Interviews with & Writings by Antiwar GIs & Vets

NOTE: Information regarding the WMD lies and other matters directly related to the prior stage of the war is available at Iraq Antiwar Resources. Also there are antiwar songs, poetry, video, statements of famous people, and much more.

March, 2005

The Occupation

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Juan Cole reports that the parliamentary situation is very bad, with potentially irreconcilable conflicts: Shahristani Denounces ex-Baath Sunnis in Parliament.

It may take weeks more: Iraq's Leaders Seek Way Out of Deadlock on Govt.

Must Read! Irrefutable evidence that Gen. Sanchez committed perjury when testifying before Congress: The filthy Sanchez. See his May 19, 2004 testimony: Senate Hearing on Iraq Prison Abuse. See also the ACLU press release: Interrogation Techniques Approved by Lieutenant General Sanchez Included Intimidation by Dogs, Stress Positions, Sensory Deprivation and compare with his testimony below.

REED: General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison. Is that correct?
Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year.
REED: Excuse me. Because I want to get back to this. It may be correct that you ordered those methods used against a prisoner. Is that your answer?
SANCHEZ: No, sir, that's not what I said. I said it may be correct...
REED: Well, I didn't hear; that's why I want...
SANCHEZ: ... that it's printed in an article, but I have never approved the use of any of those methods within CJTF-7 in the 12.5 months that I've been in Iraq.
REED: What level of command produced this slide?
SANCHEZ: Sir, my understanding is that that was produced at the company commander level.
REED: How could the company commander evolve such a specific list? How could the company commander then turn around and said some of these things would require your permission without any interaction between your command? It seems to me just difficult to understand.
SANCHEZ: Sir, it's difficult for me to understand it. You have to ask the commander.

Iraq suspends wheat deal with Australia.

Child malnutrition doubling: Expert: Malnutrition affects Iraq kids.

By last fall, 7.7 percent of Iraqi children under 5 suffered acute malnutrition, compared to 4 percent after Saddam's ouster in April 2003, said Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food.

More details on the UN report on Iraq's election: Iraq's Election Still Under Review.

Expatriate discuss their return: Dubai-Iraq ferry sails on a tide of wonder.

Newsweek interviews U.S. Army Pfc. Jeremy Hinzman: ‘An Illegal, Immoral Order’: An American soldier explains why he is refusing to fight in Iraq

Human Rights First reports: Number of Prisoners Held by US in Iraq Doubled in 5 Months. See full report: Behind the Wire.

When they return: High unemployment rate plagues Guard returnees.

Tanks take a beating in Iraq.

The M-1 Abrams tank, designed during the Cold War to withstand the fiercest blows from the best Soviet tanks, is getting knocked out at surprising rates by the low-tech bombs and rocket-propelled grenades of Iraqi insurgents.... [S]ince the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, with tanks in daily combat against the unexpectedly fierce insurgency, the Army says 80 of the 69-ton behemoths have been damaged so badly they had to be shipped back to the United States.

Democracy Now! Exclusive: Halliburton Employee Says He Was Gang-Beaten By Co-Workers at Baghdad Airport.

Juan Cole on the parliament fiasco: Parliament Fiasco.

As we always knew, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez authorized the use of torture in Iraq: General approved extreme interrogation methods.

A memo signed by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez authorised 29 interrogation techniques, including 12 that exceeded limits in the army's own field manual and four that it admitted risked falling foul of international law, the Geneva conventions or accepted standards on the humane treatment of prisoners....
"The memo clearly establishes that Gen Sanchez authorised unlawful interrogation techniques for use in Iraq, and, in particular, these techniques violate the Geneva conventions and the army's own field manual governing interrogations," ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said in a statement. "He and other high-ranking officials who bear responsibility for the widespread abuse of detainees must be held accountable."

Business as usual: Iraq school repairs plagued by corruption.

"Haramia," or "thieves," is the new name given to local contractors who receive money to fix up schools, then allegedly do such a poor job that they can put most of the money in their pockets.... In one case, contractors actually stole light fixtures from the school instead of painting, replacing doors, or doing anything else called for in fix-up plans, said a school teacher who declined to be named. At another school, a man who would identify himself only as Mohammed said contractors threatened him and the principal with death if they did not sign a paper saying shoddy work had been done adequately....
"The [Sadr City] advisory council told the Ministry of Education to stop because there is no transparency," Haidar said. "Then they tried to suspend the authority of our council, so we withdrew...."
Those on the Sadr City board complain that they have made lists of schools that desperately need help, but contractors work on schools that have already been renovated. Open sewage lines need to be covered at schools on the advisory board list, but the ministry of education instead has painted the same building more than once, said Abbas Ali, a member of the advisory council.

Two months after election, the neocolonial Transitional Administrative Law still leads to stalemate and heightened tension: Iraqi parliament in uproar over stalemate.

Yet another division in Iraqi society: Distrust divides Iraq’s doctors and soldiers.

Yarmouk Hospital doctors say soldiers sometimes accuse them of sympathizing with insurgents and slipping them information about the soldiers’ movements and numbers. Iraqi soldiers resent the fact that physicians are treating all patients — soldiers and insurgents alike, the doctors say.

Families claim: "Syrian agents" confessions forced by U.S. and Iraq.

US admits killing Arab journalists in Iraq.

Mixed accounts of Sunni participation in new government: Sunnis hold first full talks with new Iraq coalition. But: Sunni Leader Insists on Timetable for U.S. Withdrawal

Giuliana Sgrena told Naomi Klein that much of the US account of her shooting is false. They were NOT on the usual access road to the airport, but on a private secure road straight out of the Green Zone. Further, they were shot from the back, meaning they could not have been a threat. They were shot by a tank. No wonder, the US has refused to let Italian investigators examine the car: Naomi Klein Reveals New Details About U.S. Military Shooting of Italian War Correspondent in Iraq.

Jockeying for position: Liberals hit back at Iraq's new Islamists: Secular groups try to stop prime ministerial candidate with suspected links to Iran, as political gridlock worsens.

We don't interfere, but: US has reservations over some ministerial candidates.

The last days of freedom? Female students in fear as Shias push for headscarves.

It's 1984 in Fallujah: Tracking the enemy with the BAT of an eye.

Journalist arrested with film from concentration damp Fallujah: Al-Arabia correspondent detained with Falluja films.

Two months later, when no one's paying attention: UN Reports Irregularities in Iraq Elections.

Figurehead role declined: Al-Yawir declines speaker post.

Moqtada al-Sadr: Radical Iraqi cleric's follower calls for million-strong anti-US demo.

"Passing laws that contradict Islam will be tantamount to treason to the marajaiya (religious authority) and not insisting on a timetable for an end to the occupation is even greater treason," said Sheikh Nasser al-Saedi in his sermon at the Grand Mosque in Kufa, south of Baghdad.

Demonstrators are either targets for terrorists, or are aiding them: raq Official Discourages Demonstrations.

Peace, or civil war and both possibilities: Sunnis' exclusion from political process stokes fears of civil war.

While Sunnis make up some 20 percent of Iraq's population, they comprise most of its bureaucratic, technological and military elite, largely because of favoritism by Saddam. "Our presence and representation in the next government is an important and necessary thing to stabilize this country," said Hassan al Hashimy, an official with the Iraqi Islamic Party, a main Sunni group.

Killing and dying epidemic: Iraq embroiled in grisly epidemic beyond insurgency.

Getting ready for the real spoils: Companies champ at Iraqi oil bits.

Ibrahim Mohammed, a former geologist and London-based consultant, says that Baghdad oil ministry staff expects the major U.S. companies to win the lion's share. "Among people who are high up in the ministry of oil and the national Iraqi oil company," Mohammed said, the feeling is that "the new government is going to be influenced by the United States."

Government kills its workers: Iraqis fire on protesters, killing one. Other reports say 4 killed: Four protestors, suicide bomber die, 53 terror suspects arrested in Iraq.

Nightmare for Bush. Huge demonstration for democracy in Bahrain, a typical autocratic US ally. Will Mr. Democracy support it there? If not, how will he explain it to people in the Middle East? Massive Protest in Bahrain.

Torture an murder at US prison in Mosul. No one punished, as the treatment was routine: U.S. Troops Tortured Iraqis in Mosul, Documents Show. Similar kneeing prisoners was taught in army courses as "compliance blows" resulting in murders in Afghanistan: Reservist: Knee blows that killed 2 detainees were approved.

Speaker, but no President of PM: Iraq parliament to reconvene.

Life for US troops in Iraq. Death around every corner and a little piece of home: At the Front: In Iraq, where danger is a constant, bases offer troops a taste of home.

In Iraq, there is the "fob" — the forward operating base — and there is life outside the fob. A soldier's existence in Iraq is defined by the fob, and by the concertina wire that marks its boundaries....
This is a war without a front but with plenty of rear. Many soldiers spend a year in Iraq without ever leaving their fortified bases. Others may never meet an Iraqi, much less kill one. A soldier may patrol for months without ever seeing the enemy, yet risk death or disfigurement at any moment.
At the flat, dusty airport fob called Liberty, there is a Burger King, a Subway sandwich shop and an Internet cafe. TV sets in mess halls and gyms blare basketball games or Fox News, the unofficial official news channel of the U.S. military. A sprawling PX sells CDs, DVDs, "Operation Iraqi Freedom" caps and T-shirts that read: "Who's Your Baghdaddy?" Every need — food, laundry, maid service — is attended to by a legion of imported workers from non-Muslim nations, mostly Indians, Filipinos and Nepalese....
For soldiers on patrol, every Iraqi is the enemy until proven otherwise. All Iraqis are known as "hadjis," for the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Often the terms "hadji" and "the enemy" are used interchangeably.... Soldiers on patrol say they find themselves bracing every few moments, anticipating an explosion. The stress saps their concentration, producing more stress when they realize they've lost their focus.

Reports US troops have raided several hospitals in Ramadi and elsewhere: Iraqi doctor: US troops storm hospital.

US turned Iraq into a "free-fraud zone": Follow the Money: Watchdogs are warning that corruption in Iraq is out of control. But will the United States join efforts to clamp down on it?

More than U.S. money is at stake. The administration has harshly criticized the United Nations over hundreds of millions stolen from the Oil-for-Food Program under Saddam. But the successor to Oil-for-Food created under the occupation, called the Development Fund for Iraq, could involve billions of potentially misused dollars. On Jan. 30, the former CPA's own inspector general, Stuart Bowen, concluded that occupation authorities accounted poorly for $8.8 billion in these Iraqi funds.... Yet now the Bush administration is either ignoring or stalling inquiries into the use of these Iraqi oil funds, according to reports by Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, and others.

Power workers demand an end to attacks on the power system: Iraq workers protest insurgent attacks.

A conference on the Fallujah attack in Baghdad condemns the attack: Iraqi Legal Calls for Trying Bush, Blair.

An American filmmaker goes to Fallujah: Diving Into falluja: To Hell and Back with Documentary-Maker Mark Manning.

Manning and Zarqa formed a plan: He would live life as an Iraqi in order to see the war as an Iraqi citizen would, and to tell America the story from the Iraqi point of view. To film openly would invite certain death, Zarqa warned him....
If you were a male between the ages of 14 and 50, you were considered a terrorist. Troops went into the hospital, dragged people out of their beds, and evicted them. The hospital was sealed. No one was allowed in during the four-month seige. If an ambulance went out to pick up the wounded, it was fired on,” Manning said....
Manning took specific exception to some of CNN’s coverage of the elections. “They showed a long line of people in Falluja waiting to vote, but it wasn’t a voting line. It was the checkpoint line, people waiting to get into the city.” While in Falluja, he said he only encountered other reporters once. It was an embedded CNN crew. “They came in with two Apaches, four Bradleys, and eight Humvees. They sealed off the block. Then they brought in a tank and soldiers who tossed candy to the kids. Then eight guys dressed in orange jumpsuits got out and started sweeping the streets,” he said. “It was a staged event.”

After two years of "liberation": Battered by war and chaos, once-beautiful Baghdad becomes an eyesore.

Things have gotten so bad that the Iraqi capital has dropped to the bottom of a quality of life survey of 215 cities, conducted by the London-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Support Our Troops? Air Force rape victim punished: Air Force member receives bad-conduct discharge.

Sunni Powers Oppose Federalism in Western Iraq.

Still jockeying: Forming Iraq's government could take another week, fighting rips Fallujah.

The real danger: Lack of future called big threat in Mideast.

Another day, another lie: Top U.S. officials approved detainees “ghosting”.

U.S. to Probe Iraq Scientist's Death in US custody. [A few more "bad apples will get screwed.]

New development in murder cover-up: US bars Italians from examining victim’s car.

Even laughing is dangerous: Latest casualties in Iraq: Ethnic jokes.

Perhaps the first politician to experience any effects of Iraq invasion: State Rep. Windle injured in Iraq.

US bullied Spanish troops in Iraq, and sent special forces to arrest al-Sadr representative in Najaf against Spanish wishes and without notifying them. No wonder the Spanish ran for the exit: Commanders bicker in Iraq.

As the Spaniards had warned, the arrest, said El Pais, sparked "the bloodiest battle the Spanish troops were involved in during their turbulent mission...." With the arrest of al Yaqubi -- considered a moderate in al Sadr's organization -- the Spaniards lost a useful go-between to the radical cleric.... When the Spanish commanders demanded an explanation for arresting al Yaqubi without warning, the U.S. response was that the proper procedures had been followed....
[As they did elsewhere, the US wanted to level a hospital, ignoring the massive civilian casualties it would cause:] El Pais also describes another clash of wills over the Najaf hospital where guerrilla snipers had take up positions. U.S. military personnel in the area wanted to call in American air cover to bomb the hospital. Col Asarta rejected the idea because it would put civilian patients and staff at risk -- and it was the biggest hospital in Najaf.

Dividing the spoils: Iraq Sticks to Quota System in Forming Government. And: Sunnis now want to join Iraq politics. Additionally: Oil squabbles stop Iraq government.

Still squabbling over Kirkuk and the role of Turkmen: Shiite leader prioritizes council decision on Kirkuk.

Scott Ritter elaborates on his claims the Americans manipulated the Iraq election: Hijacking Democracy in Iraq.

Behind for February, March, and April: Army Likely Won't Meet Recruiting Goals.

Must Read! Islamic fascists affiliated with al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army, aided by the police, murder picnickers in Basra: Death at 'immoral' picnic in the park. Not reported here is that students at Basra University are on strike to protest this brutality and the invasion of the university by the Sadr forces trying to impose their version of Islamic morality by force.

One brought a video camera to record the sinful spectacle of the picnic, footage of which was later released to the public as a warning to others. It showed images of one girl struggling as a gunman ripped her blouse off, leaving her half-naked. “We will send these pictures to your parents so they can see how you were dancing naked with men,” a gunman told her. Two students who went to her aid were shot — one in the leg, the other twice in the stomach. The latter was said to have died of his injuries. Fellow students say that the girl later committed suicide. Another girl who was severely beaten around the head lost her sight.
Far from disavowing the attack, senior al-Sadr loyalists said that they had a duty to stop the students’ “dancing, sexy dress and corruption”. “We beat them because we are authorised by Allah to do so and that is our duty,” Sheik Ahmed al-Basri said after the attack. “It is we who should deal with such disobedience and not the police.”

A view of prison Fallujah: Fallujah: From insurgent stronghold to `safest city in Iraq'.

US wants Iran to give up effective defense, with no promise US won't then attack: US rules out Iran security pledge.

Robert Fisk: Iraqi Invasion Reverberates Across The Middle East.

US pushes for retention ex-Baath forces in the police and military, while many Shiites want mass purges: Many Shiites may seek purge of Baathists.

They appear to have cut a deal: Iraq parliament says it will convene Saturday. And: Division of Iraq's ministries finalised.

[Division:] The Shias will take 16 to 17 ministries in the next government, the Kurds will hold seven to eight ministries, and the country's Sunni minority will be awarded four to six ministries, Shia negotiator Mariam Rais said.... The Shias will take the interior and finance ministries, along with the cabinet post of national security adviser.... [T]he Kurds - the second largest block in parliament - will receive seven to eight ministries, including the foreign ministry and probably oil.

Iraq doesn't pay US firm who doesn't deliver. Seems at least some change from the CPA days: Iraq government stops $19M payment to Raytheon.

New Pentagon strategic doctrine declares those who advocate support for international law are enemies, described in the same sentence as "terrorists": Pentagon Reaffirms Globocop Role.

"Our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism."

Iraq divided with fearful winners and resentful losers: Post-war Iraq better or worse, depending on who you are.

Iraq pushes neocons to support development of alternatives to oil: Iraq invasion may be remembered as start of the age of oil scarcity: Production tumbles in post-Hussein era as more countries vie for shrinking supplies.

"More and more people are realizing that the real story of Iraq, and more generally after 9/11, is our vulnerability as a nation to our dependence on imported foreign oil," said Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.

The boss complains: Iraq’s Sistani unhappy with government delay.

Women, the big losers: Focus on threats against progressive women.

Obeying the law is just too difficult for them: CIA probed for spying in U.S., failing to share intelligence with FBI.

Female GIs suffering PTSD at higher rate than men: Female GIs hard hit by war syndrome.

