Friday, September 30, 2005

CIA faces spy shortages as staffers go private

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As CIA Director Porter Goss tries to rebuild the agency's global operations, he faces a shortage of experienced spies created by a post-September 11 stampede to the private sector, current and former intelligence officials say.

Goss, who a year ago inherited a CIA wracked by criticism of intelligence failures over Iraq and the September 11, 2001, attacks, has come under fire from critics about the publicized departures of several high-level clandestine officers.

Reform advocates see the loss of senior officials as a natural consequence of changes intended to root out an old guard blamed for lapses that prompted Congress to put the CIA under a new director of national intelligence, John Negroponte."
More bad news for the administration, and unfortunately for this country. But not to worry, we can just blame it all on Clinton and reduce the damage to the administration. You know the rest, screw the country.

Iraqis Ready to Vote on Constitution

"A recent survey conducted by the U.S.-based International Republican Institute shows that more than 80 percent of Iraqis plan to vote in the October 15 referendum on the country’s draft constitution. But with two weeks left, Iraqis themselves are still deeply divided on how they will vote.

The International Republican Institute carried out the survey earlier this month in 17 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Of the nearly 2,800 people who participated in the poll, 85 percent said that they are planning to vote in the national referendum in October."

Tal Afar Refugees Sheltered in Mosul

"Displaced by yet another US offensive, life is difficult for residents of Tal Afar who are once again relying on the kindness of strangers.

By Waad Ibrahim in Mosul (IWPR)

Families displaced by the fighting in northern city of Tal Afar are flooding into the Mosul area where they’ve found shelter in crowded local homes but face shortages of food and medical supplies."

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


Personally, this site sickens me. But I asked myself "why"? War is horrible, and these pictures simply show us the war we don't see on our TV screens. Is there some glorification of killing going on? Sure. And having this on a sex site only makes the glorification that much creepier. But having said, I can't imagine what it must be like for our soldiers to look at scenes like this, day in and day out, for real, up close and personal. That has got to take its toll, and I wouldn't be surprised if, for some of these guys, posting these kind of photos is their own version of therapy. Yes, it's gruesome - but unexpected?

Having said all of that, I still find this incredibly troublesome, dehumanizing, immoral, and wonder how legal all of this is as well (per the Geneva Conventions - you remember them, I believe the Bush administration called them quaint). I worry about what this kind of activity does to our culture, to our soldiers, and to our society. How it debases us slowly, gradually, without our even knowing it. I worry about these soldiers when they come back to the US after having seen all this gore. What kind of productive members of society will they be? I worry about all of us who have no clue that war is THIS gruesome. I worry about our government that think this kind of thing should be hidden from the public, and that it's a acceptable cost of going to war."
American blog
This is about that site "This is Fucked up". It worries me too.

H/T Ladybird

You will be Democratic, Or Else!

"Nearly 3/4s of Americans are now skeptical about the use of force to spread democracy. The idea that the US should simply invade countries, overthrow their governments and impose "democracy" on them was championed by a coalition of American nationalists and rightwing Zionists in Washington in 2001-2003, was promoted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (the think tank for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute, the Project for a New American Century, and other rightwing think tanks and journals. The targets of this social engineering on a vast scale were never, however, authoritarian regimes friendly to Washington, but rather a handful of governments that had bad relations with the US and/or Israel. As Ret. Col. Pat Lang points out, however, armies are good for killing people and destroying things, and not very much else. Lang lived a decade in the Middle East doing military and intelligence work, and knows whereof he speaks. The American public is coming around to the same view."
Juan Cole
Add to your list the exile communities, including mine the Cuban exile communities. why? Because we know what really goes on back home. And were tired of it!

Storms in U.S. divert gaze from worsening Iraq

"BAGHDAD, Iraq - Focused on its own troubles, America might have turned away for a while, but the situation in Iraq has not improved. In fact, there has been a surge in violence.

In the month since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, at least 55 U.S. soldiers have been killed. The Iraqi death toll is many times greater, though much harder to calculate. Sunni insurgents have terrorized many parts of Iraq, especially those occupied by majority Shiites, with a relentless series of suicide attacks, roadside bombs and shootings. Attacks on Thursday and Friday of this week alone have left more than 100 Iraqis dead."

Where are you Bloggrs?

"Hello everyone!
I know, it’s been a long, long time.
its funny, Riverbend doesn’t blog regularly so I and Raed get emails asking where is Riverbend all the time, and then I stopped blogging so Raed started to get emails asking where is Khalid and Riverbend? And now Raed stopped blogging so I got emails asking where are you and Raed and Riverbend?
Since Riverbend and Raed made it finally, and posted something, I guess it’s my turn now."
Tell me a Secret

More killing in Iraq

"Under similar circumstances and by the same means a new car bomb exploded in a public open fruit and vegetable market in Hilla south of Baghdad today. It resulted in more than 12 killed and several wounded.

One of the witnesses described the scene that once the explosion happened he smells the burnt human flesh. One of the burnt fleshes belonged to a 2 years old child.

Again the explosion happened in Shiite area."

Building the Backbone

"While visiting 1st Brigade a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Mini-NCO Academy that they had set up with the help of their MiTT Team. It was one of those experiences that really gives one hope."
Major K.

Time to Shut Down

"Suddenly my entries are all over AKO OPSEC websites. I would argue the ways they say it violates OPSEC except for the fact that OPSEC is very vague and can be defined in any which way by the entity enforcing it. Nobody has shut me down yet, but I figure it is just a matter of time. And I really don't want to do the Army any harm sooooo....

What I want to do is put this blog on hold without actually deleting it. The solution seems to be to put this on an FTP server. Anyone know how to do that? Or does anyone have any suggestions? email at Thanks. If I can't do that, then I will just delete every entry on Armor Geddon except for the ones like: Corn Syrup vs. Tabasco, soldiers getting awards, build-up to Election Day, and coming soon - "What Happens to 2 Sergeants when they make PV2 Hutto do an Atomic Sit-Up and SSG Terry decides to help Hutto seek Revenge"
Armor Geddon
Another one bites the dust. Thank God! someone had to do something with these un American evil spewing web sites.
Neil now joins the ranks of those other hate filled sites like My War, Just Another Soldier, This is Your War, Leviraq, and countless others. It also does away with the myth that the "new rules" only apply only to deployed soldiers, apparently they apply to any soldier that has anything to say. "Your people" should be proud of your selves. Your a stunning example of the shining city on the hill.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Emirates: al-Qaida Threat to Gulf Nations

"DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The al-Qaida terror network poses a real danger to the freewheeling countries of the Persian Gulf, which may be its next target, and must be tackled seriously, a government-run think tank warns.

The report, published by the government-run Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, said Osama bin Laden's terror network is busy recruiting and sinking roots in the region.

The passage of time without coordination and action, "gives terrorism more opportunities to set a foothold and recruit new members in preparation for another wave of terrorism in the region," the center said...

..."Despite all the regional disputes over Iraq, it must be agreed that defeating al-Qaida is an Arab and Islamic goal... . The result of the battle against terrorism in Iraq is linked to stability in the Middle East," the report said."

At Least 60 Dead in Iraq Car Bombings

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Three suicide attackers detonated car bombs nearly simultaneously in a mainly Shiite town north of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 60 people and wounding 70 others, a hospital official said. In the western town of Ramadi, the military said a roadside bomb killed five American soldiers.

The car bombs occurred just before sunset, around 6:45 p.m., hitting a bank, a vegetable market and another location in downtown Balad, a mostly Shiite city 50 miles north of the capital, witnesses said.

Dr. Khaled al-Azawi of Balad Hospital said at least 60 people were killed, and 70 were wounded, including the town's police chief, Col. Kadhim Abdul Razzaq, and four other policemen."

Kurdistan government cuts off electricity from Hawlati newspaper office

"London ( – A statement posted on the website of the Suleimani-based Kurdish weekly of Hawlati revealed that the Suleimani administration of the Kurdistan regional government has cut off electricity supply from the newspaper’s office.

The newspaper stated “Apologies for our readers. Since the last few days, the Kurdistan regional government (Suleimani administration) has cut off electricity from our office on the excuse that there is a shortage of electricity. We are unable upload the latest issue of Hawlati until Friday”."
The Kurdistani
The Kurdish bloggers better get back to work, we cant lose Kurdistan, it's our last hope.

Iraq Anglican heads feared dead

"The entire lay leadership of the Anglican church in Iraq is missing and feared dead after being attacked on a dangerous road west of Baghdad.
The five Iraqis were last heard from on 13 September when they reported they had already being attacked travelling on road between Ramadi and Falluja.

Church officials had kept silent about the matter while US forces did checks, but there has been no sign of them."

gay fetish porno

I just heard on the radio that a Judge in New York had cleared the way for the release of the Abu Graib pictures..Look for them at a gay fetish porno site near you.

Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Ramadi

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A roadside bomb killed five American soldiers during combat in the western town of Ramadi, a hotbed of insurgent activity, the U.S military said Thursday.

The five, who were assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, were hit while "conducting combat operations" on Wednesday, a statement by the Marines said.

The deaths brought to 1,934 the number of U.S. troops who have died since the Iraq war started in 2003, according to an Associated Press count."

Wow...this is pretty cool...

"Starting in 2006, the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 provides for some pretty nifty incentives for fuel efficient vehicles:

You can get a fuel economy tax CREDIT (not a deduction - a credit) of up to $2,400 for a car that gets 2.5 times the milage the comparable model got in 2002, or up to $400 dollars for a car or light truck that gets 25 to 50 percent greater milage than the 2002 model."
This is of course good news, it's to bad that they are delaying it all till 2006! But whatever, the funny thing is that the best tax breaks are for cars that don't exist, and that wont exist in large numbers for the next 30 years.

Sunnis Risk Lives Over Iraq Constitution

"MOSUL, Iraq (AP) - The risks were obvious to the Sunni Arabs gathered in the U.S. military base to discuss Iraq's draft constitution.

A suicide car bomber had recently killed a State Department security agent and three private American guards in this city, Mosul. An Iraqi civilian working at the base had been shot and killed for being a collaborator, officials said.

And most of the Iraqi journalists invited to cover the U.S. ambassador's visit to Iraq's northern province of Nineva didn't show up, apparently because they feared driving through areas dominated by Sunni-led insurgents.

Nevertheless, a small group of local Sunni Arabs sat in a private room inside Courage Base on Sunday, doing something that wouldn't have been possible under Saddam Hussein: discussing a new draft constitution for Iraq and the pros and cons of democracy."

U.S. Forces Raid Homes of Sunni Officials

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.S. forces raided the homes of two officials from a prominent Sunni Arab organization Thursday, arresting bodyguards and confiscating weapons, Sunni officials said.

Adnan al-Dulaimi, secretary-general of the Conference for Iraq's People, said soldiers in tanks and Humvees, with two helicopters circling overhead, broke into his home in western Baghdad at 2:30 a.m., put him and his family in one room, and searched the house.

"It was as if they were attacking a castle, not the home of a normal person who advises Iraq's interim government and has called for reconciliation and renounced sectarianism," al-Dulaimi told a news conference after the raid."

NATO Hopes for Big Impact in Iraq

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Dozens of Iraqi officers sat in crisp, new combat fatigues, wearing a colorful variety of berets as they crammed into an auditorium for the reopening of the country's military college. One day, NATO instructors hope, these officers could be the solution to Iraq's security woes.

NATO officials privately express fears that U.S. forces will never be able to quell the raging Iraqi insurgency. But they say well-trained, united and well-equipped Iraqi troops, with the support of the local population, may be able to do the job.

That is why they view the elite training of Iraqi officers - NATO's only mission in this country - as so important, likening the college to West Point or Britain's prestigious Sandhurst military academy."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


"VISA PROBLEMS CONTINUE FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS attempting to enter physics departments at US universities. A new survey conducted by AIP's Statistical Research Center shows that in 2004 half the PhD-granting physics departments reported that at least one admitted student was either denied a visa or considerably delayed by visa problems. About 60% of the departments also reported visa problems for foreign students returning to the US after trips abroad. The AIP survey estimates that ultimately 12% of admitted foreign physics graduate students in the Fall of 2004 were (at least initially) denied entry. This actually represents an improvement; in 2002 the same fraction was 20%. The falloff in foreign graduate physics enrollment is matched by a substantial increase in US students admitted: a growth of 42% in four years. (Report text at; contact
Patrick Mulvey or Michael Neuschatz at )"

Car Bomber Penetrates Green Zone

"The Washington Post reports that "A car bomber penetrated the heavily fortified Green Zone in the center of the capital on Tuesday but was stopped by U.S. Marines at a checkpoint before he was able to detonate the vehicle, the military said."

He got all the way into the Green Zone. That is where the US Embassy is, where the parliament meets. This car bomb could have done enormous damage. And it got past the outer gates! The Green Zone is not safe-- it has received mortar shells, and there have even been circulars warning of the danger of insurgents kidnapping people from it (!). But to get a whole car bomb in there . . ."
Juan Cole

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Source of Terrorism

"In another subject the foreign minister of the Wahabi regime in Saudi Arabia (Saud Faisal) has only just remembered about Iraq when he stated more than twice during his visit to the USA that the US is handing over Iraq to Iran. He also expressed his (hypocritical fear) when he told that Iraq is going to be ripped apart by civil war. He admitted that his government was involved in suppressing the Iraqi uprising against Saddam in 1991 and told that the USA did the same thing."
I don't care, I still like sam. Everyone has to be from somewhere

We're Doing Well

"Hi everyone,

This is a quick note to let you know that me, Mark and the people at The Beaumont Enterprise newsroom are doing well.

I'll try to post more details when I have more time. Now, I'm working temporary at The Enterprise photo department to help with photos prep, transmit photos to AP and other news agencies."
Iraqi in America
There is a god!

'Caveman' Conditions in Texas Follow Rita

"Nearly four days after Hurricane Rita hit, many of the storm's sweltering victims along the Texas Gulf Coast were still waiting for electricity, gasoline, water and other relief Tuesday, prompting one top emergency official to complain that people are "living like cavemen."

In the hard-hit refinery towns of Port Arthur and Beaumont, crews struggled to cross debris-clogged streets to deliver generators and water to people stranded by Rita. They predicted it could be a month before power is restored, and said water and sewer systems could not function until more generators arrived.

Red tape was also blamed for the delays."

Rita causes record damage to oil rigs

"Hurricane Rita has caused more damage to oil rigs than any other storm in history and will force companies to delay drilling for oil in the US and as far away as the Middle East, initial damage assessments show.

ODS-Petrodata, which provides market intelligence to the offshore oil and natural gas industry, said it expected a shortage of rigs in the US Gulf this year.

“Based on what we have right now, it appears that drilling contractors and rig owners took a big hit from Rita,” said Tom Marsh of ODS-Petrodata. “The path Katrina took was through the mature areas of the US Gulf where there are mainly oil [production] platforms. Rita came to the west where there is a lot of [exploratory] rig activity.”"
We knew that, we heard it on the Schnitt Show. I hope this damage report is just hype....
Hurricane Rita Interactive Map

The truth....

"Dear friends
When America decided to liberate Iraq from the x- regime , I believed that a life full of pleasure is coming. I thought every one will have a job , we will have rights & respect in our country , we will be able to live free & to put forward a normal , happy life, with good future to our children, with no fear &no pain"

IRAQ: Families flee Samara ahead of planned offensive

"SALAH AL DIN/BAGHDAD, (IRIN) - Hundreds of families have started to flee the Iraqi city of Samara, some 120km north of the capital, Baghdad, following a recent Ministry of Defense announcement that preparations had started for an offensive by Coalition forces against insurgents holed up there, officials said."

Free Iraq

"The US's pre-emptive occupation of Iraq will see to it that the Lion of Babylon rises again .."
Free Iraq
Nothing like success.

This is something new. Thanks to PebblePie for the link.

Police Find 22 Bodies of Slain Iraqis

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Police on Tuesday found the bodies of 22 Iraqi men who had been shot to death in southern Iraq, the government said.

The victims, all in civilian clothes, had been shot in the head and dumped in a deserted area of Badrah district northeast of Kut and 100 miles southeast of Baghdad, said Maj. Felah Al-Mohammedawi of Iraq's Interior Ministry.

He said most of the bodies were blindfolded with their hands tied together with rope or strips of plastic. Al-Mohammedawi said the victims seemed to have been killed several days ago. Their identities were not immediately known, but the district near the Iranian border is mostly Shiite.

Several times in recent months, large groups of bodies have been found in several areas of Iraq, including Baghdad. Police often blame Sunni-led insurgents for such killings.

Al-Mohammedawi said the cause of the deaths near Kut would be investigated."

Nato opens Iraq training centre

"Nato has opened a new training centre for Iraqi forces in the heavily-guarded Green Zone in the centre of Baghdad.
Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer - who spoke at the inauguration - said 100 Iraqi officers would be trained at the centre by the end of the year.

Washington has been pushing Nato to take on a bigger role in Iraq.

Meanwhile, UN officials urged countries with Iraqi asylum seekers not to send them home, warning that most of Iraq is as dangerous as it was a year ago."

"Baghdad city council discusses paying money to residents instead of the to be cancelled food rations"

"This headline appeared on Al-Mashriq paper this morning, the report within says that the government's decision to stop distributing food rations is reaching the final steps of discussions and it will be adopted sometime next year.

