Friday, October 28, 2005

Iraqi ministry accused of assassinating defence lawyer in Hussein trial

The interior ministry of the pro-US government in Iraq is being directly accused of carrying out the murder of Sadoun Antar Nudsaif al-Janabi, a key defence lawyer in the trial of Saddam Hussein and seven others that began on October 19.



Janabi was seized from his office late in the evening on October 20 by as many as 10 men. Witnesses claim they were wearing police uniforms. Several hours later, Janabi’s body was found on the street near Baghdad’s Fardous Mosque. He had been killed execution-style with two gunshots to the head.

Hemeid Faraj al-Janabi, the sheik of the Al Janibiyeen tribe to which Janabi belonged, told the Arabic daily Al Hayat on Monday: “We have evidence from the interior ministry that the executors of the operation are from the ministry. They kidnapped Sadoun al-Janabi and took him to one of the ministry’s buildings in the Al Jaderiyah region—which is the house of the one of the daughters of the overthrown president—where they assassinated him.”

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr is a senior leader of the Shiite fundamentalist Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Along with the Da’awa movement of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, SCIRI has worked closely with the US-led occupation forces since the 2003 invasion. Following the election last January, which gave the Shiite parties control of the government, many of SCIRI’s Badr Organisation militiamen have been incorporated into the interior ministry or the new Iraqi army.

There are widespread accusations that the interior ministry and SCIRI, with the complicity of US advisors, are behind a wave of terror being unleashed against people believed to be supportive of the armed anti-occupation resistance or critical of the Baghdad government.

On August 2, a witness identified one of the men who abducted and murdered American journalist Steven Vincent as an interior ministry employee. Vincent had written several exposures of extra-judicial killings by Shiite militias linked to SCIRI.

In July, the British Observer published allegations that the interior ministry was carrying out extra-judicial killings and widespread torture in the prisons under its control.

In June, Knight Ridder correspondent Yasser Salihee was shot dead by a sniper at a US checkpoint just days before a major story he had researched with Tom Lasseter was published. The story documented accounts of killings and torture by the interior ministry police commando unit known as the Wolf Brigade, which was recruited from former members of Hussein’s Iraqi Republican Guard.

In the months since, the bodies of hundreds of Sunni Arabs have been discovered dumped on the side of the road or in rubbish dumps in Baghdad and other cities.

The motive behind Janabi’s killing last week is obvious. It is an attempt to intimidate the legal defence team assembled to represent Hussein and his co-defendants. Janabi was the chief defence lawyer for Awad Hamed al-Bander, the former head judge of the Baathist Revolutionary Court, who is on trial with Hussein.

Richard Dicker, the director of the Human Rights Watch international justice program, declared: “We are gravely concerned that this killing will have a chilling effect on the willingness of competent lawyers to vigorously defend the accused in these cases. Such an outcome will seriously undermine the ability of the court to provide a fair trial.”

Human Rights Watch issued a lengthy criticism of the trial on October 16. It condemned the court’s standards of proof, inadequate protection against self-incrimination, inadequate defence and the requirement that a death penalty sentence be carried out within just 30 days of a final

Judge orders U.S. government to provide medical records on Guantanamo prisoners

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the U.S. government to provide medical records on Guantanamo prisoners who are being force-fed while on a hunger strike and to notify their lawyers about forced feedings.





U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler acted after lawyers representing about a dozen men held at the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, expressed urgent concern over their deteriorating health amid a hunger strike launched in early August.

Kessler stated in her opinion that the detainees' lawyers had presented "deeply troubling" allegations of forced feedings in which U.S. personnel violently shoved tubes as thick as a finger through the men's noses and into their stomachs without anesthesia or sedatives.

"If the allegations are true -- and they are all explicitly, specifically and vigorously denied by the government -- they describe conduct of which the United States can hardly be proud," the judge wrote.

Julia Tarver, a lawyer for the detainees, had told the court she learned during a visit to the base several weeks ago of force-feedings that caused prisoners to vomit blood. Tarver wrote, "When they vomited up blood, the soldiers mocked and cursed at them, and taunted them with statements like 'look what your religion has brought you."'

Tarver told the court that prison guards took a feeding tube from one detainee, "and with no sanitization whatsoever, reinserted it into the nose of a different detainee."

The judge noted that the prison's commander stated the facility was operated "in a humane manner," and the head of the hospital there said that only doctors and nurses inserted feeding tubes.

LACK OF LEGAL RIGHTS

Their lawyers say the detainees are staging the hunger strike to protest their conditions and lack of legal rights. The lawyers accused the government of keeping them in the dark about their clients' medical condition.

The Pentagon said 26 of the roughly 505 prisoners currently were on hunger strike, with 23 of them hospitalized.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights has estimated that about 210 were participating in the hunger strike. Detainee lawyers accused the government of deliberately under-stating the strike's scope.

The judge ordered the government to provide notice to the prisoners' lawyers within 24 hours of the beginning of force-feeding. Kessler also ordered the government to provide lawyers medical records for their clients spanning the week before a forced feeding, and provide these records at least weekly until force-feeding ends.

