Matrix Masters' Blogs
on Iraq Archives War
on Iraq [Home]
Troop Shortage Requires Navy to Station Sailors Ashore in Iraq
(Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes, June 23, 2005)
U.S. Navy leaders are ready to pluck more sailors off ships and deploy them to Iraq to bolster U.S. efforts in training Iraqi forces, the chief of the U.S. Navy Reserve said Wednesday. . . . "Are we going to take some sailors from the sea and put them ashore to answer this call?" Vice Adm. John Cotton said during an interview in Naples on Wednesday. "The answer to that is a resounding yes." . . . "If that means moving more Air Force and Navy personnel to Army billets to free them up for this mission, we need to do this," Skelton said. "We need to accomplish this mission as quickly as possible because time is not on our side." . . . Cotton did not elaborate on when more sailors may be sent to Iraq, but he pointed out that the Navy Reserve already has added cargo handlers to ground missions in Kuwait." . . . The naval reserve is comprised of about 77,000 sailors, officers and enlisted, of which about 3,300 currently are mobilized, Cotton said. . . . A huge challenge is mitigating the stress put on personnel who repeatedly fill key Navy jobs and have been activated and deployed time and again, Cotton said, citing Seabees, intelligence officials, coastal warfare specialists and civil affairs as examples. . . . "What we’re doing now is focusing recruiting efforts on the communities that are stressed — so a hospital corpsman, a Seabee, an intel professional -- these are the kind of people we want to recruit, either from the active component or directly off the street to relieve the stress."
[FULL DISCLOSURE by Lorenzo: Ordering the Navy Reserve into ground combat in Iraq hits close to home. Although I'm now too old to be called back to active duty (I hope :-), I formerly served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve.]
posted by LoZo 10:54 AM
Baghdad reels from multiple bombs
(BBC News, 23 June 2005)
More than 30 people have been killed in a series of car bombings in Baghdad within 12 hours. . . . Three early morning blasts in the Karrada commercial district left at least 15 dead and 50 wounded. . . . The attacks targeted a Shia mosque and a police patrol, killing at least three officers. The third blast took place outside a public bath-house, or hamam. . . . The explosions came hours after at least 18 people died in five blasts in a Shia district of the city. . . . The attacks happened despite a continuing security operation in Baghdad specifically designed to reduce the number of car bombs. . . . More than 1,000 Iraqis have been killed in the two months since a Shia-led government was formed. . . . The mainly Sunni insurgents look set on trying to provoke a civil war and undermine Iraqi security services, the BBC's Jon Leyne reports from Baghdad. . . . US officials have warned that too much money earmarked for rebuilding Iraq is being diverted to tackle security demands. . . . The head of the reconstruction office said rebuilding was a costly and "risky" business, and there was "a long way to go" to provide adequate services to Iraqis. . . . A United Nations survey released last month found that Iraqi living standards have been plummeting. . . . More than two years since the war ended, just over half the population has access to safe drinking water, there are daily power cuts, and almost a quarter of young children are chronically malnourished, the survey found.
posted by LoZo 5:15 AM
How America is fighting Iraq war on two fronts
(Phillip Knightley, Khaleejtimes, 18 June 2005)
AT A time when Donald Rumsfeld admits that Iraq is no safer now than it was at the end of the war, American opinion polls show that Americans think the Iraq war is turning into another Vietnam and that troops should come home, its fascinating to examine how the American administration has tried to keep secret what has been happening in Iraq. . . . A British writer Naomi Klein wrote late last year: "In Iraq, US forces and their Iraqi surrogates are no longer bothering to conceal attacks on civilian targets and are openly eliminating anyone - doctors, clerics, journalists - who dares to count the bodies." . . . The American embassy in London complained to Naomi Klein and to the Guardian newspaper about her article, taking particular exception to her use of the word "eliminating", a euphemism, of course, for "killing". The embassy suggested that this was a baseless charge and pressed Naomi Klein to present the evidence to back her case. She has now done so. . . . She says that the first American attack on Fallujah last year caused uprisings across Iraq because of reports that the Americans had killed hundreds of civilians. This information was gathered from three main sources - Fallujah General Hospital, Arab TV journalists and clerics. The American forces withdrew from Fallujah and Donald Rumsfeld accused the Arab TV networks of vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable reporting. The Defence Department said Fallujah General Hospital was a centre of anti-American propaganda. . . . When in November last year US troops once again laid siege to Fallujah, according to Naomi Klein, they included a new tactic: "eliminating doctors, journalists and clerics who had drawn public attention to the civilian casualties the first time around. According to The New York Times the Fallujah General Hospital was selected as an early target. It was placed under American military control to prevent its staff reporting on civilian dead and wounded. . . . The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the Americans stole the medics mobile phones to prevent them from communicating with the outside world. And when fighting moved to Mosul, US forces immediately seized control of the hospital there. . . . Meanwhile the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera had no cameras on the ground because the Americans had banned it from reporting in Iraq indefinitely. Al-Arabiya had a reporter in Fallujah but US troops quickly arrested him and held him for the length of the siege. Likewise those clerics who spoke out against the killing in Fallujah were arrested. US forces stormed a prominent Sunni mosque killing three people and arresting 40, including the chief cleric, another opponent to the Falluja siege. . . . The image of the second siege of Fallujah came almost exclusively from American reporters imbedded by American troops and, as Klein says, independent journalists who had covered the first siege from the civilian perspective had been effectively emasculated. At stake here are several important issues. . . . First is that the Americans are determined that the public should not judge the progress of the war, as it did in Vietnam, by how many of the enemy the Americans killed. As General Tommy Franks of US Central Command has emphasised: "We dont do body counts". As Klein says: "The question is; what happens to the people who insist on counting the bodies - the doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the journalists who document these losses, the clerics who denounce them?" . . . She makes a convincing case that these voices are being systematically silenced by a variety of means from mass arrests to raids on hospitals, media censorship, bans, and even overt physical attacks. In her reply to the US embassy she accuses the American administration of waging two wars in Iraq: a war against the Iraqi people which has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives, and a war on witnesses. In my view she makes her case.
