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Today in Iraq

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Photo: A painting entitled 'Picnic' by artist Muayad Muhsin, who was both inspired and enraged by a photo of Donald H. Rumsfeld slumped on an airplane seat with his army boots up in front of him, is displayed in Baghdad, Iraq Monday, June 5, 2006. (AP Photo/Samir Mizban) (See below 'Rumsfeld painting in Iraq art exhibit')

Bring 'em on: A 49th Military Police Brigade Soldier was killed when insurgents attacked his convoy with an improvised explosive device at approximately 8:23 p.m. on June 5 in Baghdad, Iraq. (CENTCOM)

Bring 'em on: Cpl. Ryan J. Cummings, 22, of Streamwood, Ill., died June 3, from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. (DefenseLink)

Defense officials in London say British troops fired baton rounds on about 100 people who were throwing rocks at them in Basra. However, Iraqi police say the soldiers fired at children throwing stones, killing a 13-year-old boy and wounding a girl who's 12.



(update) Fifteen of the 50 Iraqis kidnapped yesterday in downtown Baghdad by gunmen wearing police uniforms were found wandering in eastern Baghdad, many of them showing signs of torture. Police found eight of them together on a major north-south highway in east Baghdad. Patrols were alerted to search for others and another seven were found around the area, three of whom had bullet wounds in their legs. The al-Kindi hospital confirmed that 13 people had been brought in by police for treatment.

Four police officers were killed, and another wounded, when gunmen attacked their patrol in Baghdad. Police sources said the attack took place in the western al-Mansour district of the capital.

An Iraqi civilian was killed and two of his children were injured when a mortar round landed on their house in the Baladiyat neighborhood in eastern Baghdad.

Four Iraqi policemen and a civilian were killed when unidentified gunmen opened fire at a group of policemen in Baghdad's western district of Mansur.

Two police officers-- a colonel and a major-- were killed and two policemen wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Baghdad's eastern district of Zaiyouna. A police vehicle was also destroyed in the attack, he said. Another policeman was injured and a nearby building was set on fire when a roadside bomb went off in the Zuhour Intersection in western Baghdad.

Police found five bodies, two of them women, in different parts of Baghdad.

A civilian was killed and four others wounded in a car bomb attack next to an ice-cream shop in Baghdad's Karada district.

Two policemen were killed and three were wounded when a roadside bomb hit a patrol in western Mansour district. A car bomb later went off as firefighters rushed to the scene, injuring one firefighter.

An explosive-laden car detonated on Wednesday near Iraq's Ministry of Culture in the Zayouna district of eastern Baghdad, leaving a number of people injured and causing damage to vehicles. The scale of damage resulting from the blast which targeted a passing Iraqi police patrol was not yet available. Witnesses said the area was sealed off.


Gunmen driving in cars opened fire randomly on passersby Tuesday night in several locations in Basra, killing 14 civilians and injuring 8 others. The sources said that the shootings took place at a time when those streets are usually crowded and that the victims included women and children.


Gunmen stormed two neighbouring shops and killed their two owners in Baquba.

Two Iraqi soldiers were killed and four were wounded in Baquba, 65 km north of Baghdad. One of them died when a roadside bomb struck his patrol. Gunmen later opened fire on Iraqi troops coming to evacuate the wounded, killing the second soldier.


Gunmen assaulted a patrol of the Iraqi Army with a bomb blast and gunfire near a fuel station in the town of Bahraz, south of the provincial town of Baacouba. Troops of the patrol engaged the attackers, killed two of them and wounded another. One soldier died in the violence.


The body of a former Baath party member from Diwaniyah province was found in the capital, police said, adding that he had been shot.


(near) A van was stopped by gunmen in a remote hilly region on the road between Tikrit and Kirkuk. Two of the passengers who were Shiite were then abducted by the gunmen while the rest were allowed to proceed.

A van containing engineers working for the Northern Oil Company was stopped by gunmen in a remote hilly region on the road between Tikrit and Kirkuk. Two who were Shiite were abducted, while the rest were allowed to proceed.

In the centre of Tikrit city, two policemen were shot dead when gunmen opened fire on their car.

Three civilians were wounded in a car bomb attack in front of a court in the centre of Tikrit.


Three Mosul university students were killed before attending their examinations today by unidentified militants while the body of a fourth Iraqi lady was found with bullet hole as she was traveling from Mosul to Karkuik. Iraqi police said that a group of unidentified armed men entered the inner section of the university located in Prophet Younis area before the students conducted their examinations and opened fire on three of them. Police sources stressed that the female student was killed by a foolish bullet which came from the weapon of one of the national guards.

Three people, including a policeman, were killed in a drive-by shooting in Mosul.