These female troops appear more prone to post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, than their male counterparts. And studies indicate that many of these women suffer from more pronounced and debilitating forms of PTSD than men....
According to Schnurr, data indicate that female military personnel are far more likely than their male counterparts to have been exposed to some kind of trauma or multiple traumas before joining the military or being deployed in combat. That may include physical assault, sexual abuse or rape. "The speculation is that many of them are joining the military to get away from adverse environments...."
Her findings were stark: Troops who had killed - or believed they had killed - suffered significantly higher rates of PTSD than those who had not. "It is very clear that being shot at is traumatic, or losing your buddy is traumatic, but the act of shooting and killing another human being, something that goes against every instinct we have, is the biggest trauma of all," said MacNair, who calls this kind of PTSD "perpetration-induced traumatic stress...."
S.L.A. Marshall, one of the earlier official Army historians, estimated after studying World War II veterans that only 15 percent had fired their weapons during battle. He asserted from his interviews with soldiers that their failure in battle was because they were more afraid of killing than of being killed. Other studies show that even the most poorly treated prisoners of war had lower rates of PTSD than front-line soldiers because the prisoners no longer were in a position where they had to kill.... "It all adds up," said MacNair, "but the act of having killed does seem to be the factor that tips the scales in favor of PTSD...."
A Defense Department study of combat troops returning from Iraq found that soldiers and Marines deeply suffering from PTSD and readjustment problems were not likely to seek help because of the stigma such an act might carry. In the study, 1 in 6 veterans acknowledged symptoms of severe depression and PTSD, but 6 in 10 of those same veterans feared their commanders and fellow troops would treat them differently and lose confidence in them if they sought treatment for their problems. [Are these soldiers more likely to abuse Iraqi's?]

US developing ultimate weapons of mass torture: Weapons of excruciating pain have the ethicists up in arms.

Iraqi PM-designate says Sharia to rule domestic matters: Iraq's Jaafari aims for Sharia rule. See Juan Cole's comments: Jaafari: Iraq headed toward Religious Law .

Death for Iraqi women who do not conform is increasing: Rebels kill Iraqi women as ‘betrayers’ of Islam.

Iraqi-Jordanian tensions heat up: Two Jordanian students killed in Iraq, Jordan''s diplomat leaves for Amman.

Evidently the Red Sox jet is being used to fly prisoners for torture: Jet's Travels Cloaked in Mystery.

An interesting account of the rather odd Mujahedin Khalq Iranian opposition militia in exile in Iraq: Tending an Oasis of Uprising.

Occupation through one bookseller's eyes: Two Years of War: Taking Stock.

Murder, Inc. Private security firms join US military at killing at random: Shoot first, pay later culture pervades Iraq.

Scenes such as this, witnessed by FT correspondent Awadh al-Taee on January 23, repeats itself time and again across Iraq. This Baghdad neighbourhood of Kerrada alone, according to local police, sees one fatal shooting a week by either private security companies or the military....
[In the Iraqi colony:] In such incidents, the victims have little legal recourse. According to the coalition's Order 17, enacted by US administrators shortly after the invasion, military personnel and most private contractors working in Iraq cannot be brought before Iraqi courts.... It's a zero-sum situation: either Iraqis, or foreigners, can have their right to personal security guaranteed by law, and for the time being the authorities have decided that it should be the foreigners....
The US military's standard payout is $2,500 - about two days' pay for a western ex-military security man, or two years' wages for a mid-level Iraqi civil servant. Many security companies (although not necessarily John's) use this as a base. "This is the price of an Iraqi citizen," snorted one Kerrada policeman in disgust.
However, while Iraqis resign themselves to the tribal system of arbitration in the absence of a functioning judicial system, when foreigners get involved the process can become insulting. Tribal arbitration sessions are meetings of equals, often held in bedouin-style tents with all the pomp and circumstance of traditional Iraqi society. For a relative of an Iraqi shot by a foreigner to even find out whom to contact for compensation, he must often stand for hours outside the barbed wire of bases and police stations, endure intense questioning and weapons pat-downs. When the money is paid, it seems more like a token payout to make a problem go away.
Two thousand five hundred dollars," said a relative of the deceased Mr Dulaimi derisively. "Twenty-five million would not pay for a hair of his head. I have experience in fighting, and my friends have offered to fight with me. God willing, we will make an example of them."

In another routine incident, death penalty for being in the way of an occupation tank: US military truck crushes civilian car, killing three Iraqis.

"A convoy of US military trucks was heading toward Kirkuk at about 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) on Friday, when one of its trucks ran over a civilian car coming from the other side, killing three people aboard," a source in Tikrit police told Xinhua.

Is it neocolonialism at work? Iraq's transitional law under attack.

War anytime they want [on the pretest of a threat] now official US policy, as US declares rogue nation status in violation of international law: Policy OKs First Strike to Protect US. But, perhaps a silver lining for the world. They may not be able to fight all those wars they desire: Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military .

In its relentless drive to restore law and order: US frees Iraqi kidnappers so they can spy on insurgents.

"The Americans are allowing the breakdown of Iraqi society because they are only interested in fighting the insurgency," said a senior Iraqi police officer. "We are dealing with an epidemic of kidnapping, extortion and violent crime, but even though we know the Americans monitor calls on mobiles and satellite phones, which are often used in ransom negotiations, they will not pass on any criminal intelligence to us. They only want to use the information against insurgents." An Iraqi government source confirmed that criminal suspects were often released if they agreed to inform on insurgents, despite the dangers to ordinary Iraqis. The Iraqi middle class has been heavily targeted by kidnappers since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Many doctors, a favourite target, and businessmen have fled to Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The police admit that they have been unable to do anything to stop the wave of abductions.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW): Statement on the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.

Negotiations continue: Kurds, Shiites make headway in forming new Iraq government.

First payment to rebuild what was destroyed: Iraqi government directs US$100 million to Fallujah.

Greg Palast: Secret U.S. Plans For Iraq's Oil.

This reports presents quite a different view than that in the mainstream US press of Monday's massive demonstration in Lebanon: Lebanon seaches for the truth - American pundits spin Iraq.

By all accounts, this was a day that will go down in Lebanese history. It will be a lesson taught to every Lebanese child for generations to come. This will be the story of how the Lebanese came together and developed a consensus on what path to follow now that the Syrians are leaving. Far from being an anti-Syrian march - it was a post-Syrian rally to determine the shape of the new Lebanon. It was not meant to be a show of force by one faction against another - but a call to unity and common purpose.

The fool makes a fool of himself: Berlusconi under fire at home after Iraq withdrawal climbdown.

Opposition leader Romano Prodi said Berlusconi had been ignominiously "called to order" by Bush.

Somewhat questionable: Key Economic Indicators for Iraq. Given that the unemployment rate is considerably lower than other estimates, I'd be skeptical regarding the accuracy of these statistics.

Gangbusters didn't work: Mired down in Iraq, US military changes war strategy.

US forces release Iraqi tribal leaders who refused to give up insurgents.

You'll now have eight years to regret a rash decision: US Army seeks longer enlistments as recruitment falters.

Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams visit Falluja: The One Percenters.

Iraqi troops fighting their own war: Two years after war, U.S. troops stuck in Iraq training local troops.

When Iraqi and American soldiers detained a suspected Sunni insurgent in Haifa this week, a group of the Shiite troops crowded around him. A sergeant kicked him in the face. Another soldier grabbed him by the neck and slammed his head into a wall. A third slapped him hard in the face. Ali Abdul Mohsen, a 22-year-old Shiite, pointed his AK-47 at the man and screamed, his eyes bulging, "You will confess or I swear to God I will shoot you here." Most of the Iraqi soldiers nearby smiled in approval. "This is revenge for everyone who has been killed," Mohsen said. An American soldier looked over and saw what was happening. "Hey, tell them to knock that shit off," he yelled. The interpreter nodded that he would. Then he shouted in Arabic at the detainee, "If you come with us, we will slaughter you...."
The problem is that some of the guys in power are carrying out family vendettas," Ballanco said. "We think they're arresting people from competing families."

Parliament meets, interpretations differ: Rifts close as new Iraqi parliament meets, or: Iraq assembly meets but minds do not. Meanwhile: Jaafari: New Iraqi government within two weeks.

Some think al-Sistani may play a larger role in politics than has been claimed: Sistani at forefront of Iraq constitution.

More problems in the political jockeying: Iraq's Sunni lawmakers threaten to quit parliament over power disputes.

The four Sunni lawmakers were quoted as saying they would withdraw from the assembly if it chooses Sheikh Fawaz al-Jarba, a Sunni Arab within the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, as the speaker of the parliament.

Afghanistan the model: Myers: U.S. Weighs Long-Term Afghan Bases.

Wholesale murder, but no one (of any importance) is to blame: 108 Died In U.S. Custody.

At least 108 people have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, most of them violently, according to government data provided to The Associated Press. Roughly a quarter of those deaths have been investigated as possible abuse by U.S. personnel.

Transparency International warns: Iraq reconstruction 'rife with corruption'.Read annual TI report: A world built on bribes? Corruption in construction bankrupts countries and costs lives, says TI report [Press Release] and: Global Corruption Report 2005 [Full Reports, WEB SITE NOT QUITE READY AS OF 3-16, 7:30PM EDT].

"If urgent steps are not taken," the study concluded, "Iraq will not become the shining beacon of democracy envisioned by the Bush administration, it will become the biggest corruption scandal in history."

Danger everywhere: Roads out of Baghdad become no-go zones.

Why the US will try and hold out in Iraq, no matter what Iraqis want: Stocks take a beating: Crude at all-time high of $56.46; GM warning hits the Dow. Meanwhile, oil producer Venezuela tells US: Stop interfering, or else: Venezuela warns US of freeze in oil sales.

Another incompetent war criminal gets a promotion: World Bank Choice Is Magnet for Criticism. And: A look at some Wolfowitz comments on Iraq.

"We want to see a situation where power and responsibility is transferred as quickly as possible to the Iraqis themselves, with as much international assistance as possible. ... We have no desire to occupy Iraq. ...'' April 10, 2003.

More money for Halliburton and torturers not anonymous: House OKs $81.4 Billion on War Spending. Democratic Party says: "We're no different than the other guys."

By a 388-43 vote, the House gave President Bush most of the money he had requested, with strong support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Riverbend wants the Nobel Peace Prize to go to someone who really deserves it, rather than to Sistani, who doesn't: Chalabi for the Nobel Peace Prize...

At last parliament meets: Blasts Mar First Iraq Assembly Meeting.

Two more torture masters get promoted: Maj. Gen. Fast, former aide to Sanchez at Abu Ghraib, takes intelligence post.

Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, who served as chief of intelligence for Sanchez, will take command of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., on Wednesday.... Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez’s deputy commander in Iraq, has been given a position of greater responsibility as acting deputy commander of Army forces in Europe.

British intelligence agents were "appalled" at the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan as early as 2002:

Rogue nation that refuses to disarm, and is developing whole new classes of nuclear weapons, says other countries cannot exercise their legal right to create an independent nuclear power industry: Bush Seeks to Ban Some Nations From All Nuclear Technology.

Finished before the election: Pentagon 'hid' damning Halliburton audit.

In the most startling transaction, the company charged the Pentagon $27.5m to ship $82,100 worth of cooking and heating fuel to Iraq from Kuwait. That works out to 335 times the actual cost of the liquefied petroleum gas, a charge the Pentagon auditors said was "illogical".

Another day, another abuse report: Army documents raise fresh concerns of abuse by Navy SEALs.

Not wanting to be left out: Iraqi Sunnis to form committee to negotiate for government posts.

Among the first injured during the invasion: Children were our first casualties of Iraq war.

Iraqi general latest checkpoint casualty: US troops shoot dead Iraqi general.

An analysis of oil production by Marshall Auerback limits that suggests the world is in for quite a rough ride, sooner rather than later: The View from the Summit of Hubbert's Peak.

Clearly, it is not an overstatement to say humanity’s way of life is on a collision course with the basic facts of oil geology. The descent from the peak of Hubbert’s summit is likely to be far more painful than the ascent, yet few have offered anything in the way of serious contingency planning to deal with this oncoming problem. Of course, it is likely that over the longer term, the global economies might find the necessary resolve and unity of purpose to develop a new non-fossil fuel economy. But this is unlikely to occur in the absence of crisis first: More industries will likely be forced to the wall as a consequence of rising energy costs. Further environmental degradation is likely, as is mass starvation in some countries.... Abundant energy from fossil fuels was a one-time gift, as even the IEA is implicitly conceding today. No one has yet suggested a realistic and pain-free alternative.

Continued demolition of the coalition: Italy plans Iraq troop withdrawal; Bulgarian President: Parvanov Urges Cutting Bulgarian Troops in Iraq; and: Nations leaving Iraq amid anti-war gains.

A legacy of the war: home videos of Iraqis being blown to bits as entertainment: Extreme Cinema Verite: GIs shoot Iraq battle footage and edit it into music videos filled with death and destruction. And they display their work as entertainment.

After a newspaper article alleges a major bombing was carried out by a Jordanian: Iraqis Hold Anti-Jordanian Protests Over Bombing. But: Journalist arrested over Jordanian suicide bomber in Iraq story.

Thanks to occupation: Safety Survey: Luxembourg Tops, Baghdad Bottom. Would you want the army that brought this condition to you to stay and occupy your city?

British army treats soldiers like animals, sometimes killing them. Why would they treat the Iraqis any differently? Bullying officers treated recruits like animals, says MPs' report.

Lebanon in motion: 'Record' protest held in Beirut.

Nearly one million people gathered for an opposition rally in Beirut, officials say - a month after the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The demonstration surpassed recent pro-Syrian rallies and is thought to be the biggest in Lebanese history.

And Robert Fisk reports on new evidence of a cover-up in the Hariri assassination: UN finds evidence of official cover-up in Hariri assassination.

Oil companies pray for stability so they can start raking in the dough: Oil cos. watch hopefully on Iraq gov't.

Former oil company geologist Ibrahim Mohammed, who works as a London-based consultant in contact with Iraqi officials, says Baghdad oil ministry staff expect the major U.S. companies to win the lion's share.... He added: "This new government is not going to be Islamist and it's not going to be Communist, it's going to be pro-western, pro-United States. They'll make sure of it."

They can't do anything about the garbage. Would you trust them to run a government: With sewage everywhere after rains, Iraqis direct ire at government.

The wounds of war: This war walks among us: Most of the injured in Iraq are surviving, and their homecoming could undercut Bush.

Another article from the Christian Science Monitor on the government impasse: Iraq parties gridlocked over terms.

Kirkuk in contention: Kurds' Return to City Shakes Politics in Iraq.

Juan Cole analyzes the impasse in forming a government: Shiite-Kurdish Deal Collapses.

The artificial requirement of a 2/3s majority is producing this roadblock, which could derail democracy altogether. Countries sometimes don't get second chances, or at least not for a century....
The US spiked the Iraqi parliamentary process by putting in a provision that a government has to be formed with a 2/3s majority. This provision is a neo-colonial imposition on Iraq. The Iraqi public was never asked about it. And, it is predictably producing gridlock, as the UIA is forced to try to accommodate a party that should be in the opposition in the British system, the Kurdistan Alliance.
ikewise, in France, a simple majority of the National Assembly can dismiss the cabinet. Likewise in India. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the 2/3s super-majority is characteristic of only one nation on earth, i.e. American Iraq. I fear it is functioning in an anti-democratic manner to thwart the will of the majority of Iraqis, who braved great danger to come out and vote.
I think there is also a real chance that Iraqis will turn against the idea of democracy if it only produces insecurity, violence, and gridlock

Iraq has new scapegoats: Baghdad becomes hostile land for Arab expatriates.

Presumably in order to pass the destruction of social security, US releases scary, totally vague alert that anyone could be a target: Qaeda Ally May Target U.S. Theaters, Schools -Report. Last week, Zarqawi was reported cornered. Now he's coming to a school near you. Except that they have no evidence of any such thing. They even say so.

Hadley said movie theaters, restaurants and schools "are the kinds of targets we know that al Qaeda has traditionally been concerned about." "But we, at this point sitting here, do not have evidence of a specific operation by Zarqawi's organization targeting those kinds of targets. We just don't have that kind of information at this point," Hadley told CNN's "Late Edition...." But the magazine quoted intelligence agencies as saying there is no evidence that Zarqawi's agents have infiltrated the United States.

Juan Cole writes of the situation in Falluja today, after being "liberated" by US troops: Fallujah, Tent City, Awaits Compensation

Readers often write in for an update on Fallujah. I am sorry to say that there is no Fallujah to update. The city appears to be in ruins and perhaps uninhabitable in the near future. Of 300,000 residents, only about 9,000 seem to have returned, and apparently some of those are living in tents above the ruins of their homes. The rest of the Fallujans are scattered in refugee camps of hastily erected tents at several sites, including one near Habbaniyyah, or are staying with relatives in other cities, including Baghdad.
The scale of this human tragedy-- the dispossession and displacement of 300,000 persons-- is hard to imagine. Unlike the victims of the tsunami who were left homeless, moreover, the Fallujans have witnessed no outpouring of world sympathy. While there were undeniably bad characters in the city, most residents had done nothing wrong and did not deserve to be made object lessons--which was the point Rumsfeld was making with this assault. He hoped to convince Ramadi and Mosul to fall quiet lest the same thing happen to them. He failed, since the second Fallujah campaign threw the Sunni Arab heartland into much more chaos than ever before. People forget how quiet Mosul had been. And, the campaign was the death knell for proper Sunni participation in the Jan. 30 elections (Sunnis, with 20 percent of the population, have only 6 seats in the 275 member parliament).
However much a cliche it might be to say it, the US military really did destroy Fallujah to save it.

Interesting pictures of: Iranian women police officers of the special crime squad training.

Another enormous Hizballah rally in Lebanon: Hizb Allah protest blasts 'US meddling'.

A Kentucky hero, Darrell Anderson: War deserter hoping for a new life in Canada.

