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Friday, 10 June 2005
War on the cheap.
Topic: Iraq

The news in Iraq goes from bad to worse everyday. Even hour by hour. I was just reading about the miserable effort to train Iraqi soldiers at the WaPo which quotes a soldier, 1st Lt. Kenrick Cato, 34, of Long Island, N.Y, as saying of the Iraqis, "I know the party line. You know, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, five-star generals, four-star generals, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld: The Iraqis will be ready in whatever time period...But from the ground, I can say with certainty they won't be ready before I leave. And I know I'll be back in Iraq, probably in three or four years. And I don't think they'll be ready then," and I click back to Yahoo and bam! there's this story:

AP:

"BAGHDAD - Five U.S. Marines have been killed by a roadside bomb in western Iraq, the military said Friday. The Marines were killed Thursday while conducting combat operations near the volatile Anbar province Haqlaniyah, 90 miles northwest of Baghdad.At least 1,689 U.S. military members have died since the Iraq war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count."

When I started this death count was at 1,684. And now comes the fragging.

According to the AP the military is investigating as a criminal case the deaths of two officiers from the 42nd Infantry Division, New York Army National Guard, who were initially thought to have died in an "indirect fire" attack on Forward Operating Base Danger in Tikrit. It does seem like a bit of a coincidence that an insurgent mortar shell would just happen to kill the company commander and the operations officer.

And then we go after eachother.

AP

BAGHDAD -- American and Iraqi security guards for a North Carolina-based company were detained for three days in a military jail by US Marines after shots were fired at US forces and civilians last month, officials said yesterday, and some of the contractors complained they were abused while in custody.

''Nineteen employees working for a contract security firm in Iraq were temporarily detained and questioned after firing on US Marine positions in the city of Fallujah on Saturday," according to Marine spokesman Lieutenant Colonel David Lapan.

''Marines put their knees on the backs of their necks and ripped off religious medallions," Mark Schopper, a lawyer purportedly representing two of the detained workers, told the Charlotte Observer.

''They asked for attorneys, they asked for Amnesty International, they asked for the American Red Cross," he said. ''All three requests were denied."

''The Americans were segregated from the rest of the detainee population, and like all security detainees, were treated humanely and respectfully," Lapan said.

That's good, only the Iraqi contractors got the crap beat ouit of them.

The WaPo reports Schopper said "At one point during the contractors' confinement...a Marine asked, "How does it feel to be a rich contractor now?"

Charlotte News

Peter Singer, a military expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington is quoted in the Charlotte News as saying "They are making decisions although they are not in the chain of command," said Singer, adding that it is not clear whether the military has legal authority to detain contractors. "They are operating in a legal netherworld."

This is what happens when you go into a war on the cheap built on lies.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:34 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 15 June 2005 12:48 PM EDT
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Monday, 6 June 2005
Condi Rice: like a good neighbor.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Condi is at it again, this time drumming up support for a rule at the OAS, written by the U.S., which would set up a council to "monitor" democracy in Latin America. She says:

..."we have to work with other democratic leaders and governments in the region to make certain that we pay attention to and help fragile democracies to deal with whatever tensions and difficulties there are inside those states. I think we know that there are tensions in Bolivia, there have been problems in Ecuador, there are obviously potential problems in other parts of the region.

...Our only criteria are governing democratically, governing transparently, governing accountably, being in favor of open economies and free trade. These are the principles on which we have worked since Quebec and I think they are principles that are very important to a stable and prosperous region."

Now she's all about "stability." When it comes to the Middle East stability isn't as important as democracy. I think when she says she wants a
"stable and prosperous" region she really means a stable place for BP and all the other multi-nationals to do business to make them more "properous."

The countries of the OAS aren't buying it, unfortunatly for Condi and her oil company firends. It might take a little bit longer to force this dictat from the U.S. down the throats of the Latin Americans. Hugo Chavez thinks he knows who she is really talking about when it comes to working with "democratic leaders and governments in the region," just like the good work the U.S. did with Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who just decided he needed to go, all by himself, with no urging at all by the militia's armed and trained by the U.S. and the plane waiting at the airport with the special forces giving him the offer he couldn't refuse.