A police captain was killed and eight others, including five civilians, were wounded in a roadside bombing targeting a police patrol south of Kirkuk.

Iraqi Police announced that one of its members was killed and six others were injured in a bomb explosion near a police vehicle south Kirkuk. A source from Iraqi Police told KUNA the bomb exploded in Toz Khormatu market southern Kirkuk, killing Sulaiman Jawamir and injuring six other policemen.


Gunmen killed a Sunni mosque preacher in the town of Hawija, 60 km southwest of Kirkuk.


ITC [Iraqi Turkmen Front] said that 22 Turkmens were killed in Karatepe town, 100 kilometers north of Baghdad two days ago. ITC stated that a bus was waylaid with barricade erected on the road, and 26 passengers were separated into groups according to their religious sects, and then 22 Shiite Turkmens were killed.


Staff Sgt. Darren Harmon, 44, of Newark Del., died in Haditha, Iraq, on June 3, from a non-combat related cause: Harmon was assigned to the Army Reserves 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. (DefenseLink)

Maj. Michael D. Stover, 43, of Mansfield, Ohio, died June 3 from a non-hostile incident in Al Anbar province, Iraq: He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron-371, Marine Wing Support Group-37, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. (DefenseLink)


Germany-based U.S. Army brigade to make initial preparations for a deployment to Iraq, defense officials said on Wednesday, in a sign that an imminent reduction in forces may be unlikely. Pentagon leaders will make a final decision later this week on sending the roughly 3,500 soldiers from their base in Schweinfurt, Germany, to Iraq, said the defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity

Officials on May 8 announced that the soldiers of the 2nd Brigade of the Army's 1st Infantry Division would remain in Germany indefinitely, in anticipation of Casey's decision on possible U.S. troop reductions in the second half of the year.

Bush to get $50 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the first few months of next year, under a House bill a subcommittee approved Wednesday. On a voice vote, the House defense appropriations subcommittee passed a $427 billion measure for the Pentagon budget year that begins Oct. 1, including operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nearly 600 Iraqi prisoners released: The detainees were the first of 2,000 prisoners whom [Prime Minister] al-Maliki promised would be freed from Iraq's most notorious prisons in an apparent effort to ease anger among minority Sunnis over allegations of arbitrary detentions and mistreatment of prisoners.


Muayad Muhsin was both inspired and enraged by a photo of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld slumped on an airplane seat with his army boots up in front of him.

"It symbolized America's soulless might and arrogance," said Muhsin, whose similar painting of Rumsfeld will be unveiled in an exhibition opening in Baghdad on Monday. (...)

While Rumsfeld's image is true to life, he sits next to a partially damaged statue of a lion standing over a human - a traditional image of strength during the ancient Babylon civilization. The statue's stone base is ripped open, revealing shelves from which white piece of papers are flying away, later turning into birds soaring high into an ominously gray sky.

Muhsin said the symbolism has to do with Washington's repeated assertions in the months before the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that Saddam's regime had weapons of mass destruction, the cornerstone in the Bush administration's argument for going to war. (...)

"They did not find the weapons and, instead, found the annals of an ancient civilization that turned into birds of love, peace and knowledge," said Muhsin, himself a native of the area around the central Iraqi city of Babil, or Babylon, south of Baghdad.

"Rumsfeld's boots deliver a message from America: 'We rule the world,'" Muhsin, 41, told The Associated Press in an interview. "It speaks of America's total indifference to what the rest of the world thinks."

Muhsin said he signed the painting in the middle, instead of the customary bottom corner, to avoid having it under Rumsfeld's boots.

read in full...



The American occupation forces did manage this afternoon to take complete control of Thoulouiya [near Tikrit] and the surrounding villages after days of a tightly-imposed brutal siege.

The Islam Memo reporter in Thoulouiya confirmed that American soldiers, along with Kurdish peshmerga soldiers, have captured the remaining districts in Thoulouiya near the post office after an unbalanced (in strength) heavy fighting, in which more than 60 Resistance fighters and men of Thoulouiya have died.

The woman and children of Thoulouiya are now under the mercy of the American occupation forces who are ransacking and searching their homes, one by one. The occupation forces have already captured more than 100 men of the city.

The reporter, who miraculously managed to escape capture by the occupiers and to leave the city, reported that the city is now open to the occupation forces to do what they like in it and without being monitored, after taking control of the city and the departure of all journalists from it.

Our reporter confirmed that one woman, Hajja Um Khudhaiyar, did detonate herself in the midst of occupation soldiers at 7 p.m. tonight when they had entered her home. The reporter does not have details on the number of casualties among the occupation soldiers.

read in full...


