Wednesday, May 31, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, May 31, 2006 Photo: An Iraqi mother crying after US soldiers have left her Baghdad house arresting her four sons (Assafir, 5/29/06). Bring 'em on: Spc. J. Adan Garcia, 20, of Irving, Texas, died on May 27 in the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., of injuries sustained May 22 in Baghdad, Iraq, when his convoy encountered small arms fire received while returning from an explosive ordnance mission. Garcia was assigned to the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y. (Defenselink) Bring 'em on: A roadside bomb struck a Japanese-Australian patrol in northern Samawah, on the Euphrates River about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad, damaging the last vehicle of the convoy and slightly wounding an Iraqi man who was selling ice, the man told AP Television News. It wasn't clear if there were any casualties among the troops. Some 1,500 more troops have arrived in Iraq's western Anbar province to help with the war against militant rebels in Anbar's capital, Ramadi. USA Today reporter Kimberly Johnson talks to Steve Inskeep about the situation there. She is the only western reporter embedded with the U.S. Marines in Ramadi [no less than the notorious Kilo Company; according to Johnson's NPR report mentioned above, the April total of attacks in Ramadi equals all three previous months combined, resulting in patrols being carried out at night only, because during the day the Marines "usually receive combat action in every foot patrol" - zig]. The US military said today two Iraqi women were shot to death in a city north of Baghdad after coalition forces fired at a car that failed to stop at an observation post. The statement came after Iraqi police said a pregnant woman and her cousin were killed by American troops as they were driving to a maternity hospital in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: At least 40 corpses, shot in the head and showing signs of torture, found in different locations around Iraq. The largest cache of 16 bodies turned up in Baladiyat in the eastern outskirts of Baghdad, while five were found in Husseiniya, northeast of the capital. Another four were found in Baghdad's impoverished Shiite district of Sadr City, three decapitated bodies were discovered in Muqdadiya, northeast of the capital and another 12 around Baghdad. Gunmen killed a Shiite muazzin, the man who calls for the five daily prayers, as he was leaving his house to go to the Imam Ali Mosque in southwestern Baghdad. A roadside bomb hit a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol on the highway near the Dora Refinery in southern Baghdad and the area was blocked off. No casualties were immediately reported. Gunmen killed Ali Jaafar, sports anchorman for Iraqi state television, as he left his home in Baghdad.
Reporters Without Borders voiced its condolences to the family of TV sports presenter Jaafar Ali, who was gunned down this morning in Baghdad. He was the third journalist to be killed in Iraq in the space of 48 hours and the 11th employee of the national TV station Al-Iraqiya to be killed since the start of the war in March 2003.
Two policemen were seriously wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Baghdad. Masked gunmen killed a real estate broker, a baker and the owner of a convenience store in separate attacks in Baghdad. Four civilians were killed during clashes that erupted between insurgents and policemen in northern Baghdad. Seven people, including policemen, were wounded. Defence Ministry adviser Muaid al-Jouburi escaped unharmed when gunmen attacked his motorcade in western Baghdad. Three of his bodyguards were wounded. (South of): Iraqi police found the bodies of four poeple with bullet wounds in their bodies in an area 65 km south of Baghdad. Diwaniyah: The former governor of Diwaniyah city south of Baghdad was killed in a drive-by shooting that also wounded two of his guards. Muqdadiyah: A bomb hidden in an air conditioner exploded in the mayor's office in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, killing the mayor, Sheik Allaywi Farhan al-Dulaimi, a member of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party, and wounding three of his guards. Provincial Gov. Raad Rashid al-Mula Jawad imposed a curfew on the city and deployed Iraqi army forces there. Tikrit: Gunmen killed two police officers in two different incidents in Tikrit on Tuesday. Mosul: A parked car packed with explosives hit a police patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least five policemen and wounding 14, including a senior officer. A suicide car bomber tried to ram into an Iraqi army checkpoint in a village west of Mosul, but Iraqi soldiers opened fire, killing the driver. Kirkuk: Iraqi police found a corpse bearing signs of torture with gunshot wounds in his head in Kirkuk. Gunmen killed a civilian and wounded two others outside a mobile shop in Kirkuk. Hawihja: Six civilians were seriously wounded when three mortar rounds landed in a crowded market in the town of Hawija, 70 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk. Khalidiya: An Iraqi soldier was killed and four others were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Khalidiya, 85 km west of Baghdad. Ramadi: Three people were killed and 10 others were wounded in Ramadi, although the circumstances were unclear. >> NEWS Iraqi PM declares state of emergency for a month in Basra. >> REPORTS Pentagon reports frequency of insurgent attacks in Iraq is at its highest level since commanders began tracking such figures two years ago. In its quarterly update to Congress, the Pentagon reports that throughout Iraq from Feb. 11 to May 12, insurgents staged an average of more than 600 attacks a week. From August 2005 to early February, when Iraqis elected a Parliament, insurgent attacks averaged about 550 a week. Before the United States handed over sovereignty in the spring of 2004, the attacks averaged about 400 a week. RESISTANCE ATTACKS CUT BAGHDAD PETROLEUM SUPPLIES As Iraq's brutal summer heat sends temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), a dire shortage of petroleum products is damaging the economy and cutting electricity supplies in Baghdad to new lows. "In addition to attacks on pipelines, trucks carrying petroleum products are in the sights of the rebels. Some gas stations had to close after their drivers refused to go pick up gasoline and other products stored in the dangerous areas around Baghdad," said Assem Jihad. Sabotage of the oil infrastructure is also ongoing, aggravating the situation, he added, nothing there had been two attacks in the past week on pipelines to the north and south of the capital. "Two units of the Baiji refinery were closed last week and this cut production," said Jihad, who also reported a fire in the offshore terminal of Khor al-Amaya in the Gulf. Since the US-led invasion of March 2003, Baghdad residents have always suffered from a lack of electricity, with some neighborhoods receiving power only one hour out of five. read in full... >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS DAHR JAMAIL: COUNTLESS MASSACRES IN IRAQ The media feeding frenzy around what has been referred to as "Iraq's My Lai" has become frenetic. Focus on US Marines slaughtering at least 20 civilians in Haditha last November is reminiscent of the media spasm around the "scandal" of Abu Ghraib during April and May 2004. Yet just like Abu Ghraib, while the media spotlight shines squarely on the Haditha massacre, countless atrocities continue daily, conveniently out of the awareness of the general public. Torture did not stop simply because the media finally decided, albeit in horribly belated fashion, to cover the story, and the daily slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US forces and US-backed Iraqi "security" forces had not stopped either. Earlier this month, I received a news release from Iraq, which read, "On Saturday, May 13th, 2006, at 10:00 p.m., US Forces accompanied by the Iraqi National Guard attacked the houses of Iraqi people in the Al-Latifya district south of Baghdad by an intensive helicopter shelling. This led the families to flee to the Al-Mazar and water canals to protect themselves from the fierce shelling. Then seven helicopters landed to pursue the families who fled ... and killed them. The number of victims amounted to more than 25 martyrs. US forces detained another six persons including two women named Israa Ahmed Hasan and Widad Ahmed Hasan, and a child named Huda Hitham Mohammed Hasan, whose father was killed during the shelling." The report from the Iraqi NGO called The Monitoring Net of Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI) continued, "The forces didn't stop at this limit. They held an attack on May 15th, 2006, supported also by the Iraqi National Guards. They also attacked the families' houses, and arrested a number of them while others fled. US snipers then used the homes to target more Iraqis. The reason for this crime was due to the downing of a helicopter in an area close to where the forces held their attack." The US military preferred to report the incident as an offensive where they killed 41 "insurgents," a line effectively parroted by much of the media. (...) read in full... 2006: THE YEAR THE CARVING OF IRAQ GOES INTO EFFECT At some point in the next few weeks and months, officials in Basra will proclaim: "Why is the central government not helping us? Why are you forsaking us? Then to hell with you, we will take matters into our hands, we don't need Baghdad." And the first real sign of break-up will become visible. Dear reader, do not misunderstand, the signs of the break-up of Iraq emerged on April 9, when Saddam's statue was torn down. Now, Iran, of course will delight in this. Iran in the 1980s' War sought to gobble up the south of Iraq and create an Islamic Republic there. Well, thanks to the moron Americans in the Bush White house and their vagabond army of bloggers and pro-war pundits, Iran is getting its wish. Iran is also getting its wish in Saddam's trial. He is not standing trial for crimes against Iraqis but for upsetting an Iranian assassination attempt using Iraqi proxies in the south of Iraq in 1982. Had Saddam died in Dujail, chaos would have ensued and the Iranian military would have seized Iraq. This is Iranian payback, not justice for the Iraqi people. An obscene miscarriage of justice to the Iraqi people. This trial is for Iran's benefit make no mistake about it. Now, when Basra moves towards secession, the Kurds will say: "Hell, we wanted to do that too but we thought we would give Iraqi unity a chance and now you Iraqis don't want to be unified? To hell with you." And they will move towards secession as well. So, all this would be timed around the time judgment will be passed (it already has been passed - Iran has decided that Saddam will be executed). See, violence will not abate at all. Death squads will roam freely. The resistance will fight back against US and Iranian occupation. Militia will continue to kill doctors and scientists. And the Baghdad government will say we can't do anything about Basra. Iraq, which is both Iran and Israel's greatest threat will be done with. And Iran and Israel will proceed to carve up the rest of the Middle East. Democracy and liberty and so-called economic prosperity will lie in the sandpits of the western deserts of Iraq along with the faces of Bush and Blair who asked the world to support Iraq. Today I watched