Tuesday, November 15, 2005

UN calls for 'immediate action' over Iraq mass arrests

The United Nations mission in Iraq (Unami) has expressed concern over mass arrests by US-led coalition troops "without adequate judicial oversight". In a report, the mission called for immediate action, saying the number of such inmates was rising.

It said data by the Iraqi ministry of human rights last month showed that 1,559 out of 23,394 detainees were held by coalition troops.

The US military says Iraqi inmates are having their cases promptly reviewed.

It says all the necessary steps are being taken either through referral to Iraqi courts or through a special US-Iraqi prisoner board set up in 2004 to speed up the review of individual cases.

The latest report by the UN mission covered the period from 1 September to 31 October 2005.

It said that "the overall number of detainees continued to increase due to mass arrests carried out during security and military operations" in Iraq.

The report said "the vast majority" of those held were individuals picked up by the US-led forces for "imperative reasons of security". It said that the US-Iraqi board was reviewing up to 250 cases a week, "resulting in some releases".

But it said the board's standards violated both Iraqi and international laws governing the treatment of civilians.

"There is an urgent need to provide remedy to lengthy internment for reasons of security without adequate judicial oversight," the report said.

The UN has repeatedly expressed concerns about the large number of detainees being held in Iraq without apparent due process.

It has also alleged that thousands are being kept in custody for long periods without charges.

source : BBC

now is this more meddling from the UN or is this showing disrespect for the only lawfull authortity for actually being in the country in the first place , as shown by the desperation the coalition went through to get the UN to renew its authority before the christmas deadline to pull out , well that depends on your perspective .

To some of us International law is a wonderfull guidline that helps to keep all countries in check and allows us to see the good from the bad and gives the world authrority to deal with nasty regimes . To others International law is only to give us justification to attack countries such as Iraq or Iran and does not apply to the big countries who can do as they please

Spain to investigate 'secret CIA flights'

Spain is launching an investigation into claims that CIA planes carrying terror suspects made secret stopovers on Spanish soil. Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso made the announcement on Spanish television on Tuesday.

He said that if proven, such activities could damage relations between the Spanish and US governments.

According to Spanish press reports, the CIA is suspected of having used Majorca for such prisoner transfers.

"If it were confirmed as true, we would, of course, be looking at very serious cases," Mr Alonso told the private channel Telecinco.

The suspect flights - 10 in total - came to light in a report submitted by Spain's Civil Guard to the prosecutor's office of the Balearics Supreme Court in June, Spain's El Pais newspaper reported.

The first flight allegedly landed in Palma, on the island of Majorca, on 22 January 2004.

The suspect flights - by two Boeing 747s and two Gulfstream jets - allegedly continued until 17 January 2005.

Source : BBC

Fallujah Revisited

By Dahr Jamail

Nearly a year after they occurred, a few of the war crimes committed in Fallujah by members of the US military have gained the attention of some major media outlets (excluding, of course, any of the corporate media outlets in the US).

Back on November 26, 2004, in a story I wrote for the Inter Press Service titled 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah', refugees from that city described, in detail, various odd weapons used in Fallujah. In addition, they provided detailed descriptions such as “pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the skin even when water was thrown on the burns.”

This was also mentioned in a web log I’d penned nine days before, on November 17, 2004, named Slash and Burn where one of the descriptions of these same weapons by the same refugee from Fallujah said, “These exploded on the ground with large fires that burnt for half an hour. They used these near the train tracks. You could hear these dropped from a large airplane and the bombs were the size of a tank. When anyone touched those fires, their body burned for hours.”

On December 9th of 2004 I posted a gallery of photos , many of which are included in the new RAI television documentary about incendiary weapons having been used in Fallujah.

Like the torture “scandal” of Abu Ghraib that for people in the west didn’t become “real” until late April of 2004, Iraqis and journalists in Iraq who engaged in actual reporting knew that US and British forces were torturing Iraqis from nearly the beginning of the occupation, and continue to do so to this day.

All of this makes me wonder how much longer it will take for other atrocities to come to light. Even just discussing Fallujah, there are many we can choose from. While I’m not the only journalist to have reported on these, let me draw your attention to just a few things that I’ve recorded which took place in Fallujah during the November, 2004 massacre.

In my story “Fallujah Refugees Tell of Life and Death in the Kill Zone” published on December 3, 2004 there are many instances of war crimes which will, hopefully, be granted the attention they deserve.

Burhan Fasa’a, an Iraqi journalist who worked for the Lebanese satellite TV station, LBC and who was in Fallujah for nine days during the most intense combat, said Americans grew easily frustrated with Iraqis who could not speak English.

“Americans did not have interpreters with them,” Fasa’a said, “so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English. They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and [they] shot people because [the people] didn’t obey [the soldiers’] orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English.” He also added, “Soldiers thought the people were rejecting their orders, so they shot them. But the people just couldn’t understand them.

” A man named Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city.

“I watched them roll over wounded people in the street with tanks,” said Kassem Mohammed Ahmed, a resident of Fallujah. “This happened so many times.”

Other refugees recounted similar stories. “I saw so many civilians killed there, and I saw several tanks roll over the wounded in the streets,” said Aziz Abdulla, 27 years old, who fled the fighting last November. Another resident, Abu Aziz, said he also witnessed American armored vehicles crushing people he believes were alive.

Abdul Razaq Ismail, another resident who fled Fallujah, said: “I saw dead bodies on the ground and nobody could bury them because of the American snipers. The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah.”

A man called Abu Hammad said he witnessed US troops throwing Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates River. Abu Hammed and others also said they saw Americans shooting unarmed Iraqis who waved white flags.

Believing that American and Iraqi forces were bent on killing anyone who stayed in Fallujah, Hammad said he watched people attempt to swim across the Euphrates to escape the siege.

“Even then the Americans shot them with rifles from the shore,” he said. “Even if some of them were holding a white flag or white clothes over their heads to show they are not fighters, they were all shot.”

Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein reported witnessing similar events. After running out of basic necessities and deciding to flee the city at the height of the US-led assault, Hussein ran to the Euphrates.

“I decided to swim,” Hussein told colleagues at the AP, who wrote up the photographer’s harrowing story, “but I changed my mind after seeing US helicopters firing on and killing people who tried to cross the river.

” Hussein said he saw soldiers kill a family of five as they tried to traverse the Euphrates, before he buried a man by the riverbank with his bare hands.

“I kept walking along the river for two hours and I could still see some US snipers ready to shoot anyone who might swim,” Hussein recounted. “I quit the idea of crossing the river and walked for about five hours through orchards.”

Khalil, who asked not to use his last name for fear of reprisals, said he had witnessed the shooting of civilians who were waving white flags while they tried to escape the city. “They shot women and old men in the streets,” he said. “Then they shot anyone who tried to get their bodies.”

“There are bodies the Americans threw in the river,” Khalil continued, noting that he personally witnessed US troops using the Euphrates to dispose of Iraqi dead. “And anyone who stayed thought they would be killed by the Americans, so they tried to swim across the river. Even people who couldn’t swim tried to cross the river.

They drowned rather than staying to be killed by the Americans,” said Khalil.

Why should blatant lying from the military come as a surprise? Even back in November of 2003, I wrote about how US forces claimed to have been attacked by, and then killed 48 Fedayin Saddam in Samarra. Then magically, overnight, they raised the number to 54. Upon investigation of this, I found that 8 civilians had been killed in the city, and wrote about it here and posted photos of it here .

However, why should any of us be surprised at this? When we have an administration which led the country into an illegal war of aggression and continues to lie about it, events like torturing and the use of incendiary weapons on civilians are small change.

(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail. All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the http://dahrjamailiraq.com/ website.

Now i am not stating that i believe every single world written by Dahr above is true , neither am i saying that every word is false , what i am saying is we have witnesses , we have photographs , we have alleged war crimes

So why are we not having an investigation ?

If as a very small minority seem to believe the alleged war crimes commited in Falluja are untrue then why would they not want to get this out in the open and put those accused on trial ?