The judge denied the lawyers' request for immediate telephone access to their clients.

"The order is being reviewed," said Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros, a Pentagon spokesman on detainee issues. He declined to comment on whether the government would appeal it.

Kessler's order affected a group of prisoners from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Afghanistan. Lawyers for detainees expressed hope the government would provide the same notification and data to lawyers for other hunger strikers.

The hunger strike is the latest flash point between the government and human rights groups over the camp, which activists call a blight on the U.S. human rights record.

Many Guantanamo prisoners have been there for more than 3-1/2 years, and just four have been charged with crimes. Rights activists have denounced these indefinite detentions and treatment they say amounts to torture. Most detainees were picked up in Afghanistan after a U.S. invasion in 2001 to oust the Taliban government and dislodge al Qaeda bases.

© Reuters 2005. All rights reserved

Fabricated Links ( is that a nice way of saying LIES ? )

Oct. 26, 2005 - A secret draft CIA report raises new questions about a principal argument used by the Bush administration to justify the war in Iraq: the claim that Saddam Hussein was "harboring" notorious terror leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi prior to the American invasion.


The allegation that Zarqawi had visited Baghdad in May 2002 with Saddam's sanction—purportedly for medical treatment—was once a centerpiece of the administration's arguments about Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell cited Zarqawi's alleged visit in his speech to the United Nations Security Council. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld referred obliquely to Zarqawi's purported trip as an example of "bulletproof" evidence that the administration had assembled linking Saddam's regime with Al Qaeda.

But like the uranium yellowcake claims—since determined to be fraudulent—that are at the heart of the CIA leak case, the administration's original allegations about Zarqawi's trip also seem to be melting away. An updated CIA re-examination of the issue recently concluded that Saddam's regime may not have given Zarqawi "safe haven" after all.

The CIA declined to comment on the draft report. But officials tell NEWSWEEK that Zarqawi probably did travel to the Iraqi capital in the spring of 2002 for medical treatment. And, of course, there is no question that he is in Iraq now—orchestrating many of the deadly suicide bombings and attacks on American soldiers.

But before the American-led invasion, Saddam's government would never have known he was there. The reason: he used an alias and was there under what one U.S. intelligence official calls a "false cover." No evidence has been found showing senior Iraqi officials were even aware of his presence, according to two counterterrorism analysts familiar with the classified CIA study who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

An intelligence official told NEWSWEEK that the current draft says that "most evidence suggests Saddam Hussein did not provide Zarqawi safe haven before the war". It also recognizes that there are still unanswered questions and gaps in knowledge about the relationship."

The most recent CIA analysis is an update—based on fresh reporting from Iraq and interviews with former Saddam officials—of a classified report that analysts in the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence first produced more than a year ago. According to the Knight Ridder newspapers, the agency was originally asked to conduct that review of Saddam's dealings with Zarqawi by Vice President Dick Cheney.

The new report is only the latest chink in the armor of the alleged Saddam-Al Qaeda connection. Last year, the September 11 Commission found there was no "collaborative" relationship between the Iraqi regime and Osama bin Laden; one high-level Al Qaeda commander—who had been cited by Powell as testifying to talks about chemical- and biological-warfare training—later recanted his claims. But the Pentagon and Cheney's office have been reluctant to abandon the case: in the months after U.S. and allied forces deposed Saddam, NEWSWEEK has learned, Iraqi informants approached U.S. intelligence personnel with what purported to be caches of documents proving that Saddam's dealings with Al Qaeda were extensive. (One cache of documents even claimed that six of 19 of the September 11 hijackers had been trained to fly in Iraq.)

Current and former U.S. counterterrorism officials said that when officials at the Bush White House learned about the existence of documents linking Saddam to Al Qaeda, they became very excited and pressured intelligence agencies to work quickly to validate and decipher them. However, the CIA ultimately established that most key documents about the Saddam-Al Qaeda connection turned over were faked—just like the documents purporting to show Iraqi purchases of uranium.

Last Throws in Iraq : October 27th


Oct 27 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Thursday, Oct. 27, as of 1245 GMT.






NAHRAWAN - At least 21 Shi'ite militia fighters and two policemen were killed when they clashed with Sunni insurgents in Nahrawan, southeast of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

Another five police and 12 members of the Shi'ite Mehdi Army were wounded in the gunbattle which erupted after they sought to rescue a Mehdi Army member who was being held hostage, the official said.

BAQUBA - One policeman was killed and five others wounded when clashes broke out between insurgents and Iraqi police in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAQUBA - One policeman was found shot dead in his car south of Baquba, police said.

KIRKUK - One policeman from an elite unit was killed and two wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said.

HAWIJA - Two policemen were wounded when a car bomb exploded near a police patrol in Hawija, 70 km (43.50 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, police said.

HAWIJA - The head of the Hawija city council escaped death when gunmen attacked him near Hawija, police said. He is seriously wounded in a hospital.

