Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, October 3, 2006 Photo: Iraqis inspect a picture of a smiling Jesus at Baghdad's poor neighborhood of Sadr city. Iraqi Shiite residents of Baghdad's Sadr City have expressed anger on over a picture of a grinning Jesus they mistook for a Shiite holy figure that appeared in the area after a joint US-Iraqi operation.(AFP/Wissam Al-Okaili) (See below "Residents of Sadr City expressed anger...") Bring 'em on: A Multi-National Corps – Iraq Soldier died at approximately 1:51 p.m. Oct. 2 when terrorists attacked his patrol with small-arms fire in northern Baghdad. The name of the Soldier is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. (MNF - Iraq) Bring 'em on: A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 11:05 a.m. Oct. 2 when terrorists attacked his patrol with small-arms fire in northern Baghdad. (MNF - Iraq) Bring 'em on: A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 5:30 p.m. yesterday when terrorists attacked his patrol with small-arms fire in southwest Baghdad. (MNF - Iraq) Bring 'em on: Four Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers died at approximately 6 p.m. yesterday when their patrol was struck by an improvised-explosive device northwest of Baghdad. (MNF - Iraq) Bring 'em on: One Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Sept. 30 from injuries sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province. (MNF - Iraq)
At least 17 US soldiers have been killed around Iraq since Saturday, including eight in a single day in Baghdad, the US military announced, saying the toll had brought "a tragic day". The toll represents a dramatic spike for US casualties in Iraq which generally average no more than a couple of wounded a day, especially for the Baghdad-based forces. "I don't have any comparative figures," said Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson, who declined to say whether the toll was an increase. "We have tragic days and this was a tragic day." Monday saw four soldiers killed when their vehicle was obliterated by a roadside bomb in northwest Baghdad, as well as four soldiers killed by small arms fire in various other spots throughout the city. (…) Seven of the other US casualties since Saturday have been in the western Al-Anbar province, the center of a fierce anti-US insurgency that generally claims the lion's share of fatalities.
(Previously unreported death) Bring 'em on: Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, 25, of Garden Grove, Calif., died Sept. 29 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Ramadi, Iraq. Monsoor was a SEAL assigned to a West-Coast based command. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS In Country: The Iraqi army arrested 109 suspected insurgents during the last 24 hours in different cities of Iraq, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday. Baghdad: A suicide attack on a fish market in Baghdad killed two and wounded 19. The bomber detonated a belt rigged with explosives in the outdoor market in the primarily Sunni area of Sadiyah, southwestern Baghdad, at 7:10 a.m., police Lt. Maitham Abdul Razzaq. Two civilians were injured when a roadside bomb targeting an American convoy blew up. There were no immediate reports of U.S. casualties. One civilian was killed and two more wounded in a rocket attack on a residential neighborhood in northern Baghdad. A person was killed and nine injured when a parked car bomb blew up near a Shiite mosque in downtown Baghdad. The attack came in Karradah, a Shiite neighborhood at 9 a.m. Ten people were wounded when two coordinated explosions went off in a central Baghdad neighborhood, a well-informed police source told Xinhua. "A bomb inside a car went off near the Shiite Abdul Rasoul Ali Husseiniyah in Karrada neighborhood," the source said on condition of anonymity. "A minute later, another roadside bomb detonated at the same area," he said. A total of ten people were wounded, including three traffic policemen, along with causing damages in several nearby buildings and cars, he added. One person was killed and another wounded in the Abu Chir neighborhood in southern Baghdad in a mortar attack. A mortar attack on Dora neighborhood, killed one civilian and injured 17 others. Five civilians were killed and 22 others injured when mortar rounds hit four houses in northeastern Baghdad. Baqubah: Four gunmen were killed in a morning clash with police in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. Police discovered on a highway north Baquba seven bodies of a father, his five children and a nephew, bound and shot through the head. The family had been kidnapped earlier by gunmen. Nine people were killed in various