Posts tagged as: iraq

information

Friday, August 3, 2007

 

Iraqis Marking Selves for Death

‘”My age is the same as the olive tree,” reads the blue tattoo on Qaisar Tariq al-Essawi’s left shoulder.

Al-Eassawi, 36, got the tattoo so his family and close friends could recognise his remains if he ended up in a morgue.

“I selected this wording because only my family and close friends know about our olive tree which was planted by my father when I was born,” al-Essawi, a father of two boys, told IRIN in Baghdad.

One response to sudden and violent death which has become commonplace in Iraq’s turmoil, is the emergence of a new subculture – the etching of tattoo identities on people who fear becoming an unclaimed body in a packed morgue.’


mail

Accustomed to Their Own Atrocities in Iraq, U.S. Soldiers Have Become Murderers

‘All troops, when they occupy and battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are placed in “atrocity producing situations.”

In this environment, surrounded by a hostile population, simple acts such as going to a store to buy a can of Coke means you can be killed. This constant fear and stress pushes troops to view everyone around them as the enemy. This hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find.

The rage soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed over time to innocent civilians who are seen to support the insurgents. It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral leap. It is a leap from killing — the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm — to murder — the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you. The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. There is very little killing.’


As U.S. Rebuilds, Iraq Won’t Act on Finished Work

‘Iraq’s national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects, forcing the United States either to hand them over to local Iraqis, who often lack the proper training and resources to keep the projects running, or commit new money to an effort that has already consumed billions of taxpayer dollars.

The conclusions, detailed in a report released Friday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal oversight agency, include the finding that of 2,797 completed projects costing $5.8 billion, Iraq’s national government had, by the spring of this year, accepted only 435 projects valued at $501 million. Few transfers to Iraqi national government control have taken place since the current Iraqi government, which is frequently criticized for inaction on matters relating to the American intervention, took office in 2006.’


Friday, July 13, 2007

 

Guards rob bank of $347m

‘Thieves have stolen nearly $US300 million ($347m) from a bank in Baghdad, police and a bank official said today, in what is probably one of the biggest thefts in Iraq since the 2003 war to topple Saddam Hussein.

Police said the thieves were three guards who worked at the private Dar Es Salaam bank in Baghdad’s Karrada district.

They said that when bank employees arrived for work yesterday they found the front door open and the money gone.

The guards, who normally slept at the bank, had also disappeared, they said.’


conditions

Construction Woes Add to Fears at Embassy in Iraq

‘The first signs of trouble, according to the cable, emerged when the kitchen staff tried to cook the inaugural meal in the new guard base on May 15. Some appliances did not work. Workers began to get electric shocks. Then a burning smell enveloped the kitchen as the wiring began to melt.

All the food from the old guard camp — a collection of tents — had been carted to the new facility, in the expectation that the 1,200 guards would begin moving in the next day. But according to the cable, the electrical meltdown was just the first problem in a series of construction mistakes that soon left the base uninhabitable, including wiring problems, fuel leaks and noxious fumes in the sleeping trailers.’


service

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

 

Giant ‘corpse-eating’ badgers terrorise Iraqi city

‘The Iraqi port city of Basra, already prey to a nasty turf war between rival militia factions, has now been gripped by a scary rumour – giant badgers are stalking the streets by night, eating humans.

The animals were allegedly released into the area by British forces.

Local farmers have caught and killed several of the beasts, but this has done nothing to dispel the rumour.

Iraqi scientists have attempted to calm things down. However, the story has spread like wildfire in the streets of the city and the villages round about.

Mushtaq Abdul-Mahdi, director of Basra’s veterinary hospital, has inspected the corpses of several badgers and tries to reassure Iraqis that the animals are not a new post-war arrival in the region. [..]

Not everybody is convinced.’

(1.9meg Flash video)

see it here »


Saturday, July 7, 2007

 

Energy security is a major reason for Iraq war

‘The Defence Minister today listed the security of the world’s oil supply as one of the major reasons for Australia’s continuing military presence in Iraq as John Howard spelled out plans to keep troops in the country.

The Prime Minister said Islamic extremists remained a threat to Australia and it would be against “our national character” to let terrorists prevail.

He has again ruled out any timetable for withdrawing soldiers from the country plagued by sectarian conflict and regular deadly attacks against coalition forces.’

I need an “obvious” tag, really.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

 

Pentagon: Iraqi violence still rising

‘Violence in Iraq, as measured by casualties among troops and civilians, has edged higher despite the U.S.-led security push in Baghdad, the
Pentagon told Congress on Wednesday.

In its required quarterly report on security, political and economic developments in Iraq, covering the February-May period, the Pentagon also raised questions about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s ability to fulfill a pledge made in January to prohibit political interference in security operations and to allow no safe havens for sectarian militias.

