Monday, October 10, 2005

Just for fun: Freefall Bush

I spotted this gem in a comment by the ever resourceful Somethingsphishy on the excellent Daily Dissent


Such a simple idea but so much fun , play with freefall Bush Here

British and American leaders likened to Nazi war criminals

"The Telegraph" -- -- Tony Blair and George Bush were compared to Nazi war criminals yesterday by Scott Ritter, the former UN chief weapons inspector."Both these men could be pulled up as war criminals for engaging in actions that we condemned Germany in 1946 for doing," he said.

He said the Prime Minister and the US President were "guilty of the crime of planning and committing aggressive warfare". Speaking in London at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Mr Ritter said the two leaders would have been in a much stronger position if they had got a UN resolution explicitly authorising the invasion.He also said Britain gained very little from the "special relationship".

"Britain gets nothing, other than to say they are America's closest ally in Europe," he said.Mr Ritter, who was a UN weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1998, said intelligence services had been correct to say that Iraq's missile programme had been destroyed soon after the first Gulf conflict of 1991.He recalled how he delivered a report in 1992 stating that the programme had been eliminated. It was met with "stony silence" and he was told that Iraq still possessed 200 missiles.

who fabricated the Iraq evidence ?

President Bush's principal adviser Karl Rove is to be questioned again over the improper naming of a CIA official. Mohamed ElBaradei, accused by the American right of being insufficiently aggressive, wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his stalwart work at the helm of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Pentagon official Larry Franklin pleads guilty to passing on classified information to Israel. Just a normal week in politics. But there is a thread linking these events and it is Iraq.

Politicians tell us they acted in good faith on the road to war, and maybe they did, but that leaves a prickly question: who was so keen to prove that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat that they forged documents purporting to show that he was trying to buy 500 tons of uranium from Niger to develop nuclear weapons? The forgery was revealed to the Security Council by ElBaradei. That was not an intelligence error. It was a straightforward lie, an invention intended to mislead public opinion and help start a war.

At the beginning of 2001, a few weeks before George Bush took office, there was a break-in at the Niger embassy in Rome. Strangely, nothing of value was taken. Months later came 9/11 and a month after that, as George Bush wondered how to get back at the terrorists, a report from the Italian security service (Sismi) reached the CIA: Iraq was seeking to buy uranium.
Disappointingly for the neocons, the CIA sent Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to check the story: he reported that it was nonsense. When the story was repeated by Bush, Wilson went public. His wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, was then outed by the White House. Hence Rove's predicament.

An organisation called the Office of Special Plans (OSP) was set up in the Pentagon by Douglas Feith, a former consultant to Israel's Likud party, to prepare for the war. In the words of Robert Baer, a distinguished former CIA man, it was a "competing intelligence shop at the Pentagon"..."if you didn't like the answer you're getting from the CIA". In short, bogus stories would get a second chance at the OSP.

Read More at the Independent

O'Reilly endorsed assassinating Syrian leader

On the October 3 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly called for the assassination of Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad, if Assad does not help promote stability in the Middle East by maintaining Iraq's borders. O'Reilly claimed that "we could take his life, and we should take his life if he doesn't help us out." O'Reilly was responding to Fox News contributor Gen. Wesley Clark's suggestion that the United States use diplomacy to bolster regional support for the Iraq war among uncooperative neighbors.

Read the transcript and watch the video Here

Syria 'fed up' with US's public bashing

New York, Oct. 10 (PTI): Syria has expressed willingness to cooperate with the United States in matters of security and intelligence information sharing, if America stops its public tongue-lashing of Damascus.

Damascus ended all security and intelligence cooperation with America several months ago, Syrian Ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha was today quoted as saying in an interview by the 'Newsweek' magazine.

Moustapha said while Damascus will continue to detain Islamic extremists on its own, it got "fed up" with the Bush administration's public bashing of president Bashar al-Assad, even after Washington had privately lauded Syria for handing over Saddam's half brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hasan.

Newsweek says it also confirmed the account from a US intelligence official who said Damascus was angered when Washington exposed one of its operatives.

"We are willing to re-engage the moment you want - but one condition, you have to acknowledge that we are helping," Moustapha told the magazine

Saddam may never come to trial: warning

Saddam Hussein may never come to trial, Iraq's former Special Tribunal director said this week.

Salem Hussein, the nephew of Ahmed Chalabi, Iraqi's powerful vice prime minister for Iraq who is in charge of oil and energy issues, told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank Wednesday, that Saddam's trial may never come to fruition.

Incessant delays have afforded Saddam's defense team more time to attack the legitimacy of the Special Tribunal by claiming the 2003 Iraq war that toppled the longtime Iraqi leader was illegal to begin with, Salem Chalabi said.

Amatzia Baram, a senior fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center, told the same AEI meeting that growing worries in Baghdad over security threats from the escalating insurgency in Iraq may hinder the current Iraqi government's ability to successfully hold Saddam's trial at this time

The sheer intensity of the Iraq insurgency has also hampered the country's capacity for constructive institution building and the state system there, including the judiciary, is faltering, Salem Chalabi said.

Saddam's trial is currently scheduled to start on Oct. 19, four days after Iraq holds a referendum vote to approve its new draft constitution

Arab League convoy attacked in Baghdad

Gunmen have attacked a convoy carrying delegates from the Arab League in western Baghdad, killing three police escorts but leaving officials unscathed. Delegates from the Arab League, which groups 22 governments from across the Arab world, are in the Iraqi capital to help oversee Saturday's referendum on a new constitution and to prepare for a visit by the League's Secretary General Amr Mussa. The convoy came under attack as delegates travelled to the headquarters of the Committee of Muslim Scholars, the main Sunni Arab religious organisation in Iraq, for a Ramadan meal after sundown.

Pakistan to Accept Quake Relief From India

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Pakistan said Monday it will accept relief aid for earthquake victims from its longtime rival India, a move that carries immense political implications for the neighbors who have fought three wars.

India's Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said his country would send tents, food, blankets and medicine to the hard-hit Pakistani portion of Kashmir.

The announcement came after Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh telephoned Pakistan's high commissioner in New Delhi and "reiterated his offer to send relief aid to us for earthquake victims."

High Commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan met Singh and then contacted the government in Islamabad, which decided to accept the Indian offer after consultations at the highest level, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.

U.N. Names 5 Nations to Security Council

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Congo, Qatar, Slovakia, Ghana and Peru won easy election to the U.N. Security Council on Monday.

The five new members will serve two-year terms starting Jan. 1.

All but Peru were selected by regional groups and rubber-stamped by the 191 members of theU.N. General Assembly.Peru defeated Nicaragua, 144-43, in the only contested race. Both countries had waged intense campaigns for the seat, with lobbying for votes continuing until Assembly President Jan Eliasson banged the gavel for voting to begin.

To win a council seat, a country needed support from two-thirds of the voting members. In the secret ballot, Congo received 188 votes, Qatar 186 votes, Slovakia 185 votes and Ghana 184 votes.

While there is widespread support among the 191 U.N. member states to expand the 15-member Security Council to reflect the geopolitical realities of the 21st century, there is no agreement on how large it should be, who should get seats, whether the new seats should be permanent or temporary, and who should have veto power.Secretary-General Kofi Annan had hoped to get members to agree on an expansion plan before last month's U.N. summit, but the debate became so heated and divisive that the issue was shelved.

The council currently consists of five permanent members with veto power - the United States, Britain, Russia, China and France - and 10 non-permanent members who serve two-year terms and have no power to veto resolutions. The 10 elected members do have the right to propose resolutions, chair committees and hold the rotating council presidency for one-month periods.

Five countries are elected every year by the General Assembly to replace five retiring ones

The five new members will replace Algeria, Benin, Brazil, the Philippines and Romania, whose terms expire on Dec. 31. The new members join Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Japan and Tanzania, who were elected last year and will remain on the council until the end of 2006.

Insurgents Launch Pre-Referendum Attacks

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Insurgents launched a new salvo of attacks five days ahead of a crucial constitutional referendum, killing at least 18 Iraqis and a U.S. soldier Monday with suicide car bombs, roadside explosives and drive-by shootings, police said.

Five mortar shells were fired at a hotel in the southern city of Hillah where a U.S. regional embassy office is based, with one round hitting the building and leaving a large hole in a wall, police said. No casualties were reported.