Phillip Knightley is a widely published columnist based in London . . . Khaleej Times is the No.1 English language daily newspaper published from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
posted by LoZo 4:56 AM
Zionist Mossad has assassinated 530 Iraq scientists and professors in last seven months
Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Wednesday, 15 June 2005.
Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr,member, editorial board, The Free Arab Voice
There have been persistent reports for many months that Zionist hit squads have been active in Iraq assassinating Iraqi scientists and intellectuals. The latest chapter in that continuing story appeared on Tuesday, 14 June 2005, when the Palestine Information Center posted information that it said came from a report compiled by the United States Department of State and intended for the American President. . . . The report stated that agents of the Zionist foreign intelligence agency, the Mossad, in cooperation with US military forces in Iraq had assassinated 350 Iraqi scientists and more than 200 university professors in scientific and other disciplines. . . . The Palestine Information Center quoted the report as saying that units of the Mossad and "Israeli" commandos had been operating on Iraqi territory for more than a year, the focus of their activities being the assassination of Iraqi scientists and intellectuals. The Zionists resorted to the large-scale assassination campaign, the report said, after the failure of American efforts that started immediately after the American occupation of Iraq aimed at attracting a number of Iraqi scientists to cooperate and go to work in the United States. . . . The report stated that although a few Iraqi scientists did go to work in US government centers, the vast majority of them later refused to cooperate with US scientists in various experiments and fled the United States for other countries. . . . Those Iraqis who chose to remain in their country were subjected to long sessions of interrogation and investigation by US occupation authorities. Some were subjected to torture. The Zionist Mossad, however, came to believe that allowing those scientists to remain alive could constitute a future threat to the security of the Zionist entity. . . . The Mossad believed that the best way to deal with Iraqi scientists was to physically eliminate them, taking advantage of the violence already present in the country. . . . The report said that more than seven months ago the American Defense Department expressed its agreement with the point of view of the Zionist Mossad. Along those lines it was decided to form Zionist commando detachments to assassinate Iraqi scientists. Those detachments were to be aided in their mission by US military forces. Accordingly, the American security service compiled and provided to the Zionists complete biographies on the scientists as well as ways to get to them. . . . This joint assassination campaign has been underway for more than seven months. Over that period of time 350 Iraqi scientists and 200 university professors have been assassinated in Iraqi streets when they were away from home. The report indicated that the families of the scientists believed that their loved ones had been killed or died in the crossfire of Resistance attacks. . . . The campaign to eliminate Iraqi scientists is still underway, according to the report. Systematic Zionist commando assassinations continue >with the support and assistance of the Pentagon. The campaign reportedly has targeted more than 1,000 Iraqi scientists and it is said that one reason for some of the explosions in Iraqi streets that appear to be random and without clear target has been the assassination of the individuals on the US-supplied Mossad hit list.
posted by LoZo 10:17 AM
Dowing Street Memo Hearing Video from CSPAN3
Rep. John Conyers, House Judiciary Cmte. Ranking Member, chairs a meeting on the Downing Street Memo and pre-Iraq War intelligence. Witnesses include former ambassador Joe Wilson, CIA analyst Ray McGovern, Cindy Sheehan, mother of a fallen American soldier, and constitutional lawyer John Bonifaz.
[CLICK the link above to view a CSPAN video of this very important, and unusual, hearing. This is a smoking gun if there ever was one. If our benevolent dictator can survive impeachment after this hearing, our republic is really in serious trouble.]
posted by LoZo 4:15 PM
Berg decapitation video was filmed inside the Abu Ghraib prison
(Hector Carreon, La Voz de Aztlan, Los Angeles, Alta California - May 16, 2004)
[COMMENT by Lorenzo: I'm not personally endorsing the following story, but it sure seems convincing to me. If you are interested, I recommend clicking the link above to read the entire article, which is accompanied by photos to back up the story.]