the Kurdish foreign minister of Iraq, Hoshiar Zebari berate the Arab World for not congratulating the formation of the new Iraqi government. Sorry, Hoshi, the Arabs know your plots. But it seems, Americans, at least, the lay person do not. So, to the next moron to send me an email or comment telling me the kids of Alpharetta, GA or Federal Way, WA died for freedom in Iraq, I will say shut up and learn to say that in Farsi (that's Persian, Joe!) because those kids got their heads blown off for Iran. FOR IRAN. Git? read in full... BADR GROUPS MOVE FROM TROUBLED PAST TO UNCERTAIN FUTURE It could be instructive to recall that the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its armed wing, the Badr Corps, arose from a conference of Iraqi opposition parties called in Iran in 1982. The Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) was a breakaway faction of the Da'wa movement that had been outlawed in Iraq. The Badr Corps, estimated before the war to be approximately 10,000 to 15,000 strong was similarly outlawed, along with its parent organisation, the SCIRI. The Badr Corps was considered a terrorist group by Saddam's regime. But in 2002 and 2003, the SCIRI and the Badr Corps, also known as the Badr militia, joined negotiations with United States officials, including now ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad over the liberation of Iraq. During initial negotiations, it was proposed that the Badr Corps would participate in the invasion of Iraq alongside U.S. troops. That plan was abandoned in January 2003. It was decided at this time that the United States would temporarily administer Iraq, through what became the Coalition Provisional Authority. At this January meeting, Ayatollah Bakir al-Hakim from the Badr Corps (who was killed in August 2003) told Zalmay Khalilzad that if the United States presence began to appear like an occupation, he would order his forces to attack Coalition troops. Badr groups have emerged now from those controversial origins. Members of the Badr Corps, now known as the Badr Organisation, reflected on the change, and how it came about, in the course of several conversations with IPS. A Badr member who gave his name as Abu Haider told IPS that while the group did not participate in the initial invasion, the Badr Corps swiftly joined the coalition forces "to destroy Saddam's regime." Soon after the invasion two militant Shia groups became visible in Iraq - the Badr Corps and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army. These groups have long been engaged in conflict with one another, each vying for control over Iraq's Shia majority. (...) read in full... U.S. GENERAL "MAD AS HELL" AT RUMSFELD A senior American general who served as a combat commander in Iraq has accused the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, of squandering the lives of United States soldiers by ignoring military advice on how to conduct the campaign. In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Major General John Batiste, who resigned last year after 12 months stationed in Iraq's Sunni Triangle, said the Pentagon chief had caused "unnecessary deaths" by committing "strategic blunders of enormous magnitude". His outspoken comments come as the US military death toll in Iraq approaches 2,500, and put him at the forefront of the chorus of former generals who have called in recent months for Rumsfeld to step down. Unlike most of his colleagues, who are expected to settle back into comfortable and low-key retirement after making their point, General Batiste has no intention of keeping quiet. Instead, the former career soldier, who resigned last year after commanding 22,000 troops of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division, is planning a sustained public offensive aimed at driving Rumsfeld from office. "I'm as mad as hell," he said. "I'm not stopping. They can hand wave me off, dismiss me, but I'm coming back, again and again and again until there is some accountability." The transformation of a once loyal soldier into an outspoken rebel is a stark indicator of the growing disquiet at the heart of America's military establishment, and will renew the pressure on President George W. Bush to replace his defence chief. read in full... FORECASTING Forecasting in business or similar endeavors is hard enough. What market share will a certain company have in 2008? How many of a certain product will be sold in 2010? How could you possibly know? It depends on a thousand factors, involving everything that company does between now and then, everything each one of their competitors does, what the economy itself does, and so on. Yet analysts do quite a lucrative business making exactly such forecasts, always making out that they know the future with remarkable certainty even when their past predictions have proven inaccurate. How much more ludicrous, then, is a forecast like this:
The Pentagon report said the strength of insurgents aiming to drive U.S.-led foreign forces out of Iraq "will likely remain steady throughout 2006 but that their appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007."
Isn't it funny how the waning of the insurgency, or the decrease in American troop strength, is always six months away, no matter when you ask the question? link IRAQI CHILDREN USED AS DETERRENTS, ALSO KNOWN AS HUMAN SHIELDS A reader, Mark from Ireland sent me an article from Military.com. An excerpt from the article:
"In Iraq, repetition of any sort could be an invitation of the wrong sort - an event for which insurgents could plan. So Mayer and Schuller took out some of the candy they carried, thinking that if children were around, perhaps the terrorists wouldn't attack."
The article later shows the US soldiers thinking fondly of the children, who served as reprieve from the horrors of war. But let us examine the aforementioned excerpt. "...if children were around, perhaps the terrorists wouldn't attack". Therefore, the children were being used as deterrents against attack, correct? And if so, were they notified of being used as deterrents against attack? Were their parents notified? The Iraqi children were used as deterrents, also known as human shields. Children were intentionally and willfully brought into the vicinity of US soldiers who knew they are targets for attack and who knew that if they were attacked there could result collateral damage. It is a brilliant strategy - the resistance targets US troops, Iraqi children get killed, news headline screams "Insurgents killed Iraqi children", subheading reads "US troops passing out candy". American public goes "awwwwww" for the troops' kindness. American public gets outraged against the Iraqi fighters and deems US troop presence necessary to protect Iraq's children. read in full... RIVERBEND: VIVA MUQTADA... I listened to [Muqtada Al-Sadr's] fatwa [prohibiting football (soccer)], with him getting emotional about playing football, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Foreign occupation and being a part of a puppet government- those things are ok. Football, however, will be the end of civilization as we know it, according to Muqtada. It's amusing- they look nothing alike- yet he reminds me so much of Bush. He can barely string two sentences together properly and yet, millions of people consider his word law. So when Bush raves about the new 'fledgling Iraqi government' 'freely elected' into power, you can take a look at Muqtada and see one of the fledglings. He is currently one of the most powerful men in the country for his followers. So this is democracy. This is one of the great minds of Bush's democratic Iraq. Sadr's militia control parts of Iraq now. Just a couple of days ago, his militia, with the help of Badr, were keeping women from visiting the market in the southern city of Karbala. Women weren't allowed in the marketplace and shop owners were complaining that their businesses were suffering. Welcome to the new Iraq. It's darkly funny to see what we've turned into, and it is also anguishing. Muqtada Al-Sadr is a measure of how much we've regressed these last three years. Even during the Iran-Iraq war and the sanctions, people turned to sports to keep their mind off of day-to-day living. After the occupation, we won a football match against someone or another and we'd console ourselves with "Well we lose wars- but we win football!" From a country that once celebrated sports- football (soccer) especially- to a country that worries if the male football players are wearing long enough shorts or whether all sports fans will face eternal damnation... That's what we've become. read in full... LIONS LED BY DONKEYS There is a goddam world of difference between asking a man to risk his life to defend the nation and waste his life proving a point. That these unquestioning war devotees will not sacrifice their lives, their comfort, their safety: that's hardly a sin in modern society. But they are not even willing to risk emotional discomfort by admitting their faith has been misplaced. That they will not even risk this, this tiny, tiny thing ... that is the sin. It is not that that you're not risking your life. It's that you are risking nothing. The problem is, there is no single word in English for a man risking absolutely nothing, who demands someone else risk absolutely everything. I'm sure there's a word in German -- they are a whizzer with those kicky compound nouns -- but none in English for that precise combination. So, for now, we must let "chickenhawk" be its placeholder. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: In Zabul, rebels battled U.S. forces, though it was not immediately clear whether there were any militant casualties, said coalition spokesman Maj. Quentin Innis. Hundreds of suspected Taliban fighters attacked a remote central Afghan town Wednesday and briefly occupied its police headquarters after driving out security forces. The militants took control of the police compound in the Uruzgan province town of Chora around dawn Wednesday, after hours of fighting with 100 police inside the headquarters, said Rozi Khan, the regional police chief. The militants left the compound by late morning after torching police vehicles, but fighters remained in the area and police weren't immediately returning to Chora, Khan said, citing witnesses in the town. "If our police go there, they'll be ambushed," Khan said by phone from the region. Khan said no police were wounded in the battle. He had no details on militant casualties. Taliban guerrillas have killed at least a dozen Afghan police and abducted up to 40 others in two separate attacks in the south of the country. Canada is not at war in Afghanistan, says Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor. Fighting violent insurgents is just one task among many for Canadian soldiers trying to bring stability to the troubled country, O'Connor told a Commons committee Tuesday. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "By the time we're done America may very make look Nazi Germany look like Switzerland" -- comment by still here at Information Clearinghouse 05.29.06 - 10:21 pm


