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Author Topic: Merry Xmas War Is Over VI
DrConway
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posted 09 May 2004 07:22 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How the Bush Gang Exploited 9/11

quote:
This cynical approach continued after the terrible 9/11 attacks. Clarke told CBS 60 minutes on March 21 that the day after 9/11, Bush ``dragged me into a room with a couple of other people ... and said, `I want you to find whether Iraq did this'. Now, he never said, `Make it up'. But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this. I said, `Mr President. We've done this before... We've looked at it with an open mind. There is no connection'. He came back at me and said, `Iraq! Saddam! Find out if there's a connection'. And in a very intimidating way, that we should come back with that answer.''

Clarke and the others wrote a report that was based on all available evidence and it was cleared by both the CIA and FBI. They found no Iraqi connection to 9/11. ``We sent it up to the president and got it bounced by the national security adviser or [her] deputy ... and sent back, saying, `Wrong answer ... Do it again!'', he told 60 Minutes.


I'm irresistibly reminded of Back to the Future where Biff Tannen says "WRONG ANSWER, MCFLY!" and bops him on the head.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory
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posted 10 May 2004 01:04 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Iraqis who fought GIs now patrol Fallujah

quote:
BY DEBORAH HORAN

Chicago Tribune

FALLUJAH, Iraq - (KRT) - Last month, Yasser Harhoush said, he fought with the armed insurgents battling U.S. Marines.

A week ago, the wiry, clean-shaven 28-year-old dusted off his old olive-drab Iraqi military fatigues and joined Fallujah's new army brigade under the command of a former general who served under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Now he carries a shiny black assault rifle as he patrols Jolan, a neighborhood where some of the fiercest fighting took place. He mans military checkpoints. And he says he and his comrades in the 1st Fallujah Brigade are the solution to the monthlong fighting between the insurgents and the Marines.

"We are protecting the city so the coalition forces cannot come here again," Harhoush said.

In the week since the Marines agreed to create the 1st Brigade, 2,500 men like Harhoush have signed up to join a force that American officials are gambling will keep the peace in this war-ravaged city. Some 1,750 had begun working by the end of last week, according to a spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority.

The new soldiers were operating Friday in a pocket of the city devastated by the Marines' siege. In their spare time, they relaxed in a rickety metal hut across from a half-mile row of houses pocked by gunfire, destroyed by rockets and scorched by fire.

The smell of rotting garbage mixed with dust on a hot spring afternoon. It was worse around the corner, where the stench of death wafted from the rubble of a demolished home. A rocket had slammed through the front wall and left a 3-foot-deep crater filled with debris in the yard.

It was a devastating scene of urban warfare.

The brigade has taken up positions on the former front lines of fighting here and elsewhere in the city. The Marines have retreated to a base outside town from which they run checkpoints at the city's entrance and on main highways a few miles from the municipal borders.

Almost to a man, the new force was culled from the ranks of Saddam's disbanded army, the soldiers in the hut said. A year after U.S. forces vanquished the Iraqi army, the green uniforms and purple berets of the old regime are back in the streets of Fallujah.



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majorvictory
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posted 10 May 2004 09:05 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
War tab swamps Bush's estimate - Spending projection: $150 billion by 2005

quote:
With troop commitments growing, the cost of the war in Iraq could top $150 billion through the next fiscal year - as much as three times what the White House had originally estimated. And, according to congressional researchers and outside budget experts, the war and continuing occupation could total $300 billion over the next decade, making this one of the costliest military campaigns in modern times.

As a measure of the Bush administration's priorities in the war on terrorism, it has spent about $3 in Iraq for every $1 committed to homeland security, experts say.

That divide may be growing wider.

The Pentagon says its monthly costs for Operation Iraqi Freedom shot up from $2.7 billion in November to nearly $7 billion in Iraq in January, the last month for which it has provided figures. Since then, the number of troops has jumped by 20,000 to 135,000, and the bloody insurgency has grown.

Defense officials initially said the troop increases were temporary, but last week they changed course and said they planned to maintain the higher levels through 2005, along with increased numbers of tanks and other heavy military equipment. The tempo of military operations has increased sharply in response to a wave of lethal attacks, suggesting the costs still may be climbing.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have started to express deep concern over the costs and the way in which the Bush administration is choosing to cover them.



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majorvictory
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posted 11 May 2004 12:26 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Pentagon forced to withdraw leaflet linking aid to information on Taliban

quote:
Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor
Thursday May 6, 2004
The Guardian

The US-led coalition in Afghanistan has distributed leaflets calling on people to provide information on al-Qaida and the Taliban or face losing humanitarian aid.
The move has outraged aid organisations who said their work is independent of the military and it was despicable to pretend otherwise.

Medécins Sans Frontières, the international medical charity which passed the leaflets to the Guardian, said the threat endangered aid workers. Fourteen aid workers were killed in Afghanistan last year and 11 so far this year.

The Taliban claimed responsibility yesterday for the murder of two British security staff and their Afghan translator from the London-based crisis management company Global Risk Strategies, which is employed by the UN to help prepare for national elections scheduled for September.

After examining the leaflets yesterday Britain and the US said they had been a mistake and it was not their policy to link aid with military operations in that way. The decision to distribute the leaflets had been made at a local level, they said.

Last night the Pentagon said it would instruct forces in the field and those on future training courses not to repeat the mistake. Joseph Collins, deputy assistant secretary at the Pentagon, said: "I have seen the leaflets in question. While they were no doubt well-intentioned, they do not reflect US policy. The United States does not condition humanitarian assistance on the provision of intelligence.



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majorvictory
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posted 12 May 2004 04:14 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Military Strikes Mosque Held by Iraqi Cleric's Militia

quote:
KARBALA, Iraq, Wednesday, May 12 — The American military attacked a mosque in this holy city on Tuesday in its largest assault yet against the forces of the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, even as the first signs emerged of a peaceful resolution to the five-week-long standoff with him.

The strike on the Mukhaiyam Mosque brought hundreds of American soldiers to within a third of a mile of two of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam, the shrines of the martyrs Hussein and Abbas. A building behind the mosque was fired on, detonating a huge weapons cache, and soldiers stormed the mosque, chasing insurgents out into a hotel and alley.

By 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, some 30 insurgents had taken up positions around the Shrine of Abbas, and they appeared to be lobbing mortars from that area at the Mukhaiyam Mosque. Special Forces soldiers began organizing groups of Iraqi forces to counterattack. Fighting was still intense five hours later. Casualties could not be immediately determined.

Until now, American forces had kept out of Karbala and nearby Najaf, another holy city, fearing to further inflame Iraqi fury against the occupying forces, now fevered because of widely distributed photographs of American personnel abusing Iraqi prisoners.



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verbatim
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posted 12 May 2004 04:21 AM      Profile for verbatim   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh good. That should bring calm to the region.
From: The People's Republic of Cook Street | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 12 May 2004 04:50 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The Pentagon says its monthly costs for Operation Iraqi Freedom shot up from $2.7 billion in November to nearly $7 billion in Iraq in January, the last month for which it has provided figures. Since then, the number of troops has jumped by 20,000 to 135,000, and the bloody insurgency has grown.

Seven billion bucks a month!?
To put this in perspective, Iraq is currently I believe producing 2 million barrels of oil a day. Times 30 days in a month, times $40/barrel, that's still only $2.4 billion worth of oil per month--gross, assuming no expenses at all. The Americans are being taken to the cleaners on this thing. Even if they got production up to 3 million barrels/day and the money all went straight to the US, that's still net losses of $3.4 billion/month plus production expenses.
In short, it's not worth it even for the oil. And all the signs show it getting worse not better. What on earth are they doing there?
. . . of course, the oil companies and Halliburton and the defense contractors aren't picking up the tab. The taxpayers foot the bill, the cronies pick up the profits. As usual.


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majorvictory
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posted 15 May 2004 12:34 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Troops In Najaf Foray

quote:
CBS/AP) American tanks firing shells and heavy machine guns made their deepest incursion yet Friday into this stronghold of a radical cleric. Apparent gunfire slightly damaged one of Shia Islam's holiest shrines, prompting calls for revenge and even suicide attacks.

In response, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militiamen attacked U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Nasiriyah, trapping international staff and some Italian journalists inside. Explosions and gunfire rocked Karbala, and al-Sadr's top aides threatened to unleash more attacks across the Shiite south and in Baghdad.

"We will fight and defend the holy shrines until our last breath," al-Sadr said in an interview broadcast late Friday by Al-Arabiya television, widely seen throughout the Middle East. "We are not controlling any holy shrine; we are defending these shrines."

Several large explosions and the roar of high-flying aircraft could be heard in Baghdad before dawn Saturday. The U.S. command issued no statement and the cause of the blasts was unknown.

The fighting around Najaf, the most important center of Shiite theology and scholarship, unnerved the country's Shiite majority, including members who have disavowed al-Sadr and worked with U.S. authorities.



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Cueball
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posted 15 May 2004 05:46 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

Ramallah? Gaza City? Rafa? No: Baghdad.


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majorvictory
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posted 15 May 2004 09:20 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sunnis and Shias Uniting Against U.S.

quote:
by Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD - The number of Iraqi dead in Fallujah last month in the so-called Sunni triangle is estimated by doctors to be more than 800. Fighting involving Shia Muslims in the south has claimed the lives of hundreds as well.

What is happening is happening to all of Iraq. There is no difference now between Sunni and Shia, Arab and Kurd. We have all been invaded.

”From the nature of the people, any action has a reaction,” Imam Muad Al- Adhamy told IPS at his office at the Abu Hanifa mosque in Al-Adhamiyah in Baghdad. This mosque is the center of the country's Sunni power. ”With the Americans attacking Najaf and Kerbala (holy cities of the Shias) there is resistance, and we support this.”

Asked about divisions between Sunnis and Shias in the past, Imam Al- Adhamy said ”what is happening is happening to all of Iraq. There is no difference now between Sunni and Shia, Arab and Kurd. We have all been invaded.”

The Imam believes his followers share this feeling. ”The feelings of the people of this mosque are the same as all Iraqis -- Iraqi blood is precious and should not be shed. But freedom needs this blood if we cannot obtain it by peaceful means.”

This sentiment echoes that of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Al-Daraji, a deputy of the embattled Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr. On Friday last week when Shias from across Iraq attended prayers at Sunni mosques, Sheikh Al-Daraji delivered a strong sermon at the Abu Hanifa mosque.

”We have come here to prove that the forces of evil will never be able to detract from Sunni-Shia unity,” he said. ”Your enemy has come to sow the seeds of social chaos among Sunnis and Shias, but he has failed because Islam is one.”

Members of the congregation echoed these sentiments.




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majorvictory
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posted 17 May 2004 03:18 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Iraq Insurgents Drive Italians From Base

quote:
Sun May 16, 7:13 PM ET

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Fighters loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr drove Italian forces from a base in the southern city of Nasiriyah on Sunday and attacked coalition headquarters there with grenade and mortar fire as tensions in the Shiite region escalated. Two U.S. soldiers died elsewhere.

Gunmen also killed three Iraqi women working for the U.S.-led coalition.

Two Iraqi fighters were killed and 20 were wounded in battles in Nasiriyah, mostly at two bridges crossing the Euphrates River, residents said.

The Italian troops evacuated as their base came under repeated attack. Portuguese police were called out to support the Italians, seeing action for the first time since the force of 128 deployed to Nasiriyah in November, a Portuguese duty officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

At least 10 Italians were wounded, one of the critically, contingent spokesman Lt. Col. Giuseppe Perrone told The Associated Press by phone. He said the Italians relocated to the nearby Tallil air base.

Elsewhere in Nasiriyah, a convoy transporting the Italian official in charge of the city, Barbara Contini, came under attack as it neared the headquarters of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, Perrone said. Two Italian paramilitary police were wounded.



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Cueball
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posted 17 May 2004 03:34 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Again?!
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory
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posted 18 May 2004 01:21 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Suicide Assassin Kills Iraq Council Chief

quote:
Mon May 17, 7:36 PM ET

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide bombing killed the head of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council as his car waited at a checkpoint near coalition headquarters Monday, a major setback to American efforts to stabilize Iraq (news - web sites) just six weeks before the handover of sovereignty.

Izzadine Saleem, also known as Abdel-Zahraa Othman, was waiting in a Governing Council convoy at a U.S. checkpoint along a tree-lined street preparing to enter the Green Zone when the bomb was detonated. It apparently had been rigged with artillery shells and hidden inside a red Volkswagen.

Iraqi officials said nine people, including the bomber, were killed and 14 Iraqis and an Egyptian were wounded in Monday's attack. Kimmitt put the death toll at seven. Two U.S. soldiers were slightly wounded.

Iraqi and coalition officials vowed that the power transfer would take place on June 30, as scheduled, despite the attack.

Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) called Saleem an Iraqi patriot. "Terrorist may have taken his life, but they will never be able to kill his dreams or those of the Iraqi people."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Iraqis will "continue his work" of building a democratic nation.

Saleem, a Shiite Muslim in his 60s, held the rotating presidency of the 25-member Governing Council for May. He was the second council member slain since their appointment last July; Aquila al-Hashimi was mortally wounded by gunmen in September.

Insurgents also have targeted police and army recruitment centers and other Iraqis perceived as owing their positions to the Americans.



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majorvictory
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posted 18 May 2004 03:01 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Behind the Scenes, U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future

quote:
Hand-Picked Proxies, Advisers Will Be Given Key Roles In Interim Government

Facing Friction Over the Army

By YOCHI J. DREAZEN and CHRISTOPHER COOPER
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
May 13, 2004; Page A1

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Haider al-Abadi runs Iraq's Ministry of Communications, but he no longer calls the shots there.

Instead, the authority to license Iraq's television stations, sanction newspapers and regulate cellphone companies was recently transferred to a commission whose members were selected by Washington. The commissioners' five-year terms stretch far beyond the planned 18-month tenure of the interim Iraqi government that will assume sovereignty on June 30.

The transfer surprised Mr. Abadi, a British-trained engineer who spent nearly two decades in exile before returning to Iraq last year. He found out the commission had been formally signed into law only when a reporter asked him for comment about it. "No one from the U.S. even found time to call and tell me themselves," he says.

As Washington prepares to hand over power, U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer and other officials are quietly building institutions that will give the U.S. powerful levers for influencing nearly every important decision the interim government will make.

In a series of edicts issued earlier this spring, Mr. Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority created new commissions that effectively take away virtually all of the powers once held by several ministries. The CPA also established an important new security-adviser position, which will be in charge of training and organizing Iraq's new army and paramilitary forces, and put in place a pair of watchdog institutions that will serve as checks on individual ministries and allow for continued U.S. oversight. Meanwhile, the CPA reiterated that coalition advisers will remain in virtually all remaining ministries after the handover.



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majorvictory
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posted 20 May 2004 12:47 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Gen. Abizaid: Iraq Could Get More Violent After June 30

quote:
Wed May 19,12:35 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The situation in Iraq (news - web sites) could become more violent after the June 30 handover leading up to elections, which could require the deployment of more U.S. forces, the head of U.S. Central Command said on Wednesday.

Gen. John Abizaid was asked at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether the roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq would be sufficient after the June 30 handover of sovereignty.

"I would predict, and I think Rick (Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez) will agree with me, that the situation will become more violent even after sovereignty because it will remain unclear what's going to happen between the interim government and elections," said Abizaid, who is responsible for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraqi elections were expected to take place in December or January, he said.

"So moving through the election period will be violent and it could very well be more violent than we're seeing today. So it's possible that we might need more forces," he said.



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majorvictory
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posted 22 May 2004 12:19 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Planes, Tanks Hit Militia in Karbala

quote:
By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer

KARBALA, Iraq - American AC-130 gunships and tanks battled militiamen near shrines in this Shiite holy city Friday, and fighting was heavy in two other towns south of Baghdad. More than 450 Iraqis were released from the notorious Abu Ghraib jail — some emerging with fresh claims of abuse.

