They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

U.S. Military Adopts Desperate Tactics


Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

FALLUJAH - Increased violence is being countered by harsh new measures across the Sunni-dominated al-Anabar province west of Baghdad, residents say.

"Thousands have been killed here by the Multi-National Forces (MNF) and Iraqi allies, and the situation is getting worse every day," a member of the Fallujah city council speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "We have no role to play because the Americans always prefer violent solutions that have led from one disaster to another."

The violence appears to be affecting the civilian population far more than it is stifling the resistance. The suffering of people in Fallujah increases by the day, and the number of resistance snipers appears to be increasing in response to the U.S. use of snipers against civilians.

"In fact it is many more snipers now, considering the number of incidents that have taken place," Sebri Ahmed from the local police told IPS. "Our men are terrified, and the majority of them have quit after serious threats of getting killed, like our three main leaders."

General Hudhairi Abbas, former deputy police chief of Fallujah was killed two months ago. Colonel Ahmed Dirii was killed soon after, and last week the police leader of al-Anbar, General Shaaban al-Janabi, was assassinated in front of his family house in Fallujah.

There are now no police patrols on the streets of Fallujah, and the only policemen around remain inside their main station.

"How come those three Fallujan born officers were killed while the Fallujah police leader General Salah Aati was hiding behind concrete barriers," a police officer said. Aati lives in the green zone of Baghdad, a highly barricaded government area.

Meanwhile, attacks against occupation forces have increased in frequency and severity. On Eid recently, four U.S. Humvees in a convoy were destroyed by roadside bombs.

The military responded by closing all the checkpoints in the city. Thousands had to spend the night, the first of the holidays, outside of the city. The main roads inside the city were also closed.

"Four firemen were killed by the U.S. army because they were late to get to the four burning hummers," a young man who witnessed the attack told IPS. "They were not killed by mistake, they were killed in front of many people."

The U.S. military has admitted that it killed three firemen by mistake because they were suspected to be militants.

Hundreds of residents later attended the burial of the firemen together with five other men killed by occupation forces the same day.

"The Americans brought five dead civilians whom they shot in the city streets in revenge for their casualties," a man at the former football field now called Martyrs Graveyard told IPS. "We are going to need another graveyard, this one is going to be full soon." All semblance of normal living in the province is disappearing. Saif al-Juboori, a student at the University of al-Anbar in Ramadi says this will be a wasted year for thousands of students.

"The whole university is now under siege, and there is a checkpoint at the main gate," Juboori told IPS. "The students or teachers who approach must lift their shirts from 50 metres away and listen to nasty comments of arrogant soldiers who give body checks before admitting people in. Most will no longer accept such humiliation, and so there will be no college this year."

Ramadi has been facing electricity and water cuts for about two weeks now. Most residents believe this is punishment for the popular support for Iraqi resistance.

"We would rather starve to death than accept this occupation and its Iranian allies," a 20-year-old student told IPS. "We will not let the blood of our brother martyrs go unpunished."

Despite the punishing tactics of the occupation forces, people appear unwilling to cooperate with local officials or the U.S. military against local fighters.

"Iraqis believe firmly that U.S. ambassador (Zalmay) Khalilzad is the actual ruler of the occupied country despite the repeated comedy of transfers of sovereignty to Iyad Allawi, Ibrahim al-Jaafari and now Noori al-Maliki's governments," a senior leader of the Arab National Movement in Iraq, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS.

"Yet, that does not mean that the U.S. embassy has real control, as long as there are resistance fighters who are firmly holding the Iraqi streets in Sunni areas, and militias with their death squads controlling the rest of the country as well as the huge oil market." Resistance fighters recently came out to show their strength in Ramadi, the capital city of al-Anbar province. Dozens of cars loaded with armed men went around the city.

Immediately after that, power and water supply were cut, and raids carried out in civilian areas. Several were killed by U.S. snipers, residents said.

The police did nothing, they have a hard time protecting themselves. Gunmen have attacked Iraqi police stations in Samarra, Beji and Mosul.

"We are back to point zero," a senior officer in the Ministry of Interior told IPS. "Our forces are either loyal to militias and political parties or too powerless to do their duties."

"Every one who fights the American occupation has our full support," Yassin Hussein, a 30-year-old teacher in Ramadi told IPS. "They lied to us all the time, and it is time for them to admit their terrible failure and leave. Let them go rebuild New Orleans."

