Key Documents

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.

December, 2004


The Occupation

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Patrick Cockburn gives his year-end assessment: The bullet and the ballot.

A better guide to the state of government morale is ministers’ enthusiasm for foreign travel. In the Iraqi press it is a standing joke that at any one time half the government is representing Iraq abroad. From the safety of Washington, London, Moscow, Geneva or Dubai ministers speak optimistically about Iraq turning the corner after the poll on 30 January. On the rare occasions that they return to Baghdad they lurk in the Green Zone, protected by bodyguards from Western security companies...
Outside Baghdad’s schools every afternoon there are crowds of parents picking up their children because they are terrified that they will be kidnapped. The kidnapping of foreigners is heavily publicised, but 99 per cent of kidnap victims are Iraqi. Every few days the tortured bodies of victims whose families could not raise the ransom money are found with their eyes gouged out or their heads cut off floating in the irrigation canals or in the Tigris...
The election is crystallising the differences between Shia and Sunni. The two communities are divided on vital issues. The Sunni are fighting the US occupation while the Shia are not. The Shia will take part in the election and the Sunni will largely boycott it. Iraq is still some way from civil war, but it is becoming more polarised by the month. Preachers in Shia and Sunni mosques are for the first time openly denouncing each other.

Mid-term exams delayed due to insecurity.

Iraq's Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) has sent instructions to universities across the country to cancel mid-term exams for colleges they say are in dangerous locations due to insecurity and threats from insurgents...
Leaflets distributed in the capital by insurgents have warned people, students in particular, to stay at home over the next few days, telling Iraqis that this is a daily 24-hour curfew imposed by the Iraqi resistance, adding that there will be widespread attacks.

Under mounting pressure the Administration is finally saying torture is illegal, and is renouncing the claims of its Attorney General designee about what extreme behaviors are required before treatment is "torture"; Bush Admin. Redefines 'Torture'. See the new: Justice Department Memo

The 17-page document states flatly that torture violates U.S. and international law and omits two of the most controversial assertions made in now-disavowed 2002 Justice Department documents: that President Bush, as commander in chief in wartime, had authority superseding U.S. anti-torture laws and that U.S. personnel had several legal defenses against criminal liability in such cases...
The document, again directly contradicting the previous version, says torture need not be limited to pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." Instead, the memo concludes that anti-torture laws passed by Congress equate torture with physical suffering "even if it does not involve severe physical pain" but still must be more than "mild and transitory." That can include mental suffering under certain circumstances, but it would not have to last for months or years, as the previous document said. [But some "torture" still ok:] "This damage need not be permanent, but it must continue for a prolonged period of time," the memo says.

Human Rights Watch asks: Did President Bush Order Torture? White House Must Explain “Executive Order” Cited in FBI E-Mail.

“The FBI e-mail is not proof of a presidential order to commit unlawful acts, but it strongly suggests that U.S. interrogators thought they were acting with the president’s approval,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “It’s no longer enough for Bush to issue a simple denial. A real explanation is needed...” Even if there were no formal Executive Order, Human Rights Watch is concerned that the FBI in Iraq believed that the executive branch had authorized certain abusive interrogation methods being employed by U.S. military personnel. Since the reporting of torture at Abu Ghraib, the Bush administration has yet to fully detail the instructions on interrogation and treatment of detainees it has provided to U.S. forces in the field...
The various interrogation methods described in the FBI e-mail and in the other released documents are violations of U.S. obligations under international law. These include provisions of the Geneva Conventions prohibiting “cruel treatment and torture” and “humiliating and degrading treatment.” And they violate the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the United States is also a party.

Juan Cole describes the: Platform of the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shia group that will likely dominate the new parliament.

I'm not sure most Americans realize that the biggest and most important party coalition in Iraq, which will almost certainly form the next government, has explicitly stated in its platform that it wants a specific timetable announced for withdrawal of US troops from the country....
An independent foreign policy is promised, as is membership in the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. [This plank implies non-recognition of Israel until there is a global peace settlement accepted by these two organizations).
I think we are looking at the policies of the new Iraq. They aren't what Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz imagined.

Elections? Sunni militants warn Iraqis to boycott poll. And: Mosul election staff quit en masse.

The entire staff of the independent electoral commission in the Iraqi northern city of Mosul, amounting to about 700 employees, have resigned amid growing violence in the country...
In a related move that could affect the 30 January elections, Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr's political office announced it was taking legal action against the interim Iraqi government for alleged torture and murder of its members. Fadhil al-Shara, an al-Sadr official, said the legal action focused on the Iraqi police in Hilla, who are alleged to have arrested 15 al-Sadr supporters in the town and tortured another four to death.

International criminal given $293 million "security" contract in Iraq. I guess he knows how to keep the natives in line: Tim Spicer's World. He sure sounds like Bush's kind of guy: completely unqualified sleazebag.

More than fifty private security companies are in Iraq today, with an estimated 20,000 hired guns working for them. Spicer's group is supposed to coordinate them all. And there's one more catch: Spicer appears to have no previous experience handling such a large security operation, nor any ties to Iraq.

The administration's lawyers justify crimes, rather than prevent them: Legal Breach: The Government's Attorneys and Abu Ghraib.

A BBC interview with Peggy Gish of the Christian Peacemaker Teams: Eyewitness: Taking detainee testimony in Iraq.

They say it is rather like life under Saddam Hussein. Many Iraqis use an Arabic expression, "Same donkey, different saddle".

The LA Times reports on the destruction of Fallujah: Falloujans Get an Unsettling Look at Their City: Refugees eager to return change their minds after seeing the ruin. Will balloting be feasible?

Foreigners [most [people on the planet] are starting to boycott products from the warrior state: Poll: War Bad for Business. Will McDonald's demand an end to war?

Twenty percent of respondents in Europe and Canada said they consciously avoided buying U.S. products as a protest against those policies. That finding was consistent with a similar poll carried out by GMI three weeks after Bush's November election victory...
"There have already been casual protest brands, such as Mecca Cola, which are primarily political," he told the weekly. "But things are now moving beyond that. For instances, German restaurants are beginning to refuse American Express cards. This is new territory..."
Half of the entire sample said they distrusted U.S. companies, at least in part because of U.S. foreign policy. Seventy-nine percent said they distrusted the U.S. government for the same reason, while 39 percent said they distrusted the American public.

At this late date, the US decides to try a little "cultural sensitivity," between the bombs: Troops battle with words. And to spray-painting over graffiti: Spray paint becomes a weapon in Iraq.

Iraqi lives improved, yet again? Head Scarves Now a Protective Accessory in Iraq: Fearing for Their Safety, Muslim and Christian Women Alike Cover Up Before They Go Out. This in what had been the most secular country in the Middle East.

"I put on the scarf because I wanted to walk in the street without fearing someone will kill me or kidnap me," said one of the women. " I want to finish my studies. Without the scarf I cannot. I heard rumors about killing women without a scarf. Why should I risk my life?"

Claims that 700 civilian bodies, including 504 women and children, have been pulled from the Fallujah rubble: 700 Civilian Bodies Recovered From Fallujah .

As usual, the rich hope to take advantage of the county's sorry state: Emerging Iraqi banks betting on reconstruction.

Raed has pictures of the destruction of buildings in Falluja on his web site, in an article on meeting American parents who lost their children in iraq: Parents for Peace in Iraq .

Must Read! Sgt. Kevin and Monica Benderman of 3rd Infantry Division -- Ft. Stewart, GA: An Open Letter to Our Leaders From an Iraq War Soldier.

Will we have a return of the Vietnam-era FTA: Fuck the Army? Small but growing resistance to Iraq war.

Iraqi son, in Syria, not allowed to visit his dying mother in Buffalo, a victim of Saddam: Dying Iraqi waits in vain for her son. Homeland Security says no.

Possibly the only thing working well in Irq: fuel distribution by Sadr's forces: Sadr Eases Baghdad Fuel Woes.

Robert Fisk: In This Mire Of Death, Lies And Atrocities, We Glimpse The Ghost Of Vietnam.

Iraq is now proving all over again what we should have learned in Lebanon and Palestine/Israel: that Arabs have lost their fear. It has been a slow process. But a quarter of a century ago, the Arabs lived in chains, cowed by occupiers and oppressive regimes. They were a submissive society and they did as they were told. The Israelis even used a "Palestinian police force" to help them in their occupation. Not any more. The biggest development in the Middle East over the past 30 years has been this shaking off of fear. Fear - of the occupier, of the dictator - is something that you cannot re-inject into people. And this, I suspect, is what has happened in Iraq.

Everybody needs somebody to blame: U.S. Accuses Syria of Helping Insurgents.

Saddam's trial may be unfair, but is defending the brutal dictator really at the top of Ramsey Clark's priority list? US rebel joins Saddam legal team. What is Clarke's affinity for dictators?

Navy SEALs sue over published Iraq photos. Claim their torture was a routine special forces activity.

The BBC spoke to Dr. Saleh Hussein Isawi, the acting director of the Falluja general hospital: Inside Falluja: 'Nothing to come back to'.

I was there, inside the city - about 60% to 70% of the homes and buildings are completely crushed and damaged, and not ready to inhabit at the moment. Of the 30% still left standing, I don't think there is a single one that has not been exposed to some damage.
One of my colleagues... went to see his home, and saw that it is almost completely collapsed and everything is burnt inside. When he went to his neighbours' home, he found a relative of his was dead and a dog had eaten the meat off him.

Juan Cole provides analysis of Bin Laden's recent tape calling on Iraqis to oppose the elections. He sees it as a big boost for the Americans: Bin Laden votes in Iraq and Shoots himself in the Foot

The narrow, sectarian and politically unskilfull character of this speech is the most hopeful sign I have seen in some time that al-Qaeda is a doomed political force, a mere Baader-Meinhof Gang or Red Army Faction with greater geographical reach.

Dahr Jamail has obtained Photos From Inside Falluja. All are bodies of the massacred. Over half [by my rough count] are of civilians horrifyingly butchered. This may be the closest we ever get to what went on there, the harbinger of the 21st century.

What will future bring: rIaq's Shiite leaders disagree on whether new government should be religious or secular. See analysis by Juan Cole: Iraqi Islamic Party Withdraws: Dispute over Theocracy among Iraqi Shiites..

Foreign and current US officials say ethnic civil war imminent, and the US is pushing it along, as a response to its loosing position: Analysis: Iraq edges towards civil war.

A face of occupation: US, Britain holding 10,000 prisoners in Iraq. No pretence of Iraqi "sovereignty" here.

Sadr playing both sides, again: Cleric Hedges Bets on Iraq Vote: Shiite leader Sadr seems to be involved through allies, but is publicly keeping his distance.

Things are just dandy: Poll shows troops in support of war.

Sixty-three percent of respondents approve of the way President Bush is handling the war, and 60% remain convinced it is a war worth fighting. Support for the war is even greater among those who have served longest in the combat zone: Two-thirds of combat vets say the war is worth fighting....
60% blame Congress for the shortage of body armor in the combat zone.

Must Read! As Fallujah residents return, more accounts come of the total devastation. No wonder no reporters, much less camera crews, have been allowed in for over a month: Thousands of Fallujah residents return to devastation. Of course, the US press does not, by and large, consider this devastation to be a "story" as "our guys" only do good, by definition, Abu Ghraib notwithstanding.

"Fallujah is nothing but destruction and empty areas. It's a new desert inside Iraq. Those who have returned to their homes in the past few days lack the minimum conditions - the city is uninhabitable," said Fadhel Kubaissy, a resident who returned home but left again with his family after finding his house in ruins....
In the city as a whole, the two main library buildings have been burned and schools and medical clinics have been all but destroyed and are unable to function....
There is no water or electricity and the sewerage system has also suffered heavy damage, which is likely to cause the spread of diseases, medical representatives in the city said. "In this poor hygiene situation, as soon as the families come back children will be exposed to diseases."

Was it US Army counterintelligence sergeant Greg Ford, denounced as "delusional" when he reported US torture of Iraqis, rather than an FBI agent, who is reported on in recently released documents? Filling in the Blanks (or, Just What the FBI Thinks it is Hiding).

New Rand study for the US Air Force advocates the US using cleavages in the Muslim world, including allying with Shia aspirations, to enhance US strategic objectives. Research Brief: U.S. Strategy in the Muslim World After 9/11 Full Document [pdf]

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Iraq says polls could be delayed in certain parts of the country.

The Iraq Islamic Party, the largest Sunni party, has withdrawn from participating in the elections: Top Sunni party pulls out of Iraq polls.

The failure to privatize oil in Iraq is part of a global trend toward reviving state control of vital energy: Anslysis: Putin on the side of history.

Senators join those concerned bout lack of Sunni participation: Senators Seek Role for Iraqi Sunnis: Participation in Government Important, Levin and Lugar Say.

Will it win hearts and minds? Sadr City goes to the great sheep give away .

Death threats made against Iraqi trade unionist: Urgent Global Labour Alert issued by Labour Friends of Iraq.

Must Read! Dahr Jamail's latest: An Eyewitness Account of Fallujah by a Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) camerman. And: Living in Garbage.

[Fallujah:} “I saw at least 200 families who had their homes collapsed on their heads by American bombs,” Burhan said while looking at the ground, a long ash dangling from his cigarette, “Fallujans already needed everythingÉI mean they already had no food or medicine. I saw a huge number of people killed in the northern part of the city, and most of them were civilians....”
Americans did not have interpreters with them, so they entered houses and killed people because they didn’t speak English! They entered the house where I was with 26 people, and shot people because they didn’t obey their orders, even just because the people couldn’t understand a word of English. Ninety-five percent of the people killed in the houses that I saw were killed because they couldn’t speak English....”
LBC, he explained, would not show any of the tapes he submitted to them. He had managed to smuggle most of his tapes out of the city before his gear was taken from him. “The Americans took all of my camera equipment when they found it. At that time I watched one soldier take money from a small child in front of everyone in our house.” Burhan said that when the troops learned he was a journalist, he was treated worse than the other people in the home where they were seeking refuge.... “They beat me and cursed me because I work for LBC, then they interrogated me. They were so angry at al-Jazeera and al-Arabia networks....” “They arrested over 100 from my area, including women and kids. We had one toilet, which was in front of where we all were kept, and everyone was shamed by having to use this in public. There was no privacy, and the Americans made us use it with handcuffs on....”
“I saw cluster bombs everywhere, and so many bodies that were burned, dead with no bullets in them. So they definitely used fire weapons, especially in Julan district. I watched American snipers shoot civilians so many times. I saw an American sniper in a minaret of a mosque shooting everyone that moved....”
He also witnessed something which many refugees from Fallujah have reported. “I saw civilians trying to swim the Euphrates to escape, and they were all shot by American snipers on the other side of the river....”
“On Tuesday, November 16th, I saw tanks roll over the wounded in the streets of the Jumariyah Quarter. There is a public clinic there, so we call that the clinic street. There had been a heavy battle in this street, so there were twenty bodies of dead fighters and some wounded civilians in front of this clinic. I was there at the clinic, and at 11 a.m. on the 16th I watched tanks roll over the wounded and dead there.”

Torture claims at Guantanamo Concentration Camp, long denied, now supported by FBI memos: Further Detainee Abuse Alleged: Guantanamo Prison Cited in FBI Memos. When will the War Crimes trials start, beginning with "Torture General" Miller, and concluding with Torturer-In-Chief Bush?