There is now ample evidence that the video showing the decapitation of 26 year old Nicholas Berg of Philadelphia by purported Al queda members is a complete fraud. The real Nick Berg may or may not be dead, but the heavily edited video is nothing but a fake. This is the conclusion of La Voz de Aztlan after a frame by frame analysis and the conclusion of hundreds of film, medical and other experts world wide who downloaded, viewed and analyzed the video as well. . . . With the advent of the Internet, computers and sophisticated programs it has become increasingly difficult for governments to "pull the wool" over the eyes of their citizens. The Internet has essentially allowed freedom loving people around the world to form communication networks that can now out compete the best intelligence government agencies or special operations groups. This has certainly been the case with the hastily released and shoddy video showing five phoney Al queda members participating in the decapitation of Nicholas Berg that was intended, exclusively, to defray attention from the scandalous sexual abuses of Iraqi POW's that took place at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. Evidence in fact shows that the Berg decapitation was filmed inside the walls of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison . . . It is now known that the opportune decapitation video was first uploaded from London, England to a now defunct website in a server located in Malaysia. The website at http://www.al-asnar.biz was shut down as soon as conservative news outlets like CNN and Fox News were notified. These two news services wasted no time in coming out with headlines like "Islamic Terrorists Decapitate an American in Iraq". Within minutes, local news services from New York to Los Angeles were screaming "Muslim Animals Chop Off the Head of an American" and were showing only short segments of the fake video. Pro-Zionist radio stations in Los Angeles have spent literally days since then talking about the Muslim barbarians and why it is so important to support the war in Iraq. . . . La Voz de Aztlan became mighty suspicious when we first saw a photograph of the purported Nicholas Berg sitting in front of his captors on a white plastic chair that looked very familiar. In addition, the orange prison overalls he was wearing in the video looked mighty familiar as well. . . . Some peculiar anomalies became readily apparent after watching the video and others followed after careful analysis. Many of the anomalies were pointed out to us by our readers who responded after downloading and viewing the video themselves. Please refer to the photographs published, along with this article on our website . . . The most telling evidence that the video of the decapitation of Nicholas Berg was taken inside the Abu Ghraib prison can only be detected by performing a frame by frame analysis. La Voz de Aztlan did just that and some revealing frames came up that are difficult to see if the video is played on normal speed. Towards the end of the video, at frames 9306 through 9368, a person with a US military cap temporarily pokes about a quarter of his left head into the video. His neck, left ear and part of his cap and visor can be seen. We have prepared an animated gif with just the relevant frames that clearly shows this at Animated Photo 7. Look at the right hand side as someone with a military cap, possibly with a second video camera, pokes his head into the video. Also, Photo 9 shows part of his military jacket. Compare this animated gif with the MP whose cap is circled on Photo 4. . . . Anyone who views the video will see that it is phoney. The five so call terrorists are phoney. The one on the extreme right in Photo 6 is pudgy and is wearing very clean tennis shoes. This will not be the case with an Al queda fighter. Also, Photo 6 shows that at least three of them are wearing Israeli Uzi ammunition clips. The Uzi can been seen when the operative on the extreme right adjusts the assault rifle. Look at the garb that all five are wearing. They look like Halloween costumes. . . . For the time being, the mainstream media is totally ignoring the above evidence. Hopefully soon some brave mainstream publisher will dare to bring this important information to the American people. The nation needs to know who was and what really happened to Nicholas Berg.
posted by LoZo 5:50 PM
Bush's Evil Actions Laid Bare by Downing Street Memo
(Jeremy Scahill, The Nation, June 1, 2005)
It was a huge air assault: Approximately 100 US and British planes flew from Kuwait into Iraqi airspace. . . . But there was a catch: The war hadn't started yet, at least not officially. This was September 2002--a month before Congress had voted to give President Bush the authority he used to invade Iraq, two months before the United Nations brought the matter to a vote and more than six months before "shock and awe" officially began. . . . At the time, the Bush Administration publicly played down the extent of the air strikes, claiming the United States was just defending the so-called no-fly zones. But new information that has come out in response to the Downing Street memo reveals that, by this time, the war was already a foregone conclusion and attacks were no less than the undeclared beginning of the invasion of Iraq. . . . The Sunday Times of London recently reported on new evidence showing that "The RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war." The paper cites newly released statistics from the British Defense Ministry showing that "the Allies dropped twice as many bombs on Iraq in the second half of 2002 as they did during the whole of 2001" and that "a full air offensive" was under way months before the invasion had officially begun. . . . The implications of this information for US lawmakers are profound. It was already well known in Washington and international diplomatic circles that the real aim of the US attacks in the no-fly zones was not to protect Shiites and Kurds. But the new disclosures prove that while Congress debated whether to grant Bush the authority to go to war, while Hans Blix had his UN weapons-inspection teams scrutinizing Iraq and while international diplomats scurried to broker an eleventh-hour peace deal, the Bush Administration was already in full combat mode--not just building the dossier of manipulated intelligence, as the Downing Street memo demonstrated, but acting on it by beginning the war itself. And according to the Sunday Times article, the Administration even hoped the attacks would push Saddam into a response that could be used to justify a war the Administration was struggling to sell. . . . On the eve of the official invasion, on March 8, 2003, Bush said in his national radio address: "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force." Bush said this after nearly a year of systematic, aggressive bombings of Iraq, during which Iraq was already being disarmed by force, in preparation for the invasion to come. By the Pentagon's own admission, it carried out seventy-eight individual, offensive airstrikes against Iraq in 2002 alone. . . . These attacks were barely covered in the press and Von Sponeck says that as far back as 1999, the United States and Britain pressured the UN not to call attention to them. During his time in Iraq, Von Sponeck began documenting each of the airstrikes, showing "regular attacks on civilian installations including food warehouses, residences, mosques, roads and people." . . . Rear Admiral David Gove, former deputy director of global operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on November 20, 2002, that US and British pilots were "essentially flying combat missions." On October 3, 2002, the New York Times reported that US pilots were using southern Iraq for "practice runs, mock strikes and real attacks" against a variety of targets. But the full significance of this dramatic change in policy toward Iraq only became clear last month, with the release of the Downing Street memo. In it, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon is reported to have said in 2002, after meeting with US officials, that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime," a reference to the stepped-up airstrikes. Now the Sunday Times of London has revealed that these spikes "had become a full air offensive"--in other words, a war. . . . Michigan Democratic Representative John Conyers has called the latest revelations about these attacks "the smoking bullet in the smoking gun," irrefutable proof that President Bush misled Congress before the vote on Iraq. When Bush asked Congress to authorize the use of force in Iraq, he also said he would use it only as a last resort, after all other avenues had been exhausted. But the Downing Street memo reveals that the Administration had already decided to topple Saddam by force and was manipulating intelligence to justify the decision. That information puts the increase in unprovoked air attacks in the year prior to the war in an entirely new light: The Bush Administration was not only determined to wage war on Iraq, regardless of the evidence; it had already started that war months before it was put to a vote in Congress. It only takes one member of Congress to begin an impeachment process, and Conyers is said to be considering the option. The process would certainly be revealing. Congress could subpoena Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Gen. Richard Myers, Gen.Tommy Franks and all of the military commanders and pilots involved with the no-fly zone bombings going back into the late 1990s. What were their orders, both given and received? In those answers might lie a case for impeachment. . . . But another question looms, particularly for Democrats who voted for the war and now say they were misled: Why weren't these unprovoked and unauthorized attacks investigated when they were happening, when it might have had a real impact on the Administration's drive to war? Perhaps that's why the growing grassroots campaign to use the Downing Street memo to impeach Bush can't get a hearing on Capitol Hill. A real probing of this "smoking gun" would not be uncomfortable only for Republicans. The truth is that Bush, like President Bill Clinton before him, oversaw the longest sustained bombing campaign since Vietnam against a sovereign country with no international or US mandate. That gun is probably too hot for either party to touch.