Overall, however, the report said it was too soon to judge whether the security crackdown was working.’


forum

Friday, June 15, 2007

 

Army food is ‘cheaper than a dog’s dinner’

‘The Army spends more feeding its dogs than its soldiers, it has been claimed.

Figures obtained by a Tory MP show that £1.51 a day goes on meals for troops, compared with £2.63 for military dogs.

Even prisoners – who cost £1.87 a day to feed – fare better than servicemen. Schoolchildren get £1.55 for lunch alone.

The MP, Mike Penning, is to raise the issue in the House of Commons today. The former Grenadier Guard said troops serving in war zones such as Iraq were being denied decent meals.

And he claimed that U.S. troops are given high-quality meat while British soldiers make do with cheap sausages and chips.’


suggest

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

 

Pentagon arms its enemy’s enemies in Iraq

‘The US military has embarked on a new and risky strategy in Iraq by arming Sunni insurgents in the hope that they will tackle al-Qaida operatives in Iraq.

The US high command this month gave permission to its officers on the ground to negotiate arms deals with tribal elders and other local leaders. Arms, ammunition, body armour and other equipment, as well as cash, pickup trucks and fuel, have already been handed over in return for promises to turn on al-Qaida and not attack US troops.

The US military in Baghdad is trying to portray the move as arming disenchanted Sunnis rising up in their neighbourhoods against their former allies, al-Qaida and its foreign fighters. But the reality on the ground is more complex, with little sign that the US will be able to control the weapons once they are handed over.’


contact

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

 

The Guidebook for Taking a Life

‘With Islamist violence brewing in various parts of the world, the set of rules that seek to guide and justify the killing that militants do is growing more complex.

This jihad etiquette is not written down, and for good reason. It varies as much in interpretation and practice as extremist groups vary in their goals. But the rules have some general themes that underlie actions ranging from the recent rash of suicide bombings in Algeria and Somalia, to the surge in beheadings and bombings by separatist Muslims in Thailand.’


Thursday, June 7, 2007

 

Turkish officials say troops enter Iraq

‘Hundreds of Turkish soldiers crossed into northern Iraq on Wednesday pursuing Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks on Turkey from hideouts there, Turkish security officials and an Iraqi Kurd official said. [..]

One Turkish security official said 600 commandos entered Iraq before dawn after Kurdish rebels shot at Turkish patrols near the Turkish border town of Cukurca. The commandos returned to Turkey later in the day, the official said.

Two other officials said troops went less than two miles into a remote, mountainous area in Iraq.

An Iraqi Kurd security official in the Shanzinan area said 150 Turkish soldiers occupied a mountain about a half mile inside Iraq for an hour and then left. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 200 other Turks staged a similar cross-border operation around the same time in the nearby Sirzeri area.’

Followup to Turkey’s troops ready for Iraq.


information

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

 

The tortured lives of interrogators

‘The American interrogator was afraid. Of what and why, he couldn’t say. He was riding the L train in Chicago, and his throat was closing.

In Iraq, when Tony Lagouranis interrogated suspects, fear was his friend, his weapon. He saw it seep, dark and shameful, through the crotch of a man’s pants as a dog closed in, barking. He smelled it in prisoners’ sweat, a smoky odor, like a pot of lentils burning. He had touched fear, too, felt it in their fingers, their chilled skin trembling. [..]

“I tortured people,” said Lagouranis, 37, who was a military intelligence specialist in Iraq from January 2004 until January 2005. “You have to twist your mind up so much to justify doing that.” [..]

For Lagouranis, problems include “a creeping anxiety” on the train, he said. The 45-minute ride to Chicago’s O’Hare airport “kills me.” He feels as if he can’t get out “until they let me out.” Lagouranis’s voice was boyish, but his face was gray. The evening deepened his 5 o’clock shadow and the puffy smudges under his eyes.’


mail

Saturday, June 2, 2007

 

Baghdad embassy plans appear on Internet

‘Detailed plans for the new U.S. Embassy under construction in Baghdad appeared online Thursday in a breach of the tight security surrounding the sensitive project.

Computer-generated projections of the soon-to-be completed, heavily fortified compound were posted on the Web site of the Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm that was contracted to design the massive facility in the Iraqi capital.

The images were removed by Berger Devine Yaeger Inc. shortly after the company was contacted by the State Department.

“We work very hard to ensure the safety and security of our employees overseas,” said Gonzalo Gallegos, a department spokesman. “This kind of information out in the public domain detracts from that effort.”‘


Friday, June 1, 2007

 

Bush envisions U.S. presence in Iraq like S.Korea

‘President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday.

The United States has had thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea to guard against a North Korean invasion for 50 years.