incidents around the city in Baquba. Five people, of a family and their driver preparing to flee their home after receiving threats, were killed in the Gatoun area of Baquoba. The bodies of a woman and two men lay in the street after the attack, black smoke billowing out of the family's truck that the assailants set fire to before fleeing. The Baqouba hospital received the bodies of eight people who had been shot and two who had been killed in a roadside bombing. Hay: Unidentified gunmen shot and killed an assistant judge in the city court in Hay, 220 kilometers (140 miles) south of Baghdad. Amarah: Police found the body of a former Iraqi officer in Saddam Hussein's army in an area near Amarah, 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Baghdad,. His hands were cuffed, and he had been shot in the head and other parts of the body, police Capt. Hussein Kareem said. Muqdadiyah: One civilian was killed and three others were injured when unidentified gunmen stormed the house of a family in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. Mussayab: 10 people were wounded in a mortar attack in Mussayib, some 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of the capital. Mahmoudiya: Mortar shells landed on a residential area, killing one person and wounding five others, in Mahmoudiya, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad. Kirkuk: Three bodies turned up just south of the northern city of Kirkuk. Mosul: Jassim Hammad Ibrahim, who was working as a driver for state-run Iraqia TV, was killed in a drive-by shooting in the northern city of Mosul. Mosul's Iraqia TV station manager Ghazi Faisal confirmed Ibrahim's death, adding that he had been going shopping when killed by the unknown assailants. Two pedestrians were killed in a drive-by shooting in Mosul, 360 kilometers (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad. The Iraqi army wounded three civilians as they approached a checkpoint in the northern city of Mosul. Haditha: Clashes between gunmen and U.S. forces killed a civilian and wounded four others in Haditha, 250 km (150 miles) northwest of Baghdad. Ramadi: Clashes between gunmen and U.S. forces killed a man and wounded three others, including a child, in Ramadi, 110 km (70 miles) west of Baghdad. Rashad: Police found two bodies, shot dead and tortured, in the small town of Rashad, 30 km (20 miles) south of Kirkuk. Dour: Gunmen attacked a police checkpoint killing a police officer and wounding a policeman in Dour, near Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad. Baiji: Gunmen attacked a rail station, killing an employee and wounding two others in Baiji, 180 km (115 miles) north of Baghdad. >> NEWS Demonstrators marched through the al-Amil neighborhood of western Baghdad protesting the Sunday night kidnapping of 24 workers from a factory producing frozen food. Seven bodies found late Sunday in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Dora were identified as victims of the kidnapping, but the whereabouts of the others are unknown. Another 14 people, workers in computer shops, were seized Monday by gunmen. About 400 demonstrators chanted "Sunnis and Shiites are brothers," as they marched through the streets. Some carried banners reading "get police troops out of our area" - reflecting the widespread suspicion that Iraqi security forces have been infiltrated by militias and are responsible for some of the sectarian violence. The Sunni Arab militant group Ansar al-Sunnah claimed responsibility for killing a cousin of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in drive-by shooting last week. The killing raised worries of retaliation by al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, one of the most powerful Shiite militias in Iraq, blamed for slayings of Sunnis in sectarian violence that has raged for months. But the head of al-Sadr's office said the group would not seek revenge. (…) Ansar al-Sunnah claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on an Islamic militant Web forum. "God enabled His soldiers on Tuesday Sept. 26 to kill the cousin of Muqtada al-Sadr, at her home in the western Baghdad district of Amariyah," it said. "She used to threaten the people in the neighborhood with the charlatan's army (the Mahdi Army.)" The court trying Saddam Hussein said Tuesday it was postponing the verdict to give the judges more time to review evidence, amid widespread worries over the decision's impact at a time of sharp Shiite-Sunni divisions in Iraq. The court had been expected to announce its verdict Oct. 16, when it reconvenes for the first time since July 27, when nine months of testimony were completed. (...) any verdict raises the possibility of a violent