GI Special:



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Army Times 4.11.05



Hostages Taken:

U.S. Commander Guilty Of Criminal Act:

Violation Of Instruction On The Law Of Land Warfare Confirmed By Reporters Phone Calls


[Note well:  Instruction on the Law Of Land Warfare is required in all Army’s Initial Entry Training, including Basic Combat Training and the Officer Basic Course.  The “taking of hostages” is specifically forbidden.  The officer responsible is a criminal and subject to immediate arrest and court-martial.  There is no debate about it.]


A message purportedly left at the house by the troops, which urged the brothers to surrender, contained a mobile telephone number.  This was answered by an American soldier who appeared to be aware of Batawi's accusation but declined further comment.


Apr 5, 2005 By Waleed Ibrahim, Reuters


An Iraqi apparently suspected by U.S. troops of taking part in attacks in Baghdad accused U.S. forces on Tuesday of taking his mother and sister hostage to pressure him and his brothers into surrendering for questioning.


A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said he doubted the accusation and was not aware of such an incident.  But neighbors interviewed around Arkan Mukhlif al-Batawi's villa in the capital's Sunni Arab suburb of Taji corroborated his account.


If true, the troops would have offended local sensibilities about the treatment of women; Amnesty International said they could also have broken international law by taking hostages.  [Fuck international law.  The commander of this action is a criminal by U.S. Army law.]


Batawi, who spoke to Reuters at the offices of a leading group of Sunni clerics, said U.S. soldiers searched his home on Saturday.


When they found neither him nor two brothers also on the wanted list, they arrested his mother and sister, he said.


A message purportedly left at the house by the troops, which urged the brothers to surrender, contained a mobile telephone number.  This was answered by an American soldier who appeared to be aware of Batawi's accusation but declined further comment.  [And that is an open and shut case.]


"Last Saturday morning, about 20 Humvees (military vehicles) surrounded our house and neighboring houses and when they failed to find us they took our mother and sister," said Batawi, who spent more than a year in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail after the U.S. invasion but denies any link to Iraq's insurgency.


He said he was not sure why the troops wanted to arrest him and his brothers, Muhammad and Saddam, again.  But he believed they suspected them of involvement in insurgent attacks.  All three were released in August from Abu Ghraib, which became notorious last year for abuses of prisoners by U.S. troops.


A handwritten sign in Arabic on the front gate of their house read: "Be a man Muhammad Mukhlif and give yourself up and then we will release your sisters.


"Otherwise they will spend a long time in detention."


It was signed "Bandit 6," apparently U.S. Army code, possibly designating a company commander.


When Reuters called the mobile telephone number at the bottom of the message, an American answered, saying he was on a military patrol.  Asked about Batawi's accusation, he said: "I can't comment on that. The commander will call you back."


Hours later, a second call elicited the same response before the American, who would not identify himself, hung up.


The U.S. 3rd Infantry Division is active in the area.


A spokesman at U.S. headquarters in Iraq, who also declined to give his name, said he could neither confirm nor deny the incident.  He said he did not find Batawi's account "plausible."  [Lying stack of shit.]


Three neighbors of the Batawi home did corroborate the accusation.  They said U.S. troops, accompanied by Iraqi police, had arrested Batawi's 65-year-old mother and a sister who is 35.


"The Americans attacked the house of the Batawi family.  They were searching for the brothers.  When they could not find them they took the women," said one neighbor, Kamal Abbas.


"Through a translator they told us that they will release the women when the men surrender."


Batawi, who says his occupation is farming his land around Taji, said he and his brothers were imprisoned in 2003 on charges of attacking U.S. forces and planning armed assaults.


He said he would be willing to give himself up again if the Americans provided guarantees that his mother and sister would be freed.  He and his brothers had sought the assistance of the Muslim Clerics Association, the main voice of Iraq's Sunni Arabs, in trying to resolve the situation.


"My brothers and I never attacked American forces before.


"But if they do not release our mother and sister we will be ready to attack them wherever they are," he said.


Near his home, another neighbor, Ali Jassem, said: "If they want the men they should take the men.  Arresting women is not accepted by God ... Our tribal traditions reject such acts.  Where are you, the advocates of democracy?"


Many Iraqis accuse American soldiers of heavy-handed tactics in their fight against mainly Sunni insurgents.  U.S. commanders insist they do their best to avoid harming civilians.  [Good: then in this case the officer responsible will be arrested and tried without dealy.  Yeah, right.]


There have been reports of U.S. commanders acknowledging they have taken relatives of fugitives into custody.  While questioning relatives is seen as legitimate among police forces worldwide, holding them as hostages is not.


At Amnesty International, the London-based human rights lobby group, Middle East spokeswoman Nicole Choueiry said of Batawi's case: "I do not think it is the first time."