The report attributes the decision to a deal between the government and the world bank and international trading organization; the deal is to provide Iraq with loans and grants up to 40 billion $ over a certain number of years for the purpose of reconstruction and development as well as giving Iraq a membership in the world trading organization. In return for that, Iraq has to fulfill a few requirements, one of which is to stop subsidizing whatever is being subsidized right now; food rations, electricity, fuel, phones…etc.

The lack of transparency on the government's part had given rise to suspicions about the reality of the shortages in fuel and the delay or complete absence of several items of the food rations and some people here think that these shortages and delays are actually a method invented by the government to prepare the people for the withdrawal of subsidization."
Iraq the Model is having some problems with it's new template and the comments. When you go to the main page you have to scroll all the way down to see the content. Hopefully they will have it all fixed soon. Who said computers were never wrong?


"It is an ambiguous situation in Basra. Contradictory stories are introduced by the different sides involved in what happened on September 19. Several questions or issues are raised.

If the two British soldiers had a mission requires working undercover, can't the British commanders in Basra inform the Iraqi police commanders to coordinate their work. A joint operation room is vital to avoid such situation.

The Iraqi police force in Basra, recruited & trained by the British, is not trustworthy by the British themselves. It seems that something went wrong in choosing, organizing & training the cadets."
Ibn Alrafidain

Abu Azzam killed

"U.S. Special Forces troops have killed Abu Azzam, Al Qaeda's number 2 man in Iraq, during a raid in Baghdad. Apparently, he was the finance guy.

Finance guys are always a bit easier to track down than the ops guys, because of the nature of their business. Ops guys can operate in isolated cells, and not talk to anyone but a couple of vendors and one finance guy who gives them cash. Information on ops guys can be very compartmentalized.

The finance guys, on the other hand, actually have to go fundraising. And everytime they go fundraising, the expose themselves. And all it takes is for Al Qaeda to accidentally murder the wrong guy's cousin, and someone calls a tip line, and the finance guy gets a 3am knock on his door."

Monday, September 26, 2005

In Rita's wake

"Not much time here. Power is still out and every crucial piece of equipment is on priceless battery power.

We survived, battered and a little dazed. Our third-floor newsroom is a shambles. The ceiling caved in as Rita ramped up and, at about 3 a.m., we quickly removed everything that could help sustain us in the next few hours and days. The greater fear was that the rushing water would naturally migrate into the second floor, where most of us were bivouacked. By 5 a.m., it started to cascade throught the elevator shaft and from several spots in the second-floor ceiling. We were faced with a decision: Move people through the storm to the emergency command center across the street, or hope that the storm would pass over us before the situation became truly desperate."
Under the News
Well even though this looks like a bad night, there's no casualties, so Fay is all right...

C-SPAN does Beaumont

I just turned on the TV, to c-span, and they have Beaumont TX on TV. They were talking to some people and are now at the emergency operations center. I'm keeping an eye out for any friends might walk by in the background...stay tuned for any news.


"The battle between a grieving family and the U.S. military justice system is on display in thousands of pages of documents strewn across Mary Tillman’s dining room table in suburban San Jose.

As she pores through testimony from three previous Army investigations into the killing of her son, former football star Pat Tillman, by his fellow Army Rangers last year in Afghanistan, she hopes that a new inquiry launched in August by the Pentagon’s inspector general finally will answer the family’s questions:

Were witnesses allowed to change their testimony on key details, as alleged by one investigator? Why did internal documents on the case, such as the initial casualty report, include false information? When did top Pentagon officials know that Tillman’s death was caused by friendly fire, and why did they delay for five weeks before informing his family?"
Oh no, I hope they don't do to this lady what they've been doing to that Sheehan lady

US Air Force launches new-generation GPS satellite

"The most advanced navigation satellite yet developed was launched on Sunday. It is the first in a new fleet of Global Positioning System spacecraft designed to help commercial users and the US military pinpoint their locations and targets with greater accuracy.

The $75 million satellite was launched on a Boeing Delta 2 rocket at 2337 EDT from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US. Over the next few days, it will deploy its solar panels and antennae and fire an onboard rocket to reach its final orbit, about 18,000 kilometres above the Earth...
...The new spacecraft carries a beefed-up antenna panel, providing a stronger signal to ground users, as well as three entirely new signals. Two will help the US military prevent its GPS signals on ground vehicles, aircraft and ships from being jammed and also improve the accuracy of GPS-guided "smart weapons"."
New Scientist

Factional Rift Threatening Shi’ite Unity on Iraqi Constitution

"Iraq’s top Shi’ite clerics and politicians are seeking to unite the country’s majority behind Iraq’s draft constitution. But they are facing resistance from two powerful Shi’ite clerics in Baghdad and Basra. With the country’s Sunni Arabs already opposed to the document, it is not yet clear whether there will be enough Shi’ite unity for the constitution to pass next month in a national referendum.

The most crucial endorsement of Iraq’s draft constitution came late Thursday from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, arguably the most revered and most powerful Shi’ite cleric in the country."

'How can you establish a free media in such fear and anarchy?'

"I had been dreading this moment for weeks, but I knew it would come inevitably. The night before leaving for Baghdad; preparing for yet another trip to that doomed city to report on yet more violence. For weeks at a time, I had lived in denial. I had told myself, no, it's not happening; no, I am not going back there. I have had enough, I am not going back to Iraq. But then I gave in, I started assuring my worried friends that I would be safe there - after all, it's not that dangerous.
Last Monday night I sat, sheepishly, in my bedroom, packing my bags. I was drowning in depression - a mixture of fear and anxiety smouldering in my guts. I wanted to distract myself, so I started going through my favourite bedtime routine: checking the wires for the latest pictures from Iraq. What atrocity had I missed that day by hiding in London?

I soon came across an out-of-focus image of a policeman lifting a cover to show a dead body lying in a hospital morgue. It was the sort of photograph I had seen a hundred times before. Then I read the caption: "A policeman lifts ... the body of Fakher Haidar al-Tamimi ..."
Guardian -Ghaith
H/T Ladybird

Britain's Iraq pullout blueprint

"BRITISH troops will start leaving Iraq next May under detailed plans, drawn up by London and Washington, to be presented next month to the Iraqi Parliament.

The Observer newspaper quoted senior military sources saying the blueprint "will lay out a point-by-point 'road map' for military disengagement by multinational forces," with the first steps possibly soon after the December polls.

Britain's defence ministry denied the report but the issue was set to loom over the Labour Party's annual conference which opened yesterday.

Defence chiefs said troops will stay until "the job is done" and the military pull-out would occur at different times across the country.

The Observer insisted Britain had "privately" informed Japan of its plans, a move that would make it impossible for about 500 Japanese troops in the sector to remain."
The Courier-Mail
Their in, their out, I have no idea, everyday it's a different story. I'm sure that if the constitution is ratified and after the dec. polls everyone wants to at least pull back if not out. But I think that might depend on the constitution being ratified and the dec. polls going.

Saudi Prince Backs Murdoch, Ups News Corp. Stake

"NEW YORK - The title of this financial romance: Rupert and the prince. The players: The chairman of News Corp. (nyse: NWS - news - people ) and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The billionaire aristocrat's office on Tuesday announced he upped his stake in the media and entertainment colossus to 5.46% of voting shares.

But Alwaleed's statement went beyond mere dollars and cents--and Saudi riyals--as the prince's statement also included a more personal cri du coeur, voicing his support for Rupert Murdoch's leadership.

In November, Alwaleed had already vouchsafed Murdoch his comradeship, offering to back the chairman by buying more News Corp. shares via the Saudi's investment company, Kingdom. The comforting words came as Liberty Media (nyse: L - news - people ) began to rattle its sabers. Last month, Liberty Chairman John Malone menacingly said he'd consider raising Liberty's 18% voting stake in News Corp.; Murdoch's firm extended a "poison pill" provision to block him.

In Tuesday's statement, Alwaleed, ranked No. 5 on the Forbes World's Richest People list, declared, "Last November I said that I had the utmost confidence in Mr. Murdoch, his management team and his succession planning, and that if necessary, the Kingdom companies would replace their non-voting shares with voting shares." He continued, "The Kingdom companies now own a significant interest in News Corporation voting shares and may purchase more if the situation warrants.""
Here is the story. Don't look good for the news when Baghdad Bob just bought the channel...I wonder how come this did not raise the same alarms as the China buying US oil company did. Don't anyone think that congress should have held at least one hearing? Who exactly is minding the store.

