Friday, June 30, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR FRIDAY, June 30, 2006
: Hospital workers carry the body of a militant on a stretcher in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, June 29, 2006. The militant was among the three killed by the U.S. and Iraqi troops after a gunbattle with members of the Mehdi Army. Picture taken June 29, 2006. REUTERS/Helmiy al-Azawi (IRAQ)
Bring 'em on
: A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier was killed at approximately 10:30 p.m. Thursday as a result of injuries suffered from a bomb explosion while on a dismounted combat patrol south of Baghdad. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on
: A U.S. Marine was killed Friday in fighting west of Baghdad, while a soldier died the day before north of the capital, the military said. The Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died from wounds sustained in fighting in volatile Anbar province, according to a statement.
Bring 'em on
: Small arms fire killed a soldier from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Thursday in the northern city of Mosul, the U.S. military said.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
Police found at least 10 bodies across Iraq
, including one of a five-year-old unidentified boy who was tortured and later executed with a bullet to the head.
A parked car bomb in northern Baghdad wounded one person and a mortar barrage against a police station in the south wounded another.
The Shiite Husseiniya al-Maqdadiya mosque was the target of an insurgent mortar attack In the city of Baquba.
The mosque was damaged but no casualties were reported.
American and Iraqi soldiers were called in after Iraqi police came under fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades while trying to enter the village of Daliqiya near Baqouba
, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. The coalition forces, backed by air support, chased the insurgents into a house, engaging in a fierce gunbattle that left three fighters dead and three wounded, the military said, adding that four other suspects were detained.
Armed men on a motorcycle shot dead a member of the former ruling Baath party as he travelled in a car along with his wife in the town of Kut
, 175 kilometers (110 miles) south of Baghdad,
Three civilians were killed and seven wounded when a roadside bomb went off against a bus on the main road north of Kirkuk.
An Iraqi army soldier was killed and eight others wounded when a roadside bomb went off targeting their patrol west of Kirkuk.
Three Iraqi soldiers were wounded south of Kirkuk in an IED attack.
Three civilians were wounded when rebels threw a grenade against a passing US patrol in a market in the town of Hawija
, near Kirkuk,
Police found four bullet-riddled bodies in Al-Rashaad
, 55 kilometers (35 miles) south of Kirkuk. The victims' hands and legs were tied and eyes blindfolded, the police said, adding there were torture marks on their bodies.
U.S. Army will investigate charges that American soldiers were involved in the killings of four Iraqi relatives, including a woman who had been raped
, military officials said Friday. It's the sixth current inquiry into the alleged slayings of Iraqi civilians by American troops.
Some of the five soldiers also allegedly burned the body of the woman they are accused of assaulting in the March incident, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Iraqi Sunni rebels have rejected the prime minister's reconciliation plan
, a top Sunni Arab leader said on Friday.
Iraqi authorities reimposed a four-hour driving ban to coincide with Friday prayers.
Nearly 20 trucks carrying heavy equipment left the Japanese base in Samawah
, about 230 miles southeast of Baghdad, for Kuwait as Tokyo continued its phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
Romania's Supreme Council of National Defense Friday rejected a request from the ruling coalition liberal party to withdraw Romanian troops out of Iraq.
In the past three weeks, Iraq has exported 6.2 million barrels of crude to Turkey from its northern fields.
Total exports from Iraq in that period, including the oil fields in the south, have increased to 2.5 million barrels per day, the highest level since the invasion, the Oil Ministry reported.
IRAQ WAR BACKFIRING ON US, EXPERTS WARN
The United States is losing its fight against terrorism and the Iraq war is the main reason, more than 80 per cent of American terrorism and national security experts have said in a survey.
One expert, former CIA official Michael Scheuer, said the war in Iraq had provided global terrorist groups with a recruiting bonanza and a valuable training ground.
"The war in Iraq broke our back in the war on terror," said Mr Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris, a book highly critical of the Bush Administration's anti-terrorism efforts. "It has made everything more difficult and the threat more existential."
Mr Scheuer, a former CIA counter-terrorism expert, is one of more than 100 national security and terrorism analysts surveyed in the poll by Foreign Policy magazine and the Centre for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank headed by John Podesta, a White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration.
Of the experts surveyed, 45 identified themselves as liberals, 40 said they were moderates and 31 called themselves conservatives. The pollsters weighted the responses so that the percentage results reflected one-third participation by each group.
Asked whether the US was winning the war on terror, 84 per cent said no and 13 per cent answered yes. Asked whether the war in Iraq was helping or hurting the global anti-terrorism campaign, 87 per cent said it was undermining those efforts.
A similar number, 86 per cent, said the world was becoming more dangerous for the US.
read in full...
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF IMPROVISED ELECTRONIC DEVICES
As with the brouhaha last month in the Iraqi parliament sparked by a cell phone's Shiite religious chant as a ringtone, I've come across another news story that I feel contractually required to pass along to Needlenose readers.
Here it is, from the Associated Press yesterday:
In a sign of the e-times, Iraq's prime minister has set up an e-mail account to communicate with insurgents.
Nouri al-Maliki had the address flashed during a broadcast Sunday night on state-run al-Iraqiya television. It was advertised as an address to which insurgents could write and be assured confidentiality.
. . . Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish lawmaker and close associate of President Jalal Talabani, confirmed al-Maliki set up an e-mail account but did not have details about how many electronic messages had been received.
But Iraqi presidential security adviser Wafiq al-Samaraie said the response so far had been low, with just two messages reportedly arriving Wednesday. The government did not repeat the address after the initial broadcast to prevent it from being flooded with junk mail.
Somehow, I think that spam should be the least of their worries. I sure as hell wouldn't click on any attachments, though.
A question for the Needlenose community of readers: Anyone have any other ideas about how al-Maliki might use the Internet to help resolve the occupation/civil war in Iraq?
PENTAGON USES "FALLUJA MODEL" IN ASSAULT ON RAMADI
U.S. troops, backed up by helicopter gunships and air strikes by American warplanes, are picking their way through Ramadi, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province and predominantly Sunni, is normally home to some 400,000 residents. Today, only 150,000 people remain.
The rest have fled because of a suffocating U.S. siege. "Whole city blocks here look like a scene from some post-apocalyptic world: row after row of buildings shot up, boarded up, caved in, tumbled down," according to the New York Times.
Beginning weeks ago, the U.S. closed all but one of the roads into and out of the city and began cutting water and electricity supplies, imposing tight curfews, stationing snipers on rooftops, limiting medical aid and--most terrifying of all--carrying out random air strikes.
"They're using the Falluja model," said Beau Grosscup, a professor of international politics at California State University-Chico, referring to methods used by the U.S. in its two assaults on the nearby city of Falluja in April and November 2004. "Civilians are told to leave--if you don't, we assume that you are in support of the insurgents. That's been going on for months."
"The use of air power becomes the primary way to 'soften' up the enemy in support of the snipers who are already in there and to flatten the city if that's what it takes, as they say, to bring 'security.'"
read in full...
The occupation of Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan, the entire war (to promote) terror . . . please, please, can these no longer be trotted out in consequence-free abstraction, but as the high-tech malevolence they are, actively continuing the incalculable devastation of countries and their populations?
The bodies keep piling up, the toxic horrors spread. Hasn't anyone in this place ever heard of depleted uranium? Is the health crisis in Iraq and, indeed, throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, not to mention Kosovo and among returning vets for the last four American wars, somehow irrelevant to "the course" we're asked to stay?
"Two strange phenomena have come about in Basra which I have never seen before. The first is double and triple cancers in one patient. For example, leukemia and cancer of the stomach. We had one patient with two cancers - one in his stomach and kidney. Months later, primary cancer was developing in his other kidney - he had three different cancer types. The second is the clustering of cancer in families. We have 58 families here with more than one person affected by cancer. . . . My wife has nine members of her family with cancer."
This is Dr. Jawad Al-Ali, director of the oncology center at the largest hospital in Basra, speaking in 2003 at a peace conference in Japan. Why is it that only peace activists are able to hear people like this? Why hasn't he been asked to testify before Congress as its members debate the future of this war and the next? (...)
A war crime of unprecedented dimension is unfolding as we avert our eyes. Perhaps it's simply too big to see, or to grasp, so we lull ourselves into the half-belief that the powers that be know what they're doing and it will all turn out for the best. Meanwhile, the contagion spreads, the children die, the planet becomes uninhabitable.
read in full...
CONNECTING THE DOTS
A perfect example [of a conspiracy] is the invasion of Iraq in 2003, an invasion that went ahead in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the population was opposed to the invasion. It also illustrates the relationship between state policies and conspiracies, for in order to create even the semblance of a justification for the invasion it was necessary to invent reasons. Enter the 'conspiracy'.
"Oil is at the heart of the crisis that leads towards a US war against Iraq. For more than a hundred years, major powers have battled to control this enormous source of wealth and strategic power. The major international oil companies, headquartered in the United States and the United Kingdom, are keen to regain control over Iraq's oil, lost with the nationalization in 1972. Few outside the industry understand just how high the stakes in Iraq really are and how much the history of the world oil industry is a history of power, national rivalry and military force." - 'Oil in Iraq: the heart of the Crisis', James A. Paul, Global Policy Forum, December, 2002. www.globalpolicy.org/security/oil/2002/12heart.htm
This meant fabricating an entire rationale including the creation of false documents, non-existent connections between Saddam Hussein and 'al-Qu'eda', 9/11 and even other countries such as Niger and the false 'yellowcake' sales.