New slime at Guantanamo Concentration Camp. The military are trying to sew distrust of their lawyers among the prisoners. Among tactics, telling prisoners their lawyers "are Jews." Will the major Jewish organizations who see antisemitism everywhere Israel might be criticized speak up? Just asking: U.S. Eroding Inmates' Trust at Cuba Base, Lawyers Say.

He said she told the detainee that he would be tortured if he returned to Kuwait. When the detainee said his lawyer had told him otherwise, she replied: "Don't trust your lawyers. Don't you know they're Jews?" Mr. Wilner said the Kuwaiti recounted that he told her, "There are good people who believe in justice in every religion."

The man with a conscience who revealed Abu Ghraib torture: Army Specialist Joseph Darby to Receive Special Profile in Courage Award

Rip-off central. Halliburton/KBR's no-bid, little-work billion dollar boondoggles. Here's a detailed account of the sleaze that awarded them these billions of our money, and of the heroes and heroines who tried to avert this bilking of the public : The Spoils of War.

Greenhouse knew that the previous fall KBR had been paid $1.9 million to draft a contingency plan for how RIO should unfold. But that was reason enough not to let KBR do RIO. It was strict protocol in the procurement business that the contractor who drew up the contingency plan for a job should not be allowed to bid on the job itself: he'd know the exact budget and other details that would give him an unfair advantage. Yet here was KBR sliding into the job without an eyebrow raised—precisely because, as the participants at the meeting agreed, it was the only company that met the criteria outlined in its own contingency plan! To Greenhouse's greater shock, the senior officers and the KBR representatives around the table spoke of a sole-source, non-compete contract that could last five years....
DeYoung did some number crunching and came up with the figure of $73 million a year. That, she concluded, was what KBR was spending for its top managers in Kuwait City to live so well. More accurately, that was what U.S. taxpayers were paying—not including the extra 2-to-3-percent profit that came with the cost-plus system. (KBR says only a few managers are in off-base housing and that those in hotel rooms are routinely doubled up. DeYoung says the only people who stayed two to a room were men with girlfriends, "often the lesser paid Balkans girls.")...
"The subcontractor would come in with bills for four or five times the expected cost," deYoung explains, "which had to do with under-the-table payments...."
But her bosses' reaction to questions she brought up about the 519 subcontracts she was assigned left her deeply suspicious. "When I said this work was not done or there's missing equipment, I was told that was too much information," deYoung says. "They really just wanted enough information so they could bill the U.S. government...."
One of the La Nouvelle [a Kuwaiti KBR subcontractor] contracts that caught deYoung's eye was for laundry—laundry, that is, for all contractors and military at a nearby base. The bill, she says, "went from $62,000 a month to $l.2 million a month—over about 60 days!" Given the number of people whose laundry was being done, deYoung figured that on average a 15-pound bag was costing $108. At the same time, KBR was paying $28 a bag under a different contract at another site—to La Nouvelle!...
Wilson expected "the danger part," as he puts it. But from the start, he says, KBR made a bad situation much, much worse by doing nothing to maintain the trucks. "These trucks were going through severe duty," Wilson says. "When we started requesting maintenance and couldn't get it, I knew that would be a problem." One day, Wilson's truck simply shut down and stopped on the road. Its fuel filter, a $7 part, was clogged....
As the contracting agency, the Corps had the unique power to decide it didn't want to see KBR's paperwork, and to waive KBR's obligation to show that paperwork to anyone else. Why would the Corps want to do that? To this day, Bunny Greenhouse isn't sure. All she knows is that on December 19, 2003, her colleagues approved the waiver behind her back....
For weeks, Greenhouse says, Castaldo hung around her administrative assistant's desk, craning for glimpses of Greenhouse's appointment book so he could tip his superiors to any time she'd be away from the office. On December 18, 2003, Greenhouse sent a slip saying she was sick with bronchitis and would be home the next day. On the 19th, the KBR waiver was drawn up in the Corps's Dallas office—a necessary first step because that office was assigned to oversee the RIO contract. Contracting Officer Gordon A. Sumner signed it. (Sumner declined to speak with Vanity Fair in view of Greenhouse's legal dispute with the Corps, and a Corps spokesman made clear that no other Corps officers could cooperate either.) It was then flown up—that day—to Washington to be signed by Lieutenant General Flowers. Ordinarily, the waiver would have been logged into the Corps's computer system and given a tracking number. But it wasn't. That way, Greenhouse's assistant couldn't detect its lightning passage through government channels and notify Greenhouse at home. Greenhouse says that no mention of the waiver was made to her by Flowers or anyone else upon her return to the office, so she didn't find out that it had been granted until early January, when it made the news. As a result of the Corps's secretly granted waiver, the Pentagon investigation into KBR's fuel surcharges ground to a halt.

More on the political jockeying and its consequences: Irritated Iraqis Wait for Change.

Bolton hearings delayed, giving time to build opposition: We Won This Battle: They Threw in the Towel Today -- But The War on Bolton is Left to Fight.

The Iraqi government extracts public confessions by torture, broadcasts them on tv, then murders the confessor. Sounds like Stalin's show trials, or Saddam's regime: Iraqi confessor was 'tortured to death'.

Having been largely excluded from voting by fraud: New Strategy for Turkoman Bloc, including an acceptance of a federal Iraq, with conditions.

Despite earlier reports: Talks on forming Iraq government collapse. But: Iraq Deputy Leader Says Government Talks to Resume. In any case: Backroom deals taint election's promise: Horse-trading leaves some voters feeling left out.

[Backroom deals:] Yet many ordinary Iraqis point out that al-Jaafari, leader of the conservative Dawa party and a vice president in the interim government that is about to yield to the newly elected one, and Talabani, leader of one of the two major Kurdish parties, were clear public favorites right from the start. That it has taken so long for the politicians to agree leaves many voters wondering what deals have been struck in the meantime.

At least one of the monsters may not get his promotion: Torture: Bush's Nominee May Be 'DOA'.

The SouthCom inquiry and other prisoner-abuse investigations may derail President Bush's pending nomination of Pentagon general counsel William Haynes to a U.S. Court of Appeals seat in Richmond, Va., one of seven that Senate Dems have said they may filibuster. Haynes was directly involved in setting U.S. interrogation policies and oversaw a Pentagon "working group" that in the spring of 2003 embraced the reasoning in a now discredited Justice Department "torture" memo. Sources tell NEWSWEEK that a classified version of last week's Pentagon report refers to still-secret memos and other material that could be problematic for Haynes.

Bulgarian Cargo Plane Crashes in Baghdad.

Fraud and incompetence by Custer Battles was rewarded by millions in additional contracts, sometimes handed out in unmarked bills: A Case Study in Postwar Chaos.

Iraqis find the deep irony most Americans miss: Iraqis find irony in Bush's stance on Lebanon, Syria.

For ordinary Iraqis, a ride down the street is risking death: Baghdad's streets now a deadly gantlet: Surrounded by random violence, ordinary Iraqis risk their lives daily.

Impossible the US didn't know where the car carrying big>Giuliana Sgrena was at all times, says former intelligence officer: Targeting Guiliana: The US Considered Her a Military Target.

Yet more torture horror documents released: U.S. Marines Engaged in Mock Executions of Iraqi Juvenile.

  • * holding a pistol to the back of a detainee’s head while another Marine took a picture (Karbala, May 2003)
  • * ordering four Iraqi juveniles to kneel while a pistol was "discharged to conduct a mock execution" (Adiwaniyah, June 2003)
  • * severely burning a detainee’s hands by covering them in alcohol and igniting them (Al Mumudiyah, August 2003), and
  • * shocking a detainee with an electric transformer, causing the detainee to "dance" as he was shocked (Al Mumudiyah, April 2004).

Iraqi vet says he reported war crimes and was repeatedly told to forget it: War crime claims.

Nuclear weapons parts free for the taking, courtesy of the Us: Iraq weapons plants looted after invasion.

Looters systematically removed tons of equipment from Iraqi weapons facilities, including some with components capable of making parts of nuclear arms, in the weeks after Baghdad fell in 2003.... "They came in with the cranes and the lorries, and they depleted the whole sites," the Times quoted Araji as saying. "They knew what they were doing; they knew what they want; this was sophisticated looting...."
he facilities, cited by the Bush administration as a reason for invading Iraq, were left largely unguarded by troops in the months after Baghdad fell. Senior U.N. agency officials confirmed that satellite images confirmed that some of the sites said to have been looted did appear to be totally or partially stripped, the Times report said. According to the newspaper, Araji said that equipment capable of making parts for missiles as well as chemical, biological and nuclear arms was missing from eight or 10 sites that were at the heart of Iraq's dormant unconventional weapons program.

Giuliana Sgrena telss her story: Italian hostage: Nicola said, 'You are free. Come with me.' Then they shot him

Occupiers unhappy: Saddam's old judges provoke US fury with their lenient sentences for insurgents.

Concern is now growing among United States forces that the country's new central criminal court, made up of many judges from the Saddam Hussein era, is being lenient to demonstrate its independence from the coalition.

Tales of torture and murder in liberated Afghanistan: Army Details Scale of Abuse of Prisoners in an Afghan Jail. As usual, the abuse was denied until it became public. Then a couple of privates are thrown to the wolves.

Private Brand, who acknowledged striking a detainee named Dilawar 37 times, was accused of having maimed and killed him over a five-day period by "destroying his leg muscle tissue with repeated unlawful knee strikes." The attacks on Mr. Dilawar were so severe that "even if he had survived, both legs would have had to be amputated," the Army report said, citing a medical examiner....
[First reaction is always to lie:] American military officials in Afghanistan initially said the deaths of Mr. Habibullah, in an isolation cell on Dec. 4, 2002, and Mr. Dilawar, in another such cell six days later, were from natural causes. Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, the American commander of allied forces in Afghanistan at the time, denied then that prisoners had been chained to the ceiling or that conditions at Bagram endangered the lives of prisoners....
The reports conclude that Captain Wood lied to investigators by saying that shackling prisoners in standing positions was intended to protect interrogators from harm. In fact, the report says, the technique was used to inflict pain and sleep deprivation.... Captain Wood, who commanded Company A in Afghanistan, later helped to establish the interrogation and debriefing center at Abu Ghraib.

Ambassador [aka, "boss"] has dinner, Those "in the way" are killed. Sounds just like the brutal dictatorships around the world: US dinner behind extra Baghdad security that led to Italian agent's death.

Bullies will play: U.S. Gaining World's Respect From Wars, Rumsfeld Assert.

He also pointed to positive outcomes from the sustained combat. The fighting has created a force of "battle-hardened veterans" whose overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein's government in Iraq erased doubts in the minds of the nation's friends and foes over U.S. willingness to use force and stay the course of conflicts, Rumsfeld said.

Facing criticism, and court orders that the humans there have at least minimal rights, the US seeks to transfer Guantanamo prisoners to places where they can be tortured without raising a fuss and where rights are nonexistent: US seeks to transfer detainees.

Britain now officially a police state. Basic rights abolished after hundreds of years: The longest day: Both sides claim victory as Tories accept Blair deal after marathon battle over terror bill

In Connecticut: Lawmakers want state to track health effects of depleted uranium.

From the Marine Times: Deadline for U.S. withdrawal could help Iraq, experts say.

Placing an 18-month timeline on U.S. withdrawal from Iraq could help jump-start efforts to bring Iraqi forces to a level at which they could assume responsibility for the defense of their nation, some analysts say.

Even the few have doubts: Marines miss recruiting goals for second month.

Canon fodder expendable: War on the cheap.

What possible reason could the Pentagon have for failing to provide its combat soldiers with a potentially lifesaving $20 tourniquet? There is no good reason, and no excuse should be tolerated.

National Guard was intended to help at home, not be drafted to fight optional wars overseas: Guard's 'draft' duty in Iraq is backfiring.

One nation, above all laws: U.S. quits foreign inmate accord.

The United States has withdrawn from an international agreement that gives the International Court of Justice the right to adjudicate violations of the Vienna Convention regarding the incarceration of non-U.S.citizens.

Just because it's on film doesn't mean that's what we should pay attention to: ACLU says Ramadi video harsh, but not among worst of abuses.

From Democracy Now! Juan Cole and Osama Siblani on Middle East Politics, U.S. Media Coverage of the Region, and the Arab American Landscape.

Worth a 1,000 words: Photographs From Iraq: March 1 - 11, 2005.

Children as young as 11, perhaps younger were held in the torture center: Prisoners at Abu Ghraib Said Included Kids.

A boy no older than 11 was among the children held by the Army at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, the former U.S. commander of the facility told a general investigating abuses at the prison....
The documents include statements from six witnesses who said three interrogators and a civilian interpreter at Abu Ghraib got drunk one night and took a 17-year-old female prisoner from her cell. The four men forced the girl to expose her breasts and kissed her, the reports said. The witnesses - whose names were blacked out of the documents given to the ACLU - said those responsible were not punished.
Another soldier said in January 2004 that troops poured water and smeared mud on the detained 17-year-old son of an Iraqi general and ``broke'' the general by letting him watch his son shiver in the cold....
[In a sign of US attitudes toward Iraqi civilians:] Karpinski said Maj. Gen. Walter Wodjakowski, then the No. 2 Army general in Iraq, told her in the summer of 2003 not to release more prisoners, even if they were innocent. ``I don't care if we're holding 15,000 innocent civilians. We're winning the war,'' [He was also out of touch with reality.] Karpinski said Wodjakowski told her. She said she replied: ``Not inside the wire, you're not, sir.''

International law be damned! MI6 officers broke law by interrogating hooded Iraqis.

Don't hold your breath: Italian's death forces US to review rules for firing on Iraq vehicles. As usual, civilians only matter when an incident hits the press and embarrasses the occupiers.

Public health experts issue a call, published in the British Medical Journal, to count the dead in Iraq: UK and US governments must monitor Iraq casualties [News article in BMJ]; [BMJ Editorial by Klim McPherson]; and Global public health experts say failure to count Iraqi casualties is irresponsible [Actual statement, pdf].

The plain fact is that an estimate of 100 000 excess deaths attributable to the invasion of Iraq is alarming. This is already half the death toll of Hiroshima.7 Apart from the practical arguments, the principled ones stand and will always stand. Have we not learnt any lessons from the history of sweeping alarming numbers of deaths under the carpet? This is not something about which there can be any political discretion 60 years after Auschwitz. The UK government, acting on our behalf, ought to offer reasoned criticism of the existing estimates. It should pursue their public health responsibilities to count the casualties by using modern methods. Democracy requires this, as does proper responsibility under the Geneva Conventions.

Only US soldier's lives count: Checkpoint Chaos.

U.S. soldiers on the messy reality of manning checkpoints in a guerilla war: "The procedure is, if you believe there's any danger to yourself or your unit, you have every right to open fire."

Shiites, Kurds agree on government's makeup.

Iraqi Shiites and Kurds have agreed in principle on how to form a new government, officials said Thursday, but details of that agreement were not released.

Saddam may be a butcher, but trial by kangaroo court will not bring justice, says Ari Berman: Judgment at Baghdad.

"Where in the world can you say this is an independent judiciary, with US proxies appointing and controlling judges, with US-gift-wrapped cases?" asks Cherif Bassiouni, former chairman of the UN war crimes investigation in Yugoslavia. "In the Arab world, there is already the perception this a mockery." America's cavalier overreach could also taint the tribunal's legitimacy where it matters most. "This tribunal is not ours," Zuhair Almaliky, the chief investigative judge of Iraq's central criminal court, told The New York Times last summer. "It is somebody who came from abroad who created a court for themselves."

The loot still pops up: Artwork looted from Iraq gallery is real.

The 28-year-old Iraqi bought a Joan Miro aquatint worth more than $40,000 for $90 in a cramped art dealer's shop near the Babal Sharji "thieves market" in central Baghdad.... t was stolen from the Saddam Art Center when Baghdad fell to U.S. troops in April 2003.

The vultures circle: World Bank lending arm buys stake in Iraq bank.

Australia oins the Coalition of the Bilking: Wheat sales to Iraq under scrutiny.

Iraq's trade ministry is investigating claims that the country paid inflated prices for Australian wheat, officials said overnight.

Poland joins the Coalition of the Bilking: Polish officers in Iraq bribe inquiry.

US Bullets Found in Body Armor of Dead Bulgarian.

Perhaps the Shia leaders will give up their puppet status (but don't bet on it): "Foreign Forces Must Leave Iraq as Soon as Possible," Declares the Head of the Shiite Alliance.

"Ha! Ha! No. No one in Iraq desires the establishment of permanent foreign bases on our land. The United Nations Security Council resolutions are clear: it will be up to the elected Iraqi government, when the time comes, to give those forces a specific departure date. As soon as possible."

Riverbend on recent events: You want a rabbit?

I don’t understand why Americans are so shocked with this incident. Where is the shock? That Sgrena’s car was under fire? That Americans killed an Italian security agent? After everything that occurred in Iraq- Abu Ghraib, beatings, torture, people detained for months and months, the stealing, the rape… is this latest so very shocking? Or is it shocking because the victims weren’t Iraqi?...
In spite of elections, they still feel like puppets. But now, they are high-tech puppets. They were upgraded from your ordinary string puppets to those life-like, battery-powered, talking puppets. It’s almost like we’re doing that whole rotating president thing Bremer did in 2003 all over again. The same faces are getting tedious. The old Iraqi saying sums it up nicely, “Tireed erneb- ukhuth erneb. Tireed ghazal- ukhuth erneb.” The translation for this is, “You want a rabbit? Take a rabbit. You want a deer? Take a rabbit.” Except we didn’t get any rabbits- we just got an assortment of snakes, weasels and hyenas.