"We are against it.  It is against international law to take civilians and use them as bargaining chips."







Two U.S. Soldiers Dead, Two Wounded In Diyala Battle


Recent weeks have seen a number of large-scale engagements between U.S. troops and guerrillas -- an unusual development as insurgents generally favor hit-and-run attacks.


4.5.06 By ANTONIO CASTANEDA, AP & By Andrew Marshall (Reuters) & By Sammy Ketz, Sunday Times


A joint U.S.-Iraqi attack on dozens of insurgents in eastern Diyala province on Monday left two American soldiers and one Iraqi soldier dead, U.S. military spokesman said.  Two U.S. soldiers were also wounded in the attack, which continued into Tuesday.


The battle erupted on Monday afternoon when two Iraqi army battalions were carrying out a "cordon and search operation" in eastern Diyala province, it said in a statement.


US air support was called in, along with more US reinforcements.


Recent weeks have seen a number of large-scale engagements between U.S. troops and guerrillas -- an unusual development as insurgents generally favor hit-and-run attacks.



U.S. Marine Killed in Action West of Baghdad




CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq – A Marine assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, was killed on April 4 from an explosion which occurred during combat operations in the Al-Anbar province.










A bomb targeted a U.S. convoy Tuesday in southern Baghdad, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding four others.  A US Humvee and a civilian car were destroyed in the explosion.


A Task Force Baghdad Soldier died April 5 around 9:30 a.m. when his patrol in south Baghdad hit an improvised explosive device.


Four other Soldiers were wounded and were evacuated to a nearby coalition treatment facility.


An abandoned taxi exploded as the U.S. patrol drove down an expressway in the Dora neighbourhood, said Sgt. 1st Class David Abrams, a spokesman for Task Force Baghdad.


He said one of the injured soldiers had minor injuries, but no details were given on the others.



Buffalo Firefighter-Army Reservist Killed


April 05, 2005 (AP)


Flags are flying at half-staff at fire stations throughout Buffalo in honor of a firefighter killed while on active duty with the Army Reserve in Iraq.


Officials with the Rochester-based 98th Division say Staff Sergeant Christopher Dill was fatally shot yesterday during an attack.


Officials in Buffalo say the 32-year-old Dill was a second-generation city firefighter.  Dill was assigned to Buffalo's Engine 21, which handled hazardous material calls along with its other duties.  His father is a retired commander of the fire investigation unit.


Dill was mobilized with the 98th Division last October and was a member of a military transition team assigned to train the new Iraqi Army.


He had been a reservist for 14 years and served in the first Gulf War.



U.S. Convoy Attacked In Baghdad:

Two Humvees Destroyed;

Casualty Count Not Announced


4.5.05 By Andrew Marshall (Reuters) & (Xinhuanet)


An explosion targeted a joint Iraqi-U.S. convoy in the Amiriyah neighbourhood in Baghdad this morning, said al-Amil police officer Capt. Talib Thamir.  Abrams said a blast had occurred but he did not have any details.


A car bomb detonated at a checkpoint manned by the Iraqi security forces as a US convoy was passing by, destroying two US Humvees, but the casualties among US soldiers were not known.


The American military had no word on casualties but a helicopter was seen evacuating wounded from the scene.


The blast took place near the veterinary collage.



Tibetan Immigrant Marine Killed


April 5, 2005 NBC 17, CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.


A Tibetan immigrant who came to the United States as a child was killed in combat in Iraq on Saturday, the Pentagon said Monday.


Lance Cpl. Tenzin Dengkhim, 19, of Falls Church, Va., died "as a result of hostile action" in Anbar province, Iraq.  He was assigned to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune.


Pema Gorap, a family friend, told The Washington Post that the Dengkhims came to the United States from Tibet as part of a relocation project approved by Congress in the early 1990s.


Dengkhim entered the Marines in September 2003 and joined his unit in March 2004, said Lt. Barry Edwards, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division.



Drone Aircraft Detect IEDs


[No doubt great comfort to the survivors of IED attacks.]


April 5, 2005 The Associated Press  


NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - In the skies over Iraq, the number of remotely piloted aircraft - increasingly crucial tools in tracking insurgents, foiling roadside bombings, protecting convoys, and launching missile attacks - has shot up to more than 700 now from just a handful four years ago, military officials say.


As the U.S. military continues to shift its emphasis to anti-insurgency and anti-terrorism missions, the drone aircraft are in such demand that the Pentagon is poised to spend more than $13 billion on them through the end of the decade.  And they are being put into service so quickly that the various military and intelligence branches are struggling to keep pace with the increased number of pilots required and with the lack of established policy and strategy on how to use them.


