Saturday, January 27, 2007

Photo: A vehicle with a coffin drives past a U.S. soldier on patrol in Baghdad January 27, 2007. REUTERS/Erik de Castro (IRAQ)
Bring 'em on: A series of roadside bombs killed seven U.S. soldiers in Iraq over the past three days, the U.S. military said on Saturday.
Three soldiers died when a bomb went off near their vehicle north of Baghdad on Saturday.
"The unit was conducting a security escort mission when the roadside bomb detonated, killing three soldiers and wounding another," the military said.
Two soldiers died on Thursday when their patrol was attacked in eastern Baghdad. "The unit was conducting a combat patrol when the roadside bomb detonated, killing two soldiers and wounding two others," a statement said.
Two soldiers died and three others were wounded in separate incidents on Friday in the province of Diyala, an insurgent stronghold where clashes between security forces and Sunni militants are frequent.
A huge explosion thundered across central Baghdad shortly before sunset Saturday when what appeared to be a rocket slammed to earth just inside the heavily fortified Green Zone. The attack was the second in three days on the district, home the the U.S. Embassy, the Iraqi government and thousands of American troops. Six people were wounded, none seriously, in an rocket attack at about the same time on Thursday.
The U.S. government public address system could be heard to warn people to "duck and cover" and to stay away from windows. The projectile kicked up a cloud of smoke and dust just inside concrete blast walls that separate the zone from the Tigris River.
A rocket was fired into the international Green Zone in Baghdad on Saturday and a witness said it appeared to have landed in the U.S. embassy.
A U.S. base in central Falluja came under attack on Saturday morning by unknown gunmen, an eyewitness said.
"The U.S. base in al-Zubbat district in central Falluja was attacked today at 10:00 am when unknown gunmen surrounded and opened fire at the base from all directions," an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq. The eyewitness added "fierce clashes erupted after the attack ."
The clashes lasted for 15 minutes, he said. The U.S. base spokesman could not be immediately reached for a comment.
Katyusha artillery rockets fell on Kirkuk's airport, which also acts as a base for US military. No further details were disclosed.
At least 15 people are believed to have been killed and 35 injured in twin suicide car bomb attacks in Baghdad. Iraqi police sources say the bombs exploded in quick succession near a market in the mainly Shia New Baghdad district, in the east of the city. Reports said that the first suicide bomber drove his vehicle into a busy street near a bird market in the Shia district. The second bomber triggered his explosion minutes later, targeting those who had come to help victims of the first bomb.
Other police sources said only one car was triggered by a suicide bomber and the other was a parked car detonated by remote control.
The 13 killed included two policemen , while four officers were among the 42 wounded, according to police reports.
Gunmen kidnapped eight employees working for a private computer company in eastern Baghdad on Saturday, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. "Gunmen wearing police commando uniforms stormed the Qimma Company in the 52 Street near the Baghdad Technology University and kidnapped eight of the company's employees," the source said on condition of anonymity. The attackers were riding sport utility vehicles (SUVs), usually used by the Iraqi police, the source added.
Two mortar shells slammed into a residential district in the western Baghdad neighborhood of Hurriyah, killing two people and wounding seven others.
A taxi driver was shot to death after he was caught in the crossfire during clashes in the northern city of Mosul.
A mortar round wounded a civilian as it landed on a home in the mainly Christian area of Camp Sara in central Baghdad.
A mortar wounded one person when it landed in Palestine Street, a major commercial road in Baghdad.
Iraqi soldiers killed three insurgents and arrested seven others in various operations in Baghdad on Friday, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Gunmen killed five people from the same family and wounded another three when they stormed into a Shi'ite home in Baghdad's Amil district on Friday night.
US-led Coalition Forces in Iraq killed 14 "terrorists", detained two suspected terrorists and destroyed a known foreign fighter safe house Saturday morning during a raid south of Baqubah. As ground forces approached the objective building, several terrorists began to flee the targeted and surrounding buildings. Others were observed maneuvering against the Coalition forces, the press release noted. It said that ground forces called for close air support resulting in 14 enemy fighters killed during the air strikes.
The bodies of five men were pulled from the Tigris River in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad.
Two corpses were discovered in Kirkuk. The victims had been blindfolded and their hands were bound, but it was not immediately clear whether they had been tortured.
Armed men attacked a mini-bus, shooting down two Shiite Iraqis and wounding four others.
(two dead?) An explosives-laden vehicle blew up in Kirkuk. According to police sources, a group of armed militants were inside the car when it exploded, and a number of rockets were found near the blazing car. It was not clear if the vehicle was accidentally detonated.
A car bomb killed two people in a neighbourhood in southern Kirkuk.
A roadside bomb wounded four people travelling near Hawija, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of Kirkuk.