Of course you know that will never happen , which tends to point in the direction of Dahr's claims being more fact then fiction

something i will remember the next time the US accuses anyone else of war crimes

Who knows on Padilla

Newsday The world has known many nations where soldiers could jack people off the streets and dump them into a black hole of incarceration without charges or trials. It has seen woeful places where people could be branded traitors and denied an opportunity to fight the accusation that officials need never prove. Proudly, for 226 years the United States wasn't one of those nations. Now it is.

The country tumbled into that legal abyss on June 9, 2002. That's when President George W. Bush declared U.S. citizen Jose Padilla an enemy combatant and had him hustled into a military brig. Seized in Chicago, Padilla has been behind bars ever since, with no criminal charges, no trial and no chance to be heard. Congress should summon the will to rein Bush in or, failing that, the Supreme Court should lay down the limits of presidential authority and make them stick.

Padilla may be a terrorist. But the government's allegations have repeatedly changed. First he was accused of a plot to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb." Then it was a plan to use conventional explosives to level apartment buildings. The latest is that Padilla took up arms against the United States in Afghanistan and then re-entered the states, a terrorist in waiting. Is any of it true? Who knows. Washington hasn't been required to present any evidence, and Padilla's version of events has never been heard.

Bush insists that he alone controls Padilla's fate as long as the nation is at war. He has based that assertion, in large part, on the authorization for the use of military force that Congress passed in 2001. If Congress intended to hand Bush such extraordinary control over the lives of ordinary Americans, it should unambiguously reaffirm that intent. That would be a mistake of historic proportions. But it would at least be clear. If Congress didn't intend to give Bush such sweeping power, it should make that clear.

If Congress won't step up, then the courts must. The Supreme Court ruled last year in the case of Yaser Hamdi, a U.S. citizen captured in Afghanistan, that citizens designated enemy combatants can be detained, but must be allowed a fair chance to challenge that designation. The ruling didn't resolve Padilla's situation, the court said, because a petition on his behalf was filed in the wrong jurisdiction.

A new request for Supreme Court intervention, filed Oct. 25, poses a simple question: How long is too long for the government to keep a citizen behind bars without criminal charges or a day in court? Bush says he can hold Padilla until the war on terror ends. The court should answer that three and a half years is too long. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Monday, November 14, 2005

This isn't the real America

By Jimmy Carter
Los Angeles Times IN RECENT YEARS, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.

These include the rudimentary American commitment to peace, economic and social justice, civil liberties, our environment and human rights.

Also endangered are our historic commitments to providing citizens with truthful information, treating dissenting voices and beliefs with respect, state and local autonomy and fiscal responsibility.

At the same time, our political leaders have declared independence from the restraints of international organizations and have disavowed long-standing global agreements — including agreements on nuclear arms, control of biological weapons and the international system of justice.

Instead of our tradition of espousing peace as a national priority unless our security is directly threatened, we have proclaimed a policy of "preemptive war," an unabridged right to attack other nations unilaterally to change an unsavory regime or for other purposes. When there are serious differences with other nations, we brand them as international pariahs and refuse to permit direct discussions to resolve disputes.

Regardless of the costs, there are determined efforts by top U.S. leaders to exert American imperial dominance throughout the world.

These revolutionary policies have been orchestrated by those who believe that our nation's tremendous power and influence should not be internationally constrained. Even with our troops involved in combat and America facing the threat of additional terrorist attacks, our declaration of "You are either with us or against us!" has replaced the forming of alliances based on a clear comprehension of mutual interests, including the threat of terrorism.

Another disturbing realization is that, unlike during other times of national crisis, the burden of conflict is now concentrated exclusively on the few heroic men and women sent back repeatedly to fight in the quagmire of Iraq. The rest of our nation has not been asked to make any sacrifice, and every effort has been made to conceal or minimize public awareness of casualties.

Instead of cherishing our role as the great champion of human rights, we now find civil liberties and personal privacy grossly violated under some extreme provisions of the Patriot Act.

Of even greater concern is that the U.S. has repudiated the Geneva accords and espoused the use of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, and secretly through proxy regimes elsewhere with the so-called extraordinary rendition program. It is embarrassing to see the president and vice president insisting that the CIA should be free to perpetrate "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment" on people in U.S. custody.

Instead of reducing America's reliance on nuclear weapons and their further proliferation, we have insisted on our right (and that of others) to retain our arsenals, expand them, and therefore abrogate or derogate almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the last 50 years. We have now become a prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation. America also has abandoned the prohibition of "first use" of nuclear weapons against nonnuclear nations, and is contemplating the previously condemned deployment of weapons in space.

Protection of the environment has fallen by the wayside because of government subservience to political pressure from the oil industry and other powerful lobbying groups. The last five years have brought continued lowering of pollution standards at home and almost universal condemnation of our nation's global environmental policies.

Our government has abandoned fiscal responsibility by unprecedented favors to the rich, while neglecting America's working families. Members of Congress have increased their own pay by $30,000 per year since freezing the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour (the lowest among industrialized nations).

I am extremely concerned by a fundamentalist shift in many houses of worship and in government, as church and state have become increasingly intertwined in ways previously thought unimaginable.

As the world's only superpower, America should be seen as the unswerving champion of peace, freedom and human rights. Our country should be the focal point around which other nations can gather to combat threats to international security and to enhance the quality of our common environment. We should be in the forefront of providing human assistance to people in need.

It is time for the deep and disturbing political divisions within our country to be substantially healed, with Americans united in a common commitment to revive and nourish the historic political and moral values that we have espoused during the last 230 years.

Methodist Bishops Repent Iraq War 'Complicity'

Fox News Ninety-five bishops from President Bush's church said Thursday they repent their "complicity" in the "unjust and immoral" invasion and occupation of Iraq. "In the face of the United States administration's rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent," said a statement of conscience signed by more than half of the 164 retired and active United Methodist bishops worldwide.

President Bush is a member of the United Methodist Church, according to various published biographies. The White House did not return a request for comment on the bishops' statement.

Although United Methodist leadership has opposed the Iraq war in the past, this is the first time that individual bishops have confessed to a personal failure to publicly challenge the buildup to the war.

The signatures were also an instrument for retired bishops to make their views known, said bishop Joseph H. Yeakel, who served in the Baltimore-Washington area from 1984 to 1996. The current bishop for the Baltimore-Washington area, John R. Schol, also signed the statement.

The statement avoids making accusations, said retired Bishop Kenneth L. Carder, instructor at Duke University's divinity school and an author of the document.

"We would have made the statement regardless of who the president was. It was not meant to be either partisan or to single out any one person," Carder said. "It was the recognition that we are all part of the decision and we are all part of a democratic society. We all bear responsibility."

Stith, who spent more than three years after his retirement working in East Africa -- including with Rwandan refugees -- said going to war over the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks did not solve the real problems behind them.

The real issues are that much of the world lives in poverty, desperation and depression, he said, while an affluent minority of the world often oppresses them. Americans need to take responsibility for their world, Stith said.

"To ignore things and to assume that persons in the government have all knowledge is to reject our franchise and our democracy," Stith said.

About six weeks ago, Carder discussed the idea of a public statement with other colleagues who "had concerns" about the war, and the idea just grew, Carder said.

Last week, the statement circulated during a biannual meeting of the Council of Bishops, "and before the week was out, we had 95 bishops," Carder said.

In their statement, the bishops pledged to pray daily for the end of the war, for its American and Iraqi victims and for American leaders to find "truth, humility and policies of peace through justice."

"We confess our preoccupation with institutional enhancement and limited agendas while American men and women are sent to Iraq to kill and be killed, while thousands of Iraqi people needlessly suffer and die, while poverty increases and preventable diseases go untreated," the statement said.

UK : Blair faces new inquiry into Iraq war

MPs organising the campaign to impeach Tony Blair believe they have enough support to force a highly damaging Commons investigation into the Prime Minister’s pre-war conduct.A renewed attempt to impeach Blair over claims he misled parlia ment in making his case for war against Iraq, will be made in the Commons within the next two weeks.