Gunmen also opened fire on a convoy of cars carrying members of an Arab League delegation that is visiting Iraq, but no one was hurt, police said.

The attacks came as Shiite and Kurdish officials continued to negotiate with Sunni Arab leaders over last-minute additions to the constitution, trying to win Sunni support ahead of Saturday's referendum. U.S. officials were acting as mediators.

Sunni-led insurgent groups have demanded a boycott in the vote and were launching attacks across the country, killing hundreds of Iraqis in the last two weeks.

Sunnis can defeat the charter if they get a two-thirds "no" vote in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces - and they have the potential to make that threshold in four provinces. But turnout is key, since they must outweigh Shiite and Kurdish populations in some of those areas.

"The War on Terror" -- in Translation

When the Bush administration fires off a new round of speechifying about "the war on terror," the U.S. press rarely goes beyond the surface meanings of rhetoric provided by White House scriptwriters. But the president's big speech at the National Endowment for Democracy on Oct. 6 could have been annotated along these lines

Read the Translation for yourself Here

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Al Gore : 'American Democracy in Trouble'

Keynote Speech - We Media Conference in New York, NY - October 5, 2005

10/07/05 "ICH" -- -- I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse. I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.

How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?

I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.

At first I thought the exhaustive, non-stop coverage of the O.J. trial was just an unfortunate excess that marked an unwelcome departure from the normal good sense and judgment of our television news media. But now we know that it was merely an early example of a new pattern of serial obsessions that periodically take over the airwaves for weeks at a time.

Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? And does it feel right to have no ongoing discussion of whether or not this abhorrent, medieval behavior is being carried out in the name of the American people? If the gap between rich and poor is widening steadily and economic stress is mounting for low-income families, why do we seem increasingly apathetic and lethargic in our role as citizens?

On the eve of the nation's decision to invade Iraq, our longest serving senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor asked: "Why is this chamber empty? Why are these halls silent?"

The decision that was then being considered by the Senate with virtually no meaningful debate turned out to be a fateful one. A few days ago, the former head of the National Security Agency, Retired Lt. General William Odom, said, "The invasion of Iraq, I believe, will turn out to be the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history

read the rest Here

Friday, October 07, 2005

"Shame Shame" shout democrats in scene reminiscent of House of Parliament

Republicans refused to close the voting for 40 minutes until enough votes had switched to pass the energy bill which will gut environmental standards in favor of building more oil refineries


Watch the Video Here


My Source : The Brad Blog

Iraq war now costing $6 billion a month

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is spending about $7 billion a month to wage the war on terror, and costs could total $570 billion by the end of 2010, assuming troops are gradually brought home, a congressional report estimates.

The paper by the Congressional Research Service underscores how the price tag has been gradually rising for the war in Iraq. A year ago, the Pentagon was calculating its average monthly costs in that conflict at below $5 billion — an amount the research service says has now grown close to $6 billion.

A separate study by the Congressional Budget Office found it will be difficult for the Pentagon to sustain current troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan without rotating troops into the war zone more frequently and using more National Guard brigades. And even those steps will not be adequate long-term solutions.The budget office study echoed earlier reports suggesting that if current combat demands continue, the Army will have serious problems keeping enough soldiers trained and ready.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the administration has allocated about $361 billion for military operations, reconstruction and other programs in Iraq and Afghanistan, including $50 billion for 2006 in legislation working its way through Congress. the Congressional Research Service report said. The service is one of Congress' investigative arms.CRS also identified gaps in the Pentagon's accounting of war costs, including up to $14 billion in funds that may have been transferred from peacetime accounts. It recommended that Congress require more detailed reporting from the Defense Department on how the money is spent.The CRS report said the latest average monthly cost for Iraq is $5.9 billion, or 19 percent higher than last year.

The average monthly cost for operations in Afghanistan is $1 billion, or 8 percent lower than last year, and the costs of securing U.S. military bases worldwide averages $170 million a month, which is 47 percent lower than last year.In projecting costs out through 2010, CRS said it assumed U.S. troops would remain in the region but drop gradually throughout the period. Some funding would be needed to continue training Iraqi and Afghan security forces and to replace lost equipment.

The research service said the Pentagon will have to either increase the size of the Army, shift people from other missions, or further increase the pace of the troop rotations.But even if the Pentagon can reverse recruitment shortfalls and begin meeting its goals, CBO said it will take a decade and about $140 billion to increase the Army by four or five divisions — or about 115,000 active duty soldiers and about 42,000 reserves.There are now 10 active duty Army divisions. The equivalent of about five Army divisions are serving in Iraq.The total force in Iraq, including Marines and Reserves, is about 149,000, according to the Pentagon. But CBO said a more accurate number is between 160,000 and 180,000, because troops in other locations are supporting the war.

Guantanamo Bay hunger strike latest

A hunger strike by prisoners at the US Guantanamo Bay prison camp has entered a serious stage, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

But ICRC chief spokeswoman Antonella Notari declined to comment on Thursday's statement by a defence lawyer that the hunger strike involved 200 of 500 prisoners and that 21 were being force-fed.

The humanitarian agency, which last visited the US naval base in Cuba in late September, was in contact with the US authorities about the situation, Notari said on Friday.

"There is a hunger strike, the situation is serious, and we are following it with concern," Notari said.

"During our recent 10-day visit we were able to visit the infirmary, see the detainees and speak with them as well as the American authorities," she added.

The ICRC backs a 1975 Tokyo declaration by the World Medical Association stating that doctors should not participate in force-feeding, but keep prisoners informed of the sometimes irreversible consequences of their hunger strike, she added.

Amnesty International and human-rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, representing 40 detainees, said on Thursday that US authorities were keeping 21 alive by forcing food into their stomachs through tubes pushed up their noses.

The prisoners are shackled to their beds 24-hours a day to stop them removing the tubes, he said.

"This is the 56th day of the hunger strike," said Stafford Smith before making a comparison with the Irish republican campaign of 1981, when 10 prisoners starved themselves to death in protest at British policy in Northern Ireland.

The US opened the prison camp in January 2002. Many detainees were seized in Afghanistan. Only four have been charged and many have been held for more than three years. Some former prisoners says they were tortured while in Guantanamo.

Did Bush say that 'God spoke to him'

Watch this video to catch up with the latest on the Bush and God debate

From the BBC Here

UK troops detain Basra policemen

British forces have detained 12 people, including three police officers, in connection with a series of deadly attacks on UK forces in southern Iraq.

Brigadier John Lorimer said the raid, in Basra during the night, was aimed at stopping the surge in attacks by local militia on allied troops. "This terrorism must be stopped, we have a right to protect ourselves and innocent citizens," he said.

Brig Lorimer said in a statement: "Some of the individuals we have arrested are linked to militia groups in Basra. Some of the individuals are members of Basra Police Service. "

So current Iraqi law says that they can not arrest British servicemen but we can arrest Iraqi Policemen ?

I am not saying we were wrong to do so , but i am seeking clarification on who is running the country , I thought we were told it was the Iraqis so shouldnt the Iraqis have arrested there own police officers ?

ElBaradei wins Nobel peace prize

The 2005 Nobel peace prize has been awarded jointly to the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency and its director, Mohamed ElBaradei.

The citation says the IAEA's director is a "fearless advocate" of curbing nuclear arms and the importance of his agency's work "incalculable".

The nuclear watchdog's work to promote safe nuclear energy was also commended. Mr ElBaradei said the award recognised that the spread of nuclear weapons was the world's worst security threat.

"I'm extremely humbled and honoured," the Egyptian former diplomat said. "I think the prize recognises the number one danger we are facing today and that is the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons."

He began a third term at the IAEA last month after the US withdrew its objections to his reappointment. Washington had complained that he was being "soft" on Iran.
'Policeman and salesman'

IAEA inspectors have had to deal with major crises in Iraq, North Korea and Iran in recent years.

This is Wonderful news and I can not think of anyone more deserving

Last Throws in Iraq for October 6th

Oct 6 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Thursday, Oct. 6, as of 2130 GMT.

BAGHDAD - One civilian was killed and another eight wounded when a suicide car bomb targeted a U.S. patrol in al-Nidhal street in central Baghdad, a police source said.

