Key Documents

August, 2004

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.
My latest contribution: Iraq: What Went Wrong? [ZNet] or Information ClearingHouse. My comments written in response to the Nic Berg murder are available on Retribution or Reflection (ZNet) and Information ClearingHouse [The ZNet version contains a few additional edits.]. My commentary on the abuse at Abu Ghraib prison puts it in the context of the dynamics of occupation. I believe it make important points that aren't being made elsewhere. It has been posted on ZNet: Abuse at Abu Ghraib, the Psychodynamics of Occupation, and the Responsibility of Us All. See also my prior piece: Security, Terror, and the Psychodynamics of Empire.

The Occupation

Occupation Resistance Analysis

A lot of change goes missing. has anyone checked Switzerland? Senators Ask Where $8.8 Bln in Iraq Funds Went.

A reminder of the horrors, and the massive cover-up: Abu Ghraib doctors knew of torture, says Lancet report.

"The wider non-military medical community should unite in support of their colleagues ... Abu Ghraib should serve as an eleventh-hour wake up call for the western world to rediscover and live by the values enshrined in democratic constitutions."

Must Read! Soccer team says Hands off, occupier! Iraqi soccer players angered by Bush campaign ads featuring team.

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Sadir [Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir, who scored a goal against Morocco] told SI.com through a translator, speaking calmly and directly. "He can find another way to advertise himself."
Ahmed Manajid, who played as a midfielder on Wednesday, had an even stronger response when asked about Bush's TV advertisement. "How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Manajid told me. "He has committed so many crimes...."
But they also find it offensive that Bush is using their team for his own gain when they do not support his administration's actions in Iraq. "My problems are not with the American people," says Iraqi soccer coach Adnan Hamad. "They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"

GQ profiles hero Joe Darby, the Abu Ghraib whistle-blower who now has his life threatened and has spent three months in protective custody: The Conscience of Joe Darby.

The availability of new cars in Iraq hurts the poor: Motor City, Baghdad.

No good news for the taxpayer, but it’s worse news for Iraq: How Cheney Cooked The Books And Got Away With 35 Million

“In an interview with two of Newsweek’s reporters, Halliburton CEO David Lesar defended his company’s bookkeeping and said that former CEO Dick Cheney was aware of the firm's accounting methods. Lesar says “Cheney knew that the firm was counting projected cost-overrun payments as revenues, “The vice president was aware of who owed us money, and he helped us collect it,” Lesar told Newsweek.”

Salim Lone examines the problems in Iraq: Not the bombs that the US showered on Iraq to take over, but the policy that was implemented after the US got to Baghdad: I Lived To Tell The Tale

Must Read! For an unedited view of life in Iraq today, Jo Wilding posts this e-mail from a friend, Helen Williams, in Baghdad, regarding massive fighting in the Shula district in the nothwest of Baghdad. It reports many casualties there as the US attacks. This is completely separate from the Sadr City offensive. The e-mail also reports on many other unreported violent incidents: Unreported Violence in Iraq.

We all know the reasons why America doesn't pull out of the disaster that is Iraq. But if they did, there would be no roadside bombs, no Mahdi Army Resistance in Nagaf, Sadr City, Basra etc and probably no kidnappings. I wish they would go and give it a try - after all things can't get much worse than they are now. Or can they?

Oil prices hit a new high, $47.80, early Thursday: A broken record: Oil up again.

Saddam-Lite! In Venezuela, 58% of the vote, with independent confirmation, isn't good enough for the US. In Iraq, no vote, with a totally rigged system is just fine. Ain't US-approved democracy just fine! Chaos and farce as Iraq chooses first assembly.

After a day of wrangling and confusion, the presiding judges at the conference declared that a government-backed list should be adopted. An alternative list was offered by independent delegates but this was later withdrawn, leading to claims that the 81 members of the new council had only been agreed by default.... The exact make-up of the government list was unclear last night, but it must contain a number of candidates from the country's political parties, ethnic groups and tribes. [In other words, people weren't even allowed to know what they selected, as long as it was the government-chosen list.]

US-appointed Iraqi dictator un-invited to British Labor Party conference: Labour drops invite to Iraqi leader.

Another Abu Ghraib cover-up report to be issued: More U.S. Troops Implicated in Abu Ghraib Abuse.

Israel Defense Forces [IDF] are training US Army units in anti-guerilla strategies: IDF Teaches US Soldiers Guerilla Response.

Torture by US-supported Kurdish PUK, with US agents present, causes case to be dropped by Norway: Norway: “anti-terror” investigation exposes US-backed torture in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, a high-profile "terrorism" case against a US mosque may collapse due to false information given to the court: Key Evidence in Doubt in U.S. Mosque Case -Paper.

Change? US troops kill two at Abu Ghraib.

Oil prices break $47! Oil price hits above $US47.

Press Freedom, Iraqi style: Kansas City Star photographer threatened by Iraqi police. In another incident, US troops arrested an Agence-France Presse journalist in Tikrit: US troops arrest journalist in Iraq. In yet a third incident, a photographer was shot in a firefight: Reuters Photographer Shot in Najaf.

How our country pays those who challenge its myths: Army whistleblower in protective custody.

Growing up is difficult in the new Iraq: Coming of Age in Iraq. But creating poetry helps people adjust From street bards to Saddam, everyone's a poet in Iraq.

The Spoils! Halliburton will get all its loot after all. Did Cheney's office call? Pentagon flipflops, will pay Halliburton fully.

New oil price records Wednesday, at $47/barrel: Oil Sets New Record $47 on Iraq Threat.

For a further official view, here is an account of an interview with the Police Chief in Najaf, who has been in the fore of anti-Sadr forces: Calling the shots in Najaf.

A plague on both your houses is the attitude of ordinary people caught in the middle of the Najaf fighting, according to this article: ‘Everyone is terrified’.

“Najaf is Shia. In Saddam’s time, his al-Quds army and Baathists used to hurt the people. Now the Mehdi Army and the Americans have turned it into a war zone,” Hassan said.

For the official view, here is an interview with Prime Minister Iyad Allawi by Christopher Allbritton. The interview was done for Time, which printed a shortened version: A Talk with Iraq's Prime Minister: Sitting down with Iyad Allawi. Time has allowed Chris to post the deleted material on his own web site: A Chat with Iyad Allawi.

Christopher Allbritton has also recently posted two pieces very critical of Moqtada al-Sadr and those in the west who support his resistance. While he was against the war, Chris now argues that the US cannot just leave: More on Moqtada and Moqtada redux. For quite a different analysis by Pepe Escobar, who views al-Sadr as: A unifying factor across Iraq.

Journalist working for a German TV station is killed in Falluja: Journalist killed in Fallujah.

Must Read! National Conference members rebel against rigged elections for the 81 open seats on the National Council: Iraq national conference on brink of collapse: Protestors accuse political bigwigs of have already drawn up their lists for selecting Iraq's national council.

Reporters Without Borders condemns the Saddam-like threats against the press in Iraq: News blackout in Najaf deplored.

Even Blair and Berlusconi call for peaceful solution to standoff, rather than the US military approach: Berlusconi And Blair Call For Political Solution To Iraq Fighting.

Hundreds of claims of US troops stealing from Iraqis: Iraqis say soldiers rob them: Civilians allege that forces seeking rebels raid homes and take money, other property; U.S. authorities say such incidents are rare.

Forty accounts of theft recorded in recent days by Newsday include complaints by the caretaker of a Coptic Christian church, the manager of a small hotel in Baghdad, an Iraqi police captain and a grain farmer....
"Hundreds upon hundreds" of the 20,000 compensation claims filed in the past year with the Iraqi Assistance Center alleged theft by U.S. troops during raids, said a source closely familiar with the office, who spoke on condition of anonymity....
Even for property that soldiers formally confiscate from Iraqis and report to senior officers, the U.S. accounting system may have been inadequate for months, the officer suggested. Of Iraqis detained and then freed, he said, "I am sure many claimants have slipped through that probably did not get everything they wanted back."

57-years old, declared 100% disabled by the VA, but recalled to active duty by the Army! 57-year-old veteran called for duty. Maybe they can recall Bush to serve the time he owes.

Linda S. Heard reminds us that the current government's attacks on the independent press simply follow in the footsteps of the brutal murders of several reporters by US troops earlier in the conflict: Now Iraqis Know What It’s to Live Under Democracy.

One story of a victim of war. What does this administration think of when they read what they have done to our boys and girls or, conversely, Iraqi boys and girls? Wounded Shelby soldiers battles nightmares, injuries from Iraq

War hurts everyone, except of course the profiteers: Reservists Say War Makes Them Lose Jobs.

Juan Cole contrasts the New York Times and Washington Post coverage of the Iraqi national conference -- disaster vs. striking success. Cole comes down on the former side: WaPo and NYT Duel on Sigificance of National Congress. It appears that the conference has called on the Mahdi Army to leave Najaf: Iraqis urge Sadr to end fight.

Bomb's legacy: Christian's leaving: Iraqi Christians leave their country en masse after deadly church attacks.

The US-installed "Iraqi government" fires upon reporters. Nary a peep from a Washington claiming to bring "freedom", including a "free press" to Iraq: Police fire at reporters as US tanks roll up to shrine.

Even foremerly pro-American Shia leaders are turning against the US: Najaf assault turns allies against US.

Juan Cole, in the Washington Post, provides background on the structure of Shiism in Iraq: It Takes a Following to Make an Ayatollah.

According to the Washington Post, Allawi has agreed to postpone an attack on Najaf, in response to protests at the National Conference: Dispute Over Najaf Disrupts Iraqi Political Conference. This account appears to conflict with other accounts that a major assault is being organized.

The National Conference met amid concerns about the fighting in Najaf: Iraqi conference off to a shaky start.

Oil prices up yet again: Oil Hits New High After Refinery Blast.

Jo Wilding updates her account of the situation, based on her friends in Iraq: August 13th -The News From Iraq.

The American Bar Association has overwhelmingly called for an independent investigation of prisoner abuse in Iraq: American Bar Association Calls for Independent Torture Probe.

Is it Saddam Lite or Saddam industrial strength? Paul McGeough reports on the continuing abuse of Iraqi prisoners: They Saw No Evil, Heard No Evil, and Certainly Will Not Speak of It.

And these abuses were not being carried out in a suburban police station. They took place in a courtyard at the Interior Ministry in east Baghdad, within screaming distance of the office of the Interior Minister, Falah al-Naqib, who, according to the Herald's witnesses, was present and had congratulated Allawi after the Al-Amariyah executions in late June.
The guardsmen uncovered a torture chamber at the ministerial headquarters and they treated prisoners who were so bruised and broken that they could barely walk. The US embassy in Baghdad confirmed to The Oregonian that it had raised the June 29 "brutality" with al-Naqib, but said it would be "inappropriate" to divulge the content of confidential diplomatic discussions. But action - and inaction - speaks louder than words....
What we are seeing in Iraq now, with charges against the disgraced Ahmed Chalabi and his nephew, Salem Chalabi, is the tenacious pursuit of those who are deemed to be opponents of - or threats to - the regime. But it seems that if you have Washington's backing, you can get away with murder.