Four people were detained in Baghdad in the killing of Nicholas Berg, the 26-year-old American whose videotaped beheading was shown on an al-Qaeda-linked Web site, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq (news - web sites). Two of them were released after questioning, he said.

In Karbala, the U.S. military said it killed 18 fighters loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who launched an uprising against the American-led coalition in early April and is wanted in the murder of a rival moderate cleric last year. Hospital officials reported 12 deaths, including two Iranian pilgrims. A driver for the Arab television network Al-Jazeera was also killed.

Much of the fighting was near the city's Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas shrines, which U.S. forces say are being used by militiamen as firing positions or protective cover.

At least six people were killed and 56 were injured in fighting in Najaf and neighboring Kufa, where al-Sadr delivered a defiant sermon to 15,000 worshippers in which he urged his supporters to resist the coalition.

At a checkpoint in Kufa, American forces shot at a car carrying a close aide of al-Sadr, Mohammed al-Tabtabaei, injuring him and killing his driver, al-Sadr's office in Najaf said. Al-Tabtabaei was taken into custody.



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majorvictory
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posted 22 May 2004 12:39 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Aljazeera crew member killed in Iraq

quote:
Saturday 22 May 2004, 10:20 Makka Time, 7:20 GMT

Wali is the second Aljazeera crew member killed covering Iraq war

An Aljazeera television worker, Rashid Hamid Wali, has been killed while filming clashes in the flashpoint Iraqi city of Karbala.

Wali, 44, was standing next to an Aljazeera cameraman on the fourth floor of the hotel housing the crew. They were filming fierce clashes early on Friday morning between US occupation forces and followers of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, reported journalist Abd al-Adhim Muhammad.

"He looked up to try to locate the place of the US military vehicles, but he was shot in the head by machine guns," said Muhammad. He died instantly.

There was a power cut followed by a heavy exchange of fire as US vehicles rumbled by, he said.

"We could not confirm the source of the fire but it was directly pointed at us," said Muhammad. Another nine civilians were killed in the fighting.

An official Aljazeera satellite channel statement released on Friday says: "No verifiable information was immediately available as to the source of the bullet that led to Rashid's untimely death, however, eyewitnesses showed members of the media corps samples of the bullets that hit the vicinity of the hotel rooftop".

Aljazeera also called on US officials to launch an investigation into Wali's death.

"Aljazeera urgently calls on the US occupation and the CPA to immediately conduct a full official investigation into the death of Rashid Hamid Wali, and to make the result public," Aljazeera said.

Wali, or Abu Nur as he was known, was the father of six children.



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DrConway
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posted 22 May 2004 08:54 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh look, Iraqis can't sue their occupiers

quote:
British and American troops are to be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the crucial 30 June handover, undermining claims that the new Iraqi government will have 'full sovereignty' over the state.

Despite widespread ill-feeling about the abuse of prisoners by American forces and allegations of mistreatment by British troops, coalition forces will be protected from any legal action.

They will only be subject to the domestic law of their home countries. Military sources have told The Observer that the question of immunity was central to obtaining military agreement on a new United Nations resolution on Iraq to be published by the middle of next month.


Gee. If the US was so big-hearted, benevolent and loved by all as some people claim, why are the colonial governor and his cronies helping cover the occupying forces' asses?


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory
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posted 23 May 2004 12:34 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'

quote:
(CBS) Accusing top Pentagon officials of "dereliction of duty," retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn't a reasonable option.

"The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it's time to change course a little bit or at least hold somebody responsible for putting you on this course," he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen, says Zinni, because planning for the war and its aftermath has been flawed all along.

"There has been poor strategic thinking in this...poor operational planning and execution on the ground," says Zinni, who served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000.

Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian policymakers in the administration, known as neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.

"They promoted it and pushed [the war]... even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs. Then they should bear the responsibility," Zinni tells Kroft.

In his upcoming book, "Battle Ready," written with Tom Clancy, Zinni writes of the poor planning in harsh terms. "In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence and corruption," he writes.

Zinni explains to Kroft, "I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground and [in not] fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan."

He still believes the situation is salvageable if the United States can communicate more effectively with the Iraqi people and demonstrate a better image to them.



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majorvictory
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posted 23 May 2004 03:01 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Parents Try to Protect Their Son in Iraq, Any Way They Can

quote:
By ROBERT HANLEY

Published: May 22, 2004

ERSEY CITY, May 20 - Before his unit shipped from Kuwait to Iraq in March, First Lt. Christian Boggiano, 23, made a special appeal to his mother, Mary, by e-mail message. Please, he asked, scrounge around for a few old police bulletproof vests and mail them to me.

"Once I get up north, we'll use them on the doors and floors of the Humvees so when roadside bombs go off they'll catch a lot of shrapnel," wrote Lieutenant Boggiano, a 2002 graduate of West Point.

His request created a home-front, mini-crusade to help protect American troops in Iraq. It started in the Jersey City Police Department and eventually stretched to the state police and about 50 other police departments across New Jersey. Mrs. Boggiano, a speech therapist in an elementary school here, and her husband, Richard, a Jersey City detective, started the campaign by sending fliers soliciting vests to the police precinct houses here. Then their friend, Brian O'Neill, a Jersey City police lieutenant with a nephew in Iraq, took the appeal statewide by sending a request for old vests over a police teletype that reached all departments in the state, Mrs. Boggiano said.

Over the last two months, state troopers and police officers around New Jersey have donated about 1,000 outdated, surplus bulletproof vests they owned, all in the spirit of making the thin-skinned, vulnerable Humvees safer for the soldiers and marines who ride them, Mrs. Boggiano said.

The war in Iraq has cost more than $100 billion so far, but with fighting dragging on into a second year, troops are complaining that equipment is lacking, and what is there has been worn with time. National Guard troops are saying they are being sent off to Iraq without the necessary gear to protect them from the roadside bombs and sniper shots that have become the everyday business of the war.

The Boggianos said they shipped about 360 vests to their son and six of his military friends and former West Point classmates now in Iraq. And earlier this week, they said, they gave about 650 more vests to a National Guard company of medics based in Jersey City that, along with four sister companies, has been put on alert for possible call-up and shipment to the war this summer.



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majorvictory
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posted 23 May 2004 11:41 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
5,500 Iraqis Killed, Morgue Records Show

quote:
Sun May 23, 7:13 PM ET

By DANIEL COONEY

BAGHDAD, Iraq - More than 5,500 Iraqis died violently in just Baghdad and three provinces in the first 12 months of the occupation, an Associated Press survey found. The toll from both criminal and political violence ran dramatically higher than violent deaths before the war, according to statistics from morgues.

There are no reliable figures for places like Fallujah and Najaf that have seen surges in fighting since early April.

Indeed, there is no precise count for Iraq (news - web sites) as a whole on how many people have been killed, nor is there a breakdown of deaths caused by the different sorts of attacks. The U.S. military, the occupation authority and Iraqi government agencies say they don't have the ability to track civilian deaths.

But the AP survey of morgues in Baghdad and the provinces of Karbala, Kirkuk and Tikrit found 5,558 violent deaths recorded from May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared an end to major combat operations, to April 30. Officials at morgues for three more of Iraq's 18 provinces either didn't have numbers or declined to release them.

The AP's survey was not a comprehensive compilation of the nationwide death toll, but was a sampling intended to assess the levels of violence. Figures for violent deaths in the months before the war showed a far lower rate.

That doesn't mean Iraq is a more dangerous place than during Saddam Hussein's regime. At least 300,000 people were murdered by security forces and buried in mass graves during the dictator's 23-year rule, U.S. officials say, and human rights workers put the number closer to 500,000.

"We cannot compare the situation now with how it was before," Nouri Jaber al-Nouri, inspector general of the Interior Ministry, said recently. "Iraqis used to fear everything. ... But now, despite all that is happening, we feel safe."

Still, the morgue figures, which exclude trauma deaths from accidents like car wrecks and falls, highlight the insecurity Iraqis feel from the high level of criminal and political violence, and underline the challenges that coalition and Iraqi forces face in trying to bring peace.

In Baghdad, a city of about 5.6 million, 4,279 people were recorded killed in the 12 months through April 30, according to figures provided by Kais Hassan, director of statistics at Baghdad's Medicolegal Institute, which administers the city's morgues.

"Before the war, there was a strong government, strong security. There were a lot of police on the streets and there were no illegal weapons," he said during an AP reporter's visit to the morgue. "Now there are few controls. There is crime, revenge killings, so much violence."



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majorvictory
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posted 25 May 2004 12:37 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Two US servicemen killed near Fallujah

quote:
US soldier and a US marine have died in a roadside bomb attack near the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the US military says.

"One US soldier and one US marine were killed and several other US forces and one civilian contractor were wounded when attackers detonated an improvised explosive device, at about 4:50 pm May 23 north-west of Fallujah," the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement.

"Reports indicate the device was placed in a parked vehicle and detonated as two US convoys passed on the highway," the statement added.

The US military also reported that four soldiers were wounded by roadside bombs and four others by mortar attacks on a military facility in Baghdad on Sunday.

Another soldier was wounded by small arms fire when anti-coalition forces attacked an Iraqi police station in north-east Baghdad.

The latest fatality brought the US military death toll in Iraq to 796 since the start of the US-led invasion in March 2003.



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majorvictory
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posted 25 May 2004 02:29 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Forces Raid Iraq Mosque, Kill 32 Fighters

quote:
Sun May 23, 7:11 PM ET

By HADI MIZBAN, Associated Press Writer

KUFA, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi forces raided a Kufa mosque Sunday where they said insurgents stored weapons, and the military said at least 32 fighters loyal to a radical Shiite cleric were killed during the first American incursion into the holy city.

U.S. troops also clashed with militiamen loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in a Shiite district of Baghdad and in Najaf, the twin city of Kufa. Nine U.S. soldiers were wounded Sunday around Baghdad, the military said, including four injured in a mortar attack in the east of the capital.

In another holy city, Karbala, militia fighters appeared to have abandoned their positions after weeks of combat.

A U.S. Marine was killed in a car bombing near Fallujah, a center of the separate Sunni Muslim insurgency in the central and northern areas of the country.

American tanks and troops moved into the heart of Kufa, a stronghold of al-Sadr, for the first time since the fiercely anti-U.S. cleric launched an uprising against the coalition early last month. Al-Sadr, sought for the April 2003 killing of a moderate rival cleric, has taken refuge in Najaf and routinely delivers a Friday sermon in Kufa.

U.S. soldiers fought militiamen near Kufa's Sahla mosque and then raided it for weapons after an Iraqi counterterrorism force "cleared" the site, the military said. Soldiers seized a machine gun, two mortar tubes and more than 200 mortar rounds, along with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and rounds, according to a statement.

American troops smashed the gate to the mosque complex with an armored vehicle and killed people inside, mosque employee Radhi Mohammed said. An Associated Press photographer saw bloodstains on the ground indicating that someone was dragged for at least 10 yards. There also was blood in mosque bathrooms.



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majorvictory
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posted 25 May 2004 09:07 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Al-Qaeda 'spurred on' by Iraq war

quote:
The occupation of Iraq has helped al-Qaeda recruit more members, according to the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies..

The influential group's annual report says the network has reconstituted itself after losing its Afghan base.

It adds that Osama Bin Laden's followers have set their sights on attacking the US and its close allies.

They would ideally like future operations to make use of weapons of mass destruction, it reports.

The institute quotes conservative intelligence estimates as saying that the group has 18,000 potential operatives and is present in more than 60 countries.

Recent attacks in Spain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia show its renewed strength, it says.

The report finds the network's finances are in good order.

'Strategic nightmare'

The institute says the war in Iraq has focused the energies and resources of al-Qaeda and its followers, while diluting those of the global counter-terrorism coalition.

It has split the US and its major continental European partners, leaving Britain - Washington's staunchest supporter - uncomfortably in the middle.

US forces in Iraq present al-Qaeda with what the report calls its most attractive "iconic" target outside the US itself.

And it concludes that if Iraq were to become a failed state or revert to dictatorship, it would be a "strategic nightmare" for the West.



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majorvictory
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posted 26 May 2004 01:04 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow 05/18/04

Fluffy Bunny and Happy Mouse discuss the war in Iraq


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majorvictory
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posted 27 May 2004 03:27 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Last detail: Mortuary unit cares for fallen

quote:
Marines who quietly recover, prepare bodies of troops, wage their own emotional battle

By Evan Osnos
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published May 26, 2004

TAQADDUM, Iraq -- Jim Patterson had seen painful things.

But nothing quite prepared him for the day he arrived at a battle scene and an officer handed him a worn slip of paper found deep in the clothing of a Marine who had been killed. Patterson unfolded it to find the printout of an ultrasound, the hazy outline of an unborn child who never will meet his father.

"I'm not an old man, but I'm an old Marine," Patterson, a plain-spoken 36-year-old, said later. "And I've aged a lot in a short period of time."

At this U.S. base near Fallujah, Patterson heads a small, obscure military unit with a uniquely sensitive mission: "mortuary affairs" in Iraq's bloodiest region, recovering the remains and personal effects of U.S. troops, as well as some Iraqis caught in crossfire or killed by American forces.

Patterson and his team of 19 other Marines perform a solemn science. They are, at once, evidence collectors, therapists and morticians who can find themselves sifting bone fragments from a suicide-bombing site one morning and inventorying an Iraqi's personal effects that night. It is an assignment few in the military are ready to accept.

They are busier than the Pentagon ever expected. During last year's invasion there were 300 Marine mortuary affairs specialists in Iraq; today there are 40. Yet with more Americans dying last month than in any month since the invasion, Patterson's crew has processed on average a body a day since the first one arrived March 25.

He never imagined he would be doing this. Patterson, a chief warrant officer, specializes in defending against chemical, biological and nuclear warfare. Like the White House, he once thought that would be a useful specialty in Iraq. It wasn't. So as U.S. casualties mounted late last year, the Marines turned to him with a more pressing task--mortuary affairs.

He formed and trained a team, and the Marines set off for Iraq with the 1st Force Service Support Group, which provides food, ammunition and other support for U.S. troops stationed west of Baghdad.

Here in the broad, flat plains 50 miles west of the capital, the mortuary affairs group settled in a bare concrete airplane hangar, scoured it clean and set up eight surgical stretchers. They built plywood worktables and spread sawdust on the floor. Patterson got a heavy steel safe to protect the paper files in case of an attack on the base.

The first body they saw was a 20-year-old Marine. The scene was grisly. One of the young men handling the body simply froze, then began to sob.

Late that night, Patterson opened to the first page of a new leather-bound journal.

"Today we had our first KIA," he wrote. "One of my Marines had a tough time. . . . I'm doing OK. Some tears and some bad dreams. God give me strength.



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majorvictory
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posted 29 May 2004 03:42 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
US retreats after failing to capture militia chief

quote:
By Justin Huggler in Baghdad

28 May 2004

United States forces agreed yesterday to withdraw from the Shia holy city of Najaf and end fighting with the militia of the radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. In a climbdown by the Americans, who had vowed to kill or capture Sadr, it now appears he will be allowed to remain free. His Army of Mehdi militia will also withdraw under the deal.

The Americans appeared to have given up their two main demands to end the fighting in Najaf: that Sadr surrender to them and that the Mehdi Army be disbanded immediately.

The American agreement to withdraw without capturing Sadr will be seen in Iraq as a second embarrassing capitulation in as many months, after US forces ended their April siege of the Sunni city of Fallujah without capturing those responsible for killing and mutilating the bodies of four American contractors - the original reason for the siege in which hundreds of Iraqi civilians are believed to have died.