The head of the Ramadi branch of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) was kidnapped on Friday and found dead on Saturday, police said. The INC is a secular party headed by Ahmed Chalabi.
Chanting "bring our troops home," tens of thousands of anti-war protesters rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol on Saturday to pressure the government to get out of Iraq.
Veterans and military families joined some lawmakers, peace groups and actors including Vietnam war protester Jane Fonda to urge Congress and President George W. Bush to stop funding the war and pull troops from Iraq. (...)
The protest was one of several expected around the country, including a large march scheduled in Los Angeles. Protesters planned coordinated efforts during the week to lobby lawmakers to take action against the war.
Bush has authorized U.S. forces in Iraq to take whatever actions are necessary to counter Iranian agents deemed a threat to American troops or the public at large, the White House said Friday.
Four of five US soldiers killed by insurgents in a raid in the southern shrine city of Karbala were kidnapped and executed by men wearing "American-looking uniforms," the military has revealed.
The January 20 attack had been "well rehearsed" by the insurgents, who got past Iraqi checkpoints in "a convoy consisting of at least five sport utility vehicles (SUVs)," a military statement said.
Releasing details for the the first time since the audacious attack, the US military said one soldier had been killed in the initial assault while the other four were seized by the insurgents who fled with them in the SUVs.
Iraqi police later found the vehicles near the town of Al-Mahawil.
"Two soldiers were found handcuffed together in the back of one of the SUVs. Both had suffered gunshot wounds and were dead. A third soldier was found shot and dead on the ground," the statement said.
"Nearby, the fourth soldier was still alive, despite a gunshot wound to the head. The Iraqi police rushed the severely wounded soldier to a nearby hospital, but the soldier died enroute," the military said.
The US troops were part of a team of Iraqi and US authorities who were planning security for the Shiite mourning ceremony of Ashura, which began on January 21 and ends on Tuesday in Karbala, home to the tomb of revered Imam Hussein.
According to the statement, "an estimated nine to 12 armed militants" with US-type weapons gained access to the Provincial Joint Coordination Centre in Karbala, south of Baghdad, where they opened fire and hurled hand grenades at US troops.
One soldier died and three were wounded when a grenade exploded in the local police chief's office on an upper floor of the building.
Three US Humvee vehicles were damaged by separate explosions before "the attackers broke off the assault, withdrawing from the compound with four captured US soldiers."
After passing an Iraqi police checkpoint in the neighbouring Babil province, the insurgents, who were then being tailed, crossed the Euphrates River and drove north toward Hillah, ditching "five SUVs, US Army-type combat uniforms, boots, radios and a non-US made rifle."
"The precision of the attack, the equipment used and the possible use of explosives to destroy the military vehicles in the compound suggests that the attack was well rehearsed prior to execution," Lieutenant Colonel Scott Bleichwehl, US military spokesman was quoted as saying.
"The attackers went straight to where Americans were located in the provincial government facility, by-passing the Iraqi police in the compound," said Bleichwehl.
Ronnie Tallman says that when he joined the Marines, he never expected a spiritual transformation that would put his newfound Navajo tribal beliefs in conflict with his military duties.
A military screening board interviewed psychiatrists and a chaplain, among others, before determining Jan. 11 that Tallman‘s newfound status as a type of Navajo medicine man was "simply a means to avoid combat deployment to Iraq ."
"I didn‘t expect this. I‘m really happy right now," Tallman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from the California base.
Such status is rare and deeply revered by the tribe. Tallman says by tradition, his status as a healer rendered him unable to kill or harm, or even think negative thoughts, thereby making him unfit to continue with his commitment to the military.
Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Cox, of the Marine public affairs office in Twentynine Palms, said he did not know why Tallman‘s application was approved after the initial denial.
Tallman told Marine officials that although he was still learning the rules of traditional hand trembler practitioners, "the most important ones are that I can‘t hurt other living things and I can‘t even think about hurting other living things or carry negative thoughts."
"It was emotionally tearing me apart because I didn‘t know whether to follow my heart or fill this commitment," he said in a phone interview from the California military base.
"My hand kept trembling and I started to notice the energy in the people around me and I started to know things about them that I could never have known, things about their lives and what made them sick or in pain," he wrote.
Tallman‘s uncle and grandfather also are hand tremblers. "I‘m going to start learning from all the people I grew up listening to," he said. "I‘m going to sit down with them and pick their brain."
Tallman‘s mother, Nora, said she‘s proud of her son for standing up for his beliefs and looks forward to him joining other hand tremblers on the reservation.
"Our medicine men, some of them are getting too old, and some have gone," she said. "And we do need medicine men to help people. ... It‘s a good thing that he got this gift."
US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by routinely reporting only the number killed (3,063 as of Jan. 24) and rarely noting the 23,114 wounded in combat.
