iraq has resumed exports of crude oil to the Turkish port of Ceyhan after an interruption of several months, according to an official of Iraq's Northern Oil Company (NOC). This good news for Iraq's troubled oil industry came, however, as the largest refinery in the country was shut down for the fourth day running due to a lack of electricity Saturday. "After several months of interruption, pumping resumed permanently following intermittent and irregular pumping over the past month," said the NOC company executive, who asked not be identified for his own safety. The interruption, stemmed from continuous attacks on the pipelines, problems with the storage facilities in Ceyhan and general deterioration of the pipelines due to age. The US military may soon be able to communicate better with Iraqis in their own language, thanks to technology developed by IBM that quickly translates spoken English into Iraqi Arabic. The technology could help the military overcome a major hurdle in Iraq, which is the inability of most soldiers to speak Arabic beyond basic phrases, and a shortage of interpreters, International Business Machines Corp and military officials said. [Anything but teach soldiers the language of the invaded country! -- zig] IBM says it has delivered 35 notebook computers with the voice recognition software to be initially used by medical personnel, US Special Operations forces and the US Marine Corps. It will be used to ease communication in medical situations and with Iraqi security forces and citizens. For now, however, it will not be used in combat or conflict situations that require split-second communications and decision-making, according to IBM. VIDEO: ANOTHER ROCKET IN BAGHDAD - 10.10.2006 Mortar and rocket attacks have become more and more common in Baghdad. They have even started to seem like the weapon of choice in the growing conflict between Iraq's militias. Today's story is the second such event Alive in Baghdad has reported on in recent weeks. Um Basheer lives in a home near AiB correspondent Omar Abdullah. When her home was struck in the middle of the night, he rushed to the scene to bring you this story. link >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS A LIVE OPTION FOR IRAQ On his blog, journalist Robert Dreyfuss responded today to the Ignatius column by saying, "My sources (Iraqi ones, and not pro-Iraqi government) are telling me that a coup d'etat is a live option for Iraq. I'm hearing the same thing from U.S. sources." A week ago, Dreyfuss offered a roundup of hints that the Bushites are indeed grappling with this temptation, between barely-veiled frustration at Maliki's failure to crack down on quasi-official death squads and repeated claims that something dramatic needs to happen by early December:
According to recent reports, the United States appears to have given Maliki a deadline: two months. . . . Vice President Dick Cheney and the battered coterie of neocons might see toppling Maliki as their one last chance to salvage the U.S. enterprise in Iraq.
By the "U.S. enterprise," Dreyfuss of course means not the mission to build an Arab democracy, but installing a government more friendly to American corporations interests. Dreyfuss quotes the recent comment by Republican senator John Warner in the Washington Post:
"I assure you, in two or three months, if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function, I think it's a responsibility of our government internally to determine: Is there a change of course that we should take?" Warner said. "And I wouldn't take off the table any option at this time."