Civilians have died in Najaf too, though not as many as in Fallujah. There has been widespread anger in the Shia world at the fighting in the holy city, especially after Iraq's most sacred Shia shrine, that of the Imam Ali, was damaged

Members of the American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council who negotiated the deal with Sadr said yesterday it included an agreement to hold new talks over an arrest warrant under which he is wanted for the murder of another cleric last year, and on the future of the Army of Medhi. It remains to be seen whether the Americans, who have been demanding that Sadr surrender and face trial, will accept that. But the immediate threat to Sadr appears to have been lifted.



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majorvictory
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posted 31 May 2004 12:59 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Japan reporters attacked in Iraq

quote:
car carrying two Japanese journalists has been attacked in Iraq, and there are reports that both have been killed.
The journalists and two Iraqis working for them were driving south of Baghdad when gunmen opened fire.

The attack may renew unease at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's decision to send troops to Iraq, where two Japanese diplomats were killed in 2003.

Last month five Japanese were briefly taken hostage by militants demanding the troops be withdrawn.

The foreign ministry in Tokyo said that the latest attack took place on Thursday in Mahmudiya, 30km (20 miles) south of Baghdad.

The journalists were returning to the capital from the town of Samawa, where more than 500 Japanese troops are stationed.

The vehicle was set on fire, but the driver managed to escape and was later treated for injuries in a local hospital.

An official at the hospital said he had received two bodies, and the driver said they were the Japanese journalists he was travelling with.

The two are believed to be freelance reporters Shinsuke Hashida, 61, who lives in Bangkok, and his nephew Kotaro Ogawa, 33, from the western Japanese city of Tottori.

Mr Hashida is described as a veteran war reporter.

"When he told me he would leave for Iraq on May 20, I told him the job was not worth risking his life," his elderly mother told Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK).



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majorvictory
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posted 01 June 2004 02:06 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The handover that became a shambles: ten U-turns on the road to 'peace'

quote:
Part one:The appointment of an interim Prime Minister who used to work for the CIA is one of a series of disastrous policy changes by the US.

By Justin Huggler and Rupert Cornwell
30 May 2004

The Prime Minister

The appointment of Iyad Allawi as Iraq's interim Prime Minister this weekend was being seen as an American-backed coup which wrong-footed Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations envoy supposed to be putting together the interim government which will wield "sovereignty" after 30 June.

The more that is learnt, however, about the sudden emergence of Mr Allawi, a man close to the CIA and MI6, the more it appears the appointment of the new government has been hijacked by the ambitious politicians of the Iraqi Governing Council - the very body it was meant to replace. The only question is whom the IGC was conspiring with as its members picked jobs for themselves.

But whatever the answer, the appointment of Mr Allawi is the culmination of a series of spectacular U-turns that has given President George Bush and his administration the appearance of lurching in a panic from one flawed policy on Iraq to the next. Since last November every decision seems to have been taken with an eye to one political event alone: Mr Bush's bid for re-election this November.

Originally, it was Ahmad Chalabi the Americans - and in particular Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon - appeared to be grooming as their future tame man in Baghdad, but in recent weeks Mr Chalabi has fallen from grace in Washington. He has now been accused of deliberately duping the US and Britain into war with false intelligence about Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction; some even allege he did at the behest of Iranian intelligence.

Originally the US wanted to hand over sovereignty to an expanded version of the IGC, mostly made up of former Iraqi opposition leaders who returned from exile with the American tanks. But the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shia majority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, demanded elections before any handover. The Americans called for the UN's Mr Brahimi, who was involved in setting up the transitional government in Afghanistan, to decide whether early elections were possible - in other words, to convince Ayatollah Sistani they were not.

Mr Brahimi duly obliged, and was asked to stay on and find a new interim government acceptable to the ayatollah and Iraqis in general. He let it be known he would pass over the IGC's members and choose a government of technocrats, but the council has now announced the appointment one of its own members as Prime Minister. And not just any member, but one who looks distinctly like Ahmad Chalabi Mark II.

Like Mr Chalabi, Mr Allawi heads his own Iraqi opposition group, and has long cultivated links with Western intelligence agencies - first MI6, and more recently the CIA. He passed intelligence to the US and Britain ahead of the war, including, it is reported, the notorious claim that Iraq could deploy WMD with 45 minutes.



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Cueball
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posted 01 June 2004 04:56 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
"Under Saddam we got 16 corpses a month. Now we get 40 or 50 a day," Walid Abu Zahra, a mortuary worker, said. "Although we have a generator, we have a problem with power. The generator stops for half an hour each day. This means we can't keep bodies for more than 40 days."

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majorvictory
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posted 03 June 2004 04:07 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Baghdad Rocked By Blasts

quote:
CBS/AP) A car bomb exploded Tuesday in central Baghdad outside the offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which is located just outside the green zone headquarters of the U.S.-run coalition.

At least three people were killed and 20 were injured, the military said.

Ambulances raced to the scene and U.S. troops kept people back. Television footage showed debris and a charred wall of a building.

The bomb was one of several blasts heard in the capital just after reports circulated that Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, current head of the Iraqi Governing Council, had been selected as president of the interim government set to take power June 30.

Another blast, followed by gunfire, sent a mushroom cloud 100 feet billowing into the dusty air hanging over the city. Coalition aircraft could be heard flying over Baghdad.

Elsewhere, a car bomb exploded near the U.S. military base in northern Iraq on Tuesday. Eleven Iraqis were killed and 26 were wounded in the explosion, an Interior Ministry source told The Associated Press.



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majorvictory
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posted 06 June 2004 11:12 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Iraq Car Bomb Kills 6 Near U.S.-Run Base

quote:
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A car bomb exploded Sunday near the gate to a U.S.-run base north of Baghdad, killing six people and injuring 20 others — including two U.S. soldiers, the U.S. military said. It was the latest of a series of attacks against occupation forces and their Iraqi allies.

Gunmen blasted a police station in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood Sadr City on Sunday, rigging the building with explosives after U.S. soldiers and Iraqi police departed. Late Saturday, a police station south of the capital also was blown up and seven policemen killed.

The attacks raise questions about the capability of local security forces to control public order after sovereignty passes to the Iraqis at the end of this month.

Also Sunday, the U.S. military freed more detainees from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, the center of the scandal involving abuse of inmates by American soldiers. The release was the fourth major one from the facility since the scandal broke in April.

Some of the 320 detainees released Sunday complained they were forced to eat food fit only for animals, though they said the quality had improved in recent weeks.

Elsewhere, seven Iraqi policemen were killed in an attack on a police station south of Baghdad, officials said Sunday. The police station was blown up in the raid.

Ambulances, Humvees and Iraqi police rushed to evacuate the injured at the Taji air base, 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of Baghdad. U.S. soldiers cleared the area at the former Iraqi air force base now used by the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division.

In another attack Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded as a U.S. convoy passed in the Baghdad Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City, killing a 14-year-old boy and injuring two Iraqi police officers, Iraqi police said. There were no reports of American soldiers wounded.



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majorvictory
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posted 08 June 2004 01:23 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Explosion rocks revered Iraq mosque, at least nine wounded

quote:
Mon Jun 7, 7:48 AM ET

KUFA, Iraq (AFP) - An explosion rocked the Great Mosque in Kufa, where Shiite rebel leader Moqtada Sadr gives the sermon at the main weekly Muslim prayers, witnesses and the US military said.

At least nine people were wounded, said a medic from the nearby Furat al-Wasat hospital, adding that more injured were being brought in.

Some of the wounded were inside the mosque at the time of the explosion, while others were outside, the medic said.

"There was an explosion at the Great Mosque at around 11:30 am (0730 GMT). I heard the sound of a rocket land in the ammunition storage inside the mosque," said Abu Ahmed, a member of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia, outside the compound.

A statement by the US military confirmed that an explosion had taken place and that part of the mosque was on fire.

"Subsequent reports also indicate that Iraqi police who tried to render assistance were fired on by unknown attackers within the mosque," it said, stressing that no US troops were in the vicinity of the mosque at the time of the blast.

Ambulances sped to the scene to rescue the wounded from the shrine, built on the hallowed ground where one of the founders of the Shiite faith, Ali, was assassinated in 661



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majorvictory
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posted 11 June 2004 11:24 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Massacre sets back Afghan elections

quote:

June 11, 2004

BY AMIR SHAH

JALAW GIR, Afghanistan -- The slaughter of 11 sleeping Chinese road workers Thursday was the deadliest attack on foreign civilians since the fall of the Taliban, and dealt a blow to U.S. claims that Afghanistan is becoming safer ahead of milestone elections this fall.

The assault in the relatively tranquil north also underlined the dangers for thousands of foreigners helping to rebuild Afghanistan, where President Hamid Karzai's U.S.-backed government is fighting off an insurgency by Taliban rebels and their al-Qaida allies. Aid workers warned the bloodshed could prompt a further pullback of their activities to the capital, Kabul.

The United Nations condemned the ''cold-blooded'' attack in Kunduz province and halted registration of voters there until at least Saturday -- a further setback in preparations for the September elections, with still only one-third of the estimated 10 million eligible Afghan voters signed up.

Although on a smaller scale, attacks on foreign civilians have intensified in Afghanistan since a similar pattern of targeting expatriates emerged in Iraq, where Americans are also trying to achieve a democratic transition that could allow U.S. troops to withdraw.

The Chinese were attacked just after midnight at a camp where about 100 of them stay in a patch of desert near Jalaw Gir, 120 miles north of Kabul. Six to eight assailants killed an Afghan guard at the unfenced camp and then raked the Chinese men with a hail of rifle fire, said Mutaleb Beg, the Kunduz police chief.

''They died in their beds, most of them with stomach and head wounds,'' Beg said.



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DrConway
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posted 12 June 2004 02:51 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Document warns Guantanamo employees not to talk

quote:
WASHINGTON — Military and civilian employees at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were warned recently not to talk with attorneys who represent detainees held there, according to a document prepared by the legal office of the Army-led task force that runs the facility.

The document, obtained by USA TODAY, says that soldiers and interrogators are not required to give defense attorneys statements about the "personal treatment of detainees" or any "failure to report actions of others." It also says that refusing to cooperate with defense attorneys "will not impact your career."


One step further into Ashcroft's Gulag Archipelago.


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majorvictory
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posted 12 June 2004 01:12 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
More insurgent attacks, as coalition shifts Iraq focus

quote:
BAGHDAD - Carloads of gunmen attacked a police station south of Baghdad on Friday. They drove away the police and they blew up the building.

It was the fourth such attack in the past week and comes as coalition forces announced they are shifting their focus from fighting guerrillas to training new Iraqi soldiers.

A police lieutenant in Yusufiyah says the attackers arrived in seven cars and fired small arms and rocket propelled grenade until the 10 poorly armed officers inside gave up.

He said the police called for help from U.S. forces, but they didn't reach the town until five hours later.

But the occupation forces said fighting insurgents will be less important as the they prepare to hand greater responsibility to Iraqis ahead of the June 30 transfer of sovereignty, a senior member of the American military said.

General Thomas Metz, head of U.S. military operations in Iraq, said the forces will consult Iraq's newly appointed interim government before launching any new offensives.

"Combat becomes a lower priority than it has been for much of the insurgent fight to date," said Metz.



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majorvictory
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posted 13 June 2004 11:24 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Afghanistan Heroin Surge to World's Number One Ripped by Former White House Drug Spokesman

quote:
WASHINGTON, June 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The former White House Drug Policy spokesman is ripping the Administration for allowing Afghanistan to return to being the world's number one heroin producer after several years of decline. Robert Weiner, the Office of National Drug Policy's spokesman 1995-2001 and earlier the U.S. House Narcotics Committee's spokesman, asserts, "Fighting drugs in Afghanistan is not a priority -- we're giving it a pass" and are "effectively working in concert with Afghanistan's tribal drug lords and jeopardizing our own goals against terror."

Afghanistan, after a two-year lapse, is once again "the world's largest cultivator and producer" of opium and heroin, according to the 2004 White House National Drug Control Strategy. Afghani crops in 2003 were more than double the 2002 crop, Weiner points out.

Weiner, in an op-ed column in the Miami Herald today, co- authored by Jeffrey Buchanan of the Johns Hopkins University, wrote, "Just as the administration's Iraqi mission has been damaged by the scandal of prisoner abuse and other failures," our anti-terror policy in Afghanistan "has been undercut by the rebirth of the Afghani poppy, the main ingredient in heroin."

Weiner and Buchanan wrote, "While the administration has made inroads into eradicating Colombian coca fields and is attacking Colombia's heroin as well, it has dangerously ignored Afghanistan's poppy problem."

Weiner and Buchanan assert, "Some of the worst culprits in this illicit trade have even been our closest allies, the members of the Northern Alliance -- the opposition to the Taliban with whom we worked to retake the nation. While they were helping U.S. forces weed out the Taliban, it seems that they were doing some gardening of their own."

Weiner and Buchanan said, "The future looks even worse: A U.N. report says that two out of every three Afghan farmers plan to increase their poppy crop in 2004."

"How could this happen with thousands of U.S. troops on the ground, especially since dirty drug money pays for terrorism?" Weiner and Buchanan ask.



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DrConway
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Official in State-Run Oil Company Killed

quote:
KIRKUK, Iraq, June 16 -- Gunmen ambushed and killed the top security official for the state-run Northern Oil company Wednesday, the latest of a string of assassinations on Iraq's leaders, Iraqi security forces said.

Ghazi Talabani was killed as he traveled to work in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, said Gen. Anwar Amin, of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.

Not good In addition, saboteurs cut Iraq oil exports by two-thirds.


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Briguy
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posted 16 June 2004 01:35 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This just in - Bush lied about Saddam's links to Al Queda

Please, everyone, simmer down. Try to contain your shock. Bush actually lied to the American people to get support for the war.

quote:
The commission investigating the attacks on America of September 11 2001 has found "no credible evidence" of a relevant link between Iraq and al-Qaida, contradicting President George Bush's assertion that such a connection justified the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
In a report released today, the commission found that Osama bin Laden considered cooperating with Saddam even though he opposed the Iraqi leader's secular regime. A senior Iraqi intelligence official reportedly met with Bin Laden in 1994 in Sudan, the panel found, and Bin Laden "is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded".

"There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al-Qaida also occurred after Bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship," the report said. "Two senior Bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al-Qaida and Iraq," the report says.


[ 16 June 2004: Message edited by: Sarcasmobri ]


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majorvictory
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Another news flash: he's still lying (except for the last sentence in the quote below!)

Bush Claims Progress Despite Iraq Violence

quote:
Wed Jun 16, 1:53 PM ET

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer

MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - President Bush (news - web sites) gave a pep talk on Wednesday to U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, claiming steady progress toward democracy in both countries despite a surge in violence in Iraq.

"The future of a free Iraq is now coming into view," Bush told several thousand troops in a giant hangar at this waterfront Tampa, Fla., air base that is home to the U.S. Central Command. "A democratic free Iraq is on the way."

His remarks were beamed to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by a satellite hookup, and Bush said he understood the hardships of prolonged tours of duty that have strained morale among some soldiers.

"You've missed your families; your families miss you," he said. "Some of you have lost comrades, good men and women you will never forget, and America will never forget them either."

Bush said attacks by insurgents won't deter U.S. plans to transfer governing authority in two weeks to Iraq's new interim government.

Even as he was visiting the base, the U.S. military in Baghdad announced that a rocket attack on an American base had killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded 23.

Bush attributed the rash of attacks to desperation tactics by militants and those still loyal to Saddam Hussein. "We can expect more attacks in the coming few weeks, more car bombs, more suiciders, more attempts on the lives of Iraqi officials," he said.



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majorvictory
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posted 17 June 2004 01:14 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sure enough...

Two Car Bombs Kill 41 Iraqis, Wound 138

quote:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A sport utility vehicle packed with artillery shells blew up Thursday in a crowd of people waiting to volunteer for the Iraqi military, killing at least 35 people and wounding 138. Another car bomb north of the capital killed six members of the Iraqi security forces.