Colin Powell's Powerpoint presentation to the UN consisted entirely of fabricated evidence purporting to prove that Iraq possessed WMD.
Can this be labelled as a conspiracy? I think so, it meets all the criteria insofar as it consisted of a group of individuals within the state apparatus who conspired together in secret to create a 'threat' that in fact didn't exist in order to further the interests of a specific class. It conspired precisely because what was intended was in fact a criminal act.
Okay, it wasn't a very well hidden conspiracy and in fact could only be sold to the public because the media 'conspired' with the state to sell the lies. Moreover, the media also 'conspired' with the state by hiding the fact from the public that the invasion was and remains a criminal act. This in part explains why the media is so quick to label those who cry 'conspiracy!' as whackos, yet the media has no problem accepting the idea of an 'international terrorist conspiracy'. Not only accepting it but actually participating in promoting it! So it seems that one person's conspiracy is someone else's delusion.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
British troops hunting pro-Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan killed 12 militants after repelling a fierce attack on their base
, the military said Thursday.
WATCH US, WIRETAP US, SEARCH US, JAIL US...
What explains the gullibility of Americans, a gullibility that has mired the US in disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and which promises war with Iran, North Korea and a variety of other targets if neoconservatives continue to have their way?
Part of the explanation is that millions of conservatives are thrilled at the opportunity to display their patriotism and to show their support for their country. Bush's rhetoric is perfectly designed to appeal to this desire. "You are with us or against us" elicits a blind and unquestioning response from people determined to wear their patriotism on their sleeves. "You are with us or against us" vaccinates Americans against factual reality and guarantees public acceptance of administration propaganda.
Another part of the explanation is that emotional appeals have grown the stronger as the ability of educated people to differentiate fact from rhetoric declines. The Bush administration blamed 9/11 on foreign intelligence failures; yet, the administration has convinced about half of the public that mass surveillance of American citizens is the solution! (...)
If so many Americans cannot discern that they have acquiesced to conditions from which tyranny can arise, how can they understand that it is statistically impossible for the NSA's mass surveillance of Americans to detect terrorists?
Floyd Rudmin, a professor at a Norwegian university, writing in CounterPunch (May 24, 2006) applies the mathematics of conditional probability, known as Bayes' Theorem, to demonstrate that the NSA's surveillance cannot successfully detect terrorists unless both the percentage of terrorists in the population and the accuracy rate of their identification are far higher than they are. He correctly concludes that "NSA's surveillance system is useless for finding terrorists."
The surveillance is, however, useful for monitoring political opposition and stymieing the activities of those who do not believe the government's propaganda. (...)
In National Socialist Germany, by the time propaganda lost its grip, Germans were in the hands of a police state. It was too late to take corrective measures. Not even the military could correct the disastrous policies of the executive. In the end, Germany was destroyed. Does a similar fate await Americans?
read in full...
PENTAGON ON SUPREME COURT'S GITMO RULING: "WHO CARES?"
From the NYT
: "If they rule against the government, I don't see how that is going to affect us," the commander, Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, said Tuesday evening as he sat in a conference room in his headquarters. "From my perspective, I think the direct impact will be negligible."
The Defense Department repeated that view on Thursday, asserting that the court's sweeping ruling against the tribunals did not undermine the government's argument that it can hold foreign suspects indefinitely and without charge, as "enemy combatants" in its declared war on terror.
So that's OK, then. Naturally, a ruling "against the government," doesn't affect the Pentagon - because Rumsfeld's Castle is a government unto itself, unbound by the petty chains of law that simpering civilians try to put around the lusty sinews of war-fightin' he-men. And of course, as the Pentagon notes, the most important thing is that the Bush Regime can continue its Nazi/Stalinist/al Qaeda/Vlad the Impaler/Ghenghis Khan/ Assyrian/ Babylonian/ Cro-Magnon policy of grabbing "suspects" and holding them "indefinitely without charge."
read in full...
DEAR MEDIA: YOU'VE BEEN PLAYED LIKE A '59 GOLDTOP. NOW WHAT?
I hope you all enjoy lying in that bed you've made.
All those years of making excuses for George W. Bush's ineptness, inadequacies, and illegalities have earned you absolutely nothing. You brushed aside his lack of experience and intellectual incuriosity in 1999 and 2000, mostly because you didn't like Al Gore. Your behavoir gave him a much better position from which to steal the 2000 election.
You bought the spin from Bush's minions, ignoring the crisis that was taking place in Florida after the election. You believed every lie they came up with, from 'The votes have been counted and re-counted and re-counted' to 'Al Gore is trying to steal the election,' and you decided that letting Bush take office (in the most literal sense possible) was 'best for the country.'
You papered over the fact that he was scared out of his mind on September 11, 2001 - to the point where he flew to Idaho to hide - in favor of painting him as a 'resolute leader.' You swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, every lie that came out of the White House in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq - in many cases embellishing the lies to make them sound more plausible. (...)
You bought 'Mission Accomplished' by the pound. You cleared the shelves of 'shock and awe,' exhausted the stocks of 'smokin' 'em out,' drank gallons and gallons of GOP Brand Kool-Aid. You 'embedded' youselves with the military and took everything the military told you at face value - even if it directly contradicted reality as we know it.
You reported staged events like the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue as if they were real news events. And even after the American public started to wise up and wipe the terra-dust from their eyes, you still insisted upon calling him a 'popular president.' (...)
You made excuses for his [Bush] illegal spying on the American people. You offered weak justifications for his naked power grab, you laughed off the fact that his second-in-command shot a man in the face.
You made Ann Coulter socially acceptable.
And after all this, Bush and Cheney and Congress and Coulter and every wingnut pundit, whom you've coddled and accomodated every step of the way, show their appreciation how?
They want to muzzle you. They want to imprison you. They want to try you for treason.
Listen up, Rubes. You think that for the past six years you've been part of their crowd, but you haven't. You got suckered, flim-flammed, taken in, jacked, jobbed and jerked around. They took your lunch money. They came in your mouth after promising they wouldn't.
They used you, and now they want to jail you.
I'd feel bad for you, but you know what they say about lying down with dogs. You really should have known better - but nobody ever said you had to be especially smart to be part of the media, and you're all living proof of that fact.
They fucked you. Now, are you gonna fuck back? You might want to consider it.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "The United States is not going to do what the French did ten years ago: cut and run." -- Richard Nixon on Vietnam, 1966
Thursday, June 29, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR THURSDAY, June 29, 2006
by Jimmy Margulies.
Bring 'em on
: A 33-year-old soldier from Louisiana was killed in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle, his family said Wednesday. The Department of Defense has not released the circumstances of Army Sgt. Terry Wallace's death. Wallace, a member of the 42nd Field Artillery Unit based at Ford Hood, Texas.
Iraqi and U.S. troops battled Shi'ite militiamen in a village northeast of Baghdad on Thursday
, and witnesses and police said U.S. helicopters bombed orchards to flush out gunmen hiding in the palm groves.
Iraqi security officials said Iranian fighters had been captured in the fighting, in which the commander of an Iraqi quick reaction force and two soldiers were shot dead by a sniper. They did not say how the Iranians had been identified. The U.S. military had no immediate comment. Police said the fighting was still going on at 6 p.m. (3 p.m. British time) in the predominantly Shi'ite village of Khairnabat, 3 km (two miles) north of Baquba, capital of Diyala province. Local residents reported hearing shooting and explosions. Baquba's quick reaction force, an Interior Ministry unit, responded and clashed with the fighters, the captain said. Iraqi and U.S. military reinforcements then arrived and sealed off the village.
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A trash collector was killed in a drive-by shootings today in Western Baghdad.
Gunmen in a civilian car intercepted a car carrying Kadhim Challoub, who was in charge of the guards at Baghdad University, ordered his driver and his guard out, then killed the security chief on the eastern side of the capital.
A roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol missed its target but killed one civilian and wounded another in Northern Baghdad.
Two merchants were shot to death near the Civil Defence office as they were waiting for a car to take them to work in the neighbourhood of Sadiyah in Southwestern Baghdad.
Baker Abdul-Amir Dhahi was killed when a bomb exploded near the bakery where he worked in the insurgent stronghold of Dora.
Electrical worker Asaad Hassan Muhi was gunned down while he was heading to work in western Baghdad.
A parked car bomb in Southeastern Baghdad struck a police patrol, wounding two policemen.
A bomb exploded in southern Baghdad killing a woman and wounding her three sons as they were in their car.
Police found the body a man who had been blindfolded, handcuffed and shot in the head in western Baghdad.
Two civilians were wounded in a roadside bomb attack in eastern Baghdad's Al-Salekh neighbourhood.
Unidentified armed men killed Thursday a police officer in west Baghdad 24 hours after his kidnap.
The body of Fox News photographer Osama Qadir was found Thursday, four days after being kidnapped in Al-Shaab district east of Baghdad.
Reporters and photographers in the media gathering at Palestine Hotel said that Qadir's family told them of his death after being shoot in the head and chest.
Gunmen on a motorcycle killed a policeman in Karbala.
Attackers firing from a car shot to death a 34-year-old man working in a construction equipment shop in Karbala.
Five bodies, including one of a woman and a child, were found in Karbala.
Gunmen killed a former Baath Party and his wife as they were driving in the centre of Kut
, 100 miles southeast of Baghdad.