Tension builds: Crisis looms in Kirkuk over power-sharing.

They don't get no respect: Iraq's thin (and blurred) blue line: What an increasingly angry and combative Iraqi police force is up agains

We make our way across town to the Ministry of Human rights, hoping to find out more. "There is torture going on, even in prisons run by the Ministry of Interior," says Saad Sultan, one of the top lawyers at the ministry. "We are not allowed to monitor the interrogations. It's the way it was before the war....
To be fair, consider for a moment what the police are up against. The conflict has become a personal one for them — they lost at least 1300 officers to insurgent attacks in 2004 and will likely lose more this year. Rarely do I have an audience with any officer who doesn't urge me to write about "the way the terrorists are cutting the heads off police officers...."
"We have no authority," one of the officers at the Amariyah station says before hanging up, unwilling to speak any longer. The US military has just picked up Sabah Al-Baldawi from Iraqi custody, a man the police have been following for a long time. "This happens all the time."

Is the Saddam capture yet another fantasy for public consumption? Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction.

Another attack on independent reporting in Iraq: US military holds Iraqi journalist for past nine days.

US speaks, US lies: U.S. 'knew agent going to airport'. See also: Italy: U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Iraq Death and: Anger in Italy Simmers over US Attack in Iraq.

Better late than never: US troops get training to avoid friendly-fire attacks on British.

Thirty-two “blue-on-blue” attacks on British and other coalition vehicles have been logged in the past twelve months in southern Iraq, Britain’s area of responsibility. [Imagine how many Iraqis have died in "Friendly Occupier" attacks.]
A British officer in Basra said: “The Americans can be pretty pumped-up. Sometimes they fire in broad daylight when we are travelling at two miles per hour, shouting that we are British out of the window and waving the Union Jack.

The big lie strategy continues, against all evidence: Pentagon Says Its Policy Did Not Lead to Abuses. Also, to help us forget: Shamed US to hand over Abu Ghraib prison to Iraqis.

What will happen when they return? Safe at Home, Ill at Ease: The biggest group of Washington soldiers who served in Iraq are starting to return, and it's not clear we're ready for them.

They starve the populace in the name of "security": Food supplies affected by security checks at Syrian border.

Lines of trucks stretching kilometres can be seen at the Syrian border. Fresh food has started to go off inside the trunks and drivers say they and the companies they are working for are facing huge losses. Some returned back to Damascus, the Syrian capital after the food they were carried had spoiled....
According to a recent World Food Programme (WFP) report, the border closure has delayed the import of some food commodities into Iraq and there are significant countrywide shortfalls in ghee (purified butter), sugar and milk. Some governorates reported a serious lack of nearly every Public Distribution System (PDS) service, the annual monthly food ration that most Iraqis receive.

Insurgents deny they received ransom for Sgrena: No ransom paid in Italian hostage drama: claim.

Coalition of the willing turning into Coalition of the murdered: Friendly fire in Iraq undermines U.S. support: Italians bury slain undercover agent, as Bulgarians blame Americans for death of soldier on patrol.

Rich Iraqis help Jordan: Refugee influx drives boom in Jordan.

Israeli company a winner: Israeli firm wins US weapons contract in Iraq.

Allawi refuses to join Shia-led coalition.

Army: Young blacks and females are less willing to join, fearing combat.

The invisible wounded.

Injured soldiers evacuated to the U.S. never arrive in the light of day -- and the Pentagon has yet to offer a satisfactory explanation why.

And those who come back physically whole suffer too: Iraq veterans need support for PTSD. Even without a diagnosis they suffer: They're back from Iraq, but are they OK? Ephrata guard unit loses no lives, but life is different.

[They're back:] "You talk to someone and they say, 'You're fine now, you're home, so everything's good.' You want to say, 'No. It's not good. I'm feeling lost,' " says Spc. Keith Bond....
Sheila Kelly says her husband locked himself in the bathroom to dress when he first got home. He'd become a smoker. He cursed. He was reclusive. He didn't want to be kissed, hugged -- it felt "suffocating." When she threw a big dinner party, he bolted.... Kelly doubts he'll ever be "old normal" again.

On International Women's Day: Greater role for Iraqi women sought.

Army report: U.S. lost control in Iraq three months after invasion.

The Ramadi Madness video, that had allegedly been destroyed, can be watched at: 'Ramadi Madness': Scene by scene. [Requires Quicktime.]] Read also: Guard's PR man reported video: The Gulf War veteran said he was concerned when he saw soldiers watching the footage. Military investigators were evidently more concerned about preventing the video becoming public, than about any of the events depicted in it.

Again and again, a task force of military police grilled soldiers on whether they possessed the video or any other horrific images of the Iraqi war — and whether they intended to distribute material to the media....
Keeping Ramadi Madness under wraps was a recurring theme in the Army's investigative files. At one point, investigators learned that the video had been loaded onto a military computer server in Iraq. "A large number of people made a copy of the pictures," a soldier said. "Everyone who could." Damage control efforts kicked into high gear. "In efforts to prevent the possible leakage of this video to civilian media, copies of the Ramadi Madness video have been limited to (investigative) channels only," one investigator wrote in a Sept. 13 memo.

Murder cover-up meeting resistance. Soon they'll discover a "few bad apples": Italy doubts US version of Iraq shooting.

He added that immediately after the fatal shooting, U.S. soldiers had apologised profusely to freed hostage Giuliana Sgrena and an unnamed intelligence officer who survived the fire.
"The government has a duty to point out that the reconstruction of the tragic event that I have set out and as emerges from the direct account of our secret service official who was with Dr Calipari does not coincide, totally, with what has been said so far by the U.S. authorities," Fini said.

Democracy Now! Il Manifesto Founder on Sgrena Shooting: This Was an Attack on Unembedded Journalism.

Killing of Iraqi civilians routine: Checkpoint dangers too familiar for Iraqis. However, the article appears to accept the clearly false US account of Friday's murder. See also: What Iraq's checkpoints are like. And: Traveling on a Highway of Dread: A reporter recalls her own wary journey on airport road hours before an ex-hostage was shot.

The murders of Nicola Calipari were previously accused of raping Iraqi women and a whole host of other war crimes. Of course, a cursory "investigation: found no evidence. Perhaps they also go around murdering Iraqis for kicks. The military surely wouldn't bother stopping such wholesome fun. After all, the bodies wouldn't constitute "evidence": US soldiers accused of sex assaults. In fact, they were accused of routine murder. See posting below.

Four soldiers were alleged to have raped the two women while on guard duty in a Baghdad shopping precinct. A US army investigator interviewed several soldiers from the military unit, the 1-15th battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade - but did not locate or interview the Iraqi women involved - before shutting down the inquiry for lack of evidence. Transcripts of the investigation, obtained by the Guardian from the American Civil Liberties Union, show only the most cursory attempts by the investigator to establish whether the women were raped.

More information on these serial murders:

However the Third Infantry Division, whose troops include those that fired on the Italians' car last Friday, came under investigation in April last year for opening fire on carloads of Iraqi women and children at checkpoints, according to US army documents obtained by the Guardian.

For female soldiers, the enemy is close by: Women at war: Sexual combat.

Army Capt. Jennifer Machmer said she was assaulted by her jeep driver in Kuwait, 17 days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq. After reporting it, she told the panel, she was forced to work in the same unit as the man and was threatened with fraternization charges. Her assailant, who never was charged, eventually was promoted.

British firm makes out: BAE Buys United Defense to Grow in U.S., Land Systems.

Danny Schechter: The Passion of Giuliana Sgrena. Who is she? What has she striven for?

First Italy, now Bulgaria. To American troops they're all "foreigners": Bulgaria presses Washington over 'friendly fire' death in Iraq.

Sixty Minutes on CIA rendition-to-torture: CIA Flying Suspects To Torture?. Notice that suddenly-popular former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, aka Anonymous thinks that this practice is just fine. Remember, just because he's critical of Bush and gang, doesn't mean he's an ally in the struggle for justice and human rights.

Top warm-promoter and anti-diplomacy John Bolton named UN ambassador: Bush chooses hard-liner as new envoy to UN: Bolton is top weapons control official at State. This is kick in the groin for the UN.

"According to a primary agreement with Kurdistan Alliance slate, the United Iraqi Alliance agreed on the four demands of the Kurds and our representatives in Baghdad are meeting with United Iraqi Alliance officials to discuss these demands in details," Jundiyan said.

Support Our Troops? Anything for a buck. ATT ripping off US troops: Troops in Iraq say caught in phone cards: Prepaid cards GIs use to call home yield a fraction of advertised time.

In either case, the number of minutes or units advertised on the front of the card rarely represents actual calling time from Iraq to the United States. For example, a 550-unit card can yield as many as 185 minutes or as few as 68, depending on where the card was purchased. A card advertised for 120 minutes provides six to 30 minutes, soldiers at Camp Speicher said. "If a card says 120 minutes, it should give you 120 minutes," said Staff Sgt. Calvin Brokaw, of Tenafly, also with the 50th.

Giuliana Sgrena interviewed by the BBC: Transcript: Giuliana Sgrena interview.

Giuliana Sgrena gives her account: 'My truth'. See also her November article: Napalm Raid on Falluja? 73 charred bodies -- women and children -- were found. And her: Interview with an Iraki woman tortured at Abu Graib.

But then I realized my mind went immediately to the things the captors had told me. They declared that they were committed to the fullest to freeing me but I had to be careful, "the Americans don't want you to go back." Then when they had told me I considered those words superfluous and ideological. At that moment they risked acquiring

As usual, the US account is a tissue of lies from beginning to end, presumably intended for domestic consumption, where the state press doesn't question: Italy's relations with US soured by attack on hostage.

There was no warning. Three to four hundred rounds were fired, afterwards the car seats were covered in spent cartridges. The Americans forced the Italians to remain in the car without medical attention for an hour.

"Italian prosecutors are working on the assumption they are investigating a murder": Italian hostage accuses US of trying to kill her as thousands mourn her rescuer.

A companion of the freed Italian journalist attacked by US forces says the attack was deliberate. They were already past all checkpoints and the Americans knew who was in the car: US Attack Against Italians in Baghdad was Deliberate: Companion. US forces are "aggressively investigating", which means they are making sure we'll never know the truth, as in all the other "investigations" of US killings. See also: Freed Italian hostage says US shooting was not justified.

Sistani wants progress on a government: Shiite Spiritual Leader Calls for Unity. See also: Drawn-Out Talks on Assembly Upset Iraqis.

[Drawn-Out Talks:] "We thought it would be for a noble cause," said Omar, 55, the owner of a small food shop in this predominantly Sunni city about 90 miles north of Baghdad. "Now we are weeks later, and what has changed? Nothing. I think I risked my life for nothing...."
"They turned their backs on the people because they're busy dividing shares in the government," said Yousif Mohammed Tahir, 30, an electrician in the northern city of Mosul. "The security situation is worse than before. They promised a better life, but they lied...."
"We are sick and tired of all the statements, satellite shows and interviews, as we see the time passing without the government being formed, or the new assembly meeting," Jalal Edeen Sagheer, a senior Shiite cleric and newly elected member of parliament, said during his Friday sermon at the Buratha Mosque in Baghdad. "Not much time is left for writing the constitution."

NPR reporter Deborah Amos discusses the complete unreliability of virtually all western reporting from Iraq: NPR correspondent Amos details Iraq assignments.

Amos... said the full story of what is happening in Iraq is not being reported for two reasons: the dangerous situation in the country severely restricts movement, and the U.S. military restricts media access....
"You can no longer just rely on your news du jour, whether it's NPR or the New York Times," Amos said, adding that people must look at a variety of sources, including Arab media, to find out what is happening in Iraq and what Iraqis are thinking....
They also have lists of "good" reporters and "bad" reporters. Basically, good reporters are those inside the U.S.-controlled green zone and those in the red zone are outside with the Iraqis. They're the bad reporters and access is denied to them. [NPR operates in the red zone.]...
You have to go to a variety of sources. Blogs are very useful because they take a lot of information, chew it up and spit it out in recognizable form. Juan Cole is an example. I read him every day. I love him. He's ahead of everybody. If you want to know about Iraq, you better be reading Juan Cole. Stuart Ackerman at the New Republic is another. There are plenty of blogs from Iraq, too. Like Healing Iraq, Rod in the Middle and Riverbend. If you want to get a sense of what's happening, you need to read those, too.

Michael Schwartz: "Going to War with the Army You Have": Why the U.S. Cannot Correct Its Military Blunders in Iraq.

This new portrait of the Iraqi resistance may be an accurate description of one aspect of the ongoing war; and its key new element -- a working alliance between Saddamist exiles and Zarqawi's fighters inside Iraq -- may be an important new development. But the foundation upon which these descriptions are built -- that these forces now dominate the resistance, supply its leadership, or provide the bulk of its resources -- is likely to prove profoundly inaccurate....
In the short, dreary history of America's Iraq war, our leaders have repeatedly acted on gross misconceptions about whom they were fighting -- sometimes based on faulty intelligence, but sometimes in the face of perfectly accurate intelligence. This is, in all likelihood, another instance where they believe their own distortions, and it is worthwhile attempting to understand the underlying pattern that produces this almost predictable error.

Another filmed abuse episode that was filmed, "carefully investigated" and ignored: Unit's Iraq tapes raise eyebrows, not charges.

Investigators said one part of the video showed an Iraqi on the ground, handcuffed and moaning, when a soldier kicked him. The prisoner had been shot through the abdomen because he raised a gun toward soldiers in a raid, investigators said.

Washington Post Editorial: Abuse in Secret. CIA torture and murder continues unabated.

Brining back Saddam's army Old guard Iraqi army commanders back in the mix. Baathist General to be put in charge of patrols in Sadr City. This is a recipe to fan civil war.

Getting cannon fodder where ever you can: 'Men not up to the job being lured to risk their lives as guards in Iraq'.

[P]eople were being attracted by the promise of huge tax-free payments. But most did not realise that if they were unable to fulfil their contracts through death or injury, they or their dependants might receive no pay.
Mr Graham, 47, who lives near Cowbridge, has an extensive background with the special forces, later working as a bodyguard protecting the Sultan of Brunei's son and as a mercenary on helicopter gunships against Marxist rebels in Colombia....
"People without experience are being offered between $8,000 and $10,000 a month tax free to go out there. It's now got to the point where some firms are taking on inexperienced people instead of those they should be...."
"In many cases, your contract says that you only get paid if you do the work. So if you get killed or have to be invalided out, you or your family could be left with nothing but a huge bill."

Iraq today: In Iraq, You Want a Job, Learn English.

Common among almost all job ads is the condition of “fluent English”....
Some believe the changing atmosphere, generally, had some positive aspects to it. According to Jassem Mohamed, a lecturer at Baghdad University, the tendency created an atmosphere of competitiveness in the Iraqi society. Naturally, owners of the language and computer (teaching) centers are encouraged by the boom and opting to further promote their businesses.

How convenient. The colonials can't function without the US: Fledgling Iraqi army can't fly solo: Equipment needs, infiltrators stand in the way.

"If we leave now, it's going to be total chaos," Hawkins said the day after a U.S. Army doctor took one of the bullets out of his arm. "What will take five years to help get straightened out will take 10 if we go...."
"We can take control of this area, but we still need the United States because we don't have tanks or grenades," he said. "The terrorists have all the weapons. We just have rifles."

David Enders: Hope vs. Experience in Iraq: In search of reasons for optimism in war-torn Baghdad

Jaafari also clearly enjoyed keeping US Ambassador -- and soon-to-be US intelligence chief -- John Negroponte waiting outside his office while he showed me what he was reading. (Negroponte, by the way, is working on a lovely goatee and looks like he needs sleep worse than I do.)...
Hiba, my translator-cum-lawyer, was thrilled that Jaafari's secretary wasn't wearing a hijab—perhaps there is some hope on that front. Anyway, Hiba is still smarting from an interview we did a couple weeks, ago when Adel Abdul Mehdi, the current finance minister and a former PM candidate, wouldn't even shake her hand and assured us "80 percent of Iraqis want Islamic law." Hiba had even worn a low-cut shirt in hopes of offending Jaafari should he prove as reactionary....
Wow. We've got religious freedom. We've got the ballet school. We've got a man who wants to be Mandela. We've even got a more screwed up form of reality television than FOX could cook up. Please W., can the soldiers go home now? I don't actually really see them doing much other than closing off streetsafter the bombs go off.

Politics comes to Iraq: Iraq's New Government May Take Weeks to Be Formed.

"We could see a hung parliament, and Allawi effectively running the country in a caretaker role until the writing of the constitution and the next elections," Ali al-Lami, spokesman for the Shi'ite Political Council, part of the Shi'ite bloc, said. He said Kurds were demanding guarantees from Jaafari, such as limiting the influence of Islamists and clarifying the status of the city of Kirkuk....
A senior official in the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), part of the main Shi'ite bloc, said it could take weeks before consensus is reached. "Parliament will not meet before power-sharing is agreed," said the official, adding Sunni Arabs, who largely boycotted the elections, had to be convinced to accept Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, as president.

The CIA's man won't give up: Allawi confirms still in running, seeks to be Iraq's unifier.

What's the convicted embezzler up to this time? Chalabi calls for Iraq military contract audit.

In many countries, women's situation is desperate: Rights: The Fight of Their Lives.

For women in conflict zones like Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq, the struggle for political representation and legally sanctioned gender equality is eclipsed by an urgent need for immediate protection from physical and sexual abuse.

Shortages, to some extent, are the result of corruption: Iraq gas smuggling problem hard to solve.