The explosion in Baghdad — the deadliest attack since the same recruitment center was bombed in February — was part of a surge of violence against U.S. coalition forces and their Iraqi allies ahead of the transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30.

The blast scattered bodies and debris across a four-lane highway outside Baghdad's Muthanna airport, which is used as a base by both the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the U.S. military. The explosion could be heard for miles and sent a cloud of smoke over the city.

Iraq (news - web sites)'s interior minister said he believed an al-Qaida-linked militant, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was connected to the bombing.

No American or Iraqi troops were wounded, U.S. Army Col. Mike Murray said. Most of the victims appeared to be poor Iraqis hoping to join the security forces because job opportunities are limited.



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majorvictory
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posted 18 June 2004 01:22 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss!

Martial law threatened for Iraq

quote:
By Nicolas Pelham and James Drummond in Baghdad

Iraq's incoming government is considering imposing martial law to help stabilise the country after another two car bomb attacks on Thursday killed at least 41 Iraqis.

The first bomb, packed with artillery shells, exploded outside an army recruiting centre in central Baghdad killing 35 people. The centre had been hit in a similar strike earlier this year. A second attack north of Baghdad killed another six Iraqi civil defence soldiers.

The blasts were the latest in a spate of increasingly well-organised attacks, including suicide attacks against foreign civilians working for the US-led coalition, an assassination of a senior Iraqi official, and the sabotage of military and industrial targets.

Co-ordinated strikes on Iraq's oil pipelines in the north and south of the country have reduced exports to a trickle and depleted the country's prime source of revenue.

The escalating violence has forced the new interim government of Ayad Allawi to consider assuming broader security powers in the aftermath of the June 30 transition.

"A decision to impose martial law could be taken if the attacks continue," said Hazem Shaalan, the defence minister.

Muwaffaq Rubaie, national security adviser, confirmed to the Financial Times on Thursday that the idea of declaring a form of martial law was under active consideration by Iraqi ministers.

The debate highlights the dilemma for the new Iraqi government, which is trying to establish order without jeopardising its democratic credentials.

Such laws carry uncomfortable echoes of the legal fabrications used by the former regime of Saddam Hussein and many current Arab governments to justify repressive and totalitarian rule.

The idea was at an early stage, Mr Rubaie said, and had not been discussed substantively with US officers. At least 130,000 American soldiers will remain in the country after an Iraqi government takes over.



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DrConway
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posted 18 June 2004 11:19 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Iraq may invoke tough laws to quell violence

quote:
BAGHDAD Iraq's caretaker government on Friday weighed imposing emergency powers to check a wave of violence and sabotage that has killed more than 180 people this month and halted oil exports for at least five days.

Malik Dohan al-Hassan, the justice minister, said the government might resort to "exceptional" laws imposed by Saddam Hussein after it takes power on June 30.


No legal hurdles, it says further down in the article. WTF?!?!

PS. Who will be the new colonial governor?


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majorvictory
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posted 22 June 2004 02:14 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Five U.S. Troops Killed In Iraq

quote:
CBS/AP) Insurgents gunned down four U.S. Marines west of Baghdad on Monday, and South Korea said it would go ahead with plans to send thousands more troops to Iraq despite a threat by Iraqi kidnappers to kill a South Korean seen pleading for his life on a videotape.

A U.S. Army soldier was killed Monday and seven others were wounded in a mortar attack in north-central Baghdad, the U.S. command said. The casualties indicated no let-up in attacks against Americans as the June 30 transfer of sovereignty draws near.

CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier reports U.S. commanders say these incidents, like recent car bombings, are just a taste of what's to come. The militant's goal, Dozier reports, is to destroy people's confidence in the new government before it even begins.

In other developments:

Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt says a U.S. airstrike in Fallujah over the weekend killed key figures in Abu Musab al-Zarqawi network. The strike, in which at least 16 died, had been a source of controversy.

A military judge on Monday declared the Abu Ghraib prison a crime scene and said it cannot be demolished as President Bush had offered, while defense lawyers in the prisoner abuse case indicated they want to question Mr. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said Monday that it would investigate a newspaper's allegations that the bodies of Iraqis killed in a firefight with British soldiers were mutilated and showed signs of torture.



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majorvictory
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posted 24 June 2004 01:04 PM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Militants hit Iraqi cities in wave of attacks; 3 U.S. troops die

quote:
The Associated Press

June 24, 2004, 8:43 AM EDT

BAQOUBA, Iraq -- Insurgents launched coordinated attacks against police and government buildings across Iraq on Thursday, less than a week before the handover of sovereignty. The strikes killed 69 people, including three American soldiers, and wounded more than 270 people, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.

The large number of attacks, mostly directed at Iraqi security services, was a clear sign of just how powerful the insurgency in Iraq remains and could be the start of a new push to torpedo Wednesday's transfer of sovereignty to an interim transitional government.

In Baghdad, the Health Ministry said at least 66 people were killed and 268 injured nationwide. However, those figures did not include U.S. dead and injured.

Some of the heaviest fighting was reported in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, where two American soldiers were killed and seven were wounded, the U.S. 1st Infantry Division said. Attackers also targeted police stations in Ramadi, Mahaweel, and the northern city of Mosul, where car bombs rocked the Iraqi Police Academy, two police stations and the al-Jumhuri hospital.

Khalid Mohammed, an official at the hospital, said dozens of injured were brought there. At least 50 people died and 170 were wounded there, he said. A U.S. soldier also was killed and three were wounded in Mosul.



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majorvictory
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posted 25 June 2004 12:41 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Crude Iraqi bombs hard to counter

quote:
ABU GHRAIB, Iraq (AP) — The most feared weapon in the arsenal of Iraqi insurgents is simple to make, easy to set off, impossible to trace and deadly effective: an old artillery shell with a detonator and a doorbell attached to it.

What the U.S. military calls an improvised explosive device, or IED, shows how cunning guerrilla forces can be. The explosive can be buried in the side of the road, hidden in an old tire or even cast in concrete to look like a curbstone.

If placed in a car, they become what the military calls a VBIED, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, or what most people call a car bomb. Several artillery shells can be packed in a four-door sedan, creating a bomb capable of levelling small buildings.

If working on the cheap, a telltale set of wires will emerge from where the insurgents hide the 155 mm artillery shells — but U.S. troops look for those now. So now the bombers have switched to a battery-operated, wireless doorbell that can be activated from a distance, allowing the bomber to avoid being seen.

"We've never caught anyone setting off an IED," said Lt.-Col. Tim Ryan, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment. ``We've caught people building them, or trying to place them, but never setting one off."

The parts needed to build a bomb are simple to obtain. Former ruler Saddam Hussein stockpiled millions of artillery and tank rounds. Just one ammo dump west of Baghdad was 10 kilometres long and three kilometres wide and contained one million explosive rounds.



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majorvictory
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posted 28 June 2004 12:28 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
New Iraqi police fight US troops who trained them

quote:
By Damien McElroy in Baghdad
(Filed: 27/06/2004)

With american fighter jets and helicopters buzzing the skies overhead, an officer in Iraq's new police force approaches a group of fighters on Fallujah's front lines with an urgent call to arms.

"I need a man who can use an RPG," says Omar, who wears the uniform of a first lieutenant. Four hands shoot up and a cry rings out: "We are ready." He chooses a young man, Bilal, and they drive to an underpass on the outskirts of the city.

There, on Highway One, an American Humvee is driving east. Bilal aims and fires his rocket propelled grenade, turning the vehicle into a smoking, twisted, metal carcass. The fate of its occupants is unknown.

First Lt Omar is sworn to uphold the law and fight the insurgency that threatens Iraq's evolution into a free and democratic state. Instead, he is exploiting his knowledge of US tactics to help the rebel cause in Fallujah.

"Resistance is stronger when you are working with the occupation forces," he points out. "That way you can learn their weaknesses and attack at that point."

An Iraqi journalist went into Fallujah on behalf of the Telegraph on Wednesday, a day on which an orchestrated wave of bloody rebel attacks across the country cost more than 100 lives.



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DrConway
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posted 29 July 2004 01:46 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Just to make sure inconvenient "human rights" issues don't come up next time... Human Rights Convention 'Can't Be Applied to Iraq War'

quote:
If the European Convention on Human Rights applied to British troops in situations like Iraq “it would be war as it has never been fought before,” the High Court was told today.

It would be “impossible” to apply the convention in such situations, said the Government’s QC Professor Christopher Greenwood.

But that did not mean there was “a legal blackhole” and British military forces were unaccountable, he told Lord Justice Rix and Mr Justice Forbes, sitting in London.


Absolutely no "legal blackhole", no sir, even though we're going to make it so our boys don't need to abide by anything we signed.

Gee, sounds a lot like the United States.

quote:
Mr Greenwood said, against that background, Mr Singh was making an impossible call for procedures to be followed under the human rights convention “to ensure accountability, maintain public confidence and allay legitimate concerns” among the Iraqi population.

The sheer audacity in claiming that "ensuring accountability" and "maintain(ing) public confidence" is impossible just boggles the hell out of me.

[ 29 July 2004: Message edited by: DrConway ]


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pogge
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posted 06 August 2004 10:49 AM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Iraq is heating up again.

US forces battle Iraqi militiamen

quote:
US-led forces in Iraq have clashed with Shia militiamen in several cities, in a second day of fighting that has shattered a truce agreed in June.

Ten people are reported killed in the holy city of Najaf, where US aircraft fired rockets at supporters of radical cleric Moqtada Sadr in a cemetery.

There has also been heavy fighting in a Shia area of the capital Baghdad, where 34 people have died since Thursday.

Mr Sadr's aides called on local Muslims to take up arms against "occupiers".

The latest clashes in Najaf, home to Shia Islam's holiest shrine, are being described as the worst fighting there since the truce agreement was reached.


The situation is complicated by the fact that Sistani, who has been a moderating influence on Shiites, is suffering from heart problems. There are three other senior clerics who would be in line to succeed him should he become incapacitated, but there's a possibility that during the power vaccuum al-Sadr could seize the moment and draw even more Shiites into an open rebellion.


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skdadl
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posted 06 August 2004 11:12 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The BBC link (which may be changing all the time) now says that Sistani is already on his way to London for medical care, which is more recent info than in the Wash Post story.

Three hundred dead ... Not good.


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DrConway
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posted 08 August 2004 03:01 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Six Explosions Boom Across Baghdad

quote:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Six explosions boomed across central Baghdad on Sunday, sending plumes of smoke into the air and raising sirens on the Green Zone enclave where the U.S. Embassy and government offices are located.

Four blasts went off in a row, one hitting on a bank of the Tigris River, another in downtown Baghdad, sending up billows of black smoke.

Several minutes later two more blasts shook the city, and the crack of gunfire rang out.


Hoooooooooold on. I thought the Green Zone wasn't needed anymore since the transfer of sovereignty to the local-boy colonial governor.

Interesting how inadvertent bits reveal the truth about who's still running Iraq (and clearly, who's still provoking Iraqis to blow things up).


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pogge
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posted 08 August 2004 03:12 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Meanwhile, in Najaf:


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pogge
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posted 17 August 2004 07:18 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan:

Residents flee as Herat fighting intensifies

quote:
Fighting raged around the main western Afghan city of Herat after forces opposed to tribal leader Ismail Khan battled for control of surrounding districts, a US-appointed Defence Ministry official said.

Troops loyal to Ismail Khan have been battling the forces of Pashtun commander Aman Allah Khan for the past four days. At least 60 people were killed in clashes over the weekend, officials have said.

[snip]

On Tuesday evening, US warplanes bombed positions held by Aman Allah's forces, Aljazeera's correspondent in Afghanistan Mazen Aman Allah said.

Although, there was some dispute as to whether US warplanes were actually engaged in the tribal conflict, Hamid Almi, the Afghan government's spokesperson confirmed the bombing run saying that any attack on pro-government forces in herat was tantamount to an attack on the Kabul government itself.



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pogge
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posted 21 August 2004 01:00 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
UN staff call for Afghan pullout

quote:
The United Nations should withdraw all its personnel from Afghanistan as the country has become too dangerous to work in, the UN staff union has said.

The union said staff should leave the country until new security measures had been introduced.

The union said UN personnel was likely to become a target in the run-up to October's elections.

"As we approach election time, more than likely attacks will intensify," union vice-president Guy Candusso said.

[snip]

In July global medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) announced it was leaving the country after 24 years, citing security fears.



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pogge
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posted 25 August 2004 11:35 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Tomorrow could mark a turning in the battle for Najaf.

Sistani calls on Shias to take back the shrine

quote:
Twelve days after undergoing heart surgery in London, the Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, returned to Iraq yesterday to try to reclaim control over the holy shrines of Najaf and end the uprising that has threatened to destabilise the south of the country.

The 73-year-old cleric crossed Iraq's border from Kuwait at noon yesterday in a guarded motorcade as his aides called on Iraqis to march to Najaf and "seize" the holy city from the fighters of the rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the US and Iraqi forces besieging them.

[snip]

Mr Bahr Ul Uloum said the grand ayatollah would spend the night in Basra, before travelling to Najaf today, gathering supporters in the southern cities of Nassiriya, Samawa and Diwaniya.

He said he and a delegation of tribal and religious leaders from Najaf and the surrounding region would meet the ayatollah and his supporters on the edge of the holy city and march with them to the shrine.

"If the fighting is still going on, the ayatollah will call on everyone to put down their guns," Mr Bahr Ul Uloum said. "Then he will go the holy shrine, pray, and receive the keys to the holy shrine."

[snip]

The interim government appeared to have been caught on the hop by Ayatollah Sistani's return. A foreign diplomat in Baghdad, said: "If Mr Sistani is successful it will be good and bad news for the government. It offers them a peaceful way out of a dangerous situation but it will also be an affirmation of the enormous prestige he commands."

For their part, supporters of Mr Sadr acknowledged it would be difficult to resist a direct demand from Ayatollah Sistani to disarm.


Via Swopa at Needlenose who follows this closely. From his comments:

quote:
But will everyone -- and, in particular, the U.S. military -- put down their guns? Reuters and CNN reported heavy American air attacks a few hours ago ... is that a sign that the U.S. will attempt to ignore Sistani (and the expected thousands of marchers), or just an effort to get a few last good licks in? (Meanwhile, official American Iraq TV is trying to spread the word that there isn't really a march planned, contrary to what Sistani's representatives are saying everywhere else.)

[snip]

As I noted a week ago, ruling Najaf off-limits to the Allawi regime's military is a first step to declaring the interim government illegitimate. And I can't imagine how he could do anything other than denounce the Americans' presence when he sees the devastation we've wrought in his home city.

Moreover, it seems entirely likely to me that Sistani's return was sparked by the Iraqi envoys' visit in London, during which I'd guess they probably told him of Iyad Allawi's plans to launch an assault on the Imam Ali shrine. Rather than giving his assent, I have a hunch that the ayatollah responded, "The f--k you will," then turned to his aides and announced, "Road trip!!" in hopes of getting back before his sect's holiest site was reduced to a finely ground powder. (Or, uhhh, maybe he said something else along those lines. I'm paraphrasing, all right?) Perhaps in a few hours, we'll know for sure whether my guess is right.


[ 25 August 2004: Message edited by: pogge ]


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 26 August 2004 03:35 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Jeanne at Body and Soul posts on a press conference held in Najaf. All the journalists were there. They had no choice. They were rounded up at gunpoint.
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skdadl
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posted 26 August 2004 03:44 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Holy mackerel.

quote:
The main source of violence in Kufa in the past 24 hours has been Iraqi police or national guards, who have fired on unarmed demonstrators.

But only after rounding up the press.


They rounded up the whole BBC team. Um. Someone is not on top of this.

