Wednesday, November 08, 2006
WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2006
Bring ‘em on: A
Mortars that hit the Sunni district of Adhamiya in
A car bomb in the Mansour district of Baghdad killed one and wounded three.
A car bomb killed a man and wounded six others in northern
A mortar round landed in the northern al-Qahira district of
A car bomb wounded four police commandos in the eastern Baladiyat district of Baghdad.
Two mortar rounds landed near al-Amin square in central
Two mortar rounds landed near the Ministry of Health in central
A car bomb killed three people and wounded three in the southwestern Amil district of Baghdad.
Mortar rounds struck a soccer field in
Two mortar rounds struck an area in northern
Authorities had originally called Tuesday's attack on a coffee shop in another Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad a mortar attack, but Lt. Ali Muhssin said Wednesday that it was a suicide bombing. He also raised the death toll in that attack from 14 to 21, with another 25 wounded.
A suicide car bomber slammed into a checkpoint on
Gunmen killed at least one man and wounded four in an attack on a Shiite-owened bakery in a predominantly Sunni section of western
A car bomb struck near a Sunni mosque in northeastern
Police found the bodies of three apparent death squad victims were found dumped on
A car bomb exploded near the Nida mosque in the northern Sunni stronghold of Adhamiyah, killing one person.
Another mortar attack in downtown
A pair of mortars crashed on Kadhimiyah neighborhood, another Shiite stronghold and home to two holy shrines, killing two people and wounding eight.
Authorities reported finding the bullet-riddled bodies of 15 apparent death squad victims floating in the Tigris south of
In the flashpoint eastern region of Diyala, which was also under curfew along with
A roadside bomb near a house killed two people on Tuesday night in the town of
In Iskandriyah, another bomb exploded in a residential area killing a man and his 13-year-old son.
Clashes erupted between gunmen and the Iraqi army near a village 30 km southwest of
Bring ‘em on: A
Police found the bodies of two people and a decapitated head in the town of
A bomb planted in a minivan exploded in an open-air market in Mahmoudiyah, killing at least six people and wounding 28.
Police found six bodies with gunshot wounds in different parts of
A car bomb killed four people and wounded six in a market in the town of
Gunmen killed four relatives, two of them policemen, in a village near Muqdadiya.
A suicide car bomb exploded as a
Gunmen killed a police lieutenant colonel on Tuesday in front of his house in Samawa, 270 km south of
Two police lieutenants were killed in Saddam's northern hometown of Tikrit, while hundreds of his supporters demonstrated in Salaheddin against the death sentence.
In all, at least 66 Iraqi civilians were reported killed or found dead in violence across the country.
Statistics: The vast majority -- more than 80 percent -- of American military deaths in
Of the 99 American soldiers killed in hostile action, at least 81 were killed by IED's or hostile fire in areas that are dominated by Sunni Arabs and where
By contrast, only three Americans were killed in areas dominated by Shiite Arabs. Fifteen were killed in central
Torture charges: The violence persisted despite a move by the Interior Ministry to charge 57 members of the Shiite-dominated Iraqi police force, including a general, in the alleged torture of hundreds of detainees at a prison in east
…Torture is considered widespread among the poorly trained police force, which has suffered heavy losses at the hands of Sunni insurgents and criminal gangs, but Tuesday's announcement marked the first time the government has pressed charges. Iraqi police are accused of close ties to the Shiite death squads, whose daily abductions and killings fuel sectarian violence convulsing the country.
Some officers were accused of abetting the violence by allowing the gunmen to violate curfews and pass through checkpoints.
The concerns were underscored by the discovery of a police torture chamber in
Among those charged in the torture at Site No. 4, the prison in eastern
Rumors of an accord: Four officials in the Iraqi government and parliament, each in a position to hear about largely secret efforts to reach accord with members of the Sunni insurgency, said al-Douri, Saddam's former vice president, has ordered Baath party bosses still in Iraq to end attacks within the past two days.