The detainees who made public claims of torture at Guantanamo Bay describe a prison camp in which abuse is employed as a coordinated tool to aid interrogators and as punishment for minor offenses that irked prison guards. They say military personnel beat and kicked them while they had hoods on their heads and tight shackles on their legs, left them in freezing temperatures and stifling heat, subjected them to repeated, prolonged rectal exams and paraded them naked around the prison as military police snapped pictures.
In some allegations, the detainees say they have been threatened with sexual abuse. British detainee Martin Mubanga, one of Mickum's clients, wrote his sister that the American military police were treating him like a "rent boy," British slang for a male prostitute. A group of released British detainees said that several young prisoners told them they were raped and sexually violated after guards took them to isolated sections of the prison. They said an Algerian man was "forced to watch a video supposedly showing two detainees dressed in orange, one sodomizing the other, and was told that it would happen to him if he didn't cooperate."
In some allegations, the detainees say they have been threatened with sexual abuse. British detainee Martin Mubanga, one of Mickum's clients, wrote his sister that the American military police were treating him like a "rent boy," British slang for a male prostitute. A group of released British detainees said that several young prisoners told them they were raped and sexually violated after guards took them to isolated sections of the prison. They said an Algerian man was "forced to watch a video supposedly showing two detainees dressed in orange, one sodomizing the other, and was told that it would happen to him if he didn't cooperate...."
Moazzam Begg, a British detainee first imprisoned in Egypt and kept since February 2003 in solitary confinement in Guantanamo Bay, said in a recently declassified letter to the court that he has been repeatedly beaten and has heard "the terrifying screams of fellow detainees facing similar methods." He said he witnessed two detainees die after U.S. military personnel had beaten them....
[The lie machine:] "The claim that detainees have been physically abused, beaten or tortured is simply not true," said Army Col. David McWilliams, spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command, which is in charge of the prison. "From the beginning, we have taken extra steps to treat prisoners not only humanely but extra cautiously. We do not use any kind of coercive or physically harmful techniques."

Afraid of a permanently alienated minority, the US has belatedly proposed some type of assurance of not being frozen out of power for the Sunni minority: U.S. Is Suggesting Guaranteed Role for Iraq's Sunnis. But the Iraqi Electoral Commission rejected the plan as illegal: Iraq Rejects U.S. Talk of Bolstering Sunni Vote.

Iraq's Electoral Commission on Sunday dismissed suggestions from Washington that minority Sunni Arabs could get extra seats in parliament after next month's election to avoid Shi'ite domination if Sunnis fail to vote.

Falluja residents react to seeing their city again, or what is left of it: Fallujah people in woe as tragedy continues.

62-year-old Nasir Hamdan said that he had experienced many battles and seen a lot of tragedies, but he had never seen such destruction and ruin as that in Fallujah "I would rather stay in a tent than to stay in a ruined city with only US soldiers and dogs roaming around the city, and I would endure cold and hunger rather than entering such a city."

Job in Iraq with Halliburton as challenege, to prove one's manliness: Bates takes job with Halliburton.

Busting down doors for Christmas entertainment: Tense Christmas in Iraq's 'Triangle of Death'.

[C]ommanders ushered in the holiday by going on the offensive; their target was Ali Kazar, a suspected leader of the Sunni Arab insurgency in a restive part of the Euphrates valley where support for Saddam Hussein was strong. U.S. troops and Iraqi police commandos swept into town in a convoy of Humvee patrol cars, smashing their way into a building where he was thought to be living.
Dazed, barefoot residents, including women and children, were forced out, but only two people, including a member of Saddam's now dissolved Baath party, were detained. Many Iraqis say American forces use heavy-handed tactics that alienate ordinary people -- something U.S. officials deny....
Within minutes, the Marines were back at their base where a banner outside the command center read: "Peace on Earth."

Sunni clerics dismiss Iraq elections as masquerade.

Congress prepares to weigh in on prisoner abuse. but don't hold your breath.

AFSC calls for US to withdraw immediately: S Relief Group Calls for Iraq Withdrawal.

1.7 million: Iraqi Kurds demand referendum on independence.

No plans to leave this decade, or the next: A hard week in a long Iraq mission; Increasingly, US military experts say Americans need to prepare for a decades-long counterinsurgency campaign.

Residents discover what was done to their city in American showcase destruction: Falluja Returnees Angry, 'City Unfit for Animals'.

While those who fled were at pains to say they had nothing to do with the rebels who made Falluja their stronghold, many of them have since become angry and militant as a result of the offensive. "Would Allah want us to return to a city that animals can't live in?" said Yasser Satar as he saw his destroyed home. "Even animals who have no human sense and feelings can not live here," he said, crying. "What do they want from Falluja? This is the crime of the century. They want to destroy Islam and Muslims. But our anger and resistance will increase...."
[T]hey will be without water and electricity as basic services and communications were knocked out in the assault. Iraq's government has said it will pay $2,000 compensation for partial damage to homes, $4,000 for substantial damage and $10,000 to those whose homes were completely destroyed -- far less than Iraqis say they would need to rebuild their homes.

Must Read! "Iraqi" government considering giving the nation's oil over to US corporations, while removing food aid to the majority of the population: US to Take Bigger Bite of Iraq's Economic Pie: 'Helping' Govt Cut Social Subsidies, Give US Corporations Full Access to Iraqi Oil. The article is unclear if these measures are to be forced through in the month remaining for the US-appointed puppet government, or are to wait until elections. Merry Christmas, Iraq!

Using disaster as an excuse to widen war. Where have we seen this before? US May Strike at Ba'athists in Syria.

New poll by the International Republican Institute [that's right!] claims most Iraqis intend to vote. This is not surprising, as most Shia and Kurds, who together make up about 80% of the population, will vote. Nonetheless, one should be cautious as prior IRI polls have been deliberately manipulated for propaganda purposes:

Must Read! Released French hostages say their captors wanted Bush to win reelection: Ex-Hostage: Rebels Wanted Bush Re-Elected.

``We want Bush because with him the American troops will stay in Iraq and that way we will be able to develop,'' Malbrunot cited the captor as saying.

US serves as inspiration for the world: Greek police officers 'tortured Afghans' using "Abu Ghraib" techniques. More details: Abu Ghraib “Inspires” Abuses in Greece.

Desperate to save his job: Rumsfeld makes Iraq visit. They drove out 250,000 residents to make Falluja safe for the war criminal to visit: Rumsfeld visits Tikrit, Falluja. He spread the usual propaganda: Rumsfeld Tells U.S. Troops in Iraq They Can Win.

Welcome home! US bombing marks return of Fallujah's displaced people.

The worst of times: Iraq's Christian minority loses its innocence now the rule of Saddam is over.

The Washington Post uses the correct term: War Crimes.

In Anbar province: Sunni police chief quits.

Checking for vote fraud the modern way: Foreign observers planning to watch Iraqi elections in Jordan. Hey, I'm watching the Ukrainian elections from Boston. I didn't see any ballot stuffing...

Support Our Troops? No underwear for the cannon fodder, once they're wounded and no longer useful to the war planners: Going to War with the Clothing We Have.

Will Italy join the coalition of the alive: Berlusconi Delays Iraq Talk Until Election.

Naomi Klein demolishes the ridiculous argument that the US, having systematically destroyed Iraqi life, can't leave because it has to "fix" it: You Break It, You Pay For It.

So let's be absolutely clear: The United States, having broken Iraq, is not in the process of fixing it. It is merely continuing to break the country and its people by other means, using not only F-16s and Bradleys, but now the less flashy weaponry of WTO and IMF conditions, followed by elections designed to transfer as little power to Iraqis as possible. This is what famed Argentine writer Rodolfo Walsh, writing before his 1977 assassination by the military junta, described as "planned misery." And the longer the United States stays in Iraq, the more misery it will plan....
The failure to develop a credible platform beyond "troops out" may be one reason the antiwar movement remains stalled, even as opposition to the war deepens. Because the Pottery Barn rulers do have a point: Breaking a country should have consequences for the breakers. Owning the broken country should not be one of them, but how about paying for the repairs?

Johann Hari says, don't let the IMF destroy what remains of Iraq: Why Are We Inflicting This Discredited Market Fundamentalism on Iraq?

Signs of Syrian influence. Are they real? What do they mean? More signs of Syria turn up in Iraq: The Iraqi ambassador to Syria tells the Monitor that photos of high-ranking Syrian officials were found in Fallujah.

The International Crisis Group think tanks says the US cannot accomplish its stated goals in Iraq: US Iraq strategy 'no longer achievable'. Read the: What Can the U.S. Do in Iraq? Executive Summary and Recommendations or the: Complete Report [pdf].

In many ways, the job the U.S. must now perform is a thankless one. It involves satisfying the expectations of a population now largely hostile to the U.S. and encouraging the emancipation and independence of Iraqi institutions whose credibility will depend on their distancing themselves from it.
What is now required is dual disengagement: a gradual U.S. political and military disengagement from Iraq and, no less important, a clear Iraqi political disengagement from the U.S. The new Iraqi state must define itself at least partially in opposition to U.S. policies or it runs the risk of defining itself in opposition to many of its own citizens.

Going tough for NC group trying to develop Iraqi "democracy": Research Triangle Institute finds going tough in Iraq.

Interview with antiwar vet Jim Talib: Interview with an Anti-War Veteran.

This front-page Washington Post story on recently released documents shows that torture was widespread and systematic through Iraq and Guantanamo: New Papers Suggest Detainee Abuse Was Widespread. Would you allow this army to occupy your country without fighting back? Meanwhile: New Data Hints at Poor Review of Abuse Cases, including murdering prisoners.

New milestone. For the first time, a major: U.S. Contractor Pulls Out of Reconstruction Effort in Iraq. Cites high cost of "security".

Contrack's partnership was supposed to construct new roads, bridges and transportation terminals in Iraq. It wound up only refurbishing a handful of train depots, company officials said....
Contrack's joint venture, which included Egyptian and Swiss firms, also involved such well-known U.S. companies as Pasadena-based Parsons Corp., Fluor Corp. in Aliso Viejo and Houston-based Halliburton Co., once run by Vice President Dick Cheney. At one point, Contrack and its joint venture had hired nearly 2,000 people in Iraq and had offices in an upper-income neighborhood in Baghdad, said Wahid Hakki, Contrack's vice president for U.S. operations....
But as the insurgency intensified, company workers found themselves increasingly under assault. Small-arms and mortar fire became common at construction sites. Gunmen attacked the joint venture's headquarters about 2 1/2 months ago.... In some cases, Camel-Toueg said, the security expenses for simple tasks such as fixing potholes soared to 60% of the cost of the project....
The company also found that it was having difficulty with such basic matters as buying construction material. At one site, for instance, the sole supplier of gravel shut his quarry after receiving threats from insurgents about cooperating with Americans, Hakki said. The company's work ground to a halt.

Christian Science Monitor: Fragmented leadership of the Iraqi insurgency. This article views the "insurgency" as primarily led by a reorganized Baath party.

Torture is routine, says Australian journalist ohn Martinkus: Losing Hearts & Minds [video & Transcript].

EMAN AHMED KHAMAS: Many of the prisoners told me about a kind of torture which is called the scorpion.... This kind of torture is simply very - they tie the hands up and they tie the legs together. They put the man on his face on the ground and then they join the hands and the legs, you know, the wrong way, not from the front, from the back. And then they put their boots on the back and they push. And so, of course, this is very dangerous because a man could be killed in this because if they break his backbone he's killed. And I actually heard one man was killed in this kind of torture, one.
Zeini told me he witnessed abuses of his cellmates in the US-administered prison at the Baghdad Airport. What he describes took place at the exact time the US Administration was stating it would never happen again.
ZEINI (Translation): They'll always shift prisoners between cells. They brought in an engineer called Khaled. He'd been imprisoned in Adhamiya Palace. They mutilated him. They brought him in totally naked. They had put a stick in his rectum. His bottom was covered in blood. His finger was cut off.
ZEINI (Translation): They got me to take off the orange overalls. The orange overalls. I took them off. They uncuffed my hands and feet. And gave me my clothes. The American officer came and told me "I'm sorry. We apologise. But say nothing outside or we'll bring you back in. It wasn't up to us. We received information about you." Zeini told me about his cellmate at the Airport prison, Dr Nazar. He said Dr Nazar was transferred to Abu Ghraib from the Airport prison. He believes Nazar was killed at Abu Ghraib.... He was killed on the 19th of June. Nazar's family told Zeini that the body was dumped by US troops outside a Baghdad hospital. Nobody knows the exact circumstances of his death....
Widespread stealing by American soldiers during raids are common knowledge in Iraq, but they are rarely reported.

Torturers everywhere. Rumsfeld orders it: With Rumsfeld Under Fire New Questions Emerge About His Role in Prisoner Torture. Gonzalez picks techniques: Attorney General Nominee Gonzalez Advised CIA on "Acceptable" Torture Techniques.

Tony Blair plays cowboys and Indians: Blair 'feels the danger' on visit to Baghdad . The new Disney Iraq exhibit was so realistic, he even heard the explosions.

Although he remained within the green zone, the complex that houses the Iraqi government and foreign embassies, the prime minister said he could feel the sense of danger that Iraqis faced daily in the face of insurgent violence....
Mr Blair visited the headquarters of the electoral commission, three of whose members were murdered in Baghdad on Sunday by insurgents. He called the election workers "the heroes of the new Iraq being created". [Of course, they don't dare work in Iraq, only in the US 51st state, the "Green Zone"]

As Tony plays, a group of senior MPs says the occupation will go on for a decade, at least... Ten more years? Senior MPs warn British troops will be in Iraq for a decade, as Blair in Baghdad proclaims: 'We are not a nation of quitters'.

One senior member of the committee said: "It will take 10 to 15 years at least [before troops can be fully withdrawn]. It is another Cyprus. The Iraqis just cannot cope with the security situation and won't be able to for years."

Another cover-up in the works, to join the dozens so far: US pledges new jail abuse inquiry.

Aid operation launched in Fallujah to aid the city's refugees.

Australia hides the details of the torture of its citizen to not damage relations with its master: Australian tribunal refuses freedrom of information request.

After four months: French Journalists Released in Iraq.

Robert Fisk: Indifferent to Suffering Caused by "Our" Side.

Bush/big> says occupation top expand: Bush Foresees a Deeper U.S. Role in Iraq: The president warns that troop levels will not be cut next year and acknowledges that training of local forces has had mixed results.

Courting the Baath: Allawi has talks with supporters of former regime.

Mass grave may have been found: Stray dogs lead villagers to mass grave.

War's horrors turn volunteer into pacifist.

LA Times editorial: Disgraced by Silence: When will the president respond to the cascading allegations of prisoner abuse by the military? What the LA Times neglects to say is that it is also we, the American people, who are disgraced by silence.

A Marine guard in Iraq sprayed an alcohol-based liquid on a detainee, struck a match and ignited the prisoner, burning and blistering the man's hands. Another Marine held wires from an electric transformer to a detainee's shoulders, so that the man "danced as he was shocked," according to military documents made public this month. ...
The cascading allegations of prisoner abuse, of which these are but a few examples, long ago demolished the president's claim that only a few bad apples were responsible. So did reports that soldiers and officers who complained to their superiors about this mistreatment were threatened with reprisals and even physical harm. Yet as reports of unexplained deaths, humiliations and depravity across the services multiply, President Bush has recently remained silent....
In May, soon after photographs from Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad became public, Bush said he was "sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi detainees … and their families." But "the cruelty of a few," he said a week later, "cannot diminish the honor and achievement" of the thousands who have served honorably in Iraq. It is now clear that "the few" are in fact many. So many that either U.S. troops are not under their commanding officers' control or they are beating, burning and sodomizing suspects with the blessing — or worse, at the direction — of their commanders and Washington policymakers....
The president should directly and forthrightly state what he neglected to say last spring: Torture and humiliation of prisoners disgraces every American; such conduct is always unacceptable; and any officer who learns of such behavior and, instead of stopping it, encourages or ignores it, will be court-martialed.

White House denies President torturer-in-chief. Says FBI in error: ACLU: President authorized interrogation.

CIA can't keep records of torture secret, says judge: CIA loses bid to keep records secret.

Must Read! Newly released document indicates President Bush directly authorized torture in Iraq! Another releases FBI email refers to "torture": FBI E-Mail Refers to Presidential Order Authorizing Inhumane Interrogation Techniques. Will the "Democrats initiate impeachment proceedings?