Four corpses were recovered from Kut.
A civilian was killed north of Baquba.
(Near) An unmanned military surveillance helicopter operated by Japanese forces crashed in southern Iraq
, but no casualties were reported, the military said. The remote-controlled chopper crashed during a surveillance flight near the Japanese army base in Samawah.
Five bodies, including two of women, were found in Hilla.
Two of them were recovered from the Euphrates river.
The bodies of seven men were found in the Tigris River south of Baghdad.
All had gunshot wounds and showed signs of torture.
A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol exploded in Riyadh
, a town 60 km (40 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, killing an Iraqi soldier and wounding another seven.
The bodies of two men with gunshot wounds, and showing signs of torture, were found beside the river Euphrates in the town of Mussayab
, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad.
The body of an unidentified man was found on a road in the town of Mahaweel
, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad.
A suicide bomber struck the funeral of a soldier in Kirkuk, killing five people and wounding 13
. The attacker blew himself up at about 9 p.m. (1 p.m. EDT) in the tent where the funeral was being held. The five people killed included one policeman. Two other officers were among the wounded.
Iraqi police in the northern city of Kirkuk found the body of a 15-year-old girl who had been kidnapped five days ago.
Two bodies, one of them headless, were recovered from the northern oil hub of Kirkuk.
Unidentified militants assassinated a dentist in front of his clinic in Kirkuk.
An Iraqi woman was also injured when militants opened fire from a civilian car towards Yunis.
(Near) Militants kidnapped an employee in the education department of Kirkuk
while he was in Kirkuk-Tikrit road on an official job.
[???] Eyewitnesses' indicated that fierce armed confrontations occurred yesterday between an Iraqi tribal members and foreign fighters near Fallujah village in the western province of Anbar.
The eyewitnesses told KUNA that several of the foreign fighters were killed during the clashes as they were trying to seize a residential compound. [???]
An Iraqi army checkpoint in Falluja came under mortar fire that killed two soldiers and wounded one.
When the soldiers returned fire, one civilian was killed and two wounded
Romania plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq by the end of this year
, Prime Minister Calin Tariceanu said on Thursday. The announcement regarding Romania's 890 troops follows a similar move by Italy, while Japan began withdrawing its troops from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq last week.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
US SOLDIER WHO KILLED HANDCUFFED IRAQI FREED
This is what they get after killing handcuffed Iraqi.
He is free.
An American soldier convicted in the fatal shooting of a handcuffed Iraqi cow herder in 2004 was freed from a military prison
Why he is free?
He thought he lunged at the soldier who was holding him, and that he wasn't aware Kadir's hands were bound.
That is a good reason.
And there is more.
A 13-year-old girl was killed and her mother and sister wounded. Waruch was discharged without being accused of a crime.
Again free and not charged.
it was unlikely they would find sufficient evidence against him.
dozens of soldiers were accused of crimes against Iraqis since the first troops deployed for Iraq, but despite strong evidence and convictions in some cases, only a small percentage resulted in punishments.
the military did not immediately conduct a criminal investigation into the shooting of the three women by Waruch. The Army Criminal Investigation Command did not begin a formal investigation until more than a year after the Feb. 18, 2004, shootings,link
PLIGHT OF IRAQI WOMEN UNDER THE BARBAROUS OCCUPATION
A recent editorial on Middle East Online sheds light on the suffering of female detainees in Iraq.
The situation of Iraqi women inside U.S.-run jails in Iraq is not less appalling than what male detainees faced in Abu Ghraib prison.
The article details what "female security detainees" face inside those prisons and reasons for their detention by the occupation authorities.
The U.S. occupation authorities apply the term "security detainee" to all "security detainees arrested under the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1546 on the grounds that they are considered an imperative threat to the stability and security of Iraq".
"Security detainee" is anyone who has been subject to random arrest, regardless of sex, age or circumstances.
According to many rights organisations, female detainees held "for security reasons," in U.S.-run jails in Iraq are subject to inhuman treatment, degradation and physical and psychological torture.
They're also kept under unhealthy and unhygienic conditions of detention.
Organisations that took part in documenting the detention of female Iraqi detainees include independent women's and human rights groups operating inside Iraq and abroad (such as Women's Will, Occupation Watch, the Iraqi League and the Human Rights' Voice of Freedom), official and political party publications (notably those produced by the Association of Muslim Scholars, the Iraqi Islamic Party, the Iraqi National Media and Culture Organisation), and international agencies and human rights and anti-war organisations (Amnesty International, the International Red Cross, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, and the Brussells Tribunal).
A shroud of secrecy and misinformation covers the estimated 30,000 to 100,000 detainees who've been held in Iraq since the war started in March 2003, including female detainees, with occupation authorities persistently refusing to give specific details about the number and status of detainees.
The same applies to the extent and whereabouts of female detainees held in U.S. jails in Iraq. (...)
Several female detainees, who were subject to various forms of torture and abuse, were interviewed by Amnesty International, and most of them complained of having been "beaten, threatened with rape, verbally abused and held in solitary confinement for long periods of time," according to Middle East Online article.
Also Anne Clwyd, a British human rights envoy to Iraq, decided to uncover the inhuman treatment Iraqi women face during detention when she learned of "the arrest and subsequent torture of a 70-year-old woman, whose torturers forced her into a makeshift bridle and then mounted her like a donkey," the article further stated.
Amongst the most degrading treatment Iraqi female detainees faced, according to a report by the Iraqi Women's Will organisation, is "being brought in nude for questioning and hence subject to derisive and humiliating remarks by interrogators, wardens and translators."
Hoda Al-Ezawi, one of those detainees, described how U.S. soldiers kept her in solitary confinement for 156 days.
Al-Ezawi's sister was also detained, and locked up inside a cell along with the corpse of their dead brother.
Al-Ezawi along with her two daughters, Nora, 15, and Sara, 20, were detained by the U.S. occupying forces and the Iraqi National Guard in February 2005 on the charge of supporting anti-occupation resistance.
Other forms of torture include forcing detainees stand up for long hours while being subject to continual threat and intimidation.
read in full:
AMERICANS SEEING THROUGH THE GOOD NEWS PROPAGANDA OFFENSIVE?
There is good reason for talk about getting out of Iraq. All polls show a strong trend toward withdrawal, most show a majority now favor withdrawal. A USA Today
/Gallup poll shows that a large majority of Americans, 57%, believe Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing from Iraq. Only 39% believe that decision should be left to the president and his advisors. Similarly, a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN found by a 53% to 41% majority, Americans think the United States should set a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The Washington Post
/ABC poll did not find majority support for withdrawal, by a slim margin of 51% to 47%, but the poll found the trend strongly moving toward withdrawal in all category of voters.
All these polls come at a time of a PR blitz by the Bush administration - the killing of Zarqawi, the new "unity" government taking shape in Iraq and the president's surprise visit to Iraq. Despite all this "good" news the unpopularity of the war is hurting the president.
Perhaps the American public is seeing through the good news propaganda offensive. In fact, the news on the ground is anything but good. On the same day that Bush went to Baghdad, a memo to the State Department from the U.S. ambassador in Iraq described things on the ground in Baghdad to be deteriorating by all measures. Associated Press reported a deadly week for US soldiers with 16 GI's killed in Iraq. And in Baghdad, Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, tightened an already draconian security clampdown by calling for a state of emergency in the city. Downtown streets were seeing hours long gun battles involving Iraq and American troops fighting Shiite and Sunni Arab gunmen. This was occurring despite ten days of thousands of troops being put into the streets of Baghdad trying to restore some semblance of order.
At the same time Maliki was releasing a plan to end the occupation and the insurgency. However, the plan offered by Maliki was severally muted from the original draft proposed. Newsweek
reports intense pressure on Maliki to change the plan and reported significant changes reporting:
"Four key clauses were taken out, including one that insisted on distinguishing between 'national resistance' forces and 'terrorists,' and another one that would reverse the dismissals of many former Baathist party officials under the country's deBaathfication program. Explicit language about controlling party militias and 'death squads' was missing as well from the final draft. That left a much vaguer statement of principles, but one that everyone could agree to put on the table."
The plan also calls for withdrawal, but does not specify an actual date. There continues to be conflict with some in the Parliament who want to set an actual date of withdrawal. Newsweek reports that a senior coalition military official, who did not want to be identified "did not outright rule out the idea of a date. 'One of the advantages of a timetable-all of a sudden there is a date which is a much more explicit thing than an abstract condition,' he said. 'That's the sort of assurance that [the Sunnis] are looking for.'"
One of the most controversial issues raised in the discussions over Maliki's plan is amnesty for insurgents. Newsweek reports: "Everyone agrees for instance that a bomb set off in a mosque is terrorism. But if a roadside bomb is set off targeting soldiers, but killing innocent bystanders-is that resistance, or terrorism?"
While the U.S. and Maliki trumpeted support of some insurgent groups for the plan, the key insurgent groups refused to accept it. Eleven insurgent groups said they do not recognize the legitimacy of the Maliki government. And, they want a more rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops, release of all prisoners from U.S. and Iraqi jails, and the funding for the rebuilding of homes and infrastructure in Iraq destroyed by the occupation. An unidentified insurgent commander told the London Times
: "The government is very aware that those it says it is negotiating with are not representatives of the main organizations. This whole so-called reconciliation plan is being exaggerated as a breakthrough to help to promote Maliki and his government as well as to aid the Americans to find a face-saving way out of Iraq."
