The United States cannot possibly achieve its political goals in Iraq - or the goal of reducing its own military presence over time - unless Iraqis are treated as partners.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: The Best Defense Is a Good Offense
ecological foreshadowing? what a nightmare. 22,000 and counting...
At Least 22,000 Die in Tsunami
'They now suspect everyone here,' said Lt. Col. Ahmed Ibrahim Ali, the commander of the Iraqi Army battalion. 'We feel like we live in a prison.'

Separately, Captain Uthlaut said, 'We are a little more careful with searching these guys. 'The fine line is treating them as partners, while not treating them like prisoners.'

The New York Times > International > Middle East > U.S. Troops and Iraqis Are on Edge at Mosul Base

Case(s) in point(s) - Editorial

I'm out of the habit of posting articles & op-eds, but this one speaks volumes about the current situation. Well done Bob. Why is a guy like Boykin even close a position of such influence? The situation is dangerous enough. There is no need to compound them by having people like him (-the uber-religioso right wing) and Rumsfeld (-neo con "crazies") making important decisions when they've miserably failed to lead America in the right direction.


December 27, 2004

Shopping for War

You might think that the debacle in Iraq would be enough for the Pentagon, that it would not be in the mood to seek out new routes to unnecessary wars for the United States to fight. But with Donald Rumsfeld at the apex of the defense establishment, enough is never enough.

So, as detailed in an article in The Times on Dec. 19, Mr. Rumsfeld's minions are concocting yet another grandiose and potentially disastrous scheme. Pentagon officials are putting together a plan that would give the military a more prominent role in intelligence gathering operations that traditionally have been handled by the Central Intelligence Agency. They envision the military doing more spying with humans, as opposed, for example, to surveillance with satellites.

Further encroachment by the military into intelligence matters better handled by civilians is bad enough. Now hold your breath. According to the article, "Among the ideas cited by Defense Department officials is the idea of 'fighting for intelligence,' or commencing combat operations chiefly to obtain intelligence."

That is utter madness. The geniuses in Washington have already launched one bogus war, which has cost tens of thousands of lives and provoked levels of suffering that are impossible to quantify. We don't need to be contemplating new forms of warfare waged for the sole purpose of gathering intelligence.

Part of this plan to further aggrandize Mr. Rumsfeld is being drafted under the direction of Lt. Gen. William Boykin, a deputy under secretary of defense who has already demonstrated that he should not be allowed anywhere near the most serious matters of national security. General Boykin, who once had the job of directing the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is an evangelical Christian who believes God put President Bush in the White House. He has described the fight against Islamic militants as a struggle against Satan and declared that it can be won only "if we come at them in the name of Jesus."

General Boykin asserted his views in speeches that he delivered in his military uniform at religious functions around the country. In one speech, referring to a Muslim fighter in Somalia, the general said: "Well, you know what I knew - that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."

General Boykin was forced to apologize after media accounts led to widespread criticism. But the Bush administration is still holding him tightly in its embrace. How difficult is it to come to the conclusion that this is not a fellow who should be making decisions on matters involving armed conflict with Muslims?

It's also time to rein in Mr. Rumsfeld. As The Times noted in a recent editorial, "The last time Mr. Rumsfeld tried to force himself into the intelligence collection and analysis business, he created a boutique C.I.A. in the bowels of the Pentagon under the command of Douglas Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy. The office essentially fabricated a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden - a link used to justify the Iraq invasion, and one that Mr. Rumsfeld was not getting from the C.I.A."

As Mr. Rumsfeld sees it, if the professionals won't give you what you want, find someone who will. What the Bush administration wanted from its intelligence sources was a reason to go to war. Mr. Rumsfeld's shop was more than happy to oblige.

The war in Iraq was the result of powerful government figures imposing their dangerous fantasies on the world. The fantasies notably included the weapons of mass destruction, the links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the throngs of Iraqis hurling kisses and garlands at the invading Americans, and the spread of American-style democracy throughout the Middle East. All voices of caution were ignored and the fantasies were allowed to prevail.

The world is not a video game, although it must seem like it at times to the hubristic, hermetically sealed powerbrokers in Washington who manipulate the forces that affect the lives of so many millions of people in every region of the planet. That kind of power calls for humility, not arrogance, and should be wielded wisely, not thoughtlessly and impulsively.