Why are we here? GIs haven't a clue: Young Marines frustrated by lack of progress.

The Marines are surprised at some of their own ugly emotions. The Army troops whom the Marines replaced told them, "You're going to learn to hate these people," Goward recalled. "I thought, 'With that attitude, no wonder you're having a hard time.' But you know what? They're absolutely right...."
"I can't say we're failing in our mission," he said at the end of the talk around the card table. "Our mission has changed. It's just to kill the bad guys. And we're doing that.''

Antonia Zerbisias reports that among the new restrictions in the Iraqi press is any “unwarranted criticism” of Allawi. Reason--The new catch all, “National Security”: Muzzling Begins in Iraq.

Halliburton can’t account for 1.8bn and its subsidiary KRB is in the accounting soup again/still Halliburton accused of not justifying £1bn army bills.

"As we have stated previously, we believe these issues will be resolved in our favour," the company said. "Even if they are not, we don't believe it will affect the company's liquidity because Halliburton will, in turn, withhold payments to subcontractors".

Yet another all-time high for oil prices: Oil prices soar.

As the killing machine oils up, games, games, and more games... Iraq Delays Charges Against Ahmad Chalabi.

Oil prices rise again, on news of fighting: Oil at new high on Iraqi violence.

Patrick Cockburn reminds us that, despicable as the Chalabi's are, they're hardly alone in robbing Iraq blind. That's what virtually all the exiles placed in charge of the country by Americans arms do: The Corruption is Thick in Iraq. But: Political chameleon returns to clear his name.

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign in Britain announces: Call for solidarity for Iraqi trade unionists. They've also released this historical account of government control of "unions": The 'Yellow' Unions in Saddam's Iraq.

The Deputy Governor of Basra wants the Iraqi south to secede from Iraq, in protest of the government's attacks on Najaf: Iraqi south threatens secession.

Juan Cole reports that the Iraqi government is closing the Iraqi National Congress office in Baghdad, thus taking another step toward brutal dictatorship. Presumably, the laudatory comments about their fight for freedom and democracy will increase: Iraq National Congress Office Closed.

Baghdad, posters, posters everywhere: Tigris Tales: The writing's on the wall for the new Iraq. Posters everywhere compete for people's hearts and minds.

As tribunal head of Saddam’s trial, Salem Chalabi charges that the claims against him are unfounded, and he now fears for his life, something most do Iraqis these days: Iraq tribunal head fears for life.

Roger Hayes provides an analysis of the Chalabis: The Chalabis: Victims or villains?

Does Chalabi ever take a break from his dirty tricks; perhaps this is why he was chosen by the premier before the fall from grace. Doesn’t he know not to bite the hand that feeds him? Chalabi wanted on counterfeiting charges.

David Hackworth says that Iraq has witnessed: One of history's biggest heists.

Offshore bankers must be burning the midnight oil these days with all the new secret accounts pouring out of Baghdad!

Iraqi reconstruction a disaster, says NYT editorial: The Iraq Reconstruction Fiasco.

Let's hope it's true: World won't accept Abu Ghraib whitewash.

Some troops are sick of the lies: Intelligence analyst questions U.S. efforts in Iraq.

A good 90 percent of the guys we were fighting were guys that just wanted us out of their country,” McGerald said. “If we had a foreign army here, it would be the same....”
“The press is a tool that is being used by the government,” Tucker McGerald said. Tara McGerald agreed, and said she was pleased to see the release of the documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.” “I loved the truth,” she said. “I had been getting it from (Tucker) for over a year. It was a breath of fresh air.”

Has the US decided to do away with the Chalabi's? Why not extradite Ahmed to Jordan, where he's already a convicted felon? Or, is this an attempt to boost their credentials as 'nationalist" heroes? Conspiracy theorists, get ready... Iraq Issues Warrants for Chalabi, Nephew.

Must Read! As usual, we turn to Riverbend for the most profound insights into the current fighting in the south: Clashes and Churches....

We’re waiting again for some sort of condemnation. I, personally, never had faith in the American selected proxy government currently pretending to be in power- but for some reason, I keep thinking that any day now- any moment- one of the Puppets, Allawi for example, will make an appearance on television and condemn all the killing. One of them will get in front of a camera and announce his resignation or at the very least, his utter disgust, at the bombing, the burning and the killing of hundreds of Iraqis and call for an end to it… it’s a foolish hope, I know....
There's a lovely church in our area. It stands tall, solid and gray. It is very functional and simple- a rectangular structure with a pointy roof, topped by a plain cross or 'saleeb', simple wooden doors and a small garden- it looks exactly like the drawings your 7-year-old nephew or daughter would make of the local church. This simplicity contrasted wonderfully with its stained-glass windows. The windows are at least 30 different colors. I always find myself staring at them as we pass, wondering about the myriad of shapes and colors they throw down upon the people inside. It hurts to pass it by these days because I know so many of the people who once visited it are gone- they've left to Syria, Jordan, Canada... with broken hearts and bitterness.

Eighteen American soldiers have died so far in August,76 since the handover of "sovereignty": Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

Reuters reports some in Sadr City are tired of al-Sadr's militia and hope the interim Government will restore stability: Not everyone inspired by holy war.

Saddam Lite! New reports by a US reporter with the troops, of an incident originally reported by the Guardian. OIn June 29th, Oregon National Guard came upon the newly-"sovereign" Iraqi police torturing prisoners, intervened to stop it, and were ordered to return the prisoners to their torturers and withdraw: Ordered to just walk away. See also an Associated Press report: Soldiers' Rescue Attempt in Iraq Rebuffed. To give a sense of what treatment the prisoners got, here are numerous Pictures of Beatings in Baghdad.

Another step toward the rebrutalization of Iraqi society: Iraq Brings Back Capital Punishment.

Newsweek interviews Sheikh Abdullah al-Janabi, "the leading Sunni cleric in Fallujah": ‘We Pray the Insurgents Will Achieve Victory’: Fallujah’s leading cleric discusses the spate of civilian kidnappings and the difference between ‘honest’ and ‘dishonest’ insurgency.

Endless war, prison torture, alien government imposed. It's time for TV, American-style: Iraqis exhausted by daily drama find escape on new TV network: Soap operas, reality shows, music videos to relieve bad news. On the other hand, talk radio is also available: Fledgling Baghdad talk show electrifies listeners..

Now that Aljazeera has been banned-in Baghdad, David Usborne says Al-Jazeera 'no more biased than other TV channels': The Iraqi government's ban on the Arab satellite TV news channel is a mistake, say critics.

Abu Ghraib defense lawyers want the liar-in-chief on the stand: Abu Ghraib lawyers want Cheney on stand.

Goods going to Iraq through Turkey being switched to trucks with Iraqi plates: Number Of Iraqi Trucks Entering Turkey To Carry Goods Increases.

Another attempt to win Arab hearts and minds: U.S. checking possibility of pumping oil from northern Iraq to Haifa, via Jordan.

Tom Lasseter of Knight Ridder sums up the situation perfectly: Deepening anti-U.S. rage casts doubt on Iraq leaders' ability to restore order.

After the past two days of fighting in southern and central Iraq, the difference between firebrand cleric Muqtada al Sadr and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi couldn't be any more clear: Al Sadr has an army, and Allawi does not.... And as in previous battles, Iraq's Achilles' heel was revealed: To defend their country, Allawi and the interim government must go to the American military, an institution that's widely reviled by many Iraqis as an occupational force run amok.

Very: Limited amnesty for Iraqi insurgents.

Freedom? "Sovereignty" shows its true colors. The new government takes repressive measures that the US hesitated to do: Aljazeera's Baghdad office closed.

US soldiers killing Iraqis in cold blood is no big deal. Shooting someone in the back of the head gets three years for involuntary manslaughter. What, the gun just went off? Hawai'i soldier convicted in killing of Iraqi civilian.

American hospitality offered to Iraqi visitors. First they are barred from the Memphis City Hall as a "danger" ["EWA: existing while Arab"]. Now they are mugged at gunpoint. Is this a conspiracy to make them glad to go back to quiet Iraq? Iraqi visitors robbed, police say. Surely, no American can seriously think we have much to tech these visitors.

Robert Fisk's latest reminds us of the horrors of the Saddam regime during the Iran-Iraq war, when of course, the US was giving arms and aid to both sides: Still Haunted by Images of War: The Tale of Saddam's Cameraman.

With the Shia areas of Iraq exploding: Al-Sistani in UK for heart ailment.

Now they talk of 3-5 years. In 5 years, how long will they say? Franks predicts long haul in Iraq.

Indian truck drivers tell more of their treatment at the hands of the Americans: Truckers recount Iraq horror stories.

At least "sovereign" Iraq has learned from the US. It has $2 billion for its military, but can't afford $14.8 million in UN dues: UN Bureaucrats Angry Over Iraq's Refusal to Pay Dues.

Bremer’s micromanagement of Iraqi society lives on in the letter of his laws: The Hand-Over That Wasn't: Illegal Orders give the US a Lock on Iraq's Economy.

Officially, the U.S. occupation of Iraq ended on June 28, 2004. But in reality, the United States is still in charge: Not only do 138,000 troops remain to control the streets, but the "100 Orders" of L. Paul Bremer III remain to control the economy.
These little noticed orders enacted by Bremer, the now-departed head of the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority, go to the heart of Bush administration plans in Iraq. They lock in sweeping advantages to American firms, ensuring long-term U.S. economic advantage while guaranteeing few, if any, benefits to the Iraqi people.
The Bremer orders control every aspect of Iraqi life — from the use of car horns to the privatization of state-owned enterprises. Order No. 39 alone does no less than "transition [Iraq ] from a … centrally planned economy to a market economy" virtually overnight and by U.S. fiat.

Iraqi rights minister wants South Africa-style truth commission.

Christian Science Monitor reports the scandal involving children torture in US prisons in Iraq while the US refuses international access: Children in Iraqi prisons: Human rights groups demand immediate access to children held as criminals or 'security detainees'.

They hide evidence from the Red Cross. They hide it from Congress. They certainly hide it from the public. Why wouldn't they hide it from the court? Military Intelligence Ordered Captives Hidden, Court Told .

An Army investigation into abuses at Abu Ghraib by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba reported that some detainees were being kept secretly and strongly condemned the practice as a violation of international law. A subsequent Army Inspector General's report, issued to Congress last month, said the IG had no evidence that detainees were hidden from international officials or that there was any systemic problem related to such practices.

US challenges kidnappers. Expect more brutal killings: Iraq force 'won't give in' to kidnappers.

Torture Firm CACI rehired for "interrogations": Army Rehires CACI for Interrogations.

Other Army officials have said they were satisfied with CACI's performance.

Indian truck drivers don't think much of American troops: American valour? All hogwash, say Indian truckers.