reaction amid the deepening sectarian tensions that have torn Iraq. Thousands have been killed in Shiite-Sunni violence this year. That fear is in sharp contrast to the United States' original hopes for the trial - that it would serve as a way to heal Iraq's divisions by bringing out the truth about Saddam's regime and helping reconciliation between Sunnis and Shiites. (...) The court official said that if Saddam is convicted and sentenced to death, the violence may increase. If Saddam receives a lighter sentence, it would anger Shiite political parties and the people, he said. Residents of Sadr City expressed anger on over a picture of a grinning Jesus they mistook for a Shiite holy figure that appeared in the area after a joint US-Iraqi operation. Residents found a picture of "Buddy Jesus" from the 1999 film "Dogma" posted in the streets, accompanied by a badly photocopied pamphlet bearing a crude approximation of a US military crest and outlining a US "plan" to subjugate the neighborhood. "That picture abuses our Imam Mahdi and his holy character, and mocks our sacred figures," said resident Abu Riyam Sunday, apparently mistaking the satirical movie still of Jesus for one of Shiite Islam's historical imams, whose images adopt a Jesus-like iconography. The grinning, winking model of Buddy Jesus giving a thumbs-up sign appeared in the comedy film as a fictional attempt by the Catholic Church to present a kinder and more accessible image of Christianity. "If it wasn't so serious it would be funny," said a coalition spokesman, Major Will Willhoite. The pamphlets outlined a so-called plan to discredit the militias in the sprawling Baghdad slum of two million people, a stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. "Destabilize security in the militia areas with explosions and assassinations to create panic" and "killing, raping and kidnapping women" were all measures the pamphlet recommended to cause people to lose faith in the militias. "Do not tell the suspect militias of these plans, but keep them among friendly forces," admonished the pamphlet. The US military did not confirm that it had conducted an early-morning raid into Sadr City on Sunday, but said that an Iraqi force accompanied by coalition advisors did conduct an operation in "northeast" Baghdad. 3/8 returns from Iraq. The unit’s roughly 900 Marines and sailors returned from their second deployment to Iraq in two years. They spent seven months in Fallujah, returning in August 2005. They redeployed to Ramadi in March. The unit detained more than 300 insurgents, said Lt. Col. Steve Neary, the battalion commander. A price was paid for that work: 17 Marines from 3/8 were killed and 129 wounded during their seven-month tour. >> REPORTS U.S. Central Command Air Forces officials have released the airpower summary for Oct. 3. In Iraq, an Air Force Predator conducted a strike against anti-Iraqi forces near Ramadi. The Predator expended a Hellfire missile on the enemy target. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces near Baqubah, Samarra and Basrah. U. S. Marine F/A-18s provided close-air support to troops in contact with anti-Iraqi forces near Al Iskandariyah. In total, coalition aircraft flew 39 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom. These missions included support to coalition troops, infrastructure protection, reconstruction activities and operations to deter and disrupt terrorist activities. Additionally, 14 Air Force, Navy and Army ISR aircraft flew missions in support of operations in Iraq. Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster IIIs provided intra-theater heavy airlift support, helping sustain operations throughout Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. More than 140 airlift sorties were flown; more than 300 tons of cargo was delivered, and more than 2,840 passengers were transported. This included about 11,200 pounds of troop re-supply air-dropped in eastern Afghanistan. Coalition C-130 crews from Australia, Canada and Japan flew in support of OIF or OEF. On Oct. 1, Air Force, Royal Air Force, French and Singaporean tankers flew 38 sorties and off-loaded more than 2.3 million pounds of fuel. A CALL FROM BAGHDAD My son called this morning, he's ok. But we had a really good conversation. A lot of it was about the increase in activity there. But he's starting to defy the officers. He refused to wear his flame suit on patrol this morning because he said, "a lot good it does, we just lost 4 guys and they were wearing them, we just have them because of war profiteering. The government gives money to the companies who make this shit and say 'oh, let's give it to the soldiers!'" Then we started talking about movies, and