Chavez says:

"The times in which the OAS was an instrument of the government in Washington are gone...Are they going to try, through the OAS, to monitor the Venezuelan government? ... Those who think they can put the peoples of Latin America in a corral are mistaken..."

Rice says "We need a range of mechanisms to deal with crises that threaten to subvert democracies throughout the region."

But wait, who has subverted more democracies in the region than us? Chavez could only dream about that sort of domination of the region. Back then the "mechanisms" were gunboats. Now we're back to "dollar deplomacy." Judging by what's going on in Bolivia, we might be going to back to gunboats. [The "Good Neighbor" policy is no where to be seen.] The president of Bolivia has resigned and the masses of Bolivians aren't in the mood for more of the same. They are rejecting the next in line Hormando Vaca Diez.

NY Times:

"Protest leaders have vowed to stop Mr. Vaca Diez and the man who is next after him in line to the presidency, Mario Cossio Cortez, president of the lower house of Congress. Mr. Mesa and many others say the solution is for the two to step aside and permit the third in line, the Supreme Court president, Eduardo Rodriguez, to call elections.

But Mr. Vaca Diez signaled to reporters that the military could be used to restore order. He also warned that the protests could lead to a crackdown from the right.

"The radicalism of the left leads to totalitarian governments," he said." [Like Pinochet?]

Sounds like Washington should get another "Operation Condor" going and kill several birds with one stone. Venezuela and Ecuador are messing up the money making down there and Lula in Brazil better watch it too.

Rice says the region needs an organizatiuon that can "develop a process to assess, as appropriate, situations that may affect the development of a member state's democratic political institutional process or the legitimate exercise of power."

Something tells me if elections are called in Bolivia and its not someone we can buy, there will be many questions raised about the "legitimate exercise of power" of that person.

Jack Perkins in his book "confessions of an econiomic hitman" writes that Jaime Roldos, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama, who both died in airplane crashes, "their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldos and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in." [See an interview at democracynow.org]

Watch out president Palacio, better check out the CIA fact book.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:09 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 June 2005 12:48 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 1 June 2005
Of torture and disassembling.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

President Bush said the Amnesty International's critism of Guantanamo was "absurd." Gulag of our times indeed! One thing you can say about the Bushies is, they stay on message.

Bush said of Amnesty:

"It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of ? and the allegations ? by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble ? that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report."

Actually, "disassemble" means to take something apart.(Like our military for instance.) Funny the media just printed this quote with no correction. I think what he meant to say, though, was "dissemble." Rummy and Cheney are so good at it, they ought to give the boy a heads up on that one.

An article in the Philadelphia Inquirer says "In a statement Sunday, the Pentagon said many of the men [The detainees] had been trained to lie." Of course, they're all guilty, they musy be lying. God knows, there's no evidence whatsoever of any torture, abuse, or killings has been going on at U.S. prisons over seas.

The Inquirer published several articles on records released through the FOIA on the reports of the special tribunals set up to determine the guilt or innocence of those being held. Which begs the question, if they're all people who are dangerous and hate America, why bother with a tribunal? The article goes on to say "While most of the prisoners denied the accusations that led to their imprisonment, some freely admitted joining the Taliban but wanted to be charged and put on trial." Now, isn't that strange. Not all are denying they are terrorists. Why weren't they trained to lie?

"It seems like you are keeping and detaining innocent people," said one detainee, accused of asking Afghan soldiers for guns to fight Americans."

Some detainees said they were sold by Afghanee war lords and Pakistani tribesmen to the U.S. for a bounty.

The Inquirer:

A former CIA intelligence officer who helped lead the search for Osama bin Laden told the AP that the accounts sounded legitimate because U.S. allies regularly got money to help catch Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. Gary Schroen said he took a suitcase containing $3 million in cash into Afghanistan himself to help supply and win over warlords to fight for U.S. Special Forces.

"It wouldn't surprise me if we paid rewards," said Schroen, who retired after 32 years in the CIA, soon after the fall of Kabul in late 2001...
Schroen said Afghan warlords such as Gen. Rashid Dostum were among those who received bundles of notes. 'It may be that we were giving rewards to people like Dostum because his guys were capturing a lot of Taliban and al-Qaeda,' he said."