"We took food for them in 60-feet long trucks. But once inside the army camps, we were held captive at gunpoint by American soldiers and not allowed to leave. Their treatment was horrible. "As far as their bravery is concerned, the less said the better. When a convoy was attacked, the escort vehicles would simply speed off in different directions and leave the hapless truck drivers to fend for themselves," he said.

Will US supply problems get worse? Turkish ban disrupts US supplies.

A vital supply route for the United States military was in jeopardy yesterday after Turkish truck owners announced that they were suspending trips into Iraq.... The Turkish supply route is one of three relied on by the American military and is regarded as more secure for the convoys than the routes through Jordan or Kuwait. Of the 2000 trucks that cross daily from the north, about a tenth carry vital supplies such as petrol and jet fuel to American forces.

No explanation necessary for occupiers: U.S. Troops Arrest Iraqi Police Colonel In Ramadi: Police.

The Spoils! billions stolen to pay overcharging American companies: $1.9 Billion of Iraq's Money Goes to U.S. Contractors.

Most of the money is for two controversial deals that originally had been financed with money approved by the U.S. Congress, but later shifted to Iraqi funds that were governed by fewer restrictions and less rigorous oversight....
That analysis and several audit reports released in recent weeks shed new light on how the occupation authority handled the Iraqi money it controlled. They show that the CPA at times violated its own rules, authorizing Iraqi money when it didn't have a quorum or proper Iraqi representation at meetings, and kept such sloppy records that the paperwork for several major contracts could not be found.

Iraqis brought over by the State Department to learn about American freedom got a good lesson: Iraqis on Tour Banned From Memphis Hall.

Iraqis visiting on a civil rights tour were barred from city hall after the city council chairman said it was too dangerous to let them in.... The Iraqis were scheduled to meet with a city council member, but Joe Brown, the council chair, said he feared the group was dangerou

Cover-up! Despite the overwhelming evidence, The miliary are trying to convince everyone that, at Abu Ghraib: U.S. soldiers abused Iraqis "for fun". Then, why were the same techniques used at Guantanamo, under "torture general" General Miller? Guantanamo men allege abuse.

Must Read! Naeem Mohaiemen reminds us that there are no good sides in Iraq. The brutality of the insurgents, including their brutality toward poor migrant workers, does not in the slightest qualify them as heros: No Heroes In Iraq.

Over the past months, the insurgency has lost its ability to claim higher ground, just as the US occupation force has also lost its own legitimacy. The fate of the seven hostages – three Indian, three Kenyan and one Egyptian truck driver – being held by Holders Of The Black Banner in Iraq illustrates a dark truth about the insurgents: These are not heroic rebels fighting the good fight, but ruthless killers willing to target civilians, including poor migrant workers....
But in opposing the occupation, we also cannot find anything to support among the insurgents. Especially for those of us from majority-Muslim nations, Muqtada Al Sadr or Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi are not heroic guerilla figures. In kidnapping poor migrants and using them to punish the U.S. occupation, they reveal their true inhumanity.
The truth is that in the present crisis in Iraq, there is no "right" side, a condition reflective of our tangled global politics. The only resort in this bloody impasse is the UN. Defanged by the U.S. and hemorrhaging credibility, this rickety institution still offers the best hope for peace in Iraq. Until then, it is poor people everywhere – in dusty Iraqi towns, desperate Indian villages, and army recruiting centers like Flint, Michigan – who will continue to pay with their lives for this war.

The Chalabi nephew assigned to prosecute Saddam Hussein is himself being investigated for possible involvement in the murder of an official investigating the wholesale theft of Iraqi property by the Chalabis Chalabi Nephew Under Investigation in Killing: The organizer of Iraq's war crimes tribunal allegedly made threats. The case raises conflict-of-interest issues for the country's justice system.

Riverbend updates the world on life in Baghdad: And We're Back...

Politically, things seem to be moving slowly. Maybe it's the heat. Everyone is waiting for the up and coming National Conference that is being debated so much. The problem is that it seems all of the same parties are going to be running- SCIRI, Da'awa, INC, PUK, etc. There does seem to be an interesting political resistance movement building up against them. Many of the parties that weren't involved with the CPA and Governing Council are currently trying to get their collective acts together.
Word on the street has it that email, internet access, and telephone calls are being monitored closely. We actually heard a couple of reports of people being detained due to the contents of their email. It's a daunting thought and speaks volumes about our current 'liberated' status- and please don't bother sending me a copy of the "Patriot Act"... this last year it has felt like everyone is under suspicion for something.

Al Franken will go on cable: Franken radio show to be on Sundance.

Former Iraqi prison director says cover-up may go high up: Iraq Jail Chief Says Prisoner Abuse Covered Up.

He's got a plan! Just don't ask what it is: Kerry Pledges Iraq Troop Cut Within 4 Years.

Don't give up hope: Iraqi Christians pray for their attackers.

"We cannot understand why or how they could do something like this," he said. "All we can do is ask God to give them forgiveness and grant us peace."

Danish soldier to be investigated for torturing prisoners. He was turned in by fellow Danish soldiers: Danish agent faces torture claim.

French prisoners released from Guantanamo concentration camp say drugs were used to torture, describe the camp as hell: Drugs Used to Torture Prisoners at Gitmo.

Beefing up the occupation.or whatever it.s called these days: 3,600 U.S. troops move from S. Korea to Iraq.

There were no announcements for the troops' replacement in South Korea, and it was not immediately clear if the move was part of U.S. plans for a global realignment of its troops. The former plan includes reducing the 37,500 troops in South Korea by a third.

The face of "sovereignty": US forces arrest leading Iraqi editor.

After hostage killing, in an attempt to free two others: Turkey won't truck goods to U.S. in Iraq.

Iraqis in Najaf riot for several days over the lack of electricity, Juan Cole reports: Electricity Riots in Najaf. Amara Council Dissolved.

Sistani and an aide to Al-Sadr condemn yesterday's bombings of five Christian churches: op Iraqi Cleric Condemns Church Bombings. For background on the Iraqi Christians, see: Iraqi Christians' long history.

A supporter of the US war effort says: The situation in Iraq right now is not as bad as the news media are portraying it to be. It's worse.

Simply by staving off stability and prosperity, the insurgents are winning. These are painful observations for me to make, because in early April, I wrote on this page that the media had been underplaying the good things happening in Iraq, and were missing the potential for a turnaround. I still believe the first part. But when I returned to Iraq in June, I found that the situation had deteriorated so dramatically that a lot of those good things have become irrelevant. As for the turnaround, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Robert Fisk says Iraq is a disaster now: 'Can't Blair See that this Country is About to Explode? Can't Bush?' .

And looking back through my notebooks over the past five weeks, I find that not a single Iraqi, not a single American soldier I have spoken to, not a single mercenary - be he American, British or South African - believes that there will be elections in January. All said that Iraq is deteriorating by the day. And most asked why we journalists weren't saying so.

A fascinating picture of the only Muslim cleric the Americans can get to speak well of them: Eccentric ally in Green Zone: Imam extols U.S., reveres Virgin Mary -- despised by fellow clerics.

Further claims the US has 5,000 Indians forced to work in Iraq [a.k.a., slaves]. Why is there no major US investigation of these repeated claims that the US has instituted slavery in Iraq? Over 5000 Indians in US troops' custody in Iraq.

Juan Cole ponders whether Iraq's new government is largely snubbing the Shia majority: Allawi Snubs Iran.

The US press is reporting that three US officers ordered a cover-up of Iraqis being forced to jump off a bridge, resulting in the death of one of them. Of course, the officers, while likely lying to the court in their denial that anyone died, are given immunity. After all, US officers are never responsible for their actions: Cover-up of Iraq bridge incident admitted: Commanders, given immunity, deny any drownings. One of these Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, who has been the subject of numerous press puff pieces, e.g.,CNN's Lt. Col. Nate Sassaman. What the press isn't telling us is that Lt. Col. Sassaman is one of the known monsters of the Iraq occupation, infamous for surrounding the town of Abu Hishma with razor wire and controlling all exits and entries, about which he uttered his horrifying quote "With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them." [See: U.S. Policy in Iraq Vanishing Down the Rabbit Hole and my: Security, Terror, and the Psychodynamics of Empire.] and the subject of this horrifying story by David Hilfiker of the Christian Peacemaker Teams: Winning Hearts and Minds [See quotes below.]. In other words, yet again, the only one's who don't know what US troops are doing in Iraq are those who choose to ignore the extensive evidence publicly available!

[Winning Hearts and Minds:] He assured us that his troops didn't usually handcuff the detainees. He preferred, he said, to leave them uncuffed, so that "if they run we can use any level of force necessary to control them. Once we cuff 'em, we can't touch 'em." That phrase, "any level of force," left no doubt in my mind that he was referring to lethal force. But why would he deliberately leave people uncuffed, opening up the possibility of flight?...
One of us asked about repeated firing into an area from which they'd received fire. "Yes," he replied, "we'll fire back ... heavy ... anytime." Again, I felt a chill. Did that mean that no one living in or passing through that area was ever safe? It sounded very much like collective punishment....
It was quickly clear from his body language and his curt responses, however, that he was in no way disposed to listen to these lawyers. I was shocked some minutes later when he became particularly irritated and, turning to us, blurted out without preface or explanation: "You need to understand that these people are Muslim, and their values are just different from Judeo-Christian values. They aren't for doing things for other people like we are; they're only out for themselves...."
When, some time later we suggested arranging a meeting between the lawyers of the HROI and Sassaman, he responded with some vehemence, "There'll be a meeting, all right, and all the lawyers will be there. And it'll be a humdinger of a meeting." While less than pleasant at the time, this statement took on far more ominous overtones in the light of subsequent events.
At one point, Mohaned told Sassaman that he had taken the wrong person in one of his raids --detaining the father when the son was the one he wanted. The implication was that if Sassaman agreed to release the father, they could arrange for the son to turn himself in. Sassaman, visibly angered, responded, "We'll just see who gets to the right guy first...."
On our way, one of our group suddenly pointed out a group of detainees in a pen behind the compound. The detainees were not exactly a vote of confidence in the colonel's version of events, since he had just told us that there hadn't been any raids in the past few days and that detainees were processed and released or moved on within 24 hours. Yet here they were, real as life....
Most of my empathy for Col. Sassaman dissolved the next day, however, when Sami and Mohaned's father paid us an unexpected visit. ... At 4 AM that morning, they told us, Sassaman's men had staged a raid in Abu Hishma, a town over ten miles from the base, that Sassaman had previously ordered encircled with razor wire to pressure inhabitants to give information about insurgents. Perhaps a hundred! soldier s in fifteen to twenty vehicles entered the town, surrounded Mohaned's father's house, broke down the door, and smashed up some of the family's belongings. They took Mohaned and his five brothers at gunpoint out to the yard, handcuffed them, put hoods on their heads, had them sit in the rain while the house was searched, and then carted them off to the base. Later in the morning, Sami and Mohaned's father went (courageously, I thought) out to the base to inquire. Sassaman, according to the two of them, was still in muddy boots and fatigues, apparently from participating himself in the raid. He told Sami that he wanted to meet with the HROI soon and that he trusted members of CPT to be present. Exactly what kind of trust did he now expect? Mohaned, like other detainees, is likely to disappear from his world for months.