The officials, who said they knew about the order independently because of their contacts with members of the insurgency, said the directive was issued through couriers sometime after Saddam was sentenced on Sunday to hang for crimes against humanity. The four answered questions from the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.
It was impossible to verify the statements independently.
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) report: Have American taxpayers gotten their money's worth? Specific contractor abuses, such as overcharging and shoddy construction, have been well-publicized.
Many press accounts of the latest SIGIR report released Oct. 30 made particular note of the fact that the U.S. government lost track of weapons purchased with reconstruction funds for the Iraqi security forces. “There were a mixture of pistols and assault rifles,” said Bowen. “Primarily, 13,000 of them were semiautomatic nine millimeter pistols.” Where the missing weapons are is unknown.
But, in addition to the exposure of missing weapons, the SIGIR quarterly report and accompanying audit reports present one of the best assessments of
More than three and a half years after the
Because of smuggling and corruption, a thriving black market exists for fuel with Iraqis paying $4 per gallon, almost eight times the official price (p.44).
Electric production is up only six percent above prewar levels (p. 24) despite major
Attacks on electric lines in
The SIGIR report states: "repairing power lines is nearly impossible because of sniper attacks and death threats to repair crews." (p. 4)
Water & Sanitation
An example of sub-par Iraqi contractors can be seen in sanitation problems at the U.S.-funded Mosul Police Headquarters (p. 170-171). See site photo14 for a tree trunk that was painted white to mimic a concrete pillar rather than removed as the contract required.
Agriculture supports 20 percent of the Iraqi workforce, but despite some rehabilitation USAID estimates
Only 48 percent of the Iraqi schools needing repair in 2003 have actually been repaired, but 100 percent of the U.S.-funding for education projects has been spent (p. 60).
Security & Justice
More than 88 percent of the U.S.-IRRF funds for military and police forces have been spent to train and equip 312,900 Iraqi security forces (p.68). However, "sectarian divisions permeate the leadership ranks of the Iraqi Security Forces," (p.73), and "critical infrastructure remains a high-value target for insurgent attack." (p.75).
“It’s going to cost $3.5 billion dollars to support the Iraqi army in the field next year,” Bowen told NBC News, “We were unable to determine in the course of our audit, and we tried, whether the Iraqi government has made provisions for this.”
While two-thirds of the
In transportation, 88 percent of railway stations have been repaired, but "only a small number of trains continue to run nationwide because of security concerns." (p. 83)
Currently, only military and charter flights are permitted in Iraqi airspace.
SIGIR reports the top contractor for the 3rd quarter was Bechtel, awarded $1.26 billion, with five others above $500 million each: Fluor-Amec, LLC, Parson Global Services, Inc, Parsons Iraq Joint Venture, Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc., and Washington Group International (p. 92).
International Donations vs.
Non-U.S. donors have pledged $15 billion to
The Big Picture
SIGIR reports that: "security throughout
The reconstruction of
The cost to the
How the money was spent: A Halliburton subsidiary charged the Iraqi government as much as $25,000 per month for each of as many as 1,800 fuel trucks that were to deliver gasoline to Iraq after the 2003 invasion, but the trucks often spent days or weeks sitting idle on the border, says a report released yesterday by an auditing agency sponsored by the United Nations.
The agency said in a statement that the auditing firm it hired had found that some of the contract costs that had been questioned earlier seemed to be justified. But the agency said the findings raised new questions about hundreds of millions of dollars billed by the company under a $2.4 billion contract that the Army awarded on the eve of the conflict to KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root.
Don’t Let The Door Hit You Where The Good Lord Split You
The failure Khalilzad: Zalmay Khalilzad, the
"Khalilzad really failed because greater Sunni political participation has not reduced the violence and has at the same time angered the Shia," said a senior Kurdish political figure.
Appointed ambassador to
The failure Rumsfeld: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped down as defense secretary on Wednesday, one day after midterm elections in which opposition to the war in
President Bush said he would nominate Robert Gates, a former CIA director, to replace Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.