BAGHDAD - At least 11 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself on a bus carrying police recruits near Iraq's oil ministry in Baghdad, police said. Another 11 people were reported wounded in the attack.

BAGHDAD - A U.S. soldier was killed when a patrol struck a roadside bomb in north Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement.

KIRKUK - Gunmen shot dead five oil ministry security guards and wounded another three as they were driving to the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad. Lieutenant Jawaad Abdullah said they were shot in the town of Uthaim, south of Kirkuk.

MOSUL - Gunmen killed Salem Ayoub Sillo, a local prison chief, and his driver in the northern Noor district of Mosul, a police source said.

FALLUJA - Police said a suicide car bomb detonated against a U.S. convoy in central Falluja, on Wednesday evening, destroying one U.S. Humvee. There were no immediate comments from the U.S. military on the incident.

JIBLA - Three people were killed and two wounded from the same family when gunmen attacked the house of Haithem al- Husseini, a leader in Dawa party, in Jibla, 100 km south of Baghdad. Police said that al-Husseini was not in his house during the attack and he escaped death for the second time.

UTHAIM - One driver is killed when a roadside bomb exploded near two oil tankers in Uthaim, 50 km north of Baquba.

RAMADI - One U.S. Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb south of Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, a police source said. There were no immediate comments from the U.S. military on the incident.

HADITHA - The U.S. military said in a statement that it had killed "six Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists" and detained at least 110 suspects since Operation River Gate began on Oct. 4 in the western cities of Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana.

QAIM - U.S. forces in Operation Iron Fist, launched on Oct. 1 on the Syrian border, killed two insurgents with tank fire on Wednesday, the military said in a statement. Aircraft killed seven fighters when they destroyed buildings near Karabila on Wednesday, it added. Twenty guerrillas were killed in the bombing of a hotel in Qusayba overnight, it said.

Jaafari : Relations with Iran 'very friendly,strong and expanding'

TEHRAN, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari on Thursday rejected accusations that Shi'ite Muslim Iran was interfering in Iraq's internal affairs.

Asked about accusations that Iran was interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq, Jaafari told Iranian state television: "Such accusations are baseless and we do not agree with them at all."

"Relations between Iran and Iraq are currently very friendly and strong and expanding. We are proud of the situation," he said. "Some people want to harm our existing friendly relations with Iran. But we will not let them do so. We are determined to expand our relations every day."

Ok , so what are the US and UK complaining about ?

we are only there to help the Iraqis , and the Iraqis think the accusations of Iran meddling in the country are "Baseless"

many of us thought they were all along . If only we could just get on with it and stop blaming all the failures on Iran or Syria or the one legged Zaqarwi !

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Serious threat to New York Subway ?

The Mayor of New York is giving a press conference stating the New York subway may be the target of a terrorist attack in the next few days .

Information has been given from the FBI to the New York Mayor that an attack could take place.

The FBI has said the details of the attack are clasified .....

Homeland Security official Peter King announced the development, saying: "This is a significant threat."

so the basic fear is that explosives will be carried onto the subway in a babies pram (thats a new one)

And the information comes from a number of arrests made in IRAQ and the "claimed" attack was planned in that country .

still no link between Iraq and our safety Mr Blair ?

So is this a real threat ? or another one of the hundreds of odd and obscure threats we have all had to be carefull about such as they mass invasion of crop spraying terrorists or the long term attack of cutting all the wires on the Brooklin Bridge . You see thats the problem , I hate to be Cynical but there has been so many off the wall claims about the next US attack and so often the concern happens at a time of great Presidential need that you have to think twice when you hear it .

Of course you can't just dismiss a claim such as this and I would rather be correct and cynical then wrong and an attack actually happens . But it has come to something when you have to question everything the US government tells their people incase it is is simply false .

God told me to invade Iraq, Bush tells Palestinian ministers

President George W. Bush told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, a new BBC series reveals.

President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

I am speechless

Read for yourself Here

"How do you stop Osama bin Laden?" : Video

Interesting interview With Robert Fisk

" You have to take away from them the ability to use injustice for their own aims and we will not do that and we must , because unless we do that we - and I mean you and me together - are not safe. "

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Broadcast 10/04/05

My source : ICH

Watch the Video Here

Israel bans use of human shields

Israel's supreme court has banned the use of Palestinian human shields in arrest raids, saying the practice violates international law. The court issued a temporary injunction against the practice in 2002 after a teenager was killed when troops made him negotiate with a wanted militant. Human rights groups who brought the case say the Israeli army has repeatedly violated the temporary ban. The army cannot use civilians for its purposes, Israel's chief justice said.

"You cannot exploit the civilian population for the army's military needs, and you cannot force them to collaborate with the army," Aharon Barak said.

Full story Here

This is a good step by Israel ....

US Forces launch new offensive (video)

Thousands of US and Iraqi soldiers are fighting an offensive against insurgents in the biggest operation of its kind this year.

This is the latest video to come out of the region ,linking video from the BBC and ABC television . See the recent reoport for yourself at the BBC

Video: Mosaic: World News Reports from Middle East TV For 10/04/05:

The nation's only uncensored compilation of daily television news reports from more than 15 countries in the Middle East. QuickTime Video

My source : ICH

Watch it here Here

25 Killed, 87 Hurt In Iraq Mosque Bomb Blast

HILLAH, Iraq -- A bomb exploded at the entrance of a Shiite Muslim mosque south of Baghdad as hundreds of worshippers gathered for prayers on the first day of Ramadan and for the funeral of a man killed in an earlier bombing. At least 25 people were killed and 87 wounded.
The explosion hit the Husseiniyat Ibn al-Nama mosque, ripping through strings of lightbulbs and green and red flags hung around the entrance to celebrate the start of the holy month. The mosque's facade was ravaged, shops nearby were detroyed and several cars were damaged.
Hundreds of men had gathered at the mosque, located in the center of Hillah, for prayers before returning home to eat the meal that ends the day's sunrise to sunset fast, when the blast went off at 6 p.m.

Last throws in Iraq for october 5th

Oct 5 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Tuesday, Oct. 5, as of 1200 GMT.

YUSUFIYA/RASHID - Two civilians were killed and three wounded during a battle between Iraqi forces and insurgents in Yusufiya and Rashid, just south of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK - A car bomb attack critically wounded six security guards for the North Oil Company, south of the northern city of Kirkuk, police said.

NAJAF - Five members of the same family were wounded, including a woman and child, when a bomb exploded near their house on Tuesday in Najaf, 100 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, the father of the family said.

The Spy in the Whitehouse

Oct. 5, 2005 — Both the FBI and CIA are calling it the first case of espionage in the White House in modern history. Officials tell ABC News the alleged spy worked undetected at the White House for almost three years. Leandro Aragoncillo, 46, was a U.S. Marine most recently assigned to the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney.
"I don't know of a case where the vetting broke down before and resulted in a spy being in the White House," said Richard Clarke, a former White House advisor who is now an ABC News consultant.

Federal investigators say Aragoncillo, a naturalized citizen from the Philippines, used his top secret clearance to steal classified intelligence documents from White House computers.

Last year, after leaving the Marines, Aragoncillo was caught by the FBI while he worked for the Bureau at an intelligence center at Fort Monmouth, N.J. According to a criminal complaint, Aragoncillo was arrested last month and accused of downloading more than 100 classified documents from FBI computers.
"The information was transferred mostl
y by e-mails," said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie at the time of Aragoncillo's arrest. Since that arrest, officials say Aragoncillo has started to cooperate. He has admitted to spying while working on the staff of Vice President Cheney's office.

Read the full ABC exclusive Here

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Comedy Central : Exposing The Lies : Video

How many Iraqi battalions are fully trained and equipped and capable of operating independently of U.S. forces?

Comedy Central 10/03/05

Very funny stuff

Watch the video Here

Iraq U-turn on charter vote rules

Iraq's parliament has reversed its decision to change the rules governing a referendum next week on the country's new constitution.
The altered rules would have made it much harder for Sunni opponents of the draft constitution to reject it.

Parliament has now decided to revert to the original rules - as both the United Nations and Washington said it should.

UN legal advisors said that a referendum held under the new rules would not meet international standards.