he refuses to watch anything related to 9/11. He said, "Ma, did you watch that WTC movie yet? We have it here and I won't watch that stuff because it just gets everybody pissed off again and I am tired of hearing that we should kill more people because of 9/11." He then said, "Ma, by the year 2050 we will still be killing in the name of 9/11!!" "Probably when I die and go to heaven people will still be saying, let's kill because of 9/11!" "Enough with killing in the name of 9/11!" I tell all my friends here that we should just move on and get over it. We aren't proving anything." I almost fell out of bed. But he was able to talk freely because he was told to stay back from patrol because he wouldn't wear his flame suit. He said "I lost it." They said "how the hell did you loose it?" He said it disappeared! Then he said to me, "so what are they going to do to me? Make me go to Iraq?" "I'm not taking part in any war profiteering. I was reading all about it in Newsweek last issue we got here." "That's some shit!" Anyway, we talked about 45 minutes while his company was on patrol, and then they returned so he got off the phone waiting to be yelled at. He said, "so they yell at me, who cares." - A Military Mom link >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS ET TU, BOBBY? Veteran journalist Bob Woodward can always be counted on to tell the truth... after all the other options have been exhausted. His new book doesn't veer too far from the pattern he's followed his entire career; one minute he's the "kingmaker" dishing up hearty-helpings of literary tripe like "Bush at War" and "Plan of Attack" and the next minute he's ramming a scimitar into the lower lumbar region of his prey. That's Bob, the consummate insider and part-time assassin whose real job is not to maintain an "informed public" or preserve the free flow of information, but to use the privately-owned media in a way that serves the exclusive interests of the ruling elite. Most of what Woodward said on 60 Minutes was accurate and interesting. Bush has deceived the American people about the slow-rolling catastrophe in Iraq. He's obfuscated the truth about the 800 to 900 attacks on American troops per week and, yes, Rumsfeld is the greatest bungler in the history of the Republic. But why has Woodward decided to spill the beans now? And, how long has he been withholding this information from the public? (some of the crucial details date back to 2003!?!) And why would Woodward organize a book tour that is clearly designed to obliterate Bush's credibility just 6 weeks before the election? Woodward speaks for establishment elites who have stood on the sidelines cheering on the war-effort regardless of the rivers of blood coursing down the streets of Baghdad. He doesn't care that people are blown apart in their homes as long as it serves the overall interests of a small cadre of white plutocrats. What affects Woodward's delicate sensibilities is the inefficiency of the slaughter which has yet to produce the desired results. That's why the gloves have come off. That's why he's been employed to mug the muggers and kill the killers. read in full... Juan Cole: VASTLY UNDER-REPORTING DEATHS IN IRAQ There is an enormous discrepancy between the casualty figures reported by al-Zaman [The Times of Baghdad] (Ar.) and those of _the Western wire services. The Iraqi newspaper reports that Iraqi security forces found 113 bodies in the streets on Monday, including 50 in Baghdad, 50 in Kut, and 31 elsewhere. I believe that al-Zaman's numbers are the right ones, and that the Western press has been vastly under-reporting deaths in Iraq, perhaps by a factor of 1 to 4. read in full... Alive in Baghdad: VIDEO_FALSELY ARRESTED AND ABUSED IN RAMADI - 09.28.2006 The man interviewed this week, Majed, shows his scars and discusses his recent detention and abuse at the hands of Iraqi security forces in Ramadi. Despite the overwhelming impression that the assault in Ramadi, ongoing since June, is under control, there is another side to the story. Far from being an Al Qa'eda dead ender, men like Majed are the typical residents of Ramadi. Although they are anti-occupation, they have not yet resorted to violence in large numbers. The majority of Ramadi's residents have not joined the resistance, nor have they sided with the Occupation and what they see as an illegitimate government in Baghdad. Stories like Majed's, of arrest and abuse without charge, may begin to explain some of the reasons for this incongruity. link Missing Links: SIGNIFICANT POLITICAL TIMING IN BAGHDAD COUP ALLEGATIONS There was a whole series of surprising announcements in Baghdad on the weekend, causing Azzaman to run a full-page headline on Monday