Asked whether his announcement signaled a new direction in the war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,800
The scum also rises: Here are five facts about Robert Gates, 63, who was named on Wednesday by President George W. Bush to replace Donald Rumsfeld as
* Served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1991 until 1993. He was the only career officer in CIA history to rise from entry-level employee to director of central intelligence. Joined the CIA in 1966.
* Recently has been deeply involved in bipartisan discussions on
* First nominated as CIA director in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan but withdrew amid questions over his and the CIA's role in the secret sales of arms to
* Had controversial confirmation hearings for CIA director including charges he hid the truth about Iran-Contra affair from Congress when that scandal was breaking.
* Served as deputy director of Central Intelligence from 1986 to 1989 and as deputy national security adviser for President George Bush at the White House from 1989 until 1991.
Bush sure does love those Iran-Contra guys, doesn’t he? A demonstrated contempt for the rule of law must be a selling point to the little crackhead. -m
Speaking Of The Rapidly-Expiring Concept Of Rule Of Law
Here’s hoping this blog is a useful resource for the ICC someday: When then-Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton nullified the
The bipartisan concern then was that American service members deployed overseas risked exposure to a foreign tribunal. President Bill Clinton signed the Rome Treaty on his last day in office in 2000, while registering strong reservations.
Now, as the court prepares to begin public hearings on its first case, the debate among senior
This story was datelined the 5th of November. Can you answer the question posed in the last sentence of this excerpt?: The final court session and verdict today were fast, direct and clear, but not clear at all. In less than 10 minutes, Saddam Hussein was told he was guilty of crimes against humanity, but never exactly how or why. Was it the witness testimony that proved Saddam's guilt? Was it Saddam’s own acceptance in court of overall responsibility for the draconian punishment his regime carried out of the villagers of Dujail after a 1982 assassination attempt in the town? Was it documents the prosecution said Saddam signed ordering the deaths of Dujail residents that ultimately swayed the judges? We still do not know.
The full verdict, a document of several hundred pages, explaining how and why today’s judgment was reached was not released.
Absolutely infuriating: Since so much was happening this weekend politically, it was easy to miss one story by The Washington Post on Saturday, which covered the Justice Department's declaration that one of our detainees at Guantánamo is a human “state secret.” Meaning the very act of being a detainee had given the man “Top Secret” information which he’s not supposed to share—like with a lawyer. What do you know about our torture techniques and where our black sites are? Sorry, you weren’t supposed to know that, therefore no lawyer for you.
That’s right folks, Majid Khan, one of the detainees from the CIA “black sites” is not allowed to talk about his detention and (likely) torture because the lawyer he could speak to doesn’t have clearance to know about
That a government lawyer could even offer this kind of Kafkaesque argument means someone truly has drunk the Kool-Aid down at the Justice Department.
Marty Lederman: Why can't Majid Khan have a lawyer, according to the Department of Justice? Because he might tell the lawyer how he was treated by the U.S. government. Think about that for a second. The theory of the government's case here is contained in the remarkable tenth paragraph of the Declaration of Marilyn Dorn, CIA Information Review Officer. Dorn writes:
“Information relating to the CIA terrorist detention program has been placed in a TOP Secret/SCI program to enhance protection from unauthorized disclosure. Because Majid Khan was detained by the CIA in this program, he may have come into possession of information, including locations of detention, conditions of detention, and alternative interrogation techniques, that is classified at the TOP SECRET/SCI level.”
Joe Marguiles, quoted in the Post article, is right: This goes beyond Orwell into Lewis Carroll territory, topping the formidable list of jaw-dropping Bush Administration euphemisms. Khan "came into possession" of top secret classified information, eh? And how might that have happened? Part of his job at the CIA? A leak from a rogue CIA employee? By finding a lost memo sitting around some blind alley somewhere? Or is it, perhaps, that he "came into possession" by virtue of the fact that he is the "classified information"? That is to say, it was the CIA's torture of Khan -- sorry, its "application of alternative interrogation techniques against him" -- that was how Khan "came into possession" of our most closely guarded secrets.