Dreyfuss notes, "By 'any option,' I'm assuming Warner means withdrawal. Others, like Cheney, might see it differently." The madness of contemplating a coup, though, is that the same Shiite religious hierarchy which swept Allawi out of power through general elections in January 2005 has feared such a coup as their nightmare scenario all along, and so would almost instantly call for a popular uprising that would put the U.S. in helicopters-on-rooftops departure mode. read in full... HOW BAD WAS THAT AMMO DUMP FIRE? On Tuesday, Monkeyfister posted a BBC story about the ammo dump fire at a forward base outside of Baghdad, and at the time it seemed pretty bad. It was confirmed that an enemy attack was the cause of this explosion. It was also confirmed that the explosions and resulting fires lasted no less than 13 straight hours, with the fires burning at least twice as long thereafter. We knew that before the blasts, this heavily protected camp and depot held more than 5,000 US troops. Since the day it happened, there have been no stories about the incident in the US media. No casualty reports, no news on how they'll replace the munitions, no damage reports on the base. Nothing. And no one in the US corporate media has even seen fit to ask about it. Just how bad was that ammo dump fire? Anyone? Beuller? link THE GATES OF HELL HAVE JUST SWUNG WIDE OPEN? WELL SO WHAT? Today's posting in the occasional series of guest postings is from "Badger" of Missing Links. He covers the explosive vote engineered by Al-Hakim in the Iraqi parliament for "federalism." This is a major story. The consequences of that vote are likely to be disastrous not only for Iraq, not only for the Middle East in general, but also for the circa 140,000 American dead men walking hostages to fortune future body bag occupants service men and women in Iraq. I'm sure it won't be a surprise to my readers that it hasn't been covered either widely or well in the western press. The gates of hell have just swung wide open? Well so what? No missing blondes in a Caribean resort? No pre-greased pages being preyed upon by Republican congressmen? No little fluffy bunnies? None of those? Oh well then it's back page news for most. read in full... DEATH SQUAD TACTIC IS ABSOLUTELY CHARACTERISTIC OF EVERY US INTERVENTION... We are in the midst of an appalling situation in Iraq. We are told that it is the product of one error after another. But no, it is really the natural and predictable result of one crime piled upon another. When we hear news like we are hearing this morning: 60 murder victims found across Baghdad, we cannot forget the absolutely arrogant, open discussion here in Washington of some months back of the US need for a "Salvadorean option" in Iraq to deal with the resistance. That phrase of course being the code words for the death squads we now find so evident over there. It would appear that the US were successful in creating death squads within the puppet police and military forces. Perhaps, and I cannot know for sure, they are not equally successful in keeping them under command and control. . We must also remember the accidental capture by the puppet police of two British secret service types dressed in Arab clothing, driving a car loaded with explosives. It then became necessary for the British military to "rescue" these guys from the Iraqi police station in Basra. We must ask the obvious question: How much of this has been done? And by what US agencies along with the British? In any event, the occupation authorities, the USA, have the ultimate responsibility for securing the safety of the population, and this responsibility they have themselves sabotaged. Deliberately and maliciously. This death squad tactic is one which has been absolutely characteristic of EVERY modern US intervention and is certainly familiar enough in Latin America, among other places. read in full... UNPUBLISHED FACTS ABOUT 650,000 IRAQI DEATHS RESEARCH The White House has denied figures included in a study by American and Iraqi researchers and published recently in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet and suggesting that more than 650,000 people have been killed in the U.S.-led war on Iraq, a country of about 27 million, which means that 2.5 per cent of the Iraqi population has died because of the invasion. (...) Below is an interview Democracy Now's Amy Goodman had with the report's co-author, epidemiologist Les Roberts. (...) JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I'm sure you have heard by now the responses of President Bush and military leaders about this. What is your response to their saying that this is not credible? LES ROBERTS: You know, I don't want to sort of stoop to that level and start saying general slurs, but I just want to say that what we did, this cluster survey approach, is the standard way of measuring mortality in very poor countries where the government isn't very functional or in times of war. And when UNICEF goes out and measures mortality in any developing country, this is what they do. When the U.S. government went at the end of the war in Kosovo or went at the end of the war in Afghanistan and the U.S. government measured the death rate, this is how they did it. And most ironically, the U.S. government has been spending millions of dollars per year, through something called the Smart Initiative, to train NGOs and UN workers to do cluster surveys to measure mortality in times of wars and disasters. So, I think we used a very standard method. It could conceivably be as few as 400,000 deaths. So we're upfront about that. We don't know the exact number. We just know the range, and we're very, very confident about both the method and the results. (...) it's going to be very easy for a couple of reporters to go out and verify our findings, because what we've said is the death rate is four times higher. And a reporter will only have to go to four or five different villages, go visit the person who takes care of the graveyard and say, "Back in 2002, before the war, how many bodies typically came in here per week? And now, how many bodies com in here?" And actually, most graveyard attendants keep records. And if the number is four times higher, on average, you'll know we're right. If the numbers are the same, you'll know we're wrong. It is going to be very easy for people to verify this and get all of this talk about whether it's political out of the way, because the fundamental issue is, a certain number of Iraqis have died, and if our leaders are saying it's ten times lower than it really is, we are driving a wedge between us and the Middle East. read in full...