More likely that "a face-saving way out of Iraq" the Maliki plan is more to assist President Bush's party in the mid-term elections.
read in full:
THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQI HEARTS AND MINDS
Even if you've read a ton of reporting from Iraq, you haven't read this:
Americans, led to believe that their soldiers and Marines would be welcomed as liberators by the Iraqi people, have no idea what the occupation is really like from the perspective of Iraqis who endure it. Although I am American, born and raised in New York City, I came closer to experiencing what it might feel like to be Iraqi than many of my colleagues. I often say that the secret to my success in Iraq as a journalist is my melanin advantage. I inherited my Iranian father's Middle Eastern features, which allowed me to go unnoticed in Iraq, blend into crowds, march in demonstrations, sit in mosques, walk through Falluja's worst neighborhoods.
I also benefited from being able to speak Arabic-in particular its Iraqi dialect, which I hastily learned in Baghdad upon my arrival and continued to develop throughout my time in Iraq.
My skin color and language skills allowed me to relate to the American occupier in a different way, for he looked at me as if I were just another haji, the "gook" of the war in Iraq. I first realized my advantage in April 2003, when I was sitting with a group of American soldiers and another soldier walked up and wondered what this haji (me) had done to get arrested by them. Later that summer I walked in the direction of an American tank and heard one soldier say about me, "That's the biggest fuckin' Iraqi (pronounced eye-raki) I ever saw." A soldier by the gun said, "I don't care how big he is, if he doesn't stop movin' I'm gonna shoot him."
I was lucky enough to have an American passport in my pocket, which I promptly took out and waved, shouting: "Don't shoot! I'm an American!" It was my first encounter with hostile American checkpoints but hardly my last, and I grew to fear the unpredictable American military, which could kill me for looking like an Iraqi male of fighting age. Countless Iraqis were not lucky enough to speak American English or carry a U.S. passport, and often entire families were killed in their cars when they approached American checkpoints.
In 2004 the British medical journal The Lancet estimated that by September 2004 100,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the American occupation and said that most of them had died violently, mostly in American airstrikes. Although this figure was challenged by many, especially partisans of the war, it seems perfectly plausible to me based on what I have seen in Iraq, having spent most of the postwar period there...
It's a really long piece, but read it all.
Seriously. All of it
Nir Rosen's report on the American callous and criminal occupying force is highly disturbing, even though it is still a limited and watered-down version of the total ugly and disturbing picture about this criminal war and its subsequent occupation results.
-- Excerpt from comment #12632 by Fadel Abdallah on 6/28 at 10:40 pmA VET SPEAKS OUT
I served two years in Iraq and it's in total disarray contrary to what the Bush propaganda machine want you to believe. To you armchair civilian chickenhawks who sit in your warm, secure, comfortable homes watching FOX News; if your so damn gung-ho get off your flag waving lame ass's and prove how patriotic you really are by enlisting, let's see the true color of your blood. In Iraq you'll come to your senses real quick when you smell the air permeated with the foul odor of death. The innocent Iraqi people are more than willing to share their daily suffering of losing a family member or friend. Having their homes reduced to rubble, living in constant fear day and night. And who do they blame ? They blame the people of America for allowing George Bush to destroy their country.
The men and women arriving home in caskets are no longer able to speak the truth. Now their loved one's must endure and struggle with the pain of losing a son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother a friend. And what exactly were the reasons for dying ? For George Bush's noble cause of spreading democracy, finding WMD's, freeing the Iraqi people from tyranny. I don't think so. Yes, many of us truly did think going into Iraq was all about protecting America from terrorists. It's taken me a while, after many sleepless nights, to figure out what our governments real intentions and purposes were for engaging in this illegal war of aggression. The Iraqi people are not terrorists nor was their government hiding weapons of mass destruction. Have I earned my right to speak out against this war ... your damn right I have and I live with the constant nightmare every day. And I personally don't give a rats ass if you think I'm unpatriotic for standing up for what believe to be a evil political cover up.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Taliban forces engaged a coalition convoy in Helmand province, wounding one coalition soldier and damaging a vehicle.
Coalition aircraft fired on Taliban positions, but no assessment had been made of Taliban losses.
A coalition vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in the southern Zabul province, slightly wounding two soldier.
The nationalities of the soldiers were not immediately released.
One soldier was killed and three wounded when U.S.-led troops on patrol in southern Afghanistan hit a land mine.
The blast in Nawzad district of Helmand province on Wednesday was believed to have been caused by an old land mine, the U.S. military said.
An attack in northern Afghanistan left three German soldiers slightly injured.
A patrol of two armored vehicles was shot at during the night just south of Kunduz, and the German soldiers returned fire, the command center said.
(update) It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two British soldiers in Afghanistan.
During a planned operation in the Sangin valley, northern Helmand province, in the early morning of 27 June, a UK patrol came under attack. One further soldier was seriously wounded. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening. Next of kin have now been informed. The men's families have requested that the MOD does not release their names, and have asked the media - specifically - to respect their wish that no information or images which could lead to the identification of the soldiers is published or broadcast. The MOD looks forward to the co-operation of the media in this, at what is such a difficult time for the families involved. (UK MoD)
Captain David Patton of the Special Boat Service, who came from Coleraine in County Londonderry [Northern Ireland], was one of two soldiers who died in a Taleban rocket attack on an army vehicle, in the Helmand Province.
(update) The full details of how two special forces soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in a daring attack emerged today. The men were part of a "snatch squad" tasked to raid a compound in the village of Sangin after an intelligence tip-off that placed two senior Taliban commanders in the area. After an assault led by two companies from the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, the pair were captured but then around 75 Taliban fighters launched an ambush as the troops tried to withdraw.U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Bush over-stepped his authority in creating military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees
: The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed tribunals were illegal under U.S. law and the Geneva Convention.
The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.
Two years ago, the court rejected Bush's claim to have the authority to seize and detain terrorism suspects and indefinitely deny them access to courts or lawyers.
In this followup case, the justices focused solely on the issue of trials for some of the men, among them 19-year-old Canadian Omar Khadr, captured in Afghanistan in 2002 during the U.S.-led invasion.
TAKING 1.3 MILLION HOSTAGES TO EXCHANGE FOR 1
So Israel bombed several bridges in Gaza, which sort of has an arguable operational purpose, preventing their captured soldier being moved, although bantustanization is so clearly part of the Israeli strategy for keeping the Palestinian state weak that one assumes it was something they always planned to do given an even slightly plausible excuse. But destroying water and power supplies for the entire Gaza Strip? Seizing the labor minister, deputy prime minister, etc? Buzzing the Syrian presidents' palace (actually, causing sonic booms overhead)? And after all this time, do the Israelis really think that collective punishment, taking 1.3 million hostages to exchange for 1, will make the Palestinian people blame Hamas rather than Israel and turn against it?
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "The reason the past always repeats itself, is because the past was a repetitious lie to begin with." -- Mike Hastie, Vietnam Veteran, June 27, 2006 (Uncle Sam And His Endless Body Bags)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, June 28, 2006
: An Iraqi girl washes her hands at a camp for displaced families in the Shiite al-Shaala district of Baghdad. Iraq has said it has captured a Tunisian Al-Qaeda militant allegedly behind the February bombing of a revered Shiite shrine that unleashed a massive wave of sectarian violence. (See below "Neocons Revisit The Askariya Shrine Bombing")
Unidentified militants killed Deputy General Manager of the customs department Dhiyaa Abdulhameed in the western part of Baghdad.
A police source said militants shot Abdulhameed after blocking his car in Al-Amiriya district.
A roadside bomb went off near a U.S. military patrol in western Baghdad, killing a civilian and wounding two others.
The blast prompted the U.S. soldiers and Iraqi security forces, who used to man a mobile checkpoint near the blast site, to open fire in all directions, the source said.
A bomb at a market in the Shi'ite Kadhimiya district of Baghdad killed one person and wounded eight.
Three civilians including two women were injured in an explosion near an apartment building in Baquba.
A car bomb killed three men in a group of Iraqis lining up for day labouring jobs in the city of Baquba.
A further 12 people, including children, were wounded in the early morning blast.
Mortars were fired at a Sunni mosque in Shahraban, a town close to Baquba.
There were no casualties but the mosque and some 20 shops and a bank were damaged by fire.
A bomb seriously wounded two policemen who had rushed to a Shi'ite mosque after another bomb had exploded without causing casualties in the same mosque in the city of Baquba
, 65 km (40 miles) north of the capital.
A policeman was killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Mahaweel
, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad.
One person was killed and seven others were injured in another explosion that occurred in a market in Al-Kathimiya
, north of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed two policemen in Falluja.
Clashes between gunmen and police broke out in Mosul, leaving a policeman wounded.
One militant was arrested.
Insurgents are demanding the withdrawal of all U.S. and British forces from Iraq within two years as a condition for joining reconciliation talks
, a senior Iraqi government official said Wednesday. (...)
Iraqi government officials involved with the contacts with insurgents told The Associated Press that several militant groups sent delegates from their regions and tribes to speak on their behalf.
One of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of demands for secrecy in the talks, said the insurgents have so far rejected face-to-face talks, saying they fear being targeted by Shiite militias, Iraqi security forces and the Americans.
The official said the insurgents have demanded a two-year "timetable for withdrawal" in return for joining Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's bid for national reconciliation.
The insurgents also said a condition for any future direct talks would be the presence of observers from the Arab League, Saudi Arabia and Iraq's influential Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars.