And of course they are firing mortars at peaceful pilgrims. No one is on top of this. The Americans have left semi-trained hysterics to ignite a civil war.

And to alienate the entire world press.


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skdadl
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posted 26 August 2004 03:48 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Guardian report.

I don't think that this is the way to build an empire, Mr Rumsfeld ...


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Cueball
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posted 26 August 2004 04:24 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Najaf police chief Ghalib al-Jazaari told the journalists they were being detained because the satellite television channel al-Arabiya had reported that Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani would arrive in Najaf today to lead a demonstration.

He said the news had triggered a march by people of Kufa to Najaf, which turned violent forcing police to fire as some "bad elements in the march fired at the police". Two people were killed and five wounded in the shooting.


Doesnt sound like civil war. Sounds like a show of solidarity. The 'civil war' angle has been one trumpeted around by the US as part of their justification for the occupation.

In comparison the "Iraqi" police and soldiers fighting on the side of the US sound like the usual mix of criminals and would-be-cowboy gunslinger-mercs that are available for hire in almost any country.


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skdadl
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posted 26 August 2004 04:38 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Oh, I think that it is harder than that, Cueball.

The marches to Najaf themselves were shows of solidarity, and very moving for that reason.

But there will be civil war. And a complicated one, too.


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Briguy
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posted 26 August 2004 04:53 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Really, though. I'm hardly onside with Bush on this debacle, yet I've been predicting a civil war in Iraq since November 2001 (when it was clear that dubya would invade). I would love to be wrong.
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Cueball
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posted 26 August 2004 05:28 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In my mind the 'civil war' issue is more of a self-fulfilling prophesy. In anycase without and invasion Saddam would have kept a lid on that. Ans that is the reality.
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skdadl
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posted 26 August 2004 05:40 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Here is a semi-coherent report from the NY Times about the meeting today between Sistani and Sadr.

I say semi-coherent because at one point there seems to be a claim of 450 dead, and yet the rest of the story appears to contradict that claim. Something closer to 100 seems likely.


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pogge
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posted 27 August 2004 09:18 AM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Al-Sadr calls on militia to lay down arms

quote:
Thousands of Shiite marchers Friday streamed into the Imam Ali Mosque in central Najaf, following a deal that ended an often bloody three-week standoff between radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi militia and U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani brokered the agreement late Thursday after returning from London, where he was treated for a heart problem.

Shiites from across the country have converged on Najaf, heeding al-Sistani's call to reclaim the holy city, with tens of thousands milling about Najaf's old town area immediately surrounding the mosque. Mehdi Army members screened visitors as they entered the mosque compound.

[snip]

Some men were seen surrendering their weapons, but many armed militia members could be found in the areas near the shrine.

The newly reached agreement grants al-Sadr freedom from murder charges and secures peace in Najaf, al-Sistani aides said Thursday.

"Muqtada al-Sadr is free to go anywhere he likes. ... He is as free as any Iraqi citizen," said Kasim Daoud, Iraq's minister of state for military affairs.

[snip]

Hamid al-Khafaf, an al-Sistani spokesman, said the cleric and al-Sadr agreed on several points:

  • Multinational forces are to leave both Najaf and Kufa, leaving security to local forces.
  • Najaf and Kufa are to be weapons-free cities.
  • Compensation is to be paid to victims of the violence.
  • Legitimate elections will be held.

From Juan Cole:

quote:
Winners and losers:

I think the big losers from the Najaf episode (part deux) are the Americans. They have become, if it is possible, even more unpopular in Iraq than they were last spring after Abu Ghuraib, Fallujah and Najaf Part 1. The US is perceived as culturally insensitive for its actions in the holy city of Najaf.

The Allawi government is also a big loser. Instead of looking decisive, as they had hoped, they ended up looking like the lackeys of neo-imperialists.

The big winner is Sistani, whose religious charisma has now been enhanced by solid nationalist credentials. He is a national hero for saving Najaf.

For Muqtada, it is a wash. He did not have Najaf until April, anyway, and cn easily survive not having it. His movement in the slums of the southern cities is intact, even if its paramilitary has been weakened.



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skdadl
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posted 27 August 2004 09:24 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Allawi government also appears to have caved.

Sistani definitely looks good right now. I hope his health holds.


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Cueball
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posted 27 August 2004 09:45 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My feeling that any division between Sadr and Sistani is essentially for public consumption. Sadr's rebeliousness shifts the agenda in the direction that both Sistani and Sadr want. Sistani appears as a last minute saviour and negotiator, Sadr and his militia melt into the woodwork, a lurking future threat.

Sadr = Bad cop
Sistani = good cop

[ 27 August 2004: Message edited by: Cueball ]


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pogge
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posted 28 August 2004 04:34 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Things may be quiet in Najaf, but the same can't be said for Baghdad or Fallujah. This AP story is the lead at ABC's web site and figures prominently at the Washington Post.

U.S. Warplanes, Tanks Bombard Fallujah

quote:
Shiite militants and U.S. forces battled Saturday in the Baghdad's Sadr City slum and a mortar barrage slammed into a busy eastern neighborhood in a new round of violence in the capital that left five people dead and dozens wounded, officials said.

[snip]

...gunbattles broke out between militants and U.S. forces in Sadr City, a Baghdad stronghold of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia.

U.S. soldiers in Humvees drove through the impoverished neighborhood with loudspeakers, demanding people stay home because coalition forces were "cleaning the area of armed men," according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. There was sporadic gunfire.

Saad al-Amili, a Health Ministry official, said three people were killed and 25 were wounded in the skirmishes.

Also, militants fired assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades at American troops patrolling the area, said U.S. Capt. Brian O'Malley of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, adding that U.S. forces suffered no casualties. Fighters fired eight mortar shells at U.S. troops in Sadr City but missed, hitting a small power station and knocking out electricity to a six-block area, he said.

As the battles raged, insurgents fired a round of mortars into a crowded eastern Baghdad neighborhood, killing two boys washing cars in a street near the former Iraqi National Olympic Committee building, said Interior Ministry spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman. At least four mortars landed in the area, witnesses said.

[snip]

Meanwhile, U.S. warplanes carried out airstrikes for the second straight day in the city of Fallujah, a center for Sunni Muslim insurgents who have been battling U.S. forces for more than 18 months. U.S. forces also exchanged gunfire with insurgents on the city's eastern outskirts, and fighting was reported on the main highway that runs to neighboring Jordan.

The airstrikes, which witnesses said began at around 7 p.m. and continued for an hour, hit the city's eastern al-Askari neighborhood as well as the industrial area at the eastern entrance of Fallujah. At least four homes were destroyed and people were seen being rushed to hospital.



From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 05 September 2004 05:11 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Troops in Iraq See Highest Injury Toll Yet

quote:
About 1,100 U.S. soldiers and Marines were wounded in Iraq during August, by far the highest combat injury toll for any month since the war began and an indication of the intensity of battles flaring in urban areas.

U.S. medical commanders say the sharp rise in battlefield injuries reflects more than three weeks of fighting by two Army and one Marine battalion in the southern city of Najaf. At the same time, U.S. units frequently faced combat in a sprawling Shiite Muslim slum in Baghdad and in the Sunni cities of Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra, all of which remain under the control of insurgents two months after the transfer of political authority.

"They were doing battlefield urban operations in four places at one time," said Lt. Col. Albert Maas, operations officer for the 2nd Medical Brigade, which oversees U.S. combat hospitals in Iraq. "It's like working in downtown Detroit. You're going literally building to building."


Urban warfare was one of the nightmare scenarios many were afraid at the beginning of this adventure. It took longer to materialize than many predicted, but it's here now.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 07 September 2004 06:49 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. death toll at 1,000 ...

Iraq gets back into the news. At least briefly.

From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 09 September 2004 04:04 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. troops' death rate rising in Iraq

quote:
With the latest spike in violence in Baghdad, more U.S. troops have died since the turnover of power to an interim Iraqi government at the end of June than were killed during the U.S.-led invasion of the country in the spring of 2003.

A total of 148 U.S. military personnel have been killed since the partial transfer of sovereignty on June 28, compared with 138 who died in March and April of 2003, Pentagon figures show.

That trend is a grim indication that, 18 months after the invasion, the fighting appears to be intensifying rather than waning. While attention has been focused largely on standoffs in Najaf and other well-publicized hotspots, an analysis of the figures shows the U.S. military has taken more casualties elsewhere, including the deaths of about 44 troops in the western province of Anbar and 10 others in the city of Samarra.

The wide geographic dispersion of the violence reflects the strength of a resurgent opposition and also frames the challenge U.S. commanders face in the coming months as the United States seeks to hold an election to establish a new Iraqi government, said military officers and defense analysts.

"The 'peace' has been bloodier than the war," said Capt. Russell Burgos, an Army reservist who recently returned from a tour of duty with an aviation regiment in Balad, Iraq. In his view, the U.S. experience in Iraq is coming to resemble Israel's painful 18-year occupation of parts of southern Lebanon.



From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 09 September 2004 04:07 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You know, this whole thing started out looking vaguely like Vietnam, but as time passes . . . it keeps looking more and more like Vietnam.

Notice the officials talking obsessively about (unverifiable) opposition body counts, for instance. "It may look bad, but we're sure we killed *LOTS* of the opposition, and if we keep on doing it . . . " (We will piss off yet more Iraqis).
Notice the puppet government being unable to exert authority much beyond the capital. It's worse than Afghanistan--in Afghanistan, the puppet government only exerts authority in Kabul, but many of the warlords running the rest are at least nominal allies of said government. In Iraq, I don't think there's any organized group in the country outside of the government itself and its police/armed forces that support it. And the police/armed forces are doubtful.

Over time, I suspect the puppet government and its armed/police forces will largely collapse, meaning that as in Vietnam the Americans will have to take a more direct role again, increasing contact and therefore chances to get killed.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 27 October 2004 04:06 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Veterans' Voices Rise in Protest

quote:
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 25 (IPS) - With the news that members of a U.S. Army reserve platoon have been arrested in Iraq for refusing a ”suicide mission,” dissent among veterans of the U.S.-led campaign in that country continues to grow.

The recent incident mirrors other stories of troops being sent on missions without proper equipment, and again raises the spectre of plummeting troop morale as the security situation in Iraq deteriorates and elections scheduled for January approach.

Even as late as six months after the March 2003 U.S.-led attack, as many as 51,000 U.S. soldiers and civilian administrators in Iraq had still not been properly equipped with body armour and other protective gear, according to the 'Washington Post'.

Alerted to the situation, family members bought expensive flak jackets and other security gear and used international couriers to send it to the front lines.

Speaking of the low rates of readiness of his ground forces due to inadequate combat and protective equipment, the senior U.S. commander on the ground in Iraq from mid-2003 to mid-2004 said, ”I cannot continue to support sustained combat operations with rates this low.”

Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez added that army units were, ”struggling just to maintain à relatively low readiness rates” for key combat systems, reported the Post'.

The mother of Amber McClenny, who serves in the platoon that in mid-October refused orders to transport fuel through an area north of Baghdad where ambushes are known to occur, told the Associated Press her daughter called and told her, ”We had broken-down trucks, non-armoured vehicles and à we were carrying contaminated fuel. They are holding us against our will. We are now prisoners.”



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 29 October 2004 10:57 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Iraqi police placed in the firing line without weapons

quote:
By Kim Sengupta in Baghdad
28 October 2004

The five policemen standing on the roof of the Albiya station had one pistol between them. They have not been issued with rifles or body armour. Three of them did not even have any documents to show they were in the police. All of them, however, have come repeatedly under fire.

Albiya has gained the reputation as a Fort Apache of Baghdad, one of the most bombed, mortared, rocketed and shot at police stations in the city. The last two blasts killed 38 policemen, injured 110 and demolished a part of the building. In recognition of the dangers the Americans sent some more weapons - the 215 officers now have one-third of a semi-automatic rifle each. These are the men, the Iraqi police and army, that the US and British government insist will take over security in Iraq, combating the ferocious rebellion, allowing their troops to be pulled out. They are already doing the bulk of the dying for the occupation forces, as last weekend's massacre of 49 recruits highlighted.

What marked out those particular killings, apart from their brutality and the numbers involved, was the public accusation by Iyad Allawi, Iraq's interim Prime Minister, that gross negligence by US forces had led to the men's deaths.

He was joined by Roj Nouri Shawis, the interim Vice-President, and Tawfiq al-Yasseri, the head of the interim parliament's security committee, demanding to know why the Americans training the recruits had sent them unarmed and unprotected to their deaths.



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DrConway
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posted 02 November 2004 02:50 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Six kidnapped in Iraq

quote:
A US citizen and five other staff of a Saudi trading firm were kidnapped in Baghdad on Monday, while a deputy governor was shot dead, plunging Iraq deeper into crisis.

Violence also flared in the flashpoint city of Ramadi where six Iraqis were killed as nearby Fallujah braced for an all-out assault with US and Iraqi troops massing in the rebel heartlands.



From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 04 November 2004 12:54 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Joe Conason: The voiceless victims of Bush's misadventure

quote:
U.S. media ignores human toll of 'shock and awe'

In an election year when no topic was too trivial or too stupid to engage the rapt fascination of journalists and politicians, there was one matter that drew no attention whatsoever until the last week. It was a subject that has been treated as taboo by the U.S. government and most media sources: How many Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the war in their country?
From the moment when our forces began the "shock and awe" bombing campaign last year, the policy of the White House and the Pentagon has been to refuse to discuss this sensitive issue. As Gen. Tommy Franks explained before he retired, "We don't do body counts."

For the obedient mainstream media, the story ended there.

Editors and producers saw no reason to pursue the subject beyond that official pronouncement, apparently presuming that their audience would have no interest in learning the true human costs of the war. To wonder aloud about the forbidden topic was risky. After all, even reporting the number of young Americans killed could and did lead to bitter accusations of anti-war partisanship. Curiosity, let alone concern, about the number of Iraqi fatalities might be interpreted as unpatriotic.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 04 November 2004 01:42 AM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Welcome back, mv: you have been missed.
From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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posted 04 November 2004 02:49 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Indeed. Welcome back!

(BTW, what happened to majorvictories 2 thru 63? )


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 05 November 2004 01:26 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thanks, friends. I wish I didn't have to update this thread, but we must bear witness. It's going to get far worse now, i fear.

3 British Soldiers Killed in Iraq Attack

quote:
Thu Nov 4, 6:24 PM ET Middle East - AP

By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Insurgents attacked British troops at a checkpoint in central Iraq on Thursday, killing three and wounding eight in a suicide bomb and mortar barrage aimed at soldiers sent to the high-risk area to free U.S. forces for an assault on the militant stronghold Fallujah.

U.S. troops pounded Fallujah with airstrikes and artillery fire, softening up militants ahead of the expected assault. Loudspeakers at Fallujah mosques blared out Quranic verses and shouts of "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," during the assault, residents said.

The three British soldiers were from the Black Watch regiment, which was moved last month from relatively quiet southern Iraq to the dangerous area just south of Baghdad.

An Iraqi interpreter also was killed in the attack, British officials said. Britain's armed forces minister, Adam Ingram, said in London that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber in a vehicle and that the British checkpoint also came under mortar fire.

The deaths bring the number of British troops killed in Iraq to 73. It was the worst single combat loss for the British since three Royal Military Police were killed in the southern city of Basra in August 2003.



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majorvictory64
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posted 05 November 2004 11:37 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mercy and Murder at Issue in Iraq Death

quote:
By Edmund Sanders
Times Staff Writer

11/05/04 " Los Angeles Times " -- BAGHDAD — As a U.S. Army patrol rolled into Sadr City one night in August, soldiers received a tip that militants in dump trucks were planting roadside bombs.