Saudi Arabia detains 682 for attempting entry from Iraq

"Saudi Arabia detained 682 people for illegally attempting to cross its borders from Iraq over the past six months, reports said Sunday.
The country increased its expenditure to secure its border with Iraq from approximately $480 million in 2004 to $1.066 billion since January, Saudi daily al-Watan reported.

The increased expenditure comes as Saudi Arabia continues its battle against terrorism, which it began May 2003 when a series of attacks on housing compounds claimed the lives of dozens of civilians.

Those responsible for the acts of violence since that time are said to include foreigners illegally in the country."
Finally they are minding the fucken border. FINALLY.

Oh and I just heard, on the Schnitt show that a Saudi prince bought up to 4.6% of News Corp. that's right the Fox News. maybe this little piece of news is not worth what you just paid to read it. I'll look for the link.

Second Reuters cameraman in Iraq held without charge

"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A second Iraqi journalist working for Reuters has been ordered detained indefinitely by a secret tribunal and the news agency demanded on Monday that he be released or given a chance to defend himself in open court.

Freelance television cameraman Samir Mohammed Noor, who was arrested by Iraqi troops at his home in the northern town of Tal Afar four months ago, was found to be "an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq" at a secret hearing last week, a U.S. military spokesman said.

He is at the Camp Bucca internment camp in southern Iraq and his case would be reviewed within six months, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill said. U.S. officials have repeatedly refused to disclose what accusations have been made against him.

"The authorities need to specify the charges against him and allow him to address those charges openly, with a lawyer of his choosing," Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said."

Alaska soldiers acclimate to Iraq

"FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- The 3,800 soldiers of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Wainwright and Fort Richardson are getting used to the scorching sun in northern Iraq.

What the troops are finding is that the Arctic training they underwent in Alaska readied them for the rigors of the desert, military officials say.

"The same discipline and leader skill that it takes to train and survive in Arctic conditions are the same skills that you need to train and fight in hot weather conditions," brigade commander Col. Michael Shields told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on Friday."

Schnitt Show

I sent an e-mail to Todd Schnitt of the Schnitt Show. The topic was the stated policy on how we will fight the WoT.
Mr. Schnitt if you read my e-mail and would like to respond. This is the space to do it. And if you read and don't want to respond, well then enjoy the visit.

England Convicted in Abu Ghraib Abuse Case

"FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - Army Pfc. Lynndie England, whose smiling poses in photos of detainee abuse at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison made her the face of the scandal, was convicted Monday by a military jury on six of seven counts.

England, 22, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, four counts of maltreating detainees and one count of committing an indecent act. She was acquitted on a second conspiracy count.

The jury of five male Army officers took about two hours to reach its verdict. Her case now moves into the sentencing phase, which will determined by the same jury. She faces a maximum 10 years in prison."
Is this a case of the little fish getting eaten by the big fish?

Faulty body armor may have endangered Bush

"WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is investigating whether a company sold defective bulletproof vests for President Bush, federal agents and local police and then waited nearly two years to alert customers that the body armor could be unsafe.

A former research chief for Second Chance Body Armor Inc. is cooperating with the criminal investigation and testified this month that the Secret Service tested and bought some of the defective vests for the president and first lady Laura Bush. The Pentagon obtained the same armor for elite troops who guard generals, according to transcripts obtained by The Associated Press."
AP Wire
Hey if any of you guys have this body armor, get rid of it today!! Don't wait till tomorrow, get rid of the shit today!

Farm tax breaks may get stricter

"Miami-Dade County leaders are pledging to get tough on developers and speculators who seek hefty tax breaks meant to keep farmers in business.

Florida's 1959 ''greenbelt'' law, designed to protect the agricultural industry from death by taxes, grants generous subsidies on land used for commercial farming.

But a recent Herald investigation found that most of the biggest financial beneficiaries of the tax breaks in South Florida are not farmers.

Some corporate landowners reap huge discounts by herding cows on rocky, littered lots slated for warehouses or subdivisions. In some cases, tax breaks continue even after construction begins...

...As the county steps up scrutiny of properties taxed as farmland, the Miami-Dade and Broward county property appraisers are crafting possible legislative reforms. The chairman of the Senate agricultural committee said he would put the greenbelt law on the Oct. 19 meeting agenda in response to the Herald series."
Miami Herald
Cannibalism, the right is starting to eat their own.

Rita's Death Toll Climbs With 5 More Dead

"BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - Rescuers used skiffs to take flooded-out residents to safety Monday as Hurricane Rita's waters began to recede along the Texas-Louisiana coast. The death toll climbed to seven when the bodies of five people were discovered in a Beaumont apartment.

The five - a man, a woman and three children - apparently were overcome by carbon monoxide from a generator they were using after the hurricane knocked out the electricity over the weekend, authorities said. The children's aunt discovered the bodies after going to check on the group."


"Cindy Sheehan does not have the IQ of a pencil eraser"
Rush Limbaugh

This is his opinion of a Gold Star Mother, and it's somehow the "left" that is unpatriotic. Amazing!

And Just moments latter we hear
"Sheehan Arrested During Anti-War Protest

WASHINGTON (AP) - Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the anti-war movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.

Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."
I can only imagine that recruits are running to sign up, knowing how their mothers will be treated after they are dead.

Iraq charter 'will fuel strife'

"Iraq's draft constitution has deepened the country's ethnic and sectarian rifts and is likely to fuel the insurgency, a new report says.
The text was not based on broad consent, and the country appears to be heading towards partition and civil war, the study says.

The report, by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, calls on the US address Sunni concerns.

Iraqis are due to vote in a referendum on the draft text on 15 October.

The constitution will pass unless voters in three of Iraq's 18 provinces muster a two-thirds majority against it."

Gunmen execute Shi'ite teachers in Iraq

"Iraqi gunmen on Monday murdered five teachers and a driver at a primary school as United States forces released more than 500 prisoners from the notorious Abu Ghraib jail.

In the school attack, 10 gunmen dressed as police officers dragged the teachers from their classrooms at the Al Jazeera Primary School in Muwalha, south of the capital, took them to an empty classroom and shot them, police said."
Mail & Guardian
Long live the glorious foreign resistance!!

An open letter to President George W. Bush

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. President,

I was born in Havana, Cuba in 1956. My parents, grandparents, and extended family came to this country shortly after the revolution in early 1960. I consider the United States of America to be my country, English my language, and America my home. I am extremely proud of my Cuban heritage. Cuba before castro was second only to this great country as a beacon of hope for immigrants. It was an economic marvel, the world's greatest producer of sugar and the world's best cigars. It had one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the Hemisphere, it was an early adopter of American technologies, and as a tourist destination, it was second to none. Cuba was a cornucopia of influences: African and Spanish, Old World and New, all combining to make a unique country and a rich, vibrant culture.

Since January 1, 1959 the country of my birth has been controlled by one of the most evil men in the sad history of the Twentieth Century. He has no rivals, but many equals: Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia, Mao in China, Pol Pot in Cambodia, Honecker in East Germany. In our hemisphere his evil and tyranny has been second to none. On January 1 of next year it will be 47 years of tyranny, executions, slave labor, and of the imprisonment of dissidents whose crime is that they disagree with Fidel Castro.

Cubans have fled the island since the revolution in an almost unending stream. Today, people yearning to be free of a tyrant, will do whatever they need to do to escape the clutches of Fidel and his monstrous regime. As in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan, these people just want an opportunity to experience the freedoms we take for granted here in the US.

The shameful and revolting events of September 23, 2005, when a boatload of refugees, risking everything to come to America to be free, were rammed by a US Coast Guard vessel and hosed like common thugs, is outrageous and un-American. It is a crime to treat people like this, people who are fleeing from oppression and to liberty! This spectacle, caught on film for all to see, makes me ashamed to be an American. Why the stark contrast between what the US Coast Guard did last Thursday and the heroic deeds they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina?

Would we have done such a thing in Berlin? Are we not in Iraq, a war I support for many reasons, to promote the very values the people on that boat risked everything for? How can we take the high moral ground and talk to the world about freedom, liberty, and of the dignity of a person’s right to be free, when we treat people like this? The people in that boat were following Jefferson’s dictum that “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Cubans in exile practice that dictum on a daily basis, praying for the day Cuba is once again a free nation.

Mr. President, the former administration’s policy of “wet foot/dry foot” is a travesty of justice and a mockery of the values we hold dear in this country. I know you feel the same way. As a supporter of your election and re-election, as a contributor to your Party, and as someone who loves freedom, I urge you to sign an executive order rescinding “wet foot/dry foot” and to free the people who were so shabbily mistreated by our US Coast Guard.

The Cuban exile community awaits your response.