posted by LoZo 3:11 PM
US Admits Insurgents' Resources Increasing
(Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, 02 June 2005)
Suicide Attacks Rising Rapidly . . . Increasingly, the bombers are Iraqis instead of foreign infiltrators. Civilians and police, not GIs, are the prime targets. . . . Suicide bombings have surged to become the Iraqi insurgency's weapon of choice, with a staggering 90 attacks accounting for most of last month's 750 deaths at the militants' hands. . . . Suicide attacks outpaced car bombings almost 2-to-1 in May, according to figures compiled by the U.S. military, The Times and other media outlets. In April, there were 69 suicide attacks, more than in the entire year preceding the June 28, 2004, hand-over of sovereignty. . . . The frequency of suicide bombings here is unprecedented, exceeding that of Palestinian attacks against Israel and of other militant insurgencies, such as the Chechen rebellion in Russia. Baghdad saw five suicide bombings in a six-hour span Sunday. . . . U.S. officials and Iraqi analysts say the insurgents' resources are increasing on several fronts: money to buy vehicles and explosives, expertise in wiring car and human bombs and intelligence leaks that help them target U.S. and Iraqi forces. . . . Suicide attacks are on the rise because the explosive devices "are simple to construct and easy to operate, thus making suicide bombers difficult to detect," said Navy Cmdr. Fred Gaghan . . . "There's a kind of axiom out there that says Iraqis aren't suicide bombers," Gen. George W. Casey, commander of multinational forces in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad this year. "I'm not sure that's the case. I believe there are Iraqi Islamic extremists - that are very capable of getting into cars and blowing themselves up." . . . "Often with suicide bombers, there's not enough left of them to be identified," one senior U.S. military official said. With rare exceptions, the perpetrators wage their final battle in anonymity, traveling to their targets without identity papers to deprive police of any intelligence in the event of their capture. . . . "They are trying to penetrate defensive measures by conducting more complex attacks, double suicide attacks or suicide attacks combined with other weapons such as small-arms fire or mortar attacks," said Gaghan, the Navy officer. . . . In Hillah, south of Baghdad, where two suicide bombers killed dozens at a demonstration Monday, the second bomber followed the fleeing crowd. . . . At the scene of another recent bombing, police found a foot duct-taped to the car's accelerator and hands fastened to the steering wheel. . . . Such restriction, perhaps the result of coercion, would hinder the effectiveness of a suicide strike because the driver would have no control over the detonation, Gaghan noted. Other analysts speculated that the measure wasn't evidence of forced participation but was taken to ensure that the vehicle reached its target even if the driver was shot while approaching. . . . But those privy to the bombing investigations say that drivers are sometimes duped into deadly bombings. . . . "Some who drive car bombs don't know they are going to blow up. They are told to take a car to a certain location and that they will receive further information afterward," said Kamil Abdulmajeed, chief judge for the 2nd Iraqi Central Criminal Court. "When they arrive, the car is suddenly detonated by remote control."
posted by LoZo 12:14 PM
Facing Chaos, Iraqi Doctors Are Quitting
(Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times, 30 May 2005)
Baghdad - The letter came to this city's main cardiac hospital late last month. It was unsigned and handwritten, but its message was clear: It threatened the hospital's top doctors and warned them to leave their jobs immediately. . . . No one knows who sent the letter, but the relentless violence here is often baffling. Four of the hospital's top surgeons stopped going to work. So did six senior cardiologists. Some left the country. . . . It was far from an isolated incident. . . . The director of another hospital, Dr. Abdula Sahab Eunice, was gunned down May 17 on his way to work, officials at the hospital said. . . . In the past year, about 10 percent of Baghdad's total force of 32,000 registered doctors - Sunnis, Shiites and Christians - have left or been driven from work, according to the Iraqi Medical Association, which licenses practitioners. The exodus has accelerated in recent months . . . One 32-year-old doctor at a medium-size Baghdad hospital said doctors now routinely exaggerated the risk of complications, hoping patients would opt against surgery. . . . "We try to avoid complicated operations," said the doctor, afraid enough for his own safety to insist on being identified only by his first name, Omar. "What if the patient dies? You're face to face with relatives with guns." . . . One 60-year-old gynecologist, who was kidnapped last December, said three cars, one of them a police cruiser, pulled her car over. Men banged on her window with guns, forced their way into her car and pushed her head to the floor. They took her and her driver to a house. . . . The men asked for $1 million, handed her a gun and told her to kill the driver. They said they would cut off her hand and send it, with the driver's body, to her son. . . . "I said, 'I cannot kill him,' " she said. "I can't even kill a bird. They started to beat me on the face." . . . The men released her after her family paid $250,000, most of it borrowed. Oddly, an American patrol stopped the car as the men were driving her and her driver home. Seeing her bruised face, they asked if she was all right. Terrified, she replied that she was on her way to the hospital. She made it home; a day later, she left for Jordan. Still terrorized by the incident, she asked that her name be withheld. . . . "I'm healed from outside, but I never heal on the inside," she said. A rarity, she has returned to Iraq - to work at repaying the friends who lent the ransom money. . . . The exodus of senior doctors has resulted in very unpredictable medical service, doctors and hospital officials said. Patients are not sure whether they will find their doctors. Junior doctors fresh out of medical school are performing complicated surgical operations that ordinarily would be done by more experienced doctors. . . . The workload increases for the doctors who remain. Dr. Hashem Zainy, a psychiatrist and the director of a psychiatric hospital, Ibn Rushud, said the doctors who have stayed must see almost double the daily caseload. . . . "It's ridiculous," he said. "They listen to the patient for a few minutes and write out a prescription and that's it." . . . Dr. Kubaisy saw his final patients at his clinic across town from the hospital this month. One patient, Halima Obeidi, a 75-year-old woman with kidney failure, lay on a hospital bed surrounded by worried relatives. They spoke in hushed tones, avoiding the topic of who would care for her once Dr. Kubaisy left. But for him, staying was simply not an option. . . . Perhaps Dr. Alousi, of the Iraqi Medical Association, put it best. "If you get a doctor and you need to be examined," he said, "and there's an AK-47 under the table, things are very bad."