American troops had been clashing regularly with Al Mahdi militiamen in the restive Baghdad slum. So when Staff Sgt. Cardenas Alban of Carson saw an object fall from a garbage truck in the distance, his company took positions around the vehicle and unleashed a barrage of fire from rifles and a 25-millimeter cannon atop a Bradley fighting vehicle. The truck exploded in flames.

As soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, approached the burning vehicle, they did not find insurgents. The victims were mainly teenagers, hired to work the late shift picking up trash for about $5 a night, witnesses said.

Medics scrambled to treat the half-dozen people strewn around the scene. A dispute broke out among a handful of soldiers standing over one severely wounded young man who was moaning in pain. An uninjured Iraqi claiming to be a relative pleaded in broken English for soldiers to help the victim.

But to the horror of bystanders, Alban, 29, a boyish-faced sergeant who joined the Army in 1997, retrieved an M-231 assault rifle and fired at the wounded man.

Seconds later, another soldier, Staff Sgt. Johnny Horne Jr., 30, of Winston-Salem, N.C., grabbed an M-16 rifle and also shot the victim.

The killing might have been forgotten but for a U.S. soldier who days later slipped an anonymous note under the door of the unit's commander, Capt. Robert Humphries, alleging that "soldiers had committed serious crimes that needed to be looked at."

U.S. officials have since characterized the shooting as a "mercy killing," citing statements by Alban and Horne that they shot the wounded Iraqi "to put him out of his misery."



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 06 November 2004 12:58 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
al-Qaida Denounces Hassan’s Kidnapping

quote:
There are reports that al-Qaida is calling for the release of an international relief worker being held hostage in Iraq.

The terrorist network is also saying that they will release Margaret Hasson if they come across her.


How odd.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 06 November 2004 04:04 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
US strikes raze Falluja hospital

quote:
A hospital has been razed to the ground in one of the heaviest US air raids in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
Witnesses said only the facade remained of the small Nazzal Emergency Hospital in the centre of the city. There are no reports on casualties.

A nearby medical supplies storeroom and dozens of houses were damaged as US forces continued preparing the ground for an expected major assault.

UN chief Kofi Annan has warned against an attack on the restive Sunni city.

It is the third time since the end of the US-led war that US and Iraqi forces have tried to gain control of Falluja.

They say militants loyal to top al-Qaeda suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are hiding there.

Zarqawi's supporters have been behind some of the worst attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces as well as dozens of kidnappings. Some of the hostages - foreigners and Iraqis - have been beheaded.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 06 November 2004 09:49 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The crusaders have mounted their horses and drawn their swords. Pray for the innocent.

The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He's in Fallujah and we're going to destroy him."

quote:
U.S. jets pounded Fallujah early Saturday in the heaviest airstrikes in six months — including five 500-pound bombs dropped on insurgent targets. Residents reported U.S. artillery fire late Saturday in southern parts of the city.

The deadliest attacks Saturday occurred in Samarra, a city 60 miles north of Baghdad that U.S. and Iraqi commanders have touted as model for pacifying restive Sunni Muslim areas of the country.

Insurgents in Samarra stormed a police station, triggered at least two suicide car bombs and fired mortars at government installations. One of the car bombs, targeting the mayor's office, used a stolen Iraqi police vehicle, the U.S. military said.

Twenty-nine people, including 17 police and 12 Iraqi civilians, were killed throughout the city, the U.S. military said. Arabic language television stations said more than 30 died as gangs of insurgents roamed the city, clashing with American and Iraqi forces.

The dead included the local Iraqi National Guard commander, Abdel Razeq Shaker al-Garmali, hospital officials said. Forty other people, including 17 policemen, were injured, the military said.

U.S. military vehicles roamed through the besieged city using loudspeakers to announce an indefinite curfew starting at 2 p.m. Saturday. American warplanes and helicopters roamed the skies.



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monkeyweather
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posted 06 November 2004 11:45 PM      Profile for monkeyweather     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
From the ground in Iraq - written BY an Iraqi:

Saturday, November 06, 2004
WHAT DID I TELL YOU?
Hi,

The ink has not dried (figuratively speaking) on my previous post in which I predicted that the insurgents will attempt to strike and escalate terrorist action in other places, that we have today the horrible terrorist actions in Samara particularly and elsewhere. Coordinated well planned brutal assault with 4 suicide car bombs targeting police and ordinary people in Samara, cold blooded slaying of 12 civilians in Latifiya, not to mentions the attacks in Ramadi and elsewhere. It is clear why the terrorists should target Samara in particular. Because Samara was a success, and because the citizen of Samara, mostly Sunnis were happy to be rid of the terrorists, so they had to be punished.

It is now amply clear, that the time has long passed for “negotiating” with the enemy. The Saddamist-Sectarian-Foreign Extremist enemy has opted for bloody conflict, murder, and intimidation long time ago. The talk about negotiation and a peaceful solution is almost demoralizing when we are confronted everyday with beheadings, kidnappings, cowardly murders and car bombs targeting children and people in the streets. For instance, a small peasant town, called Latifya (part of the so-called Triangle of Death South of Baghdad), has been the centre of the most appalling crimes and attacks against completely innocent travelers who happen to pass nearby, not to mention that is certain that it is the very place where the American and British hostages were incarcerated and beheaded. It is now established that the British Engineer escaped in the fields near this town before he was recaptured and murdered. Now, despite repeated claims by the government that arrests and raids were made in this area, we still see continuation of the atrocities from gangs based in this town and its environs. The situation has become so bad that illegal check points manned by terrorists are set up here and there asking people for “identity” papers and according to religious sect or more importantly whether they happen to be police or ING, kidnapping or outright execution may be perpetrated against them.

It is not enough just to dispatch some eight hundred British soldiers to the area, notwithstanding how good they may be. The town must be surrounded, without previous warning and reliable Iraqi forces (the ING have proved to be more reliable than the IP) should go into the town and thorough house to house searches carried out and afterwards the town should be permanently held by these security forces.

Also it is most important to make information public about whatever terrorists are actually caught. The policy that has been followed since the fall of the regime of keeping the public almost completely in the dark about the identity of the perpetrators of terrorist acts, is almost a cover up of the crimes and encouragement for the criminals. Repeated calls for public exposure of the criminals have been very strangely ignored both by the CPA before and by the Government now. Also this policy helps the enemy to spread his propaganda and slander against the very forces of liberation and freedom. For instance, you always hear the accusations trying to put the blame for particularly atrocious acts on the Allied Forces, the Zionists etc. etc. For instance, Zarqawi is an invention by the CIA, and so is his famous letter, and beheadings, car bombings etc. are actually engineered by the Americans or the Zionists and so on. This kind of talk is very widespread, and you remember how an individual used to be always at hand when car bombings started, to claim in front of the Media that he had seen an American helicopter fire a rocket or something of the sort. We have yet to see one public exposure of any group or individuals connected with terrorist acts, despite claims to have caught many.

Friends and allies: this is War and a very serious and dangerous one too. Do not underestimate the enemy. In Iraq you have at least 80% of the population on your side and desirous of change and success in creating the new society. Anybody who tells you otherwise is simply a liar. Wars are terrible and cruel but what must be done must be done. Remember what it took to defeat Nazism, Fascism and Japanese Militarism- the flattening of most of Europe and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, horrible as that may have been. Yet both Europe and Japan recovered and eventually enjoyed tremendous prosperity and peace, and the outcome of the horrors of war was entirely in the interest of all the “conquered” peoples. Why was that? Very simple! The right side won the war. The right side must win this war too, for the sake of our future generations and world peace.

Salaam

# posted by Alaa : 10:48 AM
from http://www.messopotamian.blogspot.com/

[ 06 November 2004: Message edited by: monkeyweather ]


From: USA | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 07 November 2004 06:04 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Marines turn to God ahead of anticipated Fallujah battle

quote:

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) - With US forces massing outside Fallujah, 35 marines swayed to Christian rock music and asked Jesus Christ to protect them in what could be the biggest battle since American troops invaded Iraq last year.

Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel.

They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah.

"You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them.

The US military, with many soldiers coming from the conservative American south and midwest, has deep Christian roots.

In times that fighting looms, many soldiers draw on their evangelical or born-again heritage to help them face the battle.

"It's always comforting. Church attendance is always up before the big push," said First Sergeant Miles Thatford.

"Sometimes, all you've got is God."

Between the service's electric guitar religious tunes, marines stepped up on the chapel's small stage and recited a verse of scripture, meant to fortify them for war.

One spoke of their Old Testament hero, a shepherd who would become Israel's king, battling the Philistines some 3,000 years ago.

"Thus David prevailed over the Philistines," the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt of approval.



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majorvictory64
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posted 07 November 2004 11:05 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Forces Storm Into Western Fallujah

quote:

By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq - U.S. forces stormed into western districts of Fallujah early Monday, seizing the main city hospital and securing two key bridges over the Euphrates river in what appeared to be the first stage of the long-expected assault on the insurgent stronghold.

An AC-130 gunship raked the city with 40 mm cannon fire as explosions from U.S. artillery lit up the night sky. Intermittent artillery fire blasted southern neighborhoods of Fallujah, and orange fireballs from high explosive airbursts could be seen above the rooftops.

U.S. officials said the toughest fight was yet to come — when American forces enter the main part of the city on the east bank of the river, including the Jolan neighborhood where insurgent defenses are believed the strongest.

The initial attacks on Fallujah began just hours after the Iraqi government declared 60 days of emergency rule throughout most of the country as militants dramatically escalated attacks, killing at least 30 people, including two Americans.

Dr. Salih al-Issawi, the head of Fallujah's main hospital, said he had asked U.S. officers to allow doctors and ambulances go inside the main part of the city to help the wounded but they refused. There was no confirmation from the Americans.

"The American troops' attempt to take over the hospital was not right because they thought that they would halt medical assistance to the resistance," he said by telephone to a reporter inside the city. "But they did not realize that the hospital does not belong to anybody, especially the resistance."



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majorvictory64
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posted 09 November 2004 01:20 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
US forces consolidate positions in Falluja

quote:
Residents said a US air strike had destroyed a clinic that had been receiving casualties after US and Iraqi forces seized Falluja's main hospital yesterday.

Sami al-Jumaili, a doctor at the hospital who escaped arrest when it was taken by US troops, said the city was running out of medical supplies and only a few clinics remained open.

"There is not a single surgeon in Falluja. We had one ambulance hit by US fire and a doctor wounded," he told Reuters. "There are scores of injured civilians in their homes whom we can't move. A 13-year-old child just died in my hands."


Falluja digs for its dead

[ 09 November 2004: Message edited by: majorvictory64 ]


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majorvictory64
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posted 09 November 2004 11:42 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S. Forces Take Hold in Falluja Center - Residents

quote:
By Michael Georgy and Fadel al-Badrani
FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. forces backed by Iraqi troops surged into the heart of Falluja on Tuesday, taking a grip on Iraq's most rebellious city after a day of intense street-to-street combat.

U.S. tanks and armored personnel carriers operating in the northern part of the city came under fierce assault from rebels firing rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 rifles after sunset, but in other areas large-scale fighting died down after dark.

There was the occasional blast of mortar fire, and U.S. war planes targeted some buildings, but residents and a Reuters correspondent said heavy bombardments and explosions had eased.

Some U.S. tanks were seen pulling back from central areas of the city for the night. Others remained in place.

An American soldier wounded in Falluja said he had seen two of his colleagues killed.

"A buddy of mine and another soldier were killed and I have seen about 50 other wounded (U.S.) soldiers since the fighting began," he told Reuters while awaiting medical evacuation. He declined to give his name.

The Reuters correspondent saw about five wounded soldiers being flown out by helicopter and a U.S. military ambulance driver also said he had witnessed many casualties.

Among the Iraqis killed was a 9-year-old boy, severely injured by shrapnel in the abdomen when his home was bombarded by U.S. jets overnight. His parents were unable to get him to hospital and he died hours later of blood loss, they said.



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majorvictory64
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posted 10 November 2004 05:18 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
America failing test of history as offensive compared to terror tactics of pariah states

quote:
By Charles Glass in Suleimania
09 November 2004

Muslim fundamentalist insurgents seeking to topple the government are holed up in a conservative city with little sympathy for secularism or pluralism. They raise the banner of Islam, and they call on the rest of the country to rise up and expel the oppressors. The government reacts by massing forces around the city. It demanded that the militants surrender or the city give them up. If not, the city would be destroyed. Fallujah this week? Yes, but it was also the Syrian city of Hama in the spring of 1982.

The fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood seized Hama as the first step towards its goal of a national uprising against the secular Baathist regime. The Syrian President demanded their surrender. His army shelled the city, and special forces went in to kill or capture the militants. The Syrians employed the same strategy that the US is using now. Its tanks and artillery waited outside the city; they fired on militants and civilians alike. Its elite units, like the American Marines surrounding Falljuah today, braced themselves for a bloody battle.

The US condemned Syria for the assault that is believed to have cost 10,000 civilian lives. The Syrian army destroyed the historic centre of Hama, and it rounded up Muslim rebels for imprisonment or execution. Syria's actions against Hama came to form part of the American case that Syria was a terrorist state. Partly because of Hama, Syria is on a list of countries in the Middle East whose regimes the US wants to change.

Iraq's American-appointed Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, declared a state of emergency on Sunday to assume powers reminiscent of those wielded by Saddam Hussein: to break up public gatherings, enter private houses without warrants and detain people without trial. Perhaps in waging war against the Iraqis who want to expel the Americans and topple America's chosen Iraqi leaders, the insurgents have compelled the US and its Iraqi allied regime to behave like the two Baathist regimes that they believed were so totalitarian they had to go.

Other Iraqi cities must now fear the use of what The New York Times correspondent Tom Friedman called "Hama rules" against them. Unrest in the northern city of Mosul, where relations between its Kurdish and Arab residents have deteriorated to the point where Arabs on the west bank of the Tigris and Kurds to the west rarely cross the bridges to each other's neighbourhoods. Already, because the autonomous Kurds of northern Iraq are the only ethnic group allied to the US in Iraq, Arabs have begun killing Kurds. And Kurds are seeking refuge in the Kurdish-controlled northern region.



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majorvictory64
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posted 10 November 2004 09:08 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'Phantom Fury' Poised to Become Phantom Victory

quote:
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - With Monday's launch of 'Operation Phantom Fury' to regain control of the key insurgent-dominated Sunni city of Fallujah, the administration of U.S. President George W Bush appears to be moving toward another ''phantom victory'' in its broader quest to achieve a stable, pro-western Iraq.

While experts here are united in the conviction that the 10,000 - 15,000 U.S. troops and a reportedly diminishing number of Iraqi auxiliaries will militarily crush the estimated 1,000 - 4,000 insurgents who remain in the city, they also believe the eventual outcome will mark yet another political setback to stabilizing the country.

A satellite picture from DigitalGlobe shows the Sunni Muslim city of Falluja, taken November 5, 2004 Thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops backed by heavy air support and armor have stormed into the Sunni Muslim city of Falluja on Tuesday in the second major offensive in seven months to try to recapture the insurgent stronghold. (Reuters - Handout)

In particular, the operation, especially if bloody and protracted, will almost certainly further alienate the Sunni population, who constitute about 20 percent of Iraq's 25 million people, not to mention the much larger Sunni communities in neighboring countries, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.

''The entire Arab public opinion, which had hoped for Bush's (electoral) defeat, has been watching developments carefully'', noted As'ad Abukhalil, an Iraq specialist at the University of California at Berkeley. ''But now they will see the scenes of carnage on live TV contrasted with the celebratory ambiance in Washington, DC.''

The campaign also threatens to split the interim Iraqi government whose president, Ghazi al-Yawer, has opposed a major offensive and last April threatened to resign after hundreds of civilians were reported killed when U.S. Marines last tried to take Fallujah.