George L. Moneo
Miami, Florida


To contact the President, click here.
To contact your Senator, click here.
To contact your Representative in the House of Representatives, click here.
Babalu Blog

Israel Presses Forward With Gaza Offensive

"GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli aircraft attacked suspected weapons factories Monday throughout the Gaza Strip, pushing forward an offensive against Palestinian militants despite a pledge by a top Hamas leader to halt rocket fire against Israel.

The violence came as top officials from the ruling Likud Party voted in a crucial poll that could determine whether Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon remains in the party or dissolves the government and creates a new centrist party.

The vote was ostensibly about whether to move up the party primary from April to November, but Sharon and his main party challenger, Benjamin Netanyahu, have turned the poll into a vote of confidence. Many party hard-liners said they will use their votes to punish Sharon for his pullout from the Gaza Strip."

Roadside Bombs Kill Three U.S. Soldiers

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Roadside bombs killed three U.S. soldiers Monday in two separate attacks and 16 Iraqis were killed elsewhere, including five teachers and their driver who were shot to death in a classroom by suspected insurgents disguised as policemen.

U.S. and Iraqi authorities, meanwhile, freed 500 detainees from the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in a goodwill gesture to Sunnis ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and less than three weeks before a referendum on Iraq's draft constitution.

Two of the American soldiers were killed early Monday in western Baghdad, while the third, who was working with the 42nd Brigade, died about 50 miles southeast of the capital, the military said."

British Spies in Basra Fighting Weapons Smugglers

"Those two SAS special operations troops captured by the Basra police last Monday were one of 8 such teams charged with disrupting weapons smuggling from Iran into southern Iraq. The Iranian weapons smugglers are organized and powerful throughout the world."
Juan Cole
And other news

New Iraq Abuse Allegations Get McCain Moving

"WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, decrying new allegations of prisoner abuse in Iraq by U.S. soldiers, on Sunday backed an amendment to force the American military to live up to its international obligations under the Geneva Convention and "not engage in torture" of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.

McCain (R-Ariz.) was responding to complaints by Army Capt. Ian Fishback and two sergeants, who all served with the 82nd Airborne Division. Their description of routine harsh treatment of captives in Iraq parallels the abuse caught in photographs at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad and was contained in a Human Rights Watch report issued Friday by the advocacy group.

"We've got to have it stopped. It is hurting America's image abroad," McCain said on ABC's "This Week" program.

The senator said his staff on the Armed Services Committee was investigating the allegations. That is in addition to a felony probe at Ft. Bragg, N.C. — home to the 82nd Airborne — by the Army's Criminal Investigation Command and an administrative review by the Army inspector general's office.

"I don't know if these allegations are true," McCain said. "But they have to be investigated. We've got to make it clear to the world that America doesn't do it. It's not about prisoners. It's about us.""

Our friends in Beaumont

Well we are waiting for word from our friends in TX. There are conflicting reports in the news, some reports say that damage was very limited, and then they show us pictures of flooding and destroyed buildings, and power outages. So we sit and wait for word.

If there is any one out there that has some information from the ground, please let us know. Beyond that all we can do is sit here and wait...

Jazeera reporter found guilty of terrorism.

"Al-Jazeera's reporter in Spain, Tayseer Alluni has just been sentenced to seven years in jail after a Madrid court found him guilty of joining a terror cell and facilitating money laundry.

This is bad news for Al-jazeera who's been defending and campaigning to protect their reporter and they obviously failed in eluding justice but the question that we must think about is; was Alluni working on his own using his media credentials as a cover or could it be that Al-jazeera itself is involved?

It seems that twisting facts, biased coverage and supporting the terrorists morally aren't giving some media networks enough satisfaction so they began to give the terrorists a hand, practically I mean."

Explore the truth about Qur'an

"In today’s climate of heightened religious sensitivities and apparent cultural clashes, now is the time for people of all faiths to better acquaint themselves with Islam’s sacred text, the Holy Quran.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced a new campaign intended to promote understanding of the Quran by distributing complimentary copies to any interested member of the American public. This campaign, titled Explore the Qur’an, serves as a response to those who would defame and desecrate the holy book of Muslims without full knowledge of its teachings."
A Free Writer

Just Another Soldier - Update: CNN, NPR, Special Features website


On Tuesday, October 4th, Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq will be in bookstores. I am so excited/nervous, I think I might become incontinent.

For those who may be interested, so far I have two appearances confirmed:

CNN American Morning (Oct. 4, 7-10 a.m.)
NPR Fresh Air (Oct. 4)

I don't yet know what time I'll be on American Morning exactly, but I'll send another email out before the show as soon as I do. For a schedule of when you can listen to Fresh Air in your area, visit the NPR Fresh Air schedule website.

Also, I would like to unveil for you the new website:

Just Another Soldier: Photos, Videos, and Deleted Scenes

This website is like a "special features" section of a DVD. It contains all the photos that go along with the stories, a few videos, as well all the material that was cut from the book. This website is still under construction, so I would appreciate any input you can give me to make it better before I make it public in a few days. For those of you who have followed the blog, a lot of this will be old material, but most everything after September 2004 is new.

Reuters interviewed me recently and ran an article that I think did a fairly good job of capturing the spirit of this book:

There are a lot of other appearances, readings, and all that sort of thing in the works, so I'll send the information as it happens. Also, feel free to email me for any reason. It's you, the people in this mailing list, who have supported and encouraged this soldier, who are the heart of this project. Thank you.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Battle For Mosul III: Prelude

"Deuce Four,” is on its way home.

I attended their departure ceremony, presided over by the much respected Brigade Commander, Colonel Robert Brown. Purple Hearts were awarded to soldiers wounded in action. The commander of the Deuce Four, LTC Erik Kurilla, was not there to pin the medals on his soldiers; Kurilla was the last Deuce Four solider wounded in Iraq, and was recovering from three gunshot wounds. All told, the 1-24th infantry regiment earned over 157 Purple Hearts during their mission in Mosul.

Shortly after the ceremony, I boarded an Air Force jet that landed in Qatar after midnight. Several friendly Air Force people asked where I intended to go. Was I hungry? Did I need a place to stay? They were extremely helpful and their hospitality was such that I was tempted to sojourn for a day. But I politely tore myself from the offer, and asked for a ride to the front gate. The Air Force obliged, calling a taxi, and they drove me to the front gate to wait for the taxi. I walked off base and sat in the desert darkness. By then it was about three in the morning. "
Michael Yon

Turkish nationalists lynch Kurdish demonstrators, Turkish police watch

"Tensions began on Sunday morning when Kurdish demonstrators in Istanbul threw stones and firebombs during a rally to protest the solitary confinement of imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Later, paramilitary police blocked thousands of other pro-Kurdish demonstrators from reaching the northwestern port town of Gemlik to stage an unauthorised demonstration. The port is used by Ocalan's lawyers to travel to the prison island of Imrali, where the rebel leader is the only inmate."
H/T MedyaDaily
But Medya just look at these terrorist

A Candle in the Dark

Combat Doc has a few new pictures up check it out!

And Porter Sr. has a new tat with some special meaning

Bombings and Gun Battle Kill at Least 25 in Iraq

"BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 25 - A suicide bomber swerved his sedan across a highway median and detonated it alongside a police convoy in southeast Baghdad today, in the worst of several attacks and gun battles that left at least 25 people dead and dozens wounded, Iraqi officials said.

The violence came amid demonstrations and sharpening sectarian tensions across Iraq over the upcoming nationwide referendum on Iraq's constitution. American military officials have said they expect to see more attacks as the Oct. 15 referendum approaches.

The suicide bombing in Baghdad killed three members of an elite police commando unit and six civilians, including several people selling bread outside a bakery not far away, witnesses said...

...The march came a day after thousands of Shiites marched in support of the charter in Basra. On Thursday, Iraq's most senior religious figure, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, indicated he would release a fatwa, or religious edict, urging Iraqis to vote in favor of the document. That fatwa will provide crucial support for the vote, but appears to have further sharpened the sectarian division over the constitution."
Well there goes any hope of democracy in Iraq. What's plan "B"?

Soldiers wage secret war at Iraq border

"BASRA, Iraq, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Two British soldiers arrested by Iraqi police were engaged in a secret war against weapons smugglers on the Iraqi border, the Sunday Times of London reported.

The soldiers were based in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, where they monitored the Iraqi border with high-tech equipment.

"Since the increase in attacks against U.K. forces two months ago, a 24-strong SAS team has been working out of Basra to provide a safety net to stop the bombers getting into the city from Iran," a source told the newspaper. "The aim is to identify routes used by insurgents and either capture or kill them.""

China sets new rules on Internet news

"BEIJING (Reuters) - China set new regulations on Internet news content on Sunday, widening a campaign of controls it has imposed on other Web sites, such as discussion groups.

"The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest," the official Xinhua news agency said in announcing the new rules, which took effect immediately."
Hey not unlike some right wing blogs.