BALAD - One U.S. soldier was killed and four wounded when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb and came under small arms fire on Wednesday near Balad, north of Baghdad, the military said.

BAGHDAD - A police major was killed by gunmen in the southern district of the capital, police said.

KIRKUK - A police colonel was killed by gunmen in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said. He had previously been reported as wounded.

BAGHDAD - Two U.S. soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb hit their convoy in eastern Baghdad on Wednesday, the U.S. military said.

BAGHDAD - A car bomb hit a U.S. patrol of Humvee armoured vehicles in Baghdad early on Thursday, killing one civilian and wounding four, police and witnesses said.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Saddam lawyers suspend trial work

Lawyers representing Saddam Hussein have said they are suspending any contact with the tribunal trying the former Iraqi leader over safety fears. The group says contacts will be frozen until security arrangements improve.



The move follows last week's abduction and murder of Sadoun Nasouaf al-Janabi, a lawyer representing one of the ousted Iraq president's co-defendants.

It raises fresh questions as to whether the former leader, whose trial opened last week, will receive a fair hearing.

We, the defence team that groups over 2,000 Iraqi lawyers... have decided to completely halt dealing with the tribunal," a statement signed by Saddam Hussein's lead lawyer Khalil Dulaimi read.

The statement cited "the deteriorating security situation and its repercussions on the work of the Iraqi lawyers, and the continuous threats against their lives and their families that were demonstrated by the killing of the martyr Sadoun Janabi".

The trial was adjourned until 28 November but the defence lawyers are now asking for a complete freeze on the proceedings until their demands are met.

Along with an independent investigation into Mr Janabi's death, the protesting lawyers are also demanding that Saddam Hussein's defence lawyers and their families be given protection, including 15 bodyguards each.

They also asked for permission to carry weapons and to be given passes to get them through Iraqi and US security checkpoints.


There had been tight security at the court as the trial of Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants opened on Wednesday 19th October.

Four of the five judges and most of the prosecution lawyers have remained anonymous for safety reasons.

The names of the chief judge and the top prosecutor were the only ones revealed.

But the defence team's identities were not kept secret, and Saddam Hussein's top lawyer, Mr Dulaimi, says many had been threatened.

source BBC

U.S. REP. JIM MCGOVERN TO INTRODUCE BILL ENDING FUNDING FOR IRAQ WAR

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) this week will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq. The bill will allow funds to be used for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops; for transitional security provided by other countries – including international organizations like NATO and the United Nations; and for continued support for Iraqi security forces and international forces in Iraq – as well as funding for reconstruction efforts.


Attached below is a statement Rep. McGovern gave on the House floor today.

“Mr. Speaker, CNN reported today that two thousand American troops have now lost their lives in Iraq. It is time to end this war. Let’s bring our troops home and restore U.S. credibility in the world community.

“This war was based on fiction. That is a fact that is no longer disputed. There were no weapons of mass destruction and no ties to Al Qaeda. There was no imminent threat. This Administration – with the acquiescence of Congress – rushed into a war that according to Secretary of State Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has made our country more vulnerable, not less, to future crisis.

“The Bush Administration has stubbornly refused to reassess the situation. They have refused to listen to the words of military and diplomatic leaders who have warned that a continuing U.S. presence in Iraq will not calm the violence or lead to a more stable Iraq. The U.S. presence in Iraq is now a major part of the problem. Al Qaeda is in Iraq today because we are there. The abuse and torture by U.S. forces of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and the near three year occupation by U.S. troops have made us an unpopular force in Iraq even among those who originally supported the U.S. invasion.

“We have spent over $300 billion on the war – with no end in sight. It is estimated that another two years of war will boost that amount to one trillion dollars. Our military is stretched to the limit, with much of the burden falling on our Guard and Reserves.

“There are some politicians in Washington who say that – no matter what – we must ‘stay the course.’ I strongly disagree. It is worth pointing out that it is not Congressmen, Senators or members of the Bush Administration whose lives are on the line in battle. It takes no courage for anybody in Washington to wave the American flag and send more troops. We owe our brave, fighting men and women so much more. Washington made a mistake in going to war. It is time for politicians to admit that mistake and fix it before any more lives are lost.

“‘In Vietnam we didn’t have the lesson of Vietnam to guide us,’ says David Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of that war. He goes on to say, ‘In Iraq we did have those lessons. The tragedy is that we didn’t pay any attention to them.’

“Mr. Speaker, we have now sacrificed the lives of 2,000 members of our Armed Forces in Iraq. Thousands of others are wounded. Tens of thousands of civilians from Iraq and elsewhere have died since the U.S. entered Baghdad and ostensibly took control of the nation.

“This week, I am introducing a resolution to prohibit the use of tax payer funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq. The bill, however, will allow funds to be used for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops. It will allow us to support transitional security provided by other countries – including international organizations like NATO and the United Nations. The bill will also allow for continued support for Iraqi security forces and international forces in Iraq – as well as funding for reconstruction efforts. This is not a cut and run strategy. Rather, it is a way to support efforts that I believe can be more helpful in creating a more stable Iraq. But, the bill makes clear – no more U.S. boots on the ground in Iraq.