A document released for the first time today by the American Civil Liberties Union suggests that President Bush issued an Executive Order authorizing the use of inhumane interrogation methods against detainees in Iraq. Also released by the ACLU today are a slew of other records including a December 2003 FBI e-mail that characterizes methods used by the Defense Department as "torture" and a June 2004 "Urgent Report" to the Director of the FBI that raises concerns that abuse of detainees is being covered up....
The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc...."
Another e-mail, dated December 2003, describes an incident in which Defense Department interrogators at Guantánamo Bay impersonated FBI agents while using "torture techniques" against a detainee. The e-mail concludes "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [sic] the ‘FBI’ interrogators. The FBI will [sic] left holding the bag before the public...."
The June 2004 "Urgent Report" addressed to the FBI Director is heavily redacted. The legible portions of the document appear to describe an account given to the FBI’s Sacramento Field Office by an FBI agent who had "observed numerous physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees," including "strangulation, beatings, [and] placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees ear openings." The document states that "[redacted] was providing this account to the FBI based on his knowledge that [redacted] were engaged in a cover-up of these abuses...."
[Other documents reveal] Another FBI agent’s account of interrogations at Guantánamo in which detainees were shackled hand and foot in a fetal position on the floor. The agent states that the detainees were kept in that position for 18 to 24 hours at a time and most had "urinated or defacated [sic]" on themselves. On one occasion, the agent reports having seen a detainee left in an unventilated, non-air conditioned room at a temperature "probably well over a hundred degrees." The agent notes: "The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night...." (Aug. 2, 2004)
# An FBI agent’s account of an interrogation at Guantánamo - an interrogation apparently conducted by Defense Department personnel - in which a detainee was wrapped in an Israeli flag and bombarded with loud music and strobe lights. (July 30, 2004)

Iraqi Communists stay with old traditions, reject new: Tigris tales: Most political rallies here involve thugs and guns. But when the communists got together it was like a family party.

Phyllis Bennis analyzes the: Iraqi Elections.

We support elections as one component of democratization. But not every election is a legitimate instrument of democracy. An election cannot be legitimate when it is conducted under foreign military occupation; when the country is nominally ruled by, and the election will be officially run by, a puppet government put and kept in place by the occupying army and the election will be under the ultimate control of the occupying army; when war is raging extensively enough to prevent participation by much of the population; and when the election is designed to choose a new assembly responsible for drafting a constitution and selecting a government that will continue to function under the conditions of military occupation....
Powerful U.S. political operations are also underway in Iraq aimed at influencing the outcome of the elections. Whatever money may be entering Iraq from Iran or other regional centers, it is almost certain that (despite official Washington denials) U.S. financial and political influence-buying is far more extensive. Both the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) have major campaigns underway to help "train" and provide "capacity building" to various Iraqi parties - ostensibly open to all parties, recruiting favors those deemed open to maintaining close U.S. ties, and those viewed as likely to move Iraq's economy towards privatization and globalization. The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided about $80 million to these and other organizations, many of them working under the auspices of the Cold War-era National Endowment for Democracy, to "assist" Iraqi parties in the run-up to the elections. The result will almost certainly be the election of many parties, slates and candidates at least open to, if not strongly committed, to a U.S.-centered political, military and economic trajectory.

"Assess", because monitoring impossible: New International Body to Help Set Up Iraq Vote.

He said his approach would be "to reduce to the lowest possible (the number of) people who would be situated in Iraq under the present circumstances".

We hope he's kidding: Bush defends embattled Rumsfeld as ``a caring fellow''. I guess he cares for his reputation...

Someone must be to blame: Bush pressures Syria.

Soldier Says He Asked Rumsfeld Armor Question Without Aid of Embed.

Dead cannon-fodder certainly not worth a signature. After all, once dead, they don't follow orders: Signature row turns up heat on Rumsfeld: Defence secretary admits machine signed Iraq condolence letters.

The White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, appeared on ABC's This Week to defend Mr Rumsfeld, saying: "Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a spectacular job."

Women's Will, an Iraqi women's organization that works for justice and human rights: Something Beautiful.

he speaks about their latest project: to unite Iraqi mothers across religious lines and to reach out to mothers in the US and around the world to work for peace. "We all suffer from the war," she says. "Here in Iraq, when the Coalition forces detain a young man, they are imprisoning his mother too. She and the family suffer with him. When the US sends soldiers to Iraq, they are sending the soldiers' mothers too. The families suffer."
he does not condone violence of any kind and works for justice through organized nonviolent action. She does not agree with the violent methods of the Iraqi resistance, but she understands their frustration. "You must recognize, in this part of the world, our consciousness is connected to the land. Fighting for the motherland is part of our consciousness. We must try to talk to the resistance, to understand them in order to work for change. You see what I mean?"
She also questions the legitimacy of the coming election. "I am a poor woman, and I stand for the needs of the poor, women and men. No one is representing their interests. This election is for the companies, not the people.

We're having an impact! British: Army blames Iraq for drop in recruits . Remember, they can't fight without people who obey their orders.

Some marines having emotional difficulties after Falluja: Fallujah assault still exacting heavy toll on mental health of US marines. The article also states clearly that the Marines were ordered to commit mass murder. Certainly, war crimes trials are called for.

The US-backed government put rebel losses at more than 2,000, although unit commanders later revealed their troops had orders to shoot all males of fighting age seen on the streets, armed or unarmed, and ruined homes across the city attest to a strategy of overwhelming force.

Where international law has some meaning: UK 'war crimes' claims examined in The Hague.

More memos asserting President is absolute dictator, with NO limit on powers: 2001 Memo Reveals Push for Broader Presidential Powers.

The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war.... Although it makes no reference to Saddam Hussein’s government, the 15-page memo also seems to lay a legal groundwork for the president to invade Iraq—without approval of Congress—long before the White House had publicly expressed any intent to do so. “The President may deploy military force preemptively against terrorist organizations or the States that harbor or support them, whether or not they can be linked to the specific terrorist incidents of Sept. 11,” the memo states.... In the exercise of his power to use military force, “the president’s decisions are for him alone and are unreviewable....”
Although the White House had initially sought authority for the president to “preempt any future acts of terrorism” without any limitation on those responsible for the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Congress deleted the pre-emption request and narrowed the scope of the president’s authority to attack only those connected with September 11. “The authority granted is focused on those responsible for the attacks of Sept. 11,” Sen. Joe Biden stated on the Senate floor in explaining what Congress intended to authorize. But Yoo’s memo, written 11 days later, essentially argued that what Congress authorized didn’t matter.

Patrick Cockburn: A poll governed by fear: millions will get no chance to vote, and the war will go on

The Iraqi election on 30 January, for which campaigning began last week, will be one of the most secretive in history. Iraqi television shows only the feet of election officials rather than their faces, because they are terrified of their identity being revealed. It will be a poll governed by fear.

Britons can't stand it any more: Ban on hooding of war captives: U-turn after outrage at treatment of Iraqi PoWs.

Wiseing up: US military sees sharp fall in black recruits.

Blacks are more likely to treat the army as a lifelong career; a third of senior sergeants and non-commissioned officers are black. Suddenly, that is changing.... "If there are fewer blacks coming in - and it is blacks who stay in and become NCOs - then six, seven, eight, nine years down the road, you can anticipate a shortage of sergeants,"

Reports of major US raids on Iraq's Palestinian community earlier this week: Iraqi Palestinian Community Raided; US Claims “Big Terrorists” Among Kindergarten Staff.

The American troops destroyed everything that came in their path. They destroyed the library in the Club that contained thousands of Palestinian books. They attacked the Association for the Woman and Child which offers assistance to widows, elderly, and divorced women, and children. They wrecked and destroyed the nursery for care of Palestinian infants. The Tatars of the modern age did not spare even the Children’s Home.

Falluja to be reconstructed as model for hell: The failed US face of Fallujah.

The ongoing policy of house-to-house inspections, combined with ultra-tight security regulations aimed at not allowing suspected guerrillas to re-enter the city, is supposed to ensure that everyone inside the Fallujan perimeter will not only be disarmed but obedient to occupation demands and desires. The name tags and the high-tech identity cards are meant to guard against both forgeries and unlawful movement within the city. The military-style work gangs are to ensure that everyone is under close supervision at all times. The restricted entry points are clearly meant to keep all weapons out. Assumedly kept out as well will be most or all reporters (they tend to inflame public opinion), most medical personnel (they tend to "exaggerate" civilian casualties), and most Sunni clerics (they oppose the occupation and support the insurgency). We can also expect close scrutiny of computers (which can be used for nefarious communications), ambulances (which have been used to smuggle weapons and guerrillas), medicines (which can be used to patch up wounded fighters who might still be hiding somewhere), and so on.
It is not much of a reach to see that, at least in their fantasies, US planners would like to set up what sociologists call a "total institution". Like a mental hospital or a prison, Fallujah, at least as reimagined by the Americans, will be a place where constant surveillance equals daily life and the capacity to interdict "suspicious" behavior (however defined) is the norm. But "total institution" might be too sanitized a term to describe activities that so clearly violate international law as well as fundamental morality. Those looking for a descriptor with more emotional bite might consider one of those used by correspondent Pepe Escobar of Asia Times Online: either "American gulag" for those who enjoy Stalinist imagery or "concentration camp" for those who prefer the Nazi version of the same. But maybe we should just call it a plain old police (city-)state.

Two years of reconstruction: Iraqis Face Winter Shivering by Candlelight.

[M{any Iraqis now face a freezing winter shivering by candlelight as persistent attacks keep the power out for more than 12 hours a day. "Saddam Hussein used to cut off the electricity for a couple of hours a day and we'd complain," said Fadia Karim, 33. "Now there's no power for hours and hours every day. There's no fuel for the generators, no kerosene for the heaters. People are beyond complaining. Things are just getting worse."

Democracy Now! Conscientious Objector Witnessed Abuse, Killing of Iraqi Detainees at Abu Ghraib [Video & Transcript]

Not going home any time soon: Fallujah not ready for return of civilians: US military. But Mayor claims otherwise: Refugees to start return to Falluja Friday - mayor.

Joe Conason: Torture Begins at the Top.

[T]he documents show that the impetus for abuse came from above, not below. The use of coercive and violent methods spread from Guantánamo Bay, where alleged Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners are incarcerated, to Iraq and Afghanistan. The documents also show that officers from the CIA, the FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency lodged "heated" objections to the abusive methods of interrogation used by the military, denouncing them in previously secret memoranda as not only unethical but useless and destructive.

Secret gulag within a gulag: At Guantanamo, a Prison Within a Prison: CIA Has Run a Secret Facility for Some Al Qaeda Detainees, Officials Say.

Shia rule in another Middle East state, thanks to US: Election outcome might not please U.S.: Shiite victory likely to take nation in Islamic direction

To stop the attacks, "the new Iraqi government could sit down and negotiate with" the rebels, Brown said. "The only thing they could put on the table is asking the Americans to leave."

Human Rights Watch, certainly no apologist for the Saddam regime, has condemned the "trials" scheduled to try top Ba'ath officials, including Saddam: Tribunal’s Flaws Raise Fair-Trial Concerns: For Justice to Be Done, Trials of Ba’ath Party Officials Must Be Fair.

“Trials for atrocities committed during Ba’ath Party rule could not be more important for the victims and to show that justice works,” said Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch. “But the process must be fair for justice to be done.”

Britain seems to maintain some respect for freedom: Law lords condemn Blunkett's terror measures.

'The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these' - Lord Hoffmann - in yesterday's judgment
"[This case] calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has until now been very proud: freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention."

Anything to avoid a return to hell: Soldier Charged with Staging Shooting: Apparently Wanted to Avoid Iraq.

The war comes home: A Flood of Troubled Soldiers Is in the Offing, Experts Predict.

[S]ome experts predict that the number eventually requiring mental health treatment could exceed 100,000.

Hollywood celebrates mass murder: Indiana Jones leads Hollywood version of battle for Falluja.

Juan Cole discusses the motives behind yesterday's Karbala bombing: Karbala Bomb Blast.

The Iraqi Shiites are Arabs and maintain their independence, even if they do have significant ties with the Iranian Shiites. From the moment that George W. Bush decided to overthrow Saddam and hold democratic elections, he ensured that Shiites would dominate Baghdad, and that Baghdad and Tehran would enjoy relatively warm relations.

If they can do it by June, they could have done it all along. But cannon fodder dosen't matter, unless it becomes a public relations liability: Vehicles for Iraq get armor: Move for protective metal comes after U.S. soldier asked Rumsfeld why it was lacking on military vehicles.

[T]he Army said yesterday that it is spending $4.1 billion to armor all military wheeled vehicles in Iraq by June.

Must Listen! Michael Ware, Baghdad Bureau Chief for Time Magazine, discusses the current situation in Iraq: "Iraq Is An Absolute Disaster" [Real Media]. In this war, "everyone lies. Everyone" he says.

The homeless or imprisoned, many, if not most, Sunni, will not be allowed to vote: Thousands of Iraqis Have No Votes.

Elections reservations from UN: Iraq Disputes U.N. Over Legitimacy of Election. And: Former President Carter questions Iraq vote

[President Carter:] "I think the whole Iraqi situation has been a debacle, a very costly one. I don't see how all the rudimentary requirements for a free and safe election can be achieved in another month. How can anyone campaign? How can anyone go and vote without fear?," he said in an interview.

U.N. Expands Iraq Presence Beyond Baghdad. About 25 UN elections staff in country.

Robert Fisk: Who Killed Baha Mousa?

Baha Mousa, 26, was working as a hotel receptionist in Basra 14 months ago when British troops surrounded the building and arrested seven men. They were taken to a British base and were reportedly hooded and beaten. Two days later, Mousa was dead. His family was given $3,000 in compensation and rejected a further $5,000. What they wanted was justice. Yesterday, after more than a year of official stonewalling, his relatives won a 'historic' ruling to force the MoD to hold an independent inquiry. Will the truth now be known?

the hawks criticize chief hawk. Will it matter? Stormin' Norm rips Rumsfeld.

The Christian Science Monitor reports on resistance in the ranks: The pattern of discontent in US ranks.

Griping among the troops is as old as armed conflict, illustrated most memorably by cartoonist Bill Mauldin's "Willie and Joe" characters during World War II. But something more than that is happening now in Iraq with what appears to be growing resistance from the troops.

Campaigning Iraqi style: Intrigue, power plays as Iraq campaign season starts.

Polish Helicopter Crash in Iraq Kills 3.

Military Plans More Cargo Flights To Avoid Convoy Attacks.

Criminals try criminals: 'Chemical Ali' to Be First Saddam Aide Tried.

War funding request may hit $100 billion.

British troops overseas not immune from human rights law: Troops could face trial after human rights ruling. And: MPs demand wider investigation.

British troops on foreign operations are bound by the Human Rights Act, which bans torture and inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners, the high court ruled in a landmark judgment yesterday. Under the ruling, British soldiers could be put on trial for human rights abuses against people in their detention anywhere in the world.

Red Cross protests attacks on its neutrality: Caught in the crossfire: The Red Cross says it will not remain silent while the war on terror undermines its famed neutrality - and threatens not only its staff but its very existence.

This article claims secular parties are likely to do well in the election: Out of the shadows and into the fray: Ayatollah joins battle for Iraq's soul.

Many new torture and murder cases: U.S. Navy documents detail claims of Marines abusing prisoners in cases not involving Abu Ghraib prison.

War criminal in chief honors three war criminal lieutenants: Bush honours controversial trio. For raping and pillaging another country, they get the "Medal of Freedom."

Even the CIA was concerned about military torture: C.I.A. Order on Detainees Shows Its Role Was Curbed.

Promise to leave immediately after, or elections are a sham: Al-Sadr wants US withdrawal guarantee.

Support Our Troops? Troops made to pay, literally: American Soldiers Getting the Shaft.

This came to light after Army Spc. Robert Loria, a 27-year-old member of the Fourth Division, was injured by a bomb last February, and ended up losing much of his left forearm. He's from Middletown, N.Y., and went through lengthy treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Loria suffered extensive shrapnel injuries along the left side of his body, a torn tendon in one ankle, and a left thigh bone that was split right in two. Those were only the "minor" injuries. He is now an amputee, with no left hand. Loria was looking forward this month to going home for Christmas and toward being discharged early in the new year. He was also looking forward to receiving a pay check for more than $4,500. Instead, he was told by the Army he actually owed the Army money, and instead of receiving any had to cough up $1,800 or he couldn't leave his temporary duty station at Fort Hood in Texas. Wow, the Pentagon has some tough bill collectors.

Murder for pleasure. Will it be punished? Certainly, the sadists who sent them into combat will go unpunished: Hearings examine soldiers' conduct.

"Can I shoot this one?" May asked Williams, according to two soldiers, who also heard the gunshots that followed. An Army investigator said May took a digital photo of the corpse, labeled "evidence" in his personal computer. Soldiers said May bragged of the killing afterward. "May looked like he was excited that he got to shoot somebody," Young testified.