''There was already a struggle within the (Iraqi) Sunni community between those open to participation in January's elections and those who favor a boycott,” noted Juan Cole, an Iraq expert at the University of Michigan. ''An 'iron fist' policy is likely to shift the balance of power in the community toward the rejectionists''.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 10 November 2004 10:10 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As I pointed out in another thread, Fantom Fury is already the name of a vacuum cleaner (advertised on late night infomercials).

[ 10 November 2004: Message edited by: Scott Piatkowski ]


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 10 November 2004 10:33 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The vacuum cleaner stuff is a variation on an old theme - the miliitary have long used household euphemisms for murderous activities. "Mopping-up" operations meaning killing straggling enemy troops or pockets of resistance. Or "ethnic cleansing"...

I remember "Operation Desert Fox", the Gulf War operation the USians named for Rommel.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 11 November 2004 01:29 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
'I got my kills ... I just love my job'

quote:
Toby Harnden in Fallujah observes American soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division taskforce avenging their fallen comrades as battle begins

09/11/04 "The Telegraph" -- After seven months in Iraq's Sunni triangle, for many American soldiers the opportunity to avenge dead friends by taking a life was a moment of sheer exhilaration.

As they approached their "holding position", from where hours later they would advance into the city, they picked off insurgents on the rooftops and in windows.

"I got myself a real juicy target," shouted Sgt James Anyett, peering through the thermal sight of a Long Range Acquisition System (LRAS) mounted on one of Phantom's Humvees.

"Prepare to copy that 89089226. Direction 202 degrees. Range 950 metres. I got five motherf****** in a building with weapons."

Capt Kirk Mayfield, commander of the Phantoms, called for fire from his task force's mortar team. But Sgt Anyett didn't want to wait. "Dude, give me the sniper rifle. I can take them out - I'm from Alabama."

Two minutes tick by. "They're moving deep," shouted Sgt Anyett with disappointment. A dozen loud booms rattle the sky and smoke rose as mortars rained down on the co-ordinates the sergeant had given.

"Yeah," he yelled. "Battle Damage Assessment - nothing. Building's gone. I got my kills, I'm coming down. I just love my job."



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majorvictory64
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posted 12 November 2004 02:32 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Insurgents on rampage in north Iraq city of Mosul

quote:
11 Nov 2004 10:49:38 GMT

Source: Reuters

By Maher al-Thanoon

MOSUL, Iraq, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Insurgents set police stations ablaze, stole weapons and brazenly roamed the streets of Mosul on Thursday as Iraq's third largest city appeared to be sliding out of control, residents said.

Explosions and fire from assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades could be heard echoing across the city and columns of smoke rose from at least two police stations set alight.

"It's crazy, really, really crazy," said Abdallah Fathi, a resident who witnessed a police station being attacked.

"Yesterday, the city felt like hell, today it could be the same or worse."

The northern city of Mosul has seen frequent outbreaks of violence, but residents and reporters said the past two days were the worst since the end of the war last year.

As U.S. forces battle to suppress insurgents in the rebel city of Falluja, it appears many fighters may have fled to other cities where they are launching new attacks.

In the past three days, there has been a step up in guerrilla activity in Samarra, Baiji, Baquba, Tikrit, Ramadi, areas of Baghdad and in the holy city of Kerbala to the south.

In Mosul, a city of about three million people, insurgents attacked a group of Iraqi National Guardsmen blocking a bridge in the city centre, killing five of them and destroying three vehicles, witnesses said.

A cameraman working for Reuters filmed groups of militants emerging from a police station carrying police-issued AK-47s and bullet-proof jackets before setting the building on fire.



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majorvictory64
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posted 12 November 2004 04:16 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Violence grips Iraq as Fallujah battle rages

quote:
By Kim Sengupta in Camp Dogwood and Charles Glass in Suleimania, Iraq
12 November 2004


Waves of devastating violence swept through Iraq yesterday with US forces still mired in streetfighting in their attempt to capture the rebel stronghold of Fallujah.

A suicide bombing killed at least 19 people and injured 15 in Baghdad, the explosion destroying 20 buildings and 25 cars. The northern city of Mosul was reported "out of control", with police stations stormed and masked gunmen roaming the streets. Fighting also continued in Ramadi with large parts of the city in the hands of insurgents. In Fallujah, the American military claimed to have killed more than 600 resistance fighters and to have pinned hundreds of others into a corner for a final assault. At least 18 US troops and five Iraqi government soldiers have been killed so far in Fallujah, military officials said.

Major-General Richard Natonski, commander of the 1st Marine Division, said 69 American personnel and 34 Iraqi government soldiers had been wounded since the assault began on Monday. The military had been slow in releasing official, comprehensive reports, citing security but about 225 injured soldiers are in Landstuhl Medical Centre in Germany.

The US administration and its sponsored Iraqi government had insisted the onslaught on Fallujah was justified because it had become the epicentre of insurgency in Iraq.

General Richard Myers, head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared the offensive was " very, very successful". But he also admitted: "If anybody thinks Fallujah is going to be the end of the insurgency in Iraq, that was never the objective, never our intention, and even never our hope."



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majorvictory64
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posted 12 November 2004 11:16 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Police in Mosul lose control amid militant attacks

quote:
Associated Press

Fallujah, Iraq — Iraqi government rushed massive reinforcements to Mosul, the country's third-largest city, after police lost control in the face of insurgent attacks.

After similar attacks on Thursday, the unrest prompted the government to fire Mosul police chief Brigadier-General Mohammed Kheiri Barhawi.

In Fallujah, meanwhile, the U.S. attack proceeded with Americans pushing forces into the last remaining insurgent stronghold in the city. Lieutenant-General John Sattler, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said U.S. and Iraqi forces now occupy about 80 per cent of Fallujah.

Armed militants in Mosul attacked the main headquarters of a key Kurdish political party and killed a senior police officer as the governor asked for security forces to stabilize the situation.

Saadi Ahmed, an official with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, said an hour-long gun battle broke out Friday between gunmen and the guards at the main headquarters. Guards killed six attackers and captured four others before the rest fled.

On Thursday, guerrillas attacked at least five police stations and political party offices there in what could be a bid to relieve pressure on their allies in Fallujah.

Deputy Governor Khissrou Gouran said that led to the dismissal of Gen. Barhawi, because it followed allegations by local officials that police abandoned their positions and in some cases co-operated with insurgents during Thursday's attacks.



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majorvictory64
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posted 13 November 2004 01:12 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I have just witnessed a murder on my TV screen

quote:
Matt Hamon -- 11/11/04: "ICH" -- As I sit here and write this I have tears streaming down my face, I am shaking and my heart is pounding. I have just witnessed a murder on my TV screen.

While watching Lateline on Australian ABC television there was a report from Fallujah. In the story they showed a marine saying, "I've just injured one, he's between the two buildings". At that moment another marine walks over to the gap between the two houses, he then climbs on a forty four gallon drum aims his gun at the injured Iraqi and fires one shot.

The marine then climbs back down saying, "He's done".

Evidence of a war crime right there on my screen, evidence that America takes no prisoners, evidence of a horrendous act condoned by my country.

How did we become as bad as this, when did the coalition forces become terrorist themselves.

I am choking, gagging, I want to vomit. I have just witnessed murder by my own people.

Will this become the norm, will we in the west idly watch as our government send our young men and women to perpetrate crimes against humanity.

What ever happen to the Geneva Conventions? What happened that we could become immune to the atrocities committed by our own people in what can only be describe as an illegal invasion for selfish, self-serving reasons, oil, greed and power.

When did we authorise our government to breech international law and to commit acts of terrorism?

Please tell me, I really want to know. Please, I want to make sense of the murder I have just witnessed on my television.



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majorvictory64
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posted 13 November 2004 03:59 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Collective punishment, regrettable necessity

quote:
By Pepe Escobar

"In Fallujah, [the Americans] have created a new vague target: [Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi. Almost a year has elapsed since they created this new pretext and whenever they destroy houses, mosques, restaurants, and kill children and women, they said: 'We have launched a successful operation against al-Zarqawi.' The people of Fallujah assure you that this person, if he exists, is not in Fallujah ... and we have no links to any groups supporting such inhuman behavior. We appeal to you to urge the UN [to prevent] the new massacre which the Americans and the puppet government are planning to start soon in Fallujah, as well as many parts of the country."
- October 14 letter sent by the Fallujah shura (council) to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

Whenever a neo-colonial power - or a puppet politician like interim Iraqi Premier Iyad Allawi - orders the widespread bombing of civilian areas, as in Fallujah, the rationale invoked is "regrettable necessity". What is never mentioned is the real objective: collective punishment.

It's crucial to check how Iraqi Shi'ites are interpreting this "necessity" of reducing Sunni Fallujah into rubble. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani - Iraq's top Shi'ite religious authority - has not uttered a single syllable about it. Top Sunni clerics such as Sheikh Mehdi al-Sumaydi - the leader of the Salafis in Iraq - are very much aware of the incendiary consequences of Shi'ite - and Kurdish - soldiers fighting in the so-called "Allawi's army" against Sunnis in Fallujah. This is a surefire recipe for civil war. The talk in Baghdad is of Sistani's silence being widely interpreted by Sunnis as a Shi'ite endorsement of the US attack.

The US response was predictable: they raided the Ibn Taymiyah mosque and arrested Sheikh al-Sumaydi. Many Sunnis will inevitably interpret this development as a direct result of the alliance between Sistani and the Americans. But the real reason for the sheikh's arrest is that he had been preaching armed struggle against the occupation.

Compare Sistani's non-reaction to Muqtada al-Sadr's. Sheikh Ahmed al-Misser, leader of Muqtada's office in Sadr City in Baghdad, has stated publicly that "if the Fallujah people asked for help of any kind, our followers are to help them in any way they can. I mean help them by any means necessary". Sources in Baghdad confirm that followers of Muqtada living near Fallujah, in such places as Hilla for instance, have been mobilized to take care of refugees from Fallujah. This means that for many Shi'ites, humanitarian concerns are much more important than sectarianism.



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majorvictory64
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posted 14 November 2004 12:12 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Falluja resident tells of trauma

quote:
five-year-old Iraqi girl has arrived in Britain, having been orphaned when a US missile destroyed her family's home in Falluja.
Ayisha Saleem was brought here six days ago by her uncle, Mohammad, who decided to leave after the 4 October attack.

The US military says it used precision strikes to take out insurgents loyal to Abu Musab al-Zaqawi.

The attack happened before it stepped up its offensive on the city last week.

Mohammad said he was dazed when he first heard of the bombing.

'Such a crime'

"Why would anybody demolish the house of an innocent family?" he asked.

He said that Ayisha has yet to ask about her mother, uncle and grandparents, but "she knows something has happened".

When he went to his sister's house, he said the experience was traumatic.

US troops have stepped up their campaign to flush out insurgents

"I found her dead with her unborn baby and a three-year-old son.

"I started wrapping her in blankets but I collapsed.

"When I woke up I can't describe the feelings. I'll never see such a crime in my life, I don't think I'll see such a crime in the future."



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majorvictory64
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posted 15 November 2004 12:02 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A city lies in ruins, along with the lives of the wretched survivors

quote:
By Michael Georgy in Fallujah and Kim Sengupta
15 November 2004

After six days of intense combat against the Fallujah insurgents, US warplanes, tanks and mortars have left a shattered landscape of gutted buildings, crushed cars and charred bodies.

A drive through the city revealed a picture of utter destruction, with concrete houses flattened, mosques in ruins, telegraph poles down, power and phone lines hanging slack and rubble and human remains littering the empty streets. The north-west Jolan district, once an insurgent stronghold, looked like a ghost town, the only sound the rumbling of tank tracks.

US Marines pointed their assault rifles down abandoned streets, past Fallujah's simple amusement park, now deserted. Four bloated and burnt bodies lay on the main street, not far from US tanks and soldiers. The stench of the remains hung heavy in the air, mixing with the dust.

Another body lay stretched out on the next block, its head blown off, perhaps in one of the countless explosions which rent the city day and night for nearly a week. Some bodies were so mutilated it was impossible to tell if they were civilians or militants, male or female.

Fallujah, regarded as a place with an independent streak where citizens even defied the former leader Saddam Hussein at times, seemed lifeless. The minarets of the city's dozens of mosques stood silent, no longer broadcasting the call to holy war that so often echoed across the rooftops, inspiring fighters to join the insurgency.

Restaurant signs were covered in soot. Pavements were crushed by 70-ton Abrams tanks, and rows of crumbling buildings stood on both sides of deserted streets. Upmarket homes with garages looked as if they had been abandoned for years. Cars lay crushed in the middle of streets. Two Iraqis in one street desperately trying to salvage some of their smashed belongings were the only signs of life.

As US soldiers walked through neighbourhoods, their allies in the Iraqi forces casually moved along dusty streets past wires hanging down from gutted buildings. They carried boxes of bottled water to the rooftops of the upmarket villas they now occupy. The soldiers sat on the roofs staring at the ruins.

As a small convoy of Humvees moved back to position on the edge of the Jolan district, a rocket landed in the sand about 100ft away, a reminder that militants were still out there somewhere, even if the city that harboured them has fallen. The few civilians left in Fallujah talked of a city left in ruins not just by the six days of the ground assault, but the weeks of bombing that preceded the attack.



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beluga2
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posted 15 November 2004 12:56 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Prime minister Iyad Allawi said there had been no civilian casualties during the battle for Fallujah, contradicting accounts from residents inside the city.

None? None at all? Riiight.

Y'know, Iyad, everybody's aware that you're a grovelling, brown-nosing lapdog, but that doesn't mean you have to be so blatant about it.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 15 November 2004 04:52 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
[URL=http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20041114/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_escaping_fallujah_1 ]Helicopte gunships massacre civilians fleeing Fallujah by swimming the Eurphrates[/URL]

quote:
"I decided to swim ... but I changed my mind after seeing U.S. helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river."


He watched horrified as a family of five was shot dead as they tried to cross. Then, he "helped bury a man by the river bank, with my own hands."


"I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some U.S. snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim. I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards."



From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 15 November 2004 06:13 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
US denies need for Falluja aid convoy

quote:
Rory McCarthy in Baghdad
Monday November 15, 2004
The Guardian

US military chiefs said yesterday that they saw no need for the Iraqi Red Crescent to deliver aid inside Falluja because they did not think any Iraqi civilians were trapped there.
"There is no need to bring [Red Crescent] supplies in because we have supplies of our own for the people," said Colonel Mike Shupp of the marines.

A convoy of food and medicine brought by the group on Saturday was not allowed into the city.

Col Shupp said casualties could be brought out over the reopened bridge and treated at Falluja's hospital, adding that he had not heard of any civilians trapped inside the city.

The Red Crescent believes at least 150 families are trapped, with many people in desperate need of food, blankets, water and medicine.

Some residents still inside the city, contacted by Reuters yesterday, said their children were suffering from diarrhoea and had not eaten for days.

Asked what he would do about the families and other non-combatants in the city, Col Shupp said: "I haven't heard that myself and the Iraqi soldiers didn't tell me about that. We want to help them as much as we can. We are on the radio telling them how to come out and how to come up to coalition forces."



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beluga2
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posted 15 November 2004 10:03 PM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Faggots and bastards of Fallujah, beware: the soldiers of the Christian Reich are upon you!

quote:
L/Cpl Nicholas Federici, 19, of 1/8 Marines, said: "We didn't get the job done. Now we're going back in to finish it. It's the same with the whole of Iraq. Either we do it, or our friends and younger brothers will come after us to do it.

"Now, we're going in full force. The main thing is to hold our ground and kill as many faggots and bastards as we can. Then we'll rebuild the city, keep our military forces in and hand things over to the Iraqi government."



From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 16 November 2004 02:08 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Inside Fallujah: one family’s diary of terror

quote:
Last week the US launched a major offensive on Fallujah using heavy artillery, bulldozers and tanks. The target was insurgents, but here one family reveals the horror of being caught in the conflict

By Dahr Jamail in Baghdad

She weeps while telling the story. The abaya (tunic) she wears cannot hide the shaking of her body as waves of grief roll through her. “I cannot get the image out of my mind of her foetus being blown out of her body.”