MOSCOW BLAMES U.S. FOR RUSSIAN HOSTAGES DEATH IN IRAQ
Russia intends to keep in contact with the coalition forces to determine their level of responsibility in the death of the Russian diplomats earlier kidnapped in Iraq, Russian presidential envoy for international cooperation in fighting terrorism and transnational organized crime Anatoly Safonov quoted by Interfax has said.
"We are saying openly that it is either governmental institutions or coalition forces that are responsible for order," Safonov told journalists in Moscow on Tuesday.
"First of all - and I hope this will be also said at the UN - we need to emphasize the uniqueness of the situation concerning security in Iraq, express our condemnation of what has happened, and call for drawing conclusions from this," Safonov said
First Vice-Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Lyubov Sliska, joined Safonov in blaming the coalition.
"We can see how the coalition forces are 'restoring order'," she said.
"Every day dozens of innocent people are dying, and now diplomats are geting killed, too. The responsibility for what is going on in Iraq lies upon those who sought mass destruction weapons here, but found nothing," she said.
read in full:
THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES FLEE RAMADI AS HOSPITALS RUN OUT OF MEDICINE
Doctors for Iraq has received reports that an estimated 3,250 families from the city of Ramadi have been forced to flee the city because of the threat of an imminent US/ Iraqi military attack on the city.
Ramadi is the capital of Anbar Province in the west of Iraq and is home to an estimated 500,000 people. Many thousands of people are now displaced trying to flee the city in fear of a military assault on Ramadi.
Residents described severe shortages of water and electricity in the past seven days especially in the Al Tameem and Al Azizia quarters of the city.
All entrances and exists to the city have been sealed off by the US/ Iraqi military with reports of only one passage remaining open through the Al Warar bridge that provides a route out of Ramadi.
Local shops and markets have remained closed for the past seven days causing a shortage in food as people are unable to buy provisions because the city is under an ongoing military curfew.
Eyewitness describes a large number of US military units surrounding the city with the formation of two US military bases towards the east and west of the city. Residents have told Doctors for Iraq that the main government building has been occupied by the US military.
Reports have been received of a large number of snipers in the centre of Ramadi impacting on the movement of civilians trying to escape the city and restricting the movement of doctors and medical units. Doctors for Iraq have received reports of casualties caused by sniper fire.
The presence of US/ Iraqi military snipers and checkpoints is severely restricting the movement of ambulances and medical personnel in the city. Ramadi has four main hospitals with the main general hospitals still functioning trying to meet the needs of patients and casualties.
This military activity and the threat of a US/ Iraqi military attack on the city along with checkpoints, curfew and an incursion of the city is having a major impact on delivery of health services for people. A Doctors for Iraq assessment team in Ramadi reports of a severe shortage of medicine and medical equipment such as IV fluids, surgical sutures, antibiotics and aesthetic drugs. Our teams described the situation in the city and the plight of displaced families as being desperate.
read in full...
BENCHMARKS: U.S. CASUALTIES RISING IN IRAQ
The striking lull in U.S. casualties we reported in our previous column did not last. Figures for U.S. troops killed and wounded in Iraq over the past week rose sharply and showed a remarkable statistical consistency with trends prior to the lull.
This suggests that the most active Sunni insurgent groups may have taken a breathing space in their operations to regroup and reassess following the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's chief of operations in Iraq. However, Zarqawi's death and the seizure of what U.S. officials called "a treasure trove" of information following his death, don't seem to have had any appreciable impact on organization and military capabilities of the insurgency.
The total number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq through Wednesday, June 28, since the start of operations to topple Saddam Hussein on March 19, 2003, was 2,524, according to official figures issued by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Therefore, 24 U.S. soldiers were killed during the eight-day period from June 21 through June 28 at an average rate of three per day. This was 77 percent higher than the rate of 1.75 U.S. soldiers killed by in Iraq per day during the seven-day period from June 14 through June 20. It was also 20 percent worse than the eight-day period of June 6-13 when 2.5 U.S. soldiers were killed per day in Iraq. And those June 6-13 figures had been an increase of almost 39 percent on the rate of fatalities suffered during the previous six-day period of May 31-June 5 when some 11 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of 1.82 per day.
The latest figures, therefore, show a return to the steadily deteriorating trend in increasing U.S. fatalities in Iraq through the month of June. They were also significantly worse than the longer-term trend of the 48-day period from April 13 to May 30, when 107 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average rate of just over 2.2 per day. And they were almost twice as bad as during the 68-day period from Feb. 4 to April 12, when 112 U.S. troops died in Iraq at an average of 1.65 per day.
read in full...
Majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq
, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Half of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out within 12 months.
The poll finds support for the ideas behind Democratic proposals that were soundly defeated in the Senate last week. An uptick in optimism toward the war after the killing of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier this month seems to have evaporated.
>> COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
NEOCONS REVISIT THE ASKARIYA SHRINE BOMBING
Now that the Pentagon has murdered the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi myth, it is time to roll up "al-Qaeda in Iraq" for propaganda purposes, especially considering the miserable condition of the Iraq occupation and the increasing demands of the Iraqi "leadership" that the United States leave the country.
"The Samarra shrine bombing, which set off waves of sectarian killing that are still plaguing the country, was the brainchild of an Iraqi member of Al Qaeda, and not a foreign terrorist, a senior Iraqi official said today," reports the "liberal" New York Times, the "newspaper of record" neocons are itching to prosecute for treason. "Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, the country's national security adviser, identified Haitham al-Badri as the planner of the February attack. He said that Mr. Badri, a member of a Sunni tribe from Salahadin province, which includes Samarra, was currently a member of Al Qaeda in Iraq, but earlier had belonged to a different Iraqi insurgent group, Ansar al-Sunna." All of this supposedly came to light after Yousri Fakher Mohammed Ali, a Tunisian also known as Abu Qudama and allegedly an "al-Qaeda in Iraq" member, fingered al-Badri.
It is amazing the way slavish corporate media tools, essentially stenographers for the Pentagon and the neocons, report the "news" (engineered propaganda) without reference to past events, sort of like Winston Smith feeding evidence of news recalibrated into the memory hole.
Haitham al-Badri's "confession yielded several new details about the shrine bombing, Mr. Rubaie. He said it was the work of a team of two Iraqis, four Saudis and Abu Qudama, under the direction of Mr. Badri," the New York Times continues. "The group took advantage of a handoff in security at the shrine, when the Iraqi turned it over to a local facility protection service. 'The terrorists entered the shrine the night before the bombing, and they jailed the guards in one of the rooms and had the whole time-several hours-to install the equipment of crime,' Mr. Rubaie said."
No mention here of Iraqi reports that the bombing was pulled off by the Iraqi National Guard and that according "to reports appearing on the humanitarian Iraqi League organization's Iraqi Rabita website and translated into English by the Iraqi blogger Baghdad Dweller ... at least two witnesses saw 'unusual activities by the ING [Iraqi National Guard] in the area around the mosque.' Two mosque guards reported four men in ING uniforms had blindfolded them and planted explosives. A second witness, Muhammad al-Samarrai, the owner of an internet cafe in the area, was told to stay in his store and not leave the area. From 11 pm until 6:30 am, ten minutes before two bombs were detonated, the area surrounding the mosque was patrolled by 'joint forces of Iraqi ING and Americans,' according to al-Samarrai" (see my February 23 blog entry, Pentagon-Controlled Iraqi National Guard Implicated in Samarra Mosque Bombing).
In addition to apparently facilitating the mosque bombing, Iraqi National Guard troops provided assistance to "more than a dozen masked Shia gunmen" attacking the Sunni al-Quds mosque in western Baghdad in the wake of the Samarra attack, according to the Times Online. In addition, "gunmen arrived [at the Maakel prison in Basra] in a fleet of cars and showed documents which claimed that they were from the Interior Ministry... and lynched at least eleven Sunni inmates, among them at least two Egyptians."
"The bombing of the Golden Dome shrine, regarded by Shiites as one of their holiest sites, was followed by the deaths of hundreds of Iraqis in reprisal killings, as the country teetered on the verge of a full-blown civil war," the New York Times continues. "Killings on the basis of ethnicity or religion have become routine in Baghdad and other mixed areas of Iraq, and a report issued Tuesday by the International Organization on Migration, a London-based advocacy group, estimated that more than 100,000 Iraqis had fled their homes since the bombing of the shrine, primarily out of fear of assassination."
In short, "al-Qaeda in Iraq" has accomplished its mission-touching off a "civil war," as the corporate media deems it, in fact an engineered effort to balkanize the country. Once again, cui bono comes into play: the United States and Israel benefit from the social and cultural destruction of Iraq, not the Iraqi people and certainly not some fantastical entity called "al-Qaeda," who we are expected to believe runs the resistance in Iraq. How exactly an alleged fanatical Muslim organization benefits from killing fellow Muslims and blowing up mosques while ignoring the occupation is not explained.
read in full...
THE OCCUPATION RENDERS RECONCILIATION IMPOSSIBLE
The "Prime Minister" in occupied Iraq, Nouri Al-Maliki, has put forward a "reconciliation plan" that will give amnesty to those, who have not committed any "terrorism", and try to absorb certain armed resistance groups in the US-controlled political process. The Iraqi puppets of the US have made these desperate cries for "reconciliation" many times - without any result.