Baghdad Professor : 'many Iraqis believe US are behind Zarqawi'

University of Baghdad Political Science Professor Jinan Ali says there is more to the Zarqawi threat than appears on the surface.

"The so-called war against Shiites began after Moqtada Al-Sadr announced his opposition to drafting the constitution," says Ali. ""Most of the Shiites targeted are Moqtada's followers intended to force them to cast a "Yes" vote in the coming referendum".

Many Iraqis are now wondering whether Zarqawi is a real figure or not.


"Zarqawi is a good pretext for striking any Iraqi city or town," Professor Ali explains. "If Zarqawi is defending the Sunnis and his followers are operating in the Sunni areas, why were Najaf and Sadr city (mostly Shiite areas) targeted by the Americans and Iraqi forces several times before?"

Many Iraqis believe the Americans and the government are behind the Zarqawi communiqué of targeting Shiites.

"Do you think that Zarqawi, if he is real, is ready to gain more enemies by such a communiqué?" asks Al-Ubaidi.

"The government and Americans are ready to do everything to get the so-called constitution approved. They are trying to exclude Sunnis from the political process in Iraq; they are forcing the Iraqi resistance toward more severe fights."

Read the full article Here

More Zarqawi confusion Here and yet more confusion Here

Four U.S. Soldiers, One Marine Killed In Iraq

BAGHDAD -- Violence in western Iraq has killed five U.S. troops: including four soldiers and a Marine.
The military says the Marine was killed by a roadside bomb Monday near the Syrian border. It's the first announced U.S. death in Operation Iron Fist, a major sweep that began over the weekend. Three soldiers assigned to the same unit as the Marine were killed by another roadside bomb while conducting combat operations in another town where a second major offensive started Tuesday. The military also said it's investigating the fatal shooting of a soldier Monday near Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

At least 1,941 U.S. military members have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003

UN condemns Iraq charter change

The United Nations has criticised changes to Iraq's electoral law that make it harder for Iraqis to reject the draft constitution.

The two-thirds majority needed in three provinces to defeat the constitution will now be counted from all registered - as opposed to actual - voters.

On Sunday Shia and Kurdish members of parliament pushed through the changes in the referendum rules on 15 October. Sunni Arabs reacted angrily to the amendments on Monday.


They believed many registered voters may not show up at the polls because of violence.

"We have expressed our position to the national assembly and to the leadership of the government," said Jose Aranaz, a legal adviser to the UN electoral team in Iraq, in an interview with Reuters news agency.

Mr Aranaz said parliament's decision was unacceptable and would not meet international standards

So what does all this mean , well it is simple , there was a very good chance of the constitutuion failing , and we couldn't have that could we ! . So the rules have been changed so that aslong as the turn out does not break all expectations and almost every living soul in Iraq (a diminishing number) votes then the constitution will pass

Of course it wont pass under the rules we were all told it would it need to go through , but no troops can come home and no good news stories can be told unless the constitution is accepted. So some not so bright spark decided to change the rules

The Sunni are at the table , they are trying to find a way forward , The rule change is a kick in the teeth to them.

Most people will know that more people turn to terrorism when they feel that they do not have a voice in the country. You take away the voice of the Sunni's and you can kiss goodbye to any peace in Iraq for many years

Is that what they want ?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Is Israel planning Iran strike?

Saudi paper: Sharon presented Bush with satellite photos, said Israel would not wait forever before attacking

Israel has proposed to the United States to strike Iran on several occasions this year, Saudi newspaper al-Watan reported Sunday morning.

According to the report, the latest proposal was raised during the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee’s visit to Washington several days ago, where Committee members apparently attempted to “market one agenda: Launching a war on Iran.”

The newspaper quoted Knesset Member Arieh Eldad saying that “nothing will restrain Iran aside from the use of force” and adding that Teheran’s nuclear project will not end “unless it is convinced it will be destroyed through military force.”

Meanwhile, Knesset Member Yosef Lapid reportedly said threats of sanctions and isolation have no effect on Iran. “We won’t accept the fact we need to live under the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb and therefore we feel we should warn our friends we don’t see any solution except for acting on our own,” Lapid said according to the Saudi report.

The newspaper says this was not the first time Israel demanded to strike Iran. President Bush rejected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s offer to use military force during the latter’s latest visit to Washington, the report said.

Sharon reportedly presented Bush with satellite photos of Iran’s nuclear facilities and asked to attack them. The president apparently “coldly” referred him to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who told the PM the U.S. chose to pursue the diplomatic channel, in conjunction with European states, to resolve the problem.

Earlier reports said Sharon informed Washington in a special letter that Iranian nuclear arms would threaten the safety of Israelis more than any other nation. The PM reportedly said Israel would consider postponing military action against Teheran out of consideration for the U.S., but added Israel would not “wait forever.”

According to al-Watan, Israel made it clear that it would only be able to wait until a certain date next year and would strike at Iran if no progress is made by that time.

Monday, October 03, 2005

AL-QAEDA POSTS RECRUITMENT ADS ON INTERNET

London, 3 Oct. (AKI) - The al-Qaeda terror network appears to have launched a recruitment drive, posting adverts on a website commonly used by Islamist groups, the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reports.

The advert says there are a number of communications-related vacant positions, which would involve compiling written and audiovisual reports by militant groups operating in Iraq and gathering footage from satellite TV channels on extremist Islamic groups and their activities in Palestine, Iraq and Chechnya.

According to the 'Global Islamic Media Group' al-Qaeda affiliated website, the terror network is also looking for a video programmer and a researcher for news on Muslims around the world, as well as language specialists with an excellent oral and grammatical knowledge of Arabic and English.

The advert says the group's PR department will follow up applications and contact candidates through private email messages, and it advised applicants to turn to God for guidance and pray before submitting their application.

It did not specify the rank or salary of the posts, but did say: "Every Muslim should know that his life is not his own; it is the property of this violated nation for whom men have shed their blood. No other issue should take precedence over work for the Umma [Community of the faithful within Islam]; it is an obligation for every Muslim. "

However, evidence of complaints from other members of al-Qaeda suggest the pay and working conditions offered by the terror network are not particularly good, such as those in a letter written to the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, found by the US military in a raid on a hideout in the northern city of Mosul.

In it, an al-Qaeda soldier calling himself 'Abu Zayd' calls his work conditions "deplorable" and complains about bad pay, bad housing and the marginalisation of non-Iraqi fighters.The nature of the jobs advertised, coupled with the recent launch of a weekly al-Qaeda TV news bulletin, 'Voice of the Caliphate', suggest the network is stepping up its communications operation.

Monitors Find Significant Fraud in Afghan Elections

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 2 - Election officials and observers said Sunday that with 80 percent of the ballots counted in Afghanistan's national and provincial elections, they had found significant incidents of fraud.

Whole districts have come under suspicion for ballot box stuffing and proxy voting, said Peter Erben, the chief of the United Nations-assisted Joint Election Management Board. He said ballot boxes from 4 percent of the 26,000 polling places - about 1,000 stations - had been set aside for investigation on suspicion of fraud and other irregularities.

The European Union observer mission said the reports of fraud and possible voter intimidation in places were "worrying." In a statement, the mission said, "While these phenomena do not appear to be nationwide, they are a cause for concern."

Mr. Erben promised strong action and said that if there was a clear indication of fraud, the votes in question would be excluded from the general count. The Election Complaints Commission could also warn, fine and disqualify candidates if there was evidence of tampering, he said.
"We are taking irregularities very seriously," he said.

Insurgent groups accused of war crimes

BAGHDAD -- Insurgent groups in Iraq are committing war crimes by targeting civilians in mass killings, abductions, and beheadings, a human rights group said today.Human Rights Watch, which often has criticized alleged abuses by US forces in Iraq, turned its attention in its latest report to insurgent groups such as Al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah that have claimed responsibility for attacks in mosques, markets, bus stations, and other civilian areas in Iraq.

The group also said the disregard for the lives of civilians in the mostly Muslim country was backfiring in terms of popular support for the insurgency elsewhere in the Arab world.

''People we have spoken with in the Middle East are increasingly repulsed by the behavior of insurgent groups in Iraq, even if they support a withdrawal of US troops," said Sara Leah Whitson, the region's Human Rights Watch director.

''There are no justifications for targeting civilians, in Iraq or anywhere else," Whitson said. ''Armed groups, as well as governments, must respect the laws of war."