Allawi 'end of insurgency count-down' continues:

According to the Iraqi Interior Ministry:

AP

"...at least 825 the number of people slain since the new Shiite-led government was announced April 28...In the past 18 months, 12,000 Iraqi civilians were killed, including more than 10,000 Shiites, Interior Minister Bayan Jabr said, citing figures from a research center. But he said he analyzed the figures on the basis of areas where the victims lived, not data explicitly stating the branch of Islam to which they belong." Yeah right. You got to wonder about the motivation behind breaking the numbers up into religeous sects. But no worries, they've got 40,000 troops out there hunting down insurgents. Regardless the bloodshed continues unabatted.

Are we leaving so soon?

The Nation:

"For the first time since the war in Iraq began twenty-six months ago, the House of Representatives debated the need for US troops to exit Iraq. The modest amendment, introduced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California last Thursday evening, called on President Bush to develop a plan for the withdrawal of US forces. With virtually no prior notice or lobbying, 123 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted for Woolsey's amendment. But with no support from either the Democratic or Republican leadership, and thus no chance of passing, no major US newspaper felt obligated to cover the unprecedented proceedings."

Not a moment too soon apparently.

Newsfromrussia":

"The U.S. military may not be able to win any new wars as quickly as planned because the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have strained its manpower and resources, the nation's top military officer told Congress in a classified report.

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described the U.S. military as in a period of increased risk, according to a senior defense official, who described the report Tuesday on the condition of anonymity.

The U.S. military has timelines in place for defeating its potential adversaries, given enough soldiers, tanks, aircraft and warships to do the job. But with so much of those resources tied up fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, those timelines could slip, Myers said, according to the defense official."

This damn war is going to spoil the party in Iran!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:36 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 June 2005 4:38 PM EDT
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Friday, 27 May 2005
Russian/Nuclear winter?
As if this wasn't bad enough, imagine one of Russia's craky old nuke plants going up?

That's right Vlad, round up the usual suspects. He didn't even know what hit him.
Reuters
Wednesday May 25, 7:32 PM

MOSCOW, May 25 - President Vladimir Putin blamed the management of Russian power monopoly Unified Energy System for a major power outage in Moscow on Wednesday.

"It is entirely possible to talk about a lack of attention on the part of RAO UES to the current activity of the company.

"They should work not only on global problems about company policy and its restructuring, but also pay attention to current activity," the Russian agency Interfax quoted Putin as saying..."

But, you forgot the really usual suspect.

Reuters

Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev said on Friday that his rebels had attacked an electricity substation, triggering Wednesday's major power outage in Moscow, the rebel Web site www.kavkazcenter.com said.

"The result of our special operation exceeded our expectations," Basayev was quoted as saying.

UES chief executive Anatoly Chubais has since been questioned by the public prosecutors office and has been called to give an explanation for the blackout to parliament.

Not a good year for Anatoly:

As Russian electricity boss Anatoly Chubais was chauffeured into work from his country house 40 kilometers west of Moscow on the morning of Mar. 17, would-be assassins awaited him. First they tried to blow up his armored BMW with a roadside bomb. Then they opened fire with Kalashnikovs, spraying Chubais' car and an escorting Jeep containing his bodyguards. A brief firefight ensued, and the failed killers fled into the woods beside the road. No one was hurt."

Russia is a basket case:

Business weekly Sept. 11 2000

The country's infrastructure is falling apart. Gas pipelines spring leaks daily, electricity is regularly cut off across Russia's far-flung regions, most of the nation's roads are pitted with potholes, trains stop running, industrial accidents are rampant, and toxic waste seeps from industrial plants into drinking-water supplies. This chronic malady is not simply about bad Soviet-era technology. It also stems from an 80% decline in investment during the post-Soviet era. Making matters worse, the stewardship of key facilities and funds is in the hands of corrupt and inefficient managers. There are no hard figures on what it would cost to rebuild the infrastructure. But by one estimate, it could cost $100 billion--four times Russia's current annual budget.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:33 PM EDT
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Monday, 16 May 2005
Going dark.

I'm just about to move, so I'll be out of the loop for a week or two.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:57 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 16 May 2005 11:58 PM EDT
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Administration takes blame for phoney WMD claims!