Over at the State Oil Marketing Organization, known as SOMO, an official hints at huge smuggling operations controlled by political parties going on from tanks hidden by Saddam Hussein out in the desert near the southern city of Basra. Gas stations are important, but they're only part of the problem, the man says on condition of anonymity. "Employees at the Oil Ministry are involved in this," the man says. "We are having economic sabotage meetings, but it's hard to sue the people involved."

Reluctant to be cannon fodder: Study shows 41% drop in number of black Army recruits since 2000.

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat whose New York City district includes Harlem, said he isn’t too surprised by the Army recruiting data. “I have not found a black person in support of this war in my district,” he said. “The fact that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus emotionally, politically and vigorously opposes this war is an indication of what black folks think throughout this country....”
“More African-Americans identify having to fight for a cause they don’t support as a barrier to military service,” the study found. Fear of being killed or injured was the top reason to avoid service for 26 percent of youth in 2004, almost double the 14 percent reported in 2000.

The squeaky wheel... Guard unit that questioned Rumsfeld getting armor.

Pentagon plays more budget games: DOD shy $574M for 2006 Iraq death benefit.

Detailed stories of the AWOL: AWOL in America.

We imagine 5,500 conscientious objectors to a bloody quagmire, soldiers like Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, who strongly and eloquently protested the Iraq war, having actually served there and witnessed civilians killed and prisoners abused, and who was subsequently court-martialed, found guilty of desertion, and given a year in prison. But deserters rarely leave for purely political reasons. They usually just quietly return home and hope no one notices.

Next year we will hear how they treated these 9,000 people: American Jails in Iraq Are Bursting With Detainees.

As of this week, the military is holding at least 8,900 detainees in the three major prisons, 1,000 more than in late January. Here in Abu Ghraib, where eight American soldiers were charged last year with abusing detainees, 3,160 people are being kept, well above the 2,500 level considered idea.... Camp Bucca in the south, has at least 5,640 detainees....
Though this reporter arrived at Abu Ghraib on the military police convoy from Tikrit, soldiers at the prison did not allow him to look inside any of the compounds.

Italian journalist freed by kidnappers, fired upon by US troops. They killed an Italian security agent in the incident and apparently wounded the released journalist and another occupant: US forces shoot freed Italian hostage.

Action Alerts! Sign the Petitions: No US Intervention in Iran!. And: Urge the President to Establish an Independent Commission on Torture.

Must Read! The superpower turns out to be a super loser: America by the numbers: No. 1?.

No. 1? In most important categories we're not even in the Top 10 anymore. Not even close. The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt, and delusion.

Another dilemma. Produce now, or fix for the future: Iraq must choose on oil - produce or repair?

Another group for whom life has gotten worse, and worried about the future: Gypsies call for greater rights.

In general, the gypsies are looked down upon by the rest of society and are often found selling alcohol. Some are forced to turn to commercial sex work to earn a living, according to local people. "We live in an Islamic society and these people's [gypsies] actions against tradition and religion are not accepted. We do not want them near us and the government must find a solution for them," Kadum Abd al-Jabar, 48, told IRIN. Others believe gypsies should have equal rights in the new Iraq. "The gypsies are Iraqi citizens like us, they have the right to live in a free way and the government must protect them and offer them all the help they need," Mustafa Basem, a 25-year-old university student, told IRIN.

The leader of the Baathist purge faction throws another curve ball: Political survivor Chalabi reaches out to Iraq insurgents.

Shiite secular politician Ahmed Chalabi, long known as a vehment opponent of Saddam Hussein, called for talks with Iraq insurgents in the latest twist in a controversial career built on reinvention. "We have already started this process, we are meeting with people who want to fight the occupation," Chalabi told AFP.... "We've had several meetings. There is a genuine interest in working and cooperating together to end the foreign presence in Iraq so they do not feel they have to fight to defend the country against foreign occupation...."
A member of the dominant Shiite bloc, Chalabi described the strategy of his United Iraqi Alliance as an attempt to wean away Sunni Arab nationalists from the influence of Saddam's inner circle. "There are people doing fighting because they think they must fight occupation. I think those people can be won over to the political process," he said.

Plenty of killers to go to Iraq: Firms tap Latin Americans for Iraq: A history of recent wars makes the region attractive to private companies recruiting for security forces. Many of these people have had appropriate training in US-sponsored death squads.

Private security firms contracted with the Pentagon and the State Department are dipping into experienced pools of trained fighters throughout Central and South America for their new recruits.... These recruits are joined by thousands of others - from the US and Britain, as well as from Fiji, the Philippines, India and beyond. Close to 20,000 armed personnel employed by private contractors are estimated to be operating in Iraq, making up the second largest foreign armed force in the country, after the US.

A strange piece. An Iraq Health official claims the US used chemical weapons in Falluja. Given the source, I'd wonder about motivations involving the contorted parliamentary negotiations: U.S. used banned weapons in Fallujah – Health ministry. While not ruling this out, I, for one, will maintain a healthy skepticism.

“I absolutely do not exclude their use of nuclear and chemical substances, since all forms of nature were wiped out in that city. I can even say that we found dozens, if not hundreds, of stray dogs, cats, and birds that had perished as a result of those gasses.”

Another milestone passed: US troop deaths in Iraq top 1,500.

Abu Ghraib torture firm does fine, even in Blue states: CACI Awarded $2.8 Million Follow-on Contract for New Jersey Homeland Security Deployment.

Agreement on a government or no: Iraq parliament set to open next week: Shiite official.

Keep them cool: U.S. Shifts Funding to Boost Power Supply in Iraq before the long hot summer.

Iraq a magnet for poor: Andhra poor brave Iraq death trap.

Even Republicans have limits when it comes to Bush tricks: Iraq funds questioned in Senate.

An Interview With Dahr Jamail on Occupied Iraq.

No US lackeys here: Iraqi police on strike in Tikrit, demanding release of police chief.

Iraqi police in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, went on strike Wednesday demanding the release of a police chief captured by the US troops and guarantees from the foreign forces to respect the local police, a police officer said. Police stations and streets of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, were devoid of police who went on strike in a protest against the capture of Brigadier Hatem al-Juboury, chief of the homicide department in Salahudin provincial headquarters.

Shia-Kurd negotiations re either going well: Jaafari and Talabani speak highly for chances of Iraq alliance; or poorly: Talks on Iraqi Coalition Government Falter.

Abolishing freedoms Tony Blair's legacy: Terror Bill: Taking liberties. Those who vote Labor as the lesser evil should think twice.

More spent on war than all other countries not enough: GOP To Propose More Defense Funds.

US general threatens Iran with Israeli attack: US commander warns Iran nukes may invite attack by other regional power.

Another union member assassinated: Murder of Union Member in Baghdad.

Police need human rights training - minister. Makes sense, but who would provide the training? Surely not the Americans, whose strategy is shoot first, deny later.

Hundreds of new policemen, soldiers and prison guards have been receiving training from the US military in preparation for its departure, but the human rights element of their training has been dropped in favour of tactical warfare techniques, Amin said. An eight-week training course which used to include classroom discussions about basic tolerance and respect had been trimmed to six weeks, he explained. "When we asked why, they told us life was more important," he said.

Second-in-command among the torturers sued. Where is Bush? ACLU and Human Rights First Sue Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Over U.S. Torture Policies . See also the detailed: The Lawsuit Against Donald Rumsfeld Over U.S. Torture Policies.

The groups are joined as co-counsel in the lawsuit by Rear Admiral John D. Hutson (Ret. USN), former Judge Advocate General of the Navy; Brigadier General James Cullen (Ret. USA), former Chief Judge (IMA) of the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals; and Bill Lann Lee, Chair of the Human Rights Practice Group at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice. Admiral Hutson and General Cullen are "of counsel" to Human Rights First.

Mercenary, not militia. It's hard to tell them apart: Marines hire private Iraqi force to hunt insurgents.

U.S. Marines are using a private Iraqi security force to help them hunt down insurgents and say the tactic, while little used so far, is working. The Marines set up the force, the Iraqi Freedom Guard, in January before embarking on their ongoing offensive in Iraq's vast and rebellious western province of Anbar. It consists of 61 men hired on a three-month contract for $400 each a month. The Marines are quick to emphasise that the Freedom Guard is not a private militia, which are banned under Iraq's interim constitution unless under the authority of the armed forces.

Liberated Iraq a lot like the old Iraq: Human rights abuses continued under new government in Iraq, U.S. finds.

The State Department has detailed an array of human rights abuses last year by the Iraqi government, including torture, rape and illegal detentions by police officers and functionaries of the interim administration that took power in June....
The document cited without comment a report by Human Rights Watch, an independent advocacy group, that "torture and ill treatment of detainees by police was commonplace," allegedly including "beatings with cables and hosepipes, electric shocks to their earlobes and genitals, food and water deprivation."

Juan Cole presents his usual incisive background to the current situation in Lebanon, reminding us that the US initiated the move toward dictatorship there, and that the Syrians invaded, with US/Israeli approval, to demolish the Palestinian resistance to Israel:

The Sunnis, the Druze and the Maronites have seldom agreed in history. The last time they all did, it was about the need to end the French Mandate, which they made happen in 1943. This cross-confessional unity helps explain how the crowds managed to precipitate the downfall of the government of PM Omar Karami.
If Lebanese people power can force a Syrian withdrawal, the public relations implications may be ambiguous for Tel Aviv. After the US withdrawal from Iraq, Israeli dominance of the West Bank and Gaza will be the last military occupation of major territory in the Middle East. People in the region, in Europe, and in the US itself may begin asking why, if Syria had to leave Lebanon, Israel should not have to leave the West Bank and Gaza

Juan Cole reminds us that the Dawa party had its origins in terrorism, though it may have changed: Dawa Party Background. See also: Modernity And Tradition In The Islamic Movements In Iraq: Continuity And Discontinuity In The Role Of The Ulama by Keiko Sakai.

Accepting the inevitable: Turkey Accepts a Federal Structure in Iraq .

Background on the victorious Da'wa Party:

"Terrible things were happening to all us Iraqi people under that psychopath Saddam Hussein," Ali Mohammed told me after finding the records of two of his four brothers. "I don't want to thank America for that because God is the person who pushed America to liberate us from Saddam Hussein. We are thankful to God." He added: "God alone has liberated us. The Americans are invaders...."
Almost two years after the invasion of Iraq, Shia religious parties turned to a nonviolent method of resistance. They used an election organized by Washington to elect a slate of candidates the U.S. government had tried to suppress throughout the 1980s.

Italy cutting off all information on Iraqi debacle: talian Media Shaken by Iraq.

Italian media silence is extending also to silence over new legislation proposed to censor media covering the military.... It would bar for instance any reporting on the effect of depleted uranium on the health of troops, or of harassment within military barracks unless such reports are approved by military authorities. Military personnel or civilians who break the law could face up to 20 years in a military prison.

In addition to all the other things they face, Iraqi women must now fear assassination: Extremists: Iraq's Hidden War.

"Women have been targeted for assassination in a very systematic way in Iraq. They each have the same profile: educated, working, outspoken woman who has kept her old lifestyle...."
"It's scary when you've entered into a time when women activists call each other at night to make sure everyone is still alive," Omar says....
The assassination campaign is conducted by Sunni Arab extremists, who make up the active resistance in Iraq now. But there have also been threats from Shia radicals. Fulla Khalil, 20, noticed a creepy change in her central Baghdad neighborhood after followers of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr took control of a Shiite mosque there. "The looks toward me changed," says Khalil, who works at the office of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq. "I felt like I was being monitored." The young men in her apartment complex stopped talking to her; an elderly guard stopped walking her to her apartment door. About three months ago, the threats started....
Already in the heavily Shia south of Iraq, Sharia is routinely applied in the courts— despite the Saddam-era laws giving women greater rights, says Aseel Abdul Khaleq, a woman lawyer who handles family cases. "They have the same law as Baghdad but they're using Sharia law. The next government will apply Sharia to the maximum extent." Even in Kirkuk, a religiously diverse community in the north, women have been sprayed with acid for not covering up properly, says Songul Chapook, a politician from Kirkuk who has survived several assassination attempts.

New murderous weapons to be field tested in the Iraqi colony by the world's premiere rogue state: New Landmines for Iraq Raise Fears of Civilian Risk.

The new mine system, which is called Matrix, allows a soldier with a laptop computer based several kilometers away to detonate Claymore mines remotely via radio signal. Claymore mines normally propel lethal fragments from 40 to 60 meters across a 60-degree arc. However, U.S. Army tests indicate that the actual hazard range for these types of mines can be as high as 300 meters....
Victim-activated Claymore mines are prohibited by the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which has been agreed to by 152 nations but not the United States.

Interview with one of the new bosses: Many consider Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the prominent...

There are three points: first, that there must be a respect for the Islamic identity. Second, that Islam is the official religion of the state. Third, that there should not be any law that violates Islam.

Visit to refugee camp outside Fallujah does not go well: Arrogant? Guilty as Charged.

Audit board investigates contracts.

Iraq's Board of Supreme Audit (BSA) plans to scrutinise all government contracts made since the US-led war in April 2003 to assess whether allegations of corruption are true.

Oil news: Iraq working on plan to boost oil output; Iraq, Italy discuss oil cooperation; and Iraq to create geophysical and geological database for oil fields.

They may be made to pay for the torture their bosses ordered: CIA worried about torture charges.

Protest, Resistance, and Civil War

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Many die as Iraq violence continues.

Wednesday: Seven Iraqis killed in attacks, Britain apologises for raiding MP's home.

Improvised explosives becoming more common in Iraq.

US General says there are 50-60 insurgent attacks daily. As Juan Cole asks ""f there are 60 attacks a day, why do I only read about 7 or 8 of them?: More foreign fighters entering Iraq: US general.

Monday: Insurgent attacks across Iraq kill eight.

Claims: Iraqi resistance begins to crack after elections. [But see article describing fears of civil war if Sunni's are excluded, posted in Occupation]

One foreign intelligence report cites a recent incident in which members of the al-Dulaimi tribe, previously known for their antagonism to the coalition and the new government in Iraq, shot dead a number of Islamic militants from outside Iraq, whom they believed responsible for killing a senior al-Dulaimi sheikh. Although the sheikh was a senior police official and thus a 'collaborator', tribal elders felt that his death had to be avenged. The killings show tribal allegiances will triumph over any supposed 'international jihad', the report said.
The number of attacks on coalition forces has fallen since the election in January while strikes on the new Iraqi police forces and army have continued. Analysts say that this shows that locals - who favoured international targets - are abandoning violent tactics for the moment while the 'jihadis' - previously responsible for most of the attacks on locals - are still active....
However violence in Iraq is still expected to continue for the long-term. The reports were unanimous that, even in a decade, some kind of continuing low-level insurgency is likely. They also agreed that criminal violence, the major threat to most Iraqis, was likely to remain at 'current very high levels'.

Related to above: Iraq's insurgents ‘seek exit strategy'.

Many of Iraq's predominantly Sunni Arab insurgents would lay down their arms and join the political process in exchange for guarantees of their safety and that of their co-religionists, according to a prominent Sunni politician.

Shi’ite pilgrims tell of torture and trickery on road to Karbala.

Saturday: Car bomb kills 2 U.S. soldiers; Marine dies in fighting.

Friday: Suicide Car Bomber Kills 11 Iraq Policemen.

Protect us like you protect yourselves! Terror-stricken Iraqi villagers wonder will bloodshed end.

Iraq establishes oil security force.

Thursday: Five die in friendly fire gun battle.

Police mistook a group of Iraqi soldiers for rebels today and opened fire, sparking a ten minute gun battle that left five dead.

US Death Rate Down in Iraq Since January Elections.

Doubts raised about claim 85 insurgents killed: Iraqi fighters regain control of camp.

Iraqi police officer killed at US checkpoint.

Iraqi government claim Wednesday: Iraqi, U.S. forces kill 80 militants in central Iraq.

Good news for Bush. Mainly Iraqis dying now: Drop in U.S. casualties accompanies increase in attacks on Iraqis.

Shopkeepers fight back: Baghdad Residents Kill Three Militants.

Tuesday: At Least 30 Killed in Iraq Violence.

Sunday: Ambushed U.S. GIs Kill 26 Iraq Militants.

No shortage: Leftover munitions from the Iran-Iraq war recycled in insurgent attacks.

Story of a jihadi: Saudi Soldier's Journey to Death in Iraq.

Anti-graft boss killed at work as Iraq marks 2 years since invasion.

Baghdad firefight leaves 24 dead.

According to the Defence Intelligence Agency: Iraq insurgency has worsened: US intelligence.

An interview with: Dahr Jamail on his experience of the Iraqi resistance.

Britain admits no quick victory: Iraq Insurgency 'Still Very Strong'.

Up to their old tricks: US officials fudging Iraq army numbers.

The Pentagon in its latest figures said 142,000 Iraqis had been trained as police and soldiers. But the Government Accountability Office said on Monday this figure included tens of thousands of Iraqi policemen who left their jobs with no explanation. The office also said the State Department six months ago ceased providing auditors with information about the number of Iraqi troops issued flak vests, weapons and communications equipment.

Tuesday: Baghdad car bombs kill five; Marine killed.

Monday: Civilians hit by US fire. "According to witnesses and hospital sources, three people were killed, a woman and two children." US patrol attacked in Ramadi; and Car bomb blast kills four Iraqis south of Baghdad.

Another round of purges could destroy the new military: Overhauling Iraqi forces could cause collapse.

Iraq army hails arrest of Saudi would-be suicide bomber.