There are about a dozen varieties in service now, from the 4.5-pound Ravens that fly just above treetops, to the giant Global Hawks that can soar at 60,000 feet and take on sophisticated reconnaissance missions.


One of the command centers for the drone aircraft is at Nellis Air Force Base, spread among a half-dozen dimly lit trailers just off the Las Vegas Strip.  Small teams of remote-control warriors nudge joysticks to fly armed Predator aircraft 7,500 miles away in Iraq or Afghanistan.  Once the Predators take off there, the air crews here take over.


The Predator, which can carry Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, is the best-known of the remotely piloted fleet.  It is an ungainly, propeller-driven craft that flies as slowly as 80 miles per hour, and can loiter continuously for 24 hours or more at 10,000 to 15,000 feet above the battlefield.


Pilots and co-pilots, who operate the Predator's zoom lens, radar, and infrared sensors, sit side-by-side before an array of consoles and computer screens that let them see what the Predator sees while they talk to troops on the ground by radio or e-mail. Soldiers and ground spotters can receive live video images from the Predator on specially equipped laptop computers.


Commanders say the aircraft have played a pivotal role recently by attacking insurgent mortar teams and warning convoys of suspicious roadblocks that could be ambushes.


To bury roadside bombs, insurgents often douse the street with gasoline, ignite it, and dig up the heat-softened asphalt to lay the explosive.  The Predator heat sensors detect the hot strips, and warn nearby troops, military officials said.







Injured Ky. Guardsman Returns Home:

"I Really Don't Want To Talk About That."


April 5, 2005 By James Zambroski, WAVE, (LOUISVILLE


A Kentucky National Guardsman who survived a suicide bombing that killed his buddy in Iraq last week has came home to the Bluegrass.  Specialist Chris Brunelle was severely burned but walked off the plane after arriving in Louisville Monday night.


Spc. Chris Brunelle was seated next to Spc. Eric Toth in a Humvee when they were attacked.  Toth died.  His brother-in-law, Sgt. Ricky Brooks, who is also a Kentucky State Police officer, suffered severe burns as he tried to rescue him.


Brunelle suffered burns and other injuries as well.  He was taken unconscious from the burning vehicle immediately after the attack.


"(I'm feeling) a little rough, cause I know my buddy ain't coming home," Brunelle told WAVE 3 Investigator James Zambroski upon his arrival at Louisville International Airport.


Brunelle, an M.P. with the Guard, was on patrol Sunday, providing security to a supply convoy when the bomber struck.  "We was in the vehicle.  As far as I know, they took us out.  I really don't remember," he said.


As fellow Guardsmen secured the area and tried to rescue Toth, Brunelle regained consciousness nearby.


"I was just lying on the road," he said.


Glad to be out of Iraq alive, Brunelle still carries the fresh memory of his lost friend.


"It's good (to be home) I guess.  But it ain't the same," he said.


And he still carries a private horror of the enemy and their car bombs roaming the streets of Baghdad, including the one that attacked him.


"I really don't want to talk about that," he said.


Brunelle, Toth and Sgt. Brooks were in the lead vehicle of a patrol providing security for a supply convoy when they were attacked.  The explosive was delivered by a suicide bomber aimed at the patrol.


Nineteen soldiers from Kentucky have died in the Iraq war. As of last week, more than 1,100 Kentucky National Guardsmen were on duty in Iraq, the highest number from the state since the conflict began two years ago.



Bush War Ally “Massacred”


April 4, 2005 REUTERS


ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi suffered a crushing defeat at Italian regional elections, official results showed on Monday, a huge boost for center-left leader Romano Prodi's hopes of unseating him next year.


In what one of his defeated regional governors described as a ``massacre,'' Berlusconi's center-right coalition appeared to have lost 11 of the 13 regions at stake, holding on to just two -- Lombardy and Veneto -- both in its stronghold in the north.



Reservists’ & Guard Members Fucked Over Again;

Report Says Travel-Pay Problems Widespread


That debt was paid by taking money from soldiers while they were in Iraq, Gregory D. Kutz, GAO’s director of financial management and assurance, told a congressional panel March 16.


March 28, 2005 By Joseph R. Chenelly, Army Times staff writer


National Guardsmen and reservists mobilized since Sept. 11, 2001, have experienced significant problems getting paid back for travel expenses, and there is no evidence the planned solution will fix them, according to a Government Accountability Office report.


The report says more than two-thirds of the Army guardsmen and reservists GAO interviewed had problems receiving accurate, timely travel claims.


Some soldiers were forced to wait more than a year for travel claims to be settled, leaving them to shoulder the costs of paying off DoD travel cards.  The study looked at 10 units mobilized between Oct. 1, 2001, and Nov. 30, 2003.