Well, it's good to see the administration is finally coming clean on the whole WMD-we faked the reasons for going to war-mushroom clouds over New York-Ahmad Chalabi is a trusted source for intel thing; it's all coming out now.

Today Scott McClellan said:

"This was a report based on a single anonymous source that could not substantiate the allegation that was made," McClellan added. [Curveball?] "The report has had serious consequences. People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged. I just find it puzzling."

Condi Rice was shocked!

"It's appalling that this story got out there."

Rummy got right down to it,

"People lost their lives. People are dead. People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do." (Those WMD are still a little northeast, somewhat, of Baghdad, right Rummy?)

Yes indeed, it sure is terrible when you get it wrong and people die. And on top of that, America's image around the world is damaged.

If it hadn't been for that damn report in Newsweek, none of this would have happened.

This is the Dan Rather syndrome all over again. Now whenever anyone accuses the government of torture they'll just say it's the liberal left media making up stories just like Newsweek.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:36 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 17 May 2005 12:01 AM EDT
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More on Condi's
Noting the recent "upsurge" of violence in Iraq Rice said the Iraqis were taking the task of security on themselves:

Reuters

"Rice said the Iraqi government, which relies on the 138,000 U.S. troops and 23,000 coalition forces in Iraq to provide security, was trying to take on more of this itself.

She also cited the case of a badly wounded young woman who served in the Iraqi security forces protecting an Iraqi official and whom she met in a Baghdad hospital on Sunday.

"She basically threw herself in front of an IED," Rice said, using the U.S. military term for an improvised explosive device, or bomb. "That's Iraqis taking responsibility for their own security."

I'm speechless. What the hell is she talking about? That's "Iraqis taking responsibility for their own security?" Maybe, if they really were, this poor woman wouldn't have had to jump on an IED in the first place. Maybe, if Condi had been doing her job, Iraq wouldn't be in such a horrendous state.

Remember when Bush appointed her to lead the Iraq Stabilization Group back in October 2003?

The Center For American Progress lays out Condi's sorry tenure at the ISG:

"In October 2003, President Bush announced he was "giving his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, the authority to manage postwar Iraq." With great fanfare, Rice was appointed head of the "Iraq Stabilization Group," intended to coordinate committees on counterterrorism, economic development, political affairs and media messages. The purpose of the group, said White House spokesman Scott McClellan, was to "cut through the red tape and make sure that we're getting the assistance there quickly." But seven months later, the Washington Post reported, "the four original leaders of the Stabilization Group have taken on new roles, and only one remains concerned primarily with Iraq." Within the White House, the Post noted, "the destabilized Stabilization Group is a metaphor for an Iraq policy that is adrift." According to the White House website, the Iraq stabilization group hasn't been publicly mentioned for more than a year."

What happened? Oh I know, it was Syria right?

"We're going to go back and look again at what the neighbors can do -- particularly the Syrians -- to stop support for these foreign terrorists who we believe are gathering on Syrian soil and coming across," she told reporters as she flew home.

"Their unwillingness to deal with the crossings of their border into Iraq, is frustrating the will of the Iraqi people ... (and) killing innocent Iraqis."

Again I ask, what about the Saudis? Why don't you go back and look at them, Condi? What are they doing to stem the flow of hundreds of young Saudi men determined to blow themselves up for a bunch of virgins? The Syrians are probably having as much trouble controling their borders as every governmental entity has had in that area since Syrus the Great was running the show. How are doing in Husaybah (see below), by the way? Why aren't we able to control the borders? Where's Bernie Kerik when you need him?

Unfortunatly for Rice her "surprise" arrival in Iraq coincided with the discovery of mass graves all over the place filled with bodies of men killed execution style.

APAP

"Batches of bodies were found in various areas over the weekend, from a garbage-strewn vacant lot in Baghdad's Sadr City slum to a Latifiyah chicken farm south of the capital in a region dubbed the Triangle of Death.

A spokesman for al-Jaafari condemned the killings and said security forces were determined to catch those responsible."

It shouldn't be to hard, they may not have far to look. I heard, but haven't seen yet, a report on NPR this morning claiming that two men were found still alive and one of men's wife was quoted as saying he was taken away by Iraqi security forces on Sunday night. There's evidence these killings might have been done by the Iraqi police.