"I faced a number of unexpected things in the bay area in the last couple of weeks, but the most unexpected thing for me is that it feels like “home”. I didn’t particularly like the car jams and the very slow and expensive BART. But I liked many other things; many of them were already a part of my life in the “globalized” layer of the Middle East."
Read in the Middle
Hey Raed does SF! or is it SF did Raed.
It's kind of makes you think, the title, FOB, is that the usual forward operating base? Was he establishing one, or just visiting one, or is there some other usage I have not heard of.

Al Qaeda claims Iraq suicide attack

"Iraq's Al Qaeda wing says it carried out Sunday's suicide car bombing, which killed 13 Iraqi police commandos.

"A lion brother of the martyrs brigade on Sunday launched a heroic attack on a convoy of apostate commandos," a statement, posted on a website previously used by Iraqi militant groups, said.

The statement could not be immediately authenticated."

SAS in secret war against Iranian agents

"TWO SAS soldiers rescued last week after being arrested by Iraqi police and handed over to a militia were engaged in a “secret war” against insurgents bringing sophisticated bombs into the country from Iran.
The men had left their base near the southern Iraqi city of Basra to carry out reconnaissance and supply a second patrol with “more tools and fire power”, said a source with knowledge of their activities.

They had been in Basra for seven weeks on an operation prompted by intelligence that a new type of roadside bomb which has been used against British troops was among weapons being smuggled over the Iranian border."
Times Online

121 Guantanamo Detainees to be Released to Saudi Authorities

"121 Guantanamo Detainees to be Released to Saudi Authorities
Saudi citizens detained at the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay will soon be released and handed over to the Saudi authorities, as talks between US officials and their counterparts in the Kingdom reach the final stages, Asharq al Awsat has learned. Ahmad Mazhar, head of a team of lawyers hoping to return the detainees to Riyadh told Asharq al Awsat his country had taken large steps towards ensuring its 121 detainees are handed back. He hoped US/Saudi discussions would conclude after the last details are agreed on and indicated that the Saudi government had been in constant contact with Washington since learning Saudi men were being held at the military base in Cuba."
Maybe they'll all get the treatment

Islamic clerics told to leave Somaliland

"Islamic clerics told to leave Somaliland

Authorities in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland on Saturday warned outsiders, particularly Islamic clerics, without legitimate business there to leave immediately following the arrest of several alleged Al Qaeda operatives.

In a crackdown ordered after the arrests of five suspected members of Osama bin Laden’s network during a shootout with police on Friday, Interior Minister Ishmail Aden said non-Somalilanders illegally in the region would be deported.

“I have instructed the (Islamic) clerics from neighbouring Ethiopia and Somalia to leave the country if they do not have legal papers and are not genuine businessmen registered by relevant authorities,” Aden said. “Those who have commercial interest here may stay as long as they respect the laws of the land but others must leave as soon as possible,” he told a news conference. “This is strictly a security issue.”"

Cobban Critique of Cole

"Cobban mischaracterizes my plan insofar as what I propose is giving the new Iraqi army close air support of a sort that would allow it to face down conventional military attacks by armed guerrillas marching on the Green Zone. There are now about 3000 Iraqi army troops that could and would fight in such a battle, and US air support would ensure decisive victories. The point of the US air forces and special ops is simply to support the Iraqi army; the special ops would have to be there to rescue any US crews that were shot down. The air bases could be in Kuwait in the south and in Kurdistan in the north. They would not be permanent. There are no such things as permanent bases. All of the bases I grew up on are gone. Bases are a political artefact, and depend on political agreements. If the Iraqis want them they will be there, if they don't, they won't. Look at the Philippines."
But is this not where we are going anyway?
"My plan does indeed suggest an abandonment of much of the country for the time being to local forces. The Anglo-American forces aren't able to stop local forces from taking over, anyway, though they can destroy the cities taken over, which is unlikely to make the people there pro-American or happy with the government in Baghdad, to say the least. The Shiite religious parties that control the central government also control much of the Shiite south, which is not therefore problematic."
Yea right, the central government is so in control of the south.. I mean why would he even leave that in there..
My plan assumes that the unconventional guerrilla violence, with bombings and assassinations, will go on for some time and that there is nothing anyone can do about it. Withdrawal of Coalition ground troops might put the Shiites and the Kurds in more of a mood to compromise with the neo-Baathists, Salafis and tribal forces now waging the guerrilla war, which could help.Juan Cole
If you include strict US control of the border ..I like it better than the "fly paper" we've been doing till now.


"I've been a volunteer with Adopt-a-Platoon (“AAP”) for approximately five years (give or take), and I have to tell you that it is a WONDERFUL experience! It is hard to describe the feelings that go along with supporting a Soldier ~ the personal satisfaction of doing something for someone else, the bond you form with your "son" or "daughter" (even when you *never* hear from them, you still get amazingly attached!), a deeper appreciation of the sacrifice so many make on our behalf, and yes, even awful fear and *much* "maternal" worry as we listen to the news and hear of "our" Soldiers being in harm's way during this time of war. We do not just merely send letters ~ we give our hearts and souls to serving these brave men and women who so courageously serve us. We cry with each other when we hear of a loss, we encourage each other and comfort each other when we fear for "our" Soldier's safety. AAP is more than a volunteer organization ~ it is a close-knit "family" with a huge and loving heart."

My intentions were good

"As I said yesterday, the US Government tells us that "Saudi Arabia is Washington's closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism." And you can see why. We really make our home-grown terrorists regret what they did. Not only that, but if any other young man thinks of following them, it may be even worse next time - it may just be an interview for Radio Riyadh.

(Incidentally, if you get almost to the end of the recording, at 11.45 minutes, you can hear the interviewer's phone go off. And the ringtone is the tune....
....we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!)"
Nice tune

Iran Calls U.N. Resolution 'Illogical'

"TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran on Sunday rejected a resolution by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency that put it one step away from Security Council referral, calling the move "illegal and illogical" and orchestrated by the United States.

Some 180 lawmakers also denounced the resolution and called on the Iranian government to scale back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the resolution, approved Saturday by a split vote and not the usual consensus, proved that Britain, France and Germany - which negotiated with Tehran over its atomic program - have violated previous agreements.

"The three European countries implemented a planned scenario, already determined by the United States," he said on state-run television...

...Russia, one of the countries abstaining, called on Iran to cooperate with the agency.

"We expect that Iran will actively cooperate with the IAEA with the purpose of quickly closing all outstanding questions," Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a Sunday statement.

The United States applied strong pressure on Russia, China, India and other countries to send a "unified message" to Iran. China also abstained."

Medics fleeing Iraq's violence in their thousands

"BAGHDAD, Sept 25 (Reuters) - One of Iraq's most precious resources -- doctors -- are fleeing the country in increasing numbers, scared off by persistent violence and drawn to safer, better paying jobs abroad, officials say.

A steady trickle of skilled workers has been flowing out of the country since the 2003 invasion, but in the past year, with the sharp rise in assassinations and kidnappings by insurgents, the exodus of doctors has picked up, they say.

"Iraq is like a battlefield, doctors face danger just getting to work because of terrorist acts," said Aakif al-Alusi, a senior member of the Iraqi Doctors' Syndicate, the official medics' register, who worries about the long-term social impact of the medical brain-drain.

"Doctors are neutral people in our society, all sides have to allow them to carry out their duties, but that doesn't happen here," he said, explaining the reasons why doctors are leaving."

IRAQ WRAPUP 3-Suicide car bomb kills 13 elite Iraqi commandos

"BAGHDAD, Sept 25 (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber attacked an elite Iraqi police unit in Baghdad, killing 13 commandos in the worst of a series of violent incidents to hit the country on Sunday.

Iraqi police said the car bomber targeted the police commando patrol as they travelled on a highway in the east of the capital. Ten commandos were also wounded, police said.

The bomb followed clashes overnight between U.S. troops and Shi'ite militiamen loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the eastern Baghdad district of Sadr City. Police said eight militia fighters were killed and five wounded in the fighting...

...South of the capital, in Hilla, a bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in a crowded vegetable market, killing four people, including a woman and a child, and wounding 48, police said."
We have vegetable bombers now. This is a bad sign.. I can feel it.

Texas, La. Begin Cleaning Up After Rita

"BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - Rattled by Hurricane Rita, residents along the Texas and Louisiana coasts began clearing away debris as power crews worked to restore electricity to more than 1 million customers in four states.

They also breathed a sigh of relief that the devastation caused by the once-dreaded storm was less severe than that caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Saturday he saw plenty of damage during a helicopter tour over the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, but added: "There's none of that just-down-to-the-foundation devastation that we saw out of Mississippi" after Katrina.