Hussein said resistance fighters are the only force able to keep local peace and keep criminal gangs in check. "The Americans are too busy trying to take care of their own security to care about Iraqis." Link

Monday, October 30, 2006

US Predator killed 80 in Pakistan madrasa [school]

ABC News

... Despite earlier reports that the missiles had been launched by Pakistani military helicopters, Pakistani intelligence sources now tell ABC News that the missiles were fired from a U.S. Predator drone plane.
For the more credulous: Read the full report here to find out how, according to trustworthy and reliable Pakistani intelligence sources 'we' were actually targeting the evil AQ mastermind Ayman al Zawahiri - and whilst 'we' may not have managed to kill him we did manage to kill - and this is a BIG bonus - five senior al Qaeda militants including the mastermind of the airliners plot in the U.K. That's excellent timing given the presence in Pakistan of the dim-witted heir to the English throne

Children die in gunship attack on madrasa, Camilla confident


Pakistani forces using helicopter gunships killed around 80 alleged militants today in a pre-dawn attack on a religious school near the Afghan border in a tribal area notorious for its al-Qaida sympathies.

The madrasa in Chenagai village in the Bajaur tribal area was a "terrorist training camp" run by a pro-Taliban cleric who had been warned to close it down, the military spokesman General Shaukat Sultan said.

Between 80 and 100 men aged between 20 and 30 were inside the building when the first rockets struck at 5am (midnight GMT). No women or children were present, he said.

But reporters at the scene said that several children, one as young as seven, were pulled from the rubble. Distraught locals collected the remains of the victims in fertiliser bags, while others took part in angry street protests in nearby villages.

Jamaat Islami, a hardline but influential Islamist party, condemned the attack as "brutal and barbaric" and Siraj Ul Haq, a cabinet minister in the provincial government, announced he would resign in protest.

"This is against Islam and the traditions of the area," he told the Associated Press during the mass burial of 20 people. "This was an unprovoked attack on a madrasa. They were innocent people." Read more

And from Hello C*nts! Magazine:


Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are enjoying their first visit to Pakistan this week after arriving in Islamabad on Sunday night. And a beautifully groomed Duchess of Cornwall showed just how much her confidence and sense of style have grown since she took on the role of royal consort. Read more

Saturday, October 28, 2006

'Human shields' cause NATO sleep loss


NATO's top commander on Saturday said Taliban fighters are using civilians as human shields and that in the heat of battle it can be difficult to separate the two.

U.S. Gen. James L. Jones apologized for recent civilian deaths in southern Afghanistan during fighting between Taliban militants and NATO forces, saying "it is something that causes anybody in uniform to lose a lot of sleep."

"Sadly, in asymmetric warfare, when you're battling an insurgency, typically the insurgents do not play by the same rules that we would like to play by," Read more

db: "Nightmare - bleedin' [sub] human shields everywhere. I couldn't sleep Wednesday."

Iraqi Puppet not America's Man


Embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ratcheted up his high-stakes and increasingly bitter dispute with the Bush administration, telling the U.S. ambassador that he was Washington's friend but "not America's man in Iraq," aides said on Saturday.

The Shiite leader issued the declaration in a meeting Friday with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, after which the two leaders issued a rare joint statement declaring the need to work together to set timelines to clamp off spiraling violence attributed to Shiite militias and death squads.

"I am a friend of the United States, but I am not America's man in Iraq," Hassan al-Suneid, a close al-Maliki aide quoted him as telling Khalilzad during the meeting.

The insider's account of the session was in sharp contrast to the joint al-Maliki-Khalilzad statement that was issued both by the American Embassy and al-Maliki's office late Friday night.

Al-Suneid said the prime minister demanded that his government be treated as an elected administration which enjoys international legitimacy and that U.S. forces in Iraq must coordinate better with his government.

The joint statement, however, appeared to signal that al-Maliki was backing down from his highly publicized squabble with the Bush administration and dropping his objections to a timeline proposed by Washington for bringing security to his war-ravaged nation. Read more

two years deficient

Def Brain is two years old

Lebanon: Mystery of Israel's secret uranium bomb


Robert Fisk

Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon this summer in the 34-day assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese lives, most of them civilians?