Condi, in her usual detached, dismissive way, said of the violence raging around her (and the entire army division that's protecting her),

"Yes, the levels of violence are still very high and it's in large part because the advent of the car bomb makes it possible with relatively few people to do great damage, and that is something that has to be addressed," Rice said."

How? When? And the "advent of the car bomb" came at the very beginning of the war.

NYT (April 11, 2003)

"Baghdad is scene of widening anarchy as jubilation accompanying collapse of Saddam Hussein's rule gives way to spree of violence and looting; suicide bombing attack on checkpoint manned by American marines leaves at least four of them severely injured..."

The real advent of the car bomb came on July 22, 1946, when Menachem Begin detonated a truck bomb at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which killed 92 people; if she wants to get really technical about it.

In any case, she's oblivious.

More victory news on Operation Matador.
(Doesn't "matador" mean murderer?)

"The international Red Cross...said it was trucking 36,000 gallons of fresh water a day to families displaced by recent fighting between American forces and Iraqi insurgents near Iraq's border with Syria."

BBC:

"Thousands of Iraqis have fled fighting between US troops and insurgents in the west of the country, aid workers say. The head of the Iraqi Red Crescent in the country told the BBC that about 1,000 families had been displaced from the border town of Qaim."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 June 2005 11:25 AM EDT
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Sunday, 15 May 2005
Husaybah and the Saudis.

In a story in the WaPo today, there was this little bit of info at the very end of an article on the end of "Operation Matador:"

"Commanders said they believed some of the insurgents had slipped away to the east and to Husaybah, a lawless city on the Syrian border where foreign and local insurgents are believed to be battling among themselves for control.

The U.S. military in Iraq lacks the manpower to challenge the insurgent hold on Husaybah now, Mundy and other commanders said, and the Americans' focus will be on stabilizing the larger western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi."

We lack the manpower? Are we now stretched too thin even in Iraq? I find that a very interesting admission by the military. I did a little looking into the whole Husaybah issue and found out some very interesting things. Number one; knowing about the history and location of Husaybah, rerouting forces to "stabilize" Fallujah and Ramadi seems to be a bit counterproductive.

Since the beginning of the invasion in 2003 there have been intense clashed between our U.S. marines and insurgents, smugglers, various tribes, etc.

The situation has been like this:

Thursday, 06-Nov-2003 Story from AFP via quickstart:

"With its prime location, and a new US effort to seal the border off, the town has turned into a major battlefront, with US troops and Iraqi police coming under daily attack as they try to prevent foreign fighters and smugglers from entering Iraq.

"Husaybah is the gateway. It is a test of the wills," says Major Daniel Dwyer of the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment's 1st Squadron.

From May until September [2003], we were focused on the border checkpoint and engaging the city. We didn't have the capabilities we have now," says Dwyer.

"If you were a foreigner and you wanted to come in, you would take trails or breaks in the berms (dirt walls) because of the lack of a large coalition presence. There was an opportunity for foreigners to enter."

This left the area's best infiltration point, around the Euphrates just north of Husaybah's border checkpoint, without regular patrols.

The route boasts forest camouflage, villagers willing to take a bribe and quick and easy access to the main highway leading right to the hotbeds of resistance, Ramadi and Fallujah inside the conservative, desert province of al-Anbar."

April 18 2004 marine corp moms:

"A report from embedded reporter Ron Harris from the Saint Louis Post Dispatch provides a few details on what the 3/7 [Marines] faced yesterday:

"In some of the fiercest fighting in recent weeks, five Marines were killed and dozens of Iraqi insurgents slain in a daylong battle that began early Saturday in Husaybah. Marines beat back the offensive by what was reported to be hundreds of Iraqis from another area who had slipped into this city just 300 yards east of the Syrian border."

It is obvious this is a crucial nexus of the insurgency. If they can't even get control of Husaybah, why worry about Fallujah and Ramadi, not that those two cities are under control either. Now, comes the really odd part:

May 8, 2005 netblues.com

HUSAYBAH, Iraq — The Marines stationed at Camp Gannon, on the outskirts of this outlaw town where insurgents are thick on the ground, are used to being shot at. So when they recently heard AK-47 weapons fire and dozens of mortar blasts echoing throughout the town, they weren't surprised.