Democrats in control of the U.S. Congress have been pressing Bush to agree to a timetable for pulling troops from Iraq, an idea firmly opposed by the president.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush would like to see a U.S. role in Iraq ultimately similar to that in South Korea in which “you get to a point in the future where you want it to be a purely support model.”‘


Revealed: Why Your Sons and Daughters Died in Iraq

‘Could it be that our soldiers died to enrich five or six International Oil Companies (Four of them American)? Or that possibly a million Iraqis suffered the same fate for the same reason? You might recall that President Bush claimed that one of the Benchmarks the Iraqi Government must meet is a deal to share the Oil revenues. What he didn’t say is with whom they, the Iraqis, will have to share. Seems like it’s not the Iraqis. [..]

Seems that those International Oil Companies (can you say EXXON, MOBILE, and BP for starters), stand to pluck the Iraqi people for about $21 Trillion. Folks that’s twenty one thousand BILLION. In perspective, that’s about double the United States current cash debt, and a little over 40% of the accrued National Debt of $50 Trillion. Figured another way, it’s about $70,000 for every American currently alive. And it will all go to about six Oil companies. Well not all, there’s the Congress to be bought off, actually it seems they already have, but they still need to get a little more of the harvest.’


conditions

Turkey’s troops ready for Iraq

‘Turkey’s top general said Thursday his army — which has been massing troops on the border with Iraq — was prepared to attack separatist Kurdish guerrillas in a cross-border offensive.

Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said the military was ready and awaiting government orders for an incursion, putting pressure on the government to support an offensive that risks straining ties with the United States and Europe and raising tensions with Iraqi Kurds.

“As soldiers, we are ready,” Buyukanit said at an international security conference in Istanbul.

Although the United States has branded the guerrillas a terrorist organization, Washington fears that Turkish military action could destabilize northern Iraq — the most stable part of the war-torn country. Washington is also concerned that supporting Turkey in an incursion could alienate the pro-American Iraqi Kurds.’


service

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

 

Art Project Lets You Shoot an Iraqi

‘The Iraqi-born artist was speaking to a NEWSWEEK reporter 19 days into a grueling monthlong project that sounds, at first blush, suspiciously gimmicky: until June 4, Bilal is living his entire life inside one room at Chicago’s Flatfile Gallery, which anyone with a Web connection can log on to watch. Oh, and to shoot him. With “Domestic Tension” Bilal has turned his makeshift living quarters into a 24-hour-a-day war zone. Viewers can peep in on him anonymously at any time, and even chat with him online. On the installation’s Web site, his audience can fight for control of the camera and pan it around the room. Since the camera is affixed to a rifle-sized paintball gun — and the Web site has a button that allows viewers to fire the gun — they also have the opportunity to shoot at him, or anything else in his room. Which they have done an astonishing 40,000 times in the project’s first two and a half weeks.’


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

 

Gas May Have Harmed Troops, Scientists Say

‘Scientists working with the Defense Department have found evidence that a low-level exposure to sarin nerve gas — the kind experienced by more than 100,000 American troops in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 — could have caused lasting brain deficits in former service members.

Though the results are preliminary, the study is notable for being financed by the federal government and for being the first to make use of a detailed analysis of sarin exposure performed by the Pentagon, based on wind patterns and plume size.

The report, to be published in the June issue of the journal NeuroToxicology, found apparent changes in the brain’s connective tissue — its so-called white matter — in soldiers exposed to the gas. The extent of the brain changes — less white matter and slightly larger brain cavities — corresponded to the extent of exposure, the study found.’


Iran’s secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq

‘Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say. [..]

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran’s Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat. “We expect that al-Qaida and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus’s report in September [when the US commander General David Petraeus will report to Congress on President George Bush’s controversial, six-month security “surge” of 30,000 troop reinforcements],” the official said.’


forum

Thursday, May 17, 2007

 

Haunting Depiction of Firefight in Iraq

This is a little animation of one soldiers point of view of combat in Iraq. It’s interesting, although probably not psychologically sensible. 🙂

(10.7meg avi)

see it here »


suggest

Friday, May 11, 2007

 

Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation

‘On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq’s parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

It’s a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time [..]’

I’m curious as to how much the US will respect the “democracy” they went to war for, now that they’ve been democratically asked to leave.

Or rather, the democracy they claimed they went to war for when it became apparent to the world that their first few reasons were made up nonsense. 🙂


contact

US Marine admits urinating on dead Iraqi

‘Angered that a beloved member of his squad had been killed in an explosion, a US Marine urinated on one of the 24 dead Iraqi civilians killed by his unit in Haditha, the Marine testified.

Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz, who has immunity from prosecution after murder charges against him were dismissed, also said he watched his squad leader shoot down five Iraqi civilians trying to surrender.

In dramatic testimony in a pre-trial hearing for one of the seven Marines charged in the November 2005 Haditha killings and alleged cover-up, Dela Cruz described his bitterness after a roadside bomb ripped Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas, known as T J, into two bloody pieces.