Fuck you: On November 6, News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch reportedly said at a conference in
Edward Humes: If you visited the official, taxpayer-financed website of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee recently, you would have found a remarkable headline at the very top of the page: “Pelosi Majority would abandon system that provided strong veterans budgets, premier health care and effective oversight.”
A diatribe from committee chairman Steve Buyer, R-Ind., ensued, predicting doom and despair for veterans should voters cast out a supposedly vet-loving Republican majority come November 8 and install in its place that alleged Democratic hater of troops, Nancy Pelosi, as majority leader.
Within a day of my inquiring how the official, nonpartisan website for a standing House committee could be used to present such a nakedly partisan, political message, the item vanished from the committee’s internet presence, and the associated article was scrubbed from view (but not from “The Google,” or from the PDF file preserved on my own hard drive).
Aside from the fact that using government resources for political messages is illegal, and the notion that a Republican majority can be counted on to provide more oversight of President Bush’s veterans policy (or any other of his policies) is laughable on its face, there’s a bigger problem with the fear-mongering headline that sat since October 20 atop the website of the House committee charged with protecting our veterans:
It’s a lie.
The simple fact is that Pelosi’s legislative record on supporting veterans’ health care, education and other benefits is among the best in the House, while Buyer’s ranges from mediocre to atrocious, depending on who’s doing the rating. This is not a subjective judgment, but is based on two separate analyses of voting records by distinctly different veterans organizations—the venerable Disabled Veterans of
Juan Cole: What we can say is that the electoral outcome is a bellwether for the future of American involvement in
Paul Krugman: At this point, nobody should have any illusions about Mr. Bush’s character. To put it bluntly, he’s an insecure bully who believes that owning up to a mistake, any mistake, would undermine his manhood — and who therefore lives in a dream world in which all of his policies are succeeding and all his officials are doing a heckuva job. Just last week he declared himself “pleased with the progress we’re making” in
Bill Gallagher: His shrill voice pains sensitive ears. In the red states of the South and West, he ramps up his
Bush goes well beyond gutter rhetoric and the politics of desperation. He is a delusional madman and a disgrace to our national heritage. When young people hear the president of the
The man who ran for the presidency claiming "I'm a uniter, not a divider" is one of the most divisive figures in American history and he will only get worse as his fiasco in Iraq continues to spiral into the abyss and the nation unravels.
Bush says, with mindless repetition, that we will "win the war," when the fact is, we are slogging it out in a conflict that screams for a political solution he is unwilling to confront as any reasonable leader would.
"Bring 'em on" is the emblem of Bush's sick mentality, as Iraqis and American troops spill their blood for his cowboy machismo.
Margie Burns: The one statement that every candidate for political office should be able to make, and apparently none can, is that the Iraqis didn’t do it. Those poor Iraqis were not the ones behind 9/11. Probably every literate child around the world knows it, yet neither our major parties nor our most powerful media outlets can acknowledge this bloodstained elephant in the room.
…I wish with all my heart—since there is no way to bring the thousands of dead back to life—that at a minimum our three television networks and some of our biggest newspapers would salve the world with this one simple statement. The Iraqis didn’t do it.
Failing to hear from our press or our universities, we must hope that some political candidate will eventually say it. Paul Wellstone might have said it. We cannot hope that any of the famous Republicans with an independent power base—John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger—will say it. Obviously the Clinton and Schumer types are not going to come through; their political function is more to protect the Republican Party from the wrath of the people than to protect the people from the depredations of the Bush-Cheney cabal. The idea that Senators like George Allen or Jon Kyl—one of the main protectors of Halliburton in Congress, along with Rep. Tom Davis of
A Mi'kmaq man from
A U-S Marine from
A Marine from Moberly has died in
David Vine, 28, of Station Approach, died in
The Defense Department reports that a 20-year-old soldier from Middleburg was killed in
Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, 40, was killed Thursday by a roadside bomb along with Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, 40, and Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage, 28. All three men were riding in a Humvee in eastern