Dahr Jamail gets a break, one most Iraqis can't get: Respite. <

It starts! Hell No! We Won't Go! .S. deserter numbers reach 5,500. And: US Army plagued by desertion and plunging morale.

US helps justify its future wars: Radical youths being trained in Iraq.

Radical youths from Europe and the Arab world are being trained in Iraq, Europe's anti-terror chief said Tuesday, warning that such clandestine camps could multiply in unstable or failed states anywhere in the world.

Is it terror, or just mass murder? entagon Official Admits Using Terror in Iraq.

Regarding the intense bombardment in early October, the official stated coldly: "If there are civilians dying in connection with these attacks, and with the destruction, the locals at some point have to make a decision," he said. "Do they want to harbor the insurgents and suffer the consequences..., or do they want to get rid of the insurgents and have the benefits of not having them there?"
The theory of state terror -- dry up the lake in which the insurgents swim -- has rarely been stated more bluntly. The air strikes against Falluja fit the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary definition of terrorviolence inflicted on civilians, "committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands."

A reminder of the old regime: New Iraq Mass Grave May Contain 500 Bodies near Sulaimaniya in the autonomous Kurdish region.

Replace with puppet. Perpetuate lies. Invade more countries: U.S. opposes third term for IAEA chief.

Peter Galbraith and Leslie Gelb call for postponing the elections to avoid catastrophe: Postponing the election can save Iraq: As concerns over participation, security and legitimacy mount, rescheduling the vote is the best way to go.

Action Alert! Call on the German Federal Prosecutor to Investigate Rumsfeld and Other U.S. Officials for War Crimes at Abu Ghraib.

Lying to their cannon-fodder: Rumsfeld's fig leaf falling.

Dahr Jamail reports that the US is impeding medical care and attacking hospitals throughout much of the country: U.S. Military Obstructing Medical Care.

Tom Fenton of CBSNews.com: Tallying Iraqi Civilian Deaths.

We can only guess at the number of Iraqis, both military and civilian. We can be sure of only one thing: it far exceeds coalition casualties. Civilians, like truth, are usually the first casualties of war....
But whatever the truth, it is clear that civilians are usually not only the first casualties of war. They are the most numerous.

Just around the corner? Iraq president says instability could yield 'Iraqi Hitler'.

Energy shortage claims more lives: 21 killed as bus carrying gasoline explodes in Iraq.

Butchers-Are-Us imported for Iraq duty: Halliburton hires Colombian gunmen. Theses guys have plenty of experience putting down insurgency through mass murder at US direction.

The can't blame the idiot-in-chief, but they attack his chief court jestor: Criticism Mounts on Recent Rumsfeld Remarks.

Rotten food, making prisoners violently ill, along with not enough to avoid starvation for hundreds at Abu Ghraib led to to riot, blamed by US on a "mass escape attempt." When dealing with "subhumans", anything is acceptable and any lies are fine: “Contract Meals Disaster" for Iraqi Prisoners. No punishment or ewven "investigation" for those serving polluted food to thousands. The company official in charge was murdered in suspicious circumstances. The same company still holds at least 10 other US contracts in Iraq.

Riverbend: Fuel Shortage...

Oh don't get me wrong- the governmental people have gasoline (they have special gas stations where there aren't all these annoying people, rubbing their hands with cold and cursing the Americans to the skies)... The Americans have gasoline. The militias get gasoline. It's the people who don't have it....
I took my turn at 'gasoline duty' a couple of weeks ago. E. and my cousin were going to go wait for gasoline so I decided I'd join them and keep them company. We left the house at around 5 a.m. and it was dark and extremely cold. I thought for sure we'd be the first at the station but I discovered the line was about a kilometer long with dozens and dozens of cars lined up around the block. My heart sank at the discouraging sight but E. and the cousin looked optimistic, "We just might be able to fill up before evening this time!" E. smiled....
People are wondering how America and gang (i.e. Iyad Allawi, etc.) are going to implement democracy in all of this chaos when they can't seem to get the gasoline flowing in a country that virtually swims in oil. There's a rumor that this gasoline crisis has been concocted on purpose in order to keep a minimum of cars on the streets. Others claim that this whole situation is a form of collective punishment because things are really out of control in so many areas in Baghdad- especially the suburbs. The third theory is that this being done purposely so that the Iraq government can amazingly bring the electricity, gasoline, kerosene and cooking gas back in January before the elections and make themselves look like heroes....
We're also watching the election lists closely. Most people I've talked to aren't going to go to elections. It's simply too dangerous and there's a sense that nothing is going to be achieved anyway. The lists are more or less composed of people affiliated with the very same political parties whose leaders rode in on American tanks. Then you have a handful of tribal sheikhs. Yes- tribal sheikhs. Our country is going to be led by members of religious parties and tribal sheikhs- can anyone say Afghanistan? What's even more irritating is that election lists have to be checked and confirmed by none other than Sistani!! Sistani- the Iranian religious cleric. So basically, this war helped us make a transition from a secular country being run by a dictator to a chaotic country being run by a group of religious clerics. Now, can anyone say 'theocracy in sheeps clothing'? Ahmad Chalabi is at the head of one of those lists- who would join a list with Ahmad Chalabi at its head?...
Now this is something even Saddam didn't do: Iraqi men under the age of 50 aren't being let into the country. A friend of ours who was coming to visit was turned back at the Iraqi border. It was useless for him to try to explain that he had been outside of the country for 10 years and was coming back to visit his family. He was 47 and that meant he, in his expensive business suit, shining leather shoes, and impressive Samsonite baggage, might be a 'Jihadist'. Silly Iraqis- Iraqi men under 50 are a sure threat to the security of their country. American men with guns and tanks are, on the other hand, necessary to the welfare of the country. Lebanese, Kuwaitis and men of other nationalities being hired as mercenaries are vital to the security of said country. Iranian men coming to visit the shrines in the south are all welcome... but Iraqi men? Maybe they should head for Afghanistan....
Sometimes I'll be watching the news and the volume will be really low. The scene will be of a man, woman or child, wailing in front of the camera; crying at the fate of a body lying bloodily, stiffly on the ground- a demolished building in the background and it will take me a few moments to decide the location of this tragedy- Falloojeh? Gaza? Baghdad?

Court-Marshalled for trying to carry out their mission: Six Ohio-based Army Reservists Court-Martialed.

Reconstruction means things are worse than ever: Iraq fuel crisis adds to chaos.

Dahr Jamail: Dead and Buried: aq’s civilian body count may go officially undocumented but the widows and the orphans know the true extent of the toll.

Association of Muslim Scholars leader explains Sunni election boycott, with Juan cole comments: Al-Dhari Explains Sunni Arab Boycott. More Juan cole information on elections: Muqtada: Elections will Divide Iraqis. Sistani Rep: Beware of Voter Fraud and: 70 Parties Register to Contest the Elections.

Permanent concentration camp planned for Guantánamo: Permanent Jail Set for Guantánamo.

It's a wonderful life: 'I started queueing yesterday and I expect petrol tomorrow'.

Dahr Jamail tells the story of pictures of a few of the dead from Falluja: Fallujah Pictures. Fallujah Pictures.

And:

by Jay Shaft.

Evidently he's out: Shiites' Iraq election alliance excludes Sadr.

Something terrifying is going on: Mystery surrounds costly spy program: Senator calls project 'dangerous to the national security'.

David Hackworth says the recruiters will increase their pressure and the draft will likely come: Uncle Sam will be wanting your kids real soon for Iraq.

Dahr Jamail on the scam they call "reconstruction": “Somebody has to do it.”.

Juan Cole on the lies Rumsfeld told to the troops, and to all of us: Rumsfeld, the Military Irrelevance of Fallujah, and Retina Scans. Also Juan Cole on on the Sunni-Shia divide across the Middle East, and the grounds for Sunni fear of Shia dominance in the next few years: King Abdullah II and President Yawir Worry about Iran and Shiism

Election developments: Shiite Groups Agree to Unite for the Election, and Sunnis Register for It. There is increased momentum to stagger elections [thus rendering them illegal, as the authorizing UN resolution requires they be conducted by Jan. 30]: Interior Ministry backs the idea of staggered elections in Iraq reportedly proposed by Allawi. There are reports, however, that Allawi denies proposing staggered elections: Allawi did not propose extended Iraq polls. Additionally, logistical problems complement security concerns: Logistical issues may undermine Iraq vote.

Support Our Troops? Homeless Iraq vets showing up at shelters.

Arellano said he felt pushed out of the military too quickly after getting back from Iraq without medical attention he needed for his hand -- and as he would later learn, his mind. "It was more of a rush. They put us in a warehouse for a while. They treated us like cattle," Arellano said about how the military treated him on his return to the United States. "It is all about numbers. Instead of getting quality care, they were trying to get everybody demobilized during a certain time frame. If you had a problem, they said, 'Let the (Department of Veterans Affairs) take care of it.'"

Japanese official suggests sending Japanese delinquents to Iraq: Takebe suggests delinquents, potential criminals join SDF in Iraq.

Here is the text of the letter to Tony Blair urging a proper count of civilian casualties in Iraq: Text of letter to Tony Blair. Mike Rowson [Medact] and John Sloboda [Iraq Body Count] join the call to count the civilian victims: No excuses: We must count Iraqi casualties . Blair responded "forget it!"

As you know, your government is obliged under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population during military operations in Iraq, and you have consistently promised to do so. However, without counting the dead and injured, no one can know whether Britain and its Coalition partners are meeting these obligations. We therefore urge you immediately to commission a comprehensive, independent inquiry to determine with the greatest possible accuracy how many Iraqis have died or been injured since March 2003 - and the cause of those casualties.

Many more wounded US soldiers kept alive, at the cost of major injuries: The hidden side of casualties in Iraq: fewer soldiers dying, but more severely wounded. The New England Journal of Medicine article: Casualties of War — Military Care for the Wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan or [ pdf version]. Accompanying the article in the NEJM is Caring for the Wounded in Iraq — A Photo Essay or [ pdf version]

GI seeking Canadian asylum reports mass murder of Iraqi civilians. If his unit killed 30 civilians in two days, how many were butchered by the entire US army? US Marine claims unit killed Iraqi civilians.

Punishment for torture, and threatening Defense Intelligence Agency agents? Being transferred to another unit: Special Ops Members Punished in Abuse Case. I guess they really do consider torture a no-no.

Wishful thinking. Grunts wish they mattered to their leaders: U.S. Troops Fire Complaints at Rumsfeld.

The Boston Globe [almost] calls a spade a spade in the cover-up of US torture policy: Tortured principles. [But when does "tantamount to torture" become torture?] And columnist Derrick Z. Jackson asks: Who Knew What at Abu Ghraib?..

Everyone blaming each other for the disaster in Iraq: Russia questions Iraq poll.

Amnesty International says women bear the brunt of war, with little done to prevent it: Women and war. Press Release: Women's lives and bodies -- unrecognized casualties of war.

Despite the impact of conflict on women and girls they are still excluded from the peace negotiation tables. Often it is the men who initiated the war who take decisions on how peace should be built and introduced.

Allawi suggest staggering elections so US troops can be moved around to "protect" them: Iraqi leader suggests staggered election: U.S. troop deaths in Iraq number 20 this month .

Every day brings new accounts of torture by US forces, and, sometimes, of those who protested. In today's episode, US Special Forces threatened Defense Intelligence Agency agents who witnessed torture. [Of course, the press always calls torture "abuse"]: More US troop abuse claims. More detail is available in: Document: Prisoner abuse was worse than admitted. See also the ACLU Press Release: Iraqi Detainees Had Burn Marks and Bruises; Harsh Techniques Appear to Have Continued Even After Abu Ghraib Scandal. The actual documents released through a FOIA request are posted at: Torture FOIA.

[More US troop abuse claims:] The extensive collection of government documents suggests that abuse of detainees in Iraq and elsewhere was more widespread and systematic than senior officials have admitted publicly.... The documents released Tuesday, however, reveal that senior U.S. officials, who claimed they were unaware of the abuse, were repeatedly informed of accusations of abuse through official channels. They also suggest that these and other reports of abuse failed to trigger investigations into what increasingly appears to have been a widespread pattern of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan, Iraq and at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba....
Last spring, Rumsfeld told Congress that he wasn't aware of any reports of prison abuse and promised strong measures to stop further incidents. The documents released Tuesday consist of official memos, interview transcripts and other records.

Academics and human rights activists in Britain have called the government's bluff. The government has rejected the recent Lancet study, estimating 100,000 excess deaths in Iraq from the invasion. Signatories to an Open Letter demand the government commission an independent group to count the dead, using accepted scientific standards. And keep counting as long as British troops remain: Blair challenged to tally Iraq war dead.

Mosul under curfew most of the day: Curfews Turn Mosul Into Ghost City.

Many Shiites object to being dominated by former exiles: Split could hurt Shiites in Iraq vote.

Dahr Jamail: Fresh paint, but little else: Health Care Given A 'New Look'.

Their city "liberated", Falluja's population is ding in refugee camps. They can't go home till the Americans have prepared the Falluja Concentration Camp for them: Falluja's displaced grow angry in harsh conditions.

Shia election list to be announced today [Tuesday]: Shiite List to be Announced. Shia clergy activate get-out-the-vote effort: Iraq's Shiite Clergy Push To Get Out The Vote: Suppressed Majority Urged to Fulfill Duty. Meanwhile, anti-Sunni militancy increases: Attacks make Iraq's Shia clerics waver over militancy.

CIA reports say US, and Iraq, in trouble: 2 C.I.A. Reports Offer Warnings on Iraq's Path.

Eight soldiers sue over Iraq duty: Class action targets 'stop-loss' policy that extends their tours.

Navy says torture official policy: Navy: Some SEALs photos used appropriate tactics.

New pressure: Shi'ites to set up autonomous region.

Kurds play high stakes, threatening election boycott if return of Kirkuk to Kurds not placed on table: Iraq's election wild card: Kirkuk: As Iraq's Jan. 30 election nears, Kurds threaten a boycott unless the return of the city becomes an option.

The two main Kurdish political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, announced their demand on Sunday: postpone the election in Kirkuk Province until "normalization" - until the city's original ethnic makeup is restored - and then hold a referendum on the fate of Kirkuk.

Dahr Jamail on: Fallujah as a “Model City” and much more.

6

No court-martial for unit that wouldn't do Iraq mission: Reservists in transport unit will face lesser punishments.

The FBI reported torture at Guantanamo Concentration Camp as early as 2002. Of course, nothing was done: FBI Letter Sites Guantanamo Abuse.

Bush confident he can steal another election in Iraq by bolstering forces. Yet, the majority of Iraqis want the US to leave. Does this mean that Bush thinks that all Iraqis are terrorists? Bush determined to see Iraq election on Jan. 30.

"The attacks in Saudi Arabia remind us that the terrorists are still on the move," Bush said at an Oval Office photo opportunity with al-Yawer. "They're interested in affecting the will of free countries. They want us to leave Saudi Arabia. They want us to leave Iraq. ... And that's why these elections in Iraq are very important."

Also see this: Iraq’s Yawar: The ‘Armies of Darkness’ Won’t Stop Vote. WQhile calls from Sunnis to postpone elections: Bloody weekend hits hopes for Iraqi polls.

When a country allows abuse, there is no limit to whom it may be applied, says Derrick Z. Jackson: Escaping blame for Abu Ghraib.

Translated, Gonzales and Bush used the war on terror to justify the United States being a law unto itself. Lynndie England may get nearly four decades in jail. Alberto Gonzales is about to get four years to rewrite our laws. If England is the face of abuse, Gonzales is the hidden hand. If he becomes attorney general, you should not be shocked if new abuses of civil liberties occur in your school, your library, perhaps even in your home.

Backroom deal picks future government, months before elections ratify it. No need for the people to pick who will rule them. It's already done for them: Shiites seal alliance for elections.

Reuters fights Pentagon whitewash of abuse of three of its staffers last January: Reuters Still Seeking Answers on Alleged Abuse of 3 Staffers.

"If an organization with the resources and influence of Reuters finds it hard to get results, one can only assume that the ordinary Iraqis who have been abused will face an impossible task to get their complaints taken seriously," Marshall said in New York in October. He added that the American media ought to devote more coverage to the suffering of Iraqi journalists, noting that they are the ones carrying the true burden of the U.S. media's war coverage.