Must Read! I missed this at the time, until reported by Jubilee Iraq. The cancellation of Iraq's debt by the US is a total sham. The US intends to deduct the cancelled debt from the $18.4 billion already appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction: US State Dept wants almost all Iraq debt forgiven. In other words, other countries cancel debt, the US just gives Iraq that much less money!

Michael Uhl, a Vietnam veteran, brings out the similarities between the torture in Iraq and the war crimes committed by US troops in Vietnam, and in how the government and media respond: Vietnam's Shadow Over Abu Ghraib.

An Iraqi group claims that civilians deaths from March to October 2003 were far higher than previous estimates. The group also wants to know what the US did with one of its surveyors, who was arrested and handed over to the Americans in October 2003. The US has never provided information about what they did with him. Iraqis are concerned he's being tortured in one of the US concentration camps: Iraqi group claims over 37,000 civilian toll.

Is al-Sadr stirring up intolerance? Iraq violence as puritans ban alcohol: Radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his army of devotees blamed for campaign of intimidation.

What a human life is worth to an imperialist: Fair price for a life? Army pays Iraqi family £390 after shooting girl dead.

Protest, Resistance, and Civil War

Occupation Resistance Analysis

US spreads terror: U.S. Air Strikes Spread Fear in Najaf .

Another account from inside the Imam Ali Shrine yesterday: A journey into the epicenter of the Sadr standoff.

Two more US soldiers die Friday: wo soldiers killed in ambush.

[2 PM EDT] Reuters reports Mahdi Army still controls Shrine of Ali: Shi'ite fighters control mosque but the AP says they have: Militants exit mosque.

[11 AM EDT] Different accounts from Iraqi and US officials: Confusion surrounds Najaf mosque.

[10 AM EDT] Claims that: Iraq rebels 'leave Najaf shrine'. There appears to be fighting still going on in Najaf, however.

[8 AM EDT] Government moves: Allawi vows no attack on Najaf while 7 killed in Najaf: ministry.

The press are fond of saying that al-Sadr has not said what he wants. Maybe they can't figure it out, but Juan Cole can: What does Muqtada al-Sadr Want?

The world's bully plays tough: U.S. Aircraft Target Sadr's Fighters in Najaf

A group of journalists was able to enter the Imam Ali Mosque today. Here are accounts from two of them: CNN's Kianne Sadeq: Experience inside Najaf mosque 'fearsome'. Independent's Donald Macintyre: Moving from bombed shops to burning markets, I saw Sadr's soldiers dig in for the final assault.

Next move: Al-Sadr Tells Militia to Turn Over Shrine.

They're getting closer! Rebels hit US embassy: Iraq mortar fire hits US mission.

US attacks increase misery for the miserable: In Radical Cleric's Baghdad Base, Misery Rules. And: Clashes in Sadr City Said to Kill 10.

Mahdi Army carries through on threat to oil infrastructure: Militants attack South Oil Co. headquarters in southern Iraqi city of Basra.

US gave Sadr a lose-lose—leave the shrine for the US marines or die. No negotiation. Sadr ‘rejects’ demands to end rebellion

"The cleric was issued an ultimatum to leave the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf and disband his Mahdi army militia or face a military assault on one of the holiest buildings in Shia Islam. In return he was offered a political future in Iraq and an amnesty for his fighters….”
”The Iraqi defence minister, Hazim al-Shaalan, yesterday gave Mr Sadr's fighters only a few hours to leave the mosque before the [U.S.] military taught them "a lesson they will never forget". He said that only Iraqi troops would enter the mosque itself, with US participation limited to air cover and securing the roads around the shrine. About 2,000 US marines have surrounded Najaf.”

Must Read! Condi Rice can’t trust Sadr—alive that is: Fierce Fighting Erupts in Najaf

Fighting continues in Anbar province, as two marines are killed Wed. & Thurs.: Two Marines killed in Iraq's Anbar province.

Possible heavy casualties as police station in Najaf hit by three mortars: Mortars Hit Najaf Police Station, Many Casualties. A few minutes later, there is a report of 5 dead and 21 injured.

US moves to occupy another foreign country, Sadr City, with two million people who hate them. Get ready for the mass killings as they try and pacify this "country": Soldiers overrun Sadr's Baghdad powerbase. Meanwhile, the Iraqi "government" prepares for an assault in Najaf: Iraq's Sadr Facing 'Final Hours' -Government.

[10 PM EDT] Situation in Najaf still unclear: Sadr bids a farewell to arms but fighting on streets of Najaf tells a different story and Doubts over Sadr peace deal: Scepticism at rebel cleric's offer to end fighting as Iraqi military prepares for assault on Najaf..

[Doubts:] "This will be a civilised lesson for those in Falluja, Samarra, Mosul, Yusufiyah or Basra. There is no lenience _ with those people," state minister Qassim Dawoud said. [Would you surrender to these people?]

Another massacre: U.S. Forces Kill 50 Sadr Militia in Baghdad Suburb.

[1 PM EDT] A representative of al-Sadr expresses surprise at threats from the government, saying that al-Sadr had agreed to national conference demands yesterday. A member of the conference group that went to Najaf agrees. Is Allawi again trying to sabotage an agreement? Sadr surprised by threats, had agreed to mediators’ demands: aide.

[12 PM EDT] Breaking News! Claims al-Sadr has agreed to leave shrine: Iraq's Sadr Agrees to End Najaf Crisis.

At least nine Iraqis killed in Mosul violence. [The headline is inaccurate. Five died in Mosul and four in Kut.]

The LA Times reports that al-Sadr has dramatically gained in stature from his stand-off with the US: Steadfast in Defiance, Cleric Gains Stature With Iraq Masses.

Militant cleric Muqtada Sadr's refusal Tuesday to meet with a delegation of Iraqi religious and political leaders is the clearest indicator yet that recent fighting in Najaf has strengthened the anti-American leader, some analysts say. The snub, which followed last week's breakdown of talks with envoys of interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, made it clear that Sadr expected any resolution to the two-week confrontation to proceed on his terms and timetable.... Several observers say Allawi and U.S. forces have no viable options other than trying for a negotiated end to the uprising because attempting to crush Sadr militarily would carry too high a political price.

Must Read! If this NYT article is correct, the disaster in Najaf was started by a crazy Marine commander who hadn't a clue what he was starting. Of course, he'll probably get a promotion: 8-Day Battle for Najaf: From Attack to Stalemate. If these incompetents are typical of US military leaders, the country is in dire straights! See Juan Coles's comment: Muqtada declines to See Delegation: Marines Launched Attack without Approval.

[Juan Cole:] If Berenson and Burns are right, American Men on the Spot are making crucial policy decisions that have the potential to affect the lives of all Americans and all Muslims. The Marines in Najaf were acting like just another militia, engaging in a local turf war with Muqtada and his men, and giving no thought to the consequences of behaving barbarically in the holy city of Najaf....
The Shrine of Ali is a tomb, and although it has a mosque attached to it, it is not just a mosque. It is a Shrine.... A lot of mosques could be damaged with impunity. These shrines cannot. The ignoramus Marines in Najaf clearly don't know all this, and since they don't know it they don't have any business making military policy there. They have endangered all Americans profoundly by potentially spurring a whole new wave of Shiite terrorism against us.

[7 AM EDT] "Decisive battle today" says Iraq's "Defense Minister": Fighting Rages in Najaf After Peace Bid Fails.

US attacks Sadr City, home to 2 million people who do not want them there: U.S. forces enter Sadr City to face militia.

Several [soldiers] said an undercurrent of hostility was apparent in the local population. Lt. Dave Swanson, a platoon leader, said he watched some residents reject clean water when U.S. soldiers brought tankers of it to Sadr City areas without access to drinking water. "I had a child spit on me," Swanson said. "Some children would come to get water, and adults would shoo them away. They would tell us they did not need the water."

Mediation apparently fails as al-Sadr refuses to meet delegation due to massive US bombardment. Were the bombs meant to sabotage a deal, as has happened so many other times? Sadr refuses to meet Iraqi delegation.

Tuesday, two occupation troops die: british Soldier Killed and U.S. Soldier Killed in East Baghdad.

Al-Sadr accepts Vatican mediation. Will the "government" [a.k.a. "US"]? Al-Sadr agrees to Vatican mediation in Najaf.

Fighting rages as mediation continues: Baghdad Blast Kills Seven, Najaf Fighting Rages. A little later: Iraqi Delegation Flies to Najaf in Peace Bid.

Inside Najaf, with thousands on the way! Inside war-torn Najaf and In Najaf, Human Shields and Militants Await Tanks.

[Inside war-torn Najaf:] >As we left, I shook the cleric's hand. "There is no difference between us," he said. "We are both human beings" "It was never like this under Saddam. We never had people dying like this." The cleric is a Shia Muslim and the Shia were persecuted under Saddam.
We sped back north to Baghdad. All along the road, we saw people heading south - thousands of them, walking or in cars and on trucks. Some were holding Sadr's picture, some with their headscarves wrapped round their faces. It looked like a mass movement headed for Najaf in support of Sadr.

U.S. tanks roll closer to Najaf shrine.

As thousands flock to Najaf to act as human shields to protect the mosque and the Mahdi Army inside, the Iraqi government shows its true face by threatening to butcher journalists: City of defiance.

They came from across Iraq, marching in solidarity with Shia brothers. Civilians ­ they bear no arms, for the moment anyway ­ who are willing die on the steps of the Imam Ali shrine. Thehuman shields have arrived in Najaf. Hundreds have come to what is one of the most holy Shia sites on solidarity marches in recent days. Many more have made their way in smaller groups from nearby towns and neighbourhoods. More than 2,000 have now pledged their allegiance to the Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr and are based in the compound at the shrine.
A police lieutenant arrived at the hotel at 6.30pm in a convoy of two Toyota Land Cruisers from the local police station. He demanded to know the whereabouts of correspondents from al-Arabiya and the Reuters and AP news agencies. As journalists protested, the lieutenant said above the hubbub: "We are going to open fire on this hotel. We are going to smash it up. I will kill you all. You did this all to yourselves." In a threat that did not immediately appear to have been carried out, he said four snipers would be positioned on the roof of the police station to fire at any journalists who left the hotel.... The police then drove off, stopping 300 metres down the road and fired warning shots in the direction of the hotel.

Another peace initiative in Najaf. Will it succeed where other's failed? Baghdad tries new Najaf peace bid.

Helicopter "crash" last Wednesday killed two: Helicopter crash in Iraq kills two Va. Marines.

Bombs again falling on Falluja; it appears that the military can't draw enough blood: US Bombing Kills Falluja Civilians

A reminder that the resistance to occupation is nation-wide: Chaos in Ramadi.