"We was going along the Euphrates River," says Joshua Key, a 27-year-old former U.S. soldier from Oklahoma, detailing a recurring nightmare -- a scene he stumbled on shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003. "It's a road right in the city of Ramadi. We turned a real sharp right and all I seen was decapitated bodies. The heads laying over here and the bodies over here and U.S. troops in between them. I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, what in the hell happened here? What's caused this? Why in the hell did this happen?'

We get out and somebody was screaming, 'We fucking lost it here!' I'm thinking, 'Oh, yes, somebody definitely lost it here.'"

Joshua says he was ordered to look around for evidence of a firefight, for something to rationalize the beheaded Iraqis. "I look around just for a few seconds and I don't see anything." But then he noticed the sight that now triggers his nightmares.

"I see two soldiers kicking the heads around like a soccer ball. I just shut my mouth, walked back, got inside the tank, shut the door, and it was like, I can't be no part of this. This is crazy. I came here to fight and be prepared for war but this is outrageous. Why did it happen? That's just my question: Why did that happen?"

Joshua rejects the U.S. government line that the Iraqis fighting the occupation are terrorists. "I'm thinking: What the hell? I mean, that's not a terrorist. That's the man's home we killed. That's his son, that's the father, that's the mother, that's the sister. Houses are destroyed. Husbands are detained and wives don't even know where they're at. I mean, them are pissed-off people, and they have a reason to be pissed off. I would never wish this upon myself or my family, so why would I do it upon them?"

-- Excerpt from Peter Laufer's book "Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq" (2006)

read in full...



Just unbelievable:
For the first time since Congress mandated its annual publication, a State Department report cataloging human trafficking across the globe includes allegations that American taxpayers financed such abuses.

This year's Trafficking in Persons Report... includes a special section on reforms the Defense Department instituted after an investigation prompted by "Pipeline to Peril," a series published by the Chicago Tribune in October that detailed human trafficking into Iraq for privatized U.S. military support operations.

Human brokers and subcontractors from Asia to the Middle East have worked in concert to import thousands of laborers into Iraq from impoverished countries, often employing fraud or coercion along the way, seizing workers' passports and charging recruitment "fees" that make it difficult for workers to escape employment in the war zone.

U.S. military leaders in Iraq have acknowledged confirming widespread abuses against such workers, who are brought to Iraq to do menial labor on U.S. bases for contractors and subcontractors. Those businesses ultimately receive their checks from the U.S. government. The abuses corroborated by military investigators included violations of U.S. human-trafficking laws.
This comes on a day when the New York Times pays neo-conservative stooge Nicholas Kristof for an article titled "In Praise of the Maligned Sweatshop":
Anyone who cares about fighting poverty should campaign in favor of sweatshops, demanding that companies set up factories in Africa.
Smells like Fascism. Looks like Fascism. Tastes like Fascism...



Apaprently, US contractors-- er, mercenaries-- have been using gun trucks that they welded up themselves. This is what warlords in Mogadishu do.

Not what superpowers do.

More on the Flickr group:



I, and just about anyone and everyone who criticizes George Bush and this war are accused of "not supporting the troops." Since my son, Casey, was killed in Iraq because of lies and to actually make that country safe for our corporate interests, I have been saying the only way we can support our troops at this point is to get them the hell out of this illegal and immoral war.

The massacre in Haditha on November, 19, 2005, is just another way to underscore the fact that our troops are being turned into war criminals in what one article called: "The Worst War Crime of the Iraq War." (Sydney Morning Herald; May 28 , 2006). In a stunning display of shameless hypocrisy George Bush said of the (not uncommon) butchering of innocent civilians in Haditha:

"Our troops have been trained on core values throughout their training, but obviously there was an incident that took place in Iraq,"

Bush also said this following a meeting of his cabinet: the world will see a "full and complete" investigation.

Another false piece of propaganda that we are fed is that we need to support the president, especially when we are "at war." I say, "No, way!" Our kids know the difference between right and wrong before they are sucked into a military system that dehumanizes our soldiers and forces them to dehumanize the "enemy" to the point where it is apparently acceptable behavior to kill children and to cover up the murders. Can we all assume that little Georgie was never told that cold-blooded murder is wrong seeing that his family has supported wars and their inherent crimes for at least three generations?


It has become part of our day-to-day lexicon... something as American as apple pie. Whatever happens of an unpleasant or nefarious nature, it must have been caused or created by a "few bad apples." We get to hear it - or read it - with multiplier frequency these days because of the high profile cases being witnessed involving the worlds of big business, politics and the military. (...)