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, May 30, 2006 Photo: American soldiers taking Iraqi children hostages until their father's surrender. (See more photos at the link.) Bring 'em on: A U.S. soldier was killed by small arms fire on Monday in the northern city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. The bodies of two marines who went missing after their helicopter crashed on Saturday in western Iraq have been recovered, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: A roadside bomb in southern Baghdad killed one police officer and wounded four. Bodies of three blindfolded and handcuffed men who had been tortured and shot in the head found in different areas of Baghdad. A car loaded with mortar rounds and explosives exploded near the Interior Ministry, killing a man there and wounding three city workers on a soccer field. Two Iraqi women were killed and two other people wounded Tuesday when a mortar bomb slammed near the Ministry of Interior's building in Baghdad. The Imam of Ansar al-Muhajrin Sunni mosque, was assassinated Tuesday by gunmen in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Shula. A number of gunmen stormed Abdullah's house adjacent to the mosque and shot him to death. The Iraqi army said it arrested an insurgent who opened fire at guards at the Ministry of Transport. A car bomb killed at least five people in the northern Baghdad district of Husaniya. Tikrit: Gunmen wounded an Egyptian national while he was driving in his car in Tikrit. The U.S. forces arrested a former major general in Saddam Hussein's army along with his three sons in Tikrit. Balad: Gunmen kidnapped an employee of the Oil Protection Facility in Balad, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad. Samarra: Gunmen killed two brothers on Monday night while they were walking in the street in the city of Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad. Hilla: A suicide bomber in a car killed at least eight people in the Iraqi town of Hilla, police sources said, adding the death toll was expected to rise. They said the attack occurred near a car dealership in Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad. Aziziya: Two people from the Mehdi Army militia run by Moqtada al-Sadr were wounded on Monday night during clashes with members from the Iraqi Accordance Front, a Sunni Arab Umbrella Group, in Aziziya, a small town between Baghdad and Kut, 170 km (105 miles) south of Baghdad. Suwayra: Police killed three people with suspected links to al-Qaeda in Iraq on Monday near Suwayra, south of Baghdad, police said on Tuesday. >> NEWS RAMADI THE NEXT FALLUJAH? The U.S. military said Monday it was deploying the main reserve fighting force for Iraq, a full 3,500-member armored brigade, as emergency reinforcements for the embattled western province of Anbar, where a surge of violence linked to the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq has severely damaged efforts to turn Sunni Arab tribal leaders against the insurgency. (...) Gen. George W. Casey, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, has called up the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, the main standby reserve force for the roughly 130,000 American troops in Iraq, Maj. Todd Breasseale, a Marine spokesman in Baghdad, confirmed. The call-up leaves a Marine Expeditionary Unit, which typically includes one combat infantry battalion and air and logistical support, in Kuwait as the only American reserve in the Iraqi theater, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said. CNN reported last week that as many as two of the brigade's three battalions were headed to Ramadi. U.S. military officials would not comment then, citing security of any ongoing troop movements. (...) U.S. forces have called in repeated strikes by air and by artillery on the heart of Ramadi. Marines defend a five-block area of downtown that holds the local government, now a sniper's alley where U.S. forces move at a run to elude insurgent guns. Marines have temporarily suspended new embedding of journalists in Ramadi. Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report and the Associated Press, all with embedded reporters already in Ramadi last week, quoted both officers and the enlisted Marines at sandbag firing positions as saying that Ramadi had to have reinforcements to do more than fight insurgents to a draw around the town hall. Time quoted officers as estimating it would take three brigades, up from one. (...) Rumors routinely circulate of a Fallujah-style clearing operation in Ramadi. read in full... A lawyer for Saddam Hussein said one of his witnesses had been killed and complained of restrictions on the case. The defense did not identify the slain witness or give details on how or when he was killed, but it said the death illustrated the difficulties undermining an effective defense of Saddam and seven former members of his regime. 249 prisoners who had been suspected of ties to the insurgency have been released from three U.S. detention centers in Iraq. An Iraqi Justice Ministry official says the freed prisoners are part of a group of two thousand cleared for release by a joint committee. There are still 14,000 detainees, including five women, in prisons nationwide. Work tarted on a multimillion-dollar international airport near Najaf, financed mostly by a low-interest loan from Iran. The airport is designed to serve Shiite religious pilgrims visiting Najaf's shrines and provide a major boost to the economy of Iraqi's impoverished Shiite south. It's a coalition of the dwindling: The U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq is losing two of its most important allies - Italy and South Korea - and up to half a dozen other members could draw down their forces or pull out entirely by the end of the year. >> REPORTS Autopsy reports reveal homicides of detainees in U.S. custody (released by the ACLU 10/24/05) Document Number: DOD003164 - DOD003170; DOD 003301 Title of Record: Final Autopsy Report (Addendum); Death Certificate Description of Record: Died as a result of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain) due to strangulation as evidenced by the recently fractured hyoid bone in the neck and soft tissue hemorrhage extending downward to the level of the right thyroid cartilage. Autopsy reveleaved bone fracture, rib fractures, contusions in mid abdomen, back and buttocks extending to the left flank, abrasions, lateral buttocks. Contusions, back of legs and knees; abrasions on knees, left fingers and encircling to left wrist. Lacerations and superficial cuts, right 4th and 5th fingers. Also, blunt force injuries, predominatnly recent contusions (bruises) on the torso and lower extremities. Abrasions on left wrist are consistent with use of restraints. No evidence of defense injuries or natural disease. Manner of death is homicide. DOD 003329 refers to this case as "strangulation, found outside isolation unit." Date of Death: 6/6/2003 Autopsy Number: A03-51 Place of Death: Whitehorse Detainment Facility, Nasiriyah, Iraq Cause of Death: Strangulation Manner of Death: Homicide BLOODY SCENES HAUNT A MARINE Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones says he is tormented by two memories of Nov. 19, 2005, in Haditha, Iraq. The first is of the body of his best friend and fellow Marine blown apart just after dawn by a roadside bomb. The second is of the lifeless form of a small Iraqi girl, one of two dozen unarmed civilians allegedly killed by members of his Camp Pendleton unit - Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. (...) Briones said he took pictures of at least 15 bodies before his camera batteries died. He said he then helped other Marines remove the bodies and place them in body bags. He said his worst moment, and one that haunts him to this day, was picking up the body of a young girl who was shot in the head. "I held her out like this," he said, demonstrating with his arms extended, "but her head was bobbing up and down and the insides fell on my legs." As he spoke, his mother, Susie Briones, 40, a Hanford community college teacher, who was sitting beside him at the kitchen table, silently wiped away tears. Earlier she confided to a reporter that her son called frequently from Iraq after he experienced nightmares over the little girl. "He called me many times," she said, "about carrying this little girl in his hands and her brains splattering on his boots. He'd say, 'Mom, I can't clean my boots. I can't clean my boots. I see her.' " (...) In early April, less than 36 hours after his return from Iraq, Ryan Briones got into serious trouble in his hometown that he and his family say was related to stress from the Haditha incident [some 'incident' indeed - zig]. Briones was charged with stealing a pickup truck, crashing it into a house, leaving the scene of the accident, driving under the influence and resisting arrest. A picture of the spectacular crash with a white Ford F-150 lodged in a Hanford living room appeared on the Hanford Sentinel's front page April 4. Released from Kings County jail April 5 on $35,000 bond, Briones has a court date set in mid-June. read in full... A DONKEY TOO FAR SAS troops blew up the wrong house, destroyed three cars and ran over two donkeys during a bungled night-time raid in Iraq. Fifty British and US Special Forces swooped on a home, thought to be where a terror cell was hiding 20 SA16 surface-to-air missiles and an SA80 assault gun. Acting on information from US intelligence, the SAS abseiled from a helicopter on to the roof and blew in the roof and walls. They then arrested two Iraqi brothers, who were later found to be totally innocent. Squaddies have dubbed the mission at Majar Al Kabir, near Basra, "A Donkey Too Far," after the failed WW2 operation made into the movie A Bridge Too Far. A Whitehall source said: "An armoured column hit a donkey on the way in and a Challenger II crushed cars as it turned around. Then an armoured vehicle ran over another donkey." link WELCOME TO LIBERATED BAGHDAD: RUNNING WATER 1 HOUR A DAY "Leaving aside security," Kassim the carpet salesman asked rhetorically, "when you come home, what do you need?" He ticked off the answers on the fingers on his right hand: "Electricity. Water. Food." "Getting any of this in Baghdad is a problem," he said. The Iraqi Shiite's elegant, two-story house in the busy central Baghdad district of Karrada gets power four hours a day - "one hour on, six hours off," said Kassim, a divorced father of three. Running water is available for one hour, between 1 and 2 in the morning. Kassim pours the water into giant plastic jugs he stores in his bathroom, kitchen and on the rooftop. "It's a good thing that I go to bed late," he said. link >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS MINUTES OF MEETING OF THE LAST SESSION OF THE NEWLY 'ELECTED' IRAQI PARLIAMENT (May 28, 2006):
"After a closed stormy session, the members of parliament agreed on the number of security guards for each member of parliament. The two chambers of the parliament agreed that 20 security guards should be assigned to each member of parliament and 30 security guards for each minister. Apparently, the mere number of personal security guards had become a contentious issue reflecting the jockeying of power among the various factions; as the I'itilaf (Shi'aa) insisted on the number 15 and the Kurdish and Sunni wanted 25. The issue of the privileges of the presidency of the parliament was postponed till the coming Monday, and conflicting statements have been issued regarding what these privileges should be. Shi'aa parliament members insist that an agreement has been reached, while the Sunni members deny that it has. Apparently, the issue of privilege has created a deep chasm in parliament, for while the Sunni insist on giving the parliament President wide privileges, the Shi'aa and Kurds want to spread these privileges among the two vice-presidents of parliament".
