Monday, March 12, 2007

Photo: File photo shows a U.S. soldier kicking open a cupboard in a building to search for suspicious items while on a joint patrol with Iraqi National police in a suburb of Baghdad March 7, 2007. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
Bring 'em on: On March 11, a MND-B unit in support of an on-going air assault mission southwest of the Iraqi capital was struck by a roadside bomb, killing one Soldier and wounding two others. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on: Task Force Lightning Soldiers were attacked while conducting combat operations in Salah ad Din province today. One Task Force Lightning Soldier died as a result of injuries sustained from an explosion. (CENTCOM)
Bring 'em on: A Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West was killed Sunday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province. (MNF - Iraq)
A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died March 11, due to a non-battle related cause. (MNF - Iraq)
(Tikrit?) A Task Force Lightning Soldier died Sunday in a non-combated related incident, which is currently under investigation. (CENTCOM)
A roadside bomb blasted an Agriculture Ministry convoy in southeastern Baghdad, killing three security guards and wounding another, officials said. The blast targeting the Ministry employees occurred in the Zayouna area of the city. Agriculture Minister Yarrub Nazim was not in the convoy.
A joint Iraqi-U.S. patrol was targeted by two roadside bombs detonated about 50 yards apart in western Baghdad Monday afternoon, wounding two civilians, police said. It was not clear if any soldiers were injured.
Three employees from the Iraqi labor and social affairs ministry were kidnapped in the western Baghdad area of al-Mansour on Monday, a ministry source said. "Unidentified gunmen kidnapped at noon on Monday three employees from the ministry who were boarding a ministry vehicle near the embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Baghdad's Mansour district," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.
A man was killed and 4 others injured in an IED explosion. The IED was put under a parked car in the leather factory in Karrada Kharij (Karrada out)downtown Baghdad at 12 pm Baghdad Local Time.
One Iraqi army soldier was killed and another was injured when a suicide car bomb stopped in their check point to be searched in Al Yarmouk neighborhood at 4:45 p.m.
Iraqi police said a U.S. military convoy shot a man was driving his car in Al Saidiyah neighborhood near the fire dept building in the area around 5 p.m. No further details about the incident.
Police found 20 dead bodies throughout Baghdad . 2 bodies were found in the eastern side of Baghdad (Rusafa) near Al Qanat highway. The other 18 corpses were found on the western side of the city (Karkh) in the following neighborhoods: 5 bodies in Yarmouk, 4 bodies in Ghazaliya, 3 bodies in Dora, 2 bodies in Adil, 2 bodies in Al Saidiya, 2 bodies in Al Amil.
Diyala Prv:
Armed men entered a village in Diyala province after sunset, seized the residents' weapons and made a request that turned out to be an ultimatum. ``They asked us to join the Islamic State of Iraq,'' Sameer Muhammad, who lives in the village, said Sunday. ``After that, they burned the houses of those who work with the army or police.'' At least 31 houses in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood were doused with gasoline and set ablaze, said residents, who quickly fled the raging fire, leaving behind loved ones and belongings, and walked miles to find shelter. A spokesman for the Sunni insurgent group the Islamic State of Iraq said early Monday that the group had killed 20 men suspected of being members of the Iraqi army or the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia.
"An armed group attacked a police vehicle patrol in central Baaquba, where clashes erupted between the two sides," the source, who asked not to be named, told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI). "Five policemen were injured during the attack," he added, noting that there was no report on casualties among the gunmen.
In a separate incident, the source said "unknown gunmen killed two civilians north of Baaquba, while the two were heading to their work", the source asserted.
A source in Khanaqeen district police directorate said that 3 civilians were injured in an IED explosion happened in Ban Mil village, one of the villages of Khanaqeen district north east Baquba. The source said that the IED was planted to target the Shiite pilgrims who were doing their ceremonies of Arbaieniya visit of Imam Hussein but the parade of the pilgrims changed its way.