This time, however, they weren't the target.

"They were shooting at each other," said Capt. Frank Diorio, the camp's commanding officer. Marines have watched insurgents lob dozens of mortar rounds at one another and engage in hours-long gunfights. And townspeople, troops here believe, have occasionally joined the fight.

Some Marines speculate that one group of insurgents may have attacked another faction. They believe that local groups are fighting those aligned with foreign militants."

Sounds pretty freaking messed up. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell we're doing there and why 1,615 of our troops are dead for it.

If you're wondering what the Syrian role in all this is and why they aren't stopping the infiltration...

October 16, 2004
newstandardnews

"Syria reports it has placed hundreds of troops along the border, but says the area is too large to control. Indeed, the US has been erstwhile unable to seal off the Iraqi side since the occupation began."

And continues to be unable to stop it. The fact that they've said they don't have the manpower to handle it right now, speaks volumes and puts paid to the notion that the Syrian govt. is complicit in it. Even Saddam had trouble keeping this area under his thumb.

The real issue is still the part Saudi jihadis are playing in this thing. The WaPo did an article (They must have read my post May 9th) saying the majority of insurgents, "foreign fighters," [we're the biggest contingent of foreign fighters], was Saudis.

"In a paper published in March, Reuven Paz, an Israeli expert on terrorism, analyzed the lists of jihadi dead. He found 154 Arabs killed over the previous six months in Iraq, 61 percent of them from Saudi Arabia, with Syrians, Iraqis and Kuwaitis together accounting for another 25 percent. He also found that 70 percent of the suicide bombers named by the Web sites were Saudi.

In three cases, Paz found two brothers who carried out suicide attacks. Many of the bombers were married, well educated and in their late twenties, according to postings.

"While incomplete," Paz wrote, the data suggest "the intensive involvement of Saudi volunteers for jihad in Iraq."

Evan F. Kohlmann, a researcher who monitors Islamic extremist Web sites, has compiled a list of more than 235 names of Iraqi dead gleaned from the Internet since last summer, with more than 50 percent on his tally from Saudi Arabia as well

One Web forum examined by The Post, a site first registered to an Abu Dhabi individual on Sept. 18, 2001, and believed to attract postings from al Qaeda, presents a regularly updated list of the "Arab martyrs in Iraq."

The forum, at http://www.qal3ah.net/ , was used by both Paz and Kohlmann in compiling their lists; other researchers also said they regularly consulted the site, which bills itself as a sort of town hall for the jihad-inclined.

Saudis were also the leading group on this list, representing 44 percent, followed by Syrians and Iraqis at less than 15 percent each..."

There might be a certain amount of Iraqis driving car bombs around and not knowing it, just hapless victims, but the majority are mainly Saudis and they are there to blow themselves up. Question is; when are we going to stop using the Syrians as scapegoats and go after the Sauid royal family, who are well aware of what's going on and aren't doing anything about it.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:15 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 May 2005 11:27 PM EDT
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Condi's surprise visit and 500 dead in Uzbekistan's new untidiness.
AP
"Secretary of State of Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Iraq, a day after the U.S. military announced it had successfully wrapped up a major offensive in a remote desert region near the Syrian border... she flew to Baghdad to meet with the senior leadership of Iraq's newly elected government to offer support and ask how the United States can be most useful..." After all, we're just an uninterested player here, just trying to do good. They always make it sound like when Rummy or W shows up on these "surprise" visits, there's going to be cake and ice cream for the troops. As if they could ever actually announce a visit, the whole charade just shows what a joke "liberated" Iraq is.

[The "bodies of 13 blindfolded and bound men were found shot multiple times in the head in Baghdad on Sunday, while 11 others killed in a similar fashion were discovered in a deserted chicken farm south of the capital, police said."]

Condi said..."We are so grateful that there are Americans willing to sacrifice so the Middle East will be whole, and free and democratic and at peace." Did anyone know this was what the mission over there was all about? I thought it was WMD and the threat of mushroom clouds over U.S. cities. Or at least keeping them over there instead of in our streets, but no, it's establishing freedom in the Middle East. Did everyone over there fighting and dying sign up for that?

Mission Accomplished, again.