Update: By the way, what is the cost of these security guards, who are foreign mercenaries and whose average daily salary is $1,000 (for their blood is more expensive than Iraqi blood)? 278 members of parliament X 20 security guards each X $1,000 = $5,560,000 per day 37 ministers (11 of whom are shadow ministers, i.e. without any work) X 30 security guards X $1,000 = $1,100,000 per day Hence, the total is $6,670,000 per day which comes to $2,473,520,000 per year (there are no holidays for security, you see) read in full... SCOTT RITTER: THE HARDEST WORD One has to wonder as to what must have been going through the minds of those who were advising George W Bush and Tony Blair to "come clean", so to speak, about their respective shortcomings regarding the conduct of the war in Iraq. With over 2,460 American and 106 UK soldiers killed in Iraq (not to mention untold thousands of dead Iraqis), the two people in the world most responsible for the ongoing debacle in Iraq displayed the combination of indifference and ignorance that got them neck deep in a quagmire of their own making to begin with. President Bush kicked himself for "talking too tough", while the British prime minister ruminated on the decision to disband the Ba'athist infrastructure that held Iraq together in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein. Neither expressed any regret over the decision to invade Iraq in the first place. Bush made no reference to the exaggerated and falsified claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction he and his loyal ally bandied about so freely in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Blair, recently returned from a visit to Baghdad where he met with the newly appointed prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, did not reflect on the reality that the Iraq of Saddam Hussein was a more peaceful and prosperous land before British and American troops overthrew the Iraqi president and condemned Iraq to the horrific reality of insurgent-fed civil strife. (...) Blair shared his reflective insights at moment when the people of the United Kingdom were wrestling with new revelations concerning how he misled their attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, into putting forward a legal finding that enabled Britain to go to war with Iraq void of a second United Nations security council resolution. Blair had apparently told Lord Goldsmith that Iraq was in "material breach" of its obligations, despite the fact that no new intelligence on WMD had been unearthed, and UN weapons inspectors were on the ground in Iraq receiving total cooperation from the Iraqi government. Not a peep from the prime minister on this matter, though. (...) Perhaps the advisors of Bush and Blair thought they were going to put a human face on two leaders who had been so vilified over the Iraq debacle. If so they failed. The joint press conference was little more than a pathetic show where two failed politicians voiced their continued support of failed policies, which had gotten their respective nations embroiled in a failed war. To quote Blair: "What more can I say? Probably not wise to say anything more at all." read in full... THE REST IS JUST CONSEQUENCES Tony Blair is a fairly bright man, and George W. Bush is not as dim as he seems, so how can they be so obtuse about Iraq? De-Baathification, re-Baathification, retro-Baathification - nothing can change the basic fact that the Baath party that had ruled Iraq since the 1960s was deeply nationalist and profoundly hostile to the United States (because it is Israel's closest ally) and to Britain (the former imperial ruler of Iraq). Fire all the Baathists, and they will go underground and join the resistance. Leave them in their jobs, and they will be a fifth column of spies and saboteurs for the resistance. Likewise for the empty debate about whether US Proconsul Paul Bremer made a fatal mistake by disbanding the entire Iraqi Army in the spring of 2003. Disband the army, and several hundred thousand trained men will take their skills and their weapons and join the resistance. Leave the existing army in place, and its officers will sell the foreign occupation troops out to the resistance at every opportunity while awaiting the right moment for a national uprising against the foreigners. The original decision to invade Iraq was the fatal mistake; the rest is just consequences. read in full... THE PENTAGON'S TIMELY STRAWMAN Only time right now for some quick thoughts on Haditha. Or rather, Haditha's elevation as Iraq's official, bad apple atrocity. Even for those who try to pay attention to what filters through the fog of war crimes, these things tend to run together. Haditha isn't Abu Sifa where, according to Iraqi police, US forces "on a rampage" executed a family of 11, then bombed their house, burned their cars and slaughtered their animals. What more will we hear of Abu Sifa, now Haditha has become the representative and inevitable example of honour's exception? Because along with Haditha comes Jesse Macbeth, allegedly a former Army Ranger and Iraq war veteran, whose claims that massacre was method rather than madness rapidly went viral on the Net. His story was unsubstantiated and exteme, yet plausible because it was extreme, and provided a template to the pattern of force on exhibit in Iraq. A pattern rarely admitted by the West's institutional media. But Macbeth, it now appears, is the Pentagon's timely strawman to buttress its case for Haditha's exceptionalism, and to discredit influential anti-war voices such as Iraq Veterans Against the War. Whether unaware or not of his status as a COINTELPRO asset, it doesn't matter, because regardless, Macbeth became a lucky charm for those who refuse to believe the program of horror in which US troops are engaged, and there are many. Similar stories may now be said to have been "debunked," without examination or a straining of battlefield ethics. read in full... THE IRAQ WAR - ON DRUGS "It concerns us when we hear military doctors say, 'It's wonderful that we have these drugs [sleeping pills, antidepressants and tranquilizers] available to cope with second or third deployments,'" Joyce Raezer of the National Military Family Association told In These Times. "But that statement makes military spouses cringe," she continues, "Soldiers are saying 'we don't have time to recover.'" Marine psychiatrist Cmdr. Paul S. Hammer confirmed to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Rick Rogers that Marines with PTSD are returning to Iraq. In many cases, their problem is labeled stress. "Army docs have told me that commanders pressured them not to diagnose PTSD because it would cut into combat power-the ability to project men and women into war," says Robinson. "The docs admit that the decision [to misdiagnose] is unethical, but are unwilling to take the huge career risk of becoming a whistle blower." "The military has an obligation to ensure your readiness," says Raezer. "It is in its long-term benefit to have the person healthy." But those goals may conflict with themselves and with reality. Ready for deployment is not the same as mentally healthy, and the army's long-term interests smack hard against its need for warm bodies, no matter how dangerous continued action may be to an individual's mental health. read in full... THE EVIL IN OUR GOVERNMENT Is the Bush Regime a state sponsor of terrorism? A powerful case can be made that it is. (...) The criminal Bush Regime has now murdered more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein. The Bush Regime is also responsible for 20,000 US casualties (dead, maimed for life, and wounded). Bush damns the "axis of evil." But who has the "axis of evil" attacked? Iran has attacked no one. North Korea has attacked no country for more than a half century. Iraq attacked Kuwait a decade and a half ago, apparently after securing permission from the US ambassador. Isn't the real axis of evil Bush-Blair-Olmert? Bush and Blair have attacked two countries, slaughtering their citizens. Olmert is urging them on to attack a third country-Iran. Where does the danger to the world reside? In Iran, a small religious country where the family is intact and the government is constrained by religious authority and ancient traditions, or in the US where propaganda rules and the powerful executive branch has removed itself from accountability by breaking the constitutional restraints on its power? Why is the US superpower orchestrating fear of puny Iran? The US government has spent the past half century interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, overthrowing or assassinating their chosen leaders and imposing its puppets on foreign peoples. To what country has Iran done this, or Iraq, or North Korea? Americans think that they are the salt of the earth. The hubris that comes from this self-righteous belief makes Americans blind to the evil of their leaders. How can American leaders be evil when Americans are so good and so wonderful? (…) The former terrible tyrant ruler of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, is on trial for killing 150 people. The US government murdered 500,000 Iraqi children prior to Bush's invasion. When the US government murders people, whether Serbs, Branch Davidians at Waco, or Iraqi women and children, it is "collateral damage." But we put Saddam Hussein on trial for putting down rebellions. Gentle reader, do you believe that the Bush Regime will not shoot you down in the streets if you have a rebellion? -- Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. read in full... >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: Four aid workers were killed by a gunman riding a motorbike in northern Afghanistan. Three female employees of ActionAid International and their male driver - all of whom were Afghan - died when the gunman pulled alongside their vehicle and opened fire, Khan Ahmdar, the governor of Jawzjan province, said. Hundreds of Afghan and coalition troops took up positions around the Afghan capital on Tuesday to prevent further anti-American riots. The city of 4 million was calm as stores reopened and residents commuted to work. The death toll from the unrest rose to at least 11, most of them from gunshot wounds, according to three city hospitals where casualties were taken. Kabul Emergency Hospital said it had 66 wounded, all shot. Dozens of other wounded residents were at other hospitals. WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR CONJURING UP THIS NONSENSE? "Israel has warned European and American intelligence bodies of possible attempts by Hizbullah cells, led by Imad Mugniyah, to carry out terror attacks during the upcoming World Cup tournament in Germany," reports Yedioth Internet. "According to the report, the terror plot is aimed at proving to the international community that Tehran is capable of retaliation if attacked." Of course, if Iran actually does this, it will demonstrate its leadership has gone stark raving bonkers, as it would provide an ironclad pretext for Israel and the United States to shock and awe the nation into Stone Age submission. Considering this, and the fact the Israelis and neocons are shopping for just a handy pretext, we can assume with a fair degree of accuracy the above mentioned "intelligence bodies," with the unmentioned Mossad taking the lead, are responsible for conjuring up this nonsense. read in full... QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Every response was 'kill', every chant we had, whether it was in line for the chow hall or PT was somehow involved with killing. And not simply killing the enemy, we had one just standing in line for chow which was "1, 2, 3, attack the chow hall (repeat) Kill the women, Kill the Children, Kill, Kill, Kill 'em All" -- a former marine recruit describing boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, 2002


Monday, May 29, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR MONDAY, May 29, 2006 Photo: Iraqi firemen extinguish a burning U.S. Humvee as soldiers treat victims after a car bomb exploded in central Baghdad May 29, 2006. REUTERS/Ali Jasim (See below "In Baghdad's Tahariyat Square…") Bring 'em on: With deep regret the [UK] Ministry of Defence can confirm that two members of the Queen's Dragoon Guards were killed and two others suffered minor injuries in an incident which took place in Basra, Iraq, yesterday, 28 May 2006, at around 2130 local time. The incident appears to have been an attack from an Improvised Explosive Device. The soldiers were from the Queen's Dragoons Guards part of the Basra City Battlegroup. (UK MoD) CBS personnel killed and injured after their convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed, CBS said in a statement. Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was in critical condition at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad after undergoing surgery.
The three journalists were covering American troops for Memorial Day while with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The journalists had gotten out of their armored vehicle after a "curious incident," CBS said. A nearby car packed with explosives then detonated, the network said.
The U.S. military said a U.S. soldier and an Iraqi contractor also were killed in the attack on their convoy. Six U.S. soldiers were wounded in the attack, the military said.