On Sunday evening, two mortar shells exploded on a soccer field in Iskandariyah, 30 miles southeast of Baghdad, police said. A 3-year-old boy and a 4-year-old boy were killed; two other children were injured.
The body of a man, shot dead and bound, was found on Sunday in the town of Mussayab, 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
The body of a man, shot dead and tortured, was found in the town of Mahaweel, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
British military bases in the southern Iraqi city of Basra came under rocket and mortar attack, a spokesman for the British Forces in Southern Iraq said on Monday. Shatt Alarab Hotel, home to the British 1st Battalion the Staffordshire Regiment, in Central Basra, was attacked with rockets and mortars last night, the spokesman said, noting that three British military vehicles were destroyed. Unknown gunmen launched a pre-dawn rocket attack on two other British military bases in the city, the spokesman said, noting that there were no casualties reported.
A source in Basra police directorate said that a police man was killed and his son was injured when an MNF patrol opened fire on his car last night while the man was driving his car on the high way near Basra international airport.
Salahuddin Prv:
In the Salahuddin province northwest of Baghdad, Iraqi-led forces backed by U.S. warplanes staged raids against suspected insurgent training bases, including sites linked to anti-aircraft batteries, the U.S. military said. At least seven suspected insurgents were reported killed.
Ninawa Prv:
Unidentified gunmen killed the director of the state-owned water supply company in Badoush, northwest Ninawa province. "Unidentified gunmen, driving a modern car, opened fire against the director of the water supply company, Abdullah Mohammad Ahmed, while he was leaving his office in Badoush, killing him on the spot," the source told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq.
A prominent member of the dissolved Baath Party was killed by unidentified gunmen in the city of Mosul, 402 km north of Baghdad, an official source in the Ninawa police operations room said on Monday.
"The headquarters of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Mosul was hit by two mortar shells on Monday, leaving a guard severely wounded," an official source from the PUK in Mosul said.
Al Anbar Prv:
A suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into an Iraqi police checkpoint in the western city of Ramadi, wounding 11 people, including four policemen, police said.
> The White House confirmed Monday that Pentagon planners are preparing a plan for a phased pullout of US troops from Iraq in case the current "surge" strategy fails or is undercut by Congress.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe cited Secretary of Defense Robert Gates saying it would be irresponsible for the United States to not have considered a fallback plan if the current escalation in troop levels fails to achieve the goal of quelling violence in the country.
"Gates addressed this last week, that it would be negligent not to be thinking about various possible outcomes for the future," he said. (…)
A drawdown of forces in Iraq, the LA Times said, would be in line with comments made last month by Gates, who told Congress that if the surge of 21,500 combat soldiers failed, the backup plan would include moving troops "out of harm's way."
Such a plan would also be close to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, of which Gates was a member before his appointment to the Pentagon, the paper said.
"This part of the world has an allergy against foreign presence," the report quotes a senior Pentagon official as saying of Iraq.
"You have a window of opportunity that is relatively short. Your ability to influence this with a large US force eventually gets to the point that it is self-defeating."
> The US and Iran are to hold meetings in Washington on security and stability in Iraq, a statement by the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's office said Monday quoting US ambassador in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Khalilzad had visited Talabani in hospital in Amman where he acquainted him with the outcome of the security conference held in the Iraqi capital earlier this week, the statement added.
The presidential statement also quoted Khalilzad saying the US delegation met with Iranian counterparts at the Baghdad security meeting, stating meeting outcome was 'positive'. The two sides decided to meet again for talks on achieving security and stability in Iraq and the region.
No date was set for the proposed meeting, nor who will attend.
It is clear therefore that the Conference to be held in Baghdad is nothing else but another US attempt to drag some Arab governments into selling Iraq for a very cheap price and for few pennies…Besides, if this scheme takes shape, it will intensify even more the armed Resistance to inflict upon the occupier enemy more and more losses… after undermining and systematically wrecking militarily the puppet government… and undertaking fierce combat operations against the Arab and Islamic forces and tools which might participate into the so called imposing security plan in Iraq…and wiping them out. This of course will bring the US again to the ground zero of its killer failure… forcing it to directly confront the Resistance… and finding itself again in front of two choices the sweetest being the bitter… choosing either between a humiliating and a dishonorable withdrawal or enduring the fatal collapse.