“I know it was a bad thing what I’ve done, but I done it because I was angry T J was dead and I pissed on one Iraqi’s head,” said an unemotional Dela Cruz in a military courtroom in Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, California.’


Thursday, May 10, 2007

 

Gates Contradicts Bush, Says ‘I Don’t Know’ If 2002 War Authorization Is Still Valid

‘During today’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he doesn’t know whether the 2002 resolution authorizing force in Iraq is still valid, acknowledging that his view differs with that of President Bush.

During his questioning of Gates, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) noted that the authorization listed two purposes for the use of force: 1) to defend the United States against Saddam Hussein and 2) enforce U.N. resolutions against Hussein’s government. Byrd asked Gates, since Hussein’s government no longer exists, “do you agree that this authorization no longer applies to the ongoing conflict in Iraq?”

Gates responded: “I think the honest answer, Senator Byrd, is that I don’t know the answer to that question.” Gates admitted that his answer contradicts that of the President, who believes the resolution “still continues to authorize the actions that we are taking in Iraq.”’


information

Saturday, May 5, 2007

 

Military: New Iraqi school had bombs built in

‘American soldiers discovered a girls school being built north of Baghdad had become an explosives-rigged “death trap,” the U.S. military said Thursday.

The plot at the Huda Girls’ school in Tarmiya was a “sophisticated and premeditated attempt to inflict massive casualties on our most innocent victims,” military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said.

The military suspects the plot was the work of al Qaeda, because of its nature and sophistication, Caldwell said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

The plot was uncovered Saturday, when troopers in the Salaheddin province found detonating wire across the street from the school. They picked up the wire and followed its trail, which led to the school. Once inside, they found an explosive-filled propane tank buried beneath the floor. There were artillery shells built into the ceiling and floor, and another propane tank was found, the military said.’


mail

Monday, April 30, 2007

 

Four Hired Guns in an Armored Truck

‘On the afternoon of July 8, 2006, four private security guards rolled out of Baghdad’s Green Zone in an armored SUV. The team leader, Jacob C. Washbourne, rode in the front passenger seat. He seemed in a good mood. His vacation started the next day.

“I want to kill somebody today,” Washbourne said, according to the three other men in the vehicle, who later recalled it as an offhand remark. Before the day was over, however, the guards had been involved in three shooting incidents. In one, Washbourne allegedly fired into the windshield of a taxi for amusement, according to interviews and statements from the three other guards.’


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

 

Blood, Bullets, Bombs and Bandwidth

‘Ryan Lackey wears body armor to business meetings. He flies armed helicopters to client sites. He has a cash flow problem: he is paid in hundred-dollar bills, sometimes shrink-wrapped bricks of them, and flowing this money into a bank is difficult. He even calls some of his company’s transactions “drug deals” – but what Lackey sells is Internet access. From his trailer on Logistics Staging Area Anaconda, a colossal US Army base fifty miles north of Baghdad, Lackey runs Blue Iraq, surely the most surreal ISP on the planet. He is 26 years old.’


Thursday, April 19, 2007

 

In a Major Step, Saudi Arabia Agrees to Write Off 80 Percent of Iraqi Debt

‘Saudi Arabia has agreed to forgive 80 percent of the more than $15 billion that Iraq owes the kingdom, Iraqi and Saudi officials said yesterday, a major step given Saudi reluctance to provide financial assistance to the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad.

But Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr said in an interview that Russia was holding out on debt forgiveness until talks begin on concessions that Russian oil and gas companies had under Saddam Hussein. Russian Embassy officials in Washington declined to comment late yesterday.’


conditions

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

 

Halliburton to Move Headquarters to Dubai

‘Halliburton, the big energy services company, said today that it would open a corporate headquarters in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai and move its chairman and chief executive, David J. Lesar, there.

The company will maintain its existing corporate office here as well as its incorporation in the United States. [..]

The announcement about the Dubai move, which Halliburton made at a regional energy conference in Bahrain, comes at a time when the company is being investigated by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegations of improper dealings in Iraq, Kuwait and Nigeria. Halliburton has also paid out billions in settlements in asbestos litigation.’


service

Saturday, March 10, 2007

 

Confessions of a Torturer: The story of an Army interrogator

‘Tony Lagouranis doesn’t fit the profile of a person likely to go wrong by following orders. He’s lived a footloose life unconstrained by a desire for professional advancement, for the approval of superiors, even for a comfortable home. A freethinker, he read the great works of Western civilization in college and mastered classical languages. It was his desire to learn Arabic as well that took him to Iraq.

And there, as an army interrogator, he tortured detainees for information he admits they rarely had. Since leaving Iraq he’s taken this story public, doing battle on national television against the war’s architects for giving him the orders he regrets he obeyed.’