“Ultimately, the future of Iraq will depend on whether the various factions in the country genuinely and truly want to live with each other. No constitution or election can fully determine that outcome.

“This war has cost us dearly in terms of human life and treasure. At a time when we are shortchanging our veterans here at home, our schools, health care, and even our homeland security -- it makes no sense to throw good money after bad in this quagmire in Iraq. Sometimes great nations misstep, as I believe we have done in this case. It is now time to ask the tough questions and face the hard truths. It is time to end this war.”


My source Here

Italy denies role in Iraq uranium claim

ROME -- Italy denied allegations Wednesday that it gave the United States and Britain false documents suggesting that Saddam Hussein had been seeking uranium in Africa, helping justify the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.



The documents in question detailed a purported Iraqi deal to buy 500 tons of uranium yellowcake from Niger, a claim the United States and Britain used to try to prove Saddam Hussein was seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The government's denial came one day after officials said Nicolo Pollari, the director of the SISMI intelligence agency, would be questioned about the case Nov. 3 by members of a parliamentary commission overseeing secret services.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi's office "categorically" refuted claims reported in a series of articles this week by daily newspaper La Repubblica that SISMI passed on to the U.S. government and Britain a dossier it knew was forged.

"The facts that are narrated ... do not correspond to the truth," the government said in a statement in which it reiterated denials it had any "direct or indirect involvement in the packaging and delivery of the 'false dossier on Niger's uranium.'"

The intelligence supporting the claim that Saddam was seeking uranium in Africa was later deemed unreliable.

Ahmadinejad: Wipe Israel off map

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

"The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world," the president told a conference in Tehran on Wednesday,

"The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of a war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land," he said.

"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," said Ahmadinejad, referring to Iran's revolutionary leader Ayat Allah Khomeini.

His comments were the first time in years that such a high-ranking Iranian official has called for Israel's eradication, even though such slogans are still regularly used at government rallies.

Vice President for Torture

10/26/05 "Washington Post" -- -- VICE PRESIDENT Cheney is aggressively pursuing an initiative that may be unprecedented for an elected official of the executive branch: He is proposing that Congress legally authorize human rights abuses by Americans. "Cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners is banned by an international treaty negotiated by the Reagan administration and ratified by the United States.


The State Department annually issues a report criticizing other governments for violating it. Now Mr. Cheney is asking Congress to approve legal language that would allow the CIA to commit such abuses against foreign prisoners it is holding abroad. In other words, this vice president has become an open advocate of torture.

His position is not just some abstract defense of presidential power. The CIA is holding an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad. In violation of the Geneva Conventions, it has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. Its prisoners have "disappeared," like the victims of some dictatorships. The Justice Department and the White House are known to have approved harsh interrogation techniques for some of these people, including "waterboarding," or simulated drowning; mock execution; and the deliberate withholding of pain medication. CIA personnel have been implicated in the deaths during interrogation of at least four Afghan and Iraqi detainees. Official investigations have indicated that some aberrant practices by Army personnel in Iraq originated with the CIA. Yet no CIA personnel have been held accountable for this record, and there has never been a public report on the agency's performance.

It's not surprising that Mr. Cheney would be at the forefront of an attempt to ratify and legalize this shameful record. The vice president has been a prime mover behind the Bush administration's decision to violate the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and to break with decades of past practice by the U.S. military. These decisions at the top have led to hundreds of documented cases of abuse, torture and homicide in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Cheney's counsel, David S. Addington, was reportedly one of the principal authors of a legal memo justifying the torture of suspects. This summer Mr. Cheney told several Republican senators that President Bush would veto the annual defense spending bill if it contained language prohibiting the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by any U.S. personnel.

The senators ignored Mr. Cheney's threats, and the amendment, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), passed this month by a vote of 90 to 9. So now Mr. Cheney is trying to persuade members of a House-Senate conference committee to adopt language that would not just nullify the McCain amendment but would formally adopt cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as a legal instrument of U.S. policy. The Senate's earlier vote suggests that it will not allow such a betrayal of American values. As for Mr. Cheney: He will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture.

Saddam's defense team wants to put Bush on trial

Saddam Hussein's defense committee wants to put U.S. President George W. Bush in the dock to mirror the Baghdad trial of the toppled Iraqi leader over a Shiite massacre, a Jordanian lawyer said Tuesday.

"We shall contact international and Arab lawyer associations and will put forward the proof allowing for a trial of the criminal Bush at the same time as the fake trial takes place in Iraq," Saleh Armouti told a meeting of the Amman-based Saddam defense committee.

If lawyers abroad fail to take the case to court, "we shall organize it in Jordan and will invite international supporters," Armouti said,

Saddam is currently being tried on charges of murder and torture related to the killing of 148 Shiites from the village of Dujail following a failed attempt on the Iraqi leader's life in July 1982.