The impeachment process effectively stalled last year when just 23 MPs signed a Commons motion. But the scale of the government’s defeat on its anti-terror legislation last week – where 49 Labour MPs rebelled – has galvanised the momentum for proceedings to be invoked.

Organisers say they are expecting 200 cross-party signatures, including those of former government ministers, to force the Commons to set up a Privy Council investigation that would examine in detail the case for impeachment against Blair.

The size of the Labour revolt, allied to unified opposition benches, is said to have changed the climate inside the Commons.

SNP leader, Alex Salmond, one of the key figures in the impeachment campaign, said he now believed that the cross-party attempt to bring the government to account over the Iraq war “would become more urgent than predicted problems associated with social legislation in England and Wales”.

Following the Commons defeat, it was predicted that future flashpoints for Blair would include a new education reform bill, likely to be presented next spring and new legislation to broaden reform inside the NHS with greater competition from the private sector.

Potential backbench revolts are also predicted if Blair makes any move to update the Trident nuclear programme or tries to introduce a new era of nuclear-generated energy.

Next month, a Green Paper on welfare reform, expected to include moves to cut incapacity benefit, was expected to be the first attack point for Labour dissidents.

However, any parliamentary success on the matter of impeachment is likely to over-shadow other issues.

If the promised signatures materialise, and a vote on the impeachment process is taken, the opportunity to deliver a substantial knock-down blow to Blair is not likely to be passed up by Labour rebels and opposition alike.

One MP last night: “This would be a golden opportunity. It would be pay-back time for Blair over the way he manipulated parliament before the Iraq war in 2003.

“Last week’s defeat changed the atmosphere in the Commons. The hunt is on, as they say.”

Although the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, has remained publicly loyal to Blair since the defeat, last night, one of Brown’s closest parliamentary allies disobeyed his call to back the Prime Minister unquestioningly.

The former Treasury minister, Geoffrey Robinson, insisted the Prime Minister had to allow his successor sufficient time to win a fourth term. The comment effectively challenges Blair’s claim that he will serve out a “full third term”.

Blair has acknowledged how difficult the task ahead of him now is. He said in a newspaper interview this weekend that he now faced “a rough ride” to push through his reform agenda. But he insisted there would be no spectacular U-turn, saying he was still determined to “continue doing what was right, not what is easy”.

An organiser of the impeachment campaign told the Sunday Herald : “We have been promised 200 signatures and are now hopeful this process will go ahead as it should have last year. There will be a vote and an investigation will be set up. Does this have the potential to finish Tony Blair? Yes it does.”

'We Do Not Torture' and Other Funny Stories

By Frank Rich The New York Times If it weren't tragic it would be a New Yorker cartoon. The president of the United States, in the final stop of his forlorn Latin America tour last week, told the world, "We do not torture." Even as he spoke, the administration's flagrant embrace of torture was as hard to escape as publicity for Anderson Cooper

The vice president, not satisfied that the C.I.A. had already been implicated in four detainee deaths, was busy lobbying Congress to give the agency a green light to commit torture in the future. Dana Priest of The Washington Post, having first uncovered secret C.I.A. prisons two years ago, was uncovering new "black sites" in Eastern Europe, where ghost detainees are subjected to unknown interrogation methods redolent of the region's Stalinist past. Before heading south, Mr. Bush had been doing his own bit for torture by threatening to cast the first veto of his presidency if Congress didn't scrap a spending bill amendment, written by John McCain and passed 90 to 9 by the Senate, banning the "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of prisoners.

So when you watch the president stand there with a straight face and say, "We do not torture" - a full year and a half after the first photos from Abu Ghraib - you have to wonder how we arrived at this ludicrous moment. The answer is not complicated. When people in power get away with telling bigger and bigger lies, they naturally think they can keep getting away with it. And for a long time, Mr. Bush and his cronies did. Not anymore.

The fallout from the Scooter Libby indictment reveals that the administration's credibility, having passed the tipping point with Katrina, is flat-lining. For two weeks, the White House's talking-point monkeys in the press and Congress had been dismissing Patrick Fitzgerald's leak investigation as much ado about nothing except politics and as an exoneration of everyone except Mr. Libby. Now the American people have rendered their verdict: they're not buying it. Last week two major polls came up with the identical finding, that roughly 8 in 10 Americans regard the leak case as a serious matter. One of the polls (The Wall Street Journal/NBC News) also found that 57 percent of Americans believe that Mr. Bush deliberately misled the country into war in Iraq and that only 33 percent now find him "honest and straightforward," down from 50 percent in January.

The Bush loyalists' push to discredit the Libby indictment failed because Americans don't see it as a stand-alone scandal but as the petri dish for a wider culture of lying that becomes more visible every day. The last-ditch argument rolled out by Mr. Bush on Veterans Day in his latest stay-the-course speech - that Democrats, too, endorsed dead-wrong W.M.D. intelligence - is more of the same. Sure, many Democrats (and others) did believe that Saddam had an arsenal before the war, but only the White House hyped selective evidence for nuclear weapons, the most ominous of all of Iraq's supposed W.M.D.'s, to whip up public fears of an imminent doomsday.

There was also an entire other set of lies in the administration's prewar propaganda blitzkrieg that had nothing to do with W.M.D.'s, African uranium or the Wilsons. To get the country to redirect its finite resources to wage war against Saddam Hussein rather than keep its focus on the war against radical Islamic terrorists, the White House had to cook up not only the fiction that Iraq was about to attack us, but also the fiction that Iraq had already attacked us, on 9/11. Thanks to the Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, who last weekend released a previously classified intelligence document, we now have conclusive evidence that the administration's disinformation campaign implying a link connecting Saddam to Al Qaeda and 9/11 was even more duplicitous and manipulative than its relentless flogging of nuclear Armageddon.

Senator Levin's smoking gun is a widely circulated Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002 that was probably seen by the National Security Council. It warned that a captured Qaeda terrorist in American custody was in all likelihood "intentionally misleading" interrogators when he claimed that Iraq had trained Qaeda members to use illicit weapons. The report also made the point that an Iraq-Qaeda collaboration was absurd on its face: "Saddam's regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements." But just like any other evidence that disputed the administration's fictional story lines, this intelligence was promptly disregarded.

So much so that eight months later - in October 2002, as the White House was officially rolling out its new war and Congress was on the eve of authorizing it - Mr. Bush gave a major address in Cincinnati intermingling the usual mushroom clouds with information from that discredited, "intentionally misleading" Qaeda informant. "We've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases," he said. It was the most important, if hardly the only, example of repeated semantic sleights of hand that the administration used to conflate 9/11 with Iraq. Dick Cheney was fond of brandishing a nonexistent April 2001 "meeting" between Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague long after Czech and American intelligence analysts had dismissed it.

The power of these lies was considerable. In a CBS News/New York Times poll released on Sept. 25, 2001, 60 percent of Americans thought Osama bin Laden had been the culprit in the attacks of two weeks earlier, either alone or in league with unnamed "others" or with the Taliban; only 6 percent thought bin Laden had collaborated with Saddam; and only 2 percent thought Saddam had been the sole instigator. By the time we invaded Iraq in 2003, however, CBS News found that 53 percent believed Saddam had been "personally involved" in 9/11; other polls showed that a similar percentage of Americans had even convinced themselves that the hijackers were Iraqis.

There is still much more to learn about our government's duplicity in the run-up to the war, just as there is much more to learn about what has gone on since, whether with torture or billions of Iraq reconstruction dollars. That is why the White House and its allies, having failed to discredit the Fitzgerald investigation, are now so desperate to slow or block every other inquiry. Exhibit A is the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose Republican chairman, Pat Roberts, is proving a major farceur with his efforts to sidestep any serious investigation of White House prewar subterfuge. Last Sunday, the same day that newspapers reported Carl Levin's revelation about the "intentionally misleading" Qaeda informant, Senator Roberts could be found on "Face the Nation" saying he had found no evidence of "political manipulation or pressure" in the use of prewar intelligence.