In its report, Human Rights Watch listed 73 insurgent attacks between August 2003 and Sept. 17 this year in which at least 10 civilians were killed in each attack. The most deaths came Sept. 14-15, when a series of car bombs in Baghdad killed nearly 200.
The group dismissed the arguments that insurgent groups and their supporters often use to justify attacks on civilians -- including that their victims are legitimate targets because they support foreign forces in Iraq.

Those rationales ''have no basis in international law, which requires the protection of any civilian who is not actively participating in the hostilities."

Many on the right have said that HRW only criticise American actions , this show's them that groups like HRW are not anti American they are Pro Human rights , and they will condem who ever commits these crimes regardless of which side of the fence

HRW are correct to highlight these war crimes and they are were right to highlight the coalition war crimes earlier this year

All humans have rights , that is what makes us civilised and the Terrorists wrong , It is when the lines of humanity are crossed then the boundries between right and wrong become confused

Happy Rosh Hashanah

My very best wishes to the Jewish community Celebrating Rosh Hashanah.

As Tony Blair said this morning

"This festival does not simply mark the beginning of another New Year. It is a time, too, when Jewish communities in Britain and across the world reflect on their faith, re-affirm their commitment to its inspiring values and celebrate Judaism's rich history and tradition. The festival of Rosh Hashanah also gives every one of us a chance to reflect on the important contribution that the Jewish community has made over many years to Britain's success. This is something for us all to celebrate."

I hope this year that more steps can be made towards peace between Israel and the palastinians
and my thoughts are always with the families of both sides that have had to deal with the tragic
loss of loved ones . Lets hope that this time next year we can celebrate another step towards peace in the region

I know one or two people from Israel do read my site and that i can from time to time be critical of Israeli Policy , but the Jewish people have given so much to the world for us all to be thankfull for and whatever the rights and wrongs of the issues , the people of Israel deserve to live in peace safe from attack from anyone .

Peace to you all

How many Al-qeada lieutenants does it take to change an Insurgancy

Ever wondered just how many Al-qaeda lieutenants/deputies/aides/associates/second-in-commands/etc that we have captured or killed in Iraq .

I have , It seems to me it is almost a monthly event but i have never looked at this in detail

well now someone has

Interested ? ... see the full list over at Blogenlust

U.S. generals : 'U.S. forces are fueling the insurgency'

WASHINGTON — The U.S. generals running the war in Iraq presented a new assessment of the military situation in public comments and sworn testimony this week: The 149,000 U.S. troops currently in Iraq are increasingly part of the problem.

During a trip to Washington, the generals said the presence of U.S. forces was fueling the insurgency, fostering an undesirable dependency on American troops among the nascent Iraqi armed forces and energizing terrorists across the Middle East

For all these reasons, they said, a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops was imperative.

American officials backtracked on their expectations of what the U.S. military can achieve in Iraq months ago. But this week's comments showed that commanders believe a large U.S. force in Iraq might in fact be creating problems as well as solutions.

"This has been hinted at before, but it's a big shift for them to be saying that publicly," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution in Washington. "It means they recognize that there is a cost to staying just as there is a benefit to staying. And this has not really been factored in as a central part of the strategy before."

The generals' comments reflect an evolving outlook that senior military officials and even Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld have articulated in recent months. The battle against Iraqi insurgents will not be won by the U.S. military, they have said, and the insurgency will persist long after U.S. troops have left.

My View , well its about time , maybe we are getting closer to looking at options that could actually work , I hope so


Source: LA Times

We do not accept a bedouin on a camel !

(AF) Iraq's interior minister delivered a scathing attack on neighbouring Saudi Arabia, saying his country would not be lectured by "a bedouin on a camel" about human rights and democracy.

"We do not accept a bedouin on a camel teaching us about human rights and democracy. In Iraq, we are proud of our civilisation," Bayan Baqer Sulagh told a press conference in Amman after talks on boosting border security.

The Shiite minister said the oil-rich Sunni-ruled kingdom had several problems of its own to take care of. "Saudis should first allow women to drive, as is the case in Iraq," he said Sunday, adding that "four million Shiites live like second-class citizens in the Saudi kingdom."

He was responding to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal's accusations that Iran was seeking to spread its influence in Iraq and that sectarian divisions were threatening to break up the country.

Iraq's President Calls for PM to Step Down

KIRKUK, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's Kurdish president called on the country's Shiite prime minister to step down, the president's spokesman said Sunday, escalating a political split between the two factions that make up the government.

President Jalal Talabani has accused the Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance, which holds the majority in parliament, of monopolizing power in the government and refusing to move ahead on a key issue for Kurds, the resettlement of Kurds in the northern city of Kirkuk.

``The time has come for the United Iraqi Alliance and the Kurdistan coalition to study Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari's stepping aside from his post,'' said Azad Jundiyani, a spokesman for Talabani. ``This is for the benefit of the political process'' .

Asked if the Kurds would withdraw from the government if the Shiite alliance does not back them in removing al-Jaafari, Jundiyani said, ``We will wait and see.'' Talabani has made indirect threats to withdraw from the coalition if Kurdish demands are not met.

The two blocs have been the bedrock of the temporary government. Its collapse would add a new layer of political instability and underline how struggles for power are undermining efforts to get Iraq's fractious communities to work together in a new political system.

EU reaches deal on Turkey talks

EU foreign ministers have reached a deal clearing the way for accession talks with Turkey to begin, EU officials have said.

Austria had demanded the EU keep open the option of "privileged partnership" for Turkey, as well as full membership.

Well done to the EU for sorting that out (well so far anyway) and for blocking what seemed like racism from Austria.

Having a Muslim majority state as part of Europe (even if it is 10 years from now) will be a positive step in helping the world defeat Muslim extremists , they border the middle east , they support moderate measures and they will be a sign to other muslim countries that a seat at the table awaits you

Of course on the other side , Turkey has lots of problems , Human rights , the Kurds , Israel , cyprus and many more , but they have shown a willingness to look at the issues and i am convinced the extra trade and status afforded by the EU will bring Turkey upto the standards expected.

Read more Here

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bali hit by blasts again

At least 12 people have been killed in a series of explosions on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Many others were reported to have been injured in the blasts at Kuta beach - the area most popular with Western tourists - and at Jimbaran beach.

There is no firm word yet on what caused the blasts which happened just before 2000 local time.

Britain 'recruited terrorists'' MP claims

AN astonishing claim that M16 recruited Muslim extremists in Britain for terror training abroad has been made by Oldham MP and former cabinet minister Michael Meacher.

Mr Meacher also suggest that a British Muslim held under sentenced of death in Pakistan for beheading a US journalist is being kept alive because he was a British double agent.

The Oldham West and Royton MP makes these sensational claims in an article for Asian News' sister paper, The Guardian.

The former Environment Secretary claims that Britain's 'overseas' security organisation, M16, set about recruiting UK Muslims directing them to support US efforts to overthrow communist governments in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.

He highlights a Delhi-based research foundation that estimates anything up to 200 UK Muslims could have undergone training in overseas terrorist camps under the protection of the Pakistani secret service, the ISI, who were backing the armed Islamic insurrection against the Afghan communist regime and its Soviet backers.

He writes: "During an interview on Fox TV this summer, the former US federal prosecutor John Loftus reported that the British intelligence had used the al-Muhajiroun group..to recruit Islamist militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs in Kosovo."

The now disbanded al-Muhajiroun group held meetings in Manchester after 9/11 praising the courage of the suicide bombers and claimed to be helping UK Muslims to fight US troops in Afghanistan.

Mr Meacher also highlights the case of UK-born Muslim Omar Saeed Sheikh, sentenced to death for the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Mr Meacher writes that Sheikh has been allowed 32 appeals against his sentence, the last being adjourned "indefinitely".

He says the same Delhi foundation describes Sheikh as a British agent.Mr Meacher adds: "This is all the more remarkable when this is the same Omar Sheikh who, at the behest of General Mahmood Ahmed, head of the ISI, wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leading 9/11 hijacker, before the New York attacks, as confirmed by Dennis Lomel, director of FBI's financial crimes unit."



Read More at the Security news portal

Todays last throws in Iraq : september 30th

Sept 30 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Friday, Sept. 30, as of 1230 GMT.