We know that the Israelis used American "bunker-buster" bombs on Hizbollah's Beirut headquarters. We know that they drenched southern Lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war, leaving tens of thousands of bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week. And we now know - after it first categorically denied using such munitions - that the Israeli army also used phosphorous bombs, weapons which are supposed to be restricted under the third protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which neither Israel nor the United States have signed.

But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed "elevated radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further examination to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the Ministry of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples.

Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the contamination. "The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium. Read more

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dramatic intervention


The Archbishop of Canterbury today warns politicians not to interfere with a Muslim woman's right to wear the veil in public and cautions against a march towards secularism in British society.

In a dramatic intervention Dr Rowan Williams, who is backed by other senior church leaders, said that the Government must not become a "licensing authority" that decides which religious symbols are acceptable. Read more

db: Whatever, it's unacceptable for our sleaders [sleazy leaders] to attempt to impose their will upon us regards what we can or cannot wear. Corporations - such as British Airways - of course have that right if we work for them cos they pay us dough - but not rotten governments who bleed us. And Jack Straw should remember that he is a servant of the people.

Afghanistan: Pashtun 'Badal' (retaliation)

"What do you foreigners think you are doing?" an angry doctor demanded of me as three boys, all wounded by shrapnel, were wheeled into Mirawais hospital in Kandahar. One had his right eye blown out and the other two had abdominal injuries. "You bomb civilians, then come in to talk to them? Better if you leave."

The hospital's registration book showed that ten civilian casualties, including six children aged 8 to 12, had been admitted on Wednesday morning. There were many more casualties, survivors said. But they claimed that the roads were sealed by Nato troops and that the wounded had escaped across the fields.

Last night one official claimed that as many as 85 civilians had been killed in air strikes and mortar bombardments around the settlement of Zangawat, in the Panjwayi district of the city. If confirmed, it would be the highest civilian death toll in an operation involving Western forces since the US-led invasion in 2001. Read more

The Pukhtoon social structure, which has attracted the attention of many a scholar is mainly governed by conventions and traditions and a code of honour known as "Pukhtoonwali". This un-written code is the keystone of the arch of the Pukhtoons' social fabric. It exercises a great influence on their actions and has been held sacrosanct by them generation after generation. The Pukhtoonwali or the Pukhtoon code of honour embraces all the activities from the cradle to the grave.

To my mind death is better than life
when life can no longer be held with honour

(Khushal Khan Khattak)


Self-respect and sensitivity to insult is another essential trait of Pukhtoon character. The poorest among them has his own sense of dignity and honour and he vehemently refuses to submit to any insult. In fact every Pukhtoon considers himself equal if not better than his fellow tribesmen and an insult is, therefore, taken as scurrilous reflection on his character. An insult is sure to evoke insult and murder is likely to lead to a murder.

Badal (retaliation) and blood feuds generally emanate from intrigue with women, murder of one of the family members or their hamsayas, violation of Badragga, slight personal injury or insult or damage to property. Any insult is generally resented and retaliation is exacted in such cases.

A Pukhtoon believes and acts in accordance with the principles of Islamic Law i.e. an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and blood for blood. He wipes out insult with insult regardless of cost or consequence and vindicates his honour by wiping out disgrace with a suitable action. But the urge for Badal does not mean that he is savage, blood thirsty or devoid of humane qualities. He is kind, affectionate, friendly and magnanimous and forgives any one who kills his relatives by a mistake but he will not allow any intentional murder go unavenged. Proud of his descent, he becomes offensive only when an insult is hurled at him or some injury is done to him deliberately. He goes in search of his enemy, scans the surrounding area and hills, lies in wait for months and years, undergoes all hardships but does not feel content till his efforts of wreaking vengeance on his enemy are crowned with success. Those who fail to fulfil the obligations of Pukhto (self-respect) by wiping out insult with insult, lose their prestige in the eyes of their compatriots, render themselves liable to Paighore (reproach) and earn an unfair name. According to Nang-e-Pakhto or code of honour an unavenged injury is the deepest shame and the honour of the person can be redeemed only by a similar action. It may, however, be noted that "there is little if any random crime or violence" in the tribal areas as the stakes are too high and the retribution too certain to follow.