posted by LoZo 9:32 PM
Here are some interesting photos taken in Iraq by a U.S. soldier
posted by LoZo 5:17 PM
Photos of the wounded returning from Iraq
Click the link above to view the New York Times Magazine series of 22 photos of wounded veterans returning from the war.
posted by LoZo 10:47 AM
Two years after the US-led war on Iraq, urban life in Iraq's insurgency-ridden Sunni Triangle has been paralyzed due to the hard-core military operations. . . . Only a small number of some 200,000 citizens that fled Fallujah ahead of a US massive assault have returned to the war-battered city, residing in partially opened neighborhoods and leaving other parts occupied by the American troops. . . . In thousands of refugee camps outside the town, people are still living off aids and make-shift tents have become children's classrooms. . . . "Writers depict the hardships of Fallujans and reporters cover our misfortunes, but nobody can feel the pain the kids are suffering except themselves," lamented Suad Mohamed Mustafa, headmistress of the Wathba high school for girls. . . . "Students are not supposed to miss their lessons despite the tragic events. Thus, we rented tents for them," Mustafa told Xinhuain a shabby tent used as her dean office. . . . But the children's schooling are accompanied with coldness, darkness and even diseases. . . . "When it rains, the tents could turn into a mess and diseases spread quickly," said Mustafa, "but no teacher gives a damn despite the hardship." . . . "I have difficulties in taking lessons with more than 25 students inside a tent originally designed for 10," said 12-year-old Azhar Khalil. . . . "It's like hell, but what you going to do? To idle away a whole year is no option," said the child. . . . "I have asthma and the tent would not protect us from cold. I suffocate continuously due to the bad ventilation," complained Nuha Mahmood, who is 14. . . . She recalled that her classmate Mays Hassan was sitting near the blackboard in the front row one day when a storm came and the falling board hit right on her head. She was transferred to hospital unconscious.
posted by LoZo 6:18 AM
What the President Should Do - How to End the War Quickly and Honorably
by Richard Maybury
I'm often asked what Bush should have done after 9-11.
The Saudi royal family are the most powerful gangsters in the Islamic world. Bush should have said to them, give us everyone involved in the attack, plus all the evidence. The ones our courts find guilty will be executed.
In exchange, he should have said, we will reverse the foreign policy begun in the 1940s. We will sever all political and military connections throughout the Islamic world. We will become completely neutral, withdraw all our troops, and cease our meddling in Islamic affairs.
We will never again offer money, weapons or military training to killers such the Shah of Iran, the Saudi royal family, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Boris Yeltsin in Russia, or Musharraf in Pakistan. We will go home and leave you alone.
These are, incidentally, measures Washington should have taken decades ago, even in the absence of a war, on grounds of ethics alone.
Would the Saudi royal thugs have declined the offer? Would they have said to a billion Muslims, no deal, we want the US government to stay in the Mideast?
Maybe. But if they did, I think they'd all very quickly have been hanging from lampposts.
Instead, Bush immediately chose war, and now tens of thousands have been killed and wounded in a conflict that is not likely to end in our lifetimes.
War should always be the last resort, not the first. Odds are very high that eventually each of us will know one or more young men or women who will be horribly maimed or killed in this debacle.
However, the beauty of the plan Bush should have used from the beginning is, it's still available. At any time, the President can deliver that offer to the Saudi dictators.
If the offer does not work, he can always continue war, so why not give it a try? What's to lose?
posted by Hal 8:37 AM
New Report Mass Graves Of US Soldiers
(Bruce Kennedy, JUS, Nov 16, 2004)
In August, reports began surfacing about incidents of dead American bodies being dumped into the Diali River by US helicopters in the early morning hours. Fishermen on the Diali river area , a small river originates in Iran and ends at Deglah, 60 kilometer east of Baghdad, were the first to notice the American practice of dumping bodies wrapped in black plastic bags from helicopters at dawn time into the river. Some of the bodies, still wrapped in plastic bags, were caught in their fishing nets. . . . Over the next few weeks more bodies were found in other locations including Al-Tharthar in Sammara and Wadi Hairan in Al-Ratibah. The bodies have been collected and buried in the general areas of those locations. . . . A new report has now surfaced on the Arabic website abolkhaseb.net, accompanied by some footage, which provides an in-depth analysis of the discovery of the bodies. The writer of the five page report (in Arabic) goes into great detail details about locations and how the bodies were dumped in rivers and remote desert locations. The author claims to have talked to two American female soldiers and an American communications officer who reluctantly confirmed the finding but said that most of these bodies were mercenaries who were promised high paying job and in some case US citizenship. . . . The narrator on the film clip indicates that the bodies were taken from the mass graves to an undisclosed grave and they will be handed over to Red Crescent, Red Cross or any organization that promises to get the truth out. . . . Both the narrator and the author of the report give evidence which they conclude are the reasons why the Americans would dispose of dead soldiers in this fashion, specifically to hide casualties especially in an election year and that because many of the bodies were badly burned, such as occurs in explosions, the Americans would fear a of public backlash if this kind of carnage resulted. . . . The narrator on the film presents some convincing reasons why it is believed these bodies are Americans, besides the fact that some were seen being dropped from US helicopters by the fisherman, namely . . . The bodies are tall, unlike Iraqis or many other Middle Eastern nationalities. . . . The bodies were wrapped in the type of plastic bags used only by Americans. . . . Their complexions when the bodies are not completely burned and could be inspected are mostly white. . . . Their teeth are well maintained unlike those of individuals in poorer countries like Iraq. . . . The author of the text document claims that interviews with some soldiers and officers who refused to give their names confirmed the identity of soldiers and the validity of the findings, in addition to the Iraqi fishermen who witnessed the dumping of bodies into the river by copters in the early hours of the morning over a long period of time. . . . JUS translators are currently underway translating this lengthy document which we will make available in its entirety when the work is complete. In between time, you can view the footage by pasting the following link into your browser.