HILLA - Police and health officials said at least 12 people were killed and 47 wounded when a car bomb ripped through a crowded market in the southern town of Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad.

BALAD - The death toll from the three apparently coordinated car bomb attacks on Thursday near a busy market in the predominantly Shi'ite town of Balad, north of Baghdad, rose to 98 killed and 119 wounded, hospital director Kassim Aboud said.

KIRKUK - Gunmen attacked a motorcade carrying Housing and Reconstruction Ministry officials in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (150 miles) north of Baghdad. Police said a guard was killed

Friday, September 30, 2005

If it's freedom and success 'they' hate, why aren't 'they' attacking Norway?

OPINION

This is an Interesting read By Luciana Bohne from online journal.

Most Americans like to believe they live in the best country in the world. They don't. According to the United Nations Human Development Report for 2005, Norway is number one. Why? It's a welfare state.

There is a pleasant economic equality enjoyed by the Norwegian polity. No one is too poor; no one is too rich. In fact, great wealth is regarded as some sort of social disease. Third oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, Norway is tucking away a national fund of over $180 billion for when the oil runs out, guaranteeing each family the quaint sum of $22,000 per year—in addition to guaranteed health care, education, pensions, and paid maternity leaves and vacations to die for! True, a glass of beer will cost you $8, but the waiter makes a good salary.

Americans like to think that terrorists attack them because they are rich, free, and number one. Not true. They don't attack Norway—another benefit for keeping your neck out of the woods, minding your own business, taking care of your own people, and planning for tomorrow—not to mention preventing your government from being drowned in the bathtub by snake-oil salesmen posing as public servants, so it can't help when an iceberg hits a fjord, or equivalent natural disaster. Norwegians seem proud of having government on their backs! Not too heavy when they can request and obtain any government record they please for their review! They are also disgustingly healthy. Must be the lack of stress. Thirty million Americans are on anti-depressants. You wonder why.

Lots of Americans like to think they have the most generous government in the world. Again, not true. The US is the stingiest donor of foreign aid among rich nations. Current foreign development aid is up from $52.3 billion to $57 billion per year but quite short of the $100 billion needed to meet the goals of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) for 2015, which pledged to reduce poverty and inequality in a Declaration of Millennium Goals signed by 175 UN member nations in 2000. Rich nations contribute 0.25 percent of their GDP (gross domestic product); the US contributes 0.1 percent. Among Ambassador John Bolton's 700 amendments to "reform" the UN, his wish list includes gutting the MDG.

Americans like to think they are spreading freedom and democracy around the world. You guessed it. Not true. The war in Iraq has cost $200 billion so far, but the Iraqi justice minister can't prosecute foreign fighters on Iraqi soil who detain and manhandle Iraqi citizens without judicial procedure. As many as 10,000 Iraqis are in detention in grossly abusive locations, of which Abu Ghraib is only the most notorious. Foreign fighters, of course, are the multinational forces, made up of an effective coalition of two—Britain and the US. Iraqi women have come under Sharia law, after 50 years of sharing legal equality with men. Think about that, as a test of spreading democracy! Iraqi farmers are required to buy seeds from corporations after five millennia of giving the world the genius of their wisdom and experimentation. Now, by virtue of Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority "intellectual property" law, included in the current Iraqi constitution, Iraqi farmers have no right to plant seeds not licensed by the state.

Click here to read more

Rumsfeld to address reporters' safety in Iraq

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - A senior Republican lawmaker won a commitment on Thursday from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to address concerns about the increased detentions and accidental shootings by U.S. forces of reporters trying to cover the Iraq conflict. Virginia Republican Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Senate armed services committee, raised the issue at a hearing with Rumsfeld and top U.S. generals after receiving letters from Reuters and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and a telephone call from Paul Steiger, CPJ chairman and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

"I raised the question of the safety of the press in Iraq and their ability to carry out the very important function of reporting to the American people," Warner told reporters after the hearing. "I've discussed it with the secretary. He's going to take it under immediate consideration," he said.

In a letter to Warner earlier this week, Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger referred to "a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by U.S. forces in Iraq."

He urged Warner to demand that Rumsfeld address and resolve these issues "in a way that best balances the legitimate security interests of the U.S. forces in Iraq and the equally legitimate rights of journalists in conflict zones under international law."

At least 66 journalists and media workers, most of them Iraqis, have been killed covering Iraq since March 2003.

At least seven Iraqi journalists were detained this year, with at least three documented detentions lasting more than 100 days while others spanned many weeksAt least four detainees remain in U.S. custody, including three Reuters employees and one from CBS News.

Additionally, the arrests sent the message to Iraq that the U.S. commitment to democracy and human rights was not sincere.

US generals: Iraqi security capability has shrunk

WASHINGTON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - The number of Iraqi security battalions able to fight without help from American forces has shrunk, senior U.S. generals said on Thursday, arguing that this was not a backward step.

At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. George Casey, top U.S. commander in Iraq, also said bringing home a substantial number of troops from Iraq next year will depend on political events there in the next 2-1/2 months.

The United States currently has 149,000 troops in Iraq. The Pentagon has said training Iraqi security forces -- who number about 192,000 -- so they are able to defend their own country is a prerequisite to an eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

But just one of the 120 U.S.-trained Iraqi army and police battalions was able to operate without U.S. forces,

Casey and Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, told senators.

The Pentagon said in July the number was three.

Calling this discouraging, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said, "That contributes to a loss of public confidence in how the war is going and whether this strategy is the appropriate one and it's being executed properly, (and) whether or not we're making progress."

Todays last throws in Iraq for september 29th

Sept 29 (Reuters) - The following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Thursday, Sept. 29, as of 1200 GMT.

BAGHDAD - Two people were killed and seven wounded when gunmen opened fire on a minibus in the eastern New Baghdad district of the capital, police said.

BAGHDAD - Two people were killed and one wounded when gunmen opened fire on a bakery in the southern Doura district of the capital, police said.

RAMADI - A U.S soldier was killed on Tuesday by small arms fire in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S. military said in a statement.

*KHALIS - The head of the city council was assassinated in this town, 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad, by gunmen. Police said two people with him were also wounded in the incident.

* KHALIS - A policeman and his brother were killed by gunmen in Khalis, police said.

* KIRKUK - A police colonel escaped death when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy in Kirkuk, 250 km (150 miles) north of Baghdad, police said one of his guards was wounded.

Note , this is a general overview of events upto 1200 hrs , for more details of the events today after 1200 hrs , please check my previous posts

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Triple Iraq bombs kill at least 62

At least 62 people have been killed in three co-ordinated car bombs in a city near Baghdad, Iraqi police say.

The near-simultaneous blasts in Balad, 50 miles (80km) north of the capital, injured at least another 68. The suicide bombs went off in a busy vegetable market, by a bank and by a police station in the mainly Shia city, Iraqi police said. The attack came as the commander of US forces in Iraq said the next 75 days were crucial to Iraq's future.

Read more Here

Abu Ghraib images 'must be shown'

A judge in New York has ruled that pictures of Iraqi inmates abused by US troops should be released. The judge made the order after a request by the American Civil Liberties Union for access to 87 unseen images. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein countered government arguments that this could fuel anti-US feelings.Pictures of Iraqi inmates being abused at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad last year have caused an outcry around the world. Several US soldiers have been jailed.

Five US troops killed in W Iraq

Five US soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb in the western town of Ramadi, the US military said.
The bomb exploded as they conducted combat operations on Wednesday, a statement by the Marines said.
The Sunni town of Ramadi is a stronghold of Iraq's anti-US insurgents, who launch regular attacks against Iraqi and American troops.
Reports say 13 US service personnel have been killed in violence in Iraq in the past five days.
Reports are also coming in of three near simultaneous suicide car bombings in the city of Balad north of Baghdad.
Hospital officials quoted by Associated Press say scores of people have been killed and wounded

Full Details Here

UK: 82 year old man thrown out of conference and arrested

An 82 year old member of the british labour party was thrown out of the annual conference for shouting the word "Nonsense" as Jack Straw was making a speech about the governments policy in Iraq.

This alone would be enough but the Gentleman was then arrested under anti terrorism laws !