Puppet President: Iraq's Interim Leader to Visit White House.

Must Read! Slave territory to be established in Falluja! Falluja to be turned into perhaps the worst police state in human history: Returning Fallujans will face clampdown. Why not just send them all to Abu Ghraib and stop the hypocrisy?

[R]eturning residents may find that the measures make Fallujah look more like a police state than the democracy they have been promised. Under the plans, troops would funnel Fallujans to so-called citizen processing centers on the outskirts of the city to compile a database of their identities through DNA testing and retina scans. Residents would receive badges displaying their home addresses that they must wear at all times. Buses would ferry them into the city, where cars, the deadliest tool of suicide bombers, would be banned.
[Slave labor being considered.] One idea that has stirred debate among Marine officers would require all men to work, for pay, in military-style battalions. Depending on their skills, they would be assigned jobs in construction, waterworks, or rubble-clearing platoons....
[The US model for all of Iraq: Total control in a organized police state with forced slave labor.] A model cityUS commanders and Iraqi leaders have declared their intention to make Fallujah a "model city," where they can maintain the security that has eluded them elsewhere. To accomplish those goals, they think they will have to use coercive measures allowed under martial law imposed last month by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Reports of indiscriminate mass arrests in Mosul: US Detaining Handicapped, Juveniles in Mosul: Group.

Australian Defense Minister can't even get from the Baghdad Airport to Baghdad. Not surprisingly, he concluded: Baghdad worse than ever: Hill.

Who cares what Iraqis want? Army says troops will stay in Iraq until 2008.

Thousands of British troops will have to remain in Iraq until at least 2008 - two years later than the government intended, The Scotsman has learned.

Defining resistance: Fatwas issued by Muslim scholars who support the Iraqi resistance seem to be making an impact.

Earlier this week Diaa Ali Khedr, head of the Iraqi National Guard (IRG) battalion in Samaraa, resigned from his job, together with 20 IRG soldiers. They said they quit in response to a fatwa issued by the Muslim Clerics Association prohibiting cooperation with the occupation forces in Iraq.

War is good for business! Iraq War A Boon For Maryland's Military Job Market.

US copies KGB and Israeli torture techniques: Uncle Sam has his own gulag: Behaving like the Soviet secret police won't make America safer, Eric Margolis says.

he second Red Cross report was delivered to the White House last summer while it was trying to dismiss the Abu Ghraib prison torture horrors as the crimes of a few rogue jailers. According to the report's allegations, many tortures perfected by the Cheka (Soviet secret police) -- notably beating, freezing, sensory disorientation, and sleep deprivation -- are now routinely being used by U.S. interrogators. The Chekisti, however, did not usually inflict sexual humiliation. That technique, and hooding, were developed by Israeli psychologists to break resistance of Palestinian prisoners. Photos of sexual humiliation were used by Israeli security, and then by U.S. interrogators at Abu Ghraib, to blackmail Muslim prisoners into becoming informers.

Now they attack the mainstream Shia leadership preparing for elections: Sistani poll official in 'US custody'.

The man in charge of drawing up an electoral list backed by Grand Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani, the influential Iraqi Shia Muslim leader, has been arrested by the US military, an aide said.

Red Cresecnt kicked out of Falluja, again. What is the US hiding this time? Iraqi Red Crescent ordered from Fallujah.

Another account of Fallujan refuges: Fallujans pose challenge to Iraq gov't.

Optimism in Sadr City: Baghdad's Sadr City Embraces Reconstruction.

Interview with the Independent's Patrick Cockburn: Reporting on the Ground from Iraq.

Election is about party maneuvering, not popular preference: In Iraq, a preelection power play: As parties haggle over candidate lists, radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr fights for a top spot. Since the elections will form a Constitutional Assembly, the totally antidemocratic way they are designed and conducted practically guarantees an antidemocratic constitution.

"This election will be very weak - it will be like a questionnaire, not an election," says Shwan Mahmood, political editor of the independent newspaper Hawlati. "These parties ...do not play the democratic game. So if they have one list, they will not let any independents get very far," he says. "We can look at Iraqi politics as a closed circle. Anybody who is outside this circle will lose - they won't gain anything from this election."

About 1,500: Refugees rally for Falluja return.

British officers warned of abuses at Abu Ghraib as far back asw Summer, 2003, long before the MPs, who took the blame, even arrived: Britons sounded alert on Abu Ghraib.

Iraqification failed, it's back to direct occupation: Iraq forces 'need extra US help'.

Some of the Navy Seal Torture Photos.

More evidence the US used napalm in Falluja: 'Improved' Napalm For Falluja With 'Improved' Effect. Is there no limit to what the Us will do to "succeed" in occupation?

The Association of Humanitarian Lawyers files petition against US for attacks on civilians in Falluja: Humanitarian law groups' petition at OAS officially registered.

UN adviser: Too dangerous for Iraq polls.

Lisa Ashkenaz Croke explains the Iraqi election process: Jan. Elections Remain Misunderstood in U.S., Tenuous in Iraq.

More abuse photos, some from right after the invasion, being investigated: AP: Navy Probes New Iraq Prisoner Photos. Obviously, abuse, torture, and murder only count when filmed. Otherwise, it's just daily life in "liberated Iraq".

These and other photos found by the AP appear to show the immediate aftermath of raids on civilian homes. One man is lying on his back with a boot on his chest. A mug shot shows a man with an automatic weapon pointed at his head and a gloved thumb jabbed into his throat. In many photos, faces have been blacked out. What appears to be blood drips from the heads of some. A family huddles in a room in one photo and others show debris and upturned furniture.

Mohammed al-Obaidi of the People’s Struggle Movement (Al-Kifah Al-Sha’abi) in Iraq explains: Why Iraqis should boycott the election.

Many Iraqi political activists believe the coming election results have been decided already. They also believe the electoral process will not be free and democratic but will be exclusively for those who maintain strong ties with the US occupation authorities. We feel that all steps have been taken to secure full US domination of decision makers in Iraq....
We cannot believe that after all this the US will simply allow free and democratic election to take place in Iraq that could install a government which could make it its first priority to tell foreign troops to get out.

Naomi Klein defends her claim that the Us is systematically eliminating potential witnesses to its butchery of civilians: You asked for my evidence, Mr Ambassador. Here it is.

"We don't do body counts," said General Tommy Franks of US Central Command. The question is: what happens to the people who insist on counting the bodies - the doctors who must pronounce their patients dead, the journalists who document these losses, the clerics who denounce them? In Iraq, evidence is mounting that these voices are being systematically silenced through a variety of means, from mass arrests, to raids on hospitals, media bans, and overt and unexplained physical attacks.

Nermeen Al-Mufti accompanies a relief convoy into the city of untold stories and unbearable pain: In the rubble of Falluja.

Officers suffer for imperial army: 'Wartime needs' extending tours of Army officers Plan calls for filling slots in Afghanistan and Iraq; 500 majors, colonels in proposal; Memo details longer tour, an extra year afterward.

They can't control one 10-mile stretch of road, next to their headquarters: U.S. Embassy Bans Use of Airport Road: Employees in Baghdad Will Travel Increasingly Dangerous Route by Helicopter.

U.S. military commanders here acknowledged frustration at having been unable to secure the highway, but they said it was not for lack of effort. U.S. forces have tried a number of security measures over the past year, only to see insurgents adjust their tactics and pose fresh threats to traffic.

Juan Cole on the Iraqi elections: A perfect storm of political peril, unless.... And updated info: Election News.

[Election News:] KarbalaNews.net is reporting more on the issues that led 38 small Shiite parties to threaten to withdraw from the mega-Shiite list being cobbled together by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. It says that some secularists were uncomfortable at the number of seats being given to believers in wilayat al-faqih or Khomeini's theory of the Guardianship of the Jurisprudent. Altogether, 40 percent of seats are being allocated to the religious parties, and it is possible that some of the independents hold similar views. The article maintains that the secularists were disturbed that all the 50 women on the list veil.

Torture just dandy in America: Evidence gained by torture used by officials. Torture-obtained evidence can be used against you.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon asked if a detention would be illegal if it were based solely on evidence gathered by torture, because "torture is illegal. We all know that." Boyle replied that if the military's combatant status review tribunals (or CSRTs) "determine that evidence of questionable provenance were reliable, nothing in the due process clause (of the Constitution) prohibits them from relying on it."

White House getting used to idea of Shia government.

"Now we are willing to countenance a limited theocracy in Iraq, limited by a weak basic law that guarantees basic civil liberties," said the official, who asked not to be named. "That was not the original idea." [Notice: "Democracy" means what the US will "countenance".]

Disaster looming: UN fears for refugees who fled attack on Falluja.

Aid agencies and UN officials are growing increasingly concerned about the fate of more than 200,000 Iraqis who fled their homes before the US-led assault on Falluja.

The Iraqi Islamic Party, formerly in the occupation government, says proceeding with the elections could lead to civil war: Sunnis warn of civil war over timing of election.

Pentagon lies to press [what else is new?] PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror. Democracy Now interview: U.S. Psychological Operations: Military Uses Networks to Spread Misinformation.

Dahr Jamail: The Quiet of Destruction and Death.

Some profit: VehicleGARD Glass Protection Film From of ShatterGARD Inc. Applied To 5,000 Military Vehicles In Iraq; Soldiers Praise Unique Film For Saving Lives.

Economist Jeffrey D. Sachs bemoans the lack of attention to Iraqi civilian deaths: Iraq's civilian dead get no hearing in the United States.

Worse still, American public opinion, media, and the recent election victory of the Bush administration have left the world's most powerful military without practical restraint.

The attack on Falluja certainly wasn't aimed at helping the hundreds of thousands of people who used to live there and may now become permanent refugees. The US certainly took "We had to destroy the city in order to save it" quite literally: At Least 200,000 Fled Falluja, No Early Return Seen.

"The return to Falluja may take a matter of months rather than days, as was previously suggested by multi-national forces," the document entitled "Emergency Working Group -- Falluja Crisis" and distributed by the United Nations said.

Unembedded: An Interview With Dahr Jamail.

War toll a 'horrific cost': Physician, Iraqi offer views of a conquered country.

[For your Orwellian quote of the day:] Not everyone shares the views of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Paul Dooley, senior U.S. adviser for Iraq's Ministry of Health after the invasion, is a strong supporter of the U.S. presence in Iraq. He told reporters last month: "The Iraqis sure don't like being occupied, but they love being free." [Presumably, they also LOVE being killed.]

Cost of war not chump change in Britain either: Going to war costs taxpayers almost £5bn.

Michael Hoffman of Iraq Veterans Against the War in the Guardian: The civilians we killed: If only those who sent us to Iraq lay awake at night.

I know the commitment it takes to serve your country, but I also know this war has nothing to do with protecting my country. My sergeant put it best a week before we left for the Middle East: "Don't think you're going to be heroes. You're not going for weapons of mass destruction. You're not going to get rid of Saddam, or to make Iraq safe for democracy. You're going for one reason, and that's oil...."
Did the soldiers who committed those acts in Abu Ghraib view Iraqis as equals? Those who committed these acts will have to live with the memories - just as I wonder how many Iraqi children were killed by my artillery battery, or how many Iraqis were trapped in burning vehicles on the road to Baghdad. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night: the bodies of children and the burned remains of Iraqi troops that couldn't get out in time.
But those who put all of us there will never understand this. That is why they need to be judged. But they will never receive the most just punishment: feeling what myself and all the other veterans of this hideous war will deal with for the rest of our lives.

White knuckles and high speed along one of Iraq's most dangerous highways.

Once trained to kill, don't let them go: Wounded or Disabled But Still on Active Duty: In Attitude Shift, Military Aims to Retain Soldiers.

Pepe Escobar: From Guernica to Fallujah.

Upwards of 250,000 Fallujans at least had the chance to escape: instead they became Fallujah refugees. Practically not a single word from them about the massacre is to be found in US corporate media. This is yet one more extreme, bitter irony of the war: President George W Bush and the neo-conservatives invaded Iraq based on "intelligence" supplied by five-star refugees like Ahmad Chalabi and Allawi - but refugees nonetheless....
Marine commanders have been on the record telling their soldiers to "shoot everything that moves and everything that doesn't move"; to fire "two bullets in every body"; in case of seeing any military-aged men in the streets of Fallujah, to "drop 'em"; and to spray every home with machine-gun and tank fire before entering them. These "rules" are all confirmed by residents of Fallujah who managed to escape.

Occupation requires more: U.S. to boost Iraq troop presence.

Preparing for the next war? US building army base near Iran border.

Interviews with three Iraqi exiles in Syria indicate a range of opinions toward how to end occupation: Rebel voices from Iraq.

Mutilated Body Found In Iraq Was Not Missing Aid Worker Margaret Hassan.

Iraq’s two top Kurdish parties to run jointly in January election.

Shia parties claim elections being rigged to elect religious extremists wanting a clerical government: Shiites End Talks With Al-Sistani Group.

Who got the cash? And what were they paid for? What happened to Iraq’s oil money? Former U.S. official says billions of dollars were ‘squandered’.

Iraq’s U.S. administrator, Paul Bremer, pledged last year to hire a certified public accounting firm to ensure proper controls. But the United States gave the contract not to an accounting firm but to a tiny consulting company, Northstar — which NBC News found is headquartered at a private home near San Diego.... [O]ne audit notes that a single Northstar employee maintained spreadsheets tracking billions of dollars.

Treatment of Prisoners. Not a Few Bad Apples! They knew torture was occurring, and did nothing. And the torture was NOT that by the MPs: U.S. Generals in Iraq Were Told of Abuse Early, Inquiry Finds.

The investigation, by retired Col. Stuart A. Herrington, also found that members of Task Force 121 -- a joint Special Operations and CIA mission searching for weapons of mass destruction and high-value targets including Saddam Hussein -- had been abusing detainees throughout Iraq and had been using a secret interrogation facility to hide their activities.
Herrington's findings are the latest in a series of confidential reports to come to light about detainee abuse in Iraq. Until now, U.S. military officials have characterized the problem as one largely confined to the military prison at Abu Ghraib -- a situation they first learned about in January 2004. But Herrington's report shows that U.S. military leaders in Iraq were told of such allegations even before then, and that problems were not restricted to Abu Ghraib....
"Detainees captured by TF 121 have shown injuries that caused examining medical personnel to note that 'detainee shows signs of having been beaten,' " according to the report, which later concluded: "It seems clear that TF 121 needs to be reined in with respect to its treatment of detainees...." Herrington asked the officer whether he had alerted his superiors to the problem, and the officer replied: "Everyone knows about it...."
The 134-page CALL report singled out the practice of detaining female family members to force wanted Iraqi males to turn themselves in, similar to Herrington's findings.... [Of course, this practice is a war crime.]
Herrington's report also noted that sweeps pulled in hundreds and even thousands of detainees who had no connection to the war. Abu Ghraib, for example, swelled to several thousand more detainees than it could handle. Herrington wrote that aggressive and indiscriminate tactics by the 4th Infantry Division, rounding up random scores of detainees and "dumping them at the door," was a glaring example.

Court rules Iraqis have human rights protected by European treaty: Iraq troops 'bound by rights act'.

Even CNN reports on the horror that Falluja has become: Falluja 'a horror' after U.S.-led offensive.

Fuad Kubaysi, one of those staying at the Red Crescent compound, said, "What has happened to Falluja is a horror beyond anything imaginable. We don't want it anymore. Let them have it. Let whomever wants it have it. We cannot ever call this city home again."

Did Saddam order the use of high explosives in suicide attacks? Saddam 'raided UN arms sites for suicide attacks'.

Not so benign neglect, reports Dahr Jamail: Neglect Follows Siege of Fallujah.

Some doctors said a deliberate decision had been taken not to help people in the besieged city. ”The ministry of health instructed us not to provide aid for Fallujans,” says Dr. Aisha Mohammed from Baghdad. ”But then they have not done anything to help them during the siege, and very little at the refugee camps in Baghdad.”

Sistani arranges the absence of true electoral competition: Sistani pulls main Shia parties together to dominate Iraq poll.

Into the Guiness Book! Bush and Rumsfeld must feel mighty proud: U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Ties Record.

Riverbend: Tired in Baghdad...