Muna Salim’s sister, Artica, was seven months’ pregnant when two rockets from US warplanes struck her home in Fallujah on November 1. “My sister Selma and I only survived because we were staying at our neighbours’ house that night,” Muna continued, unable to reconcile her survival while eight members of her family perished during the pre-assault bombing of Fallujah that had dragged on for weeks.

Khalid, one of their brothers who was also killed in the attack, has left behind a wife and five young children.

“There were no fighters in our area, so I don’t know why they bombed our home,” said Muna. “When it began there were full assaults from the air and tanks attacking the city, so we left from the eastern side of Fallujah and came to Baghdad.”

Selma, Muna’s 41-year-old sister, told of horrific scenes in the city which has become the centre of resistance in Iraq over the last few months. She described houses that had been razed by countless US air strikes, where the stench of decaying bodies swirled around the city on the dry, dusty winds.

“The bombed houses had collapsed and covered the bodies, and nobody could get to them because people were too afraid to drive a bulldozer,” she explained, throwing her hands into the air in despair.



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majorvictory64
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posted 16 November 2004 04:10 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S., Iraqi Troops Launch Mosul Offensive

quote:
By KATARINA KRATOVAC, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi troops stormed insurgent-held police stations and neighborhoods Tuesday, launching an offensive to retake parts of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where gunmen staged a mass uprising last week in support of fighters in Fallujah.

Troops secured several police stations by the mid-afternoon, meeting "very little resistance," the U.S. military said. Witnesses said insurgents blew up three stations they were holding before abandoning them ahead of the U.S. assault.

U.S. warplanes and helicopters hovered over Mosul — Iraq (news - web sites)'s third largest city, with about 1 million residents — as loud explosions and gunfire were heard. About 1,200 U.S. soldiers were taking part in the offensive to recapture about a dozen police stations abandoned by Iraqi forces in the uprising.

Meanwhile, kidnapped British aid worker Margaret Hassan was believed killed after Al-Jazeera television received a video showing a hooded militant shooting a blindfolded woman in the head. The British government and Hassan's family in London said the victim was likely the 59-year-old Hassan, the longtime head of CARE International in Iraq.

Hassan was abducted in October and had been seen on several videos since, pleading for her life. Well known across the region for decades of work helping Iraqis, she was the most prominent of more than 170 foreigners kidnapped in Iraq this year.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb went off by a U.S. convoy near the central Iraqi town of Balad on Tuesday, killing an American soldier and wounding another, the military said.



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majorvictory64
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posted 16 November 2004 09:19 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
800 Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah

quote:
Dahr Jamail

BAGHDAD, Nov 16 (IPS) - At least 800 civilians have been killed during the U.S. military siege of Fallujah, a Red Cross official estimates.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of U.S. military reprisal, a high-ranking official with the Red Cross in Baghdad told IPS that ”at least 800 civilians” have been killed in Fallujah so far.

His estimate is based on reports from Red Crescent aid workers stationed around the embattled city, from residents within the city and from refugees, he said.

”Several of our Red Cross workers have just returned from Fallujah since the Americans won't let them into the city,” he said. ”And they said the people they are tending to in the refugee camps set up in the desert outside the city are telling horrible stories of suffering and death inside Fallujah.”

The official said that both Red Cross and Iraqi Red Crescent relief teams had asked the U.S. military in Fallujah to take in medical supplies to people trapped in the city, but their repeated requests had been turned down.

A convoy of relief supplies from both relief organisations continues to wait on the outskirts of the city for military permission to enter. They have appealed to the United Nations to intervene on their behalf.

”The Americans close their ears, and that is it,” the Red Cross official said. ”They won't even let us take supplies into Fallujah General Hospital.”

The official estimated that at least 50,000 residents remain trapped within the city. They were too poor to leave, lacked friends or family outside the city and therefore had nowhere to go, or they simply had not had enough time to escape before the siege began, he said.



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majorvictory64
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posted 16 November 2004 10:26 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Fallujah in Pictures Blogspot

quote:
brief note on why

i believe the american people are decent and not without humanity. they have not seen what is being done in their name. maybe we don't live in a world that can do without war. i do know that people need to know what war means before they decide.

the people in these pictures are just as important as the men and women that died on september 11th. a mother who loses her child suffers the same no matter what her nationality might be. she doesn't want a lecture on politics or religion. she wants her son back.

WARNING WARNING WARNING

These images are extraordinarily graphic, even for this site. They were taken in September and April of this year and December of last year.

When people are hit by large caliber weapons they don't just get a red spot and fall over. They come apart. Please remember these are human beings with familes, just like your own.



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Cueball
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posted 16 November 2004 10:28 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Troops secured several police stations by the mid-afternoon, meeting "very little resistance," the U.S. military said. Witnesses said insurgents blew up three stations they were holding before abandoning them ahead of the U.S. assault.

What is it with these people? It is just not fair! Why can't they hang around so that they can slaughtered like sheep.


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
remind
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posted 17 November 2004 01:00 AM      Profile for remind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
You know, the streets resemble anywhere in the western world, these are people like us, who are being murdered. The pictures of the children destroy me, how cane people condone this?
From: "watching the tide roll away" | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 17 November 2004 01:32 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It's easy to kill heathens, I suppose. They have no souls anyway.
From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
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posted 18 November 2004 12:08 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Slash and Burn

quote:
Dahr Jamail

11/17/04 "ICH" -- She lays dazed in the crowded hospital room, languidly waving her bruised arm at the flies. Her shins, shattered by bullets from US soldiers when they fired through the front door of her house, are both covered by casts. Small plastic drainage backs filled with red fluid sit upon her abdomen, where she took shrapnel from another bullet.

Fatima Harouz, 12 years old, lives in Latifiya, a city just south of Baghdad. Just three days ago soldiers attacked her home. Her mother, standing with us says, “They attacked our home and there weren’t even any resistance fighters in our area.” Her brother was shot and killed, and his wife was wounded as their home was ransacked by soldiers. “Before they left, they killed all of our chickens,” added Fatima’s mother, her eyes a mixture of fear, shock and rage.

A doctor standing with us, after listening to Fatima’s mother tell their story, looks at me and sternly asks, “This is the freedom…in their Disney Land are there kids just like this?”

Another young woman, Rana Obeidy, was walking home with her brother two nights ago. She assumes the soldiers shot her and her brother because he was carrying a bottle of soda. This happened in Baghdad. She has a chest wound where a bullet grazed her, unlike her little brother who is dead.

Laying in a bed near Rana is Hanna, 14 years old. She has a gash on her right leg from the bullet of a US soldier. Her family was in a taxi in Baghdad this morning which was driving near a US patrol when a soldier opened fire on the car.

Her father’s shirt is spotted with blood from his head which was wounded when the taxi crashed.

In another room a small boy from Fallujah lays on his stomach. Shrapnel from a grenade thrown into their home by a US soldier entered his body through his back, and implanted near his kidney.

An operation successfully removed the shrapnel. His father was killed by what his mother called, “the haphazard shooting of the Americans.” The boy, Amin, lies in his bed vacillating between crying with pain and playing with is toy car.

It’s one case after another of people from Baghdad, Fallujah, Latifiya, Balad, Ramadi, Samarra, Baquba…from all over Iraq, who have been injured by the heavy-handed tactics of American soldiers fighting a no-win guerilla war spawned from an illegal invasion based on lies. Their barbaric acts of retaliation have become the daily reality for Iraqis, who continue to take the brunt of the frustration and rage of the soldiers.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7194

posted 18 November 2004 02:14 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Counterinsurgency run amok

quote:
Asia Times Online sources in Baghdad confirm the anger across the Sunni heartland - even among moderates - against the occupation and Allawi has reached incendiary proportions. His credibility - already low before the Fallujah massacre - is now completely gone.

Allawi insists on the record that not a single civilian has died in Fallujah. Obviously nobody in his cabinet told him what Baghdad is talking about - the hundreds of rotting corpses in the streets, the thousands of civilians still trapped inside their homes, starving, many of them wounded, with no water and no medical aid. And nobody has told him of dozens of children now in Baghdad's Naaman hospital who lost their limbs, victims of US air strikes and artillery shells.

A top Red Cross official in Baghdad now estimates that at least 800 civilians have been killed so far - and this is a "low" figure, based on accounts by Red Crescent aid workers barred by the Americans from entering the city, residents still inside Fallujah, and refugees now huddling in camps in the desert near Fallujah. The refugees tell horror stories - including confirmation, already reported by Asia Times Online, of the Americans using cluster bombs and spraying white phosphorus, a banned chemical weapon.

The talk in the streets of Baghdad, always referring to accounts by families and friends in and around Fallujah, confirms that there have been hundreds of civilian deaths. Moreover, according to the Red Cross official, since September Allawi's Ministry of Health has not provided any medical supplies to hospitals and clinics in Fallujah: "The hospitals do not even have aspirin," he said, confirming many accounts in these past few days from despairing Fallujah doctors. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of US military reprisal.

Even submitted to media blackout - an al-Arabiya reporter, for instance, was arrested by the Americans because he was trying to enter Fallujah - the Arab press is slowly waking up to the full extent of the tragedy, not only on networks such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya, but also in newspapers like the pro-American Saudi daily Asharq a-Awsat. Our sources say that most of Baghdad and the whole Sunni triangle is already convinced that the Americans "captured" Fallujah general hospital, bombed at least two clinics and are preventing the Red Crescent from delivering urgent help because as many bodies as possible must be removed before any independent observers have a chance to evaluate the real extent of the carnage.

Al-Jazeera continues to apologize for not offering more in-depth coverage, always reminding its viewers that its Baghdad bureau was shut down indefinitely by Allawi in August. But many in the Arab world saw its interview with Dr Asma Khamis al-Muhannadi of Fallujah's general hospital, invaded and "captured" by the marines. She confirmed that "we were tied up and beaten despite being unarmed and having only our medical instruments"; and that the hospital was targeted by bombs and rockets during the initial siege of Fallujah. When the marines came she "was with a woman in labor. The umbilical cord had not yet been cut. At that time, a US soldier shouted at one of the [Iraqi] National Guards to arrest me and tie my hands while I was helping the mother to deliver. I will never forget this incident in my life."



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7194

posted 19 November 2004 02:17 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.S., Iraqi Troops Storm Baghdad Mosque

quote:
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. soldiers, stormed one of the major Sunni Muslim mosques in Baghdad after Friday prayers, opening fire and killing at least three people, witnesses said. In the battle for control of Mosul, Iraqi forces raided several areas overnight, killing 15 insurgents, Iraqi and U.S. military officials said.

At least 13 other insurgents were captured in Mosul, authorities said.

About 40 people were arrested at the Abu Hanifa mosque in the capital's northwestern Azamiyah neighborhood, said the witnesses, who were members of the congregation. Another five people were wounded.

It appeared the raid at Abu Hanifa mosque, long associated with anti-American activity, was part of the crackdown on Sunni clerical militants launched in parallel with military operations against the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah.

On Thursday, the Iraqi government warned that Islamic clerics who incite violence will be considered as "participating in terrorism." A number of them already have been arrested, including several members of the Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars, which spoke out against the U.S.-led offensive against Fallujah.

"The government is determined to pursue those who incite acts of violence. A number of mosques' clerics who have publicly called for taking the path of violence have been arrested and will be legally tried," said Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's spokesman, Thair al-Naqeeb.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7194

posted 19 November 2004 11:20 PM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
U.N.: Afghanistan Sees Increase in Opium

quote:
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Heroin production is booming in Afghanistan, undermining democracy and putting money in the coffers of terrorists, according to a U.N. report Thursday that called on U.S. and NATO-led forces get more involved in fighting drug traffickers.

``Fighting narcotics is equivalent to fighting terrorism,'' said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. ``It would be an historical error to abandon Afghanistan to opium, right after we reclaimed it from the Taliban and al-Qaida.''

Yet while all sides agree on the goal, disputes over tactics surfaced.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called fighting the narcotics industry his ``top priority,'' but came out Thursday against U.S. proposals to use crop dusters, citing possible risks to the health of villagers.

``The government of Afghanistan opposes the aerial spraying of poppy fields as an instrument of eradication,'' Karzai's office in Kabul said.

Despite the political progress epitomized by Karzai's election, and local drug control efforts led by British military advisers, the U.N. agency said cultivation of opium -- the raw material for heroin -- has spread to all of Afghanistan, with 10 percent of the population benefiting from the trade.

This year's cultivation was up by nearly two-thirds, it found. Bad weather and disease kept production from setting a record, although Afghanistan still accounted for 87 percent of the world supply, up from 76 percent in 2003.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
majorvictory64
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7194

posted 20 November 2004 12:25 AM      Profile for majorvictory64     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Why Iraq Will End as Vietnam Did

quote:
As Shakespeare once wrote, they have their exits and their entries. Between about 1975 and 1990, following the US defeat in Vietnam, military history was extremely popular among the US Armed Forces. After 1991, largely as a result of what many people considered the “stellar” performance of those Forces against Saddam Hussein, it went out of fashion; after all, if we were able to do that well there was not much point in studying the mistakes our predecessors made. Now that comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq have suddenly become very fashionable indeed, history is rushing right back at us. Here, I wish to address the differences and the similarities between the two wars by describing Vietnam as it was experienced by one man, Moshe Dayan.

As of 2004, Dayan is remembered, if he is remembered at all, mainly as the symbol of Israeli military power on the one hand and as one of the architects of the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Agreement on the other. In 1966 he was fifty-one years old. Having resigned his position as chief of staff in January 1958, he spent the next two years studying Orientalism and political science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1959 he was elected to Parliament and spent five years as minister of agriculture; serving first under his old mentor, David Ben Gurion, and then under Levi Eshkol. In November 1964 he resigned and found himself a member of the opposition.

Long interested in literature, a superb speaker when he wanted to, in 1965 he published his first book, Sinai Diary, which proved that he could write as well as fight. He was, however, developing an attitude of having seen it all, done it all; a feeling that his twin hobbies, archaeology and an endless string of mistresses, could only relieve up to a point. Hence, when the most important Israeli newspaper of the time, Maariv, proposed that he go to Vietnam as a war correspondent he jumped on the idea. The articles he wrote were published in Maariv as well as the British and French press. In 1977, by which time he was serving as foreign minister under Menahem Begin and engaged in peace-talks with Egypt, the Hebrew-language articles were collected in book form and published. In the preface Dayan explains they were too long to be included in the memoirs he had published a year before; perhaps his real aim was to warn Israelis of the consequences that might ultimately follow if they did not get rid of what he called “the blemish of conquest.” If so, unfortunately he did not succeed.

Dayan knew nothing about Vietnam, and prepared himself thoroughly. His first visit was to France where he had many acquaintances from the time of the Israeli-French alliance of the mid-nineteen fifties; some of these people had served in, and helped lose, the First Indo-China War. His very first contact was a retired Air Force General by the name of Loission. In Loission’s view American public opinion was to blame for not putting its full support behind the War – to which should be added, in parentheses, that at the beginning of the War that support had been overwhelming. He thought the War could easily be won if only American public opinion agreed to bomb North Vietnam back into the Stone Age. As it was, a combination of Viet Cong terrorism and propaganda prevented the world, as well as the South Vietnamese themselves, from seeing how righteous the American cause was; he even believed that, had free elections been held, the Vietnamese might have wanted the French back. He ended the conversation by asking for his ideas to be kept secret. Dayan, who did not think those ideas constituted “a ray of light to an embarrassed world,” readily agreed.



From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 20 November 2004 08:33 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Too long...took about 10 seconds to load on "high speed" (ha!) DSL. Feel free to start a new one.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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