The gentleman has been a loyal member of the Labour party longer then Mr Blair has been alive and this is how they repay that loyalty !

Is there no boundry when it comes to shutting up dissent ?

watch the video Here

Tehran students attack UK embassy

Students in Tehran have thrown stones and petrol bombs at the British embassy in protest at international pressure over Iran's nuclear programme.

The protest - organised by the hardline Islamist Student Basij Organisation - started off peacefully. Protesters chanted slogans calling for a repeat of 1979 when revolutionary students stormed the US embassy and took hostages. Suddenly tomatoes, rocks and firecrackers were thrown at the embassy gate, followed by Molotov cocktails. Chants of "Nuclear energy is our legitimate right" turned more violent, with protestors shouting "marg bar ingelis" - "death to England." One protester whose forehead was cut by a police baton left bloody hand-prints on a brass plate on the embassy wall.

Earlier in the day UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the BBC he believed military action against Iran was inconceivable, despite US statements that every option remained open.

Read the full article Here

Woman suicide bomber strikes Iraq

At least eight people have been killed in the first attack by a female suicide bomber during Iraq's insurgency.

Witnesses and army officers said the attacker pushed her way into a crowd at an army recruitment centre in Talafar, northern Iraq. An internet message purporting to be from the Islamist group al-Qaeda in Iraq claimed a "blessed sister" mounted the attack on its behalf. The bomber blew up a device hidden beneath her Islamic dress as she stood among job applicants, reports said. Up to 30 people were injured. One of those, Jumaa Mohammed, said from his hospital bed: "It was a young woman. She pushed her way through the crowd and then there was an explosion." A statement apparently from al-Qaeda in Iraq said: "A blessed sister... carried out a heroic attack defending her faith... May God accept our sister among the martyrs." It did not identify the bomber. The last time women are known to have been used as suicide bombers in Iraq was during the war, in April 2003, when two women, one of them pregnant, blew up their car at a coalition checkpoint, killing three soldiers.

Source : BBC

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How US fuelled myth of Zarqawi the mastermind

This is a old article that seems just as accurate today from the daily Telegraph (UK)

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist leader believed to be responsible for the abduction of Kenneth Bigley, is 'more myth than man', according to American military intelligence agents in Iraq.

Several sources said the importance of Zarqawi, blamed for many of the most spectacular acts of violence in Iraq, has been exaggerated by flawed intelligence and the Bush administration's desire to find "a villain" for the post-invasion mayhem.

US military intelligence agents in Iraq have revealed a series of botched and often tawdry dealings with unreliable sources who, in the words of one source, "told us what we wanted to hear".

"We were basically paying up to $10,000 a time to opportunists, criminals and chancers who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq," the agent said

"Back home this stuff was gratefully received and formed the basis of policy decisions. We needed a villain, someone identifiable for the public to latch on to, and we got one."

The sprawling US intelligence community is in a state of open political warfare amid conflicting pressures from election-year politics, military combat and intelligence analysis. The Bush administration has seized on Zarqawi as the principal leader of the insurgency, mastermind of the country's worst suicide bombings and the man behind the abduction of foreign hostages. He is held up as the most tangible link to Osama bin Laden and proof of the claim that the former Iraqi regime had links to al-Qa'eda.

However, fresh intelligence emerging from around Fallujah, the rebel-held city that is at the heart of the insurgency, suggests that, despite a high degree of fragmentation, the insurgency is led and dominated not by Arab foreigners but by members of Iraq's Sunni minority.

Pentagon estimates have put the number of foreign fighters in the region of 5,000. However, one agent said: "The overwhelming sense from the information we are now getting is that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed several hundred and is perhaps as low as 200. From the information we have gathered we have to conclude that Zarqawi is more myth than man. He isn't in the calibre of what many politicians want to believe he is.

"At some stage, and perhaps even now, he was almost certainly behind some of the kidnappings. But if there is a main leader of the insurgency he would be an Iraqi. The insurgency, though, is not nearly so centralised to talk of a structured leadership."

Military intelligence officials complain that their reports to Washington, are largely being ignored. They accuse the Pentagon of over-reliance on electronic surveillance and aerial and satellite reconnaissance carried out for the CIA.

Read the full article Here

Todays last throws in Iraq : September 28th

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Wednesday, Sept. 28, as of 1130 GMT.

TAL AFAR - At least seven people were killed and 37 wounded when a female suicide bomber attacked a large crowd of people outside an army recruiting centre in the town of Tal Afar west of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

TAJI - Seven bodies of people who had been shot dead were found in Taji, 20 km north of Baghdad. Police said they were bound and blindfolded.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen attacked two vehicles belonging to the Jordanian embassy on the Abu Ghraib highway, west of Baghdad, as they headed to the Jordanian hospital in Falluja. There were no casualties reported, police said.

BAGHDAD - One policeman was killed by gunmen in northeastern Baghdad while heading to work, police said.

BAGHDAD
- Men wearing commando uniforms detained six people on Tuesday in the northwestern Huriya district of the capital. They were found shot dead in Baghdad's morgue, police said.

BAGHDAD - Two policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol on the Doura highway in southern Baghdad, police said.

Cartoon of the week

This is great stuff

Click the link , then follow the instructions

Here

The unravelling of India's Persian puzzle

Interesting read from the Indian national press

Snip

By voting against Iran in the IAEA, India has put its alliance with the United States above any concern of national interest, energy security or international law.

FOR ALL its pretensions to a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, India on Saturday flunked its first real test as a rising world power. Where no less than 11 countries smaller and less powerful than us — Venezuela, Algeria, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Vietnam, and Yemen — had the courage and good sense to join Russia and China in refusing to endorse the U.S.-backed agenda of confrontation with Iran, India threw in its lot with Washington and the European troika.

Read more Here

US soldiers allegedly trading pictures of dead Iraqis & Afghanis for porn

America blog has looked into the claims of US soldiers trading pictures of dead Iraqis on the internet


Warning the images are very Graphic .....

To see their research click Here

Al-Qaida denies aide to Zarqawi killed in Iraq

DUBAI, Sept. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- An internet statement denied on Tuesday reports that the right-hand man of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted militant in Iraq, has been killed by US forces.

the US military said Tuesday that Azzam, a financier and religious aide to Zarqawi, was killed in a joint US-Iraqi raid on his hideout in an apartment building on Monday, .

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

Al-Qaida in Iraq, which is linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network, is one of the most feared militant groups in the country and claims responsibility for many of the deadliest attacks in Iraq.

Well it was quicker then expected but no suprise that his name has been added to the living dead ,

See why this was not a suprise in the related post Here

Iraq : Last throws for 27th september

Sept 27 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Tuesday, Sept. 27, as of 1200 GMT.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government in Baghdad.

BAGHDAD - The second-in-command of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Azzam, was shot and killed by U.S.-led forces in Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. Abu Azzam, a financier and religious aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed while hiding out in a high-rise apartment building in the capital, the military said.
BAQUBA - At least 10 Iraqis were killed and 28 injured when a suicide bomber attacked a large crowd of people outside a police recruiting centre in the town of Baquba 65km (40 miles) north-east of Baghdad, police said.
LATIFIYA - Iraqi police found the bodies of three Iraqis, bound and blindfolded, with gunshot wounds near the volatile town of Latifiya, just south of Baghdad, police said. The identity of the victims was not immediately clear.
KIRKUK - A roadside bomb on a police patrol killed an Iraqi civilian and injured two policemen in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, police Captain Salam Zengena said.
KIRKUK - Insurgents assassinated police Major Fakhir Jalal Amin in central Kirkuk. Amin worked for the city's counter- insurgency centre, police Colonel Sarhat Qadir said.
BAGHDAD - A car bomb wounded five civilians near a restaurant in central Baghdad's Nidhal street as a convoy of foreign security contractors passed, police said

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Return of the living dead ?

Al-Qaeda's second-in-command in Iraq has been shot dead, officials say.

Abu Azzam - described as an aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - was killed in a joint operation in the capital Baghdad, Iraqi and US officials said.




Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari called the killing very important, and said those who informed on insurgents were helping to save hundreds of lives.

Of course this is good news , as long as he remains dead , alas these people have a habit of coming back from the dead at the most convenient of times.