The situation in Falloojeh is worse than anyone can possibly describe. It has turned into one of those cities you see in your darkest nightmares- broken streets strewn with corpses, crumbling houses and fallen mosques... The worst part is that for the last couple of weeks we've been hearing about the use of chemical weapons inside Falloojeh by the Americans. Today we heard that the delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Health isn't being allowed into the city, for some reason....
There's a collective exhaustion that seems to have settled on Baghdad... it feels almost like an epidemic sometimes.

Dahr Jamail: Low Crime Rate in Fallujah.

Legal complaint filed in Germany: Abu Ghaib abuse complaint names Rumsfeld.

Protest, Resistance, and Civil War

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Raw Video: Marines at work in Fallujah.

Militants destroy telephone exchange in Mosul, disrupting phone service throughout the city.

Situation for occupation [and for Iraqis] declined since summer: Deadly year in Iraq has grown worse as military struggles to adjust tactics.

Thursday, rebel attacks and US raids: Insurgents attack Baghdad patrol.

A rebel attack in Mosul ended with 25 rebels and one American soldier dead: Battle in Mosul, Iraq

Wednesday, major fighting in Mosul: Dozens killed, wounded in Mosul fighting.

Wednesday: Baghdad Bomb Kills 28 in 'Trap' for Police.

Entire families were wiped out, said neighbors who believed foreign fighters have rented the house raided by police.

Tuesday death toll rises: 32 cops among 62 killed in Iraq. And: Baghdad commander of Iraqi security forces assassinated.

Tuesdays: Attacks in Iraq kill 42. And two US: Soldiers die in Iraq attacks.

Tuesday attacks on "Iraqi" security forces: Iraqi Rebels Kill 24 in Multiple Attacks, including 19 police and 5 National Guards.

French hostage recalls his ordeal.

"One of the lessons we drew from our captivity was that we were immersed in Planet Bin Laden," he said.

US soldier among 12 dead in Iraq violence.

Attack on home of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq: Iraqi Shi'ite Leader Escapes Bomb; 13 Die, about 50 wounded.

Monday, in Ramadi: Five shot dead in Iraq. Rebels claimed the 5 were police.

Violence claims more lives in Iraq.

In three separate attacks Sunday: Apparent assassinations kill 5 Iraqi officials.

Iraq Militant Group Posts Video of Mosul Attack.

One of Turkey's richest businessmen: Video Shows Man Saying He's Iraq Hostage.

Kahraman Sadikoglu, president of the Istanbul-based Tuzla Shipyard, and ship captain Ahmet Yurtdas had not been heard from since they left the southern Iraqi city of Basra by land on Dec. 16, according to their families....
Sadikoglu said he was working for the United Nations and the Iraqi government on a project clearing harbors of sunken ships. ``We don't have any problems with the Iraqi government, we're creating jobs and food for the Iraqis,'' he said. ``If that is a crime too, then we will accept the punishment.'' ...
Some Turkish newspapers speculated that Sadikoglu might have been kidnapped to prevent him from bidding on a multimillion dollar contract to salvage ships sunken during the Iran-Iraq war in the waters off Basra.

U.S. forces kill Sunni scholar in Iraq, clerics say. The US claims no knowledge of this incident.

The Muslim Clerics' Association said the killing on Friday of Sheikh Mowaffak al-Douri, preacher of Baghdad's Abi Bakr al-Siddiq Mosque and a member of the group, was the latest in a series of attacks on Iraqi mosques and clerics. "They raided his house and executed him with all brutality and criminality, as well as repeatedly targeting mosques and houses of worship," it said in a statement.

Alleged leaders of al-Zarqawi's organization: Two key terror network members captured in Iraq.

Car bomb kills five civilians near Najaf.

Claim the "Iraqi" military are thoroughly infiltrated by the resistance: Mosul attack 'an inside job'.

Falluja attack made things worse for US: Analysis: Iraq's new war.

Friday: Baghdad fuel truck blast a suicide attack: At least eight reported killed; many others severely burned.

t least eight people were killed and 20 others wounded by the explosion in the affluent al-Mansour neighborhood, Yarmouk Hospital officials said. Fifteen people, including women and children, were in critical condition, and many had suffered severe burns, hospital officials said.

In Ramadi on Thursday: Fighters Destroy Mayor's Office in Western Iraq.

Anthony Cordesman of the: Center for Strategic and International Studies has published a new report in which he accuses the US of living in a fantasy land as regards its assessment of the situation in Iraq: US Failed to Honestly Assess Iraq Threat - Report [Reuters article]. Complete report: The Developing Iraqi Insurgency: Status at End-2004 [pdf]. He has issued another report with recommendations for the US: Strengthening Iraqi Military and Security Forces [pdf].

As late as July 2004, the Administration’s senior spokesmen still seemed to live in a fantasyland in terms of their public announcements, perception of the growing Iraqi hostility to the use of Coalition forces, and the size of the threat.

Insurgents operate at will in Mosul, US says.

Web: Zarqawi's Group Says Not Behind Shi'ite Attacks.

Thursday, three Marines die in Falluja: Three Dead After Fighting in Fallujah

French hostages: New storm rages.

They can't trust anyone. Further isolation to follow: U.S. Re-Examines Security at Iraq Bases. Now, those Iraqis who work for the US will be seen as enemies by both sides.

One U.S. soldier killed, two wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad; Iraq-serving Marine dies in noncombat crash: 51 service members from Twentynine Palms have died on Iraq duty.

9 killed in Iraq suicide attack south of Baghdad.

7 Halliburton workers die in Iraq attack. 13 other workers were wounded.

Mosul, with 2 million people: Iraqi city locked down after US base attack. Meanwhile: Precision of Base Attack Worries Military Experts..

Residents said Iraq's third city was a virtual ghost town, with no one in the streets.

New pipeline attacks: Saboteurs hit north Iraq oil pipeline complex.

US air strike on Iraqi town kills civilians.

Nineteen U.S. soldiers killed in Mosul mortar attack.

Another embedded reporter, Tim Lambon. discusses the Falluja battle: Eyewitness Fallujah.

[T]he rules of engagement had been changed. If you had reason to suspect that an individual may at some stage be involved in harming coalition forces, you could take him out and use whatever force is necessary. And with an M-16 there is only one kind of force and it makes big holes in you....
Also, there was nothing to say who is an insurgent and who is not, because I think that a large number of families had left at least one male member of the family or a servant in houses that had valuables and things like that, to stop any looting. Now those individuals first of all were male, mostly of military age and thirdly, if they were found by the marines, if they were found in circumstances in which the marines thought they might be a threat, they’d just be killed....
’ve seen a lot of weapons in a lot of places, all over the world, all my life and I have to say that these were not large concentrations of weapons. You would have a few mortar bombs, you would have a couple of bags of anti-aircraft rounds, but you wouldn’t see any weapons to fire them or heavy machine gun rounds or AK-47 ammunition, sometimes 122mm rockets, those sort of things, you know, two’s and three’s here and there, in places.
There were occasions when after a firefight had taken place and before they were sure an area was secure they sent two tanks down a particular road, one had its turret one side and the other had it’s turret to the other side, and the commander said “I’m just making sure they put one shell into every house they go past”. So the American forces in Fallujah “destroyed Fallujah in order to save it”, that’s how they would explain it. Every single building I would vouch, if it had been not destroyed then was certainly seriously damaged....
What will the battle of Fallujah’s legacy be to Iraq in the long term? ou must understand that the high command and politicians said that “what we’re going to do is liberate Fallujah and give it back to the Fallujans”. I think that the Fallujans will be even more determinedly anti a. the government and b. coalition forces than they were previously to that because their property and their tenuous lifestyle had been deeply threatened or destroyed by this operation.

In Mosul, Tuesday: Blast at U.S. military base kills 22, wounds at least 50. a few hours later, further details: Attack on U.S. Base in Iraq Leaves 24 Dead. Still no breakdown of casualties.

On the road to civil war: Religious Hostility Surfacing.

Monday. Another pipeline attack: Oil pipeline on fire.

Iraqi prime minister warns of civil war as Shiites bury dead.

'They are trying to ignite a civil war': Shia leaders blame Iraqi bombings on Sunni militants.

Iraqi captives face death.

Anti-US forces in Iraq are threatening to kill 10 Iraqis they are holding unless their US employer leaves the country.

Again: US warplanes strike Falluja.

Sunday. Bombs in Karbala and Najaf. Attack on election officials in Baghdad: Bombers Kill 43 In Holy Cities. A few hours later, the death toll has risen: Suicide Bombers Hit Holy Iraqi Cities; 62 Dead. Why? What does this mayhem have to do with resisting occupation?

The bombings came just over an hour apart. First, a suicide blast ripped through minibuses at the entrance of the main bus station in the city of Karbala. Then a car bomb went off in a central square of Najaf crowded with people watching a funeral proccession, also attended by the city police chief and provincial governor.

Five attacks in 24 hours: Blasts pepper Iraq oil network after Al-Qaeda sabotage call.

The saboteurs struck pipelines serving both Iraq's northern and southern oilfields and halted the flow of crude to Baghdad's Daura refinery, interrupting the production of refined fuel, the oil ministry said. A pipeline carrying refined products from Iraq's main northern refinery at Baiji to storage reservoirs in the capital was also hit, further reducing supplies, officials said.

Another "pacified" town: In Samarra, Attacks Hamper Rebuilding: Insurgents Target U.S. Army Efforts To Help Schools.

Saturday: Four Iraqis killed in US airstrike near Fallujah. And: Iraqi woman killed at US checkpoint.

The never-ending fight for Falluja: Insurgents more cunning: U.S. soldiers in Fallujah more wary of less suicidal fighters.

Sabotage Stops Iraq's North Oil Exports.

Saturday: Attack on Iraq Election Office Kills Two.

Iraq rebels gun down minister.

Kassim Imhawi, the Deputy Minister of Communications, was killed and eight of his bodyguards injured as he travelled to work in the capital.

On the road to civil war: Three Kurds killed in Kirkuk: Unprecedented missile attack on camp for Kurdish returnees in troubled oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The point I want to bring up is that what happened at Abu Ghraib that came out on CNN was not anomalous in any way. When I was in the south in Nasiriyah, it was routine for members of our unit to strike Iraqi children, break bottles over people's heads, they would drive by. This was a matter of no comment. That's how common it was. And so, they transported all that brutality to Abu Ghraib....
At best the commanders absolutely ignored anything they knew was going on. I wouldn't go so far as to say there was approval, but I would say there was tacit approval in not condemning it. Our command definitely knew about the prisoners being shot. They posted the photos in their headquarters. They knew about prisoners being beaten. But it was just very like, a prison-guard like machismo atmosphere, like, the harder you were with the prisoners, the better a soldier you were.

Friday: Three Westerners Killed in Iraq City of Mosul. One victim was beheaded. Australia's barracks hit in Iraq. No casualties.

Reveling in brutality: Iraqi militants display body of murdered man they claim to be Italian aid worker.

Maybe they will get him. Will anything change? General: Al-Zarqawi likely now in Baghdad.

Thursday: Rebel Strikes Across Baghdad Kill Fivencluding three paramilitary policemen and a government official.

For faith and country: insurgents fight on: As a US general conceded Iraqi cells are getting more effective, Rory McCarthy speaks to two fighters .

"We don't want them, thanks. We can rebuild our own country, we have a long and ancient history. All we are asking is for them to pull out."

Karbala blast kills many.

US General says: nti-US attacks in Iraq 'more effective'.

Scott Ritter ponders whether the US was tricked into its foolhardy Falluja attack:

Reflecting back, one cannot help but wonder if al-Zarqawi was used as a lure to trap the Americans into taking this action. On the surface, the al-Zarqawi organisation seems too good to be true. A single Jordanian male is suddenly running an organisation that operates in sophisticated cells throughout Iraq. No one man could logically accomplish this. But there is an organisation that can - the Mukhabarat (intelligence) of Saddam Hussein.
According to former Iraqi intelligence personnel I have communicated with recently, the Mukhabarat, under instructions from Saddam Hussein, had been preparing for some time before the invasion of Iraq on how to survive, resist and defeat any US-led occupation of Iraq. A critical element of this resistance was to generate chaos and anarchy that would destabilise any US-appointed Iraqi government. Another factor was to shift the attention of the US military away from the true heart of the resistance - Saddam's Baathist loyalists - and on to a fictional target that could be manipulated in an effort to control the pace, timing and nature of the US military response....
According to my contacts, the goal in creating a foreign Islamist face for the violence taking place in Iraq is to get the Iraqi populace to turn away from Iyad Allawi and the US military as a source of stability, and endorse the return of the Baathists (under a new guise, to be sure), who would then deal with the Islamists by shutting down an operation the Mukhabarat thinks they control. But engaging these activists may not be without cost. Having created a fiction, there is a potential danger of it becoming a reality. Al-Zarqawi may not be the real force behind the anti-US resistance in Iraq, but many now, in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world, believe him to be.

At least three Iraqi police killed in ambush.

Eight more bodies found in Mosul, 150 since Nov.

Senior Zarqawi Aide Killed by Iraqi Police.

Tuesday: 2 Marines Killed in Iraq's Anbar Province. Bomb hits Green Zone for second time in two days.

An English video from the Islamic Jihad Army: A Message From The Iraq Resistance [Windows Media].

The insurgents' troubling gains in Mosul.

Bloody Sunday and Monday: Suicide bomber kills 13 near Green Zone: Also, U.S. says 7 Marines killed in Anbar province on Sunday.

Weeks later: U.S. Warplanes Strike Fallujah.

American warplanes pounded Fallujah with missiles Sunday as insurgents fought running battles with coalition forces in the volatile western Iraqi city. The U.S. military said two troops died in separate incidents.
Meanwhile, a large swath of Iraq lost electricity Sunday after a fire erupted in a major power plant north of Baghdad. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi called the fire an accident, but accused guerrillas of hurting Iraqis with attacks on infrastructure. The capital went dark at about 4 p.m. and power was still out at 7 p.m. The only lights came from the Green Zone and a few other places that have their own generators.

Uncaptured Falluja leader: Iraqi Fighters Keep Up Attacks: Sunni Cleric Says Fallujah Attracted Hundreds of Recruits.

US drops massive bomb on Mosul.

Saturday: Iraq Insurgents Kill Top Police, Hit U.S. Convoy.

Falluja leader vows continued fight: Falluja leader vows anti-US resistance.

Thursday: Baghdad Mortars, Mosul Bomb Kills Three.

Fighting a colonial war is difficult for colonial troops as they take hits from unseen enemies. Every once in a while they lash out at the "cowards": US troops on emotional rollercoaster in Iraq.

Wednesda Fighting Rages in Iraq's Rebel-Held Ramadi.

Militants behead Iraqi soldier.

Wednesday: Iraq Insurgents Attack US Troops, Convoy.

Tuesday: Gunmen Attack Armenian, Chaldean Churches in Mosul.

Bribes to get a job, then having a target on your back: Insurgents in Iraq are gunning for police - literally.

Tuesday: Rebels kill Iraqi and US troops.

Monday, 5 US troops killed. That's 11 since Friday: Insurgents Step Up Attacks in Iraq.

Sunnies v. Shiites and Kurds: Mayhem in Iraq Is Starting to Look Like A Civil War

Monday: Gun battle breaks out in Baghdad, on Haifa Street.

Sunday: Gunmen kill Iraqis working for US. 21 dead.

Inside Falluja: An insurgent's story.

Those not hired to protect the oil pipelines attack them: Oil industry under attack from rebels, other Iraqis.

A GI winess writes of the Falluja attack: Letter from a GI in Falluja: "This wasn't a war, it was a massacre".

More artillery, more tanks, more machine gun fire, ominous death-dealing fighter planes terminating whole city blocks at a time...this wasn't a war, it was a massacre! AS I look back on the air strikes that lasted well into the next morning, I cannot help but be both amazed by our modern technology and disgusted by its means....
Some soldiers call them stupid for even thinking they have a chance in hell to defeat the strongest military in the world, but I call them brave. It's not about fighting to win an immediate victory. And what is a conventional victory in a non-conventional war? It seems overwhelmingly obvious that this is no longer within the United States hands.

Dahr Jamail suggests that yesterday's Shia mosque bombing may not be the doing of insurgents: Trophy Hunting?