on "Baathist plans for a coup d'etat", backed up by charges by Sadrist Shiite parliament-member Araji to the effect a vice-president and a deputy-premier have both been involved in terror (not naming them, but indicating there are two of each, and there wasn't any question he was referring to the Sunnis in each case, namely vp Tariq al-Hashimi; and vice-premier al-Zobaie). Al-Hayat, for its part, led with statements by national security adviser Rubaie (Shiite) to the effect the authorities had arrested an al-Qaeda person who "confessed" that he was involved with one of the bodyguards of Irqai Accord leader Dulaimi (Sunni) in a plot to bring in a lot of wired cars, including into the Green Zone; and just for completeness Rubaie said the bodyguard in quesiton had "confessed" to this plot as well. Al-Hayat also reported the accusations by Araji noted above, but in a more skeptical way, noting only that he didn't name them, nor did he indicate any evidence. (...) What exactly is the "missing link" here, missing that is from the Western coverage of this? It is the context. Iraq currently has a coalition Shiite/Sunni government, with a project for National Reconciliation. Just on the eve of second-reading of the federalism bill (an important milestone in the debate between the federalists and the "nationalists", for want of a better term), there is this series of announcements that could blow apart, not only the Reconciliation scheme, but the whole idea of coalition government at the center. The Western headlines about "Shiite calls for a cabinet shake-up" don't really get to the point of all of this, leaving readers bewildered by lists of seemingly random acts of violence, obscuring even the major polical guideposts. read in full... CONFRONTING THE "CUT AND RUN" SLANDER OF BUSH'S PRAETORIAN GUARD With elections but little more than a month away, President Bush's do-nothing Republican majority in both houses of Congress is up for grabs. And, thus, so is a genuine investigation into the Bush administration's lies, deceit and crimes concerning Iraq -- especially its "Chicken Little" clamoring about weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda that, as we would learn later, didn't actually exist. Also requiring investigation, however, is the extraordinary military incompetence at the strategic level -- at the Rumsfeld level -- that allowed an illusory "Mission Accomplished" to degenerate into: (1) widespread looting and infrastructure destruction, (2) an ever- flourishing and now unbeatable insurgency, (3) torture by American soldiers in violation of the Geneva Conventions, (4) tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of unnecessary civilian fatalities as well as untold massive and needless suffering, (5) growing Iranian influence, (6) the outbreak of civil war resulting in (7) torture that renders Saddam's tame by comparison (8) more than 2,700 dead American soldiers, (9) more than 20,400 wounded, (10) the gradual destruction of the U.S. Army and (11) the most profound military defeat in U. S. history. Yes, that's the deal -- what former U.S. Army Colonel and present-day scholar, Andrew Bacevich, calls "an American failure of immense proportions." Moreover, as Thomas Ricks amply demonstrated, in his book Fiasco, many senior military leaders, both active duty and retired, opposed either the very invasion of Iraq or its proposed execution - or both. Unfortunately, few of the many Americans who were so enthusiastic to "support the troops" were aware of this significant opposition by the troops' very military leaders. They're still unaware. read in full... Lenin: "LIBERATION" It was in April this year, that is to say three years after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, that the Euston manifesto was launched. I don't know what those people are doing these days - staging minute gatherings, I fancy. But a word that its authors insisted on using continues to leap out at me as an affront, as a real disgrace on every level: "liberation". Stop it. Simply stop it. The authors of that colonoscopic insight into the thinking of the pro-war left insisted on describing the US invasion of Iraq as a liberation. I try to imagine what it's like to think this: it is something akin to graduation from being an earth-bound creature to being a sublunary sattelite occasionally receiving garbled messages from a weather balloon. After more than three years of carnage, is it really "liberation"? Put it another way: is it a "liberation" that you would choose for yourselves? Well, is it? Would you consider relocating to Baghdad right now? Do you even think it is better than what persisted before? Bear in mind the small matter of excess