In Baghdad's Tahariyat Square, a car bomb targeting an American convoy killed one civilian and wounded nine. It was not known if there were any U.S. casualties, but at least one Humvee was seen on fire. OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS Baghdad: Sunni tribal chief who sent fighters to help U.S. troops in western Iraq died in a hail of bullets: Sheik Osama al-Jadaan was ambushed by gunmen as he was being driven in Baghdad's Mansour district. Al-Jadaan's driver and one of his bodyguards also were killed. Al-Jadaan was a leader of the Karabila tribe, which has thousands of members in Anbar province, an insurgent hotbed stretching from west of Baghdad to the Syrian border. He had announced an agreement with the U.S.-backed Iraqi government to help security forces track down al-Qaida members and foreign fighters. A car bomb placed near Baghdad's main Sunni Abu Hanifa mosque killed at least nine Iraqis and wounded 25. The bomb exploded at noon in north Baghdad's Azamiyah neighborhood and was so powerful it vaporized the vehicle. Following the attack, clashes erupted between insurgents and the Iraqi army in the area. A bomb planted in a parked minivan killed at least seven and wounded 20 at the entrance to an open-air market selling clothes in the northern Baghdad suburb of Kazimiyah. A parked car exploded near Ibin al-Haitham college in Azamiyah in northern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding at least five, including four Iraqi soldiers. Twelve people were killed and 24 were wounded when a car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol detonated in Adhamiya district, northern Baghdad. Most of the victims were students from a nearby university. A second bomb targeting an Iraqi police patrol near the square killed one person and wounded 10, including four police. A roadside bomb killed two police officers and wounded three others in downtown Baghdad's Karradah district. One man was killed and six were injured when a bomb hidden in a minivan exploded in Baghdad. Gunmen killed two police officers when they attacked a convoy in western Baghdad. Two other Pakistanis were killed in a militant attack in Baghdad. A suicide car bomber blew up a police patrol in Baghdad's southern district of Masbah on Monday, killing three and wounding five others.. Among the casualties, a policeman was killed and two was wounded. A car bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in Karrada district, central Baghdad, killing one person and wounding four people. The Pakistani government confirmed on Monday that two of its nationals were killed in Iraq when their sleeping places in a U.S. military camp in Baghdad came under mortar attack on May 22. The two Pakistanis were employed with a company and were working at the camp as laborer and electrician. Ghazaliyah: A group of attackers seriously wounded several police colonels in Ghazaliyah near Baghdad. Khalis: A roadside bomb killed 10 Iraqis who worked for an organization of Iranian dissidents living in Iraq. The blast targeted a public bus near Khalis, 50 miles north of Baghdad in Diyala province. Twelve people were wounded, police said. All the dead were Iraqi employees heading to the main camp of the Mujahedeen Khalq, which opposes Iran's regime. Iskandariya: To the south of Baghdad, Hilla police reported four mortar rounds had fallen into the town of Iskandariya, wounding 10 civilians. Dujail: Gunmen opened fire at an army checkpoint on Saturday, killing one soldier and wounding two others near the town of Dujail, 90 km north of Baghdad. Amarah: Two police officers, identified as former Baathists, were killed in Amarah, 180 miles southeast of Baghdad. Kirkuk: An Iraqi civilian was injured when a car exploded in Kirkuk. In Country: Two Pakistani drivers kidnapped in Iraq last week have been killed and their bodies have been sent to Kuwait for repatriation to the country, a TV channel reported on Monday. There was no official confirmation of the deaths. >> NEWS Iraqi FM said Baghdad will never take part in any military aggression on Iran: Speaking to IRNA, the minister said that Baghdad had repeatedly declared that it would never allow its territory to become a launching pad for any military action or be used to materialize threats against Iran. He was responding to a question at a press conference here on whether Iraq would allow the US to use its soil to materialize threats on Iran. "Iraq's security and stability is intertwined with the security and stability of Iran," Zebari said. (…) Zebari, talking to reporters, said his country believes peaceful nuclear technology is Iran's indisputable right. He further said that any provocation or moves against Iran that exacerbates the problem and endangers its security would have negative effects on security in the entire region. "Given the wisdom of Iranian officials and their logical attitude," said the foreign minister, "Iraq is confident that Tehran's nuclear problem will be settled through peaceful ways." Italy to pull 1,100 of its troops from Iraq in June, the new government said Friday, giving its first specific numbers about the planned withdrawal. "In June we will reduce our troops from 2,700 to 1,600," Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said during an evening television show. Al-Sadr calls on Iraqi Parliament to take immediate measures for the withdrawal of the US troops from the country: He addressed the US President George Bush urging him to respect the just demands of the Iraqi government and people about the withdrawal of the troops from the country. Muqtada al-Sadr explained that after the end of political disagreement and the formation of a new government, Iraq doesn't need international help any more. Speaker of Iraq's national assembly condemns arrest of the brother of a member of parliament by US and Iraqi forces in a raid on her house on Friday: Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said in a statement that US and Iraqi forces arrested the brother of Sunni Arab parliamentarian Taysir Awwad at her home. "I condemn the arrest which violates the immunity of the house because she is a member of parliament," he said. The US military had no immediate comment. Multi-National Forces are offering a USD 2,500 reward for information on a wanted sniper that has been targeting policemen and civilians in Kirkuk. >> REPORTS Hundreds of British security guards in Iraq being urged to resign en masse next month over a pay dispute that could cripple operations at diplomatic missions and put the safety of officials at risk. The unprecedented industrial action by staff at Control Risks raises questions about the use of private security companies for tasks such as guarding embassies and convoys and acting as bodyguards for diplomats and aid workers in conflict zones. Since the US-led invasion of Iraq, dozens of private security companies have made hundreds of millions of pounds from dangerous jobs. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office spent £110 million on private security in the first 21/2 years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But with less money being spent on reconstruction and more security firms competing for the work, the contracts have become more competitive. Control Risks, whose 450 employees in Iraq provide close protection for British diplomats and aid workers, had its contract renewed by the Foreign Office, but only after it reduced charges by cutting salaries to some frontline staff by 19 to 37 per cent. (…) The dispute is a blow to Control Risks, which promotes itself as a respectable company in a business that attracts a motley collection of players, including mercenaries and conmen. IT TAKES TWO TO PLAY 4th GENERATION WARFARE
"THEY'RE MORE EFFECTIVELY NETWORKED THAN WE ARE" [During a U.S. raid in Ad Duluiyah] suddenly [First Lt. Brian] Feldmayer [of Charlie Company, part of the Army’s first “digital division,”] cuts off the conversation and urges the man and the interpreter around a corner. "He says he knows who the bad guys are around here," Feldmayer says. The interpreter takes notes as the informant rattles off names and addresses. If the Pentagon's vision of networked forces were realized here, he would be typing into a handheld computer, wirelessly connected to a network. The names would immediately be cross-checked with databases of known guerrillas and disseminated to local commanders. But for now, the patrol's interpreter writes down the Ad Duluiyah suspects on paper, using a pencil. It's at this point, just beyond the edge of the American network, where the guerrillas are best connected. Using disposable cellphones, anonymous e-mail addresses at public Internet cafés, and "lessons learned" Web sites that rival Cavnet, disparate guerrilla groups coordinate attacks, share tactics, hire bomb makers, and draw in fresh recruits. It's an ad hoc, constantly changing web of connections, so it's hard for U.S. spooks to know where to listen in next. It also lets the insurgents keep a loose command structure, without much hierarchy-just like the network-centric theorists call for. Even if their communications are compromised, only a small cell is exposed, not the entire insurgency. "They're more effectively networked than we are," says Hammes, the guerrilla-war expert. "They have a worldwide, secure communications network. And all it cost them was two dinars." read in full… Anti-U.S. rebels active in Fallujah turn against digital cameras U.S. troops installed to monitor their movement: The cameras can monitor movement of people at least three kilometers away and have apparently restricted the rebels' ability to raid U.S. camps. Residents say they have counted at least 35 such cameras guarding U.S. troops' concentrations close to the restive city of Falluja. And recently several of these high-tech cameras were destroyed mainly by rebel sniper fire. (…) Falluja has resurfaced as a major stronghold of anti-U.S. resistance despite a massive U.S. assault that had almost turned the city of nearly 300,000 inhabitants into ruins.