This latest overreach by Mr. Rumsfeld is a sign that the administration, like a hardheaded adolescent, has learned little or nothing from the tragic consequences of its wrongheaded policies. The second term is coming, so buckle up. It promises to be a very dangerous four years.

E-mail: bobherb@nytimes.com

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Shopping for War
More evidence of abuse and torture...

A trove of government disclosures forced by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit has signaled that the abuse of detainees in Iraq and at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was much broader than the Bush administration has portrayed it since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal became public this spring.

A heavily redacted internal e-mail from an FBI agent in June, for example, reported hearing of ''numerous serious physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees . . . strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees' ear openings, and unauthorized interrogations" and refers to ''coverup efforts."

Another FBI agent wrote in an e-mail in August of witnessing an interrogation in Guantanamo:

''The A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees," the report said. ''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."

Thousands of pages of documents, including two sets of FBI reports made public in the past week, have been released since October in response to a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups.

The documents suggest that severe mistreatment was far more widespread than previously known and that there may have been higher-level authorization by Bush administration officials for a policy of aggressive interrogation tactics. The White House last week again denied that anyone authorized torture and pledged to investigate the new allegations.

more greatest hits of Iraq torture and abuse...


A vivid FBI e-mail, which recounted the detainee who pulled his hair out, also describes sessions in which detainees were chained in a fetal position with no food or water for 24 hours or more, causing them to urinate and defecate on themselves.

During one prolonged period, the room temperature was set so low that a barefoot detainee shook with cold. Another time the unventilated room was made ''unbearably hot" while ''extremely loud rap music" blasted a detainee for more than a day, the agent said.

Another FBI agent reported in July 2004: ''I saw another detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played, and a strobe light flashing."

And two FBI reports from Guantanamo also present possible new evidence of higher responsibility for authorizing abuses. A e-mail from last December protests about Defense Department interrogators impersonating FBI officers at Guantanamo.

''If this detainee is . . . released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [by] the 'FBI' interrogators," the FBI agent wrote in December 2003.

Then, an e-mail from January 2004 discussing the sessions in which interrogators impersonated FBI agents -- but which itself does not use the phrase ''torture techniques" -- connects the practice to the second-highest official at the Pentagon, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: ''Once again, this technique, and all of those used in these scenarios, was approved by the Dep Sec Def."

The Pentagon has denied that Wolfowitz approved interrogation techniques of any kind, although it says Rumsfeld approved the tactic of impersonation.

A typical example: Last summer, two Defense Intelligence Agency interrogators saw members of a special forces task force ''punch a prisoners in the face to the point that the individual needed medical attention." They told a task force supervisors, but were ''threatened," ordered not to talk about it, and had their photos of the beaten prisoner confiscated.

A document indicated that an FBI official thought President Bush had personally authorized some aggressive interrogation techniques in Iraq, a charge the White House denies.

A May e-mail from an FBI commander in Baghdad makes repeated references to a presidential order allegedly authorizing military interrogators to use techniques such as sleep deprivation, hooding, and stress positions.

''The things our personnel witnessed (but did not participate in) were authorized by the President under his Executive Order," the FBI agent wrote.

The White House denies such an order exists. If it does and was issued before the Abu Ghraib abuses, such a directive would contradict the government's account that the interrogation policy went no higher than the top US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez.

''We need more information, but there is evidence here of high-up approval of these techniques," said Jaffer, from the ACLU. ''This is the first we've heard about the existence of this type of order."

To read/view more...Boston Globe - US disclosures signal wider detainee abuse & Un REgardModerne

Iraqification of your occupation

Rumsfeld Says Iraqis Must Stop Insurgents...

So, why don't "liberation" forces leave Iraq in a retracted fashion so that Iraqis that were inside of Iraq during the past couple decades can handle the problem? The exiles won't cut it. And American forces inside Iraq are becoming more and more of an obstacle. And if elections seem illegitimate in January, we are all in a lot of trouble. Hey! dim-sum for brains Rum, why don't you help destroy the insurgency by resigning? You know it would help. So, why not be what you have not been designed to be...selfless for your country... Exactly like those American soldiers you have sent or kept in Iraq to die. You're so damn patriotic, why don't you actually do something positive for America and Iraq by leaving your post? You know it would help both American soldiers and Marines...not to mention millions of Iraqis that you claim to be helping.

Iraqis will liberate themselves from the "liberation" eventually. How bloody your inwardly looking administration's interests require it to be is the real question...