Wroblewski was where he'd always wanted to be: leading Marines in combat. He'd even named his Alaskan malamute pup Semper, after the Marine Corps motto, "Semper fidelis" ("Always faithful").... About 50 well-armed insurgents were waiting for Wroblewski and his Marines.

Three Americans killed Sunday: Three soldiers killed during Iraq fighting. Other reports have higher totals.

To understand the current fighting in Najaf, and why the US can only loose, read this Washington Post interview with one Mahdi Army fighter: To Mahdi Militiaman, Firing on Americans Is Act of 'Patriotism'.

"I know the Americans have better weapons. They have better plans. They have uniforms that cost $3,000, and we have only our clothes," Eisa said. "But I have principles. I have holy land to defend. I have family to protect, so I feel stronger than them. The occupation forces are nothing but mercenaries who fight for money, so I feel stronger...."
"I am old enough now to differentiate between occupation and freedom," he said. "It's not true that the Americans came to get rid of Saddam. It was only a trick to occupy the country." "We all know that Bush announced twice that this is a crusade. So we know they are targeting a certain group," the Shiites, he said. "We know the strategic importance of Iraq in the region and the wealth of our country. They want to control it. They want to control our oil, our wealth and the world." "There is something called patriotism," he added. "I like my country, and I saw the U.S. forces did not come to protect us. So I wanted to follow the leader who can demand my rights and defeat the occupation. The U.S. forces are occupiers, so we have to resist them."

An account of his ordeal by James Brandon, the british reporter kidnapped, then freed, in Basra: 'I assumed I would die; I won't forget the click of the trigger.

Iraqi national guardsmen and soldiers quit when ordered to fight against the Mahdi army in Najaf: Offensive resumes in Najaf, prompting desertions of Iraqi troops.

Several officials from the Iraqi defense ministry told Knight Ridder that more than 100 Iraqi national guardsmen and a battalion of Iraqi soldiers chose to quit rather than attack fellow Iraqis in a city that includes some of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam. Neither U.S. military officials nor Iraqi government officials would confirm the resignations. "We received a report that a whole battalion (in Najaf) threw down their rifles," said one high-ranking defense ministry official, who didn't want his name published because he's not an official spokesman. "We expected this, and we expect it again and again...."
But when [1st Sgt. Khalid] Ali was asked about the number of guardsmen who have quit since al-Sadr's latest uprising, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Vernon Sparkmon cut him off. "Certain things, you can't discuss," Sparkmon told Ali. "If somebody asks that question, that's, like, classified stuff."

More details on the government threats against reporters in Najaf: "You have your two hours. If you don't leave you will be shot." Battle for Iraq's future. It seems they are absolutely determined to eliminate any witnesses to the massacre being planned.

During the day two bullets were fired at the gate to the hotel entrance and through the open doorway of the hotel. The second bullet hit a glass panel inside the hotel, which slightly injured an Arab journalist when it fractured. Although there was no confirmation that the bullets had been fired by police, the hotel is only a few hundred metres from the local police station and much farther from the main positions of Sadr's insurgents.

Must View! Juan Cole calls our attention to the: Pictures of Najaf on Karbala News.net. As he states:"he pictures of people walking or marching show Shiites hurrying to Najaf in hopes of forming a human shield around Muqtada.". As you view them, think about the extent of the massacre that will occur if the US or its surrogates attacks these thousands of people.

Occupation forces suffer multinational casualties today: U.S. soldier killed in Iraq; One Dutch Soldier Killed, Several Wounded In Iraq; and Ukraine captain in Iraq killed. The genius of the multinational forces is that the US public doesn't care one whit about dead Dutch and Ukranians. As far as most Americans are concerned, they might as well be Iraqi.

Death across Iraq as US strives to impose rule: 50 die as US jets bomb Samarra; and Thirteen killed during separate clashes south of Baghdad. At least three neighborhoods in Falluja were also bombed as the rain of bombs and death falls over the country.

New fighting in Najaf, as thousands arrive to form a human shield to protect the Mahdi Army forces: Fighting rages as truce talks collapse.

Negotiations to end the Najaf standoff fell apart yesterday, when government negotiators called the talks fruitless. Sadr representatives said the sides had agreed on a ceasefire deal before Mr Allawi personally intervened to quash it....
At the weekend, about 10,000 demonstrators from as far away as Baghdad arrived in Najaf to show their solidarity with the militants and act as human shields to protect the city and the Imam Ali shrine.

US and "Iraqi Government" preparing massacre as they order all journalists to leave Najaf: Iraqi government evicts reporters from Najaf as fighting resumes.

The order, if it were enforced, would mean the only news coverage of the ongoing violence in Najaf, one of the most revered cities to Shiite Muslims, would be provided by reporters embedded with the U.S. military.

Juan Cole gives an account of a press conference with al-Sadr: Muqtada Press Conference: "No Ordinary Politics Under Occupation".

Sick of the carnage yet? What will the American military bomb next? This offensive is ironically called Operation Cajun Mousetrap III to give an idea what the military thinks of its targets: Dozens Killed As US Warplanes Strike Insurgents In Iraqi City Of Samarra

At least 43 buildings and homes were destroyed, including a police headquarters and the municipality, police said.
Mosques were heard urging people through loudspeakers to donate blood, and the general hospital said that of the 25 people killed, eight were members of the same family.
"There were a series of 500-pound bombs dropped on known enemy locations early this morning near Samarra," Captain Bill Coppernoll of the 1st Infantry Division told AFP.

Thousands take to the street in several nations to protest the American actions in Iraq as well as to protest Allawi: Angry Protests Across Middle East

[2 PM EDT] Ceasefire, for the moment: Najaf truce brings calm to city. Al-Sadr sets conditions for a withdrawal from Najaf: Sadr sets conditions for Najaf cease-fire.

[8 AM EDT] Al-Sadr wounded: Muqtada Sadr wounded in clashes, says spokesman. Meanwhile, protests erupt over Iraq protesting the attacks: Protests Erupt in Five Iraqi Cities Over Najaf. Negotiations are underway: Iraq, Al-Sadr Aides Negotiate Najaf Truce. The US holds back: U.S. Switches Tactic in Najaf, Trying Isolation. See analyses by Juan Cole: Muqtada Wounded by US Bombing and Jim Lobe: US Winning Najaf Battle, Losing Iraq War.

Many Arab experts condemn US attack: US Offensive In Najaf 'Genocide': Law Experts.

British journalist James Brandon of the Telegraph kidnapped: British journalist taken hostage in Iraq. Al-Sadr's forces call for his release: Cleric calls for reporter's release.

The Mahdi Army in Najaf and Kut is getting military training from Falluja rebels: Mahdi Army Draws Supporters: Fallujah fighters provide military training for Sadrist forces.

The Fallujah Consultancy Council of Mujahedin holy warriors sent me with nine other officers and forty soldiers who are well trained in using mortar and the RPG-7 grenade launcher," said Janabi, who unlike many Iraqi insurgents had no qualms about giving his name. "We had to stand by our Shia brothers in Najaf, who stood by us in Fallujah," he said, referring to the long-running battle in that town with US troops. "It is an honourable stance of Fallujah people who sent us experts in using weapons,” said one Mahdi militiaman, who added that “we are in need of military training”.

In western Iraq: Islamic Tribunal Wins Approval: An unofficial court imposes harsh sentences on Iraqis who work for the Americans and their allies.

The call for southern Iraq to secede gains adherents: Shias call for split from Baghdad.

Rory McCarthy reports from inside the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf: Inside the shrine, wounded return from bloody battle.

It's ok, it's all the Iranian's fault. forget about the 160,00 foreign troops who traveled thousands of miles to invade and occupy Iraq: Rift grows as Iranians caught fighting for Sadr.

Reuters sees the US attack building support for al-Sadr: U.S. tactics seen raising Iraqi cleric’s support: Shiites, Sunnis denounce fighting in holy city of Najaf.

The Shiite merchants around Baghdad's Kazimain Mosque have historically opposed the ways of Moqtada al-Sadr and his father, but they condemned the U.S. offensive against the cleric and his followers Thursday. Iraqis are becoming appalled by the U.S. use of bombers, tanks, helicopters, thousands of Marines and the surrounding of the Imam Ali shrine....
"If the United States kills Moqtada it will be a tragedy for Iraq and the whole of Shiism. I do not particularly like some of his criminal followers, but bloodletting should stop," said Mohammad Aziz, who imports textiles from Asia. "The Americans do not realize that the Iraqis they are massacring are our cousins and relatives. They must use their brains. Sadr also has to realize that even Saddam could not fight them (the United States)."

Over half the US-appointed Najaf City Council and other Iraqi officials resign in protest of the attack on Najaf. Some threaten to join al-Sadr's forces in fighting the Interim Government: Iraqi officials resign over US 'aggression'. The top Sunni clerics association condemns US attack: Iraqi Sunnis Warn Security Forces Against Supporting U.S. Forces In Najaf. Shia leaders world-wide condemn the attack: Shia leaders condemn Najaf attack. There is also other international condemnation: Condemnation of Najaf assault.

Nick Rothwell reports that scores of people have been killed in the past 24 hours—in bitter and galling irony, Allawi says the shrine would be safe from attack: Slaughter as US forces attack Najaf.

US military officials have made clear the rebellion will be crushed at all costs, despite criticism by Iraqi Deputy President Irbrahim al-Jaffari, who last night described the US onslaught as "vicious".

Aljazeera reports hundreds of civilians have died in the huge US onslaught in Najaf: US forces reoccupy heart of Najaf.

[7:30 A EDT] The US attack starts in Najaf and Kut. They roll out the killing machine: U.S. Marines Launch Najaf Assault, Protests Erupt. Many civilians have been killed by the bombardment in Kut: US bombing of Kut kills civilians. Al-Sistani has apparently given the US the green light, as long as it stays out of the mosquesL Top Iraq Cleric Urges Respect for 'Holy Najaf'-Aide. The Deputy Governor of Najaf has resigned in protest of the butchery: Najaf’s No. 2 Resigns In Protest At US ‘Terrorist’ Acts. The al-Sadr movement has called on Arab governments to intervene and on all Islamic scholars to issue a fatwa to prevent the US occupation from entering the Shrine of Ali: Al-Sadr group seeks Arab intervention. Pictures of the fighting from the BBC.

Militants threaten to blow up pipelines if offensive continues.

Rory McCarthy describes those fighting the Americans in Najaf: Beside the ruined Valley of Peace, Sadr's men wait for martyrdom.

Michael Schwartz analyzes the rationale for the brutal US attack on Najaf: Gambling in Najaf: Iraq as the Twenty-first Battleground State.

The Americans turn the most holy Shia cemetery into a "killing field", disturbing those troops who retain a conscience: Cemetery Fight Haunts Some U.S. Troops: 'It Doesn't Feel Right Sometimes,' Soldier Says of Eerie, Perilous Battle in Najaf.

On Tuesday, while senior commanders huddled to discuss an endgame, the cemetery once again doubled as a killing field.