"The U.S. military said the seven-day operation "neutralized" an insurgent sanctuary." (Fallujah? whoopse, wrong insurgent sanctuary.)

(I wonder if the timing of Condi's arrival had anything to do with the announcement of a complete victory on the Syrian border?)

"The U.S. military wrapped up a major offensive in a remote desert region near the Syrian border Saturday, saying it had cleaned out the insurgent haven and killed more than 125 militants during the weeklong campaign against followers of Iraq's most wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Nine U.S. Marines were killed and 40 injured during Operation Matador — one of the largest American campaigns since militants were driven from Fallujah six months ago. The number of civilian casualties was not immediately known..." Sounding a lot like Fallujah..."Thousands fled the area during the offensive, pitching flimsy tents along sand-blown desert highways or seeking shelter in schools and mosques in nearby towns.

The military denied resident reports that they had been without water and electricity in some areas since the offensive began.

"Throughout the course of the operation, Marines strove to ensure the well-being of the local Iraqi citizens," the statement said. "According to commanders in the area, the Marines were greeted with greater hospitality from local villagers than is normally encountered." Oh well, isn't that nice. The usual hate and rock throwing was toned down to just sullen stares.

I found this interesting, "Rival groups of insurgents also were fighting among themselves around Qaim, trading mortar, rocket and machine gun fire almost nightly, Pool said. Residents acknowledged fighting in Qaim and surrounding villages began before the U.S. offensive, characterizing it as tribal clashes." Sounds to me like the entire situation is complete chaos getting worse by the day.

If the president was there right now, he's probably say something like, "Other nations in history have fought in foreign lands and remained to occupy and exploit. Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return home. And that is your direction tonight." Believe that?


Camp Bucca redux.

Now, that we're treating detainees in our prison camps more humanly, there was this aboration. Stuff like this never happens at Camp Bucca:

"A 30-year-old detainee detained as a "security threat" at southeastern Iraq's Camp Bucca prison died of a heart attack Saturday, the U.S. military said. An investigation is underway into his death, the military said. Camp Bucca holds more than 6,000 Iraqi detainees." I'm sure there will be a very thorough investigation.

Uzbek massacre.

AP

"On Sunday, about 500 bodies were laid out in rows in Andijan's School No. 15, a doctor in the town said. The doctor, who spoke by telephone on condition of anonymity, said the school was guarded by soldiers and residents were coming to identify dead relatives. Abdugapur Dadaboyev, an Uzbek rights activist who visited Andijan on Saturday, said he saw dead bodies in police and military uniforms lying in the streets. Civilians' bodies, in contrast, were quickly removed from the streets, he said.

At another section of the border, some 6,000 Uzbeks sought to cross into Kyrgyzstan to get shelter following the violence in Andijan. About 500 were gathered on Kyrgyz territory just across the border..."

The border situation, along with the news more towns are rioting , is especially frightening. The Fergana Valley is already a basket case, the great fear is this becomes a regional war. The guestion is what are the Russians going to do if the whole thing falls apart in Uzbekistan? We've got our hands full in Afghanistan and this uprising over the Koran is spreading into Pakistan, too.

Democracy? No, hypocracy.
The
Guardian:

"Heated criticism was growing last night over 'double standards' by Washington over human rights, democracy and 'freedom' as fresh evidence emerged of just how brutally Uzbekistan, a US ally in the 'war on terror', put down Friday's unrest in the east of the country.

Outrage among human rights groups followed claims by the White House on Friday that appeared designed to justify the violence of the regime of President Islam Karimov, claiming - as Karimov has - that 'terrorist groups' may have been involved in the uprising."

Rhetoric versus reality:

"The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom...Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens, and reflect their own cultures...And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:13 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 May 2005 12:19 PM EDT
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Saturday, 14 May 2005
Our bastard in Tashkent.
For once I agree with David Brooks, when he writes, of Bush's inaugural speech:

"When he meets with dictators, as in this flawed world he must, he will not be able to have warm relations with them, because he said no relations with tyrants can be successful. His words will be thrown back at him and at future presidents...It will be harder to cozy up to Arab dictators because they can supposedly help us in the war on terror. It will be clearer that those dictators are not the antidotes to terror; they're the disease."