Rita downed trees, sparked fires across the hurricane zone and swamped Louisiana shoreline towns with a 15-foot storm surge that required daring boat and helicopter rescues of hundreds of people."

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Refineries See Some Damage, Dodge Bullet

"BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Hurricane Rita smacked a key region for oil-refining with less force than feared on Saturday, although there were some early signs of damage.

Pump prices for gasoline and diesel fuel could rise if pipelines and oil refineries are slow to resume operations, and analysts said they were paying close attention to facilities in Lake Charles, La., and Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas.

"There will be some modest disruption of supplies of gasoline and other products," said William Veno, an analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "But I don't think it's going to be as severe a situation as Hurricane Katrina.""
Something finally goes our way. I just hope we don't drop the ball when it comes to conservation of energy. The right can't come out now and claim it's not important when they have spent the last week yelling "save fuel". Well, now it's their turn, we did what they asked and there has not been a big fuel crunch. But now they have to do their part and take another look at those evil CAFE standards and all the other options. This is a great country, we don't have that excuse.

In making its report to the American public

"Having just returned from my third trip to Iraq, I came away with three thoughts.

One, real progress is being made, despite the ongoing security concerns. Two, the Bush administration should pull together an independent and balanced group of respected individuals to go to Iraq to conduct a critical review of our efforts. Three, a necessary element of this review would be communicating to the American public what it would mean to our country if the Iraq mission failed...

· How accurate a picture do we have of the insurgency?

· What can we do to get better tactical intelligence on the enemy?

· How reliable and effective is the growing Iraqi security establishment and what is its ethnic makeup?

· What will it take in terms of resources, organization and time to effectively control Iraq's borders?

· What criteria should guide the pace of withdrawal of American and coalition forces?"
Someone should look into it, if no one is currently worried by these things.

"In making its report to the American public"

That's what the milbloggers were doing before they were shut down.. good luck with your plan.

Meatgrinder Metrics

"Maj D notices that coalition casualties this month are way down. In fact, the casualty rate for September is less than half of what it was in August and the lowest since March - "despite" a series of offensive operations in the north and west.

I put "despite" in quotation marks because I would argue that the low casualty figures are BECAUSE of the offensive operations, not despite them...

...We need to start tracking Iraqi Defense Forces casualties right alongside U.S. and allied casualties, and use that to track the trendlines."
I can agree with that.

Iraq Sunnis Want Constitution Rejected

"Al-Obeidi called for ``a unified position against the government's threats to carry military operations in the region. We vow to consolidate the security in our region.'' "
If that were true we would not be where we are at today.

Wrong Way in Iraq

"AS IRAQ MOVES toward a referendum on its new constitution just three weeks from now, many of its senior politicians readily concede that the charter is seriously flawed, and that its approval may worsen rather than alleviate the relentless violence. Leaders of neighboring Arab states and some Bush administration officials seem to share this view. Yet none of these officials or leaders has been willing or able to stop the political process from going forward. Some, like Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, speak hopefully of fixing the constitution by adding an annex between now and Oct. 15. Others, including senior Bush administration officials, more realistically look past the referendum to parliamentary elections at the end of the year. These, they hope, will produce a different and more representative group of Iraqis able to settle the many conflicts that the constitution leaves unresolved.

Faced with sinking domestic support, the Bush administration seems driven by an unwise zeal to produce visible results in Iraq -- such as a ratified constitution -- however problematic they may be. At best, administration policymakers are calculating that moving forward with the referendum offers better odds of eventual success than trying to stop and start over. Yet, judging from what even supportive Iraqis are saying, the risk is very great that the constitutional process will either tip Iraq decisively toward civil war or produce a state far from the goal of a tolerant democracy for which nearly 2,000 Americans have given their lives."

Iran hits back at Saudi Arabia over Iraq remarks

"Tehran, Iran, Sep. 24 – Iran reacted harshly to comments by Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister who had criticised the United States of employing an incorrect strategy in Iraq which led to Iranian domination over the neighbouring country.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said during a visit to New York earlier this week that U.S. policy had deepened sectarianism in Iraq to the extend it was effectively handing over the country to Iran.

Iran’s semi-official daily, Jomhouri Islami, blasted al-Faisal’s comments on Saturday as a form of “meddling” in the internal affairs of Iraq.

“The remarks last week by Saud al-Faisal saying that America’s incorrect policies in Iraq could in the future hand over this country to Iran have had a lot of coverage in Western and Arab media”, the hard-line daily wrote.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Saturday that the statement by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal implicating Iran in unrest in Iraq was surprising and illogical."
Iran Focus

U.S. Hails IAEA Decision on Iran Referral

"VIENNA, Austria (AP) - The U.N. atomic watchdog agency Saturday put Iran just one step away from referral to the Security Council unless Tehran eases suspicions about its nuclear activities in coming months - a move the United States has been pushing for years.

The chief U.S. delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency hailed the decision, describing it as a wake-up call for Tehran "to come clean" or face the consequences.

But his Iranian counterpart blasted the approval of the resolution and warned of retaliation. Tehran maintains its nuclear program is for generating electricity."

Israel Launches Airstrikes Against Hamas

"GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israel launched a "crushing" retaliation Saturday against Hamas in Gaza with deadly airstrikes, troops massed at the border and a planned ground incursion after militants fired 35 rockets at Israeli towns - their first major attack since the Gaza pullout.

The escalation threatened to derail a shaky seven-month-old truce and quashed hopes that Israel's ceding the coastal strip to the Palestinians would invigorate peacemaking. Israel's reprisals drew fresh Hamas threats of vengeance. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas came under growing Israeli pressure to confront the militants."

Korean online newspaper enlists army of 'citizen reporters'

"Seoul -- The staff at OhmyNews fills only two floors of a small office building in downtown Seoul, but it edits stories from thousands of "citizen reporters" across South Korea.

The 150 or so stories posted on the site each day range from breaking news about huge protests to sophisticated political analysis, from hit pieces to tales of the daily ups and downs of people who feel ignored by established media.

OhmyNews readers can offer instant feedback online and -- if they really like a piece -- monetary tips. Readers poured nearly 30 million won ($30,000) into columnist Kim Young Ok's account in increments of $10 or less in one week after he criticized the constitutional court of South Korea last year."

4 Assyrians Killed in Assassination Attempt on Former Iraq Assyrian Minister

"Baghdad (AINA) — Four Assyrian men were killed and another wounded yesterday when their vehicle was fired upon by unknown assailants. The men were bodyguards for Pascale Warda Esho, also an Assyrian and Iraq’s former Minister of Immigration and Refugees, and were on their way to collect Mrs. Esho.

The minister was not present at the time of the attack and is unharmed. The killed and wounded were members of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, the main Assyrian political party in Iraq."

Human Rights group alleges Iraq prisoner abuse

"WASHINGTON (AFP) - Troops from the army's elite 82nd Airborne Division routinely beat and mistreated Iraqi prisoners at a base near Fallujah in central Iraq with the approval of their superior officers, a New York-based human rights group said.

Human Rights Watch said three soldiers -- two sergeants and a captain who were not identified by name -- provided the accounts of abuse, which they said occurred at Forward Operating Base Mercury near Fallujah from September 2003 through April 2004.

They alleged that a sergeant broke one prisoner's leg with a metal baseball bat. Others were made to hold five-gallon (19-liter) jugs of water with their arms outstretched, according to the report.

Detainees, known as PUCs or "persons under control," were subjected to stress positions, extremes of hot and cold, sleep deprivation, denied food and water and were piled in human pyramids, the report said.

The abuse was meted out as part of military intelligence interrogations or merely to "relieve stress" of troops, the report said.

"Everyone in camp knew if you wanted to work out your frustration you show up at the PUC tent. In a way it was sport," a sergeant is quoted as saying.

"One day (a sergeant) shows up and tells a PUC to grab a pole. He told him to bend over and broke the guys leg with a mini Louisville Slugger, a metal bat," he said.

The soldiers were from the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st battalion 504th parachute regiment.

"The accounts here suggest that the mistreatment of prisoners by the US military is even more widespread than has been acknowledged to date, including among troops belonging to some of the best trained, most decorated and highly respected units in the US Army," the report said."
H/T Jason gives the other point of view, updates and links for further reading

Malaysian Power Supply, Housing Among Sectors To Invest In Kurdistan

"KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) - Power supply and housing are among the sectors that offer vast potential for foreign investors to tap in Kurdistan, in northern Iraq.

Prime minister, Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq Omer Fatah Hussein said that foreign investors are welcomed to invest in all sectors, especially housing as most of the houses had been destroyed during the previous government's ruling.

"Kurdistan is quite stable in terms of security and economic activities compared to other parts of Iraq. Benefits like land (for development) as well as security will be provided by Kurdistan for the foreign investors," he said.