Al-Maliki is not talking on his own behalf, but on behalf of his protector and master, the US, which is facing big difficulties. While the coalition is suffering big losses and quickly shrinking - recently with the withdrawal of Italy and Japan - the armed resistance is being strengthened proportionally. It is hard to see why the Iraqi Resistance should give up its successful armed resistance struggle.
The occupation renders reconciliation impossible because it has divided the Iraqis into the few profiting from the occupation and the many suffering under it. A genuine reconciliation can only come with the liberation and the post-occupation justice facing traitors like Al-Maliki.
read in full...
ABOUT MALIKI'S RECONCILIATION PLAN
There is no doubt that the Maliki's project of 'national reconciliation' is a political manoeuvre planned by the Pentagon and the State Department's circles in order to pretend, before the American congressionnal elections taking place in November, that there is some progress taking place in the so-called Iraqi "political process ", whose aim is to implement the US project for Iraq.
The essence of this initiative is to give the impression that the danger overshadowing Iraq is Iran and the death squads controlled by it directly or indirectly. And, as a consequence, that the Arab resistance should cooperate with the US and the occupation's government to stand against this danger.
No patriotic sane and conscious individual can fall into this trap, whether he is involved in the armed national resistance or outside it. All are aware that the "political process", whatever disguise they might apply to it, can be resumed as follows : Power to collaborators and Oil to the US.
Changing collaborators doesn't alter the plan.
read in full...
REINTERPRETING IRAQ: US PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY
Considering the devastating outcome of Bush's military adventurism in Iraq, one would imagine that sincerity and transparency are required now more than ever before; after all, there seems to be no particular enemy to baffle: Saddam Hussein is in prison, the so-called insurgency has no central command, thus no central strategy - a fact that renders state propaganda ineffective, if at all necessary. Moreover, the campaign of lies and deceit cannot possibly be targeting the Iraqi people for they were never even taken into consideration since the systematic campaign of sanctions started in 1991, which killed - according to the most modest estimates, nearly one million persons, mostly children. The daily and wholesale murder, organized torture and Haditha-like executions since then are further illustrations.
It's clear that the US state propaganda - which has been achieved with the willing cooperation of the mainstream "liberal" media - has one prime target: The American public, for without their full acknowledgment and support, military adventurism can be a huge political burden; coupled with a dwindling economy and mounting debt, it could sway the political pendulum to unfavorable directions. (...)
What began as a focused campaign of misinformation aimed at defeating Saddam's forces, has turned into a much more intense campaign of deceit and trickery aimed at salvaging Bush's political reputation and that of his Republican Party. Thus, what has really changed in Iraq is that the administration and the media have suddenly decided to re-interpret the ongoing conflict for political ends.
read in full…
A DESPERATE LETTER
The fearsome nights are stifling us and we now have come to hate the Fall [of Baghdad]; we hate Liberation; we hate Sunnis; we hate Shiites; we hate turbans and sidaras [Baghdadi head gear - a reference to Adnan al-Dulaimi a 'Sunni' politician]; we hate Jihad and Jihadists, resistance and resistors; we hate concrete; we hate streets and sidewalks; we hate the Ministries; we hate Establishments; we hate news channels and news and communiqués; we hate the Parliament that has now become a venue for swearing-in ceremonies and nothing else; we hate songs; we hate commercials; we hate newspapers; we hate cars and car-depots; we hate conferences; we hate 'surprise visits'; we hate neighboring countries; we hate the 'multinational forces; we hate the night; we hate the day; we hate Summer; we hate the sun that sends hell; we hate sleep; we hate water and electricity; we hate petrol and corruption and theft; we hate sectarianism; we hate sectarian 'allocations'; we hate Reconciliation; we hate the government of national unity; we hate committees and Commissions of Integrity, Trash, Rehabilitation and Silliness; we hate [political] parties and organizations; we hate assemblies, demonstrations, banners and chants; we hate laughter; we hate crying; we hate work; we hate study; we hate each other. And we hate ourselves. But (and this is our problem) we still love something that was called Iraq.
-- by blogger Shalash al Iraqi, a resident of Sadr City
read in full...
As much as the American people would like to deny their cruelty or extreme brutality, the photos and the stories of Iraqi people clearly show the truth.
Americans have gotten used to the role of entitlement and elitism. We value one American life at a far greater rate than any other human's life. Obviously the going death exchange rate in Iraq is close to 20:1. And still the American people wouldn't care if there were twenty innocent Iraqis killed by our forces if two American soldiers were brutally decapitated.
Clearly the two deaths will plant a seed in the minds of the people. Unfortunately it will be justification for our occupation of Iraq. They will now see how we must fight the terrorist over there rather than here. And if not justification there will be the revenge factor. The killing of the few dozen in Haditha and elsewhere doesn't look quite as bad now that we have two soldiers killed in such a barbaric way.
We've already slapped the wrist of an officer who stuffed an Iraqi general in a sleeping bag, taped his mouth and hands and sat on him. The general "inadvertently" died.
I truly mourn the deaths of the three American soldiers killed that dreadful day. I abhor the way in which the two captured soldiers were killed. It's not a case of you're either with us or you're with them as the President once said about terrorism. Children are not terrorists. And it isn't only American children dying.
I'm just demanding the next time a five hundred pound bomb hits a house full of Iraqi children the media labels it as what it truly is.
-- Wm. Terry Leichner, RN, Denver VVAW member, USMC combat infantryman in Vietnam
read in full...
THE MYTH OF ZARQAWI
I have said all along that the poll figures showing Americans to be overwhelmingly against the war in Iraq were illusory. Only 28 percent of Americans were against the war when we invaded Iraq. The ranks have swelled to over 60 percent not because there has been an awakening of social conscience and responsibility, but rather because things aren't going well in Iraq, and there is increasing angst in the American heartland because we seem to be losing the war in Iraq, and no one likes a loser. So when the word came that the notorious terrorist, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, was killed by American military action, the president suddenly had a "good week," and poll numbers adjusted slightly in his favor. However, the facts cannot be re-written, even by a slavish American mainstream media. Zarqawi was never anything more than a minor player in Iraq, a third-rate Jordanian criminal whose exploits were hyped up by a Bush administration anxious to prove that the insurgency that was getting the best of America in Iraq was foreign-grown and linked to the perpetrators of the 9/11 terror attacks nonetheless. The reality of just how wrong such an assessment is (and was) has been pounded home in blood. Since Zarqawi's death, the violence has continued to spiral out of control in Iraq, with Americans continuing to die, Iraqis still being slaughtered, and Zarqawi and his organization, successor and all, still as irrelevant to reality as ever. The war against the American occupation in Iraq is being fought overwhelmingly by Iraqis. The insurgency is growing and becoming stronger and more organized by the day. This, of course, is a reality that the Bush administration cannot afford to have the American people know about in an election year, as a compliant media, having sold its soul to the devil in hyping of the virtues of an invasion of Iraq back in 2002-2003, continues to dance with the party that brought them by supporting the Republican position, by and large, that the conflict in Iraq is a winnable one for America. Good ratings, more dead Americans (and Iraqis, but who is counting?) and a war that will never end until the United States finally slinks out, defeated, its tail tucked firmly between its legs.
read in full...
ALL TOO QUIET
Where were the doctors and nurses at Abu Ghraib, Qaim, Bagram, and the other islands of the United States prison archipelago abroad when prisoners were being beaten, suspended, and degraded? Defense Department policies set the stage for the abuses, but the silence of prison clinicians allowed them to continue. Some medical staffers witnessed the brutality. Others saw the injuries that resulted from the abuse.
Most of what we know about the role of prison doctors and medical staffers comes from tens of thousands of pages of government documents released pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. These papers include criminal investigations, FBI notes on debriefings of prisoners, interviews with witnesses, sworn recollections of conversations, e-mails from soldiers and intelligence personnel, autopsy reports, military base policies, and prisoners' medical records. Here are some of the incidents they reveal.
Abed Hamed Mowhoush voluntarily surrendered to American military authorities in Qaim, Iraq, in November 2003. He died of torture 16 days later. According to testimony at the trial of the intelligence officers responsible for the abuse, Mowhoush was repeatedly beaten with fists, hose, sticks, and a rifle butt under the supervision of Army, Special Forces, and CIA personnel. Six of his ribs were broken. Then he was stuffed head first into a sleeping bag and wrapped in 20 feet of electrical wire. A soldier briefly crouched over Mowhoush's chest. A few minutes later, he was found to be dead. Dr. Ann Rossignol, an Air Force physician, joined the resuscitation. She was told that Mowhoush was being interrogated, lost control of his urine, and collapsed. The trial transcript shows that she did not ask for more details. A Pentagon press release stated: "Mowhoush said he didn't feel well and subsequently lost consciousness. The soldier questioning him found no pulse, then conducted CPR and called for medical authorities. According to the on-site surgeon [Rossignol], it appeared Mowhoush died of natural causes."
Somehow Dr. Rossignol missed seeing that Mowhoush's body was bruised on the arms, legs, head, neck, pelvis, and front and back of the torso. These injuries were apparent to the criminal investigators and the pathologists who conducted an autopsy. She kept silent as the inaccurate report circulated that he had died by natural causes. The military has not granted interviews in relation to Mowhoush's death. The official explanation is that the death was an unintentional homicide. (...)