Our Party while ascertaining these essential observations, wants to remind the Iraqi, the Arab masses and the International public opinion that the idea of an International Conference over Iraq is yet another proof of the US defeat… Here we must remember how the US' administration always ignored and prevented the involvement of any international or regional parties into the Iraq invasion' crisis!
Moreover! Our Party asserts that it will never ever accepts any changes into the Liberation process according any US, servile Arab or Iranian collaborating games, specially after the Resistance and the Baath have succeeded into wrecking the latest security plan, exactly the same way as they did for all the previous ones.
read in full…
Video: Luis Jorba, Amics21.com: BAGHDAD RAP
In the lead up to the invasion 100s, if not 1000s, of human shields went to Baghdad, among them a group of Spaniards, and a film crew who created the award-winning documentary Bagdad Rap. The Spanish version has been up on Google a few months, and with the director’s permission I decided to put up a version with English subtitles.
Lots of other people have documented the cruelty of this war, what makes this one special is you actually get to hear what Iraqis had to say about it all. And they come across as a sophisticated, modern citizenry, not like the other lot.
"Sunnis vs. Shi'ites, Why they Hate each other. What's really driving the civil war that's tearing the Middle East apart."
So proclaims the cover of the March 5th, 2007, issue of Time magazine, U.S and Pacific editions. Presumably, they know better than to put it on the cover of the European edition.
It reminds me of the "Iraq at war with itself" cover of The Economist, May 2006, which featured the face of a bawling Iraqi man. I commented on it here.
Then it was the face of grief. Now it's the face of hate.
In both cases, Iraqis are portrayed as unfortunately emotional before the typical reader of Time, whose "person of 2006", let us recall, was You, the face of which is rationality itself, a computer.
Note the shades of "Why do they hate us?" which followed the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
Beyond this (staged and unconvincing) image of these two hate-ful Iraqis, we find the now familiar American explanation of these 'hateful warring sects', in Behind the Sunni-Shi'ite Divide.
The lead-in from the contents page gives the gist:
The war between the two Islamic sects has left the U.S.'s hopes of building a stable Iraq in ruins. A look at the roots of the struggle —and whether anything can stop it.
This must be such a comfort to American readers. The guerrilla war against their soldiers, which is intensifying even during the present security crackdown, is not mentioned in this Time article.
Thus, in the space of a year the "narrative" has been transformed from the Iraq which America has ruined to the ruins of the "U.S.'s hopes". So it's Americans we should empathize with. If it wasn't for these over-emotional Iraqis, they'd have rebuilt the country, packed up and gone home by now.
No wonder they didn't run this cover in the European edition. They think little enough of America as it is.
Rather slap a declaration on its cover, and then presuming to clear up any lingering misunderstanding in the actual news story, Time would do better to form the words into a question: Why do they hate each other?
It's a good question, because until recently, whether Iraqis were Sunni or Shi'ite was not the defining feature of their identity. (…)
During the Presidency of Saddam Hussein, integration of Sunnis and Shi'ites continued. Most of his government were Shi'ia. As I recall, the majority of those "most wanted" depicted on playing cards by the U.S. Department of Defense, are Shi-ites, not Sunnis.
They married each other and lived together as Muslims and Iraqis. A little over a year ago they were fighting together side-by-side in the resistance to the occupation.[Link]
So well might we ask, Why all the sectarian killing now?
Most basically, if someone tries to kill you and yours, the emotions of anger and hate are a normal response. When there is no State justice system and given Iraqis tribal sense of honour, that those who are attacked will retaliate should surprise no one—least of all those inciting this civil war.
There is now a rat's nest of attacks and retaliation, causes and effects. But let's start with the event which seems to have transformed a united Iraqi resistance to the occupation into a civil war, the bombing of the al-Askari mosque, a little over a year ago.