To further minimize public perception of the cost, they work with the Pentagon to ignore the 24,823 military victims of "non-hostile" injuries and illness, although the 3,063 reported deaths includes the 599 (up 13 from last week) who died from just such causes.
Although not defined as "casualties" since they have been discharged from active duty, as of July 20, 2006, a total of 152,669 U.S. military veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan had filed disability claims, over 100,000 of which had been granted.
On Tuesday, five employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA were killed in a violent Baghdad neighborhood. Hours later, President Bush used his State of the Union address to call on what some are calling an undeclared surge of private mercenaries in Iraq. We speak with Jeremy Scahill, author of the forthcoming "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army."
AMY GOODMAN: What do you think is the actual body count in Iraq of US soldiers? I mean, we count them very carefully, you know, when it surpassed 3,000. This was extremely significant. What really is the number of US military dead?
JEREMY SCAHILL: Military dead is -- I mean, I think it's interesting, because the lines have totally been erased. I would say that we should be counting the deaths of Blackwater soldiers in the total troop count. I mean, I filed over the last year a lot of Freedom of Information Act requests, and one of the ways that we have found to discover the deaths of the number of contractors that have been killed is actually through the Department of Labor, because the government has a federal insurance scheme that's been set up, which is actually very controversial -- grew out of something called the Defense Base Act -- and it's insurance provided to contractors who service the US military abroad. And so, as of late last year, more than 600 families of contractors in Iraq had filed for those benefits.
So I think we're talking somewhere in the realm of -- and these are just US contractors that have rights to federal benefits inside of the United States. Remember, it's not necessarily Americans that make up the majority of these 100,000 -- 100,000 -- contractors that are operating in Iraq right now, 48,000 of whom are mercenaries, according to the GAO. So I don't think it's possible to put a fine point on the number of troops killed, because the Bush administration has found a backdoor way to engage in an undeclared expansion of the occupation by deploying these private armies.
read in full...
Whatever It Is I'm Against It: THE DECISION MAKER
The Senate voted to approve David Petraeus's promotion to general (he will always be Colonel Comb-over to me) and to be Commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq. So there was a press conference with the Decision Maker (he will always be Chimpy to me), who proclaimed, "And in that I'm the decision maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster. In other words, I had to think about what's likely to work. ... And the implementor of that plan is going to be General Petraeus."
The D.M. was amazed: "One of the amazing things about our country is that we've got military folks who volunteer to go into a tough zone to protect the American people from future harm, and they've got families who stand by them." Yes, isn't it amazing, and indeed an amazing thing unique to our country, that "military folks," "whether you be a general or a private," have families, when all other countries grow their soldiers in laboratories.
read in full...
Layla Anwar: BACK TO THE FUTURE...
A brief summary report on"Operation American Freedom and the Liberation of America."
Following 13 years of a cruel stringent embargo that left 1.5 million americans dead of which 500'000 american children below the age of 5 , the Iraqi army, with their imposing armada bombarded the U.S with over 700 tons of B.52's.
Iraqi armored vehicles, 150'000 Iraqi soldiers and 100'000 subcontractors and mercenaries(from the Arab world and Africa) have taken hold of Washington DC and other parts of the country.
The Iraqi soldiers toppled the Washington Monument, ransacked and pillaged the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery as well the great Smithsonian institute and museum.
The White House , the Pentagon and the CIA have also been targeted and now encircled. Hundreds of Iraqi generals with their troops have squatted the headquarters of the American Government. The White House, looted, has now become an enclave of the Iraqi occupying forces and has been renamed the White Zone.
The President of the U.S.A as well as his 20 advisors have been caught and are now prisonners of war in a Fort Lauderdale secret prison, camp Babel.
A puppet american government was set up by the Iraqi occupying forces. They set up elections and eyewitnesses report that over 1 million mexicans came in buses and voted the new government in.
Reliable sources affirm that the current American government is mainly comprised of mexican americans with dual nationalities and totally backed by Mexico.
The American army has been totally sacked and replaced by a grouping of mexican/american police, army and militias working in close cooperation with the Iraqi occupying forces.
The Iraqi Provisional Authority in conjunction with the american puppet government are undertaking a massive campaign of "de-waspization" and "de-americanization" of the whole of the U.S.A.
Upper state New York, Buffalo and other towns have declared their independence and are being armed and trained by Canada as mercenaries and snipers.
Atrocious news have been circulating of hideous crimes committed by the Iraqi soldiers:
read in full...
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Comparable casualties [to 655,000 Iraqis having died "as a consequence of the war" as estimated by researchers from Johns Hopkins] in our country would mean that every person in Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Seattle, Milwaukee, Fort Worth, Baltimore, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia would be dead. Every. Single. Person." -- Mike Ferner as quoted in Socialist Worker


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