The Christian Science Monitor says that al-Sadr is in a win-win position. Either the Americans martyr him, or he becomes the one who stood up to the American invaders: Sadr plays to power of martyrdom.

Preparing to massacre: US threatens big assault on Najaf. Meanwhile, demonstrations and strikes as Iraqis try to stop the onslaught: Iraqis protest as US plans assault on Najaf.

Workers at an oil-pumping station in southern Iraq said on Wednesday they have stopped operations in protest against the government's backing of the US offensive against followers of a-Sadr.... "We stopped pumping in protest of the inhuman conduct of the interim government and its cooperation with the occupation forces to ransack the holy city of Najaf and insult the Shia, their symbols and holy places," the statement said....
Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa called for dialogue in Iraq. "Political dialogue is the only way to put Iraq back on the right track and obtain the departure of foreign troops," his spokesman Husam Zaki quoted him as saying. "Building a new Iraq requires from all sides the logic of dialogue and not that of military might," Musa said.

Read this to get an idea of the poverty of the people that the US tries to back against the wall: Hundreds of Armed Young Men Control Baghdad’s Sadr City.

Egyptian “spy” beheaded, other hostages go free: Egyptian “Beheaded in Iraq”

Another day of violence across Iraq: provincial governor targeted Car bombing, attacks kill 17 in Iraq.

After threats to the pipeline, of course the US mobilizes. What if the civilian populace refuses to leave—will they be blamed for the US bombs that kill them?. Civilians urged to leave Najaf.

Fighting continues in Najaf, Sadr City, and elsewhere Tuesday: U.S. Forces Pound Iraqi Militia, Urge Surrender.

The Guardian's Rory McCarthy reports from Najaf: Chaos and defiance inside Najaf. The "police chief" recommended tat water and electricity to the city be turned off.

There was heavy fighting yesterday as the US 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit made a push into the ancient cemetery known as the Valley of Peace, just north of Najaf, but there was no sign of American troops inside the city.

POW swap? Iraqi police chief seized as curfew imposed.

When real killing is called for, no surrogates will do: Poland yields to US in Iraq zone.

Allawi's party under attack: Group Threatens Attacks on Iraq Offices.

Fighting continues in Najaf: Radical cleric vows to fight to the death. And Basra: British soldier killed in Iraq. Oil exports are disrupted: Shiite uprising threatens Iraqi oil sector, leading to record high oil prices: Oil Prices Climb on Iraqi Supply Concerns.

New report: Sadr Militia Said To Hold Police General Against Prisoners' Release.

Iraqi clerics, Shia and Sunni, denounce US attacks on Mahdi army: Iraqis Denounce US-made 'Bloodbath' In Najaf.

Cleric Vows to Fight on in Iraq's Najaf, 360 Dead.

Curfew Declared in Embattled Baghdad Suburb.

An account by an Arab reporter of insurgents in Najaf: 'I will fight them, even with my bare hands'. And an account by the only Western reporter in Najaf: The battle for Najaf.

[The battle:] But we are stopped before we can see the full extent of the civilian casualties. Abu Zayed, head of hospital security, says that he has been ordered to expel all journalists from hospital grounds. Relatives of the wounded are so upset, they are likely to attack journalists, who they believe are either Americans or are supportive of the Americans....
The shrine to Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib has received some damage during the previous night's bombing. (Ali is considered the founder of Shiism. He was the cousin and the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed. The shrine is one of the holiest sites for Shiites.) Mahdi Army fighters - who now control the shrine and have a few gunmen posted inside the shrine complex - point to the gold-leaf dome and one golden minaret, where tiles have been damaged by flying shrapnel... The courtyard of the shrine itself is littered with chunks of shrapnel, and Mahdi Army fighters show a piece of the bomb that they say dropped into the shrine complex....
We've seen hundreds more still in action, and there are possibly thousands left in the shrine area and the cemetery. Getting rid of them all, finishing them off, and restoring full government control, as the Governor of Najaf is now calling for this week, could result in bloody street fighting, with hundreds of civilian casualties.

Sadr Aide Says Iraqi PM "Acting Like Saddam".

Another beheading video: Video Shows Beheading on Internet: Video Shows Beheading, Victim Said to Be Bulgarian.

PM Allawi pulls stunt, with a surprise visit to Najaf to demand the Mahdi army leave. Then he reinstitutes the death penalty: Allawi attempts to restore rule of law .

US-planned massacre in process: Fighting rages on as Iraqi premier demands retreat.

"I think there was enough evidence to show that the Moqtada militia was preparing a new uprising," said a senior source in the US-led coalition. "So there was a degree of pre-emption here. A plan to go in hard - to totally take them out. Yes, this is 'take no prisoners' time. "We are, quite possibly, in for a bloody few days. These guys are disorganised and they don't mind taking casualties. The death toll will inevitably be very high."

The Iraqi Health Minister claims: 54Iraqis killed, 316 wounded during last 24 hours.

Another drama begins: Report: Militants Abduct Iranian Diplomat in Iraq.

Al-Sadr rejects Allawi call on Najaf. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan has expressed dismay at the high civilian death toll in Najaf, putting the lie to US claims that all the dead are Mahdi militia members: Najaf civilian deaths trouble Annan.

US engages in all-out war to destroy Sadr movement. The New York Times reports that much of the center of Najaf has been destroyed and that the US gives no signs of accepting a cease-fire offer from Sadr: Marines Pushing Deeper Into City Held by Shiites.

Must Read! Juan Cole's analysis of this week's Shia-US fighting: US Attack "Uncivilized": Jafari; Fresh Violence in Sadr City; 15 US Soldiers Wounded, 3 Dead in recent Fighting.

So, I think al-Zurufi [the US-appointed Najaf "Governor" from Dearborn, MI, who Juan Cole thinks is a CIA asset] and the Americans sat down and planned the crackdown on the Mahdi Army. (It may be that the caretaker government of Iyad Allawi and especially hardline Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib spurred al-Zurufi on.) I also think Muqtada sat down and planned out how to keep the Mahdi Army ensconced in Najaf (which is not their natural territory) despite the truce. Neither side had realistic expectations of the truce, or was sincerely committed to any sort of compromise that would be acceptable to the other side.

Saturday: Fighting continues around Najaf.

Iraqi VP Ibrahim al-Jafari, a leader of the Shiite al-Da`wa Party, criticizes attacks on al-Sadr forces in Najaf: Iraqi VP raps US for 'uncivilised' Najaf deaths.

[6 PM EDT] Al-Sadr forces claim that only 36 Mehdi Army fighters were killed, while most of the hundreds of deaths claimed by the US were civilians: Najaf toll: US claims 300, fighters say 36.

[4 PM EDT] More fighting Friday evening in Basra: British troops battle Iraqi fighters.

Al-Sadr condemns US in Friday sermon: Rebel Shiite cleric blames ''occupier'' for church attacks, kidnappings in Iraq. Juan Cole's comment: "It seems to me possible that this recent outbreak of fighting has initiated an endgame. It is hard to imagine Allawi and the Americans putting up with this challenge. The question is whether they can crush it without fatally wounding their own authority. I still think "Iran 1978" is the worst case scenario for Iraq, and a massive crackdown on the Sadrists, with Muqtada killed or captured, could set that ball rolling."

[10 AM EDT] US occupiers claim to have massacred 300 Shia Mahdi Army fighters [and how many civilians?] U.S.: 300 Militants Killed in Two Days. [12 PM EDT] But Mahdi Army denies US casualty claims: Toll rises as US planes pound Najaf.

Fighting and deaths in Sadr City: 19 Iraqis killed, 111 wounded in Baghdad clashes.

[7:AM EDT] Fighting still continuing across the south, butal-Sadr offers a truce. No response yet from occupation authorities: U.S. Battles Shi'ite Militia, Sadr Offers Truce.

Friday fighting in Samarra: U.S. Forces Target Guerrillas Near Town of Samarra.

Confusing account of what is happening in the Iraqi south: Shia rising fear after Najaf battle: Fierce clashes involving Sadr fighters shatter holy city's fragile peace; British kill two Sadr loyalists in Basra; and Violence and killings delay Basra vote: Iraq's second city fails its first democratic test after intimidation and the assassination of a politician.

No reason stated for the breakdown of the US-Najaf truce, but Sadr won’t be the one to back down, not in his own country: Rebel Cleric Calls for Uprising as Clashes Erupt in Najaf.

Video from ABC News of an attack on a US convoy in Baghdad shows life in the city today: Video shows attack on American convoy in Baghdad .

More on yesterday's fighting in Mosul: Civilians killed in Mosul crossfire: Police shoot dead eight armed insurgents carrying out a bank raid in Iraq's third largest city.

The US seems to have resumed its war against al-Sadr's Mehdi Army: U.S., Iraqi forces battle cleric's militia in Najaf.

Islamist groups say they didnt do it: Iraq groups deny militants behind church blasts.

[8 AM EDT] Heavy fighting in Iraqi city of Mosul. More on this 3 hours later: Fighting in Mosul Kills 12, Wounds 26: Fierce Gunbattles Break Out Between Iraqi Police and Militants in Mosul, Killing 12 Iraqis.

The al-Sadr militia is beloved in Sadr City and Najaf, including by the Iraqi police, according to the Christian Science Monitor: Sadr army owns city's streets. but th4ey fight back against attacks by kidnapping Iraqi police as bargaining chips to get the release of their militants: Radical cleric's militia nabs 19 Iraqi police.

The people act: Four Jordanian hostages released in Iraq: Fallujah tribesman raided home housing captives, tribal chief says.

Six GI deaths reported today: Six U.S. troops die in Iraq: Insurgent attacks kill seven Iraqis.

More Tuesday deaths: Car Bomb, Insurgent Attacks Kill 7 Iraqis. And: US Marine killed in western Iraq.

Two US soldiers and an Iraqi police chief killed by bomb: Baghdad rocked by bomb blasts.

Sadr surrounded in Najaf: Cleric House Surrounded .

Police in Iraq are being hit hard by insurgents: Police gunned down in restaurant.

Another hostage murder videotape: Videos: Militants kill one hostage, to free another.

[4 PM EDT] The horrors multiply. "We are expecting a huge number of casualties." 15 killed in Iraqi church blasts.

Two bombs near Christian churches in Baghdad: Cars Explode Outside Baghdad Churches; 2 Dead.

More bombs, more hostages: Two explosions hit Iraq: Report: New hostages taken.

Three more dead in Falluja fighting Hospital sources: Three dead in clashes in Iraqi town.

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Senator Kennedy couldn't get off "no-fly" list for weeks, despite being a Senator. What chance does anyone else have? Ted Kennedy finds it hard to be taken off federal 'no-fly' list.

The 14-year old sister of a british soldier who died in Iraq tells Blair the war is wrong and should be ended: A war of words.

Veteran journalist Helen Thomas says: Kerry Deals Away his Ace in the Hole.