My own thoughts on this at the time are in The al-Askari mosque: who were those masked gunmen?
Is it true that the mood on the street following the destruction of the dome was anti-Sunni? Not according to Sami Ramadani, writing in The Guardian: The word on the street was (and is) that this was the work of the U.S. and its allies—U.S. and Israeli flags were burned in protest—not Sunni extremists. The mood was anti-occupation, not sectarian.
So who were those masked gunmen who took around 12 hours to plant the explosives under that dome, in the then U.S. controlled Samarra?
It's a question many Iraqis are asking even now. It underlies Akram Abdulrazzaq's Iraq's Car Bombers—Who are They? Why is it that of the thousands of car bombs, not a single owner of these cars has been identified?
He goes on:
Before Baghdad fell to U.S. troops, the country had a sophisticated car registration system, and the authorities were able to identify the owner of any wrecked vehicle in a matter of minutes.
So why not now?
Don't these cars have registrations and serial numbers? We have yet to hear of the authorities identifying the owner of a single vehicle used in a car bombing or even where it came from.
Iraqis, he argues, are not persuaded by the authorities' "naive excuses".
They need the Americans and the Iraqi authorities they support to tell them where in the world all these car bombs are coming from. How is it that they manage to sneak through so many American and Iraqi checkpoints and road blocks, especially in Baghdad?
With more than 80,000 American troops now in Baghdad, and every modern means of technology available to them, how indeed.
Amin al-Hashmee, in Hiding Iraq’s Death Squads is No Game, asks:
How can one ignore the fact that with all of their capabilities, the occupiers and the government failed to prevent a vehicle carrying hundreds of kilos of explosives from freely crossing the border, traveling the streets and passing through check point after check point? On top of that, the authorities have been unable to identify even a single car bomb or person who prepares them; and they have failed to inhibit their passage through government checkpoints on their way to park amid shops and innocent people.
Wouldn't you think that the "security services" would make a special effort at the February 12 ceremony at the Shorja market to mark the one year anniversary of the bombing of the al-Askari mosque? Two car bombs. At least 80 people killed. [Link]
Where did these cars come from? Who owned them? How is it that the perpetrators of these car bombings are always "unknown"?
A lot of the cars used as car bombs, you may be surprised to learn, come from the United States. So argues Debbie Hamilton of Right Truth. She believes that they are supplied by "Muslim/Arab used car dealers", in support of the "terrorists", but a rather more obvious conclusion is possible.
Consider also Are the 70,000 Pentagon Mercs in Iraq killing Shias, Sunnis? published in Aljazeera, a review of Robert Pelton's book Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror:
Could some of the Pentagon’s hired Mercenaries be the real perpetrators of the daily bombings and assassinations of Sunnis and Shias in Iraq?
Is the current disaster taking place in the war-torn country part of a wider plot to provoke a U.S./Israeli planned civil war that will dismember Iraq?
Just who is accountable for this privatized war machine?
And while we're on this topic, whatever became of those two British SAS soldiers, disguised as Arabs, caught about to plant a bomb near a religious festival in Basra? John Pilger's account is here. My own is here. See also Steve Watson's Who are the Real Terrorists in Iraq?
Why isn't Time magazine asking questions such as these? Americans (and the British, come to that) have such an exaggerated opinion of themselves that they don't believe "they" could have a hand in inciting this civil war.
If the recent BBC World Service poll, which evaluates the USA alongside Iran, Israel and North Korea, is any guide, the rest of the world appears not to have this problem.
read in full…
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times Online: THE FALL GUY IN IRAQ
The Bush administration has perfected the art of fall-guy selection. The more convoluted the plot, the more credible the fall guy must be. As Lewis "Scooter" Libby was the fall guy in Washington, Premier Nuri al-Maliki will be the fall guy in Baghdad.
The Baghdad conference on Saturday was a derivative talk-fest setting up three committees to prepare the way for another meeting at the foreign-minister level next month in Istanbul. The subtext, though never explicit, is more glaring: it is the absolute
US impotence to guarantee security or stability in Iraq, and the desperate search for a way out, now pitting the "axis of fear" (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates) against the "axis of evil" (Iran and Syria).