In summer 2004, an Abu Ghraib prisoner described being beaten, slammed against the wall, having his head dunked in water, and being sodomized with a baton until he bled from his rectum. An Army investigator told a physician of the allegation and requested a "medical examination specifically for trauma due to sodomy." The physician did not examine the prisoner's rectum but nonetheless reported no signs of anal tearing. The investigation was closed with a note by the investigating officer, "If there isn't medical evidence then this terrorist lied and you should find a way to charge him with perjury, filing a false statement and anything else available."
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
For the first time, a suicide bomber has targeted German Bundeswehr troops in northern Afghanistan.
No soldiers were killed in the attack, although two civilians were killed, in addition to the bomber, and eight injured. The attack took place on Tuesday in the northern city of Kunduz, according to a spokesman for the German military forces. The troops were on patrol in a Dingo armored vehicle when an explosive device was detonated. Among those injured were four children, reported the news agency Pajhwok.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "I refuse to be silent any longer. I refuse to be party to an illegal and immoral war against people who did nothing to deserve our aggression. My oath of office is to protect and defend America's laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today." -- U.S. Army First Lt. Ehren Watada
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
DAILY WAR NEWS FOR TUESDAY, June 27, 2006
: Suspected insurgents lie face down on the ground with their hands bound behind their back after they were arrested during a raid in a village near Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, June 26, 2006. (Stringer/Reuters)
Bring 'em on
: A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 3 a.m. today as result of injuries suffered from a bomb explosion while on a dismounted combat patrol south of Baghdad. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on
: A Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5 died from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province today. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on
: A Soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in Al Anbar Province Monday. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on
: The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Cpl. Paul N. King, 23, of Tyngsboro, Mass. King died June 25 while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Ayer, Mass. (DefenseLink)
OTHER SECURITY INCIDENTS
A car bomb in a market in Baghdad's southern district of Doura killed three people and wounded 10.
A professor at a technology university in Baghdad was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in the upscale neighbourhood of Mansour.
Police found the bullet-riddled bodies of five men, including three who were handcuffed, in two areas of Baghdad.
Three policemen were killed and three others wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in southeastern Baghdad.
The bodies of a police officer and two civilians, one of them female, were discovered in Karbala.
Police sources said all three bore evidence of torture.
A local general inspector for the Ministry of Interior was wounded with his bodyguard when gunmen opened fire at his car in Najaf
, 160 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad. The driver was killed, police added.
One Iraqi police officer was injured today when an IED blew up at an intersection near his patrol in Baqouba.
"Insurgents" detonated an IED in a residential area of Baqouba injuring three civilians.
A Sunni mosque and three houses in the village of Khairnabat near Baquba were burned down.
10 people, most of them traders in the city market, were shot dead by gunmen in a spate of attacks in Baquba.
(Update) The body count for yesterday's booby-trapped bike attack in northern Baqouba reached 18 deaths and 23 injuries including women and children.
Tallil air base:
(Near) A light-armored vehicle of the Ground Self-Defense Force overturned near the Tallil air base in southern Iraq, injuring three GSDF soldiers (Japanese) in an apparent accident
, Defense Agency officials in Tokyo said Monday evening.
A suicide car bomb hit a gas station in the northern city of Kirkuk, killing at least three people and wounding 17.
Fifteen cars also were burned in the explosion.
(Near) An Iraqi army officer and two soldiers were wounded when a roadside bomb went off beside their patrol near Kirkuk
, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad.
Gunmen killed an off duty soldier while he was driving his car in Kirkuk.
Three Iraqi policemen from a unit assigned to protect oil facilities in northern Iraq were injured on Tuesday.
A security source said the three men were injured when a bomb exploded as their patrol passed by in an area north of Kirkuk.
One of Kirkuk's village chiefs was assassinated in his car by unidentified gunmen.
A police commander was killed in front of his house by armed men in Mosul.
More than 450 Iraqi detainees were released on Tuesday from Abu Ghraib prison as part of a national reconciliation plan
aimed at curbing sectarian violence in the war-torn country, a Justice Ministry spokesman said.
Iraqi PM’s plan for reconciliation criticised from both Sunnis and Shi'ites in government
, a day after parliament accepted a compromise strategy that is short on crucial detail.
Iraq's most senior Sunni Arab politician, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, complained that the plan set no withdrawal date for U.S. occupying forces. He also said Shi'ite Islamist Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was wrong to rule out peace negotiations with hardline followers of Sunni former leader Saddam Hussein.
"Leaving the issue of a timetable (for U.S. withdrawal) vague," Hashemi told Reuters, "is telling the resistance: 'continue your fighting to liberate Iraq'."
In another camp, an aide to fiery Shi'ite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr said the 24-point plan presented to parliament on Sunday did not go far enough to punish Saddam's Baathist supporters and should also include provisions to ensure the release of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia leaders from jail.
Sahib al-Amery told reporters in Najaf that Sadr's movement, accused by Sunnis of attacks on them, welcomed the plan but said its proposals to soften measures barring Baathists from office must be scrapped in favor of tougher sanctions on them.
Iraq Sunni Arab group endorses PM's national reconciliation plan
: Sunni cleric Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samaraie offered the support of his Sunni Endowment, the state agency responsible for Sunni mosques and shrines. But he urged the government to move quickly to fill in the details of the plan and said it should include the disbanding of armed militias, as well as the release of all prisoners who have not been convicted.
"We bless this initiative," he said. "We see a glimpse of hope out of this plan, but at the same time we are noticing that some people are pushing the armed groups to attack some areas in Baghdad, spreading terror and chaos in the city in order to make this plan a failure."
>>COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
SCOTT RITTER: THE MYTH OF IRAQ SOVEREIGNTY
Imagine the president of the United States flying to Russia, China, England, France or just about any other nation on the planet, landing at an airport on supposedly sovereign territory, being driven under heavy U.S. military protection to the U.S. Embassy, and then with some five minutes notification, summoning the highest elected official of that nation to the U.S. Embassy for a meeting. It would never happen, unless of course the nation in question is Iraq, where Iraqi sovereignty continues to be hyped as a reality when in fact it is as fictitious as any fairy tale ever penned by the Brothers Grimm. For all of the talk of a free Iraq, the fact is Iraq remains very much an occupied nation where the United States (and its ever decreasing "coalition of the willing") gets to call all the shots.
Iraqi military policy is made by the United States. Its borders are controlled by the United States. Its economy is controlled largely by the United States. In fact, there simply isn't a single major indicator of actual sovereignty in Iraq today that can be said to be free of overwhelming American control. Iraqi ministers continue to be shot at by coalition forces, and Iraqi police are powerless to investigate criminal activities carried out by American troops (or their mercenary counterparts, the so-called "Private Military Contractors"). The reality of this myth is that the timeline for the departure of American troops from Iraq is being debated (and decided) in Washington, D.C., not Baghdad. Of course, as with everything in Iraq, the final vote will be made by the people of Iraq. But these votes will be cast in bullets, not ballots, and will bring with them not only the departure of American troops from Iraq, but also the demise of any Iraqi government foolish enough to align itself with a nation that violates international law by planning and waging an illegal war of aggression, and continues to conduct an increasingly brutal (and equally illegitimate) occupation.
read in full...
UNION ACTIVITY EFFECTIVELY ILLEGAL IN IRAQ
The Iraqi Ministerial Council approved decree 8750 in August 2005 (probably not published in the official gazette till September) promising "a new paper on how trade unions should function, operate and organise," dissolving one government committee and replacing it with a new ministerial committee that includes the minister for National Security, to be in charge of Labour and Social Rights, and stating that the new committee would control all trade union funds. Using wording rivalling the deviousness of the Saddam regime's 1987 anti-trade union law, decree 8750 does not ban trade unions. In 2004 US administrator Paul Bremer issued a notorious directive, still in effect, reviving Saddam's 1987 anti-union decree, which also did not ban trade unions as such, but merely deemed all workers in the state sector to be civil servants. Civil servants were of course banned from joining trade unions.
Similarly, decree 8750 is worded such that it effectively makes all union activity illegal. The decree states that the new ministerial committee "must take control of all monies belonging to the trade unions and prevent them from dispensing any such monies." How trade unions can function legally when it is illegal to dispense a penny on their activities, only Owen Tudor knows.
read in full...
COLUMBINE COUNTRY SOUNDS OFF
And surprise! They want to behead reporters and left-wing congressmen!
The Denver Post
go too far in publishing a letter to the editor today that advocates the beheading of editors, commentators, and politicians who have criticized the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay? And how many other papers publish such sentiments?
According to Editorial Page Editor Jon Wolman, publishing such a letter is not out of bounds. [...]
The letter was written, ironically, by a resident of Littleton, Colo., site of the bloody Columbine High School shootings in 1999. It appeared to be in reaction to coverage of the recent kidnapping and murder of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
"Why have those who have continually howled at our treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo met the recent kidnapping and sadistic and brutal murders of our two young soldiers with deafening silence?" the letter began. "Where is your outrage now?" It then stated that the U.S. "should" behead 100 prisoners in retaliation, as well as " editors, commentators, college professors and left-wing congressmen who would suddenly break their silence to come out in support of these enemy jihadists. We need to stop listening to these sanctimonious hypocrites who apply the rules of war only to our side."
Jeebus. No wonder that place spawned what it did.