At least 1,000 UK soldiers desert: Cases of soldiers deserting the army are said to be rising More than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted since the start of the Iraq war, the BBC has learned. Figures for those still missing are 86 from 2001, 118 from 2002, 134 from 2003, 229 from 2004, 377 from 2005, and 189 for this year so far. The news comes as Parliament debates a law that will forbid military personnel from refusing to participate in the occupation of a foreign country. (…) John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington told, Parliament last Monday that the number of absconders had trebled since the invasion with more soldiers "questioning the morality and legality of the occupation". Video of a young survivor of the Haditha Massacre. Her entire family was murdered by American soldiers in their home. On November 19 of last year a massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians occurred in Haditha located about 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. The killing rampage by 12 US Marines included seven women and three children who were shot point blank inside their homes. The war crime surfaced only because of its recent strong condemnation by Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a retired US Marine. The Iraqi Hammurabi Organization for Monitoring Human Rights and Democracy documented the massacre and produced a video showing corpses lined up at the local morgue with bullet wounds in the head and chest. The video shows homes with bullet holes in the walls, pieces of human flesh, pools of blood, and clothes scattered on floors. Iraqi civilian witnesses described the horrible killing rampage by the US Marines. Poll: For the first time since the Iraq invasion, fewer than four-in-ten Americans believe the war was worth fighting. 76 per cent of respondents think there have been an unacceptable number of U.S. military casualties in Iraq >> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS SO THIS IS THE NEWS ON IRAQ? On her last visit to the U.S., Faiza al-Arji, a native Shia Iraqi woman, whose blog "A Family in Baghdad" provides details of everyday developments in Iraq, was invited by a non-governmental American organization opposed to the war, went to different states, and spoke about the truth of what's happening in Iraq. Her greatest disappointment, she says, was to discover that the mainstream media of a country, which claims to be the world's foremost protector of freedoms and human rights, is not as objective as we're being told. (...) "When I passed through the offices of CNN, Fox News and other major news agencies," says Al-Arji, "I saw they were funded by government-friendly sources. I smiled to myself" "Their news reports were clipped and vague, and essentially meaningless. For example, they showed President Bush saying, 'we are making progress in Iraq.' A commander from the occupied forces would also be shown for a few seconds saying that everything was going smoothly. Then they would flash a picture of a safe, beautiful Baghdad before the war--the Tigris river was beautiful, glimmering and clean. Then the news piece would be over." "People pay attention for seconds, waiting for a new and useful sentence. When they don't hear it, they turn and talk about something else. I said to myself: So this is the news on Iraq? What might the American citizen actually understand from this?" "I started asking people in my interviews: In the past three years, do you remember seeing one Iraqi opposing the war in the mainstream media? They shook their heads and say no. I would then tell them that the U.S. media is in partnership with the government in this war. You Americans don't know anything about Iraq, about Islam, about our culture, our civilization, our religion, I said. All that reaches you is through the lens of a distorted, biased and deceitful media that sows disdain and discrimination and justifies wars and hatred between us. read in full... URANIUM AS A FORCE MULTIPLIER It always pays to listen, and to listen exactly, to what the senior U.S. military officials say about fighting wars. In 1991, Gen. Colin Powell sent 500,000 men with Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, lots of 70-ton Abrams Tanks and other soldier equipment for a 100-hour war against a weak third world country - Iraq. It was called the Powell Doctrine and required a quick enemy defeat by "overwhelming force," "defined goals" and an "exit strategy." Another George Bush, George Bush the second, sent only 145,000 troopers for the much more ambitious conquering and occupation of Iraq 12 years later. What changed? Why send 355,000 fewer troopers for a much larger, tougher, sure to get you killed job? The American war policies did not change. The answer is that the Americans had millions of pounds of a deadly microscopic "helper" called depleted uranium as a "force multiplier" deployed in Iraq. A force multiplier is a technological method to multiply the aggressiveness and lethality of an armed force. Dr. Katsuma Yagasaki of Ryukyus University in Okinawa, a physicist, stated publicly that the atomicity equivalent of the weaponized uranium gas deployed in Iraq by U.S. military forces is hundreds of thousands of times the radioactivity of the Nagasaki atomic bomb. Marion Fulk, who started working on nuclear weapons more than 60 years ago during the Manhattan Project, says, "I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people." A leading scientist, Leuren Moret, speaking out on the use of depleted uranium today, says flatly, "Iraq is uninhabitable," due to widespread radiation poisoning. read in full... THE PLOY THAT DIDN'T WORK On Friday 26 May, just hours after Tony Blair and George Bush began talks in Washington on the "progress" of their occupation of Iraq, a curious article appeared on the BBC's website. Headlined "Iran FM begins first Baghdad trip", it was posted at 0617 GMT. Penned by one Pam O'Toole, it painted a faux-objective, strangely upbeat, picture of the Iranian foreign minister's impending visit to Iraq. This was all the more extraordinary because the US and British governments, through compliant sections of the media - including the BBC which is now virtually the official mouthpiece of the Blair government - have been engaged in a propaganda campaign demonising the Tehran government in preparation for an aerial assault on Iran. (...) The BBC article was almost certainly part of the stage management for Blair's talks with Bush. It would not have gone unnoticed by the president's media minders. It certainly reads as if it were meant to send a public signal to the American president that Blair wanted out of Iraq, wanted no part of a bombing campaign against Iran, and was prepared to enter negotiations with Tehran. Indeed the article underlined the fact that Tehran controls the fate of the Green Zone government. It is not surprising that Blair would want to emphasise this point by making it public through the BBC. Britain's military position in Iraq's south is dangerously untenable. The safety of British troops already depends on Britain's accommodation with Tehran's Iraqi surrogates. If this was the ploy it didn't work. Blair backed down. Perhaps he unexpectedly caved in to Bush before the article could hit the airwaves and the web. On the night of Thursday 25 May, Blair "looking weary and under pressure after his visit to Iraq" (to quote the Sydney Morning Herald) stood beside Bush to insist that despite reports there were no plans to withdraw US or British forces. In classic Stalinist style, O'Toole's article, suddenly redundant, disappeared as if it had never existed. On Friday 26 May, the puppet Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, said that Iran had the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program. Who knows what blackmail Bush applied to get Blair to stay in Iraq. (...) In any event, George screwed Tony again. British troops will remain in Iraq, in spite of Blair's misgivings. The pro-Iranian politicians of the Iraqi puppet government would certainly have welcomed the withdrawal of the Coalition from the Southern provinces and the handing of formal control to their sectarian militias and the police and army units they own.Tehran will be angered by the Coalition's failure to withdraw and in response it is likely to use its surrogate forces to gradually apply more and more military pressure to the Coalition's outnumbered troops in the South. Tony Blair has only himself to blame. read in full… THE BANALITY OF GUN VIOLENCE In the last few weeks friends of mine in Iraq have experienced a rash of deaths amongst their friends and coworkers. It began with a courier we know being killed by gunfire. I'm still not sure whether it was at some kind of checkpoint, a carjacking, or other random violence. At least five friends of Omar and his brother Mhyar were killed in the previous 2 or 3 weeks. One of those killed was the brother of a guy named Wisam, Omar's best friend. I've never met Wisam personally, but because Omar is often at his house and, because of the curfew, stays the night often as well, I've had a few chance conversations with him. He's a nice guy, though a bit strange-his nickname is Weirdo! He and Omar bond over their love for metal, metallica, and other similar things any American boy in his late teens/early 20s might be prone to. Wisam's brother was killed last week in a carjacking gone wrong. Apparently he shot back, but wasn't able to scare them off or stop the assault. They shot back, and he was killed. Two days later, the husband of Um Abeer, a woman who works with Omar's mother, was killed in another carjacking. Both times the deaths were caused by guns. For Wisam, his situation is made even worse by the fact that his father died two weeks earlier. No, he wasn't killed by gun violence or deathsquads, just a good old fashioned heart attack. I was having dinner with my friend Rafat last night and I mentioned to him that it had been a good two days. Two days since I heard of any of Omar's friends being killed, or any other friends for that matter. That's when Rafat told me that the husband of his friend's sister was killed the day before yesterday. read in full… BECAUSE NOTHING SAYS "I'M SORRY" LIKE SNIPERS The Haditha massacre story seems to be heating up, as it did not do after the initial Time magazine article in March, because the media have been waiting since then for the Pentagon to do the investigating for them. This is a little troubling because the Pentagon's track record is not good, not just on Abu Ghraib but on Haditha itself. When the Marines' first story (the civilians were killed by an IED) was disproved, the Pentagon simply accepted their second story (gun battle) without investigating. Without the Time article, that would have been the end of it (unlike after My Lai, no American military personnel came forward to tell the truth). Dunno, maybe it's just me, but if US Marines are pointing guns at four-year olds and pulling the trigger, I'd like that looked into. A detail from the London Times, which sent a reporter to talk to a 10-year old survivor: "An American unit attended the funeral to apologise, but not before it had positioned snipers around the mourners". Hearts and minds, eh? read in full… "THE NAZIS CALLED US TERRORISTS" Three years ago I met a Dutch journalist, Willem Oltman, at the International Campaign Against US Aggression on Iraq in Cairo, Egypt. Oltman described his teen years during World War II in the Dutch resistance movement. "The Nazis called us terrorists," he exclaimed. "Now as the US invades and occupies other countries you do the same thing," he added. link >> BEYOND IRAQ Afghanistan: In Kabul, a traffic accident involving U.S. troops is blamed for sparking city-wide rioting, and gunfire was later heard near the U.S. Embassy. Authorities say at least five people have been killed, and another 60 injured. The unrest started after three U.S. Humvee vehicles coming into the city from the outskirts before the vehicles ran into a rush-hour traffic jam, hitting several civilian cars, witnesses said. At least three people were killed and 16 injured in the crash, while U.S. forces killed one person and wounded two when they fired on dozens of stone-throwing rioters shouting "Death to America!". Associated Press Television footage showed hundreds of angry young men hurling rocks at what appeared to be three U.S. military trucks and three dun-colored Humvees as they sped from the area after the crash, their windscreens cracked by the stones. A center-mounted machine gun on one of the Humvees was seen firing into the air over the crowd as the vehicle sped away.
Hundreds of Afghan army troops and NATO peacekeepers in tanks were deployed around the city, as chanting protesters marched on the presidential palace and rioters smashed police guard boxes, set fire to police cars and ransacked buildings, including the compound of aid group CARE International. Computers were set on fire and smoke billowed from the buildings, according to an Associated Press reporter.
Hundreds of protesters marched to the palace of U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai in the city center, shouting "Death to Karzai! Death to America!" AP reporters elsewhere in the city heard a 20-second burst of heavy automatic gunfire, apparently coming from the direction of the U.S. Embassy. It subsided but gunfire was then heard sporadically. Staff at the U.S. Embassy were moved to a secure location within the heavily fortified embassy, said Chris Harris, an embassy spokesman. He had no immediate information on the reported gunfire.
A mob had gathered outside the British embassy and was trying to force its way into Wazir Akbar Khan, where most of the city's embassies and international organisations are based. They were held back by scores of soldiers who were blocking the main roads to the area, a reporter on the scene said. "We are hearing a lot of gunshots," UN employee Marina Walter said from a government office in the centre of the city.