The spiraling equation in Iraq is stark. The more that a lone Sunni Arab mujahid with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher can take down a US$25 million Apache helicopter, the more Pentagon counterinsurgency tactics will include "surgical strikes" with minimal "collateral damage" on occupied civilians.
The more President George W Bush displays brute force in the non-stop surge, and the more Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army lies low, even in a monster slum like Sadr City (whose "street" name is Madinat al-Thawra, "City of the Revolution"), and the more Sunni guerrillas wreak havoc over unprotected Shi'ites (114 dead and more than 150 wounded pilgrims to Karbala last Tuesday; 31 pilgrims coming back from Karbala on Sunday - the day after the Baghdad conference).
The everyday safety of scores of Shi'ites used to be guaranteed by the Mehdi Army. The Jaish al-Mehdi's main tasks are socio-economic, with a heavy focus on education and charity, but they also involve security, most of all in impoverished Baghdad. The Mehdi Army was already splintered into at least three factions. But now, as a consequence of the surge, neighborhood associations as well as commanders not totally faithful to Muqtada have decided not to lie low anymore - and in effect to reorganize Shi'ite civilian defense.
If a US Army base, rather a Fort Apache, is set up in the "City of the Revolution" - as is taken for granted in Baghdad - it won't fall in the short term. But it will fall eventually - when the Mehdi Army totally unmelts from the civilian population. For the moment, the US Cavalry is bombing their houses (in Karbala) or raiding them (in Najaf) just to find nothing.
Munthir al-Kewther, born in Najaf, holding a PhD in Islamic philosophy from Kufa University and currently dean of a Dutch journalism faculty, has been adamant in denouncing a systematic US assassination spree targeting key Mehdi Army and Sadrist leaders. The best example, according to Dr Kewther, "was the assassination last December of Sahib al-Ameri in front of his wife and children in his house in Najaf. Al-Ameri was the secretary general of the Shahidollah Institute, a charitable organization that helps poor and displaced people. He had no connections whatsoever to the Mehdi Army" (see The Sadr movement 'will eventually triumph', Asia Times Online, March 7).
This fits in a much bigger picture - the apocalyptic devastation of a whole country directly or indirectly engineered by the Bush administration. No fewer than 4 million Iraqis have been killed directly or indirectly, or been forced into exile.
read in full…
Missing Links: ON TO ISTANBUL
Al-Sabah, a newspaper controlled by the Green Zone government, pointed out that the main three-hour session of the Baghdad get-together yesterday was held in the strictest secrecy. Which means that the accounts in AFP, Reuters and AP (and Aswat al-Iraq, for that matter) are thus made up mostly of what the generally talkative Iraqi and American spokesmen had to say afterwards and in their public speeches. In a nutshell, Maliki said the violence that is killing Iraqis is the same violence that killed others in Madrid, London and the World Trade Center, adding this is something that requires a unified international response, sounding like Bush vintage 2003-4. David Satterfield even got to try out his Colin Powell imitation (according to AP), when he "pointed to his briefcase" and said we have proof of Iranian involvement, to which the Iranian representative replied that the US is only trying to cover for its own failures. But the media message was very tightly controlled, and it was the same in Arabic as in English, namely: Everyone has to help restore stability, including helping the Maliki government in its reconciliation program. (Saudi Arabia and the Iraqi groups of the Sunni persuasion appear not to have made public statements at all). And the Americans on the one side, and the Iranians and the Syrians on the other, "interacted", which is seen as a very positive thing. (…)
But on the whole, the distilled reporting ended up creating a picture of teenage dating behaviour. They (US on one side and Iran and Syria on the other) succeeded in "breaking the ice", although Khalilzad noted he and the Iranians were never alone out of earshot of the others. And they agreed to meet again. Al-Hayat noted that it was only the sound of mortar fire outside that reminded the participants that there are other groups that need to be consulted in this.
read in full…
Lack of “US Coalition” Troops in Iraq, Afghanistan
The US strategic reserve is nearly exhausted, which has not satisfied the demands of wars in Iraq, Afghanistan.