REAR-VIEW MIRROR GENOCIDES One can't help contrasting two news stories during the past couple of days. The first was that the French parliament voted Thursday to make it a criminal act to deny an Armenian genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks during World War I. The other was the publication in the medical journal, The Lancet, of a year-long study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Al Mustansiriya University in Iraq, in the excess mortality in Iraq as a result of the US invasion in March, 2003. The study was published on Wednesday, just the day before the passing of the French law. The study in Iraq concluded that a reliable estimate of the increased deaths attributable to the US invasion is 650,000. If we add to this number the conservative estimate of 1,000,000 Iraqis who died due to the severe sanctions imposed on that country at the behest of the US, in the years prior to the invasion (of those, UNICEF estimated that 500,000 were children), we arrive at the conclusion that 1,650,000 Iraqis have been killed due to deliberate and calculated US policy! The number of Armenians who died as a result of forced resettlement and other actions by Turkey is estimated at 1-1.5 millions. If the death of a million Armenians is a genocide (and it is), what do you call the death of almost 2 million Iraqis? That number of Iraqis is increasing rapidly and could easily reach 3 millions if this modern day genocide is not stopped. Why is it that the West can only see genocides in its rear-view mirror? Why pass laws that criminalize people for their opinion of historical events while allowing a current genocide to proceed unfettered with no penalties? Is this the rationality and objectivity of the West? link
A LAST WILD RIDE ON THE TITANIC: BUSH LEADING THE SHIP TO DESTRUCTION Yesterday's report in the Washington Post that over 650,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the US-led invasion is just the latest bit of bad news to hit the Bush administration. In fact, the buzzards have been circling the White House for some time now and they won't be leaving anytime soon. The "peer-reviewed" report from the John Hopkins School of Public Health followed all the standard procedures for producing a thoroughly credible survey. After interviewing nearly 2,000 Iraqi residents, checking death certificates and records at the morgue, they compiled their data and made their calculations. "The same survey methods were used to measure mortality during conflicts in the Congo, Kosovo, Sudan and other regions." The Bush administration has never challenged the organization's findings before. In fact, they used the group's reckoning on Sudan to accuse the Sudanese government of "genocide". If that's true, then Iraq must be "triple-genocide"; an entirely new nomenclature for the premeditated obliteration of the world's oldest civilization. (...) Amazingly, the John Hopkins survey was quickly followed by two more bombshells which helped to paint an even bleaker picture of the ongoing war in Iraq. At a Pentagon press conference, Army chief of staff, General Peter Schoomaker, stated that "the U.S. Army has plans to keep the current level of soldiers in Iraq through 2010." Schoomaker's comments not only quashed hopes for an early withdrawal, but left many wondering how the already over-stretched military plans to meet its obligations in the years ahead. As critics have noted, the present course is "unsustainable". Just hour's after Schoomaker has made his remarks, the Head of Allied forces in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey said, "The violence in Baghdad had reached its highest levels in recent weeks, despite the assignment of thousands of more American and Iraqi troops to the capital." So, (to summarize) in one 24-hour period, we found out that we've killed 2.5% of the entire Iraqi population, that we will maintain the same troop levels for the next 4 years (at minimum) and that our attempts to establish security have only increased the amount of violence. That's bad. That's real bad. (...) America is presently in a long, downward spiral. It could be years before we hit rock bottom. Our military is grinding down, our alliances are increasingly frayed and tenuous, and public opinion has begun to wane. The tectonic-plates of political good-fortune have begun to shift. There won't be any more "good news" coming from Iraq. Still, in the face of mounting pressure and widespread public unease, Bush has ordered a carrier group to the Gulf; steaming ahead for an apocalyptic confrontation with Iran. When the time is right, he'll blow the whistle and the bombs will start pelting down like a Texas hailstorm. It's a death-wish. Bush is chugging inexorably towards