Saddam's Iraqi lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi, who arrived in Amman on Tuesday to take part in talks on coordinating strategy for his next court hearing on November 28, did not attend the defense committee meeting.

In a related development, a group of former foreign leaders backing Saddam's defense called for a UN probe into the murder of an attorney working for one of his fellow accused.

An investigation into the murder of Saadoun Janabi was an "urgent necessity," the former foreign leaders and ministers wrote in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Investigations by Iraqi and U.S. officials into the murder "will have no credibility," said the letter signed by former Algerian President Ahmad Bin Bella, former Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad, French former Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark

Iraq : Cartoon of the week



From the Guardian Here

Iraq : Must watch flash presentation

Demand the truth

Here

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Military death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000

BAGHDAD, Oct 25 (Reuters) - The death of an army sergeant pushed the U.S. military death toll in Iraq to the landmark figure of 2,000 on Tuesday, but President George W. Bush warned more sacrifices were needed before U.S. troops could come home.

The news cast a shadow over the final results of the Iraqi referendum, which showed that voters had ratified a new constitution, despite bitter opposition in Sunni Arab areas where insurgents are battling to topple the Baghdad government.

The Pentagon said Staff Sergeant George Alexander, 34, died on Saturday of injuries sustained eight days ago when a roadside bomb blew up near his vehicle in the town of Samarra.

The new death toll was a grim reminder that although some progress has been made on Iraq's political front, much work lies ahead in halting insurgent attacks. Increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs are responsible for many of the U.S. deaths in Iraq.

Despite falling public support among the American public for the war, which has been one factor pushing down Bush's popularity in public opinion polls, the president indicated on Tuesday there would be no change in strategy.

"This war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve," he told military wives shortly before the Pentagon announcement.

The best way to honour the fallen was to "complete the mission and lay the foundation of peace by spreading freedom", he said.

Bush launched the Iraq war in 2003 hoping for a quick victory with minimal casualties. The Iraqi army was quickly defeated, but within months insurgent attacks had bogged down U.S. forces and delayed plans for the rapid reconstruction of the shattered country.

Iraq : Last throws for October 25th

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Tuesday, Oct. 25, as of 1000 GMT.






SULAIMANIYA - At least nine people were killed when a car bomb exploded in the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya, 330 km (205 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.

SULAIMANIYA - A member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Mulla Bakhtiyar, escaped assassination when two car bombs targeted his motorcade near his home in western Sulaimaniya. A medical source said one of his guards was killed and two were injured in the attack.

RAMADI - Three corpses of Iraqi army soldiers wearing civilian clothes were found in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad. Doctor Hamdi al-Rawi from Ramadi General hospital said the bodies had gunshot wounds to the head.

BAGHDAD - Two policemen were killed and another seven wounded when gunmen ambushed a vehicle transferring prisoners in the western Ghazaliya district of Baghdad, police said. It was not clear if there were casualties among the prisoners.

BAGHDAD - Police said a suicide car bomber targeted a U.S. military convoy in the Mansour district of western Baghdad, killing one civilian and injuring five.

BAGHDAD - One person was killed and one wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near one of Baghdad's children's hospitals, police said.

US detainees 'murdered' during interrogations

-- Washington -- At least 21 detainees who died while in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were the victims of homicide and usually died during or after interrogations, according to an analysis of Defence Department data.



The analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union, released today, looked at 44 deaths described in records obtained by the ACLU. Of those, the group characterised 21 as homicides, and said at least eight resulted from abusive techniques by military or intelligence officers, such as strangulation or "blunt force injuries", as noted in the autopsy reports.

The 44 deaths represent a partial group of the total number of prisoners who have died in US custody overseas; more than 100 have died of natural and violent causes.

In one case, the report said, a detainee died after being smothered during interrogation by military intelligence officers in November 2003. In another case cited by the report, a prisoner died of asphyxiation and blunt force injuries after he was left standing, shackled to the top of a door frame, with a gag in his mouth.

One Afghan civilian, believed by the ACLU to be Abdul Wahid, died from "multiple blunt force injuries" in 2003 at a base in Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to an autopsy report provided by the Defence Department.

Wahid, 28, was taken from his home by Afghan militia and accused of being a terrorist. The autopsy report said he died in American custody, although his father has blamed the militiamen.

The detailed list of prisoners whose deaths the report considered homicides includes two detainees who were beaten and died from "blunt force injuries" at the Bagram Airfield detention centre in Afghanistan, according to the autopsies.

Earlier this month, Private First Class Damien Corsetti, a military intelligence interrogator with the 519th MI Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, became the 15th soldier to face charges since those 2002 deaths.

Details about the detainee abuse and deaths have been released by the Pentagon as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Many of the incidents have been made public before, and in a number of cases the soldiers and officers involved have been prosecuted and punished.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Galloway to US senate 'Bring it on'

George Galloway has rejected claims he lied under oath to the US Senate committee which accused him of receiving oil cash from Saddam Hussein.