His brazenness is not anomalous. After more than two years of looking into the forged documents used by the White House to help support its bogus claims of Saddam's Niger uranium, the F.B.I. ended its investigation without resolving the identity of the forgers. Last week, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reported that an investigation into the November 2003 death of an Abu Ghraib detainee, labeled a homicide by the U.S. government, has been, in the words of a lawyer familiar with the case, "lying kind of fallow." The Wall Street Journal similarly reported that 17 months after Condoleezza Rice promised a full investigation into Ahmad Chalabi's alleged leaking of American intelligence to Iran, F.B.I. investigators had yet to interview Mr. Chalabi - who was being welcomed in Washington last week as an honored guest by none other than Ms. Rice.

The Times, meanwhile, discovered that Mr. Libby had set up a legal defense fund to be underwritten by donors who don't have to be publicly disclosed but who may well have a vested interest in the direction of his defense. It's all too eerily reminiscent of the secret fund set up by Richard Nixon's personal lawyer, Herbert Kalmbach, to pay the legal fees of Watergate defendants.

There's so much to stonewall at the White House that last week Scott McClellan was reduced to beating up on the octogenarian Helen Thomas. "You don't want the American people to hear what the facts are, Helen," he said, "and I'm going to tell them the facts." Coming from the press secretary who vowed that neither Mr. Libby nor Karl Rove had any involvement in the C.I.A. leak, this scene was almost as funny as his boss's "We do not torture" charade.

Not that it matters now. The facts the American people are listening to at this point come not from an administration that they no longer find credible, but from the far more reality-based theater of war. The Qaeda suicide bombings of three hotels in Amman on 11/9, like the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London before them, speak louder than anything else of the price we are paying for the lies that diverted us from the war against the suicide bombers of 9/11 to the war in Iraq.

CIA hid evidence of Iraqi detainee's torture and murder

WASHINGTON (AFX) - CIA interrogators apparently tried to cover up the death of an Iraqi 'ghost detainee' who died while being interrogated at Abu Ghraib prison, Time magazine reported today, after obtaining hundreds of pages of documents, including an autopsy report, about the case.

The death of secret detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was ruled a homicide in a Defense Department autopsy, Time reported, adding that documents it recently obtained included photographs of his battered body, which had been kept on ice to keep it from decomposing, apparently to conceal the circumstances of his death.

The details about his death emerge as US officials continue to debate congressional legislation to ban torture of foreign detainees by US troops overseas, and efforts by the George W. Bush administration to obtain an exemption for the CIA from any future torture ban.

Jamadi was abducted by US Navy Seals on November 4, 2003, on suspicion of harbouring explosives and involvement in the bombing of a Red Cross centre in Baghdad that killed 12 people, and was placed in Abu Ghraib as an unregistered detainee.

After some 90 minutes of interrogation by CIA officials, he died of 'blunt force injuries' and 'asphyxiation', according to the autopsy documents obtained by Time. A forensic scientist who later reviewed the autopsy report told Time that the most likely cause of Jamadi's death was suffocation, which would have occurred when an empty sandbag was placed over his head while his arms were secured up and behind his back, in a crucifixion-like pose.

Blood was mopped up with a chlorine solution before the interrogation scene could be examined by an investigator, Time wrote, adding that after Jamadi's death, a bloodstained hood that had covered his head had disappeared. Photos of grinning US soldiers crouching over Jamadi's corpse were among the disturbing images that emerged from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2004, prompting international outrage and internal US military investigations.

Last week, the New Yorker magazine reported that the US government's policies on interrogating terrorist suspects may preclude the prosecution of CIA agents who commit abuses or even kill detainees, and said the CIA had been implicated in the death of at least four detainees.

Mark Swanner, the CIA agent who interrogated Jamadi, has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency. He told investigators that he did not harm Jamadi, Time wrote.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bin Laden dead ........ Again

A Pakistani newspaper claims the founder of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, died in June in a village near the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan. The Awsaf newspaper, based in the city of Multan, reports that the Saudi terror leader fell ill in Bamiyan, the region to the west of the capital Kabul where the Taliban blew up two huge 1,500-year-old Buddha statues in 2001. His protectors then took him back to the Kandahar region, where he died and was buried in a graveyard in the shadow of a mountain, the newspaper says.

Awsaf says the news of bin Laden's death is supported by the fact that it is a year since the last video of the al-Qaeda leader was released. The last audio message attributed to him was issued in December last year, after the attack on the US consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah, and nothing more has been heard from him for some time.

However, Egyptian lawyer Muntasar al-Zaiyat, who is well-known for his integralist Islamic views, does not believe that bin Laden really is dead. Interviewed by the Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Zaiyat claims that bin Laden is still alive, but, for security reasons, he prefers not to appear on video so as not to risk being found, leaving this task to his deputy, Egyptian doctor Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has issued several video messages in the last few months, commenting on the London bombings in July and, more recently, calling on Muslims to help the victims of the 8 October earthquake which devastated Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

It is not the first time there has been speculation that bin Laden may be dead. Last week an Indian newspaper claimed that the terror leader was among the victims of the earthquake.

The US has offered a 25 million dollar reward for information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden, who suffers from kidney disease, which means he must received dialysis treatment several times a week. If not, he would die in within a few days.

Well the death of Bin laden must come as quite a shock to those who went to his Funeral in december 2001 . Still just like the movies i am sure he will make a few more comebacks yet.

Todays last throws in Iraq : November 10th

Nov 10 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Thursday, Nov. 10, as of 1500 GMT.

KUT - Iraqi troops found 27 bodies near Jassan, a town between Kut and the Iranian border in southern Iraq. The victims, blindfolded and with their hands bound, had been shot, army sources and a Reuters photographer who saw the bodies said.

BASRA - The Iraqi Islamic Party, one of the main Sunni political parties, said one of its officials and his bodyguard were wounded by a roadside bomb in Basra, in southern Iraq.

MOSUL - Two police officers were killed by gunmen in the northern city of Mosul, police said.

TIKRIT - Ten people were killed and 20 wounded when a car bomb exploded outside a recruiting centre in Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, hospital sources and police said.
BAGHDAD - Two Iraqi policemen were wounded when a car bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol in eastern Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Three civilians were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad, police said. The target of the bomb was not clear.

BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up in a crowded Baghdad restaurant frequented by the security forces during breakfast, killing 35 people and wounding 25 more, police said. Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed the attack.

KIRKUK - Police said the brother of parliamentary speaker Hajem al-Hassani was abducted on Tuesday in the northern city of Kirkuk.

BAGHDAD - A man and a women working for the city council were killed by gunmen in the western Ghazaliya district of the capital, police said. The married couple were on their way to work when they were attacked.

BAGHDAD - Four policemen were injured when they were attacked by gunmen in southern Baghdad, police said.

BASRA - An intelligence officer was killed by gunmen in the southern city of Basra, intelligence officials said.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Falluja : A name that lives in infamy

One year ago this week, US-led occupying forces launched a devastating assault on the Iraqi city of Falluja. The mood was set by Lt Col Gary Brandl: "The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He's in Falluja. And we're going to destroy him."

The assault was preceded by eight weeks of aerial bombardment. US troops cut off the city's water, power and food supplies, condemned as a violation of the Geneva convention by a UN special rapporteur, who accused occupying forces of "using hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population". Two-thirds of the city's 300,000 residents fled, many to squatters' camps without basic facilities.

As the siege tightened, the Red Cross, Red Crescent and the media were kept out, while males between the ages of 15 and 55 were kept in. US sources claimed between 600 and 6,000 insurgents were holed up inside the city - which means that the vast majority of the remaining inhabitants were non-combatants.

On November 8, 10,000 US troops, supported by 2,000 Iraqi recruits, equipped with artillery and tanks, supported from the air by bombers and helicopter gunships, blasted their way into a city the size of Leicester. It took a week to establish control of the main roads; another two before victory was claimed.

The city's main hospital was selected as the first target, the New York Times reported, "because the US military believed it was the source of rumours about heavy casualties". An AP photographer described US helicopters killing a family of five trying to ford a river to safety. "There were American snipers on top of the hospital shooting everyone," said Burhan Fasa'am, a photographer with the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation. "With no medical supplies, people died from their wounds. Everyone in the street was a target for the Americans."