Take Al-Qaeda's number one in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi , now he declared war on the Shi'ite on the 14th of September 2005 Reuters which is an amazing achievement as he was killed on the 6th of july 2005 Aljazeera , maybe he forgot and popped back to finish a few things. Number one on his zombie list seems to be the plan to move to the horn of Africa to carry on the fight after Iraq BBC .Which will be an astonishing trip , considering that he has expired What really happened

It used to be a real life stopper being dead , but these days you can carry on and further your career and terrorist goals without a care , even today it seems our dear Zarqawi has taken over five (yes five) towns in iraq SF Chronicle .Now how on earth has he managed that , what with being deceased. MSNBC/AP

Does anybody else feel that something does not smell right ?

Next thing they will be telling us that the Shi'ite led Iran is supporting the Sunni led insurgancy to help them kill their own Shi'ite brothers in the south.

Oh , sorry , they do say that !

hmmm

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Todays last throws in Iraq

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Saturday, Sept. 25, as of 0815 GMT.

U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite and Kurdish-led government in Baghdad.

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber killed 13 Iraqi police commandos and wounded 10 when he detonated his vehicle near a convoy of police special forces in eastern Baghdad, police said.

HILLA - A suicide bomber on a bicycle killed four civilians, including a woman and a child, and injured 35 when he blew himself up in a crowded market in the southern Shi'ite city of Hilla, police said.

BAGHDAD - U.S. troops clashed with militia fighters loyal to rebel Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, killing eight militiamen and wounding five, Iraqi police said.

BAGHDAD - The bodies of four Iraqis were found blindfolded and bound in the impoverished Baghdad district of Shula. Police said the victims were each shot with one bullet to the head.

THULUIYA - The U.S military said one of the militants it killed in the town of Thuluiya on Friday was Jabbar Ateyia, a member of the city council.

BAGHDAD - A dairy shop owner was killed by gunmen on his way to a mosque in western Baghdad, police said. It was not clear why the man had been targeted

Britain to pull troops from Iraq

British troops will start a major withdrawal from Iraq next May under detailed plans on military disengagement to be published next month, The Observer can reveal.
The document being drawn up by the British government and the US will be presented to the Iraqi parliament in October and will spark fresh controversy over how long British troops will stay in the country. Tony Blair hopes that, despite continuing and widespread violence in Iraq, the move will show that there is progress following the conflict of 2003.
Britain has already privately informed Japan - which also has troops in Iraq - of its plans to begin withdrawing from southern Iraq in May, a move that officials in Tokyo say would make it impossible for their own 550 soldiers to remain. Article here

India claims 'no Iran vote pressure'

India denies coming under US pressure to back a resolution paving the way for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear plans.
An Indian foreign ministry statement said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution was consistent with Delhi's stated position on Iran.
The statement said India's vote was in no way linked to a recent landmark India-US nuclear accord.
Officials hoped a $7bn gas pipeline deal with Iran would be unaffected.

Gaza 'what cease fire ?'

Friday: Israeli troops shoot dead three Islamic Jihad militants in Tulkarm, West Bank, in raids on those suspected of involvement in suicide attacks earlier this year
Friday: Islamic Jihad responds with a rocket attack on Israel from Gaza
Friday: An explosion at a Hamas rally in Gaza kills 15 people. Hamas blames Israel. Israel denies any involvement. The Palestinian Authority accuses Hamas of mishandling weapons at the rally
Friday/ Saturday: militants fire up to 40 rockets from Gaza at the Israeli town of Sderot, injuring at least five people. Hamas calls them revenge for the rally blast
Saturday: Israel launches a series of air raids in response, including one that kills two Hamas militants in a car in Gaza
Saturday: Israeli troops and artillery gather on the border with northern Gaza. The borders with Gaza and the West Bank are sealed
Saturday/ Sunday: Israel launches more overnight air strikes and arrests more than 200 Palestinians in West Bank

Quote from Palastinian press

"What the Israeli authorities have been carrying out, and the raids they have been launching since the day before yesterday, can only be described heinous attacks... After announcing the period of calm on 9 February, the Israeli Government has proved that it is far from committed to this calm. "

Quote from Israeli press

"Now that the withdrawal is complete and the border crossings have become de facto international ones, Israel must treat attacks launched from the PA like attacks from any other country - which becomes an enemy state the moment such an action happens. Assertive security dialogue with the PA is the main weapon Israel should use, without compromise or concessions. "

US / Shia clash erupts in Baghdad

Four militiamen loyal to Iraq's radical Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr, have been killed in clashes with US forces in Baghdad overnight, Iraqi officials say. It is the first such fighting since a rebellion by supporters of the cleric ended more than a year ago. The US military confirmed it had fought "anti-Iraqi forces" in eastern Baghdad. Meanwhile, at least nine people have been killed in a bomb attack on police in Baghdad, while two died in a market bomb in Hilla, officials said.
In another attack, at least six people were killed by a bomb at a Shia mosque in Musayyib, some 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, on Sunday.

Watchdog agrees Iran resolution

VIENNA, Austria (Reuters) -- The U.N. nuclear watchdog has passed a resolution requiring Iran to be reported to the Security Council over a failure to convince the agency its nuclear program was entirely peaceful.The EU resolution requires Tehran to be reported to the Security Council, but at an unspecified date -- watering down an earlier demand from the Europeans for an immediate referral.The resolution, which diplomats said was prepared in close consultation with Washington, says there was an "absence of confidence" that Iran's atomic program was exclusively peaceful

Huge rally against Iraq war

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Crowds opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House on Saturday, shouting "Peace now" in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion.The rally stretched through the day and into the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall.Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that."

But of course i should be fair and say ...

A much smaller demonstration Saturday by military families supported administration policy in Iraq. About 150 to 200 demonstrators gathered on a corner of Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House.

Gaza rally blast kills 15 Palestinians

JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip -- A truck filled with masked militants and homemade weapons exploded at a Hamas rally yesterday, killing at least 15 Palestinians and wounding 80 -- including children -- bringing a grisly and terrifying end to one of the last gatherings by armed groups celebrating Israel's Gaza pullout.Witnesses said many children were among the casualties.Hamas said six militants were killed, including Jihad Shaleal, head of the group's military wing in Jebaliya. Hamas blamed Israel, but the Israeli military denied any connection. Palestinian security officials said the blast was an accident.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Basra warrant issued for two UK soldiers

Basra judge has issued an arrest warrant for two British soldiers after an Iraqi civilian was reportedly killed and a police officer injured. The two servicemen - believed to be undercover SAS officers - were detained after a confrontation on Monday. UK troops later freed the soldiers from Iraqi custody after storming a police station in the southern Iraqi city.
A UK forces spokesman said the warrant had no legal basis but that they would co-operate with the Iraqi inquiry. The MoD said it was aware of reports about the arrest warrant for the soldiers but that British authorities had not received any such warrant.
British forces spokesman Major Steve Melbourne said the two men had immunity from prosecution under an arrangement between the Iraqi government and coalition forces.
"They have no legal basis for the issue of these warrants," he told BBC News

Top Democrats won't attend anti-war rally in Washington

WASHINGTON - (KRT) As the anti-war movement arrives in Washington this weekend, many top Democrats are leaving.

Nationally known Democratic war critics, including Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Russell Feingold of Wisconsin and John Kerry of Massachusetts, won't attend what sponsors say will be a big anti-war rally Saturday in Washington.

The only Democratic officeholders who plan to address the rally are Reps. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and John Conyers of Michigan.

Today's leading Democrats head a party divided over the war, and many leaders are wary of standing with anti-war activists, who represent much of the party's base. The divide between anti-war activists and Democratic leaders underscores a challenge the party faces in the 2006 congressional elections and beyond. Some activists say that Democrats such as Clinton and Kerry who criticize the war but refuse to demand a timetable for withdrawal are effectively supporting the status quo - and may not merit future support.

Spokesmen for the Democrats who are skipping the anti-war event all said they had schedule conflicts. But some leading anti-war activists aren't buying it.

"There are a lot of people here who are wondering, where are the Democrats?" said Tom Andrews, a former Democratic House member from Maine who's now the national director of Win Without War, one of several groups that are organizing three days of protests against the war in Washington starting Saturday.

"The Democratic Party has an identity crisis on this issue. We need voices. We need leadership," Andrews said. "But fear is driving them."