The interesting detail is that while US military are usually some of the first to arrive on the scene at bombings, they never showed up for this one. The Iraqi National Guard, who have a base in the ex-presidential palace less than one kilometer from the bombing, never showed up either.
The Iraqi Police, however, did show up at the scene. Most of them wearing facemasks to protect their identity (this is Adhamiya)…but one man, a muscular, arrogant, loudspoken policeman, unmasked, was yelling, “Of course this happened because this is a Shia mosque! The Sunni hate the Shia!” Members of the crowd perceived his actions as deliberately provocative and inflammatory....
In other news, Thursday the director of Fallujah General Hospital was shot and wounded by soldiers while he and two other doctors attempted to enter Fallujah in an ambulance in order to provide aid to families trapped there. They had gone into the city after having been granted permission by the military and Ministry of Health.

Bodies of four police found in Iraq.

US upset it dosen't have a monopoly on intimidation: Rebels changing their tactics: Insurgents now intimidating Iraqi citizens to keep them from taking law enforcement, security positions for U.S.-backed government.

Saturday: Bombs near Baghdad Green Zone kill 15.

For the first time, the resistance takes over a police station in Baghdad: Outgunned and trapped, Iraqi police are stormed by insurgents.

Gunmen shoot 2 councilmen in central Iraq.

Already: Iraqi rebels creeping back into Fallujah's secure zones: US military.

Rebels learn: Iraq rebels in Mosul try to avoid Fallujah mistakes: Insurgents occupied Iraq’s third largest city for a week, to disappear later with the reurn of US troops.

"Hide your weapons and disperse" was the advice to the mujahedeen printed on flyers when US-led forces began an assault to retake Iraq's third largest city on November 18....
The insurgents have also launched a merciless campaign against petty criminals. Eighty percent of the city's 5,000 police may have fled, but several residents say kidnappings, car theft and armed robbery have ceased entirely.... The insurgents have also launched a merciless campaign against petty criminals. Eighty percent of the city's 5,000 police may have fled, but several residents say kidnappings, car theft and armed robbery have ceased entirely.
To stop the local population taking a dislike to them, insurgents have so far avoided imposing an overly austere lifestyle. While all women, including Christians, must be veiled in the street, shops still sell alcohol in Mosul, which has a significant Christian population. Unlike in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, there has been no mujahedeen ban on CD and musical instrument shops, nor hair salons and coffee shops where men can smoke shisha pipes.

Insurgents kill 30 in Baghdad attacks. Police station and Shia mosque hit.

Thursday: Eight killed in Iraq attacks.

November deadliest month for US because of Fallujah.

US death toll in Fallujah reaches 71.

Claims Syrian mosques sending fighters to Iraq: Mosques sending fighters to Iraq.

US launches more raids near Baghdad and abused Falluja survivers.

Abu Ayub al-Isawi, a witness to the fighting, told Aljazeera that US forces called on Falluja families through loudspeakers to head towards the Red Crescent centre in a house in al-Shurta neighbourhood. "US forces then surrounded the Red Crescent centre after people had arrived there to receive aid supplies, preventing anyone from exiting it," he said. "The forces locked the house's external gate and treated all the people inside, including the Red Crescent employees, very badly. There was an atmosphere of extreme rage among the citizens." He added: "US forces later allowed only women, children and males, aged under 15 and above 55, to get out."

Wednesday: Six American soldiers killed, injured in Iraq.

Rising insurgent activity reported west of Fallujah.

Heavily armed anti-American insurgents on Tuesday took over and briefly held nine police stations and highway checkpoints, blowing up two buildings, police said. Drivers reported that insurgents also took control of large sections of the highway leading west out of Iraq, stopping traffic and shaking down passengers.

Fantasy served up as reality yet again: A Close Look at Fallujah Insurgents’ Lab.

US attack in Falluja: Falluja: Raw Video sent in by US Soldier [Windows Media]. Imagine your city under attack like this, hour after hour, day after day, by the satrongest military force in the history of the world.

New "security force" violent thugs and thieves: National Guard Abuses Anger Public.

Insurgents in Fallujah attack daily, use tunnels to infiltrate former stronghold.

Analysis, Commentary, & Domestic Reaction

Occupation Resistance Analysis

Puerto Rico's Governor-elect says withdraw all troops: Acevedo Vila against war in Iraq.

Robert T. Collins, Col. United States Army (Ret.), sees the US repeating its Vietnam mistakes: U.S. fails to learn from Vietnam mistakes. Vietnam journalist Morgan Strong feels similarly: Same old Song.

[Same old Song:] I feel like screaming, but I am too far out in the jungle for anybody to notice. I dream and I despair.

[This has nothing to do with Iraq, but it demonstrates the priorities of the US government in a truly appalling way] American diver underwater during catastrophe.

Faye Wachs said she was impressed by the efforts of the Thai government and the International Committee for the Red Cross, but "she was appalled at the treatment they got" from the U.S. government, her mother said. At the airport in Bangkok, other governments had set up booths to greet nationals who had been affected and to help repatriate them, she said. That was not the case with the U.S. government, Wachs told her mother. It took the couple three hours, she said, to find the officials from the American consulate, who were in the VIP lounge.
Because they had lost all their possessions, including their documentation, they had to have new passports issued. But the U.S. officials demanded payment to take the passport pictures, Helen Wachs said.

British Freedom of Information Act gets major test with request for release of prewar legal opinion on the war's legality: Release of Iraq war advice is test for new act.

Sidney Blumenthal: A state of chaos" George Bush has purged the last of his father's senior advisers, handing over control to his neocon allie

More from Juan Cole on Bush and the tsunami: Bush and the Tsunami.

Franz Schurmann: Blair-Bush Plan: Cut Near East Off From Middle East.

IraqiArt.com, " where you can find, Iraqi artists, Iraqi songs, Iraqi music, Iraqi poetry and song lyrics."

Patt Morrison's got: The Perfect Candidate for Iraq.

If it wasn't Bush, it must have been Kerry: Reelection Honeymoon With Voters Eludes Bush, Polls Say.

A Gallup survey conducted for CNN and USA Today puts Bush's approval rating at 49% — close to his preelection numbers. That's 10 to 20 points lower than every elected sitting president at this stage since just after World War II, according to Gallup, which has been tabulating such data since Harry S. Truman won a full term in 1948.

With his trademark lack of empathy, Bush ignores the massive suffering of millions: Aid Grows Amid Remarks About President's Absence. See also Juan Cole's comments on the missed opportunity to reach out to the world's Muslims: Tsunami Toll Nearly 70,000 and Rising: Where's Bush?

[:Aid Grows:] There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and even some administration officials familiar with relief efforts said they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally to comment on the tsunami tragedy. "It's kind of freaky," a senior career official said....
Gelb said what appears to be a grudging increase in effort sends the wrong message, at a time when dollar totals matter less than a clear statement about U.S. intentions. Noting that the disaster occurred at a time when large numbers of people in many nations -- especially Muslim ones such as Indonesia -- object to U.S. policies in Iraq, he said Bush was missing an opportunity to demonstrate American benevolence....
Among the world's two dozen wealthiest countries, the United States often is among the lowest in donors per capita for official development assistance worldwide, even though the totals are larger. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of 30 wealthy nations, the United States gives the least -- at 0.14 percent of its gross national product, compared with Norway, which gives the most at 0.92 percent.

Joseph L. Galloway says make sure the neocons share the blame with Rumsfeld: Neo-cons can't escape responsibility for their Iraq miscalculations.

Department of Homeland Security completely dysfunctional, says one of the few competent people who worked there. He wasn't reappointed: Ex-official tells of Homeland Security failures.

Saddam's 'oil-for-food' profit doubted.

Paul Volcker questioned the reliability of reports Saddam diverted amounts ranging from $1.7 billion to $21 billion US from the $60-billion oil-for-food program. The former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman said there was a lot of confusion made between money Saddam earned from smuggling and money obtained illegally under the oil-for-food program...
"The big figures that you see in the press, which are sometimes labelled oil-for-food - the big figures are smuggling, which took place before the oil-for-food program started and it continued while the oil-for-food program was in place," he said....
"Without question, (there were) problems in the oil-for-food area," Volcker said. "But when you look at those $10-billion figures, or $20-billion figures, most of those numbers are so-called smuggling, much of which was known and taken note of by the Security Council but not stopped."

Joan Ryan: Images of war's true cost.

James Carroll: A year of living dangerously.

Iraq, above all, is our prison, the place where America has taken its own self hostage. Thousands and thousands of men, women, and children who meant us no harm are now dead because of our striking out so blindly. And many more are living on the edge of disaster. But we Americans, too, are victims of our mistake. It is not only that options in Iraq seem so limited (How, exactly, do we get out? Well, by getting out), but also that the deathtrap of that war has come to define a vast shrinking of possibility, as the shape of our new century begins to actually show itself.

Andrew Arato proposes a solution to the likely Sunni under-representation in the new parliament and Constitutional Convention: Arato Guest Editorial: The Iraqi Constitution.

Gladiator redux? Band shows beheading of hostage at concert. The Iraq war is showing yet again that violence sullies all who come in contact with it.

Editorial in the Virginian-Pilot : Trail of torture leads to Washington.

The FBI memos repeatedly refer to an “Executive Order” — the existence of which the White House denies — as justification for the techniques military interrogators used in Guantanamo: “We have also instructed our personnel not to participate in interrogations by military personnel which might include techniques authorized by Executive Order but beyond the bounds of FBI practices,” the top FBI official in Iraq, who is unnamed, said in a memo to officials in Washington.
According to Newsweek, earlier this year: “the president’s directive authorized the CIA to set up a series of secret detention facilities outside the United States, and to question those held in them with unprecedented harshness. Washington then negotiated novel 'status of forces agreements’ with foreign governments for the secret sites. These agreements gave immunity not merely to U.S. government personnel but also to private contractors....”
In recent news reports, a distinct whisper campaign is laying the blame for the abuse in the FBI memos squarely at the feet of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He very well may deserve it. But considering that the White House worked to justify torture, as well as the departments of Justice and Defense, there’s plenty of blame left to go around. An increasingly wobbly Rumsfeld looks like he’s being set up to take the fall for the military errors in Iraq, and for his own missteps. But it would be a terrible shame if in the rush to blame Rumsfeld, we missed the real culprits.

Wounded soldier says war is useless, causing harm, but wants to go back: Injured Valley Soldier Critical of War in Iraq.

Details on the secret CIA plane taking prisoners around the world to be "rendered" unto torturers: Jet Is an Open Secret in Terror War.

A disturbing account from Esquire of the abuse of abuse claims by an Iraqi "survivor": The American Dream.

In all of Iraq, Jumana Hanna was the bravest witness to the horror of Saddam's regime, telling the Americans of torture, rape, and mass murder. In Washington, Hanna became a potent symbol of Iraqi liberation, and the Bush administration brought Hanna and her children to the United States for their protection. Then the author discovered the really horrible truth.

Two former Secretaries of State, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger spar over Iraq war: Former US official blasts Iraq policy.

Wayne Brown. Bush has no moves without loosing: Zugzwang In Our Time.

"Pro-life," except for that of Iraqis: Bishops called to speak out against Iraq war.

During the recent U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Washington, the bishops were conspicuously silent about the Bush administration’s preemptive war policy and the U.S. occupation of Iraq. What’s puzzling is that the bishops’ conference initially opposed the U.S. war in Iraq. Now, more than a year and half later, the bishops are silent about a war that is destroying Iraq and continues to claim numerous Iraqi and American lives.

Jack Beatty: The Butcher's Bill: 5,000 U.S. soldiers dead, 25,000 wounded, 4,000 bereaved children. A look at the future of the war in Iraq.

In Iraq as in Vietnam, at risk is not America's prestige but the President's. No one should have to die to save George W. Bush's face.

Andrew Greeley: No peace on Earth during unjust war.

This time of the year we celebrate ''peace on Earth to men of good will.'' Americans must face the fact that they can no longer claim to be men and women of good will, not as long as they support an unnecessary, foolish, ill-conceived, badly executed and, finally, unwinnable war. If most people in other countries blame the war on Americans, we earned that blame in the November election -- not that there is any serious reason to believe that Sen. John Kerry would have had the courage to end the war.
Note: Some conservative Catholics -- Republicans, I assume -- are spreading the word on the Internet that I am an ''unfrocked'' (sic) priest. That is false witness. I am and have been for 50 years a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Call (312) 751-8220 if you don't believe me. False witness is a grave sin and must be confessed before Christmas communion. Moreover, those who commit it are bound to restore the reputation of the one about whom they've lied.

Army Historian Cites Lack of Postwar Plan: Major Calls Effort in Iraq 'Mediocre'. Says US refuses to recognize it is fighting a "people's war." Of course, if they recognized it, they could figure out a way to defeat the "people," he implies.

The war where Christmas meant something: Short outbreak of sanity; war the only casualty.

Ira Chernus reminds us how well President Bush draws upon our ritual belief in fairy tales: Bush's Christmas Gift.

What a difference a border makes: Time (Canada) Canadian Newsmaker of the Year Seeking the Truth: How one man’s quest for justice is quietly reshaping a nation’s values and law.

Alan Block: Restoring Christmas.

"Why then does Jesus counsel these humiliated people to turn to other cheek? Because this action robs the oppressor of power to humiliate them. The person who turns the other cheek is saying, in effect, ‘Try again. Your first blow failed to achieve its intended effect. I deny you the power to humiliate me. I am a human being, just like you. Your status (gender, race, age, wealth) does not alter that. You cannot demean me.’ Such a response would create enormous difficulties for the striker. Purely logistically, how can he now hit the other cheek? He cannot backhand it with his right hand. If he hits it with a fist, he makes himself an equal, acknowledging the other as a peer. But the whole point of the back of the hand is to reinforce the caste system and its institutionalized inequality."
Jesus was actually suggesting social and intellectual jujitsu against illegitimate authority – with the clear implication that any form of merely human authority is illegitimate since all are equal in the eyes of God.

Don't give contract to murderer, she pleads: Mother Pleads to Pentagon Over Spicer Contract.

Risks I accepted in Iraq then, I don't accept now: Former Marine officer: No excuse for 'war on the cheap'.

Mustafa Malik suggest the US is fighting the Iranians war, maybe bin Laden's as well: Whose war is it now?

Justin Raimondo on the latest shenanigans of the War Party: Now They're After Rummy: Why the neocons turned on their former 'stud muffin'.

Portrait that led to museum exhibit closing on NY billboard, to be seen by millions. Money from its sale to provide aid for soldiers: Tunnel vision of the monkey President.

families of soldiers who died in Iraq raise money for Falluja refugees: Military Families Prepare $600,000 In Refugee Aid.

Torturer-in-chief to be protested: Groups Plan Week of Inauguration Protests.

Iraqi-born novelist and former political prisoner Haifa Zangana: Quiet, or I'll call democracy: Iraqi women were long the most liberated in the Middle East. Occupation has confined them to their homes.

William Pfaff says they torture as a symbol that they will stop at nothing for victory: Torture: Shock, Awe and the Human Body.

A historian in the future, or a moralist, is likely to deem the Bush administration's enthusiasm for torture the most striking aspect of its war against terrorism.

Iraq vet Edwar A Uceta Espinal objects to the way Bush talks of "we," as in "we must sacrifice": 'We' doesn't.

The way the president uses "we" when he talks about the soldiers' sacrifices, the separation from their families and why our troops are in Iraq really brings down our troops' morale. President Bush is not the one on guard duty thinking about his family in a distant place.

George Monbiot claims that the US is systematically attacking itself: America's war on itself: Bush's wrecking tactics over climate change follow an established pattern of self-destruction.

This isn't, as some people suggest, isolationism. It is a thorough and sustained engagement, whose purpose is to prevent the world's most pressing problems from being solved.

Rep. Ron Paul: It Can't Happen Here.

Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people.

James Carroll describes Jesus as an anti-imperialist martyr: The politics of the Christmas story.

Ira Chernus provides a brilliant analysis of how terror fears affected the US election: Voting Their Fears: National Insecurity Key to Bush Victory.

Another good explanation, by Milan Rai, of the recent Lancet study on Iraqi civilian casualties: Over 100,000 Dead? The Likely Death Toll in Iraq.

The President's Grand Elusion.

President Bush, an old F-102 pilot, showed at yesterday's news conference that he has not forgotten his evasive maneuvers. As he fielded questions on everything from Iranian nukes to presidential personnel, the often blunt and plainspoken president employed the full range of artful dodges.