Soldiers of the 190th Military Police Company out of Georgia incurred more than $200,000 of debt because of confusion over rules concerning commuting areas and per diem for meals, the report states.


That debt was paid by taking money from soldiers while they were in Iraq, Gregory D. Kutz, GAO’s director of financial management and assurance, told a congressional panel March 16.


All 107 of the 115th Military Police Battalion soldiers who took part in the study were denied per diem despite being housed off base.  The report says soldiers hitchhiked and rode bicycles more than three miles to dining facilities.


The Defense Department did not fully concur with a GAO recommendation related to late fees. 


Kutz told the panel that because DFAS could not identify the soldiers who did not receive travel settlements within 30 days, it was not paying legally required late fees and interest to the soldiers. The GAO report said changes in policy are needed to make that happen



Kuwaiti Investigators Say U.S. Command Helping Cover Up Iraq Corruption


[Houston Chronicle, April 4, 2005]

Lawmakers in Kuwait say that Haliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root and the U.S. military are not cooperating in their investigation of overcharging for fuel used by American forces operating in Iraq.



Air Force Wants To Rape A Rape Victim Again


[Denver Post, April 5, 2005]

A Colorado Springs therapist, Jennifer Bier, has hired a Boston attorney known for championing the confidentiality rights of rape-crisis centers to help fight an Air Force subpoena for records of her counseling sessions with a cadet who said she was raped by a male colleague.



No One Ranked Higher That Staff Sergeant Faces Charges In The Abu Ghraib Case


[Houston Chronicle, April 4, 2005]

The lack of proof that any of the abuses conducted against Abu Ghraib inmates were ordered by high-ups means that no one above the rank of staff sergeant has been charged by prosecutors in the proceedings that are winding down at Fort Hood.  [Proving once again that shit rolls downhill, and military “investigators” know how to protect their bosses.]



New Iraq Plan From Genius General:

“Restore A Measure Of Stability”


[The Hill, April 5, 2005, Pg. 1]

A meeting in Washington between Gen. George Casey Jr. and John Negroponte put in motion a plan to build on the January elections in Iraq.  The plan included restoring a measure of stability.




Rumsfeld Sets Up Room To Measure Stability


[Washington Times, April 5, 2005, Pg. 3]

The Pentagon has established an “Iraq Room” where officers study and measure a large amount of data, to produce what the Pentagon calls “metrics” that tell Secretary Rumsfeld if the war in Iraq is going in the right direction.  [Save time and money.  When Rumsfeld can drive airport road without an armored column, then you got a good idea about how the war is going.  Until then, it’s OIF: Operation Iraqi Fuckup.]



Filipino WWII Vets Still Waiting For Promises To Be Kept


[Thanks to PB who sent this in.  He writes: Another case of S.O.S. - Same Old Shit]


Apr 4 By NICOLE ZIEGLER DIZON, Associated Press Writer


CHICAGO - Jose V. Juachon was among thousands of Philippine nationals inducted into the U.S. Armed Forces in 1941, when their country was under American control.


The United States promised them the same benefits as American soldiers at the time, then rescinded that promise five years later.


"Every time, I always cry," Juachon says, his eyes filling with tears as he talks about the $50 a month he receives for a war injury, all he can expect under current law.


Bills now in Congress would reverse the nearly 60-year-old slight — giving Filipino veterans full U.S. benefits.  Similar legislation has failed in the past, but the cause has taken on new urgency as aging veterans like Juachon race against time.


"For all these years, I have served the U.S. government," the 86-year-old veteran said. "We are trying to get the U.S. government to recognize us.  When most of this was happening, our senators and congressmen were not even born yet.  They don't know."


Filipino interest groups estimate about 58,000 Filipino World War II veterans are still alive, 12,000 of them in the United States.  Like Juachon, most are in their 70s and 80s.


Some benefits originally promised to Filipino soldiers have been restored piecemeal over the years.  Congress passed a bill in 1990 that allowed thousands of veterans in the Philippines to immigrate and become U.S. citizens.  Burial rights in national cemeteries came a decade later.  [Marvelous.  They get buried for free.]


Even so, veterans like Juachon received only 50 cents on the dollar in disability benefits until recently, and they do not get death pensions or payments for disabilities unrelated to their service.


The National Network for Veterans Equity is working to change that, though.


"It's not, for us, just a matter of the survivor benefits or educational benefits or the pensions. It's a matter of justice and dignity and respect and honor," said Christopher Punongbayan, a network member.


A teleconference has been arranged with lawmakers in seven cities during a rally Saturday, which marks the 63rd anniversary of the Bataan Death March.