And there are actually some smart people working on the problem...but they continually bat-heads with people like Rumsfeld.

I think the world has tolerated Rummy for too long. He's had time to backpedal from his sickly entertaining and horrific arrogance, but has failed to do so. So, time's up buddy. Give back to America by leaving D.C. By staying in your current position for the next four years you will only be adding flames to the already stoked fire of fundamentalism (both Christian and Islamic) that has been allowed to have a rennaisance of sorts during the 21st century. Funny how far backward we trod along in America, while claiming to be the most civilized people on earth.

Ah but what of this sanguine verisimilitude of the american masses...

It's really quite extraordinary that you're still in office rum-sum. but it's really quite extraordinary most of the things this administration has been catastrophically successful in screwing up has been because of bullshit lies and deceit that continues to be

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everybody.




...are 3 things we need more of in this world.

Let us work harder to gain more of each this coming year.

I haven't caught up with email. Please excuse me. Also, I'm sorry to see that Najma turned her comments off, but I completely understand this if she is being inundated with petty bs.

That's all I have the time for now.
I wish everybody the best. Be sure to spend time over the holidays with your family and good friends. Everything will seem better--for real--after you do thattttttttt....

peace and grace,

Show me the money. But don't go destroying Baghdad and killing more innocent civilians doing it.

In plain speak and directly: Iraqis are very skeptical about this guy's existence. But American officials continue to say that he's "the most dangerous man in Iraq" and continue to blow the flames of extremism in this twisted way by offering indications that he exists (for American consumption) and then destroying everything in the path their "intelligence" mapped out for them. So, because of FAC and because of so little being reported from independent sources...the creation of reality becomes the frontline on the battlefield.

And fooling the world continues to be the main objective. I see a pattern quite crisply at the moment. And the net result has been more innocent people being killed. And simply, I don't like that. I'll continue to bitch until people listen more.

CNN.com - U.S. General: Al-Zarqawi likely in Baghdad - Dec 16, 2004

Presidential Medals of Failure

If you fail miserably, you get a medal of "freedom" or get to keep your job. That's the message the world gets from America. Therefore, the president should get a Presidential Medal of "Freedom".

Where's Kerik?

This is the question I asked myself as, one by one, the pictures of the latest Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees flashed by on my computer screen. First came George Tenet, the former CIA director and the man who had assured President Bush that it was a 'slam-dunk' that Saddam Hussein's Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Then came L. Paul Bremer, the former viceroy of Iraq, who disbanded the Iraqi army and ousted Baathists from government jobs, therefore contributing mightily to the current chaos in that country. Finally came retired Gen. Tommy Franks, the architect of the plan whereby the United States sent too few troops to Iraq.

Presidential Medals of Failure (washingtonpost.com)

Like a predictable movie

You knew it was coming. And so here is Shaalann positioning himself to be America's next delusional leader at the helm in Baghdad. He's the next Chalabi to be used as an excuse (and an alabi) to invade Iran and/or Syria. Saying all the things the Bush administration wants to hear...that's when you know something stinks. If they're really bent on war, this (and the next) administration will need a coalition-of-chalabis to make more war in the region.

Iraq's defense minister on Wednesday accused neighboring Iran and Syria of supporting terrorists in his country and charged that a senior Iraqi Shiite was leading a ``pro-Iranian'' coalition into next month's national elections.

How controversial! OOoooo!

And Scott Ritter, picking up on the Zarqawi stink, too.

Shaalan positioning himself to be used as an excuse and alibi-->simulataneously

Update...next day: Bush chimes in on Iran and Syria, today. Only a day after Shalaan makes the above statement. Golly gee.. I am so surprised! Good synchronizing dudes! Up-keep of the delusion is always necessary.

I wonder when this will catch up with them.

out, lim

Files show more US abuse in Iraq

It's been a while since I was able to blog. Anyway, I'll catch up on my email tomorrow. It's late, so I'll rest. Sorry to those of you to whom I said I'd reply to recently. It's been a bit too interesting lately. I'll be in touch soon.

Meanwhile, here's more evidence of the abuse that happened in Iraq.

Evidence of more prisoner abuse in Iraq has come to light after the US military was forced to release it by the courts. The documents show that US marines carried out a mock execution, used electric shocks and burned prisoners.


In one of the incidents, a witness described a marine "shock an Iraqi detainee with an electric transformer".

Two US servicemen were jailed over the incident, the files reveal.