Blackwater Security mercenaries: 2 U.S. security contractors killed in roadside bomb attack in Iraq.

Saturday: Iraq oil pipelines attacked.

As easy as chock and awe: For a little cash, Iraq insurgents can join police.

Two Baghdad Police Chiefs killed.

Thursday: Suicide Bomber Kills 30 at Iraq Funeral.

Thursday: Fake policemen kill Baghdad officer.

[Mercenaries danger to all:] An aide to Planning Minister Mehdi al-Hafedh said on Thursday that foreign security guards, not assassins, opened fire on him in Baghdad on Wednesday. Two of his guards were killed and one wounded in the shooting. Police initially said the shooting had been an attempt to assassinate the minister. They later said it appeared to have been a mistake by foreign security guards.

Iraqi planning minister escapes assassination bid, two guards dead.

Military: Blast injured 30 US workers.

Wednesday mayhem: Security Forces Find 41 Corpses in Iraq.

Robert Fisk: Civil servants fall every day in Iraq.

One government official who survived a car bombing in northern Baghdad told me that the day his convoy was attacked, he had arranged two new routes to his office. The first was the route he took, the second an emergency road on which he would drive if he felt insecure. A suicide bomber blew himself up on the first road as the convoy approached, killing some of the official's bodyguards. His men later found a bomb hidden on the second road -- just in case he changed his mind. There could be only one reason: He was betrayed by those he worked with....
I've traveled the streets of Baghdad with Iraq's vulnerable police patrols. One cop told me frankly why he did his job: for the money and because -- having been a policeman under Saddam -- he could for once perform his real role of protecting his own people rather than a regime. Iraqis came onto the streets to offer tea to the policemen. The cops liked being liked. But judges, many of whom also worked under Saddam, are more valuable targets for the insurgents and, by the nature of their work, must live with the knowledge of constantly impending death. They want a "new" Iraq. Not perhaps the American version -- certainly not the American-occupied version -- but certainly an Iraq that is not ruled by Baathists or mullahs or religious perfectionists with guns.

5 beheaded corpses found in Iraq.

Iraq's deputy director for passports and identification: Senior Iraqi official gunned down.

Monday: Insurgents attack oil pipeline north of Baghdad.

Disowning anti-Iraqi violence by resistance faction: Iraqi Resistance Distances Itself From Civilian Blood.

“The principles of the Islamic Front contradict the confessions of the groups shown on TV. We prohibit targeting civilians, slaying hostages and spilling the blood of Iraqis whether civilians or members of police and national guard forces, under any pretext.”

Series of Iraq attacks kills 25.

Four US soldiers killed in action in Iraq another dies in accident.

On Haifa Street in Baghdad: Recent crackdown has paralyzed insurgent cell, leader admits.

Just another day: Violence becomes part of fabric of war-torn Iraq.

And now the children: Iraq's insurgent children learn how to become killers.

An attempt to quantify the origin of the jihadists: Arab volunteers killed in Iraq: an Analysis.

Particularly striking in the above list is the absence of Egyptians among foreign Arab volunteers for the insurgency in Iraq, even though Egypt is the largest Arab country, with millions of sympathizers of Islamist groups.

Insurgents getting smarter. Let US come and go, fill the vacuum: After temporary gains, Marines leave Iraqi cities.

Thursday: Baghdad car bombs kill at least five policemen.

Iraqis want security, and will no longer accept excuses: Thousands Protest at Iraqi Bombing Site.

But anxieties over another attack did not prevent more than 2,000 people from gathering outside the clinic Tuesday, shouting "No to terrorism!" and "No to Baathism and Wahhabism!" and demanding the resignation of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Wednesday: Gas pipeline hit in Kirkuk, two bodies of Iraqi contractors found.

Tuesday: Car bomb kills at least 6 in Baghdad: 25 injured in blast reported near Iraqi army base. And: Judge, Lawyer on Saddam Tribunal Killed.

However, a tribunal official, who asked not to be named, said the judge was not killed because of his job. ``He was not killed because he was working at the tribunal,'' he said. ``It was something personal. I don't have details, but investigations are still going on.''

Searching for, but not finding, the insurgents: U.S. push to round-up Iraq insurgents

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Ralph Nader sees light at the end of the tunnel: A Rice-Wolfowitz Exit Plan? Is the End of the Iraq War/Occupation Near?

It seems many of President Bush's top advisors and some Congressional Republicans are telling him the U.S. needs to get out of Iraq. If Novak is right, perhaps Bush and Cheney are finally listening. Perhaps.
There may be light at the end of the tunnel. The anti-war movement can have a larger impact soon. It is time for us to redouble our efforts to ensure a complete and responsible U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. We have the power to make this happen.

A view from Pakistan: US Media: Weapons of Muslim Destruction.

Congresspeople visit Iraq: Boxer wants deadline for leaving Iraq: Senator says Iraqis can't rely forever on U.S. for security; Rep. Sanchez calls for Iraq exit strategy; and Reps. Edward Markey and James McGovern: Congressmen unimpressed after visiting unstable Iraq.

John Brown on why "World War IV" was replaced with "Democracy": Why World War IV Can't Sell.

A view from a former war resister: Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on the Bush Administration, Civil Disobedience and the Eternal Fires of Hell.

Steven Laffoley wonders why he doesn't see any antiwar bumper stickers: Chemotherapy for Cancer-Ridden Cows and Other Dark Adventures in Peace.

It's a dark time for peace when pacifists are lunatics and pro-war means pro-life.

Scott Ritter amplifies on his view that the US plans to ready to bomb Iran by June 2005: Sleepwalking to disaster in Iran.

Whether this attack takes place in June 2005, when the Pentagon has been instructed to be ready, or at a later date, once all other preparations have been made, is really the only question that remains to be answered. That, and whether the journalists who populate the mainstream American media will continue to sleepwalk on their way to facilitating yet another disaster in the Middle East.

It's not our fault: British Labour MPs to stand on anti-war ticket in snub to Blair.

The British electorate may not forgive and forget when it comes to Blair's lies: In the real world, Iraq does matter: The government is wrong to think the war concerns only a minority.

he other half vowed that as long as Blair remained prime minister they could not vote for him. The most commonly used word was "duped". The two most colourful remarks were: "He couldn't lie straight in bed he's so bent" and "He dropped a bollock over the war; the evidence wasn't there".

Noam Chomsky interviewed by Danilo Mandic: On Globalization, Iraq, and Middle East Studies.

The Boston Globe: American homicide.

The 31 detainee deaths, the interrogation techniques described by the International Red Cross as tantamount to torture, and the Abu Ghraib abuse have been a disaster for the reputation of the United States. Bush should have long since fired those officials, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who permitted this to occur through vague or contradictory orders on the treatment of detainees. [But who would fire Bush?]

Seth Ackerman has a detailed account of the great WMD hype: The Great WMD Hunt: The media knew they were there--but where are they?

Stop WMD proliferation? Who are you kidding: A Con Job by Pakistan's Pal, George Bush.

Yet Pakistan's ruling generals could be excused for believing that Washington is not seriously concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons. How else to explain invading a country — Iraq — that didn't possess nukes, didn't sell nuclear technology to unstable nations and didn't maintain an unholy alliance with Al Qaeda — and then turning around and giving the plum prizes of U.S. military ingenuity to the country that did?

Right-wingers, concerned about strategic consequences of US oil dependence, call for mjor efforts to change: Unlikely Bedfellows Lobby Against U.S. Gas-Guzzlers.

Kevin Zeese says: Don't Just Blame the Democrats: Progressives are Reaping the Harvest They Planted in 2004.

My view is the Democratic Party is not savable. It is time for progressives to leave and start a new Party and a new political movement. Others are still trying to work within the Party to reform it. While I wish them luck, I urge two things for them. First, recognize that those of us on the outside pushing can help you on the inside by letting Democrats know you have somewhere else to go. Second, and most importantly, do not support Democrats who are wrong on the key issues. You will fail in your reform efforts if you give your support to candidates you seriously disagree with. In fact, you need to oppose those candidates -- not only in primaries, but in general elections. Otherwise, the lesson you will be teaching is progressives can be taken for granted and ignored.

Florida Today says it can, and is, happening here: Spying on citizens.

Straight from the front lines of the war for oil: Fight To Survive.

This site is the mouthpiece for a group of soldiers who are fighting in a war they oppose for a president they didn't elect while the petrochemical complex turns the blood of their fallen comrades into oil.

59 American ex-diplomats oppose Bolton.

Australians believe US a greater threat than China, a new poll finds: Our new nightmare: the United States of America.

Australians are as just as concerned about United States foreign policy as Islamic extremism and regard the US as more dangerous than a rising China, according to a new poll.... Fifty-eight per cent of those surveyed viewed the US positively, compared with 94 per cent for New Zealand, 86 per cent for Britain, 84 per cent for Japan, and 69 per cent for China.

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a lone Democrat, speaks out almost every day: Opposing war in five-minute increments.

At the end of just about every day that Congress is in session, as most legislators pack their briefcases and head out for cocktails or dinners or fund-raisers in the Washington night, Rep. Lynn Woolsey stands in the nearly empty House chamber and delivers a five-minute speech on terrorism and the war in Iraq....
"They close (the chamber) at midnight, so it can be any time up to then," Woolsey says. "Usually, I get my turn around 8:30 or so." She says she's failed to stick around for these "special orders" only a handful of times in the past year. "I miss a lot of dinners, but it's worth it. This is my Number 1 priority at the end of the day."

Howard Dean antiwar? Tell me another one: Howard Dean Still Selling Out the Antiwar Movement.

Australian intelligence officer puts the lie to his government's assertions about WMD, and about US torture: Germs, lies and the whistleblower.

Tariq Ali: For one day only, I'm a Lib Dem: We must take the politics of the anti-war front into the electoral arena.

Normally, people vote to assert their political sympathies. But this is not a normal general election. It will be the first opportunity to punish the warmongers... So why not treat this election as special and take the politics of the broad anti-war front to the electoral arena? If the result is a hung parliament or a tiny Blair majority, it will be seen as a victory for our side....
In constituencies where there are MPs belonging to the anti-war faction, one should vote for them despite disagreements on many other issues. In the warmonger constituencies we should vote tactically. In my north London constituency, the MP is Barbara Roche: pro-war and pro everything else this wretched government has done. I don't simply want to vote against her. I want her to be defeated. That is why I will vote Liberal Democrat.

Tony Blair wouldn't tell the truth if it was the last words on earth: MI6, Jack Straw, defence staff: Blair ignored them all: His public assertions on Iraq were at odds with what he was told in private.

I was recently speaking to a former senior civil servant about the prime minister's relationship with the truth. "Has he got one?" he asked. He was deadly serious.

Stirling Newberry sees a: Collision Course between Europe and thee US as to what type of world we live in.

Britain: Blair faces backbench backlash as pressure mounts to publish war advice. And: Leading lawyers back FO adviser who quit over ruling that the war was legal.

Philippe Sands QC, professor of law at University College London and author of Lawless World, which first revealed details of how the attorney general changed his legal advice, said: "The logic of my belief that the war against Iraq was illegal leads inevitably to the conclusion that it was a crime of aggression....
Colin Warbrick, professor of law at Durham University, said he had no doubt the war was a crime of aggression

It never deterred them before: India Oil Chief Says U.S. Would Be `Stupid' to Attack Iran.

``I see no reason why India's priorities should be subservient to U.S. priorities,'' said Raha, who has worked for state-run oil companies for the past 35 years. ``The U.S. is chasing oil and gas as badly as China or India or anybody else.''

As the line up to pray for Terri Schaivo, Mary MacElveen asks: Where Were Their Iraq War Vigils?

[I]t makes me want to ask these pro-life people "Where were your vigils as we systematically murdered thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqi people? Why no open show of force as your government launched a preemptive strike based upon a series of lies?

One Massachusetts town reacts: Grassroots effort to get U.S. out of Iraq under way.

Brookline PeaceWorks is initiating a townwide canvass to raise awareness about the impact of the Iraq War. We will be going door-to-door to ask Brookline citizens to sign a petition to remove U.S. troops from Iraq as quickly as possible, and to reassess the use of the Massachusetts National Guard in international conflicts.

Canada no longer an asylum: U.S. soldier who deserted to dodge 'criminal' war in Iraq loses asylum bid.

British: Ministers attacked over Iraq.

British troops were sent into Iraq before proper plans were made to tackle the expected uprising, MPs say today. A series of 'mistakes and misjudgments' meant the allies seriously underestimated opposition to the invasion, the influential Commons Defence Committee report adds.

Hassan Nafaa on the apointment of the two sharks, Bolton and Wolfowitz, to top posts: American nightmare.

[Paul Wolfowitz:] "Leadership is something other than the ability to give advice or take stands. It means above all else the ability to protect and care for one's friends, to punish and deter one's enemies, and to make everyone who refuses to help rue the day they made that mistake." This, alone, should give us a good clue as to how Wolfowitz plans to run the World Bank. He intends to turn it into a powerful arm of Washington's policy offensive; an American bank that hands out generous loans to America's friends, withholds them from America's enemies, and ensures that anyone who does not march lockstep in line with American interests lives to regret the day they said "No" to the new master of the world....
When the likes of Bolton sit in the UN and Wolfowitz presides over the World Bank we know that the "new American century project" has moved well beyond the planning phase. We had better gird ourselves, for the nightmare is just beginning.

Nathaniel Frank: Bush team theme -- 'We were all wrong'.

Watch Noam Chomsky deliver the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh on March 22, 2005. He points out that US state-sponsored terrorism is a truly bipartisan consensus: Illegal but Legitimate: a Dubious Doctrine for the Times.

A former British government deputy legal adviser: Iraq action 'crime of aggression'. And: Iraq war: The smoking gun?Iraq_warThe_smoking_gun.html

In her resignation letter, Ms Wilmshurst says military action in Iraq was "an unlawful use of force" which "amounts to the crime of aggression." "Nor can I agree with such action in circumstances which are so detrimental to the international order and the rule of law," she says....
Channel 4, without giving a source for the information, quotes Ms Wilmshurst as indicating that the attorney general changed his mind at the last minute, giving approval for the war after having previously opposed it... According to Channel 4, in the missing piece Ms Wilmshurst says: "My views accord with the advice that has been given consistently in this Office (the foreign office legal team office) before and after the adoption of UN security council resolution 1441 and with what the Attorney General gave us to understand was his view prior to his letter of 7 March. (The view expressed in that letter has of course changed again into what is now the official line.)" The significance of the missing paragraph is that it appears to show a late change of mind by the attorney general.

Rep. Barbara Lee: Contrasting Portraits of War's Lessons, Legacy.

A biased (because it ignores the sectors of Iraq's labor movement less accommodating to the US/British corporate unions or to the US occupation), but still interesting account of Iraq's nascent labor movement: Resistance Is Not Futile: Labor and the Struggle for Iraq.

Keith Swain, a psychologist, and professor at Front Range Community College: To a young man joining the Marines.

, too, considered joining the military when I was younger, but my father put a stop to that. I am not trying to change your mind, but I do think what my father told me might help you, too.

Madison Capital Times; Editorial: Wisconsin vs. the war.

George Bush's war goes on, but so too does the opposition to it. And that is as it should be, since only an agitation from the streets - and the voting booths - will get this country's troops out of the quagmire where Bush and his aides have placed them.

Jude Wanniski: America's gunboat democracy.

Gary Younge: In a warped reality: Two years on, the occupiers justify the war by embracing the irrelevant and ignoring the inconvenient.

"If our guys want to poke somebody in the chest to get the name of a bomb maker so they can save the lives of Americans, I'm for it," said Republican senator Jim Talent at a recent hearing on torture. How about ramming someone who does not have the name of a bomb maker in the anus with a truncheon, Mr Talent. Are you for that too?

Sasha Abramsky interview David Rose, author of Guantanamo: The War on Human Rights: Torture Heavy: Welcome to a world of sheer ineptness and banal brutality.

William Blum reminds us the power politics has long been the center of US foreign policy: Democracy, imperialists, Afghan women, monkeys and assassination plots.

Those who intensely despise the leaders of the Bush administration are convinced that they are uniquely vile in American history. I would maintain, however, that there's very little of what we've come to fear and loathe about the Bushgang that can't be found in many previous administrations, and that if George W., on a purely personal level, were not such a crass, ignorant, dishonest, and insufferably religious jerk, his policies would be much more readily excused by liberals (though not by radicals) as they excused similar policies under Clinton and other Democrats going back to Truman....
So why is the Bushgang so intent on encouraging democracy all over the world? Should that not be supported? Well, it depends on what you mean by democracy, or what the Bushgang means by it. I think that what Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al, look for in a "democratic" third world country, or look to establish in that country, is that the government is corporate-friendly, that the society has the legal and financial institutions needed to remake the country so that it's appealing to foreign investors, that it will play ball with the World Trade Organization, the IMF, and the rest of the international financial mafia, and most important, that it is a capitalist system, enterprise nice and free, none of this socialist crap. That's what they mean by democracy. Least of all have they in mind any kind of economic democracy, the closing of the gap between the desperate poor and those for whom too much is not enough.

Juan Cole: The Schiavo Case and the Islamization of the Republican Party. He reminds us that President Bush, while Governor of Texas, signed a bill allowing removal of life support for those who cannot afford to pay.