Press review: Iraq: In the face of fresh violence, is it too early for elections?

They're making a mess! Do more of it: Most Americans Support Keeping Troops In Iraq, Poll Finds.

Thom Hartmann: Is fascism coming to a country near you? The Myth of National Victimhood - All Wrapped and Delivered for Christmas.

Vet speaks truth: Emmaus grad speaks against war in Iraq: Michael Hoffman spent two months there with Marines.

''Being against the war is the only way to be for the troops,'' said Hoffman. ''We're doing them no good by sending them over there.''

Does this commentator speak for many? I Am A Conservative Christian, And The Religious Right Scares Me, Too.

harley Reese: The Three Stooges.

What should alarm people, but probably won't, is not the series of blunders in Iraq. Anyone and any administration can make mistakes. No one is infallible or omniscient. What should alarm people is the president's iron-tight refusal to acknowledge that any mistakes have been made. That's exactly what he was saying when he handed out those three medals: I have not made any mistakes whatsoever. Rumsfeld, Franks, Tenet and Bremer have made no mistakes. The only people who are wrong are people who disagree with me. Such arrogance is characteristic of fanatics.

US pressuring UN to modify report critical of US suppression of Iraqi and Palestinian freedom: US accused of stifling UN Arab report.

Michael Albert says, to end the war, we must create a vast, truly rqadical movement that convinces elites that continuation of the war is a greater threat than ending it: Moving Left Is Always Better.

Ray McGovern says the rest of the world reconfigures to oppose US hegemony: The New China / Russia Alliance: Laughing Dragon, Dancing Bear

The announcement of the military exercises planned for next year comes not long after Soviet President Vladimir Putin, while visiting Beijing in October, said bilateral relations had reached "unparalleled heights." During his visit, Putin signed an agreement that settled the last of the disputes along the 7,500-kilometer border between the two countries....
What seems clear is that because of the U.S./U.K. attack on Iraq, China and Russia intend to give each other meaningful political support if Washington embarks on a new military adventure-against Iran, for example. That same assurance of mutual support and cooperation could also serve to embolden the Russians or Chinese for adventurism of their own-vis-à-vis Taiwan, for example, or Ukraine-taking advantage of the fact that the United States is pinned down in and preoccupied with Iraq.

Vermont: Group wants anti-Iraq war resolution on town meeting ballots.

The fascist impulse: In U.S., 44 Percent Say Restrict Muslims.

Bush Billboard: Dang, it feels good to be a gangsterer!

America the free? Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner cannot publish a book in the US. Her agent could get 10 years in jail: US Squelches Shirin Ebadi.

Mark Drolette asks: Mass Graves: Are We There Yet?

[Saddam had] By any standard, a gruesome legacy. But note the last year of known mass killings: 1991 or thereabouts, years before the U.S. rather incongruently began killing Iraqis to (allegedly) stop Hussein from killing them. Not to be glib or dismiss Hussein's barbarity in the least, but even with mass murder, timing is everything. The Bushies have always glossed over the fact that Hussein's large-scale butchery had been quiescent for years, a tidy little omission with which the American corporate media have never appeared too concerned.

Neocon William Kristol launches attack: Rumsfeld hit by a Right hook.

Opposition to war by 11 year old brings police to family home, for hours of intense grilling: Va. Boy's Defiant Words Draw Police Response: Investigators Visit Home After Student Allegedly Wishes Harm on Americans.

Democrats give up any pretence of protecting our rights, as the fall behind a man who thinks the President can legally torture anyone in the world, anywhere: Cloud Over the Constitution: The Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee lack the grit to stop Alberto Gonzales.

Amazing news from Glasgow University: Scottish university makes Vananu its rector.

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter: The Oil-for-food 'scandal' Is A Cynical Smokescreen.

The oil-for-food programme was never a sincere humanitarian relief effort, but rather a politically motivated device designed to implement the true policy of the United States - regime change....
The corruption evident in the oil-for-food programme was real, but did not originate from within the United Nations, as Norm Coleman and others are charging. Its origins are in a morally corrupt policy of economic strangulation of Iraq implemented by the United States as part of an overall strategy of regime change. Since 1991, the United States had made it clear - through successive statements by James Baker, George W Bush and Madeleine Albright - that economic sanctions, linked to Iraq's disarmament obligation, would never be lifted even if Iraq fully complied and disarmed, until Saddam Hussein was removed from power. This policy remained unchanged for over a decade, during which time hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result of these sanctions.
While money derived from the off-the-book sale of oil did indeed go into the purchase of conventional weapons and the construction of presidential palaces, the vast majority of these funds were poured into economic recovery programmes that saw Iraq emerge from near total economic ruin in 1996. By 2002, on the eve of the US-led invasion, Baghdad was full of booming businesses, restaurants were full, and families walked freely along well-lit parks. Compare and contrast that image with the reality of Baghdad today, and the ultimate corruption that was the oil-for-food programme becomes self-evident.

War propaganda aimed at our kids: Video Game Celebrates Fallujah Slaughter. The murderers think of everything.

Many missions are being developed in cooperation with the US military. “Fallujah: Operation al-Fajr” even contains a discussion with Major General Thomas L. Wilkerson, USMC (ret) on the strategy behind the fight for control of Fallujah. The last mission before Fallujah, was " Ramadi Convoy Exercise ," based on the same training mission Kuma\War modeled for CASCOM - the US Army Combined Arms Support Command.

Chris Hedges interview on the perversion of war: "War Is Not A Noble Enterprise".

The right discovers new ways to lie: Manipulation of the Blogging World on Iraq?

Having our cake and eating it too: No wolf at the door for this war?

Massive Israeli spying in US: FBI steps up AIPAC probe.

Tell the truth about WMD, get fired from CIA: CIA fired me for not toeing Iraq line, says agent.

Control Room arouses intense reactions in Middle East: Arabic channel's movie on Iraq opens wounds.

Conservative, and US government official Paul Craig Roberts: War Crime.

Did the Americans who reelected Bush know that the president who will admit to no mistake is locked on a course that will squander a half trillion dollars for no purpose other than to kill and wound between 36,290 and 73,205 US troops, with "collateral damage" to Iraqi civilians ranging from 443,941 to 2,825,710 dead and wounded?
If Saddam Hussein is a "mass murderer," what does that make President Bush and those who reelected him?

In the midst of all the talk about "moral values," Maureen Farrell reminds us of another time and another country where God was on their side: "God Is With Us": Hitler's Rhetoric and the Lure of "Moral Values".

Juan Cole responds to Likudnik Zionist attacks on him: Character Assassination.

But what I would do is to ask my many Jewish friends to please stop giving these people money. (And I appeal to everybody to stop going on those propaganda tours that JINSA hosts). Liberal Jews are being cynically used by rightwingers who secretly despise them, but know they are a soft touch for any appeals to the welfare of Israel. Liberal Jews need to found more of their own organizations and become more active in lobbying for their humane vision of Israel. Give money to Brit Tzedek v'Shalom or Tikkun, and found more, and more progressive such organizations. Cut the fanatics of the ZOA and JINSA off without a dime.

New York Times continues its practice of "holocaust denial" by casting doubt on the numerous reputable sources reporting heavy or massive civilian casualties in Falluja last April: NY Times Responds to FAIR on Fallujah Killings.

James Carroll Afraid To Look in the Moral Abyss.

Why don't we Americans look directly at the war? We avert our gaze, knowing that the situation in Iraq grows more desperate by the day....
The war itself is the American war crime. But that is lost in the "normalcy" of the news.

What is the difference between breaking up and falling apart, Mr. Bouteflika? Bouteflika warns against breakup of Iraq

We can only hope: Is Coverage of Iraq War Changing?

John Hatch explores the sources of our present-day problems; evil has its roots deep and wide: The good German.

Extending through the Clinton years these otherwise ineffectual measures are conservatively credited with killing one million ordinary Iraqis through malnutrition and lack of basic medicines. Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking, irrevocably America-defining utterances regarding Iraq and America's arrogance and ignorance and self-induced amnesia was not by some slippery, war-mongering Republican from Kentucky, but from educated, refined ex-Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who when asked if the cruel and futile sanctions had been worth the deaths of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children, looked genuinely thoughtful for a moment, then answered in the affirmative. It is truly to weep. Adieu America! The requiem is for you too….
George II insists we have to be for or against. Well, I'm proud to come out against. I know America is a ruthless and formidable foe, but remember, there are billions of us around the world We are angry and sickened, and perhaps have finally had enough. Violence is not necessary (if only America would learn that)-imagine what a worldwide boycott of every single thing American would do to your economy, in fairly short order. The dollar would further erode, stock market indicies would plunge, more countries would switch to the Euro as reserve currency, foreign owned treasury bonds would be called in in the billions, the American financial system would risk collapse. For starters. Imagine that your political elite and their oozing advisors not daring to leave the country for fear of arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

An examination as to why an amoral leadership rules: Client State.

No, in the idiom of Idiotspeak, "moral values" refers to one thing only: sex -- abortion, homosexuality, nudity. And as we all know, sex sells. It moves some $10 billion in porn and paraphernalia in the godly United States each year; and it pumps untold billions into the secretive coffers of "religious" foundations and right-wing "nonprofits" devoted to manufacturing remunerative outrage in defense of "the family." But the fact that a shrinking sliver of the electorate still gets all wiggly at the thought of body parts and bedroom hydraulics hardly accounts for the cognitive dissonance in America today.
Yet if the flop-addled punditry can provide no answers, where can we turn? Why, to 16th-century France, where else? There we find Etienne de la Boetie -- best-known as the bosom friend of the great essayist Montaigne -- explaining how an entire society can be dragooned into "voluntary servitude" by a ruthless elite through an iron chain of clientage: big cheeses dispensing patronage to favored minions, who in turn act as patrons for their own proteges, and so on down the line.

Amnesty International: USA: Freedom to dissent denied.

Camilo Mejía Castillo and Abdullah William Webster are conscientious objectors, whether or not the US military accepts their status, and both are recognised as prisoners of conscience by AI. Their continued detention makes the words of President Bush and his allies ring hollow and they should be immediately and unconditionally released.

Belief in God is almost incompatible with decent rule, argues Max Hastings: Save us from the politicians who have God on their side: These American hijackers have made the world a more dangerous place.

Few modern political careers are compatible with religious principle. Government by atheists would relieve us of the irksome moral conceit that impels George Bush and Tony Blair to do deplorable things while remaining convinced that slots are kept open for them in heaven....
The west may find that the struggle against militant Islam is an inescapable challenge of the 21st century, extending far more widely than the present engagement with a few thousand fanatics. Most of us wish to explore every avenue of accommodation before reconciling ourselves to armed conflict. Yet we now face another four years at the mercy of a US president who perceives his own God as foremost among White House advisers and regards the contest with Islam as already begun....
Most of us recognise that constructive action to rescue the Palestinians would do far more for the west's long-term security than the draconian anti-terrorist legislation introduced by Bush and now by Blair. Yet no prominent western statesman dares publicly to question the role that God's American hijackers play in making the world more dangerous....
Christian Crusaders were a menace to international peace in the 12th and 13th centuries, Christian missionaries in the 19th. God spare us from assertively Christian - or Muslim or Jewish - national leaders in the 21st, if that request is not blasphemous.

Sen. McCain wants more troops and more butchery: McCain criticizes Pentagon's approach to Iraq.

One of the most horrifying aspects of the Iraq war is the massive raining of death and destruction from the air. Tom Engelhardt movingly discusses this activity and places it in historical context, while wondering why the US press almost totally ignores the massive air war underway: Icarus (Armed with Vipers) Over Iraq.

Administration develops new tactic to operate in total secrecy: Whistle-Blower Crackdown Spreads: A judge is ordering government workers to waive their confidentiality agreements with journalists.

As many as 100 FBI agents, federal prosecutors and other department employees are likely to be asked—possibly as early as the next few weeks—to sign broadly worded statements waiving any confidentiality agreements they had with journalists about the anthrax case, Justice officials tell NEWSWEEK.

US admits the war for ‘hearts and minds’ in Iraq is now lost. [This is actually about the Muslim world in general, not Iraq in particular.]

On “the war of ideas or the struggle for hearts and minds”, the report says, “American efforts have not only failed, they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended”.
“American direct intervention in the Muslim world has paradoxically elevated the stature of, and support for, radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single digits in some Arab societies.”

Mark Morford says, if you can't stand seeing the horrors of the war, you shouldn't support it: Very, Very Dirty Pictures You want explicit? You want raw and uncensored and free of media bias? Here you go.

Maybe this should be the rule: If you can't handle seeing what really goes on in a war, maybe you don't deserve to support it. If you can't stomach the truths of what our soldiers are doing and how brutally and bloodily they're dying and in just what manner they have to kill those innocent Iraqi civilians in the name of BushCo's desperate lurch toward greed and power and Iraqi oil fields and empire, maybe you don't have the right to stick that little flag on your oil-sucking SUV. Clear enough?

Noam Chomsky: 2004 Elections.

catching him might make raising fear harder: U.S. still seeks bin Laden, but he's not top priority.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern: All Mosquitoes, No Swamp.

Attack on Internet freedom launched: Analysis: Tenet calls for tough cyber security rules.

Chris Hedges reviews two books and meditates: On War.

The current books about the war in Iraq do not uncover the pathology of war. We see the war from the perspective of the troops who fight the war or the equally skewed perspective of the foreign reporters, holed up in hotels, hemmed in by drivers and translators and official minders. There are moments when war's face appears to these voyeurs and killers, perhaps from the back seat of a car where a small child, her brains oozing out of her head, lies dying, but mostly it remains hidden. And the books on the war in Iraq have to be viewed, through no fault of the reporters, as lacking the sweep and depth that will come one day, perhaps years from now, when a small Iraqi boy or girl reaches adulthood and unfolds for us the sad and tragic story of the invasion and bloody occupation of their nation....
Those who cover war dine out on the myth about war and the myth about themselves as war correspondents. Yes, they say, it is horrible, and dirty and ugly; for many of them it is also glamorous and exciting and empowering. They look out from the windows of Humvees for a few seconds at Iraqi families, cowering in fear, and only rarely see the effects of the firepower. When they are forced to examine what bullets, grenades, and shells do to human bodies they turn away in disgust or resort to black humor to dehumanize the corpses.

Vindicated British MP George Galloway: An enemy of the state. And: How paper slipped up in race for a scoop: Judge says Telegraph failed to put allegations to MP and coverage clearly suggested he had profited from regime.

There is a long tradition in Britain of attempts by governments and media to use false allegations about foreign cash to discredit those who refuse to bend to the powers-that-be, from the Zinoviev letters to the Scargill affair. The Telegraph, a chief cheerleader for the Iraq war, together with the media empire of another foreign press baron, Rupert Murdoch, tried to paint me as a treasonous "enemy of the state", and the anti-war movement as the "enemy within". But the real enemies of the state are the political leaders, pre-eminently the prime minister, who deceived the country into a disastrous military adventure which has devastated a foreign land and disfigured the face of international affairs. And the real enemies within are the pusillanimous poodles in parliament and press who allowed, and are still allowing them, to get away with it.
The Telegraph did me and the anti-war movement an injustice and the judge held it to account. But the Blair government - which used the Telegraph's assault to force me out of a Labour party I'd served for 36 years - has committed an incomparably greater injustice. Iraq was invaded on trumped-up charges. As a result, an estimated 100,000 Iraqis have died; the lives of millions more have been wrecked. This week we learned the conditions of child health in a land occupied are now even worse than during the killing years of sanctions. Yet not a single government minister has fallen.

Fascism questioned by judge: Judge Questions Sweep of Bush's War on Terrorism: Pentagon Says 550 'Enemy Combatants' Are Confined Properly, Seeks Benefit of Doubt on Detentions.

One liar punished: MP wins libel court damages.

A MAVERICK British lawmaker accused by a newspaper of receiving secret payments from former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was awarded substantial libel damages by a judge today. George Galloway, a rebel expelled from Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party for his vehement opposition to the Iraq war, should receive £150,000 ($373,470), the judge ruled.

Jailed for revealing official lies: Danish officer jailed for leaking secret Iraq WMD reports to media.

At last! Canadian authorities arrest US president George W. Bush.

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