Perhaps the greatest misuse of the "few bad apples" metaphor takes place in the military during time of war, when the meaning of honor, duty and country often becomes a hollow interpretation to villainous lies and rationalizations. After almost four decades, we still have a parade of four-star not so gentle men, in and out of uniform, who proudly refer to the My Lai investigation as "the gold standard." That is something unfathomable to anyone with half a mind, and a slice of heart, when at day's end the punishment dished out for the murder of hundreds of non-combatants (old men, women and children) in a Vietnamese hamlet shamelessly ended up being a three-and-a-half year confinement to quarters for a platoon leader. Many of us, I recall, have been for years referring to this total whitewash as "the Medina standard," and not "the gold standard." A "few bad apples" in the military? Give me a break!

The good, or even great, things about this country of ours are diluted by those among us who insist on being evil-minimalists. For them everything about us is unquestionably great: our free enterprise system, how we govern ourselves... and our military, tireless defenders of our freedoms and our way of life. That's who we say we are, reality and truth be damned.

Exceptionalism, if such thing could be justly applied to any large group of people, or even a nation, should never be a self-imposed superlative. America can only aspire to be exceptional when much of the world sees us, our actions, as exceptional... but not until then. If touting this chimerical uniqueness is part of the nation's psyche, the jingoist joke is on us. But that's just my take.

read in full...


Just a week ago, the Bush administration was bracing itself for the worst. After six months of covering up the Haditha massacre, the time had come to face another public audit of the conduct of American occupation forces in Iraq. Once again, as in Abu Ghraib, the real culprit was a camera.

American eyes are not supposed to see this sort of thing lest it disturb their inner harmony. The folks back home live under the comfortable illusion that their armed forces are busy fighting the "bad guys," promoting democracy, setting up school playgrounds and passing out candy to street urchins.

Don't expect the average American to dwell -- let alone show empathy -- for the traumatized Iraqi survivors in Haditha. Just because the majority of Americans are now against the invasion doesn't mean they're paying attention to the details. In this most sanitized of wars, they rarely get a look at their own dead and wounded. For most, the whole sordid Iraqi affair is no more than background noise. Half of them still can't place Iraq on the map and there is a significant minority that still believes Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

Imagine the reaction if the same gang of cold-blooded marines had executed women holding suckling babes right outside the gates of Camp Pendleton. Would their officers cover up for them? Would the local reporters take six months to dig up the details? Would the mayor do a Bush imitation and pretend that he heard about it from the papers?

read in full...



More than 250 Afghans were arrested after the anti-foreigner riot in Kabul last week, and 141 are still in custody, Afghanistan's intelligence chief said Wednesday.

A roadside bomb hit a convoy of Afghan soldiers in eastern Afghan mountains, killing three and wounded four.

The coalition said that 13 insurgents were killed either Sunday or Monday in southern Uruzgan province as a coalition patrol exchanged fire with militants. Two coalition soldiers were evacuated with non-life threatening wounds, the coalition said.

A suicide car bomb hit a military convoy, wounding three U.S. soldiers in eastern Afghanistan's Khost province, along the mountainous border with Pakistan. Two soldiers were taken to a medical facility. The third had only minor injuries.


Some things are so obvious that you feel almost embarrassed to repeat them - but if you don't say them, the propagandists win. So, then:

Terrorism is a political technique, not an ideology, and any group willing to use violence in pursuit of its political goals may resort to it. There are left-wing terrorists and right-wing terrorists; nationalist terrorists and internationalist terrorists; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist terrorists. In theory, you could have a "war against terrorism", but it would involve trying to kill everybody who uses this technique anywhere in the world. The United States is not trying to do that, so it is not fighting a "war against terror".

What President Bush's administration does claim to be fighting is a war against an international "Islamist" terrorist conspiracy. The motives of this shadowy but powerful network are anti-Western but curiously vague. They "hate our freedoms", says Mr Bush. They want to destroy our values and our way of life, adds his partner, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

There is no shadowy but powerful network waging a terrorist war against the West: the whole thing is a fantasy. There are isolated small groups of extremists who blow things up once in a while, and there are web-sites and other media through which they can exchange ideas and techniques, but there is no headquarters, no chain of command, no organisation that can be defeated, dismantled and destroyed.

There never was much of an Islamist "terrorist network" anyway - certainly nothing to compare with the extensive co-operation between the extreme left-wing "urban guerrilla" groups of the developed world (Germany's Baader-Meinhof Gang, Italy's Red Brigades, the Japanese Red Army, etc.) and the various Palestinian groups of secular nationalist radicals in the 1970-1985 period. Even in al Qaeda's heyday, before the US invasion of Afghanistan effectively beheaded it in 2001, there were only a few hundred core members.

read in full...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If you want to see their [U.S. military] terrorism, you don't have to go to Haditha. Just go out on the street. If you drive too close to them, you can get killed." -- an Iraqi man named Jabur quoted by ABC News

:: Article nr. 23787 sent on 08-jun-2006 00:19 ECT


Link: dailywarnews.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_dailywarnews_archive.html#11497013507389821

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