The Respect MP ridiculed the senators' claims during a hearing in May.




Now they say fresh evidence links him and his estranged wife to Iraq's oil-for-food programme. Mr Galloway and his wife both deny the allegations.

Mr Galloway said: "I am ready to fly to the US today... to face such a charge (perjury) because it is simply false."

Have the senate lost their minds ! . I am no supporter of Mr galloway but he certainly ripped them to shreads last time and i have no doubt he will do so again

The man enjoys this kind of chance to attack the US again on the war in Iraq , and is almost dribling with excitement at the chance to get this case put into a US court as soon as possible

check out these two interviews from the BBC and see how much this claim has pleased him Here and Here

Ever Wonder What 2000 Looks Like?

I first spotted this about a week ago and for some reason never posted it , I came across it again today on the excellent Daily Dissent and so here it is....

The US Media is building up to the moment of the 2000th American death in Iraq , So Have you ever wondered what 2000 actually looks like

If so take a look Here

How to increase the number of divorces in Australia

Sydney: Proposed legislation in Australia would make it a crime for one parent to tell the other that their child had been detained under anti-terror laws.






If a youth aged between 16 and 18 was detained, one parent would be informed and allowed to visit daily during the detention, which could last for two weeks without charge.

But if the chosen parent was the father, for example, and he told the mother where the child was, he could be jailed for up to five years.



The opposition Labour Party's spokesman for homeland security scorned the proposal. "The idea that one parent could see their child and then somehow be imprisoned for telling the other parent is absurd." - Sapa-AFP


Words to describe this are beyond me , so forgive me for repeating the words of George Orwell ....


“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever. … And remember that it is for ever. The face will always be there to be stamped upon. , the enemy of society, will always be there, so that he can be defeated and humiliated over again.”

Israel still in control of Gaza envoy says

The international Middle East envoy, James Wolfensohn, has accused Israel of behaving as if it has not withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, by blocking its borders and failing to fulfil commitments to allow the movement of Palestinians and goods.





Mr Wolfensohn, the special envoy of the "Quartet" of the US, UN, EU and Russia overseeing the "road map" peace plan, said Israel continued to block the free movement of Palestinians between the strip and Egypt, even though they do not enter Israel. "The government of Israel, with its important security concerns, is loath to relinquish control, almost acting as though there has been no withdrawal, delaying making difficult decisions and preferring to take difficult matters back into slow-moving subcommittees," he wrote in a letter earlier this month to Quartet members.

Israel has almost entirely sealed off the Gaza Strip since its withdrawal on September 12. Hundreds of Palestinian workers who used to enter Israel each day via the Erez crossing in the north are not now allowed to do so, and the Karni cargo crossing has been closed, except to allow Israelis to import palm leaves for Jewish religious ceremonies earlier this month.

However, Mr Wolfensohn's principal complaint concerns the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, the only way for most Palestinians to leave and enter the territory. Israel has refused to allow the crossing to reopen, except for periodic humanitarian considerations. "The Israelis have not agreed to accept the EU's generous offer to consider the role of a third party to supervise the crossing," he said. Israel is also blocking the implementation of a proposal by Mr Wolfensohn and the World Bank for a temporary system of convoys to move Palestinians and goods lorries between Gaza and the West Bank.

In an accompanying report to the Quartet, Mr Wolfensohn warned that the lack of agreement was undermining the prospects for rebuilding Gaza. "Without a dramatic improvement in Palestinian movement and access, within appropriate security arrangements for Israel, the economic revival essential to a resolution of the conflict will not be possible," the report said.

Read more Here

Russia shows its support for Iran's nuclear program

MOSCOW: Russia reiterated its support yesterday for Iran’s nuclear programme and said all questions about it should be handled by the international nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna.




“Our common position is that we have to continue to deal with all the questions raised through the IAEA,” the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after holding talks here with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.

“This way we can find a decision acceptable by all sides that, on the one hand, allows Iran its lawful right to a peaceful nuclear energy program and, on the other hand, does not allow any doubts about the peaceful character of this activity,” Lavrov said.

Mottaki offered a similar view.

“Iran’s nuclear aims should not be politicised,” he said, adding: “All Iranian nuclear questions should be resolved through the IAEA.”

The United States and the European Union fear that Tehran could use a nuclear energy programme to camouflage development of nuclear weapons. Russia is the main foreign contractor in construction of Iran’s first nuclear power station and has defended Tehran’s right to develop nuclear energy.

Earlier this month, Lavrov and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice openly aired their differences over the issue. The Russian minister defended Tehran’s “right” to nuclear energy, while Rice retorted that Iran also had “obligations” under nuclear the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Diplomats in Vienna said on Thursday that Iran has provided new information about its controversial uranium enrichment programmme to visiting international nuclear inspectors.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Iraqi charter in balance

Two Sunni-dominated provinces in Iraq have rejected the country's draft constitution, according to partial results given by election officials. Electoral rules mean the document will fail if three out of the 18 provinces vote "No" by two-thirds or more.