Tehran and we're all being swept along in his wake. It's like one last wild ride on the Titanic before we hit the ice in the open seas and slip slowly beneath the waves. Glub, glub! read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ HOW HEZBOLLAH DEFEATED ISRAEL (…) it now is clear that a US attack on Iranian nuclear installations would be met with little support in the Muslim world. It would also be met by a military response that would collapse the last vestiges of America's political power in the region. What was thought to be a "given" just a few short weeks ago has been shown to be unlikely. Iran will not be cowed. If the United States launches a military campaign against the Tehran government, it is likely that America's friends will fall by the wayside, the Gulf Arab states will tremble in fear, the 138,000 US soldiers in Iraq will be held hostage by an angered Shi'ite population, and Iran will respond by an attack on Israel. We would now dare say the obvious - if and when such an attack comes, the United States will be defeated. The victory of Hezbollah in its recent conflict with Israel is far more significant than many analysts in the United States and Europe realize. The Hezbollah victory reverses the tide of 1967 - a shattering defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan that shifted the region's political plates, putting in place regimes that were bent on recasting their own foreign policy to reflect Israeli and US power. That power now has been sullied and reversed, and a new leadership is emerging in the region. The singular lesson of the conflict may well be lost on the upper echelons of Washington's and London's pro-Israel, pro-values, we-are-fighting-for-civilization political elites, but it is not lost in the streets of Cairo, Amman, Ramallah, Baghdad, Damascus or Tehran. It should not be lost among the Israeli political leadership in Jerusalem. The Arab armies of 1967 fought for six days and were defeated. The Hezbollah militia in Lebanon fought for 34 days and won. We saw this with our own eyes when we looked into the cafes of Cairo and Amman, where simple shopkeepers, farmers and workers gazed at television reports, sipped their tea, and silently mouthed the numbers to themselves: "seven", "eight", "nine" ... read in full... SOME PERSPECTIVE INTO NORTH KOREA'S BOMB You might think from all the political noise that something extraordinary happened when North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion. But let's put the test, apparently a small-yield, inefficient device, into some perspective. The United States has conducted 1,127 nuclear and thermonuclear tests, including 217 in the atmosphere. The Soviet Union/ Russia conducted 969 tests, including 219 in the atmosphere. France, 210, including 50 in the atmosphere. The United Kingdom, 45, with 21 in the atmosphere. China, 45, with 23 in the atmosphere. India and Pakistan, 13, all underground. South Africa (and/or Israel) one atmospheric test in 1979. From a purely statistical point of view, North Korea's test does seem a rather small event. You must add the fact that my title, North Korea's Bomb, is aimed at being pithy and is thereby unavoidably inaccurate. Having a nuclear device is not the same thing as having a bomb or warhead, much less a compact and efficient bomb or warhead. North Korea still has a long way to go. read in full... SOULLESS NEW WORLD (...) the [Military Commissions] Act envisions and institutionalizes a whole new worldview. In this new world, there is no longer a distinction between a criminal and an enemy combatant. Think what this means. Traditionally, an enemy combatant is a soldier of those against whom we have declared war. Or, as Guantanamo defense attorney P. Sabin Willett says, "When you declare a war you make of your opponent a soldier, which is to say, a person of honor." Under the MCA worldview, all soldiers who do not fight for America are now criminals. (The administration's distinction between lawful and unlawful enemy combatant is a red herring. The administration has completely refused to acknowledge the existence of any lawful enemy combatant in their "war on terror." All are unlawful combatants, which means they are terrorists, which means they are criminals. The "war on terror," then, is actually a massive criminal manhunt and prosecution, except without the legal safeguards.) The blur also works in reverse: terrorist criminals can now be tried by military commissions. Thus, we now have a world in which criminal laws are just obsolete inconveniences that prevent the state from protecting national security during an endless undeclared war on an emotional state (terror). read in full...


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