Five Canadian soldiers injured and as many as six Taliban militants killed during gunbattle in Kandahar - the city that was headquarters to the Taliban. More than 50 Taliban militants believed killed in U.S. airstrike on Kajaki district in Helmand provinces, although police had yet to reach the mountainous location to confirm the casualties, said provincial deputy governor, Amir Mohammed Akhunzada. Taliban have regained control of all southwestern provinces of Afghanistan, Al Jazeera television quoted the group commander, Mullah Dadullah, as saying. QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The Coalition troops in the south [of Iraq] are effectively already hostages of Iran." -- Gavin Gatenby, Possum News Network


Sunday, May 28, 2006

DAILY WAR NEWS FOR SUNDAY, MAY 28, 2006 An Iraqi man comforts his injured son following a bomb blast in one of Baghdad's main squares. (AFP photo by Wisam Sami) SECURITY INCIDENTS Two bombs in central Baghdad killed two people and wounded 17 others Sunday, a Baghdad police official said. First bomb strikes an Iraqi Army patrol. Second bomb explodes as police and firefighters respond to the first. VOA gives the death toll in this incident as 3. Al Bawaba reports that an AP photographer and cameraman were among the wounded in this incident Odd that AP doesn't have that information -- C. Also reports: CNN reports bomb targeting a police patrol in Mosul injures 3 police and one civilian Also: Reuters reports one insurgent was killed in a clash with Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers in Samarra, which erupted after three militants in a car opened fire on Saturday, the U.S. military said in a statement. The two other insurgents escaped on foot, it said. Reuters also reports that police said Gunmen threw three severed heads out of their car as they drove through a village 20 km (12 miles) north of Baquba. I presume these are the same heads mentioned by CNN, but the details of the stories differ. Reuters also reports that police found six beheaded corpses wearing military uniforms in the small towns of Numaniya, Suwayra and Shihaimiya near Kut, 170 km (105 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said. It was not clear if the three incidents were linked. Sunni Sheik who collaborated with U.S. in Western Iraq is assassinated in Baghdad. Crew of Marine Cobra helicopter down yesterday is still missing. FYI, the Cobra is a heavily armed attack helicopter. Replacement cost is pegged at $10.7 million. Info here. POLITICAL NEWS AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS New Iraqi government is fractious.. Al-Maliki fails to name security ministers as promised by today; Shiite and Kurdish blocs try to curtail powers of Sunni Speaker. Excerpt from AP story:
Iraq's fractious political, ethnic and sectarian parties again failed to reach agreement on who will run the interior and defense ministries, despite a promise by al-Maliki to do so within a few days of his Cabinet being sworn in just over a week ago. ``They will not be named today,'' Shiite deputy Baha al-Araji said. ``We hope within three days.'' There had been hopes that al-Maliki would swear in the two new ministers when the 275-member parliament convened Sunday after the Iraq weekend. The Shiite-dominated interior ministry has been promised to that community, while Sunni Arabs are to get the defense ministry. It is hoped the balance will enable al-Maliki to move ahead with a plan to take over security around Iraq over the next 18 months and also attract army recruits among Sunni Arabs, who make up the core of the insurgency. The list however, has been whittled down to two candidates for the interior ministry and three for defense. During what appeared to be a stormy closed-door session, deputies argued over a demand by the Shiite and Kurdish coalitions to curb the power of Sunni Arab parliament speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani. They demand that he be obliged by parliamentary regulation to consult his Shiite and Kurdish deputy speakers before taking any decisions. The demand, staunchly opposed by Sunnis, was an indication the struggle for more power and authorities among Iraq's factions. The speaker has little authority.
Read in Full According to Turkish Press, President Talabani is intervening to try to break the deadlock over the security ministries. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki concludes two-day visit to Iraq. The countries issue a joint statement pledging cooperation. The Iranian news agency IRIB issued the following summary in English:
Tehran, May 28 - Iran and Iraq issued a joint statement on Saturday evening at the end of a two-day visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to Iraq. In the statement, the two countries referred to the deep-rooted historical, cultural and religious ties and great commonalties between the two nations and called for promotion of bilateral ties in all fields based on the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affair and commitment to bilateral agreements. The two sides stressed the importance of maintaining national unity and territorial integrity of Iraq as well as promoting stability and security in that country. They also welcomed active participation of all Iraqi groups in materialization of the country's political trend as well as inauguration of the country's parliament and formation of a long-term government. The statement condemned terrorist acts in Iraq including massacre of innocent people, violation of sanctities and bombing of the shrines of Shiite Imam Ali Al-Naqi (AS) and Imam Hassan Al-Askariya (AS) in Samarra and denounced plots by enemies of Islam aimed to fan the flames of tribal and ethnic war and establish links between terrorism and Islam. It also praised the pivotal role played by Ulema and religious jurisprudence in establishing tranquility and stability in Iraq. The two countries stressed the importance of providing assistance to the Iraqi government and people to restore stability and security and expressed readiness to help materialize the decisions made during previous meetings of foreign ministers of Iraq's neighboring states to reconstruct and develop the country and restore stability and security to the country. The statement called on all states and international organizations to participate in Iraq's reconstruction and economic development as a fundamental factor for restoration of sustainable stability and security to the country and the region. Pointing to protection of joint borders as borders of peace and friendship, they stressed expansion of cooperation between the two countries' provinces, determination of zero points at Iran-Iraq border, activation of markets and effective campaign against illegal activities including smuggling of weapons and illicit drugs, and terrorist acts. Iran praised the Iraqi government's readiness to release a number of Iranian pilgrims detained in that country. The two sides stressed acceleration of the release of detainees of the two countries. Iran and Iraq also condemned brutal measures taken by the Zionist regime against the oppressed Palestinian people and called for intensification of international efforts to restore Palestinians' rights.
Link here. As summer heat rises, Iraq faces severe shortage of petroleum products, AFP reports. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD - As Iraq's brutal summer heat sends temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), a dire shortage of petroleum products is damaging the economy and cutting electricity supplies in Baghdad to new lows. The shortage is due to a host of reasons, including rivalries among political parties in the south, but an interior ministry spokesman said the security situation was a major cause. "In addition to attacks on pipelines, trucks carrying petroleum products are in the sights of the rebels. Some gas stations had to close after their drivers refused to go pick up gasoline and other products stored in the dangerous areas around Baghdad," said Assem Jihad. snip Sabotage of the oil infrastructure is also ongoing, aggravating the situation, he added, nothing there had been two attacks in the past week on pipelines to the north and south of the capital. "Two units of the Baiji refinery were closed last week and this cut production," said Jihad, who also reported a fire in the offshore terminal of Khor al-Amaya in the Gulf. "Certain countries have stopped providing Iraq with petroleum products," he said, without elaborating, after the government halved the six billion dollars allocated to pay for imports. An oil ministry official, however, singled out the actions of "an internal party that is trying to hinder the improvement of the supply situation". The official, who asked to remain anonymous, was alluding to the Shiite party Fadhila, which holds 15 seats in parliament and forms part of the dominant Shiite United Iraqi Alliance. But it angrily walked out of talks on forming a new government after it failed to secure the oil ministry. The party reportedly is interfering with oil supplies heading north to Baghdad, while threatening a strike action, and demanding a cut of export royalties.
Read in Full BBC reports that 1,000 British soldiers have deserted since the start of the war. Excerpt:
More than 1,000 members of the British military have deserted the armed forces since the start of the 2003 Iraq war, the BBC has discovered. It comes as Parliament debates a law that will forbid military personnel refusing to participate in the occupation of a foreign country. During 2005 alone, 377 people deserted and are still missing. So far this year another 189 are on the run. Some 900 have evaded capture since the Iraq war started, official figures say.
Read in Full Talabani urges al-Maliki to send delegation to mediate infighting in Basra. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's presidency has urged the government to send a high-level delegation with wide-ranging powers to the southern city of Basra, in the grip of a Shi'ite power struggle that threatens oil exports. The office of President Jalal Talabani issued a statement late on Saturday urging new Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'ite Islamist, to dispatch senior officials to Basra. He stressed they should have wide-ranging powers, saying that "whoever goes to Basra should be authorised to dismiss and appoint" officials and to take other necessary measures. Security has deteriorated in Iraq's second largest city, patrolled by British forces, in the past year as rival factions of the country's Shi'ite majority vie for influence. Accusing each other of corruption and organised crime, the opposing sides control militias, some of which are believed to have taken control of rival police units in the southern city. The struggle intensified earlier this month when the governor of Basra province demanded the dismissal of the city's police chief, who took the job last year on a promise to end corruption. British officials hope that Maliki's new national unity government in Baghdad will focus on calming tension in the south. Iraqi officials and political sources last week said it risked being held to ransom by a dissident Shi'ite faction using its influence to obstruct vital oil exports. They warned that the locally powerful Fadhila party, which controls the governor's office, was threatening to have members in the oil industry stage a go-slow to halt exports if it did not win the concessions it wanted from Baghdad.