The US also deployed incendiary weapons, including white phosphorous. "Usually we keep the gloves on," Captain Erik Krivda said, but "for this operation, we took the gloves off". By the end of operations, the city lay in ruins. Falluja's compensation commissioner has reported that 36,000 of the city's 50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines.

The US claims that 2,000 died, most of them fighters. Other sources disagree. When medical teams arrived in January they collected more than 700 bodies in only one third of the city. Iraqi NGOs and medical workers estimate between 4,000 and 6,000 dead, mostly civilians - a proportionately higher death rate than in Coventry and London during the blitz.

The collective punishment inflicted on Falluja - with logistical and political support from Britain - was largely masked by the US and British media, which relied on reporters embedded with US troops. The BBC, in particular, offered a sanitised version of the assault: civilian suffering was minimised and the ethics and strategic logic of the attack largely unscrutinised.

Falluja proved to be yet another of the war's phantom turning points. Violent resistance spread to other cities. In the last two months, Tal-Afar, Haditha, Husaybah - all alleged terrorist havens heavily populated by civilians - have come under the hammer. Falluja is still so heavily patrolled that visitors have described it as "a giant prison". Only a fraction of the promised reconstruction and compensation has materialised.

Like Jallianwallah Bagh, Guernica, My Lai, Halabja and Grozny, Falluja is a place name that has become a symbol of unconscionable brutality. As the war in Iraq claims more lives, we need to ensure that this atrocity - so recent, so easily erased from public memory - is recognised as an example of the barbarism of nations that call themselves civilised.

In a few years the atrocity commited in Falluja will rank along side the crimes of Saddam . Imagine if this was your City , your family , your children .

source : the Guardian

Iraq : Sadr emerging as key political player

11/09/05 "The Telegraph" -- -- Moqtada al-Sadr, whose followers are blamed for the recent killings of British troops in Basra, has emerged as the political kingmaker expected to shape the country's government for the next four years after the election on Dec 15.

In recent days a procession of Iraq's most powerful political leaders has paid homage to the 31-year-old cleric.

A year ago the US military wanted him captured dead or alive after a series of uprisings in the south. Iraqis widely consider the present government, a coalition of religious Shia groups led by Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a failure because of its inability to improve the security situation or guarantee a steady supply of electricity or fresh water.

Sadr, who has more than three million supporters, is likely to hold the balance of power in the new parliament.

At the weekend Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which is the dominant partner in the present government, visited Sadr's headquarters in Kufa to try to broker a deal. Even Sunni politicians have begun negotiations with him, based on their shared anti-Americanism and demand for the withdrawal of all coalition troops.

Hussan Bazzaz, of the Centre for Culture and Opinion, in Baghdad, said that by sending conflicting signals Sadr was managing to enter politics while maintaining the image of an outsider on which his popularity largely lies. "Moqtada is moving in a couple of different directions," he said.

"The last election only mattered for a couple of months. This time it determines power for four years. He is wise to become involved." It seems certain that, under whatever deal he cuts, a number of his followers will receive important cabinet posts.

The Americans are insisting that they will work with any legally elected leader in Iraq. But the question as to how Sadr, whose rhetoric is vehemently anti-Western and who saw hundreds of his supporters killed in last summer's gun battles, would manage to work with them remains uncertain.

Surely now people see what happens when you try to bring demcracy by force , you end up with something worse then you started with . If this turns out to be true i feel the US and UK will not have to wait long to get their troops home , Al-Sadr will no doubt tell them to get out of iraq as quick as possible and then invite his friends from Iran around to discuss politics

Is this what british an american troops have been dying for ?

To replace a secular dictatorship with a religous fanatic is better is it ?

Todays last throws in Iraq : November 9th

Nov 9 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Wednesday, Nov. 9, as of 1830 GMT.

QUSAYBA - Five civilians were killed in a U.S. air strike on a house being used by insurgents on Nov. 7, the military said. The insurgents had killed two occupants when they forced their way into the house to use it to attack U.S. and Iraqi forces, who did not know hostages were being held, the military said.

BAIJI - Local police said they found the body of Imad Awadhallah, a local photographer with Egyptian nationality, who was shot dead in the town of Baiji, north of Baghdad.

BALAD - Two civilians were killed and another wounded when gunmen attacked their car on a road near Balad, north of Baghdad, police major Ali Hussein said.

RAMADI - A member of the Iraqi Islamic Party was found shot dead in the city of Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, doctor Hamdi al-Rawi said. He was abducted on Tuesday by gunmen.

BAGHDAD - One civilian was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a highway in the southern Dora district of the capital, police said.

- The driver of a senior official in the education ministry was killed by gunmen in the impoverished Shula district of the capital, police said.

- Gunmen shot dead a Sudanese driver at the country's embassy in Baghdad, two days after a Sudanese diplomat was slightly injured after being shot at in the Iraqi capital, a Sudanese official said.

RUTBA - A U.S. Marine died on Tuesday after his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb the previous day near Rutba, 370 km (230 miles) west of Baghdad, the military said.

MOSUL - U.S. forces said they had killed one suspected insurgent and detained two more in a raid on an Ansar al Sunna safe house in a village near Mosul, in northern Iraq.

- Seven Iraqi policemen were killed and nine wounded, three of them civilians, when a car driven by a suicide attacker exploded in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, targeting an Iraqi police patrol, medical and army sources said.

UN : Record vote against US Cuba embargo

Nearly every country in the world joined on Tuesday to urge the United States to lift its four-decades old economic embargo against Cuba in a record UN General Assembly vote.

The vote, held for the 14th consecutive year, was 182 to four with one abstention on a resolution calling for Washington to lift the US trade, financial and travel embargo, particularly its provisions penalising foreign firms.

The four voting no were the United States, Israel, Palau and the Marshall Islands. Micronesia abstained and El Salvador, Iraq, Nicaragua and Morocco did not vote. Last year the vote was 179 to five, with more countries refusing to vote.

Cuba has been under a US embargo since President Fidel Castro defeated a CIA-backed assault at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

Friends of the United States, including Canada, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom voted yes, although the European Union strongly criticised Cuba's human rights record.

The measure is non-binding and has had no impact on the United States, with the Bush administration having tightened restrictions against Cuba.

But the resolution has given Cuba a morale boost each year, especially from nearly all South American and Caribbean nations, particularly Mexico.

Critics of the embargo say it has failed to bring change to Cuba and allows Castro to blame the nation's economic woes on the United States.

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said "In terms of insanity, this draconian prohibition should go into the annals of the Guinness Book of Records," he said.

Jordan hotel blasts : At least 57 dead

At least 57 people have been killed and about 300 injured in explosions at hotels in the Jordanian capital, Amman. The Grand Hyatt, Radisson and Days Inn hotels were hit in near-simultaneous blasts. Police suspect suicide bombers.

The hotels are popular with foreigners but most of the victims were Jordanian, many of them celebrating a wedding.

Jordan, a key US ally in the Middle East, has long been regarded as a prime target for attacks by radical Islamic militants, correspondents say.

What with Jordan's close relationship with the U.S. and it's support for the U.S. actions in Iraq this attack obviously has Al-Qaeda as its number one suspect .

My thoughts go out to the people of Jordan

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Saddam lawyers call hearing 'illegitimate' and will now boycott trial

The chief lawyer for Saddam Hussein has said the former Iraqi leader's defence team will cease dealings with the court trying him for crimes against humanity. Khalil al-Dulaimi told Reuters that they considered the court illegitimate.

The announcement came after the killing of a second member of the defence team acting for Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants. Mr Dulaimi said the defence lawyers were unable to contact witnesses or work when their safety was threatened. "The defence committee has decided to consider the 28 November date [for the next hearing] cancelled and illegitimate," Mr Dulaimi told Reuters.

He also told reporters that he blamed US-led forces in Iraq for the killings.

"The occupation forces are responsible for this criminal incident, and they bear the responsibility of preserving the lives of the people regardless of their identity."