Salahuddin and Anbar both heavily voted against but Diyala, also Sunni, has backed the charter.

Now all eyes are on the largely Sunni province of Nineveh where the result is due to be announced within two days.

If the constitution were to fail, it would set the political process back by roughly a year.

New elections will be held in December and the resulting parliament would again undertake the task of producing another constitution, our correspondent says.

In Anbar, 97% of voters cast "No" ballots while it was 82% against in Salahuddin, electoral commission chief Abdel Hussein al-Hindawi told reporters, quoting preliminary figures

Blasts shake Baghdad hotel area

Three powerful explosions near Baghdad hotels used by foreign media and contractors have killed at least 17, police in the Iraqi capital say.

The blasts, two of them possibly car bombs, happened near the Palestine and Sheraton hotels and were caught on camera, one sending up a huge plume.
A BBC correspondent says the bombers may have chosen the hotels to ensure maximum publicity.

The blasts come amid speculation the poll on the constitution may fail.
At least two of the blasts appear to have been suicide bombings and a cement mixer lorry seems to have been used for one of them, police sources say

One source told AFP news agency the dead were mainly security guards, hotel employees and passers-by.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw condemned the attackers as "terrorists who really don't mind who they kill, provided they kill somebody in the name of a totally perverted ideology".

Source : BBC

Scotland : Police to Investigate US 'Torture flights'

SCOTTISH police are to launch an investigation into CIA “torture flights” which fly in and out of Glasgow and Prestwick airports, ferrying kidnapped war on terror suspects around the world.




The police action is a result of last week’s disturbing investigation by the Sunday Herald into the so-called “extraordinary rendition flights”, which see suspects kidnapped overseas by the CIA, drugged and then flown to “friendly” states, such as Egypt, Uzbekistan and Morocco, where they are tortured on behalf of British and American intelligence.

Following our reports , the Green Party wrote to the chief constable of Strathclyde Police, Sir William Rae, asking for a full inquiry into the torture flights. A police spokesperson confirmed that the force would now launch an investigation.

Last week, we revealed that the British government was to be sued by human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith for complicity in the torture of his client Benyam Mohammed al-Habashi.

Also exposed was the fact that international human rights experts and lawyers believe the UK is breaking the Geneva Conventions by collaborating with the USA on the transit of the flights through Britain.

Further, the UK allows British airports to be used for refuelling by the CIA’s jets ferrying suspects around the world. Glasgow and Prestwick airports are the two most favoured CIA stop-overs.

Chris Ballance, the Green Party MSP who represents the Prestwick area, said he lodged the complaint with Strathclyde Police after reading the Sunday Herald’s investigation because it appeared that “Scotland is complicit in these gross acts of torture”.

Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said : “Once these planes land on British soil, they have no immunity. If they touch down at a civilian airport they are under civilian jurisdiction. This would allow the police to do their job fully and to board the plane and question those on board.”

Iran : 'We have proof UK bombed us'

TEHRAN: Iran said yesterday it has proof that Britain was involved in a double bomb attack last week that killed six people and injured more than 100 in Ahvaz.

The British embassy in Tehran immediately rejected the allegations.



"Information obtained show that Britain is the main accused in the recent events," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told state TV.

"The information shows that Britain is seeking to create insecurity in our country by interfering in our internal affairs," he added, warning that the consequences "could be worrying for the British".

The bomb attacks on Saturday killed six people and injured more than 100 in Ahvaz, in Khuzestan province.

Iraq : MOD poll ' 65 percent feel attacks on troops justified'

LONDON (Reuters) - Sixty-five percent of Iraqis believe attacks on U.S. and British troops are justified, according to a secret poll said to have been commissioned by British defence leaders and cited by The Sunday Telegraph.


Less than 1 percent of those polled believed that the forces were responsible for any improvement in security, according to poll figures.

Eighty-two percent of those polled said they were "strongly opposed" to the presence of the troops.

The paper said the poll, conducted in August by an Iraqi university research team, was commissioned by the Ministry of Defence.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Last throws in Iraq october 22nd

Oct 22 (Reuters) - Following are security incidents reported in Iraq on Saturday, Oct. 22, as of 1400 GMT.

HAQLANIYA - A U.S. Marine was killed on Friday while conducting combat operations against insurgents near Haqlaniya, northwest of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. It said Marines killed four insurgents in the subsequent clash.

BAGHDAD - Two Iraqi soldiers were wounded when insurgents hurled grenades at their patrol in central Baghdad and the army returned fire, arresting six of them, the Iraqi army said in a statement.

DIWANIYA - A former member in the Baath Party, which was dissolved in 2003, escaped an assassination attempt when gunmen attacked his house in Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad. Police said one of his daughters was killed and two others wounded.

FALLUJA - A car driven by a suicide bomber exploded in central Falluja targeting a U.S patrol in an attack that Iraqi police officer Saif Sami said had destroyed a Humvee. There was no immediate comment from the U.S military.