BANGING OUR HEAD AGAINST THE SAME WALL, BUT FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE
The New York Times
this evening reports on the U.S. military's latest attempt to retake control of Ramadi, the Iraqi provincial capital in the heart of guerrilla territory. See if you can spot the flaw in this strategy:
Instead of leaving after the shooting stops - as the Americans have been forced to do in other Iraqi cities - the Americans plan to leave behind garrisons of American and Iraqi troops at various points throughout the city. For the first time, they say, they believe they have the manpower to make the strategy work. The combat outpost the Americans and Iraqis started building on Monday morning was the fifth one to go up this month on the southern edge of the city.
Central to the strategy, American commanders say, is the decision to commit significant numbers of Iraqi troops who can hold the neighborhoods after the Americans do most of the work of pacification. . . .
The challenges of doing even that became evident as the operation unfolded Monday. American soldiers - trained, disciplined, with overwhelming firepower - outnumbered their Iraqi counterparts. Officers here said there were about 250 American soldiers involved in the operation, and about 145 Iraqis.
Lt. Col. Raad Niaf Haroosh, the Iraqi battalion commander, said the 145 soldiers represented a fraction of the battalion's usual numbers. He said as many as 500 of his fellow soldiers - most of them Sunni Muslims from Al Jabouri tribe - stayed behind in Mosul rather than fight in Ramadi.
Okay, so only about 25% of the Iraqi battalion showed up in the first place to watch the Americans do the heavy shooting lifting. How many of those 145 will stick around once it becomes time for them to "hold the neighborhood" alone against insurgents?
Whenever it is that the U.S. troops step back, this supposedly different approach is going to look a lot like more of the same.
THE IRAQ VICHY
There is an interesting historical parallel between the Nazi occupation of France and the American occupation of Iraq. The Vichy government was installed by an occupation just as the Iraq government was. Hitler did not call for any elections in France because at that time election fraud had not become a science. Unlike Hitler: Bush who had stolen two elections in the United States did not fear the electoral process. The Iraqis who turned out to vote did not even know who they were voting for. The Vichy government in France initiated a civil war just as the faux Iraq government has. This is why Iraqis are killing Iraqis. The idea that civil war in Iraq is caused by religious differences between the Sunni and the Shiites is false propaganda used to justify continuing the American occupation. The Iraqi girl blogger said: "Just go and take your Chalabi's and traitors with you."
There are other similarities that have the stink of fascism. There is no difference at all between Hitler's "blitzkrieg" on Poland or the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and what Bush proudly named "shock and awe". They were all unprovoked attacks on unprepared civilian populations by war criminals. The deliberate use of torture and "rendition" and the atrocities of killing women and children all fit the fascist plan. The open violation of human rights by the holding of 300 prisoners on Guantanamo just off the coast of Florida without a trial should horrify any decent American. The clear statement by General Miller after being sent to Iraq that he was going to "Gitmoize the Iraqi prisons would have had him sitting in the dock at the Nuremberg trials.
Why are Americans tolerating this abomination? Are they like the Germans who claimed they did not know about the gas ovens? Why are American Jews accepting another holocaust for their cousins the Arabs? Have they forgotten the lesson of Germany and Pastor Neimoller who said, "When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned, when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions, and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions, and I was not concerned. When Hitler attacked me and the Protestant Church--there was nobody left to be concerned."
LIVING IN A GREEN-ZONE WORLD
Once upon a time, this administration's top officials and associated neocons dreamed of shock-and-awing the Middle East into the shape they wanted, settling into Iraq for the long haul, dominating the planet in geopolitical and energy terms, ensuring that no nation or bloc of nations would ever again challenge the U.S. and, in the bargain, installing the Republicans as the dominant domestic party for at least a generation. Now, forced to hitch their fates to the President's disastrous war, they simply hope to squeak through the mid-term elections and, two years later, hand ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan off to another president. Joshua Marshall of the Talking Points Memo website recently described the President as "like an owner of a business that's slowly going under? And he won't just liquidate and save what he can, because then he'd have to come to grips with the fact that he's failed. So his policy is denial and slow failure. Here of course the analogy to President Bush is rather precise since he only has to hold out until 2009 when he can give the problem to someone else, just as he did in his past life with other businesses he drove into the ground."
In fact, whether it works or not, Rove's political gamble is breathtakingly bold in its simplicity. He's throwing the dice on a single proposition: That, in the end, Americans will prefer the illusion of living in a Green-Zone world all the way and so will swallow the Green-Zone fictions that go with it.
Let's consider, then, a few small pieces of the Green-Zone world our President has created:
George in the Green Zone: On his Potemkin travels, the President has long taken a portable Green Zone with him. On the campaign trail, he almost never met an audience that hadn't been carefully vetted and so seldom found himself face to face with a questioner who wasn't beyond friendly, outright obsequious, or absolutely fawningly admiring. Put another way, with rare exceptions, his world is regularly cleared of reality as he approaches. On his foreign travels, this happens with clocklike regularity. Major metropolises are simply shut down or cleared of humanity, so that, like the USS Abraham Lincoln for his infamous "Mission Accomplished" tailhook landing, they become but movie sets on which he can tell his Green-Zone stories about how the world works without fear of complaint or contradiction.
Last week, George and his entourage landed in Vienna for a brief yearly confab with European Union leaders on a continent that views him with ever increasing alarm and hostility. According to the latest Pew poll, for instance, two-thirds of Austrians now have a negative view of the U.S. (even though Desperate Housewives
is the TV hit of the year there). "A Harris Interactive/Financial Times survey released Monday found that 36 percent of Europeans view the United States as the world's greatest threat to 'global stability.' By comparison, 30 percent of those polled named Iran as the biggest threat, while 18 percent named China." When a European reporter actually confronted Bush with this at a press conference, it angered the President greatly and he responded not only with irritation, but with a Green Zone-style description of our American world: "We're a transparent democracy," he insisted. "People know exactly what's on our mind. We debate things in the open. We've got a legislative process that's active." (…)
Two weeks earlier, the President made his secret escape from Washington and flew into Baghdad international airport wearing 25 pounds of body armor, helicoptered into the capital's heavily fortified American-controlled Green Zone, met with the new Iraqi prime minister (on five-minute's notice -- lest word get out and something terrible happen), dramatically looked him "in the eyes," and a few hours later left the U.S. version of "Iraq" for the administration's stage-set version of Washington to offer the American people yet another round of Green-Zone tales of turning tides, progress, and future Iraqi successes.
read in full...
>> BEYOND IRAQ
Bring 'em on
: It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the deaths of two British soldiers in Afghanistan. During a planned operation in the Sangin valley, northern Helmand province, in the early morning of 27 June (at around midnight Afghan time) a UK patrol came under attack. One further soldier was seriously wounded. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening. (UK MoD)
This Sunday's sacred ritual of Mass, bagels and tea with the Grumpy Old Men's Club was rudely disrupted by the headline of the day's Washington Post
: "U.S. Airstrikes Rise In Afghanistan as Fighting Intensifies." Great, I thought; it's probably cheaper than funding a recruiting campaign for the Taliban and lots more effective at creating new guerrillas. (...)
Aaugh! The last time a nation's civilian and military leadership was this incapable of learning from experience was under the Ching Dynasty.
Perhaps it's time to offer a short refresher course in Guerrilla War 101:
• Air power works against you, not for you. It kills lots of people who weren't your enemy, recruiting their relatives, friends and fellow tribesmen to become your enemies. In this kind of war, bombers are as useful as 42 cm. siege mortars.
• Big, noisy, offensives, launched with lots of warning, achieve nothing. The enemy just goes to ground while you pass on through, and he's still there when you leave. Big Pushes are the opposite of the "ink blot" strategy, which is the only thing that works, when anything can.
• Putting the Big Push together with lots of bombing in Afghanistan's Pashtun country means we end up fighting most if not all of the Pashtun. In Afghan wars, the Pashtun always win in the end.
• Quisling governments fail because they cannot achieve legitimacy.
• You need closure, but your guerilla enemy doesn't. He not only can fight until Doomsday, he intends to do just that-if not you, then someone else.
• The bigger the operations you have to undertake, the more surely your enemy is winning.
read in full...
THE SUM OF HUMANKIND'S WORST ATTRIBUTES
War is comprised of roughly equal parts racism, fervent nationalism, propaganda and lies, herd mentality, religion, and the private ownership of materials and labor. War is the sum of humankind's worst attributes, bought and paid for in blood.
As terrible as war is, perhaps it exacts its greatest toll on the combatants themselves-the soldiers. Acting in the belief that they are spreading light into the darkness of the world they are, in fact, doing exactly the opposite. They are stamping out the light of understanding, rationality, and hope. The soldier thus becomes the horrible thing they are vainly trying to destroy. All of this is possible because they have blindly followed men without hearts and conscience, men devoid of souls, who have misled them into the burning depths of hell from which there is no way out.
This is the sad reality we are witnessing in Iraq and the 135 nations where our armed forces are stationed, carrying out the sociopathic agenda of global domination and empire. Those whose minds are not truly their own are susceptible to control by the psychopaths who would use them for evil, just as soldiers have traditionally been the pawns of kings and emperors through the ages.
The lies espoused by our so called leaders do not matter on the battlefield. They do not matter when the bodies come home in oversized cardboard boxes, hauled by fork lifts to airport curbs and deposited at the feet of grief-stricken families like a commodity. In a sense, that is what they are. This is war's assembly line, where the bodies are packaged and sent home like a parcel, with the flag as a corporate logo printed on a box with the stamp "Made in America"; where lives are converted into cash for the global elite, a gift from the Plutocracy.
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY
: "Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war." --USMC General Smedley Butler, 1933