Well, I'm thowing it in his face. If there was any better example of a dictator being the cause of the disease, its Islam Karimov, seen here yucking it up with dubya' and below getting chummy with Rummy.


Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests per year in Uzbekistan, and over 6,500 political prisoners, some of whom are tortured to death.

According to the forensic report commissioned by the British Embassy in Uzbekistan, two prisoners last August were even boiled to death. NSC

Reuters reports today more than 200 protesters were killed and the count may go as high as 500:

"Uzbek President Islam Karimov on Saturday blamed Islamic militants for violence in which troops fired on protesters and hundreds of people are alleged to have been killed

Most of the dead were killed by heavy machineguns mounted on armored personnel carriers, he said, adding the streets were strewn with spent bullet-casings. A pro-opposition reporter counted 30 corpses and a doctor spoke of "many, many dead."

According to Kyrgyz border guards, as many as 4,000 people, including women and children, fled to the nearby village of Kara-Su on the closed border. At another point, 500 people forced their way across the border.

"I think that repression is basically the policy of the Uzbek government and this will be quite brutally suppressed, I fear," Craig Murray, Britain's former ambassador, told British television.

Former ambassador Murray said the 23 had been detained on "patently false charges of Islamic extremism."

But, as always, all a tyrant has to say is "they're terroists" and you get a reaction from the U.S. govt. like this:

State Dept. Briefing 5/13/05

"QUESTION: Uzbekistan and the EU seem to have blamed the Government of Uzbekistan for the violence. Would that be the view of the U.S. Government, too?

MR. BOUCHER: We have been looking at this situation. We have been following it closely. I would note that while we have been very consistently critical of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, we are very concerned about the outbreak of violence in Adijan, in particularly the escape of prisoners, including possibly members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an organization we consider a terrorist organization.

I think at this point we're looking to all the parties involved to exercise restraint, avoid any unnecessary loss of life..." (Unarmed civilians versus armed troops is an equal match, after all. Common' protesters, stop catching bullets!))

The protesters have been using restraint since February when 23 businessmen were put on trial for being Islamic terroroists. (By the way, didn't we become violent against the British in 1775, after many years of trying to deal with them in a peacful manner. The Minutemen were also called terrorists at the time.)

Boucher says "we have been very consistently critical of the human rights situation in Uzbekistan," I'd like to know what we've done about it.

The Guardian:

"Hundreds of religious prisoners are held without trial in the central Asian state, where torture is commonplace. One prisoner was boiled to death and his mother was sentenced to six years' hard labour for her protests. She was then pardoned following international condemnation.

[Tashkent, 5 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A woman whose son was allegedly boiled to death in an Uzbek prison appeared in court today on charges of religious extremism and plotting against the state. Fatima Mukhadirova, the defendant, today told a Tashkent court that she believes charges were filed against her because she "made a fuss" about her son's death. (radio free europe)]

Ambassador Murray says, "The US gave $80m (#54m) in aid in 2002 to the same Uzbek security services it accused of "using torture as a routine investigation technique". No wonder we're so freindly with the Dictator Karimov. There have been reports of the secret CIA ghost jet being seen in Tashkent. Naturally, we trust the countries we send these "ghost detainees" to, not to torture them.

In any case, Richard Myers chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, (He of the jelly spine when Rummy is in the room.)says cutting aid to Usbekistan because of human rights violations is to him, "very shortsighted, and it's never productive," he said. "In fact, it can often have the opposite effect that people intend, because you lose any ability to influence at all, at least through a military standpoint." (Let freedom ring!)

General Myers sleep well at night.
NYT::

"...on Aug. 12, 2004, Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, visited Tashkent. He met with President Karimov and other officials, and he announced that the Pentagon would provide an additional $21 million to help Uzbekistan in its campaign to remove its stockpile of biological weapons.

General Myers said the United States had "benefited greatly from our partnership and strategic relationship with Uzbekistan."

While he noted that there were genuine concerns about Uzbekistan's human rights record, General Myers said: "In my view, we shouldn't let any single issue drive a relationship with any single country. It doesn't seem to be good policy to me."

Heaven forfend!

As the president said in his "Mission Accomplished" speech on May 1, 2003:

The successful conclusion of the "liberation of Iraq" was proof that:

"Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 6:07 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2005 11:35 PM EDT
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