deaths, which one of the authors of the Lancet report estimated at the beginning of the year must be in the vicinity of 300,000. The point about excess deaths is that they are a measure of how much worse the present situation is than what went on before. They topped the winning combination of Saddam's brutal dictatorship and their own despotic sanctions regime. How many have been added in the last six months, or does anyone care? A UN official recently suggested that the use of state torture is now worse in Iraq than it was under Saddam - that doesn't include the unofficial, disavowed torture meted out by the Special Police Commandos and the other auxiliaries of the Interior Ministry, built with the loving hands of the CIA, a friend to terrorist dictatorships all over the world. What else do you need? Rape rooms? read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: Two U.S. Soldiers and an Afghan soldier were killed and three U.S. Soldiers were wounded during fighting with enemy combatants in the Pech District of Kunar Province. The soldiers were operating as part of a combat patrol that made contact with enemy extremists. The unit engaged the insurgents with small arms and artillery fire. A suicide bomber on a motorbike attacked a Canadian military convoy in southern Afghanistan, but no troops were injured, officials said. One military vehicle was engulfed in flames after the bomber rammed into the convoy in western Kandahar city, said Maj. Daryl Morrell, a NATO-led force spokesman. The bomber was killed in the blast, but no alliance troops were hurt, Morrell said. (update) A Finnish soldier was wounded when two or three people opened fire on a group of Finnish peacekeepers on Sunday, while they were performing a night-movement exercise in darkness in Aybak District in North Afghanistan. The identity of the shooters is unknown, but according to the Defence Staff in Helsinki, it is thought quite possible that the shots were fired accidentally by Afghan police officers. A NATO soldier was killed and another presumed dead after a patrol came under "sustained fire" from mortars and guns in southern Afghanistan, the force said. Eight soldiers were also wounded in the attack in the southern province of Kandahar, the heartland of the Taliban movement that is waging an anti-government insurgency. Most of the soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kandahar province are Canadians. ISAF does not release the nationalities of its casualties. Three times as many British soldiers have been wounded in action in Afghanistan as the Government has admitted, a report has concluded. Defence chiefs claim it is "too difficult" to keep a record of every soldier injured fighting the Taliban, resulting in troops returning to the front after being patched up by medics and then left off official lists. According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), only 41 soldiers have been wounded in action in Afghanistan since the start of the year, despite British forces being involved in what has been described as the worst fighting since the Korean War. But a study submitted to the MoD by the vice-president of the Royal Statistical Society has concluded that the true scale of casualties has been dramatically under-reported. "WE ARE NO BETTER THAN THE TALIBAN" In an email to family he [a British officer serving on the frontline] makes damaging claims that the Afghan national army and police are 'all corrupt', and are deliberately passing information to enemy fighters to help them target UK positions. The infantry officer also complains of supply problems for soldiers in isolated outposts - running short of water and having to wait days for deliveries of sandbags to protect against incoming fire. The Army officer commanding an infantry unit wrote to family and friends telling them he and his men had seen 'plenty' of action against the Taliban - "some good, some bad, but on the whole we are killing more of them than they are of us". In the email, seen by the Daily Mail, he adds: "We are not having an effect on the average Afghan. At the moment we are no better than the Taliban in their eyes, as all they can see is us moving into an area, blowing things up and leaving, which is very sad." read in full... THE MILITARIZATION OF MYSPACE (...) with 80% of MySpace users reporting they're over 18 years old, (...) the military has set its sights on occupying some virginal virtual territory in its search for fresh-faced recruits who might be thrown into the Afghan and Iraqi breaches. So the US Marine Corps launched its MySpace profile. A thoroughly predictable page, it boasts a streaming video that might best be termed boot-camp-on-speed - complete with