New York Mayor says protesting a "privilege", not a right: Behavior May Cost Protesters 'Privileges,' Bloomberg Says. If they behave, however, a Starbucks card: N.Y. Mayor to War Protesters: Shop Till You Drop, Too. However, New Yorkers are getting ready to greet the republicans in the fashion they deserve: NYC to GOP: Drop Dead.

[NYC to GOP:] Creatively altered maps of streets and subways will be handed out to button-clad stupid white men. Other saboteurs wearing fake RNC T-shirts will direct them to parts of town where Bush's policies have hit hardest. Rumor has it that prostitutes suffering from sexually transmitted diseases will discourage the use of condoms with Republican customers.

Democracy? All 17 opposition presidential candidates in Afghanistan have threatened to withdraw unless President Karzai resigns, citing misuse of government facilities by Karzai: Karzai's 17 rivals threaten to boycott Afghan elections unless he resigns.

Now that he's calling it quits, he can speak the truth: Retiring GOP Rep.: Iraq War Unjustified.

Tom Engelhardt discusses the occupation stories that our "free press" can't be bothered to cover: What do we call the enemy?

Iraqi-American demonstration against occupation: Iraqi-Americans demand U.S. pullout from homeland.

The Madison Capital Times states the simple truth in an editorial: Bush is Wrong, Kerry is Wrong.

Surrender, again: Kerry condemns anti-Bush ad: But surrogates criticize president's Vietnam-era service.

One of those US detainees too dangerous to even be allowed to meet with an attorney may now be released, after Supreme Court says he has some rights: Crying wolf in the war against terror: The feds face a stunning blow to credibility by releasing a long-jailed U.S. citizen.

Now that we're learning that elections, Iraq style for the National Council, are totally fraudulent affairs, designed only to keep pro-American forces in charge, we are also learning that planned Afghan elections are rigged: Afghan Vote Threatens Bush's Credibility. I guess Bush models elections in every country he occupies on those Florida elections that did such a great job by him.

In a country where the average income is $2 a day, some Afghans who heard that political parties and presidential candidates would pay up to $150 for voting cards, gladly lined up at registration centers several times to get multiple voting cards.... In separate interviews, two Afghans told the Star it was easy to obtain more than one card. One man who registered six times, using his real name and photograph, said U.N. election workers asked him only once if he had previously registered. A woman said her nephew had been approached at school numerous times to sell his laminated voting card and that she knows a woman who obtained 40 cards while cloaked in a burqa.
"Illegal things happen," said Durani, whose Washington-based group is associated with the U.S. Republican Party.

According to new AP poll, nonwhites, women, and lower income people more likely to think the war was a mistake: How different groups feel about the war in Iraq. Also, in bad news for the current war administration, Independents think the war was a mistake: 29%-67%.

"Anonymous" [Michael F. Scheuer] denounces 9/11 Commission and CIA: C.I.A. Officer Denounces Agency and Sept. 11 Report.

Another lie. Nic Berg was in US custody before kidnapping and beheading: Iraq victim's father meets with defense officials.

Protesters get ready! New York Vs. the Protesters.

Blair invites Iraqi dictator to Labor Party conference, sparking protest threat: Blair faces Labour conference walkout over invitation to Iraqi Prime Minister.

El Salvador opposition protests that countries participation in the Iraq occupation: El Salvador opposition Protests Iraq Troop Mision.

Danny Schechter asks "are we seeing a real coming to grips with the media role that helped 'sell the war' to the American public? Or could these recent mea culpas be something more insidious, more like what the CIA used to call a 'limited hang out?' That phrase translates as 'you concede a little to hide a lot...": Is Our Media Covering its Errors or Covering Them Up?

Who, besides the administration, would consider antiwar activists to be 'political troublemakers'? F.B.I. Goes Knocking for Political Troublemakers

Abu Ghraib whistleblower Sgt. Darby in protective custody. What message does this send to those in the military who speak out, or anyone else for that matter who wish to tell the sordid truth? Family of Iraq Abuse Whistleblower Threatened.

"People were mean, saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bull's eye on his head. It was scary," said Bernadette Darby from Corriganville, Maryland..
What [Darby] saw on the CDs containing the photos, he said, "violated everything I personally believed in and everything I had been taught about the rules of war."

Green Party candidate, David Cobb, takes principled stand on Iraq, as opposed to Bush-lite Democratic nominee: Green Party candidate slams Kerry's stance on Iraq war.

Fred Kaplan in Slate ponders: No Way Out: Is there any hope of avoiding catastrophe in Iraq?

Kamel Mahdi, Iraqi lecturer in Middle East economics at the University of Exeter says "It is time to set an early date for a complete withdrawal of foreign forces and then to ask what can and should be done to help Iraq": Those they can't co-opt, they destroy

After Najaf, where are US troops going? Are they going to encircle Thawra (Sadr City), the Baghdad suburb? Are they going to attack every poor suburb of every city from Kirkuk to Basra? And bomb every town where there have been large demonstrations in opposition to the attack on Najaf?
This offensive has already dealt a severe blow to the interim government. It has shown that it is unable to rein in the US presence, and can only fall in line with America's military imperatives.

The Washington Post blew it pre-war, says the Washington Post: The Post on WMDs: An Inside Story: Prewar Articles Questioning Threat Often Didn't Make Front Page.

Bush appoints "unqualified" CIA Director. How do we know he's unqualified? He said so himself on March 3, 2004! Moore embarrasses new CIA chief. See the interview yourself: CIA Nominee Porter Goss: "I am not qualified".

Kerry Unveils One-Point Plan for Better America.

The level of violence in Iraq has been escalating since the handover of sovereignty in June, but Americans are being exposed to less reporting and analysis about it, writes Eric Boehlert: War? What War?

"From the very beginning this has been an administration that wanted to hide the toll of the war -- and the media have been absolutely complicit in that," says Nancy Lessin, co-founder of the antiwar group Military Families Speak Out. Lessin's stepson, a Marine, served in Iraq during the spring of 2003. "In April of this year, violence in Iraq was up and it was hard to keep the war off the front pages. But as soon as possible the pictures changed. Since June 28, [the war has] been off the front pages again."

Voices in the Wilderness calls for national nonviolent protests against the threatened destruction of Najaf, the Shrine of Ali, and the Mehdi Army: Najaf and the Shrine of Ali.

The Green Party criticizes Kerry's post hoc support for the Iraq resolution, and thus, for the war: Greens Respond to Kerry's Hindsight Support for the Iraq Invasion. And the Toronto Star editorialized that Kerry's statement is bad news for the world: Kerry Fails Iraq Test.

Andrew Anthony reminds us that the Iraq al-Sadr would create is not one correctly described as "free": Why Iraqi rebels are not freedom fighters.

The leak of a top al-Qaeda double agent has entered more of the mainstream press. Here's the Boston Globe report: Leak of Qaeda suspect name criticized.

Another media moment revealed Freedom for the Press

"Let freedom reign", President Bush scrawled on the bottom of the note that told him Iraq had regained its sovereignty just over a month ago.
The stunt looked shallow at the time and appears all the more so in the wake of the Iraqi government's unjustified decision last weekend to close the Baghdad offices of the Arab news channel al-Jazeera.

The poor beset on poor: who our war dead are. It’s no wonder we hide them; did they ever matter to those who sent them to their deaths? Places You’ve Never Heard Of.

Magdi Abdelhadi (his name means follower of the gentle--one of Allah’s 99 names) accuses “the Western Media of distorting an essentially peace-loving religion”: Analysis: Interpreting Islam.

Jim Lobe summarizes the al-Qaeda double agent leak scandal, so far: Bush Team on Defensive Over al-Qaeda Leak.

Linda S Heard says: Deviate From the US Line and End Up Like a Kleenex.

I wouldn’t wish Bush on anyone: We Should Send Bush to Be Iraq’s President.

"Pre-election period…pre-election plot…pre-election threats” Ray McGovern examines Condoleezza Rice’s latest quote: Not Scared Yet? Try connecting these dots.

Even now! Kerry Stands by Vote Authorizing Force.

Tom Engelhardt thinks it may not be the Democrats who need to worry about an October surprise: Surprise!

More on the leak of an al-Qaeda double agent's name and its effects: Bush Administration outing of Khan Enabled 5 al-Qaeda Cell Members to Escape Capture.

Bush administration leaking of an al-Qaeda defector turned double-agent may have caused the US to have lost the opportunity to catch Bin Laden: CNN on Khan Scandal: Has it Prevented the Capture of Bin Laden?

In an Open Letter, former Australian diplomats and defense chiefs attack Australian lies that led to participation in the Iraq war: Australian Iraq policy under fire.

We are concerned that Australia was committed to join the invasion of Iraq on the basis of false assumptions and deception of the American government.

Briton in Guantanamo Concentration Camp has been using slang to let his brother know the hell-hole he is stuck in: Martin Mubanga, from Neasden, is using a mixture of slang and patois in his letters home to describe the conditions in Camp Delta.

American hypocrisy aids spread of nuclear weapons, the most dreaded "WMD": You show yours, I'll hide mine.

Iranians and North Koreans are under intense US pressure to cooperate with inspectors from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. But to Mr Bush, it seems, international verification procedures are a one-way street. What happened in Geneva last week underlined that.
The very same US government that went to war in Iraq because Saddam Hussein did not fully comply with UN weapons inspections unilaterally rejects similar control over its own WMD arsenal.

Must Read! In an amazing turn of events, the Bush administration outed a double agent in al-Qaeda last week with their terror alert: Pakistan Source Under Cover When U.S. Confirmed Name. See Juan Cole's comment: Did the Bush Administration Burn a Key al-Qaeda Double Agent? A quick search failed to find this Reuters story on th front page of any major US paper.

U.S. officials providing justification for anti-terrorism alerts revealed details about a Pakistani secret agent, and confirmed his name while he was working under cover in a sting operation, Pakistani sources said on Friday.

Many prominent lawyers condemn the US memos defending torture and call for an independent investigation: 130 Jurists Condemn White House Torture Memos.

The most senior lawyers in the Department of Justice, the White House, Department of Defense and the vice president' sought to justify actions that violate the most basic rights of all human beings.

Australian writer Stephen Smith analyzes what the symbolism of Abu Ghraib tells us about our culture: Disneyworld Baghdad: Dungeons to detention camps. And James Der Derian explores the symbolic underpinnings of Fahrenheit 9/11 Moore or less morality.

Democracy? Poles say no to occupation: Poles Give Thumbs Down To Presence In Iraq: Poll.

Almost three quarters of Poles -- 73 percent -- are opposed to the presence of their troops in the US-led coalition in Iraq... And some 67 percent... said they wanted Polish troops pulled out of Iraq as soon as possible.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has released a detailed report on abuse suffered at Guantanamo Concentration Camp by three British detainees released a while back: Former Guantanamo Detainees Release 115-page Report. The actual Report of Former Guantanamo Detainees (pdf). Red cross says: US abuse could be war crime: Red Cross says Tipton Three may have case.