Thousands of Americans and Filipinos surrendered to the Japanese on the Philippines' Bataan peninsula in 1942, only to be marched more than 60 miles to a prisoner-of-war camp.  About 16,000 of the 70,000 soldiers did not survive.


U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, lead sponsor of the Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2005, plans to participate in the conference.  His bill would give full U.S. benefits to Filipino veterans in the U.S. and Philippines at an expected cost of $100 million to $150 million a year over 10 years.


"These things were promised to them, and our government then basically came back and said, 'Not so fast,'" Cunningham said.  "A promise made should be a promise kept."



A Great Lady Runs For Office:

“End The Occupation Of Iraq And Bring The Troops Home Now.”


[This is an election statement from Rose Gentle.  Her son was killed in Iraq.  She leads a campaign to bring all the Scots and other troops home from Iraq, now.  Her words carry more weight, and contain more truth, than 5000 pages of bullshit from the politicians.  T]


From: George McNeilage

To: GI Special

Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 7:24 AM


this is roses election statement for wed 6th:


Rose Gentle Election Statement


I have decided to stand in the forthcoming General Election in the constituency of East Kilbride against the sitting Labour MP Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces Minister.


Since my son was killed in Iraq on 28th June last year, I have campaigned to expose the truth about his death.  Gordon died because of the lies told by our Prime Minister – lies which took this country into an illegal and immoral war.


Like many youngsters across the country, Gordon joined up for the promise of escaping poverty for a better future – to travel and learn a trade.  Yet with only 6 months training he was sent to die in Iraq, without even having the proper equipment.


I do not want any more mothers in Britain or Iraq to lose their sons for Tony Blair’s lies. 


Already over 100,000 Iraqis and over 1600 US and UK troops are dead.  Many thousands more have been injured.  How can we stand by while more are killed or maimed in a war opposed by the majority of the British people?


I want to give a voice to all those who want to end this war.


We need policies which offer hope for the future.  Many people feel betrayed because they believe this Governments priorities are all wrong.  I believe the billions of pounds wasted on this criminal war would be better spent on providing good pensions for our elderly and decent jobs for our youngsters.


Adam Ingram and all those other MPs who voted for war in the House of Commons share the blame for the death of Gordon and all the other victims of Bush and Blair’s war for oil.


I am asking the people of East Kilbride to support military families speaking out against this war.  I am calling on all those oppose this war to unite behind me in sending a clear message to Tony Blair.  End the occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home now. 





New Navy Recruiting Poster?







Anti-Insurgency General Captured By Insurgents


4.5.05 (AP) & By Sammy Ketz, Sunday Times


A top Interior Ministry official, Brig. Gen. Jala Mohammed Saleh, was captured early Tuesday by guerrillas who broke into his house, an Interior Ministry official said on customary condition of anonymity.


Salah and an undetermined number of bodyguards were seized in the upmarket western Mansour district at 11:30 am (1730 AEST), a ministry official said.


No group has yet claimed to have abducted Gen Saleh, who commands the interior ministry's Eighth Mechanised Police Brigade.


General Saleh commands a 1,600-strong interior ministry unit formed to deal with anti-occupation fighters and criminal gangs and it was one of the first armoured units to be reassembled after the war and the dissolution of the army. 



Prisoner Uprising At Camp Bucca Continuing: Four Shot


April 5 KUNA, BASRA, South Iraq,


Inmates in the Buka detention camp in the border town of Um Qasr rioted anew on Tuesday and four of them were wounded.


Mehdi Al-Tamimi, the representative of the Human Rights Ministry in South Iraq, said in remarks to KUNA that the detention camp has been witnessing disturbances since last Friday.  "Today the American guards opened fire at the prisoners wounding four, two of them seriously," he said.


He cited several causes of the riots, namely lack of space for the estimated 6,000 inmates in the small prison.


On Monday, the U.S. military said prisoners at Camp Bucca, Iraq's largest detention facility with about 6,000 prisoners, clashed with guards because they were angry that the prison was transferring several detainees deemed "unruly" by authorities.


The ministry, he added, has agreed with the American forces, in charge of the prison, to allow a three-lawyer team to assess needs and problems of the inmates.


Earlier today, the Central Command of the Multi-National Forces in Iraq said recent incidents in the detention camp resulted in injuring 12 prisoners and four guards.


The forces said in a statement that riots broke out when prisoners refused the transport of other prisoners out of the Buka detention camp.  Prisoners set fire to their tents and tossed stones at the guards.  The violence that broke out on April 1 was contained by the guards the same day.




Stupid U.S. Command Caught Lying Again, Fails To Cover-Up Prison Rebellion:

Red Cross Demands Investigation


The US military said initially it was unaware of the violence and came forward with details only after the ICRC revelations.