He said that Kurdistan is rich in natural resources like oil and gas, mineral, cement and marble, which are waiting to be tapped, however the region did not have the technology to take advantage of these resources."
The Kurdistani

Azzaman: More than half of Iraqis reject certain articles in constitution

"Baghdad (Azzaman) By Nidhal Al-Mawsawi - Iraqis in Baghdad are unhappy with the paragraphs related to civil status and women’s standing in the society in the controversial draft constitution, a survey by an independent group has found.

Over 500 people from various backgrounds were questioned in the study by Nida al-Hurriya Center.

“57% of those questioned stand against the paragraphs on civil status under which family affairs should be organized and settled in the light of religious courts by the country’s various sects and religions,” the center said.

The study was conducted inside Baghdad, a city of more than five million people where Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites and many Kurds live.

The aim of the study was mainly to see Iraqis’ reaction to the civil status rules in the draft constitution which is to be put before a referendum on October 15.

If more than 50% of eligible voters across Iraq or in only three provinces turn the constitution down, it will never have the force of law. “The target of the study was to see what the people in Baghdad think of the role of women in the constitution,” the center said in a fax to the newspaper.

The constitution gives clerics from various religious sects a big say in family affairs like marriage, divorce and inheritance to apply strict Islamic rules in this regard. The country’s civil status laws under former leader Saddam Hussein were generally secular in character and among the most advanced in the Middle East.

The study has revealed that only 28% of Iraqis support the constitution with regard to the role of women. The majority of respondents think Iraqi women should be given a “much bigger role” in political life.

Only 26% stood against allowing women to assume high-ranking posts in the state and government. The battle for the controversial constitution is a decisive one in the violence-torn country."
The Kurdisani

Blogging, constitution, elections and an "IPDP" update...

"Now I'll stop whining and let's go back to Iraq and its politics…
I'll try to divide the subject into two parts, that will be the a)constitution b)the December elections.
Since drafting the constitution has ended some time ago, different trends are now trying to publicize their take on the constitution and to convince more people to take a decision to vote in a way that serves what these parties and trends want to see.

What is noticeable now is that no clear majority can be said to be on either side and although the draft was written and agreed upon by the largest two blocs in the National Assembly, followers and supporters of these blocs do not seem equally willing to vote with 'yes'.
And while no opposition to the constitution is coming from the Kurdish people, the division is more pronounced in the Sheat population as there's a sizeable percentage that opposed the federal state."

Australia to withdraw Samawah force

"THE Federal Government has distanced itself from reports it has told Japan it will withdraw Australian troops protecting Japanese military engineers in southern Iraq by May next year.

Japan's Kyodo news agency today reported Japanese government sources had said Australia and Britain had informed them they planned to pull out of the southern Iraqi city of Samawah, where Japanese forces are involved in humanitarian and reconstruction work, by May.
It said Tokyo would look at pulling out its troops in line with the Australian and British moves.

Australia has not given a definite timetable for withdrawal, however when the Government deployed 450 troops to the region earlier this year to protect Japanese personnel it said the initial deployment would be for 12 months.

Defence Minister Robert Hill is currently overseas and his spokesman could not confirm the Japanese report.

However, he said a withdrawal in May next year was in line with the Government's commitment."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Georgia governor asks state's schools to close to save gas

"(Atlanta, Georgia-AP) Sept. 23, 2005 - Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue Friday asked the state's schools to take two "early snow days" and cancel classes Monday and Tuesday to help conserve gasoline as Hurricane Rita threatens the nation's fuel supply line.

If all of Georgia's schools close, the governor estimated about 250,000 gallons of diesel fuel would be saved each day by keeping buses off the road.

Perdue also said an undetermined amount of regular gasoline also would be saved by allowing teachers, other school staff and some parents to stay home. He says electricity also would be conserved by keeping the schools closed."
Could he make it a work holiday too? What they need are some hybrid busses, so they can save fuel all year long.

Draft Constitution - Part II

"Warning: Loooong post.

The final version (Version 3.0) of the Iraqi draft constitution was finally submitted to the UN about ten days ago. It was published in English in the New York Times on the 15th of September.

I blogged about some of the articles in the first two chapters last week, so I’ll jump right to Chapter Three: The Federal Authorities. The first notable difference between the final version of the constitution published in the New York Times and the Arabic version published in Al-Sabah is in article (47) under chapter three which sets down the general conditions for the ‘Council of Representatives’. In the Arabic version, there 6 conditions, while in the English one there are only five.

The condition that isn’t in the English version is the one mentioning that women should make up 25% of the members of the Council of Representatives.

Article (47):

4- Voting laws aspire to achieve women’s representation on the Council of Representatives of a ratio of not less than a quarter.

Previously, when rights groups complained that the draft did not go far enough in ensuring that women's rights were preserved and protected from an Iranian style theocracy, supporters of the draft would point to the above clause and say "see, women's rights ARE protected".

Upon reading the Arabic version of the constitution, that is not necessarily true - the key word in this phrasing is "aspire". This translates accordingly: it isn't mandatory to have 25% women on the council-it is an aspiration, like many of the noble aspirations set down on paper by our esteemed Puppet government."
Burning Baghdad
She's back. Summer must be officially over.

Two U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq Fighting

"BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Heavy fighting surged Friday in the Euphrates River city of Ramadi, police and hospital officials said, and the U.S. military reported the deaths of two more soldiers around the militant stronghold, scene of nearly one-quarter of 29 American deaths this month....

...The U.S. military declined to say if it was conducting a large offensive against Ramadi, but police and residents have reported heavy fighting there during the past week. Seven service members have died in or near the city since Sept. 1."

Blast at Gaza Rally Kills 15, Injures 80

"JEBALIYA, Gaza Strip (AP) - A truck filled with masked militants and homemade weapons exploded at a Hamas rally Friday, killing at least 15 Palestinians and wounding 80 - including children - bringing a grisly and terrifying end to one of the last gatherings by armed groups celebrating Israel's Gaza pullout.

The blast sent a huge cloud of white smoke over the mass festivities, a sea of green Hamas flags and thousands of people gathered at Jebaliya, a Palestinian refugee camp that was the scene of harsh fighting between militants and Israeli soldiers during the past five years of violence."
If you play with fire...

Ex-Blair envoy gives Iraq warning

"The UK and US may have to abandon Iraq if central government breaks down and the country is engulfed by chaos, Tony Blair's former special envoy has said.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock said a pullout from Iraq might be needed if the US and UK had no "reasonable prospect of holding it together".

But he said he did not think this had happened yet."
We could always pull back to Kurdistan and let the other two side fight it out till they're tired of it. Not something I recommend or anything. But you have to keep you chips on the best bet.

Tears, anger as many poor are stuck

"Skinner, accompanied by her 6-year-old grandson, Dageneral Bellard, would settle for a bus.

"They got them for the outlying areas, for the Gulf and Galveston, but they ain't made no preparations for us in the city, for the poor people here. There ain't no (evacuation) buses here. I got nowhere to go." "
Right now Hannity was on the radio talking about the perfect evacuation? What universe are they on over at Fox?


"Fri Sep 23 2005 14:01:11 ET

ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ The Pakistani military officers battling al Qaeda along the border with Afghanistan who have the latest first-hand information about Osama bin Laden believe he is hiding with a small cadre in Afghanistan and is no longer an effective leader for the terrorist group.Ê Steve KroftÕs report from Pakistan will be broadcast on the 38th season premiere of 60 MINUTES Sunday, Sept. 25 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS television Network. Ê

ÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊÊ ÒI think now [bin Laden] is being protected or assisted by a very short number, which keeps his profile very low,Ó the counter-terrorism head of PakistanÕs Intelligence Service, ISI, tells Kroft.ÊÊ [He is someplace along the border, probably in Afghanistan] is what my assessment says,Ó opines the brigadier who goes by the name ÒAliÓ and whose true identity is known by only a few government officials. Ê"
I don't believe it, yet, because we just got the good news from Kurdistan, and what are the chances of two pieces of good new in the same day, add to that Rita is down to a cat 3. Something has to give.

Kurdistan Airlines launches direct flights from Europe

"London (KDC) by Mia Early – This week saw the inaugural, direct flight by Kurdistan Airlines from Frankfurt to Erbil International Airport, the capital of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

Dr Reshad Omer, Deputy Minister for Transport and Communication, Kurdistan Regional Government said, “We are delighted to announce that a weekly flight will connect Erbil International Airport with Frankfurt, the first of many planned destinations in Europe. Should demand increase as we expect, flights will become much more frequent.”"
The Kurdistani
I have said it before. The Kurds are going to take over the place.
Hail Kurdistan, and it's people.
What I want to know is when are they going to fly into Miami?