Another Bush-bashing book again focusing on oil, economics, and (yes) religion as the real reason to invade Iraq, but this time the kick in the teeth comes from the right: New Book Attacks Neo-Cons From the Right.

Here terror, there terror, everywhere a little more terror: Doubt over airport 'terror plot'. While Americans and Brits shiver and shake, Osama must have had a good laugh with the latest terror alert: Why Bush Has More to Fear than Fear Itself.

For George W. Bush's reign of fear, it was a fitting declaration. With his narcissistic strut, he tries to project strength. But how does a president project anything but weakness in having the world's greatest power tremble over evidence of file-updating by an enemy with a tiny fraction of his military capacity?
It's probably the response that Osama bin Laden and his network of savages would have desired. It's as if they're toying with the United States. They can be pictured in their caves or Saudi palaces, feet up, chuckling. "What American city should we petrify with a leaked document today? Chicago? Miami? Or need we even bother? It's been three years since 9/11, and they're still paranoid. They're right where we want 'em -- in an eternal state of fear.

Steve Weissman reports: ‘The untold damage Team Bush has done to American intelligence only helps the Saudi terrorist wage his global holy war, gravely endangering your safety and mine. Torture, Lies, and the Little Bush Who Cried Wolf.

Knight Ridder, who has through this whole massacre debacle practiced good journalism, does so once again by following the money. Even the blushing first lady gets a little 95K something. Read the list. What will Moore bashers say now with him being –as it were—on the money? Bush, Family and Top Aides Received $127,600 Gifts Last Year from Saudi Crown Prince.

More embedded journalism. This time it’s showtime at the tribunals to show that they are fair: US opens up Guatanamo tribunals.

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds exposes the fraudulent 9/11 Commission report: Whistleblower explodes 9-11 Commission Report. Here is her: Letter to Thomas Kean from Sibel Edmonds.

[Edmonds:] Now, without a complete list of our failures pre-[September 11], without a comprehensive examination of true symptoms that exist in our intelligence system, without assigning any accountability whatsoever, and therefore, without a sound and reliable diagnosis, your commission is attempting to divert attention from the real problems, and to prescribe a cure through hasty and costly measures. It is like attempting to put a gold-lined expensive porcelain cap over a deeply decayed tooth with a rotten root, without first treating the root, and without first cleaning/shaving the infected tooth.

Republican Senator allegedly leaked classified information. No prosecution. Can you imagine if it had been a Democrat? Investigators Concluded Shelby Leaked Message: Justice Dept. Declined To Prosecute Case. The incident was used as an excuse to withhold info from Congress. Was it a setup?

Arab Press Notes Resistance free four kidnapped Jordanians. How Jordan's image is marred and its nationals endangered. Notes on these and other stories in today's news as reported by Arab sources: Arab Press Note: August 4, 2004.

Some reporters did their job: Going It Alone: Accolades now come to Knight Ridder for its prescient reports expressing skepticism about claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

"People at the Times were mainly talking to senior administration officials, who were mostly pushing the administration line. We were mostly talking to the lower-level people or dissidents, who didn't necessarily repeat the party line." Those sources, Knight Ridder Washington Editor Clark Hoyt adds, were "closest to the information." "I'm not saying we didn't have any top-level sources," Strobel says, "but we also made a conscious effort to talk to people more in the bowels of government who have a less political approach to things."

Halliburton, under Cheney lied, inflating profits by 46%, but gets a trivial fine. Cheney, of course, not indicted for yet another fraud. Neither is the company, a serial defrauder, banned from further "work" for the US government. Would you buy a used war from this man? Halliburton settles accounts case.

Kerry apes Nixon: Kerry promise on Iraq rings of Nixon 'secret plan' on Vietnam, Eisenhower on Korea. But The Spoof got a copy of the plan: John Kerry Secret Plan to End Iraq War.

David Sirota and Christy Harvey in In These Times demonstrate: They Knew...

Despite the whitewash, we now know that the Bush administration was warned before the war that its Iraq claims were weak.

A brilliant piece by Katha Pollitt on the meaning of values, in the election, and after: Let's Not Devalue Ourselves.

Yet again, a veteran FBI agent is punished for suggesting that a terrorist possibility be investigated. This was after 9/11. Simply bureaucratic inefficiency? What would be the reason when the Bureau would get accolades if they broke a major terrorist plot? This NYT article doesn't ask, but it also doesn't add up: Another F.B.I. Employee Blows Whistle on Agency. Remember: FBI Director Admits Whistle Blower Fired for Blowing Whistle.

Arab Press Notes Iraqi leaders ccondemn church bombings. Iraqi minister : Occupation troops damage Babylon and prevent us from entering it. Saudi-Jordanian gamble with Moslem troop idea. Notes on these and other stories in today's news as reported by Arab sources: Arab Press Note: August 2, 2004.

Roger Howard analyzes the effects of the administration's support of the MEK: How to Help the Ayatollahs.

Gordon Prather on the motives of bin Laden: Allah Is the Greatest.

Bush's authoritarian allies in the Middle East come through: Kuwait censors Moore film: Kuwait bans anti-Bush documentary.

"We have a law that prohibits insulting friendly nations," said Abdul-Aziz Bou Dastour of the Information Ministry

Seems that discussion of Iraq is taboo in the US too: Iraq Confounds, Kerry Contorts: You'd think ending an Unpopular and Bloody War would be central to John Kerry's Platform. He's twisting himself in Knots to avoid the Topic.

A recent issue of The Weekly Standard called a spade a spade: "The November election won't be about the future of Iraq." Had he wanted a debate on Iraq, Mr. Kerry would have selected an anti-war running mate. Mr. Kerry could have then "explained his own vote to authorize the invasion as a mistake," based on bad intelligence. On the contrary, Mr. Kerry "in his methodical way has moved Heaven and Earth to make sure such a debate never happens."
One reason for Mr. Kerry's dodging an argument about Iraq is, as the right-wing journal notes, that the Democratic nominee's position on the occupation is "no more than a millimeter from that of President Bush": Take the casualties, send more troops if necessary and keep forcing "democracy" down a gun barrel. Military collaboration with France and Germany would be nice, but George Bush has already embraced that idea.
Too much familiarity with Mr. Kerry's Bush-like views on Iraq might breed contempt among the anti-war legions that followed Howard Dean into battle. If U.S. soldiers are still dying at the same rate on election day, elements of the radicalized anti-Bush crowd might touch the screen for Ralph Nader or just stay home.
But the larger motive for Mr. Kerry going AWOL on an Iraq debate appeared recently in a junk mail package I received from a political action committee calling itself "Friends of Hillary." Hillary Clinton, junior senator from New York, has been, like the great majority of her fellow Democratic congressmen, as steadfast in her support for the war in Iraq as Mr. Kerry has been equivocal. Bold on his swift boat, the junior senator from Massachusetts shrinks in the face of the Clintons' fundraising and organizational power.

Timing is almost everything: U.S. Warns of High Risk of Qaeda Attack.

Sibel Edmonds cites a long list of bumbling, oversights, and ignorance and then asks a touch question about who we can trust to get the intelligence job done right: Public Letter to 9/11 Commission Chairman from FBI Whistleblower.

The issue of accountability for those responsible for these practices that endangers our national security is not brought up even once in your report. This issue, as with others, is systemic and departmental. Why did your report choose to exclude this information and these serious issues despite the evidence and briefings you received? How can budget increases address and resolve the intentional continuation of ineptitude and incompetence by mid-level bureaucratic management? How can the addition of a new bureaucratic layer, "Intelligence Czar", in its cocoon removed from the action lines, address and resolve this problem?

Amongst the many spotted and inconstant men speaking about Valerie Plame, Powell goes to court: CIA Leak Probe: Powell's Grand-Jury Appearance.

Plame blame game: While on this Africa trip, Powell had a report on whether Iraq sought uranium from Niger.

Bush singing the same old song: I was right on Iraq, says Bush.

US President George W. Bush defiantly defended the war in Iraq today, saying the invasion was "the right decision" and holding out hope that weapons of mass destruction might yet be found.

Former Air Force officer Karen Kwiatkowski accuses the US of ulterior interests [e.g., oil] for preparing to intervene in the Sudan: Why Sudan?. John Laughland in the Guardian makes a similar point: The mask of altruism disguising a colonial war: Oil will be the driving factor for military intervention in Sudan .

The head of British MI6 asked those searching for WMDs to lie. In March, 2004 he sent them an e-mail with suggested lies they could put in their report, such as the existence of an Iraqi smallpox program: Scarlett asked for 'lies' in WMD report.

Naomi Klein has finally joined the "Anybody But Bush" crowd, in order to cure the left of its idiotic attribution of all problems to a few crazed lunatics in the Administration: Anybody but Bush - And then Let's Get Back to Work: With Kerry at the Helm, the Left might Focus on the Real Issues Again.

We know this, yet there is something about George Bush's combination of ignorance, piety and swagger that triggers a condition in progressives I've come to think of as Bush Blindness. When it strikes, it causes us to lose sight of everything we know about politics, economics and history and to focus exclusively on the admittedly odd personalities of the people in the White House. Other side-effects include delighting in psychologists' diagnoses of Bush's warped relationship with his father and brisk sales of Bush "dum gum" - $1.25.
This madness has to stop, and the fastest way of doing that is to elect John Kerry, not because he will be different but because in most key areas - Iraq, the "war on drugs", Israel/Palestine, free trade, corporate taxes - he will be just as bad. The main difference will be that as Kerry pursues these brutal policies, he will come off as intelligent, sane and blissfully dull. That's why I've joined the Anybody But Bush camp: only with a bore such as Kerry at the helm will we finally be able to put an end to the presidential pathologizing and focus on the issues again.
Despite their rhetoric, France and Russia opposed the invasion of Iraq because it threatened their own plans to control Iraq's oil. With Kerry in power, European leaders will no longer be able to hide their imperial designs behind easy Bush-bashing, a development already forecast in Kerry's odious Iraq policy. Kerry argues that we need to give "our friends and allies ... a meaningful voice and role in Iraqi affairs", including "fair access to the multibillion-dollar reconstruction contracts. It also means letting them be a part of putting Iraq's profitable oil industry back together...."
Under a Kerry government, the comforting illusion of a world united against imperial aggression will drop away, exposing the jockeying for power that is the true face of modern empire. We'll also have to let go of the archaic idea that toppling a single man, or a Romanesque "empire", will solve all, or indeed any, of our problems.

Jonathan Schell agrees that Bush should go, but he has reservations about the pact with the devil involved in the anti-war forces supporting Kerry so strongly: Strong and Wrong. Meanwhile, Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls argue that the left should not put its energies into the Kerry campaign, [there are plenty mainstream Democrats to do that] but rather, into preparing for the post-election fight to keep Kerry from carrying out his right-wing, pro-war, pro-empire, and pro-corporate agenda. Shattering Illusions: Kerry Doesn’t Need or Want Anti-war Activists.

Previous Month Archive: July, 2004
Occupation Resistance Analysis

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