05apr05 By Sammy Ketz, Sunday Times


THE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is demanding an investigation into a riot at the US-run Camp Bucca prison camp in southern Iraq.


"We are asking the US army to investigate the cause of the riot which happened at the (Camp Bucca) detention centre," ICRC spokeswoman Rana Sidani said. 


The riot at the desert camp in southern Iraq, where more than 6000 prisoners are held, was first reported by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr's movement, and was confirmed by the ICRC.


The US military said initially it was unaware of the violence and came forward with details only after the ICRC revelations.


The ICRC warned that a tense atmosphere existed in Camp Bucca, where many detainees are ignorant of their legal status and complain about living conditions.


"The detainees complained about their conditions at the camp where they are living in the desert in tents where it is hot in the day and too cold at night," Ms Sidani said.


"Many of the detainees complained they were not aware of the reasons for their internment or its duration.  The Americans consider them 'security detainees'.  There is no clear trial or legal process.  In this climate, it takes one incident to ignite things."


Sadr follower Saheb al-Ameri, secretary general of the Shahidallah charitable organisation, said the unrest was provoked by the refusal of prison authorities to give medical treatment to a detainee who had fallen sick and who was a member of the Sadr movement.


Other inmates became violent and US soldiers then fired rubber bullets and beat some prisoners, wounding 70 to 100 of them, he said, adding that since the riot, inmates have had no water or electricity.



Telling the truth - about the occupation or the criminals running the government in Washington - is the first reason for Traveling Soldier.  But we want to do more than tell the truth; we want to report on the resistance - whether it's in the streets of Baghdad, New York, or inside the armed forces.  Our goal is for Traveling Soldier to become the thread that ties working-class people inside the armed services together. We want this newsletter to be a weapon to help you organize resistance within the armed forces.  If you like what you've read, we hope that you'll join with us in building a network of active duty organizers.  http://www.traveling-soldier.org/  And join with Iraq War vets in the call to end the occupation and bring our troops home now! (www.ivaw.net)



Pipeline Hit Near Bayji


March 28, 2005 Energy Security


#222. April 4 attack on pipeline running through the Riyad area near Bayji.



Assorted Collaborators Killed


4.5.05 By ANTONIO CASTANEDA (AP) & Aljazeera


In Hillah, a member of the Babil provincial council, Salim Hilal, was killed as he was heading to work, Babil provincial police spokesman Capt. Muthana Khalid said.  He said two suspects in the attack were arrested.


In the central city of Baqouba, gunmen wounded a government translator and killed her father in a drive-by shooting, said Brig. Gen. Adil Molan of the Diyala provincial police department.


In the eastern part of the province a shootout erupted the prior day when Iraqi soldiers encountered dozens of insurgents.  At least one Iraqi soldier was killed.


One policeman was killed and two others were injured when a roadside bomb hit their car in the southern city of Basra, police Col. Karim al-Zeidi said.


Videos posted on the Internet showed militants purportedly beheading an Iraqi soldier and killing a reported informer.


In a video posted Tuesday from Iraq, a text shown in the images identified the Iraqi soldier as Jassim Mohammed Hussein Mahdi, who appeared to be in his early 20s.


The video, posted on a militant Web showed an unidentified interrogator talking to the man, who said he had received orders from his superiors "to kill the mujahedeen anywhere and without hesitation."


The man was shown squatting on the ground in an empty room, wearing full military gear with his hands tied behind his back.  He said he was a member of the Iraqi National Guard's 4th Brigade, but did not say when or where he had been captured by militants.


Mahdi said he "regretted" working with the U.S.-allied Iraqi government and urged "all members of the police, National Guard and army to abandon this work, which is religiously prohibited."


"God's verdict against this renegade, who was tempted by dollars, has been carried out," said a statement shown on the video.


A second video posted on the same Web site by another group, Ansar al-Sunnah Army, showed a man who confessed to a militant interrogating him that he worked as an informer to the police in the northern city of Mosul.  The militant was speaking in the distinct Mosul accent of Iraqi Arabic.


The man, who identified himself as Hussein Taha Qassim and said he was born in 1968, told the interrogator that he informed the police about the hideouts of four "mujahedeen."  He said the police killed three of them and the fourth escaped.


In the next image, Qassim was shown lying face-down on the ground, and a masked gunman shot him with a volley of bullets from an automatic weapon.


Babil police spokesman Capt. Muthana Khalid said 10 headless bodies were found by Iraqi police 30 miles south of Baghdad, but he didn't give any details on exactly where or how the bodies were located.  Seven of the victims were identified as Iraqi soldiers, and three others were police, according to Khalid and an Interior Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.