Read in Full UN News Agency warns of refugee problem in Kurdistan as border tensions escalate with turkey. Read in Full. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS AP's Robert Reid reviews the Haditha massacre case, notes two other ongoing investigations of war crimes. Excerpt:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military is bracing for a major scandal over the alleged slaying of Iraqi civilians by Marines in Haditha — charges so serious they could threaten President Bush's effort to rally support at home for an increasingly unpopular war. And while the case has attracted little attention so far in Iraq, it still could enflame hostility to the U.S. presence just as Iraq's new government is getting established, and complicate efforts by moderate Sunni Arab leaders to reach out to their community — the bedrock of the insurgency. U.S. lawmakers have been told the criminal investigation will be finished in about 30 days. But a Pentagon official said investigators believe Marines committed unprovoked murder in the deaths of about two dozen people at Haditha in November. With a political storm brewing, the top U.S. Marine, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, is headed to Iraq to personally deliver the message that troops should use deadly force "only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful." Haditha is not the only case pending: On Wednesday, the military announced an investigation into allegations that Marines killed a civilian April 26 near Fallujah. The statement gave no further details except that "several service members" had been sent back to the United States "pending the results of the criminal investigation." Last July, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Samir al-Sumaidaie, accused the Marines of killing his 21-year-old cousin in cold blood during a search of his family's home in Haditha, a city of about 90,000 people along the Euphrates River 140 miles northwest of Baghdad. The military ordered a criminal investigation but the results have not been announced. Together, the cases present the most serious challenge to U.S. handling of the Iraq war since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, which Bush cited Thursday as "the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq." "What happened at Haditha appears to be outright murder," said Marc Garlasco of Human Rights Watch. "It has the potential to blow up in the U.S. military's face." He said that "the Haditha massacre will go down as Iraq's My Lai," a reference to the Vietnam War incident in which American soldiers slaughtered up to 500 civilians in 1968. snip In March, Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq, said about a dozen Marines were under investigation for possible war crimes in the incident. Three officers from the unit involved have been relieved of their posts. Such incidents have reinforced the perception among many Iraqis who believe American troops are trigger-happy — a characterization U.S. officers strongly dispute. "America in the view of many Iraqis has no credibility. We do not believe what they say is correct," said Sheik Sattar al-Aasaf, a tribal leader in Anbar province, which includes Haditha. "U.S. troops are a very well-trained and when they shoot, it isn't random but due to an order to kill Iraqis. People say they are the killers." Ayda Aasran, a deputy human rights minister, said Iraqis should be allowed to investigate such cases — something the U.S. command has refused to permit. Sunni political leaders will find it difficult to defend U.S. actions, even those aimed at establishing the truth, if they want to maintain their position as leaders of the Iraqi minority that provides most of the insurgents. Even if criminal charges are brought in the Haditha incident, Sunni insurgents are likely to claim the case is simply a charade and argue that the Marines will escape serious punishment.
Read in Full Editor and Publisher analysis of recent coverage finds Haditha massacre, control of large sections of the country by partisan militias, many with strong Iranian influence, dominate recent U.S. press coverage of Iraq. Read in Full WHISKER'S ROUNDUP OF WOUNDED A rocket-powered grenade took away both of Brookfield native Steven Anthony Smith’s legs and injured his arm and face. A Marine from Dothan was seriously injured when the Humvee he was driving in Iraq struck an explosive device, killing three other Marines. Steven Bradley Pinkston survived an April 20th truck crash. He was riding in a convoy that was delivering supplies when his truck flipped over several times. Pinkston was seriously hurt -- he suffered a broken nose, fractured facial bones and his elbow was severely punctured. The wound destroyed the bones connecting his upper and lower arm. Doctors had considered amputating the arm, but they will attempt to realign the bones. The Marine has had five surgeries in the last month. On November 4th, 2004 in the City of Fallujah, Sergeant Slawatycki says, the urban assault to take down that city began. He was shot in the right calf during that assault and says three days later he managed to pull the bullet out with a tool he had. Pvt. 2nd Class Dennis Davis II and two other soldiers were in a Humvee that ran over 1,000 pounds of TNT on May 17. All three of the soldiers were airlifted to Camp Cash Combat Hospital in Bagdad, Iraq, after suffering non life-threatening injuries. A former Akron-area resident battling Taliban violence in Afghanistan was seriously wounded by a grenade last week. Lt. Derek Martin of the Army's 10th Mountain Division could lose his right eye, and his sinuses and the bones in his cheek are shattered, said his father, Tom Martin of Bath Township. Derek Martin, 33, also has shrapnel in his arm and back, his father said. The lieutenant and his platoon were supporting Afghan troops when he was wounded Thursday. Specialist Sean Long's leg is badly scarred from the 50-calibre bullets that tore through him on December 29 of last year. The bullets could have taken my leg off," Long told 11Alive's Jerry Carnes. "Both of them had the power to do that. They said I should have died there from the loss of blood." U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. William Eugene Gibson, a 1989 Pryor graduate, was shot below the left knee May 16 while patrolling streets in Ramadi, Iraq. The wound resulted in Gibson having his leg amputated below the left knee. Matt Davis, the Blooming Grove native hurt in Iraq while on duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. Davis was released from Bethesda Medical Center late Monday, where he had been since May 5 being treated for injuries received in battle in Iraq. Davis is showing steady improvement after undergoing numerous surgeries for his injuries. He has metal plates and pins in his left arm, but is able to walk more as his therapy continues. He remains under the care of occupational and physical therapists, as well as medical specialists for continued medical treatment of his leg and hand injuries. Lance Cpl. Gary Rodriguez got wounded on the 13th of May, 2004, and I've just been dealing with the medical (issues) and trying to get better again."I received shrapnel to the right side of my head, It went through behind the ear and punctured the nerves to the right side of my face."--two of the steel balls punched into Rodriguez' right lung-- hit on the leg with some of the white phosphorous, which burned away flesh and required skin grafts to repair his mangled right elbow, the soft- spoken Marine only says he is happy to still have the arm. Staff Sgt. Clarence Eady--Doctors amputated Clarence's left leg below the knee. Last August, U.S. Army Cpl. Pisey Tan lay in a road in Samara An IED - improvised explosive device - had torn through the side of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he'd been driving, nearly shearing his legs from his body. Army Sgt. 1st Class Juanita Wilson lost part of her arm during combat in Iraq. Wilson, 32, was injured when a makeshift bomb exploded under her armored Humvee vehicle nearly two years ago near Baghdad. Her left arm was amputated below the elbow. Marine sniper Eddie Ryan. . .. that mission ended when nearby American troops accidentally fired two bullets that hit him in the head. One projectile crashed through the front of his brain, the other through his jaw.--Eddie sat cradled in a wheelchair. With braces, he stands on his own an hour a day, but he is not yet walking. His right arm is weaker than the left and the right hand tends to curl at the wrist. Sergeant Elano Chavez was providing security as part of the 812 Quartermaster Unit deployed to Iraq. He was hurt in a roadside bomb attack two weeks ago. Doctors say Chavez has a broken left leg, fractured femur and tissue damage Sgt. Tim Bird of the 3rd Forward Support Battalion got hit by three IEDs. One hit on the front, one on the driver's side and one on my side. It blew us off the road. he sought medical help for a leg broken in two places. But the doctor said they'd have to do surgery to put screws and plates in there to put the tib and fib back together. PVT2 Dennis L Davis, II--On May 17, Dennis, along with two other MP Soldiers ran over a I.E.D. filled with 1000lbs. of TNT, flipped the vehicle over trapping the three soldiers underneath the 14,000lb vehicle. Dennis sustained internal bruising, a laceration on his chin, nerve damage to his left foot and slight hearing loss on his left ear. A Pryor Marine who lost his leg in combat in Iraq says he wants to return to the front lines. Gunnery Sgt. Bill Gibson wounded last week, told family members he'd be back on duty as soon as possible. Editor's Note:Iraq Veterans Against the War disavows Jessie Macbeth, who claimed to have served in Iraq as an Army Ranger and to have participated in atrocities. IVAW says, "MacBeth’s false statements unfortunately have played into the hands of those who would deny that any atrocities whatsoever are occurring in Iraq. While such murders by military personnel are reprehensible, ultimate blame for these actions must be placed on the responsible commanding officers, Donald Rumsfeld, and the Bush administration who have created the context for chaos in through an illegal and unjust war and occupation which they admit has no end in sight." Of course, all we can do here is link to information from credible sources. Macbeth was indeed a member of IVAW and his video came with their imprimatur, which they now say was used without authorization. We will always do our best to update stories and correct any that are erroneous. Please do visit the IVAW site. This Memorial Day, I ask you to consider making a donation to IVAW as an appropriate commemoration. Quote of the Day MEMORIAL RAIN For Kenneth MacLeish, 1894-1918 Ambassador Puser the ambassador Reminds himself in French, felicitous tongue, What these (young men no longer) lie here for In rows that once, and somewhere else, were young. . . All night in Brussels the wind had tugged at my door: I had heard the wind at my door and the trees strung Taut, and to me who had never been before In that country it was a strange wind, blowing Steadily, stiffening the walls, the floor, The roof of my room. I had not slept for knowing He too, dead, was a stranger in that land And felt beneath the earth in the wind's flowing A tightening of roots and would not understand, Remembering lake winds in Illinois, That Strange wind. I had felt his bones in the sand Listening. Reflects that these enjoy Their country's gratitude, that deep repose, That peace no pain can break, no hurt destroy, That rest, that sleep. . . At Ghent the wind rose. There was a smell of rain and a heavy drag Of wind in the hedges but not as the wind blows Over fresh water when the waves lag Foaming and the willows huddle and it will rain; I felt him waiting. . . Indicates the flag Which (may he say) nestles in Flanders plain This little field these happy, happy dead Have made America. . . In the ripe grain The wind coiled glistening, darted, fled, Dragging its heavy body: at Waereghem The wind coiled in the grass above his head: Waiting--listening. . . . . .Dedicates to them This earth their bones have hallowed, this last gift A grateful country. . . Under the dry grass stem The words are blurred, are thickened, the words sift Confused by the rasp of the wind, by the thin grating Of ants under the grass, the minute shift And tumble of dusty sand separating From dusty sand. The roots of the grass strain, Tighten, the earth is rigid, waits -- he is waiting -- And suddenly, and all at once, the rain! The living scatter, they run into houses, the wind Is trampled under the rain, shakes free, is again Trampled. The rain gathers, running in thinned Spurts of water that ravel in the dry sand, Seeping in the sand under the grass roots, seeping Between crack boards of the bones of a clenched hand: The earth relaxes, loosens; he is sleeping, He rests, he is quiet, he sleeps in a strange land. -- Captain Archibald MacLeish


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