Source BBC

Blair defeated in 'Police state' vote

Prime Minister Tony Blair has lost the key House of Commons vote on plans to allow police to hold terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days. MPs rejected the proposals by 322 votes to 291.

The defeat came despite Mr Blair saying MPs had a "duty" to give police the powers they needed to tackle terrorism. The vote - the government's first Commons defeat - will be seen as a blow to the prime minister's authority.

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and some Labour backbenchers said the 90-day plans went too far. Civil liberties groups compared the proposal to internment - a charge rejected by ministers.

In his final plea for MPs to back the plans, Mr Blair urged MPs to take the advice of the police who had foiled two terrorist plots since the 7 July attacks in London. In heated exchanges at prime minister's questions, Mr Blair said: "We are not living in a police state but we are living in a country that faces a real and serious threat of terrorism." in response to Conservative MPs shouting "police state" during Prime ministers questions

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said the measure would almost certainly be defeated in the House of Lords, where two ex-law lords had called it "intolerable".

In a sign of the importance given to the vote, Chancellor Gordon Brown was called back within minutes of arriving in Israel for a high profile visit. And Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also flew back early from EU-Russia talks in Moscow.

I find myself yet again on the side of the British Conservatives (i will see a doctor i promise) in thinking this was a step to far and dangerous step towards a police state . I commend the elected Members of parliament for stopping the government from going too far .

The MPs have now voted to instead increase the Police powers to enable them to hold a suspect for 28 days (double the exisiting law) which seems far more sensible . Mr Orwell can sleep peacefully in his grave tonight

This is the first time Mr Blair has been defeated in any vote since 1997 .

Another Saddam trial lawyer is shot dead

A lawyer for one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants has been shot dead in the Iraqi capital Baghdad while another has been injured. Gunmen are said to have opened fire on a car carrying both men, killing Adel al-Zubeidi and wounding Thamer Hamoud al-Khuzaie.

The attack follows the killing of another defence lawyer last month.

The two lawyers shot on Tuesday were defending Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, and former Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan, members of the defence team said.

They were caught in an ambush in the Adil neighbourhood, said fellow lawyer Khamis al-Obeidi.

On 20 October, the day after the start of the high-profile trial in Baghdad, Sadoun Nasouaf al-Janabi was kidnapped by gunmen from his office in Baghdad and later found dead.

The defence team has called for the trial to be moved abroad because of the dangers to those involved .

Other quotes from the Defence team include

"The government bears the responsibility because it is supposed to protect the citizens. "

"If there were a serious investigation into the previous murder of Janabi and the perpetrators had been arrested, we would not see today's crime. "

"We demand a thorough investigation and severe punishment for the criminals behind today's terrorist crime against lawyers who were only doing their job."

The defence team had already threatened not to turn up for the next stage of the trial on 28 November, unless they are given much greater security.

so at this rate the defence team will be down to nothing before saddam next appears in court , but of course , surely having two members of the defence murdered in this way shows clearly that Iraq is not yet capable of holding such a trial and should agree to relocate to the Hague

US 'used chemical weapons' claim is gaining ground

I reported Here yesterday Highlighting the' claim' that the US used chemical weapons in the Battle for Fallujah and that this would be shown on Italian Television . The Italian broadcast has now been noticed by the BBC Here

I have watched the full program and there is certainly plenty of Evidence to be examined but i decided not to put the link to the whole program on this site due to the sickening images it contained.

However one very small part of that evidence is an interview with Jeff Englehart (described as a former US soldier who served in Falluja) and the BBC are showing part of this interview on their web site .

You can watch the clip direct from the BBC

This is a shocking (and much repeated) claim of the ulitmate hypocricy . I hope that is not true but i am starting to feel that it may well be accurate . I feel the the truth will come to light with how Mr Englehart is treated when (or if) this story is picked up in the US press

CIA prison claims 'to be probed' by the CIA

The US Central Intelligence Agency has taken the first step toward a criminal investigation into claims that it runs secret jails abroad, reports suggest. The inquiry focuses on possible leaks of classified information, anonymous officials are quoted as saying.

Last week the Washington Post newspaper alleged that the CIA was running detention centres for terror suspects in unnamed Eastern European countries.

The Bush administration has so far refused to comment on the allegations.

On Tuesday Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice averted questions on the issue, saying only that the US was in a "different kind of war" and had an obligation to defend itself.

The BBC's Fergal Parkinson in Washington says the repeated refusal by the administration to confirm or deny the reports have fuelled speculation that the secret prisons do exist.

Officials quoted by the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies on condition of anonymity said the CIA had asked the justice department to look into a possible leak.

The department will decide whether to initiate criminal proceedings.

Source : BBC

I got a funny feeling that the after a full investigation the CIA will claim that the CIA did nothing wrong ! Probably around the same time that President Bush ends his inquiry into his conduct during Katrina and finds himself and his friends not guilty .

If you find yourself arrested in the US why not try doing the same , insist that you will investigate yourself and let them know if your guilty or not

Al-Qaeda to launch new 'offensive' in Iraq

DUBAI (AFX) - Al-Qaeda's Iraq operation said it was launching an offensive in the west of Iraq in response to a major US and Iraqi military operation on the Syrian border.

"Your brothers in the military branch of Al-Qaeda in the Land of Two Rivers are launching today 'The Conquest of Vengeance' on behalf of the Sunni community in Al-Qaim," the group said in an online statement which could not be independently verified.

It stressed the group's "right to defend the (Islamic) nation and avenge the honour and blood" of Iraqis.

The offensive came "after the crusaders and the apostate government have not ceased their operations", referring to a warning it issued yesterday for US and Iraqi forces to halt their sweep against insurgents within 24 hours.

"After that they will only see from us the worst and something that's going to make the earth tremble under their feet," the earlier statement said.

Operation Steel Curtain began Saturday and was designed to "restore Iraqi sovereign control along the Iraqi-Syrian border and destroy the Al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists operating throughout Al-Qaim region," the US military said.

Around 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and a force of 2,500 US troops were engaged in the sweep, which the US military said has resulted in the deaths of at least one US marine, an Iraqi soldier and 36 "suspected rebel

Todays last throws in Iraq : November 8th

Nov 8 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Tuesday, Nov. 8, as of 1535 GMT.

BAGHDAD - Gunmen opened fire on a car carrying two lawyers for Saddam Hussein's co-defendants, killing one and wounding the other. Adil al-Zubeidi was the second defence lawyer to be assassinated since the trial opened on Oct. 19.

DALI ABBAS - Four Iraqi soldiers were killed and a fifth critically wounded when a bomb blew up near their patrol car in the small town of Dali Abbas, northeast of Baghdad, police said.

RUSTUMIYA - Iraqi police found five decomposed bodies in the Rustumiya area just south of the Iraqi capital, police said. The identity of the victims was not immediately known.

- A roadside bomb blew up next to a police patrol, killing two policemen and wounding three others near the town of Daquq, 40 km (25 miles) south of Kirkuk, Lieutenant-Colonel Ali al-Sheikh said.

BASRA - An Iraqi security force colonel and his brother were killed by a roadside bomb as they drove through southern Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police and witnesses said.

BAGHDAD - The death toll from a suicide car bombing at a checkpoint south of Baghdad on Monday rose to five, with an interpreter also killed along with four U.S. soldiers, the military said.

BAQUBA - Insurgents killed one policeman and injured five when they attacked a patrol car in Baquba, north of Baghdad, police said. There was no immediate information on insurgent casualties.

RAMADI - U.S forces killed two militants and arrested six others as they raided an al Qaeda safe house near the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, a U.S military statement said.

BAGHDAD - A car bomb exploded near Mustansiriyah University in eastern Baghdad wounding two bystanders, police said.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

U.S. ' Used Chemical Weapons In Iraq '

ROME. In soldier slang they call it Willy Pete. The technical name is white phosphorus. In theory its purpose is to illumine enemy positions in the dark. In practice, it was used as a chemical weapon in the rebel stronghold of Fallujah. And it was used not only against enemy combatants and guerrillas, but again innocent civilians.