One of the most objectionable features of this fundamentalist tactic is that persons without standing can interfere in private affairs. Perfect strangers can file a case about your marriage, because they represent themselves as defending a public interest (the upholding of religion and morality)....
But the most frightening thing about the entire affair is that public figures like congressmen inserted themselves into the case in order to uphold religious strictures. The lawyer arguing against the husband let the cat out of the bag, as reported by the NYT: ' The lawyer, David Gibbs, also said Ms. Schiavo's religious beliefs as a Roman Catholic were being infringed because Pope John Paul II has deemed it unacceptable for Catholics to refuse food and water. "We are now in a position where a court has ordered her to disobey her church and even jeopardize her eternal soul," Mr. Gibbs said. ' In other words, the United States Congress acted in part on behalf of the Roman Catholic church. Both of these public bodies interfered in the private affairs of the Schiavos, just as the fundamentalist Egyptian, Nabih El-Wahsh, tried to interfere in the marriage of Nawal El Saadawi.

Beware the merging of mosque and state, says Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism: Sharia: Iraq's Dark Cloud: # An Islamic constitution is huge peril.

But if history teaches us anything, it is that government enforcement of religious law has always been the natural enemy of individual and minority rights. One person's religious symbolism may be another person's real pain.... The sad and disgraceful common strand running through the many rationalizations for an Islam-based Iraqi constitution is an implicit and, in the case of the Bush administration, explicit denial of the importance of secular Enlightenment values in American history. Without the administration's constant political drumbeat equating U.S. patriotism with religious faith, it would be much harder to argue on behalf of theocracy in other cultures.

Is Iran the big winner? The U.S. may pay for its success in Iraq.

Thomas J. Raleigh: Iraq -- a halftime assessment.

Third, pressure and persuade Sunni insurgents to accept a political solution. However despicable their tactics might be, Sunni insurgents are pursuing their objectives of legitimacy and power, as military strategist Carl von Clausewitz would say, "by other means." The insurgents are not terrorists and the coalition ought to make it clear that it understands this by recognizing a political wing of the insurgency (as Sinn Fein is to the IRA in Northern Ireland) and demonstrating a willingness to negotiate....
If we do little more than "gut it out" until Iraqi security forces are trained, another 500 to 600 American soldiers and Marines will die this year fighting in Iraq; and come 2006, we may not be much closer to achieving U.S. goals than we are now. As of March 16, 185 Americans have been killed in Iraq in 2005. There is no doubt -- our troops are in for a very tough year.

Geov Parrish: The road home: To end the war, voices of military personnel and their families will be essential.

Attending an anti-war rally Saturday, I had profoundly mixed feelings.... couldn't shake the feeling that this was not the way to get our troops home. But the germ of an idea, of a way to be more effective, was present....
nd here, also, is a lesson for the rest of us: in order to not just vent but be effective, opposition to this war should be rooted in what is best for this country. Rather than being reflexively anti-military, anti-war activists should learn to understand and embrace why this war is bad news from the perspective of the men and women fighting it. Supporting our troops is not simply PC or a humane thing to do; it's also the best way to work for an end to this war.

Bill Gallagher: Bush War Still Stinks Two Years On.

Why is the press virtually ignoring Bolton's role in spreading the false claims about Iraq seeking to buy uranium in Niger? Bolton's Big Secret.

BBC film shows extent of Blair's prewar lying: Blair manipulated intelligence to justify war, says BBC film.

John Walsh has more on the antiwar silence of and other "progressive" organizations close;y linked to the Democratic Party establishment: Misdirecting the Anti-War Movement: The Perfidy of the Democratic Party's Puppets.

The Washington Post reports the US lied to Asian allies about North Korea nuclear exports to Libya. Of course they don't use the conventional term, "lie": U.S. misled allies about nuclear export: N. Korean material landed in Pakistan, instead of Libya

On this weekend of international protest against the war, has extensive coverage which we won't try and duplicate. [In the right-hand column, 1/3-way down.]

Conservative, and war-supporter, Jeff Jacoby finishes hiw two-part series on torture: Why not torture terrorists? Part I Where's the outrage on torture?

Third, because torture is never limited to just the guilty. The case for razors and electric shock rests on the premise that the prisoner is a knowledgeable terrorist like Mohammed or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But most of the inmates in military prisons are nothing of the kind. Commanders in Guantanamo acknowledge that hundreds of their prisoners pose no danger and have no useful information. How much of the hideous abuse reported to date involved men who were guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
And fourth, because torture is a dangerously slippery slope. Electric shocks and beatings are justified if they can prevent another 9/11? But what if the shocks and beating don't produce the needed information? Is it OK to break a finger? To cut off a hand? To save 3,000 lives, can a terrorist's eyes be gouged out? How about gouging out his son's eyes? Or raping his daughter in his presence? If that's what it will take to make him talk, to defuse the ticking bomb, isn't it worth it? No. Torture is never worth it. Some things we don't do, not because they never work, not because they aren't ''deserved," but because our very right to call ourselves decent human beings depends in part on our not doing them. Torture is in that category. We can win our war against the barbarians without becoming barbaric in the process.

Arianna Huffington: Bush Is a Loser at Logic but a Winner in DC.

In the corridors of power, Republicans are high-fiving, and Democrats are nodding in agreement and patting themselves on the back for how graciously they've been able to accept the fact that they were wrong. The groupthink in the nation's capital would be the envy of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il

British people couldn't be told that the real reason for Britain's involvement was to show US they were the most reliable client state: Blair 'Could Not Be Honest About Iraq War'.

Study: Media Self-Censored Some Iraq Coverage .

Michael Klare marshals the evidence that the war WAS about oil: Mapping The Oil Motive.

Conservative, and war-supporter, Jeff Jacoby asks: Where's the outrage on torture?

The Bush administration and the military insist that any abuse of detainees is a violation of policy and that abusers are being punished. If so, why does it refuse to allow a genuinely independent commission to investigate without fear or favor? Why do Republican leaders on Capitol Hill refuse to launch a proper congressional investigation? And why do my fellow conservatives -- those who support the war for all the right reasons -- continue to keep silent about a scandal that should have them up in arms?

More on Wolfowitz appointment: Green Imperialism: Wolfowitz, Wars and the Wearing Down of Sovereign States [Abhinav Aima]; Wolfowitz to spread neo-con gospel [Paul Reynolds: BBC]; Wolfowitz To Rule the World (Bank) [David Corn]; Democrats for Wolfowitz: Senator Joe Biden isn't the only Democrat supporting Paul Wolfowitz for president of the World Bank [Daily Standard: Stephen F. Hayes ]; Wolfowitz at the door [Guardian]; and: Europe Alarmed by Wolfowitz Nomination [Deutsche Welle].

Juan Cole: Democracy -- by George? President Bush and his supporters are taking credit for spreading freedom across the Middle East. Here's why they're wrong. And: United States Caught in the Crossfire.

Military Families, Iraq Veterans Come to Fayetteville on 2nd Anniversary of Iraq War to Say: 'Support the Troops; Bring Them Home NOW'.

Now that Kerry lost, he remembers the war's a bad idea: Statement of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich On the Iraq Supplemental.

"When will be put a stop to this? Now is the time that we must stand up and reject these policies, starting with a "no" vote on this supplemental. The U.S. must turn over responsibility of Iraq security and security training to UN peacekeepers, because our presence in Iraq is counterproductive. We must begin a phased and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops. The U.N. must assume responsibility over reconstruction and reparations. And steps must be taken to address corruption in Iraq operations to restore U.S. moral authority for the United States and the world."

Erik Leaver Foreign Policy in Focus: $225 Billion and No Exit Plan.

But more striking than the dollar amount is that Mr. Bush, for the fourth time, has failed to present a strategy for success in Iraq.

Justin Raimondo on the construction of a pro-war narrative: Handmaiden of Empire: Role of Media in the Age of Empire

Perhaps progressives will start taking on Republican scandals, like the Reagan-Bush assistance to Saddam Hussein opines Robert Parry: Beating Bush at 'Information War'.

The Republicans and especially the neoconservative intellectuals realized that control of information -- or one might say replacing it with propaganda -- was the key to solidifying their political power within the United States. That's why the conservatives have invested billions of dollars over the past quarter century in building their own potent media infrastructure, ranging from cable networks and major daily newspapers to AM talk radio and well-organized Internet bloggers. Besides writing their own historical narrative, the conservatives succeeded in throwing the mainstream press onto the defensive with endless charges of "liberal bias...."
It all could have been different if Clinton – the first president to take office after the Cold War – had invested some political capital in setting up truth commissions to give the American people the history of that half-century struggle, both the good and the bad. If Clinton had released the Cold War secrets, the electorate would have been much better armed to assess how propaganda had come to permeate the relations between the U.S. government and its citizens.

The latest on Rush Limbaugh, for those who care: Limbaugh mischaracterized NY Times report on looting at Iraq weapons facilities. And: Americans have lost their philosophical compasses. For contrast, Walter C. Uhler analyzes exactly what the New York Times revelations do mean: The Implications of the Systematic Looting of Iraq's Weapons Plants.

[Americans:] When it comes to rationalizing the president's actions, no one can do it with more imagination and originality than Limbaugh.

William Rivers Pitt elaborates on his ideas about what should be done now: Exiting Iraq: Only Cowards Cancel Elections.

Scott Ritter: Former UN weapons inspector, who worked with CIA, sees ‘terminally ill’ intel operation.

[T]hey are using fear. [FBI director] Robert Mueller said he is a 100 percent certain that the US will be attacked by chemical and biological weapons. That’s a stunning statement if you think about it. I am a firefighter here in New York state, if we are going to be attacked by chemical/biological weapons; then why am I and other first responders not being mobilized to be trained in responding to that environment… in an emergency fashion?

Both sides gun for reporters: Two journalists with Kurdish TV station killed four days apart.

Must Read! Public turning against the war. Can the antiwar movement channel this disillusionment? The largely pro-war Democrats certainly won't: Poll: Two Years After War's Start, Deeper Doubts About its Cost.

Seven in 10 in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll call the level of U.S. casualties in Iraq unacceptable, and 53 percent, on balance, say the war was not worth fighting....
His [President Bush] approval specifically on Iraq was 75 percent as the main fighting ended; it's 39 percent now, a career low.
The number of people who say the war was worth fighting has fallen from 70 percent during the war to 45 percent now. And the number who say it's put the United States in a stronger position in the world has fallen from 52 percent to 28 percent.... Indeed more now say the war left the United States weaker (41 percent) than stronger.
Most, 57 percent, also say the Bush administration lacks a clear plan for handling the situation overall. And 64 percent say the administration lacks a clear plan specifically for eventually withdrawing most U.S. forces from Iraq.
[Evidence of mass delusion:] Fifty-four percent think most of the Iraqi people support what the United States is trying to do there. Thirty-nine percent think not.... Fifty-six percent of Americans still think Iraq did possess WMDs shortly before the war, though none have been found.

Camilo Mejia to receive Courage of Conscience Award: Soldier Jailed For Desertion To Be Honored.

Reuel Marc Gerecht in The American Enterprise argues that Sistani is not a danger to US interests: Don't Fear the Shiites.

Australians against further involvement: Voters back away from PM's gamble on Iraq.

The Prime Minister's decision to send an extra 450 troops to Iraq is supported by only 37 per cent of Australians, according to the latest Herald Poll. And any further escalation of Australia's involvement in Iraq - an option not ruled out by John Howard - would have the support of just one in 10 people.

John Arquilla calls for: A third way in Iraq: Neither keeping a huge force there for years nor pulling out will work.

People of color fighting back against the war and its economic draft: Uncle Sam Really, Really Wants You...

The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs celebrates monster's appointment to UN ambassador: The Hon. John Bolton.

[T]he nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the UN makes us hopeful for the first time in a long time that the institution in which so many hopes have been so wrongly vested for so many years might be better vested now.

The New York Times is not giving the torturers a free pass: Abu Ghraib, whitewashed again.

This whitewash is typical of the reports issued by the Bush administration on the abuse, humiliation, and torture of prisoners at camps run by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency. Like the others, the Church report concludes that only the lowest-ranking soldiers are to be held accountable, not their commanders or their civilian overseers.

You'd think they actually had some interest in reporting the news: Broadcast Journalists Fire Back.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave": The A4 War: What have the Attorney General and the Prime Minister got to hide?

Lebanese Speaker of the House on western "democracy" push: What do you Do if Democracies Defy You?

One year after the Madrid bombings: Yes, the Spanish people did the right thing. But: Marginalised Muslims cause concern.

Naomi Klein on the Democracy brand: Can Democracy Survive Bush's Embrace?

It's also that the Bush definition of liberation robs democratic forces of their most potent tools. The only idea that has ever stood up to kings, tyrants and mullahs in the Middle East is the promise of economic justice, brought about through nationalist and socialist policies of agrarian reform and state control over oil. But there is no room for such ideas in the Bush narrative, in which free people are only free to choose so-called free trade. That leaves secularists with little to offer but empty talk of "human rights"--a weedy weapon against the powerful swords of ethnic glory and eternal salvation.

Why no outcry for the hundreds of Iraqi victims of random US shootings? Sgrena’s Ordeal Highlights World’s Racist View of Iraq.

raqis have been facing this danger on a daily basis and almost every day there are dead Iraqis brought into morgues after being cut down by US gunfire. But no coverage for the Iraqi dead. No public outcry in the world. No debate in the blogs. No mention in FOX or otherwise. No, they don’t have pretty Latin names and dirty-blonde hair. They don’t have their own columns and candlelight vigils held for them on the streets of Europe.... They are not called heroes by the world press. They’re just another bunch of stinking Iraqis.

Service people and their families: The New Face of Protest?

Murray MacAdam a Canadian: The Last Straw: Boycott the US.

Today a rogue nation defies world opinion by occupying another country for its oil and to wield political power in a key world region. It continues its slaughter there with so little respect for human life that it doesn’t bother counting the victims of its war. It tortures its prisoners of war with impunity. Meanwhile it runs a concentration camp in Cuba where, despite repeated pleas, it refuses to obey internationally respected rules for the human treatment of prisoners. The global supercop dismisses calls for an international criminal court out of hand....
The list goes on. The point is, what are we going to do about it? Is it simply enough to march in the next antiwar rally, as important as that is? Or don’t we need to ratchet up the pressure on the U.S. through economic pressure?...
As Ralph Nader said, George Bush is a corporation masquerading as a politician. A boycott confronts this corporate behemoth head-on. And it will serve to educate people about the corporate interests behind the Bush throne....
I am not entirely comfortable with the boycott tactic, because of the hundreds of Americans I’ve met who share my values. I know that many Americans are resisting the Bush regime. But not enough. Americans, if they chose to, could rise up and force the U.S. war machine to a halt. Yes, it would be very tough and would require a massive mobilization. But did the Ukrainians find it easy to overthrow the corrupt regime that had been oppressing them

Uri Avnery: The next crusades.

Tom Engelhardt: Which War Is This Anyway? Are We in World War IV?.

Madison Capital Times editorial: The Latest Iraq Horror.

Alan Block: Parsing the President.

Annan Attacks Erosion of Rights in War on Terror: US and Britain in UN Secretary General's Sights.

Jim Lobe: Unipolarity Re-Affirmed.

Noam Chomsky: Elections Run by Same Guys Who Sell Toothpaste.

A Los Angeles Times editorial: Torture by Proxy.

The more haunting problem with Bush's war on terrorism remains the moral one: A nation that considers itself a beacon of freedom seems unable to practice the respect for law and human rights it ardently preaches to others.

William Rivers Pitt against immediate US withdrawal: My Response to on Iraq Withdrawal. [I have to say that his arguments sound awfully like expecting a rapist to take his victim to the rape crisis center. Nice, but extremely unlikely. Usually rape victims want never to see the rapist again, for fear of a repeat performance. There are arguments to be made against immediate withdrawal, but Pitt's are not them.] See also: Putting William Rivers Pitt in Charge of the Occupation; and: Mother of GI Killed in Iraq Responds to Wm. Rivers Pitt.

Mouths agape: UK went to war on one page of legal advice .

IVAW member Tim Goodrich : An ex-warrior calls for peace: Former airman tells views of veterans against the Iraq war.

Bush should hear what the Lebanese want: Bush Postures On The Brave Streets Of Beirut.

More on VT antiwar votes: An embattled antiwar voice. And: Burlington Votes to Bring the Troops Home Now!

Norman Solomon thinks that is now part of the problem: Making Peace With the War in Iraq.

Amy Quinn: What Now for the Peace Movement?

What's ahead for the peace movement? For our part, UFPJ seeks to expand our base through a sustained education campaign set to launch March 24, the 40th anniversary of the first Vietnam teach-in. Simultaneous teach-ins will kickoff the campaign in Washington D.C., California, and at the site of the first Vietnam teach-in in Ann Arbor, Mich. Our goal is to generate momentum and infrastructure for a long-term education movement that promotes fresh models for reaching beyond the choir to engage clergy, youth, immigrants and others about the real axis of evil – racism, poverty and war – set forth by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967.
Most importantly, the teach-in campaign will speak to the large slice of the 59 percent of the public who thinks the troops should be brought home but are paralyzed with fear about the consequences for Iraq. Our task is to illustrate the facts – the longer the United States occupies Iraq, the more deadly and costly this war will be.

Smells Like Bush Team 'Spirit': Bush wants 'democracy' in Lebanon, but which brand? See also: Lebanon: A Wave of Disobedience. And: Lebanese president reinstates pro-Syrian premier.

Shhh. Don't let them know there's little danger. They might not remain afraid: Secret FBI Report Questions Al Qaeda Capabilities: No 'True' Al Qaeda Sleeper Agents Have Been Found in US.

The 32-page assessment says flatly, "To date, we have not identified any true 'sleeper' agents in the US," seemingly contradicting the "sleeper cell" description prosecutors assigned to seven men in Lackawanna, N.Y., in 2002.... It also differs from testimony given by FBI Director Robert Mueller, who warned in the past that several sleeper cells were probably in place.