WARNING!!!! Graphic Content Advisory. Do not proceed if you are sensitive to graphic content.
http://www.abolkhaseb.net/media/vedio/shot6.wmv . . . If this report can be independently verified, the Americans have another big problem on their hands.
posted by LoZo 12:21 PM
What They’re Not Telling You About the “Election”
(Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches, Feb 01, 2005)
After a day which left 50 people dead in Iraq, both civilians and soldiers, the death toll was hailed as a figure that was "lower than expected." Thus acceptable, by Bush Administration/corporate media standards. After all, only [one] of them was an American, the rest were Iraqis civilians and British soldiers. . . . The gamble of using the polling day in Iraq to justify the ongoing failed occupation of Iraq has apparently paid off, if you watch only mainstream media. . . . What they didn't tell you was that this [voter turnout] figure was provided by Farid Ayar, the spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI) before the polls had even closed. . . . But this isn't the most important misrepresentation the mainstream media committed. . . . What they also didn't tell you was that of those who voted, whether they be 35% or even 60% of registered voters, were not voting in support of an ongoing US occupation of their country. . . . In fact, they were voting for precisely the opposite reason. Every Iraqi I have spoken with who voted explained that they believe the National Assembly which will be formed soon will signal an end to the occupation. . . . And they expect the call for a withdrawing of foreign forces in their country to come sooner rather than later. . . . This causes one to view the footage of cheering, jubilant Iraqis in a different light now, doesn't it? . . . But then, most folks in the US watching CNN, FOX, or any of the major networks won't see it that way. Instead, they will hear what Mr. Bush said, "The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East," and take it as fact because most of the major media outlets aren't scratching beneath film clips of joyous Iraqi voters over here in the land of daily chaos and violence, no jobs, no electricity, little running water and no gasoline (for the Iraqis anyhow). . . . And Bush is portrayed by the media as the bringer of democracy to Iraq by the simple fact that this so-called election took place, botched as it may have been. Appearances suggest that the majority Shia in Iraq now finally get their proportional representation in a "government." Looks good on paper. . . . But as you continue reading, the seemingly altruistic reasons for this election as portrayed by the Bush Administration and trumpeted by most mainstream media are anything but. . . . And Iraqis who voted are hearing other trumpets that are blaring an end to the occupation. . . . Now the question remains, what happens when the National Assembly is formed and over 100,000 US soldiers remain on the ground in Iraq with the Bush Administration continuing in its refusal to provide a timetable for their removal? . . . Antonia Juhasz, a Foreign Policy in Focus scholar, authored a piece just before the "election" that sheds light on a topic that has lost attention amidst the recent fanfare concerning the polls in Iraq. . . . Oil. . . . On Dec. 22, 2004, Iraqi Finance Minister Abdel Mahdi told a handful of reporters and industry insiders at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that Iraq wants to issue a new oil law that would open Iraq's national oil company to private foreign investment. As Mahdi explained: "So I think this is very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies." . . . In other words, Mahdi is proposing to privatize Iraq's oil and put it into American corporate hands. . . . According to the finance minister, foreigners would gain access both to "downstream" and "maybe even upstream" oil investment. This means foreigners can sell Iraqi oil and own it under the ground . . . the very thing for which many argue the U.S. went to war in the first place. . . . As Vice President Dick Cheney's Defense Policy Guidance report explained back in 1992, "Our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the [Middle East] region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil." . . . It turns out that Abdel Mahdi is running in the Jan. 30 elections on the ticket of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIR), the leading Shiite political party. While announcing the selling-off of the resource which provides 95 percent of all Iraqi revenue may not garner Mahdi many Iraqi votes, but it will unquestionably win him tremendous support from the U.S. government and U.S. corporations. . . . I'll add that the list of political parties Mahdi's SCIR belongs to, The United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), includes the Iraqi National Council, which is led by an old friend of the Bush Administration who provided the faulty information they needed to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq, none other than Ahmed Chalabi. . . . It should also be noted that interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi also fed the Bush Administration cooked information used to justify the invasion, but he heads a different Shia list which will most likely be getting nearly as many votes as the UIA list. . . . And The UIA has the blessing of Iranian born revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Sistani issued a fatwa which instructed his huge number of followers to vote in the election, or they would risk going to hell. . . . Thus, one might argue that the Bush administration has made a deal with the SCIR: Iraq's oil for guaranteed political power. The Americans are able to put forward such a bargain because Bush still holds the strings in Iraq.