Today Deputy US President (aka “Vice President”), Dick Cheney rejects a 'sudden withdrawal' (read: any withdrawal) of US troops from Iraq and strongly reaffirmirs US support for Israel.
In a situation, where huge numbers of extra troops are required not to end the war, the question is where to find them as this is proving more and more difficult.
Coalition of “willing”
These days the "coalition of the willing" has proven more and more unwilling, resulting in the US puppets in Iraq whining for support as in here: S. Korean troops asked to stay longer in Iraq. As such devices are not nearly enough but just enable the US not to use its own troops to replace these.
Congress reinforcements
Dick Cheney’s Spokesman, ”President” George Bush has asked Congress for an extra 8,000 troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on top of the 21,500 reinforcements announced two months ago. Not surprisingly, US military officials have hinted that there will be even more requests for troops for Iraq in May, when General David Petraeus submits a new strategic plan.
Sending US injured, madmen, militia back to Iraq
The current US administration has very personal ideas on honoring the troops: As the US military scrambles to pour more soldiers into Iraq, a unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga., is deploying troops with serious injuries and other medical problems, including GIs who doctors have said are medically unfit for battle. Some are too injured to wear their body armor, according to medical records, but who cares? It’s not the GI’s war, anyway.
Who are the “mentally unfit", really?
The absurd story Mentally Unfit, Forced To Fight makes one only wonder why not all the “mentally unfit”, especially those in Capitol Hill, Pennsylvania Avenue and so on wouldn’t be send too: they would be find a suitable company for themselves: A quarter of US war vets diagnosed with mental disorder: study
Doubling The tours of US GIs
The US attempts to crawl after ever-strengthening Iraqi Resistance will of course "add to GI's tours", which in practice will mean that in the near future the US Army, Marines “volunteers” will have to serve two years in Iraq, Afghanistan instead of the current one year in tour for every two years away.
US Militia (Military Police) sent in too
Finally, to relieve US combat troops for the ethnic cleansing of Iraq, US is preparing to send its militia (MPs), which – as Gen. Petraeus says, ‘Was Always Anticipated’ by military planners.
Regional Conference has failed
Of course the need of militia was “anticipated”, as so was the failure of the “regional conference”, which wont solve Iraq war, as Syria and Iran won't provide the troops required immediately by the US.
Plan B? – Iran’s got it!
How to solve the situation in Iraq? While the US has all-encreasing troubles with sustaining its own coalition, Iranian Judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi has come forth with alternative plan "stressing" that Iraq is "in need of an Islamic coalition" which could "stretch a protection umbrella over the heads of all Iraqi groups and forces." Of course the "protection umbrella" must be understood here in its broadest sense, especially covering the electric drill death squads provided to Iraqis by al-Sadr’s “Mahdi Army” and SCIRI’s “Badr Brigades”.
Blank Cheque for Mass Murderer
Recently, U.S. “President” George W. Bush has approved sending 4,400 additional troops to Iraq. This comes with a cost of $3.2 billion, which he has already asked Congress pay for. What the true cost of all the crippled, "mentally unfit", the US militia and puppet forces sent in will be is revealed in a story Bush wants blank cheque for more troops: George Bush has called on Congress to provide financing for the Iraq war "with no strings attached". In other words, Dick Cheney and his spokesmen want a blank cheque for funding the mass murder, ethnic cleansing of the Iraqis.
Why the Escalation (aka Surge) will fail
Anyone with the simplest knowledge of the military issues and ability to compare will notice that the US Armed Forces are approaching the culmination point in which e.g. the Nazi Germany had reached 1944, a year before the end of the WW II: the country, out of troops, had to send the wounded, the deaf, militia, reservists and anything it still had, to the front. Such attempt didn't change the course of war then and it won't do it this time. The heroic Iraqi Resistance combatants all know these facts and will never surrender now that the victory over the first occupier of Iraq, the US and its lackeys is falling to their hands. How the second war, against Iran and its puppets in Iraq will be, shall be seen in the future, in which the US plays no part. What I’m wondering at is that the people of US will go on allowing Cheney, Bush and their lackeys harm them.