Many daring stories of Badal or retaliation are recorded by European as well as Asian writers but one such story showing Pukhtoons' strong urge for Badal has been related by Mrs Starr. She writes, "once an old man with a white beard and hair and eyes filmy with cataract came into the out patient hall, and when his turn came to see the doctor, he said "I am old but give me sight that I may use a gun again. To the doctors query he replied in quite a placid and natural manner: "I have not taken the exchange (revenge) for my sons' death sixteen years ago."

Another famous story of revenge, as told by T.C. Pennell, is that a Pathan girl who approached a court of law for justice but the judge expressed his inability to prosecute the offender for his imputed crime due to lack of ample evidence. This enraged the girl and she said in fit of anger, "Very well, I must find my own way". She went in search of the murderer of her brother "who had escaped the justice of the law but not the hand of the avenger". She "concealed a revolver on her person and coming up to her enemy in the crowded bazar, shot him point blank".

Sometimes a Pukhtoon becomes so sentimental that he vows not to take a meal with his right hand and sleep on ground instead of a charpaee (bedstead) until he has avenged the wrong done to him. Pukhtoon history is replete with many examples of Badal and there are instances where a child born a few months even after the murder of his father has, wreaked vengeance on his enemy after patiently waiting for many years.

The obligation of Badal rests with the aggrieved party and it can be discharged only by action against the aggressor or his family. In most cases the aggressor is paid in the same coin. If no opportunity presents itself "he may defer his revenge for years, but it is disgraceful to neglect or abandon it entirely, and it is incumbent on his relations, and sometimes on his tribe, to assist him in his retaliation". When a Pukhtoon discovers that his dishonour is generally known, he prefers to die an honourable death rather than live a life of disgrace. He exercises the right of retribution with scant regard for hanging and transportation and only feels contented after avenging the insult.


db: How does NATO spot the difference between 'Badal' and an 'Islamofascist/terrorist/evil doer' ? They don't. Because a dead Afghan is a Taliban Afghan. That's the rule. It may be 50 today, 100 tomorrow, 300 Tuesday - they are always Taliban.

'We' bombed his village and killed his kids - and when he came after 'us' we killed him too. But will that be the end of it?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No cutting and running until Bush says so

Guardian - Simon Jenkins

We have turned Iraq into the most hellish place on Earth

British ministers landing in Aden in the 1960s were told always to make a reassuring speech. In view of the Arab insurrection, they should give a ringing pledge, "Britain will never, ever leave Aden". Britain promptly left Aden, in 1967 and a year earlier than planned. The last governor walked backwards up the steps to his plane, his pistol drawn against any last-minute assassin. Locals who had trusted him and worked with the British were massacred in their hundreds by the fedayeen.

Iraq's deputy prime minister, Barham Salih, was welcomed to London by the BBC on Monday with two documentaries recalling past British humiliations at the hands of Arabs, in Aden and Suez. It was not a message Salih wanted to hear. His government is retreating from its position in May, when it said that foreign forces should withdraw from 16 out of 18 provinces, including the south, by the end of this year. Tony Blair rejected this invitation to go and said he would "stay until the job is done". Salih would do well to remember what western governments do, not what they say.

Despite Suez and Aden, British foreign policy still lurches into imperial mode by default. An inherited belief in Britain's duty to order the world is triggered by some upstart ruler who must be suppressed, based on a vague desire to seek "regional stability" or protect a British interest. As Martin Woollacott remarks in his book After Suez, most people at the time resorted to denial. To them, "the worst aspect of the operation was its foolishness" rather than its wrongness. When asked by Montgomery what was his objective in invading the canal zone Eden replied, "to knock Nasser off his perch". Asked what then, Eden had no answer.

As for Iraq, the swelling chorus of born-again critics are likewise taking refuge not in denouncing the mission but in complaining about the mendacity that underpinned it and its incompetence. As always, turncoats attribute the failure of a once-favoured policy to another's inept handling of it. The truth is that the English-speaking world still cannot kick the habit of imposing its own values on the rest, and must pay the price for its arrogance.

US and UK policy in Iraq is now entering its retreat phrase. Where there is no hope of victory, the necessity for victory must be asserted ever more strongly. Read more

db: Defeat is victory, retreat an advance etc.

When it's all over we will be told how worthwhile the 'sacrifice' was. I mean, Saddam is no longer in charge and, erm .... oil

Monday, October 16, 2006

db should be back within two weeks
- or my name's not exoplanet
- tx for coming by