posted by LoZo 1:39 PM
What They’re Not Telling You About the “Election”
(Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches, Feb 01, 2005)
After a day which left 50 people dead in Iraq, both civilians and soldiers, the death toll was hailed as a figure that was "lower than expected." Thus…acceptable, by Bush Administration/corporate media standards. After all, only [one] of them was an American, the rest were Iraqis civilians and British soldiers. . . . The gamble of using the polling day in Iraq to justify the ongoing failed occupation of Iraq has apparently paid off, if you watch only mainstream media. . . . What they didn't tell you was that this [voter turnout] figure was provided by Farid Ayar, the spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI) before the polls had even closed. . . . But this isn’t the most important misrepresentation the mainstream media committed. . . . What they also didn't tell you was that of those who voted, whether they be 35% or even 60% of registered voters, were not voting in support of an ongoing US occupation of their country. . . . In fact, they were voting for precisely the opposite reason. Every Iraqi I have spoken with who voted explained that they believe the National Assembly which will be formed soon will signal an end to the occupation. . . . And they expect the call for a withdrawing of foreign forces in their country to come sooner rather than later. . . . This causes one to view the footage of cheering, jubilant Iraqis in a different light now, doesn’t it? . . . But then, most folks in the US watching CNN, FOX, or any of the major networks won’t see it that way. Instead, they will hear what Mr. Bush said, "The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East," and take it as fact because most of the major media outlets aren’t scratching beneath film clips of joyous Iraqi voters over here in the land of daily chaos and violence, no jobs, no electricity, little running water and no gasoline (for the Iraqis anyhow). . . . And Bush is portrayed by the media as the bringer of democracy to Iraq by the simple fact that this so-called election took place, botched as it may have been. Appearances suggest that the majority Shia in Iraq now finally get their proportional representation in a "government." Looks good on paper. . . . But as you continue reading, the seemingly altruistic reasons for this election as portrayed by the Bush Administration and trumpeted by most mainstream media are anything but. . . . And Iraqis who voted are hearing other trumpets that are blaring an end to the occupation. . . . Now the question remains, what happens when the National Assembly is formed and over 100,000 US soldiers remain on the ground in Iraq with the Bush Administration continuing in its refusal to provide a timetable for their removal? . . . Antonia Juhasz, a Foreign Policy in Focus scholar, authored a piece just before the "election" that sheds light on a topic that has lost attention amidst the recent fanfare concerning the polls in Iraq. . . . Oil. . . . On Dec. 22, 2004, Iraqi Finance Minister Abdel Mahdi told a handful of reporters and industry insiders at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that Iraq wants to issue a new oil law that would open Iraq's national oil company to private foreign investment. As Mahdi explained: "So I think this is very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies." . . . In other words, Mahdi is proposing to privatize Iraq's oil and put it into American corporate hands. . . . According to the finance minister, foreigners would gain access both to "downstream" and "maybe even upstream" oil investment. This means foreigners can sell Iraqi oil and own it under the ground — the very thing for which many argue the U.S. went to war in the first place. . . . As Vice President Dick Cheney's Defense Policy Guidance report explained back in 1992, "Our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the [Middle East] region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil." . . . It turns out that Abdel Mahdi is running in the Jan. 30 elections on the ticket of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIR), the leading Shiite political party. While announcing the selling-off of the resource which provides 95 percent of all Iraqi revenue may not garner Mahdi many Iraqi votes, but it will unquestionably win him tremendous support from the U.S. government and U.S. corporations. . . . I’ll add that the list of political parties Mahdi’s SCIR belongs to, The United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), includes the Iraqi National Council, which is led by an old friend of the Bush Administration who provided the faulty information they needed to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq, none other than Ahmed Chalabi. . . . It should also be noted that interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi also fed the Bush Administration cooked information used to justify the invasion, but he heads a different Shia list which will most likely be getting nearly as many votes as the UIA list. . . . And The UIA has the blessing of Iranian born revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Sistani issued a fatwa which instructed his huge number of followers to vote in the election, or they would risk going to hell. . . . Thus, one might argue that the Bush administration has made a deal with the SCIR: Iraq's oil for guaranteed political power. The Americans are able to put forward such a bargain because Bush still holds the strings in Iraq.
posted by LoZo 1:34 PM
Iraqi Election Will Change the World. But Not in the Way the Americans Imagined
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 29 January 2005)
America has insisted on these elections - which will produce a largely Shia parliament representing Iraq's largest religious community - because they are supposed to provide an exit strategy for embattled US forces, but they seem set to change the geopolitical map of the Arab world in ways the Americans could never have imagined. For George Bush and Tony Blair this is the law of unintended consequences writ large. . . . outside Iraq, Arab leaders are talking of a Shia "Crescent" that will run from Iran through Iraq to Lebanon via Syria, whose Alawite leadership forms a branch of Shia Islam. The underdogs of the Middle East, repressed under the Ottomans, the British and then the pro-Western dictators of the region, will be a new and potent political force. . . . In Bahrain, a Sunni monarchy rules over a Shia majority that staged a mini-insurrection in the 1990s. Saudi Arabia has long treated its Shia minority with suspicion and repression. . . . In the Arab world, they say that God favoured the Shia with oil. Shias live above the richest oil reserves in Saudi Arabia and upon some of the Kuwaiti oil fields. Apart from Mosul, Iraqi Shias live almost exclusively amid their own country's massive oil fields. Iran's oil wealth is controlled by the country's overwhelming Shia majority. . . . What does all this presage for the Sunni potentates of the Arabian peninsula? . . . The Americans originally feared that parliamentary elections in Iraq would create a Shia Islamic republic and made inevitable - and unnecessary - warnings to Iran not to interfere in Iraq. But now they are far more frightened that without elections the 60 per cent Shia community would join the Sunni insurgency. . . . Few in Iraq believe that these elections will end the insurgency, let alone bring peace and stability. By holding the poll now - when the Shias, who are not fighting the Americans, are voting while the Sunnis, who are fighting the Americans, are not - the elections can only sharpen the divisions between the country's two largest communities. . . . While Washington had clearly not envisaged the results of its invasion in this way, its demand for "democracy" is now moving the tectonic plates of the Middle East in a new and uncertain direction. The Arab states outside the Shia "Crescent" fear Shia political power even more than they are frightened by genuine democracy. . . . No wonder, then, King Abdullah of Jordan is warning that this could destabilise the Gulf and pose a "challenge" to the United States. This may also account for the tolerant attitude of Jordan towards the insurgency, many of whose leaders freely cross the border with Iraq. . . . The American claim that they move secretly from Syria into Iraq appears largely false; the men who run the rebellion against US rule in Iraq are not likely to smuggle themselves across the Syrian-Iraqi desert when they can travel "legally" across the Jordanian border.