The Americans are responsible for a massacre using unconventional weapons, the identical charge for which Saddam Hussein stands accused. An investigation by RAI News 24, the all-news Italian satellite television channel, has pulled the veil from one of the most carefully concealed mysteries from the front in the entire US military campaign in Iraq.

A US veteran of the Iraq war told RAI New correspondent Sigfrido Ranucci this: I received the order use caution because we had used white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military slag it is called 'Willy Pete'. Phosphorus burns the human body on contact--it even melts it right down to the bone.

RAI News 24's investigative story, Fallujah, The Concealed Massacre, will be broadcast tomorrow on RAI-3 and will contain not only eye-witness accounts by US military personnel but those from Fallujah residents. A rain of fire descended on the city. People who were exposed to those multicolored substance began to burn. We found people with bizarre wounds-their bodies burned but their clothes intact, relates Mohamad Tareq al-Deraji, a biologist and Fallujah resident.

I gathered accounts of the use of phosphorus and napalm from a few Fallujah refugees whom I met before being kidnapped, says Manifesto reporter Giuliana Sgrena, who was kidnapped in Fallujah last February, in a recorded interview. I wanted to get the story out, but my kidnappers would not permit it.

RAI News 24 will broadcast video and photographs taken in the Iraqi city during and after the November 2004 bombardment which prove that the US military, contrary to statements in a December 9 communiqué from the US Department of State, did not use phosphorus to illuminate enemy positions (which would have been legitimate) but instend dropped white phosphorus indiscriminately and in massive quantities on the city's neighborhoods.

In the investigative story, produced by Maurizio Torrealta, dramatic footage is shown revealing the effects of the bombardment on civilians, women and children, some of whom were surprised in their sleep.

The investigation will also broadcast documentary proof of the use in Iraq of a new napalm formula called MK77. The use of the incendiary substance on civilians is forbidden by a 1980 UN treaty. The use of chemical weapons is forbidden by a treaty which the US signed in 1997


(1) This claim of the use of MK77 in Fallujah is not being made by myself , it is however being made by RAI News 24 and they are providing evidence

(2) There is video evidence of what seems like genuine cases of the use of MK77 on civilians in Fallujah but (a) i have decided not to show the video as the images are quite sickening and (b) i am not any kind of expert on MK77 and so have decided to leave my judgement on the claim until after the evidence is presented (on Italian TV) and the US government has given some kind of response to the claim.

(3) The claim that MK77 was used against civilians in Fallujah is not new , many news agencies have made the claim before , but i think RAI News are the first to supply any kind of evidence of such a crime

IF this claim by the Italian news company turns out to be genuine then this is beyond sickness
The use of chemical weapons in Iraq which is the claimed reason for being there . So the actual use of such weapons by the US in Iraq would be the ultimate hypocracy and i doubt this information could be withheld from the wider world for very long.

Todays last throws in Iraq : November 7th

Nov 7 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Monday, Nov. 7, as of 1515 GMT.

TIKRIT - A U.S. soldier was killed and two more troops and an Iraqi translator were wounded by a makeshift bomb while on patrol near Dawr on Sunday, the military said on Monday.

MOSUL - A suicide car bomber attacked a U.S. patrol in Mosul on Monday, police and witnesses said. There were no details on casualties.

BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber killed nine people, including six Iraqi policemen, in the southern Dora district of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL - An Iraqi journalist was shot dead by gunmen in the flashpoint city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. Police said that Ahmed Hussein Al-Maliki, who worked as an editor for Tal Afar Today newspaper, was killed while he was inside an internet cafe.

BAGHDAD - Four people were killed and six wounded by mortars in eastern Baghdad, police said.

QUSAYBA - U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 17 insurgents in the town of Qusayba near the Syrian border during their Operation Steel Curtain offensive against insurgents and foreign fighters in western Iraq, a U.S. military statement said. A U.S. Marine was killed by small arms fire on Sunday, the first American to die since the operation began on Saturday, the statement said.

THIBBAN - At least two Iraqi soldiers were killed and 13 injured when a suicide car bomber targeted a group of Iraqi soldiers guarding oil pipelines in the town of Thibban north of Baghdad, hospital doctor Ibrahim al-Ubaidi said.

US intel on Iraq-Qaeda ties 'intentionally misleading'

WASHINGTON, (AFP) - US military intelligence warned the Bush administration as early as February 2002 that its key source on Al-Qaeda's relationship with Iraq had provided "intentionally misleading" data, according to a declassified report.

Nevertheless, eight months later, President George W. Bush went public with charges that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein had trained members of Osama bin Laden's terror network in manufacturing deadly poisons and gases.

These same accusations had found their way into then-secretary of state Colin Powell's February 2003 speech before the UN Security Council, in which he outlined the US rationale for military action against Iraq.

"This newly declassified information provides additional, dramatic evidence that the administrations pre-war statements were deceptive," said Democrat Carl Levin, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who pushed for partial declassification of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document.

The report provides a critical analysis of information provided by Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an Islamic radical and bin Laden associate, who served as senior military trainer at a key Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan before it was destroyed by US forces in late 2001.

In captivity, al-Libi initially told his DIA debriefers that Al-Qaeda operatives had received training from Iraq in manufacturing poisons and deadly chemical agents.

But the DIA, according to its assessment, did not find the information credible.

US military intelligence officers concluded that al-Libi lacked "specific details on the Iraqis involved, the... materials associated with the assistance and the location where training occurred," the report said.

"It is possible," the document went on to say, "he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers."

The DIA suggested al-Libi, who had been under interrogation for several weeks, "may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest."

Just the same, president Bush insisted during an October 2002 trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, that his administration had learned that "Iraq has trained Al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases."

He repeated the same charge in February 2003.

The administration's drumbeat over alleged Iraq-Qaeda ties reached a crescendo that same month when Powell went before the United Nations to accuse Iraq of hiding tons of chemical and biological weapons and nurturing nuclear ambitions.

His speech, according to congressional officials, even contained a direct reference to al-Libi's testimony, albeit not his name.

"I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to Al-Qaeda," insisted the secretary of state, who now says he regrets voicing many of the charges contained in that speech.

Well i know that some people will never accept that they were taken to war on a pack of lies so i doubt this report will convince anyone else .Those who have the facts are already convinced amd those that have the rhetoric never will be .
But still the question should be asked , If the Bush administration was being told in February 2002 that the info they had was intentionally misleading and they ignored that advice (from their own military) , who is out that that still thinks this war was about a genuine failure of intelligence and not just a pure and simple lie ?

Memoirs shine new light on war

Tony Blair has faced any number of claims about what he did and did not do when he and President Bush were preparing to go to war on Iraq. The difference with Sir Christopher Meyer's recollections is that he was actually there most of the time.

The former UK ambassador to the US witnessed much of the talk first hand and was in a position to see the relationship between the two men develop, and even help it along where necessary.

And it does not make happy reading for the prime minister who has already faced claims he failed to exert any real influence over the president and was all too easily swept up in the rush to war.

The prime minister, it is claimed, was so "seduced" by US power that he failed to exert the leverage that was available to him with a president desperate to win allies.

Indeed, the accounts suggest that the prime minister offered such unconditional support to the president, that he effectively negated the influence he may have been able to exert, particularly for the post-war Iraq.

Bush's poodle

"We may have been the junior partner in the enterprise but the ace up our sleeve was that America did not want to go it alone. Had Britain so insisted, Iraq after Saddam might have avoided the violence that may yet prove fatal to the entire enterprise."

That will serve to reinforce those critics of the prime minister who saw his role as the president's poodle and who, while denying it at home, was reassuring the US that he was in favour of regime change - something else Sir Christopher confirms.

But he goes on to say: "But the high moral ground, and the pure white flame of unconditional support to an ally in service of an idea, have their disadvantages.

"They place your destiny in the hands of the ally. They fly above the tangled history of Sunni, Shia and Kurd. They discourage descent into the dull detail of tough and necessary bargaining; meat and drink to Margaret Thatcher, but, so it seemed, uncongenial to Tony Blair."