In the northern city of Mosul, insurgents killed a Kurdistan Democratic Party official, Salim Ibrahim, according to KDP official Abdul-Ghani Botani.









A Kinder, Gentler U.S. Imperialism?


April 1, 2005 By Paul D’Amato, Socialist Worker


THE U.S. government saw September 11 as a unique window of opportunity--a modern-day Pearl Harbor--that created ideal conditions for advancing its agenda.  The agenda has been advanced under the broad rubric of the “war on terror,” which has become the catchall that can justify military intervention in virtually any part of the world.


But the justification must be separated from the real reasons.  Afghanistan was invaded not because the U.S. was appalled by the Taliban.  Indeed, the U.S. played footsy with the Taliban before it decided to destroy them.


The brutality of the Taliban and its harboring of Osama bin Laden were the excuses used to insert an American presence in a part of the world that the Cold War had cut it off from in the past.  As a result of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, women are no freer, brutal local warlords continue to operate, and opium has become the country’s biggest export. In other words, all the things they used to justify the war were simply justifications.


On the other hand-- the region is now dotted with U.S. military installations, and the countries surrounding Afghanistan are safely in the U.S. orbit.  And that was the real point of the operation.


Iraq was invaded not because Saddam was linked to al-Qaeda or because the U.S. feared he might give weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.  These were extremely flimsy excuses to seize control of the world’s second-largest oil reserves, create a friendly puppet regime and established a military beachhead in the Middle East to impose more regime changes.


It is this, perhaps, that explains why bin Laden has not been captured. He’s far more useful at large than he is captured. Conveniently, a new “bin Laden” has been created in Iraq, too, going by the name Zarqawi.


You don’t kill the bogeyman.  You can arrest his “lieutenants,” you can destroy one of his “hideouts.” But you need him to live on.  For if the war on terror is too successful, then you lose your justification for occupation, or for more interventions.


Liberals can’t seem to get that through their thick heads. They keep writing reports, quoting CIA documents and special reports explaining that the invasion of Iraq has only emboldened the “terrorists” and made recruiting for them easier.  They think that if they repeat this argument, some U.S. official will say, “Gee, I guess you’re right.  Let’s stop throwing our weight around so we don’t provoke the terrorists.”


But the U.S. wants the bogeyman--not only abroad but at home.  They want it to justify wars abroad, but also repression at home.  Detention without trial--it’s justified because there is an imminent “terrorist threat.”  (True, there is the little problem that if you throw everything you’ve got at “terrorism” and it doesn’t go away, you aren’t exactly advertising your effectiveness!)


That doesn’t mean that the U.S. doesn’t want to crush any resistance when it arises.  It really does want to destroy the Iraqi resistance to the occupation in Iraq.  However, in doing so, it also wants to create the impression that all resistance to it is bin Laden-style “terrorism,” and not legitimate national resistance.  Therein lies the usefulness to the U.S. of Zarqawi.


The problem, according to Bush’s liberal critics, is that Bush isn’t fighting the right war. He needs to go after the real threats.  These arguments miss the whole point of the “war on terror.”


Obviously, the best way for the U.S. not to create any enemies in the world would be to cease being an imperial power and stop bombing people around the world.  But that’s like asking a tiger not to hunt.


In short, liberals accept the idea that the U.S. should be the world’s cop, just a nicer one.  This widespread illusion must be systematically challenged within the antiwar movement for what it really is: a plea for a kinder, gentler imperialism.


What do you think?  Comments from service men and women, and veterans, are especially welcome.  Send to contact@militaryproject.org.  Name, I.D., withheld on request.  Replies confidential.



Iraq Veterans Against The War Vs. Volvo Racism


To: Veterans For Peace

From: WW

Date: Tue, 05 Apr 2005 08:39:36


Subject: Re: Operation (Un)Truth: A Trojan Jackass for the Anti-War Movement


Brothers and Sisters,


I attended the Ford Hall lecture series last night at Boston's Faneuil Hall, at which Rieckhoff, of "Operation Truth" squared off against IVAW's Mike Hoffman, in a softball "debate".


Rieckhoff is pushing the imperialist line unabashedly, with slight nuance leaning toward the Democratic Party's position ("we would have done it better").  He's a voluble speaker, articulate, presents well, but when you consider what he's saying, it's just gasbag propaganda, repeated over and over.


He kept up the drumbeat last night, making the same assertions ad nauseum, that (1) "Iraq isn't like Vietnam" (no evidence), and (2) no one's talking about the "successes" we're having in Iraq (again, no evidence).


Repeatedly referred to "the Kurds" as indicative of our "success", without saying how, or in what way, or what that even means.


Furthermore, he advocates staying in Iraq (i.e. is opposed to the "Out Now" position), based on the "white man's burden" argument (my attribution, not his), that they cannot resolve their own affairs and it would be "irresponsible" for us to leave.