posted by LoZo 2:17 PM
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Hit by Rocket, 2 Dead
(Associated Press, 29 January 2005)
A rocket or mortar hit the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad late Saturday on the eve of Iraq's landmark elections, killing two people and wounding four others, a U.S. Embassy official said. . . . One round fell into the Embassy's compound in the heavily fortified Green Zone in central Baghdad, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. . . . Embassy spokesman Bob Callahan confirmed the embassy had been hit in an attack and said there appeared to have been casualties, but could give no details. . . . The second official then confirmed that two had been killed and four injured. . . . Elsewhere in the country, insurgents killed eight Iraqis and a U.S. soldier in attacks Saturday and blasted polling places across the country on the eve of landmark elections . . . Iraqi police and soldiers set up checkpoints through streets largely devoid of traffic as the nation battened down for the vote, with a nighttime curfew imposed across the country and the borders sealed. Seven American soldiers were killed Friday in the Baghdad area, including two pilots who died in the crash of their OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter. . . . Sunni Muslim extremists have warned Iraqis not to participate in the election Sunday, threatening to "wash the streets" in blood. Iraqis will chose a 275-member National Assembly and provincial councils in Iraq's 18 provinces. Voters in the Kurdish self-ruled area of the north will select a new regional parliament. . . . An electoral commission official in one of the four Sunni provinces where turnout is expected to be light said voting would be "almost impossible" in some cities because of violence. Khalaf Mohammed Salih, a commission spokesman in Salaheddin province, said he expected violence to virtually shut down voting in the provincial towns of Beiji, Dour and Samarra. . . . In Fallujah, the former Sunni Arab insurgent stronghold 40 miles west of Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers, their faces masked to hide their identity, stood guard on the streets, where many shops were shuttered for fear of election day violence. . . . "We will not vote because our houses have been destroyed," complained resident Ala Hussein. "We don't have electricity or water. The Iraqi National Guard fire at us 24 hours a day. So who will we vote for? We don't have security or pensions."
posted by LoZo 1:28 PM
Can You Imagine?: Hussein Was Right & Bush Was Wrong
(Commentary by Harry Browne) January 15, 2005
In 2002, the year before the Iraq War began, Iraqi officials produced an 11,800-page report on Iraq's weapons programs. The report described all the chemical and biological weapons the country once had — where they came from and what was done with them — as well as what had happened to Iraq's nuclear weapons program.
Although the report was prepared for the United Nations, U.S. officials intercepted the report, edited out 8,000 pages (over two thirds) of it, and delivered its Reader's Digest version of the report to the UN.
The missing parts of the report covered the Iraqis' acquisition of chemical and biological weapons from the U.S., the delivery of non-fissionable materials for a nuclear bomb by the U.S. to the Iraqis, and the training of Iraqi nuclear scientists at U.S. nuclear facilities in Los Alamos, Sandia, and Berkeley.
The basic points made in the report were:
- Iraq once had chemical and biological weapons.
- Some of those weapons were destroyed at the end of the Gulf War; the rest were destroyed under the supervision of the UN weapons inspectors.
- Iraq once had a program to develop nuclear weapons.
- Some of the nuclear weapons facilities were destroyed at the end of the Gulf War; the rest were destroyed under the supervision of the UN weapons inspectors.
UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said the conclusions stated in the report were basically true — that Iraq no longer had dangerous weapons.
Now here we are, over two years later. What have we learned? The hunt for WMD has turned up exactly nothing, and so the hunt has been called off. [Just about] everything Hussein said about the weapons has turned out to be true. [Just about] everything George Bush said about Iraq's weapons has turned out to be false.
What's most interesting to me is that:
1. The U.S. edits out the incriminating parts of the report.
2. Iraq's most nasty WMD (chemical, biological, materials and training for potential nuclear) came from the U.S. (like many of us were saying all along).
3. Yes, Iraq once had WMD, but they were destroyed (just like we all knew).
posted by Hal 1:25 PM
New Sources for Iraq War Photos
Because of the Bush administration's censorship of war news and images, we
seldom see what our troops go through every day they are in Iraq. Thanks to Imad Khadduri, we now have access to a much wider range of images from that war-torn land.
Here are a few samples of photos available from links in his blog:
Here is what Imad Khadduri has to say about photo journalism in Iraq:
The photographs, shown by most major Western and Arab main stream media that accompany news stories on Iraq's illegal occupation, are neutered in their message. . . . They usually portray soldiers standing with their weapons in hand, or a destroyed vehicle. . . . They do not reflect the reality and horrors of war. . . . You neither hear the sounds nor see the blood:
US Losses - Photos Hidden By US News Media
Caring for the Wounded in Iraq- A Photo Essay
Marking the first year of occupation of Iraq [an excellent Flash presentation]
The Face of War and click on the images on the left column to view the whole gallery.
This is War [this is a HUGE collection of images in contact print style]
Videos documenting "brave" US soldiers killing wounded Iraqis:
Take No Prisoners - U.S. Marines execute an Iraqi to the cheers of fellow marines . Another proud moment in U.S. Military History. "He's wounded, Hit Him"
Take them out, dude: pilots toast hit on Iraqi 'civilians'
posted by LoZo 7:00 PM