Sidney Blumenthal on the monster appointed as UN ambassador: The enemy within: How an Americanist devoted to destroying international alliances became the US envoy to the UN.

Must Read! A new Program on International Policy Attitudes ( PIPA) poll finds the public is ready for major changes in American budget priorities, including drastic cuts in the "defense" budget Public Would Significantly Alter Administration's Budget. See also: The Federal Budget: The Public's Priorities [Full Report, pdf] and: Questionnaire [pdf].

Defense spending received the deepest cut, being cut on average 31%—equivalent to $133.8 billion—with 65% of respondents cutting. The second largest area to be cut was the supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, which suffered an average cut of $29.6 billion or 35%, with two out of three respondents cutting....
The UN and UN peacekeeping received one of the largest percentage increases—going up an average of 207% or $4.8 billion. Spending on economic and humanitarian aid went up an average of $3.2 billion or 23%, military aid went up $4.7 billion or 53% and the State Department went up an average of $3.2 billion, also 53%. However, in all these cases it was an enthusiastic minority (25-39%) that was driving these increases.

Seumas Milne: It is not democracy that's on the march in the Middle East: Managed elections are the latest device to prop up pro-western regimes. See also Robert Fisk: Half a million gather for pro-Syrian rally to defy vision of US.

But the Hizbullah rally did more than demolish the claims of national unity behind the demand for immediate Syrian withdrawal. It also exposed the rottenness at the core of what calls itself a "pro-democracy" movement in Lebanon. The anti-Syrian protests, dominated by the Christian and Druze minorities, are not in fact calling for a genuine democracy at all, but for elections under the long-established corrupt confessional carve-up, which gives the traditionally privileged Christians half the seats in parliament and means no Muslim can ever be president....
The claim that democracy is on the march in the Middle East is a fraud. It is not democracy, but the US military, that is on the march.... What has actually taken place since 9/11 and the Iraq war is a relentless expansion of US control of the Middle East, of which the threats to Syria are a part. The Americans now have a military presence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar - and in not one of those countries did an elected government invite them in.
[Half a million:] The "cedar" revolution now has a larger dimension, one that does not necessarily favour America's plans. If the Shia of Iraq can be painted as defenders of democracy, the Shias of Lebanon cannot be portrayed as the defenders of "terrorism". So what does Washington make of yesterday's extraordinary events in Beirut?

Tom R Burns and Masoud Kamali propose solutions for Iraq, including all-party talks within the country, and a substantial role for the EU, Iran and Turkey: The state(s) of Iraq.

Three major groups of agents are participating in a dance of life and death: the Iraqi groups that must be encouraged to engage in multilateral negotiations, the EU (particularly, but not only, Britain, France and Germany, and the EU candidate Turkey) that should assist mediation and, ultimately, peacekeeping, and finally the US and its allies.
The key is for the US leadership to recognize: first, there is no "Iraqi nation"; second, legitimate authority and public order must emerge from within Iraqi society, starting with the Kurdish and Shi'ite regions setting the stage for multilateral negotiations and the formation of new order(s); third, the outcome of these difficult processes - whether one state or two or more, whether Islamic-dominated or secular with Ba'ath Party resurrection - will probably not be to the liking of some or many outside Iraq. However, further death and destruction may be minimized, and the likelihood of establishing stable and peaceful democratic order(s) maximized.

Jorge Medina, father of soldier killed in Iraq, speaks to the WSWS: “Thousands of soldiers are dying and they don’t care”

Jihad Al Khazen: Expert Clown.

I would like to say, as a citizen who cares for Iraq, that there is a massive difference between the legitimate resistance against the occupation on the one hand, and terrorism on the other. What we are currently witnessing in Iraq is gruesome terrorism, and it is the duty of every Arab to try to help the Iraqis in putting an end to it.

Vets should join the effort to make the real torture criminals pay: GIs Against Torture.

Joshua Frank: The War Path of Unity: An excerpt from Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush

Randolph T. Holhut: You Can't Have a Functioning Democracy With a Malfunctioning Press.

Oh George, You Can't Be Serious! Recent meeting with Vladimir Putin exposes George W. Bush's comedically astounding hypocrisy.

Fraser Nelson: Don't be fooled - this is no Arab glasnost.

The fact remains that Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia all know that the pro-war camp in the West is desperate for some good news - and will take any it can get at face value. Indeed, several newspaper columnists have spent the last fortnight dancing a jig.
The Arab leaders have worked out how a democratic gift-horse is never looked in the mouth. So many in the West are easily hoodwinked by just the semblance of democracy, as long as it helps them win arguments with opponents back home.

Steve Bell on the casualties of US patrols in Iraq: The one that got reported.

Lien-Hang Nguyen and Karthika Sasikumar: Comparing Iraq and Vietnam.

Helen Thomas: Torturer, heal thyself: No order from Bush to stop torture.

[In the State Department's Annual Human Rights Report] Some nations were accused of torturing prisoners and inflicting them with sleep deprivation and blindfolding. If that sounds familiar, it's probably because similar criticism has been levied against U.S. interrogators who were accused of punitive methods to create anxiety and fear. The torture took many forms, including "water boarding" that simulates drowning....
President Bush has yet to issue a ironclad executive order against torture or abusive treatment in military prisons. At a White House briefing last week, I asked press secretary Scott McClellan: "Has the president ever issued an order against torture of prisoners? And do we still send prisoners to Syria to be tortured?" McClellan replied: "The president has stated publicly that we do not condone torture and that he would never authorize the use of torture. He has made that (clear)." "But has he issued an order?" McClellan didn't give a clear response.

Another nail in the coffin of liberty: The End of the Right to Counsel?

Choice of Bolton shows US mood.

After the cold-blooded murder of Nicola Calipari and the wounding of Giuliana Sgrena, it's needed again: The Unfortunate Incident Protocol: How the powerful dodge their own bullets.

A German view: 'Friendly Fire' in Iraq Sparks Hostile Words in Italy.

Shouldn't the question be "Does the US still have any moral authority to loose?" Is US losing moral authority on human rights?

The Washington Post reported last week that countries like China, Russia, Mexico and others accused the US of a double-standard in talking about human rights abuses, after a year that saw the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, as well as questions raised about the level of force used by US troops in Iraq in dealing with journalists and Iraqi civilians.

John Chuckman: The Creature Walks Among Us: "Aw, Shucks, These Things Happen".

It became obvious what happened as the trigger-happy soldiers stood around the car containing wounded and dying occupants and wouldn't permit any access or help for several minutes. From such events come the not-to-be-sneered-at stories of Americans targeting journalists they don't like (Ms Sgrena being quite critical of Americans in Iraq). The scene must have resembled the chilling one in Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" where a group of American soldiers stands, with a wounded and dying Vietnamese woman at their feet, chatting and unblinkingly watching her die....
I read recently of another Frankensteinian project in which a mouse is to be given a brain composed of a clump of human brain cells. Perhaps the President personally inspired this one, his behavior resembling nothing so much as a human with the brain of a mouse.

Robert Fisk: Is Lebanon walking into another nightmare?

[T]here are growing signs that the Syrian retreat is reopening the sectarian divisions of the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war.

Campaigning in the American style: Blair in Baghdad on surprise mission.

Alexander R. Dawoody, Professor of Middle Eastern History at Western Michigan University has sent: The Iraq Election, A Sad Comedy.

Justin Raimondo asks: Who Killed Rafik Hariri? And why it matter. Hint: it ain't Syria.

New Zogby Poll shows strong shift from 46% to 54% not thinking war worth it over two weeks: Views On Iraq Change Dramatically In U.S.. And 61% disapprove of Bush's handling of the war: Bush Jobs Numbers Plunge—Especially on Iraq.

Haifa Zangana: So much for illusions: Despite the election, ordinary Iraqis face a daily struggle to survive attacks, kidnappings and killings.

For an explanation of the democracy spreading across the Arab world, al-Jazeera and the internet deserve credit, says Dilip Hiro: As the old Arab order crumbles, a revolution gets under way.

Nobel for Sistani: Iraqi Christians want Shiite for Nobel.

Two community colleges oppose freedom of thought: Colleges Stop Study-In-Spain Program Over War Issue.

Will Shia Iran and Iraq soon be joined by a Shia-dominated Lebanon? From Lebanon to Iraq and Back.

The New York Times says the administration is congratulating itself for mentioning that the US-installed Iraqi government commits the same crimes that the US itself commits: Looking the Other Way.

The administration's refusal to remedy these abuses - or even acknowledge most of them - leaves the 2004 human rights report heavy with irony and saps its authority. Not only did the report fail to mention that the Iraqi government it criticized was appointed and controlled by the United States, but it also chastised the local security forces for the same kinds of arbitrary detentions, abusive treatment and torture that have been widespread in American military and intelligence prison camps. Indeed, some of the practices the report labeled as torture when employed by foreign governments were approved at one point for American detention centers by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Robert Parry points out that "freedom" and "democracy", are being spread by rape, torture, and murder. Is this the new recipe for a better world? Neocon Amorality.

For a government that wraps its actions in moral absolutes about good versus evil, while deriding liberal relativism, the Bush administration may rank as the most committed in modern American history to an ends-justify-the-means ethos....
At the center of neoconservative thinking has always been the elitist concept that the American population must be led by using simple messages, heroic imagery or fear. Historians trace this thinking back to the teaching of the late political philosopher Leo Strauss, a neoconservative icon. To neoconservatives, therefore, truth is not a value in its own right. To them, information must be culled for useful kernels, facts that can then be exploited to create an emotional response within the target audience. Once this desired political climate – manufactured consent, if you will – is created, the neoconservatives are free to promote an aggressive policy to achieve their policy goals.

Charles Glass: Revelations on the illegal occupation of Iraq.

F William Engdahl: The oil factor in Bush's 'war on tyranny'.

What is striking is just how directly this list of US "emerging target" countries, "outposts of tyranny", maps on to the strategic goal of total global energy control, which is clearly the central strategic focus of the Bush-Cheney administration....
If we add to the list of "emerging targets" Myanmar, a state that, however disrespectful of human rights, is also a major ally and recipient of military aid from Beijing, a strategic encirclement potential against China emerges quite visibly. Malaysia, Myanmar and Aceh in Indonesia represent strategic flanks on which the vital sea lanes from the Strait of Malacca, through which oil tankers from the Persian Gulf travel to China, can be controlled. Moreover, 80% of Japan's oil passes here....
Taking Iran from the mullahs would give Washington chokepoint control over the world's most strategically important oil waterway, the Strait of Hormuz, a three-kilometer-wide passage between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The major US military base in the entire Middle East region is just across the strait from Iran in Doha, Qatar. One of the world's largest gas fields also lies here....
The list of emerging targets in a new "war on tyranny" is clearly fluid, provisional, and adaptable as developments change. It is clear that a breathtaking array of future military and economic offensives is in the works at the highest policy levels to transform the world. A world oil price of US$150 a barrel or more in the next few years would be joined by chokepoint control of the supply by one power if Washington has its way.

And, for the opposition: Vermont's anti-war drive a model after their exciting victory Tuesday.

Michael Hammerschlag: Terrorism and the Justification for the War in Iraq.

Lately, I’ve been considering whether Bush’s justification for the Iraq War: we are fighting them there so they won’t come here isn’t completely without merit.... [F]ighting terrorism is about extinguishing the maniacs who started fires and their handiwork, not starting a monstrous blaze in a stable and quiet backwater. The miserably named “war on terrorism” has always been partly a struggle for minds- which we’ve been losing at the speed of light.

Can journalists survive? Too dangerous to report.

Bronx soldier refuses orders to deploy to Iraq. And: Mother blames Bush for son's death in Iraq, says his life was 'wasted'.

Must Read! Gilbert Achcar: Whither Iraq? The US occupation and the antiwar movement after the election.

A "democratic" Iraq means, for Bush, a country that is not ruled by an Iran-like regime combining Islamic fundamentalism, a measure of parliamentarianism and hostility to US domination (though Washington is perfectly happy with the Saudi combination of servility to the US and extreme fundamentalism -- certainly the most undemocratic and anti-women regime on earth). An Iraq "at peace with its neighbors" could only mean, in Bush's mouth, an Iraqi government at peace with Israel, along with the Jordanian and Saudi kingdoms, with the Iranian and Syrian neighbors "pacified" according to Washington's standard. Finally, an Iraq "able to defend itself" means that Washington will not withdraw (partially) from the country before it is assured that it is under the control of armed forces that are as much dependent on Washington as their Saudi and Jordanian counterparts are....
The discussion in Iraq among political forces of the popular majority is between those calling for a withdrawal of foreign troops in the medium-term and those calling for their withdrawal in the short-term. It is clear that the dominant fractions in the UIA, probably backed on this issue too by Ayatollah al-Sistani, belong to the first camp....
is a deadly wrong view. On the one hand, experience has shown in an indisputable way that the longer the occupation lingers, the more the situation in Iraq deteriorates. The occupation breeds chaos more effectively than any other factor or force, be it foreign or local. On the other hand, the occupiers can be legitimately suspected of fostering forms of chaos and violence, as well as ethnic and sectarian rifts, in order to perpetuate and legitimate the occupation. They are actually accused of behaving in this way by the great majority of the Iraqi people. Most Iraqis believe that Washington is deliberately sowing the seeds of civil strife between them, by playing each community against the others....
Faced with the prospect of a clash with the Shia majority, Washington is determined to use any means necessary to counter that threat, including an "anti-Iranian" alliance with the Baathists.

The country we live in: One in Four Americans Would Use Nukes Against Terrorists, Gallup Finds.

Antiwar movement comes alive: Listing 2-yr Iraq War Anniversary Demonstrations (March 18-20). Also: Recruiting Iraq Vets Against the War.

Vietnam war deserter helps Iraq war deserters: Resistance rekindled.

"I hadn't been giving much thought to my past as an American deserter for many, many years," said Zaslofsky, 60, now the coordinator of the War Resisters Support Campaign, founded to help the Iraq deserters and promote their anti-war message.

Moyers Discusses Iraq,President Bush, Poetry.

Geov Parrish : The domino theory. Be careful before crediting the Bush Administration with causing this week's movements toward democracy in the Middle East.

Owen Harries: George Bush's Iraq adventure is rich in dangerous precedents.

In a system composed of a large number of independent and conflicting wills, uncertain intelligence, deadly weapons, different cultures and no universally recognised and enforceable authority, a prudent morality requires modesty - modesty of ends, of means, and not least of rhetoric.

Britons, too, have trouble with lies, as Britain moves toward a police state: It’s a sad day for democracy when you can’t trust the PM.

But British cover-up continues: The attorney who passed the buck: Revelations about the legality of war ignore one crucial aspect.

87% of Vermont town with an antiwar resolution of their Town Meeting agenda passed it: Iraq War Lands in the Midst of Vermont's Town Hall Meetings.

Towns have lost police officers, firefighters, teachers and other vital employees, said Benson Scotch of Montpelier, who set up a website, , to promote the measure. Country stores - often the only places to buy supplies in some rural villages - have shut down when their owners shipped off with the Guard, Scotch said.

Commander Beth F. Coye, in the military during Vietnam, says: That Sinking Feeling Returns.

Just the status-quo: Cruel and usual: The outrages at Camp Breadbasket are consistent with British colonial rule - brutal, oppressive and racist.

British: Reservist 'Won't Serve in Unjust Disaster of Iraq War' .

Elections or not, fighting and dying go on: Analysis: Iraq blast bursts election bubble.

Support Our Troops? U.S. Soldier Fights To Keep Home While In Iraq: Wife Says Bank Threatens To Foreclose On Sergeant's House, Sell Belongings.

A Kansas soldier who is on active duty in Iraq is also fighting for his home. A bank is trying to foreclose on Sgt. Steve Welter's house in Osawatomie, which is illegal. It is a violation of a 64-year-old federal law to foreclose on a soldier's property while he or she is at war....
She said the worst aspect are the phone calls. Once, Keira Welter's daughter, 10-year-old Krysha, answered the phone. "And I said, 'My daddy's in Iraq.' And they hung up," said Krysha Welter. "I was scared because I thought they'd come for us because they knew our daddy is gone." "And then I looked at the caller ID. It said Wells Fargo," Keira Welter said.

Mixed reaction in early town meetings. Most meetings are tonight: Towns react differently to Iraq war resolution.

Ray McGovern on the danger of an attack on Iran, and the need for a nuclear-free Middle East: Attacking Iran: I Know It Sounds Crazy, But...

Is war our nation's natural state, asks James Carroll: The grip of war.

War criminal who does little to improve his own people's welfare is unpopular: lair is election liability, warn Labour aides.

Paul Waldman: White House Lies: A History.

Two things distinguish Bush from his predecessors on the subject of lying. First, Bush’s grandest lies have not been about covering up what has already happened but about persuading the public to go along with what he has decided to do but has yet to implement. Tax cuts, Iraq, now Social Security -- each major policy move has been accompanied by a campaign of deception. Lying is not a defensive reaction to a crisis but a carefully crafted strategy. Second, and perhaps most troubling, is that Bush seems unconcerned about getting caught. Indeed, the administration’s damn-the-torpedoes fearlessness is the source of much of its political success. That it would actually hire, along with a series of other Iran-Contra figures, a perjurer like Elliot Abrams -- who has recently been promoted to deputy national-security adviser in charge of democracy promotion, of all things -- is testimony to its utter audacity. Go ahead, these officials seem to be saying, call us a bunch of liars -- we really don’t care.
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