Western forces killed five Afghan civilians in an air strike in the southern province of Helmand, a tribal elder said on Monday. The elder, Meera Jan, said civilian houses were hit in the attack. As well as the five people killed, four were wounded, he said. A spokeswoman for NATO troops in Afghanistan said an air strike had been carried out in the Gereshk district of Helmand province late on Sunday but NATO forces were not involved. A spokesman for a separate U.S.-led force said he had no information about any air strike.
NATO and Afghan troops clashed with suspected insurgents in southern Afghanistan
, shortly before calling in an airstrike on a compound that left two militants dead, a spokesman said.
The Guardian: Brazil: ANGRY CROWDS HUNT BUSH
Some arrived clutching banners telling "Mr Butcher" to go home. Others brought effigies of "The Warlord" dangling miserably from a hangman’s noose. A handful dressed up as the grim reaper, while some women paraded through the streets with stickers of George Bush and Adolf Hitler placed tastefully over their nipples.
If President Bush needed a reminder of his growing unpopularity in Latin America, it was here in São Paulo in the shape of a 10,000-strong human wave marching noisily through the financial district.
There was none of the famed Brazilian hospitality. Even before Mr Bush arrived in Brazil on Thursday to begin a six-day tour of Latin America the protesters were out en masse. "Persona non grata" read one placard. "Get out you Nazi" said another.
In case the message still hadn’t hit home, there was one other taunt - this time in English: "Bush, kill yourself."
Hours before Mr Bush touched down in São Paulo protests broke out across Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro the US consulate was spattered with red paint. In Porto Alegre protesters burned George Bush dolls. The centre of São Paulo erupted in violence.
Massive corruption scandals involving Brazilian politicians rarely elicit this kind of reaction. Even top-flight Brazilian football teams sometimes struggle to draw such crowds.
read in full…
By the way, have there been any mass demonstrations against Hugo Chavez’s tour? Clashes with police? Burnings of Venezuelan flags and effigies in red shirts? Maybe there have been, and they just haven’t been reported in the, you know, Liberal Media. Funny, that.
John Derbyshire is the sole remaining adult writing for National Review. In a recent issue he noted that Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, first published in 1932, now reads like contemporary news. Huxley’s fearsome predictions of a 26th century world have all come true six centuries early--in vitro fertilization, genetically modified crops, stem-cell research, promiscuous recreational sex, the demise of marriage and families, and the epidemic use of prescription and illegal drugs to escape from anxiety, frustration and disappointment.
Alas, Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial, published in 1925 and George Orwell’s novel, 1984, published in 1949, also have been turned into period pieces by the practices of the Bush Regime.
In Kafka’s novel, Josef K. is arrested for reasons never given, tried for an unspecified crime, and executed.
The Trial is the model for the Bush Regime’s Military Tribunals, which permit execution on the basis of hearsay, secret evidence unknown to the defendant, or confession extracted by torture.
For the past five years, the Bush Regime has held people in secret prisons without warrants, charges, or access to an attorney. Most detainees have been tortured and abused. Bush’s real world victims suffer from more disorientation and hopelessness than Kafka’s character, Josef K.
In Orwell’s 1984, people are subjected to relentless spying. A state or alleged state of war is used to maintain total control over everyone. Lies have replaced truth, and the media serves as propagandist for the Ministry of Truth. The meaning of words, such as “freedom” has been perverted. The attitude of 1984’s all powerful government is “you are with us or against us.” (…)
Amazing but true--three novels of the early 20th century predicted present day America.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We envy the people who die in one piece now" -- Ahmed al Yasseri, a Baghdad resident who works in the Shorja market, where a triple car bomb killed at least 67 people a few weeks ago; he travels nowhere but the path between home and work.


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