The former ambassador says he discovered very early that, as had been the case with Margaret Thatcher, relations with the US would be controlled by Downing Street with the Foreign Office relegated to second fiddle.

"The Foreign Office never stood a chance. America belonged to Downing Street."
Sir Christopher's memoirs are also littered with anecdotes that throw some light into the smaller corners of the prime minister's lifestyle.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Sharon Says No to Negotiations with Syria

It seems the good will of the last story didnt last long

IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel has “no intention” of holding negotiations with Syria.Sharon said it would be a “severe mistake” for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights, an area in northern Israel liberated from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War.“Despite the fact that Syria is interested,” the prime minister said,

“Israel has no intention of conducting any peace negotiations.”

Now there is a suprise , we got it , we are keeping it , even if it means that more people on both sides will die .

Whats the problem with talking Mr Sharon ? , they are willing to talk to you and that is no small thing . You dont even have to agree to anything , but by refusing to even talk you look like the one who is preventing peace not them

Palestinians donate son's kidney for Israeli boy

The family of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was killed by Israeli soldiers have donated one of his kidneys to an Israeli boy. "It doesn't matter whether the recipient was a Jew or an Arab," they said.

Ahmed Khatib was shot on Thursday in the West Bank city of Jenin. He was rushed to the emergency room at Rambam hospital in Haifa, but died without recovering consciousness. The army said he had a toy gun, which soldiers mistook for a rifle. The family said he was with a group of boys waving toy guns to celebrate a festival.
Jamil Khatib, his uncle, said the boy's father, Ismail, agreed to the donation after he saw the young Israeli kidney patient. "He had a brother, Shawkat, who died several years ago from kidney failure. He understood what it was like. Shawkat needed a kidney, but he never got one."

If only we could have more stories like that . the hatred both sides have for each other could never survive , oh well , back to reality

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Iran seeks to renew nuclear talks

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator has written to the UK, France and Germany to call for the resumption of stalled talks over its atomic programme.
The three European powers have led talks with Tehran on behalf of the EU.

Negotiations broke down in August when Iran resumed uranium conversion activities in defiance of international calls to maintain a suspension.

The US accuses Iran of using its nuclear power programme to develop nuclear weapons - a charge it denies.

The letter from Ali Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was handed to the ambassadors of the UK, France and Germany.

According to Iranian news agencies, Mr Larijani said in the letter that Iran would "welcome negotiations that are constructive and based on logic".

It is the first approach that Mr Larijani has made to the EU powers - known as EU3 - since taking over the nuclear portfolio after hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president in June.

The three EU nations have yet to comment.

Bush profited from 'oil for food' claim

Last week, the Independent Committee investigating the Oil-for-Food program (OFF) released its final report detailing how Saddam Hussein's regime skimmed just under two percent from the otherwise successful relief effort by charging kickbacks and "inland transportation" fees to companies doing business with Iraq.

The small group of conservative writers who I've dubbed the "Scandal Pimps" have been less enthusiastic about the release of this report than they've been about those that preceded it. The day after the release, the Wall Street Journal editorialized that the report didn't really add anything new, it just filled in some details.

What they characterized as "details" were actually the names of over 2,000 companies that paid bribes to the Hussein regime for a shot at buying Iraq's oil, selling spare parts for its oil infrastructure or providing humanitarian goods for a population starving under the U.S./ U.K.-led sanctions regime.

The Scandal Pimps have been low-key because the final report of the Committee -- known as the Volcker Committee for its chair, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker -- offers further evidence that what they've worked so hard -- and so successfully -- to portray as a massive UN scandal has always been a relatively modest corporate scandal, interesting more for the players involved than because of its scale.

The details the Journal editors referred to include the process by which Saddam and his cronies squeezed what were effectively bribes out of multinational corporations, great and small. Contracts were submitted to the United Nations where they were reviewed by the Security Council states (the U.S. and Britain were the only ones that reviewed every contract). Revenues from approved sales were deposited into UN-administered trusts from which goods could be purchased. But before companies could "lift," or load, oil, they had to come up with some cash for the Iraqi government. Those fees and surcharges were paid directly by the companies either into Iraqi-controlled accounts (mostly in Jordan) or as bags full of cash dropped off at Iraqi embassies around the world. The illicit funds -- widely reported by the media at the time -- never touched UN hands.

More to the point, the Scandal Pimps are unlikely to delve too deeply into the final report because it reveals that some of our leading corporations, and the vaunted "entrepenuers" that outlets like the Washington Times always crow about, weren't in the least bit reticent to pay off a brutal dictator accused of mass murder in order to pump up their bottom lines.

Even more damning to the conservative worldview is that the United States' "strategic class" was deeply involved. In fact, profits from sales under OFF program that were lubricated with illicit payments to Saddam Hussein found their way into both the Bush and Kerry presidential campaigns of 2004.

Read the rest Here

So it seems President Bush himself may have been guilty of profiting from oil for food

Is this another story that will be forgotten when anyone next talks about the UN and George Galloway

Insurgent base undiminished

What's new: The United States claims that thousands of insurgents have been killed or captured in Iraq this year, but has it made a difference?

U.S. and Iraqi forces have killed more than 1,300 insurgents in Iraq and detained 9,000 suspected fighters since last January's election for an interim government, but the estimated size of the insurgency remains the same, according to American military officials.

The U.S. military releases only occasional tallies of enemy deaths and has a policy of not releasing a total. Even so, the available numbers, compiled from news releases since January, and the official estimate of overall insurgent numbers suggest that the forces fighting American soldiers in Iraq have been able to find enough recruits to replace those who've been killed or detained.

Gen. John Abizaid, the chief of U.S. Central Command, who once estimated insurgent strength at 5,000, put the number at 20,000 in early October, about the same as it was a year ago. Insurgents' ranks are being replenished as quickly as they are depleted, said Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a research center in Washington, and the co-author of its Iraq Index, which tracks statistics in key areas such as security and economics.

"(It's) closer to stalemate militarily than anything else, as best I can tell," he said.

U.S. military officials in Baghdad said 376 foreign fighters had been captured and about 400 had been killed since the January election. More than 100 of those were "known leaders" of the group al Qaida in Iraq, and six were "trusted agents" of its leader, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a coalition spokesman, said last month.

Sixty percent of the foreign fighters captured were from Egypt, Syria, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, said Brig. Gen. Donald Alston, a military spokesman in Baghdad.

Most of the suicide bombers who've attacked in Iraq in recent months are thought to have been foreigners, and since last spring U.S. and Iraqi counterinsurgency efforts increasingly have targeted villages and towns that are thought to be their havens in the Euphrates River valley and along the Syrian border.

US told to repay Iraq for 'shoddy' work

The United States has reportedly been told it should pay Iraq as much as $280 million for overbilling or shoddy work by a subsidiary of the American oil firm Halliburton.

The New York Times reports that a United Nations auditing board has said work carried out by Kellogg, Brown and Root and paid for with Iraqi oil revenues was delivered at inflated prices or done poorly.

But the paper says it is too early to say how much of the funds should be paid back.

It says analysis of financial statements and documents are still under way.

Halliburton was once managed by the US Vice President, Dick Cheney.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Argentina : Protests turn to anti Bush riots

Hundred of protesters have run riot in Argentina, throwing rocks at police just blocks away from the opening of a summit attended by 34 Americas leaders.
Groups of demonstrators approached security cordons around the summit, and a bank was set on fire as police fired tear gas to disperse the rioters.

But smaller groups armed with wooden clubs and wearing bandanas began burning US flags, throwing stones and petrol bombs, breaking windows and setting fire to shops. The protesters chanted slogans calling President Bush a terrorist and a war criminal. Bush was in Argentina for the Summit of the Americas.

Graffiti proclaiming "Get out, killer Bush" and "Yankees go home" was spray painted on two monuments in Brasilia, and hundreds of protesters burned an American flag and an effigy of Bush on Friday in front of the U.S. embassy.

So it seems flag burning is also a south American hobby , good job the flags were probably made in china