clips of a stereotypical drill instructor barking out commands and a bullet-cam speeding toward a target on the rifle range. The site even offers downloadable desktop wallpapers, mainly Marine Corps "anchor and globe" emblems or photos of World War II-vintage marines. Conspicuously, there isn't a modern image in sight in any way evocative of the war in Iraq (deployment pressure from which recently caused the corps to announce that it would force reservists to return involuntarily to duty because of a lack of volunteers). By July, according to an Associated Press report, "430 people had asked to contact a marine recruiter through the site ... including some 170 who are considered 'leads' or prospective marine recruits". With Iraq sapping its strength, even those modest figures must be music to Marine Corps ears. By mid-September, the marines already had close to 21,000 MySpace "friends" endorsing their page, just below the 22,000 garnered by the "unauthorized" Noam Chomsky page and way below Yaris's 70,000. But a respectable number nonetheless. read in full... Chris Floyd: THE DEEPER EVIL BEHIND THE DETAINEE BILL It was a dark hour indeed last Thursday when the United States Senate voted to end the constitutional republic and transform the country into a "Leader-State," giving the president and his agents the power to capture, torture and imprison forever anyone - American citizens included - whom they arbitrarily decide is an "enemy combatant." This also includes those who merely give "terrorism" some kind of "support," defined so vaguely that many experts say it could encompass legal advice, innocent gifts to charities or even political opposition to US government policy within its draconian strictures. All of this is bad enough - a sickening and cowardly surrender of liberty not seen in a major Western democracy since the Enabling Act passed by the German Reichstag in March 1933. But it is by no means the full extent of our degradation. In reality, the darkness is deeper, and more foul, than most people imagine. For in addition to the dictatorial powers of seizure and torment given by Congress on Thursday to George W. Bush - powers he had already seized and exercised for five years anyway, even without this fig leaf of sham legality - there is a far more sinister imperial right that Bush has claimed - and used - openly, without any demur or debate from Congress at all: ordering the "extrajudicial killing" of anyone on earth that he and his deputies decide - arbitrarily, without charges, court hearing, formal evidence, or appeal - is an "enemy combatant." That's right; from the earliest days of the Terror War - September 17, 2001, to be exact - Bush has claimed the peremptory power of life and death over the entire world. If he says you're an enemy of America, you are. If he wants to imprison you and torture you, he can. And if he decides you should die, he'll kill you. This is not hyperbole, liberal paranoia, or "conspiracy theory": it's simply a fact, reported by the mainstream media, attested by senior administration figures, recorded in official government documents - and boasted about by the president himself, in front of Congress and a national television audience. And although the Republic snuffing act just passed by Congress does not directly address Bush's royal prerogative of murder, it nonetheless strengthens it and enshrines it in law. For the measure sets forth clearly that the designation of an "enemy combatant" is left solely to the executive branch; neither Congress nor the courts have any say in the matter. When this new law is coupled with the existing "Executive Orders" authorizing "lethal force" against arbitrarily designated "enemy combatants," it becomes, quite literally, a license to kill - with the seal of Congressional approval. read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Iraq, like Vietnam, is different than WWII in that in the latter the enemy was known and once we won the war there was no insurgency. WWII was horrible beyond imagination, but at least our men were either in combat against a uniformed army or behind the lines resting. There is no "front" for you, and hyper awareness is constant as you never know where the danger is coming from. And that is the formula for PTSD, your brain gets hard-wired from constant danger and some of you will never be able to drive down a road, for example, without thinking of the potential danger. Soldiers in war see terrible things they will never be able to erase from their memory, but it's the unrelenting fear of sudden attack that does the real psychic damage." -- Claude Maddox, Iraq veteran and antiwar activist


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