DIWANIYA - One Iraqi was killed and another wounded when Polish forces opened fire on a street in the centre of Diwaniya, a medical source said.

BAGHDAD - A U.S. soldier died of a non-hostile gunshot wound on Oct. 20 in Baghdad.

Repeat the lie enough and people will think it is the truth

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - U.S. envoy Karen Hughes on Friday defended Washington's decision to go to war against Iraq in front of a skeptical audience, saying Saddam Hussein had gassed to death "hundreds of thousands" of his own people. A State Department official later said she misspoke about the number.

Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, made the comment before a group of Indonesian students who repeatedly attacked her about Washington's original rationale for the war, Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. No such arms were ever discovered.

"The consensus of the world intelligence community was that Saddam was a very dangerous threat," Hughes said days after the ousted dictator went on trial in Baghdad on charges of murder and torture in a 1982 massacre of 148 Shiites in the town of Dujail.

"After all, he had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people," she told a small auditorium with around 100 students. "He had murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people using poison gas."

Hughes twice repeated the statement after being challenged by journalists. A State Department official later called The Associated Press to say she misspoke. The official, who was traveling with Hughes, spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to talk publicly to the media.

Hughes, a longtime adviser to President Bush, was visiting the world's most populous Muslim nation as part of Washington's effort to enhance the U.S. image abroad.

Students from Indonesia's oldest Muslim university pounded her with questions on U.S. foreign policy, in particular the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and Washington's support of Israel.

One said the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks should be taken as a warning to America for interfering in the affairs of other countries.

"Your policies are creating hostilities among Muslims," a female student, Lailatul Qadar, told Hughes. "It's Bush in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and maybe it's going to be in Indonesia, I don't know. Who's the terrorist? Bush or us Muslims?"

Hughes, who has also faced tough questions in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey since taking up her post two months ago, said she was not surprised by the level of hostility.

"I understand that there are a lot of young people around the world, and a lot of people in our own country, who don't agree with what we did in Iraq," she told reporters. "We have to engage in the debate. That is what America is all about."

Anybody still wonder why 75 % of americans thought saddam was responsible for sept the 11th ? This is an adviser of the president and she believes Saddam gassed "hundreds of thousands" of his people !

for those of us that live in the real world the number is just under 5000

But what does the truth and evidence matter when you have a political agenda to hype up

British MP puts forward motion to refer US to security council

A British MP has tabled the following motion to put before the house in an upcoming Parliamentary session. The event is in many ways a non starter as any of the perminant five members can veto a proposal that is put before it .

However this is worthy of note for two reasons

(1) It will be embarrassing for the nation pushing the world to prevent the spread of WMD to itself be put before the security council for breaching world law on the transference of biological weapons

(2) The wording is of note , and there is no doubt that this is a major breach of world law and makes a laughing stock of the rule of law when a nation can veto itself out of trouble that would get others invaded

Exact wording as follows....

That this House notes that the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention binds signatories not to transfer to any nation any agents, toxins, weapons and equipment of biological and toxin warfare and provides that any nation finding another signatory in breach of this undertaking may lodge a complaint to the UN Security Council;

Notes that the Riegle Report to the US Senate has published evidence that the US sold bacillus anthracis, clostridium botulinum, histoplasma capsulatum, brucella, melitensis and clostridium perfringens to agencies of the Iraqi government pursuant to export licences issued by the US Department of Commerce, at a time when the US was fully aware of the Iraqi biological warfare programme and that these exports have been fully documented noting,

in particular, that the US sales included Vollum strain anthrax, found by the Iraq Survey Group to be the strain of anthrax used in the Iraqi biological weapons programme, and which, as reported in The Times of 9th August, originated from a dead cow in Oxfordshire; calls on the Government to report these sales to the Security Council in the light of its commitment in the April 2002 Green Paper,

Strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, that those at every level responsible for any breach of international law relating to the use of such weapons will be held personally accountable; and urges the Prime Minister either to lodge the necessary complaint with the Security Council or change the UK's stated policy after an appropriate public announcement and discussion.


Israeli leaders call for regime change in Syria

Israeli leaders on Friday called for changes in the Syrian leadership, after a U.N. probe implicated top Syrian and Lebanese intelligence officials in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The findings drew the first official link between Damascus and the Feb. 14 slaying of Hariri, a popular opposition leader. The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to discuss the report Tuesday and may consider sanctions against Syria.

"I think there needs to be change in Syria," said Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres, adding that the United States and France should take the lead in deciding on an international response to the findings.

Referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad and his relatives in positions of power, Peres said: "If it is true that the (Syrian) government is involved in the murder (of Hariri), this will shake up the rule of the Assads," Peres told Israel Radio.

Of course (if true), nobody would defend any kind of state sponsered assassination although it is almost laughable that if the two countries calling for action the strongest( the US and Israel ) were to take their recommendations for Syria on board for themselves, they would probably tie up the international court for the rest of the century.

People in glass houses......