This is the usual crap put forth by the hand-wringing liberal imperialist notion that we have to kill still more of them to save them from themselves.


Pardon me while I retch; there is nothing as disgusting to me than this "Volvo racism" - organized industrial murder of non-whites masquerading as "concern".


I confronted him during the open mike questions on the above matters, by way of "sharpening up" the proceeds (my term), and he began a nervous scratching of his temple, while repeating once more his unsubstantiated assertions.


I also wanted to know why he had "denounced" the Fayetteville demo, and he went off into spinland, asserting (his national public mantra) that it was insensitive to the troops, and why didn't we go to Washington to confront the policy makers.


(Well, Paul, appeals to policy-makers has been going on for several years, now, with dismal results, right?).


Hoffman nailed him on his "insensitivity" b.s., by pointing out the composition of the demo (military families, vets, active-duty, and Gold Star families).


Regardless of Rieckhoff's intentions, he's a de facto shill for the Republicrat line, under cover of being for veterans issues (no reason to doubt that he's a sincere veterans' advocate, but that's not the point) and needs to be called on it whenever he open his mouth in public.


Do you have a friend or relative in the service?  Forward this E-MAIL along, or send us the address if you wish and we’ll send it regularly.  Whether in Iraq or stuck on a base in the USA, this is extra important for your service friend, too often cut off from access to encouraging news of growing resistance to the war, at home and inside the armed services.  Send requests to address up top.



Comments Made In The Year 1957:


[From DD, Marine Corps vet]


"I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20."


"Have you seen the new cars coming out next year?  It won't be long before $2000 will only buy a used one."


"If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit.  A quarter for a pack is ridiculous."


"Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?"


"If they raise the minimum wage to $1, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."


"When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon.  Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage."


"It's too bad things are so tough nowadays.  I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet."


"It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work."


"Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes.  I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to congress."


"There is no sense going to Lincoln or Omaha anymore for a weekend. It costs nearly $15 a night to stay in a hotel."


"No one can afford to be sick any more; $35 a day in the hospital is too rich for my blood."







Iraq Studying Possible Abuse In TV Confession Show;

“Alleged Victims Still Alive”


4.5.05 BAGHDAD (Reuters)


Iraq’s Human Rights Ministry is investigating allegations of abuse in the making of a popular television series that shows insurgents confessing to crimes including rape, kidnapping and execution.


Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin said the probe focused on evidence of verbal abuse of suspects, but could be extended to include physical abuse and torture, accusations that have been leveled at Iraq’s security forces.


“Individuals have raised concerns after seeing verbal abuse of suspects as well as bruises on their bodies and that sort of thing,” Amin told Reuters in an interview yesterday.


The TV series, called “Terrorism in the Grip of Justice”, airs almost nightly on Iraqiya, Iraq’s U.S.-funded national network, and shows men sitting before an interrogator, whose face is not show, confessing to crimes in precise detail.  Some defendants have appeared with cuts and bruises on their faces and what looked like bloodstains on their clothes.


They confess to criminal and militant acts including kidnap, rape, the execution of hostages, planting bombs and contract murder, sometimes for as little as $10.  Some have said they were acting on the orders of Syrian agents.


But concerns have been raised about forced confessions, and family members have come forward to swear that relatives are being wrongly accused or that alleged victims are still alive!







Bush Approval Rating Lowest Ever For 2nd-Term Prez At This Point


April 05, 2005 By Editor &Publisher Staff


NEW YORK It's not uncommon to hear or read pundits referring to President George W. Bush as a "popular" leader or even a "very popular" one.  Even some of his critics in the press refer to him this way.  Perhaps they need to check the latest polls.


President Bush's approval rating has plunged to the lowest level of any president since World War II at this point in his second term, the Gallup Organization reported today.


"All other presidents who were re-elected to a second term had approval ratings well above 50% in the March following their re-election," Gallup reported.


Bush's current rating is 45%.  The next lowest was Reagan with 56% in March 1985.


More bad signs for the president: Gallup's survey now finds only 38% expressing satisfaction with the "state of the country" while 59% are "dissatisfied."  One in three Americans feel the economy is excellent or good, while the rest find it "only fair" or poor.


Gallup noted that more challenges lie ahead for Bush, including public doubts about his Social Security plan and Iraq policies.


Here are the approval ratings for presidents as recorded by Gallup in the March following their re-election:


Truman, 1949: 57%.


Eisenhower, 1957: 65%.


Johnson, 1965: 69%.


Nixon, 1973: 57%.


Reagan, 1985: 56%.


Clinton, 1997: 59%.


Bush, 2005: 45%.



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