Three marines were convicted after they "ordered four juvenile Iraqi looters to kneel beside two shallow fighting holes and a pistol was discharged to conduct a mock execution".


BBC NEWS | Americas | Files show more US abuse in Iraq

Rumsfeld lies on fire

Boy this is getting interesting. And it's only been days after he was asked to stay on the cabinet.

Despite Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's assertion that the military is outfitting Humvees with armor as quickly as possible, the company providing the vehicles said it has been waiting since September for approval from the Pentagon to increase monthly production by as many as 100 of the all-terrain vehicles, intended to protect against roadside bombs in Iraq.

Army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged yesterday that they have not approved new purchase orders for armored trucks, despite the company's readiness to produce more. They said the Pentagon has been debating how many more armored Humvees are needed.

US Stance on Armor Disputed - Boston Globe

Al-Hurub Min al'Hurriyyah by Husayn Ash-Shahristani

A great take on Husayn Ash-Shahristani's new book Al-Hurub Min al'Hurriyyah, or Escape from Freedom by our dear Professor. I don't even want to begin to get into the psychological framework of the following quote.

For history, I say this: Neither the USSR nor the Eastern camp had any role in the development of Iraqi nuclear energy program for non-peaceful uses, but the European countries, US, and Canada are the ones that played the major role in transforming Iraqi nuclear energy from peaceful purposes to strategic military purposes. And when we say countries, we refer to those companies within those countries, around 700 American, Canadian, and Western European companies...

Angry Arab's take on Husayn Ash-Shahristani's Al-Hurub Min al'Hurriyyah

Consolidation of Trials Having To Do With Abu Ghraib Is Totally Wack

"The case against England, which had been scheduled for trial in January at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is being moved to consolidate it with others stemming from the abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which angered the world and hindered U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq."

God forbid any more attention be brought to the matter. I guess the thinking is that the less points of light on the matter, the better. And if it's in Texas it sounds like Bush is trying them at his Crawford ranch cowboy-style.

US News Article | Reuters.com

Next to decline, Donald Rumsfeld

How does this work? Well, Kerik declines because he made only 6.2 million dollars off of stun guns. Or as the BBC reports,

He has earnt $6.2m from stock options he received from Tasar, which had done highly profitable business with the department Mr Kerik was now to head, according to FBI sources quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

That's all?! Can a guy get a break? I mean Rumsfeld only saw the age of Abu Ghraib come to color photographs thanks to digital imagery. And Cheney, well he's made hundreds of millions and he has job security for four more. Only a measly 6 mill? and a cheap immigrant housekeeper? And after going to Baghdad and doing such an obviously marvelous job training Iraqis...

Well here's how the stun guns work. We may never figure out how the system of nominating and declining works in this administration.

BBC NEWS | Americas | New US security chief pulls out

Masters of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead

Bob Dylan: Masters of War
No water supply, but we'll give you biometric eye scans and fingerprint you. Welcome to the occupation. Here we stand and here we fight
All your fallen heroes
held and dyed and skinned alive
Listen to the Congress fire
Offering the educated
primitive and loyal
Welcome to the occupation

Hang your collar up inside
Hang your freedom higher

Listen to the buyer still
Listen to the Congress
Where we propagate confusion
Primitive and wild
Fire on the hemisphere below

Sugar cane and coffee cup
Copper, steel and cattle
An annotated history
the forest for the fire
Where we open up the floodgates
Freedom reigns supreme
Fire on the hemisphere below
Listen to me
Listen to me
Listen to me
Listen to me

(R.E.M. reeling in my brain)

Disease risk stops Falluja return

With the Turks in Palestine, Alexander Aaronsohn

Read this book if you have a chance. It's free via P.Gutenberg

It will certainly give insight into contemporary matters.
It's like Negroponte vs CIA. It's like bread and butter. It's like the DIA vs Special Forces. It's Jacoby vs Cambone. Yuck yuck...

The New York Times > Reuters > News > Document Shows Further U.S. Abuse of Iraq Prisoners: "Members of a U.S. special operations task force punched and abused prisoners in Iraq in front of Defense Intelligence Agency agents and then threatened the agents to try to keep them quiet, a document made public on Tuesday stated."

It's ALIVE: the Audio Blog

It's ALIVE: the Audio Blog

Audio Blog

Is being in the airport of a country mean you've visited the country?

I've always wondered this. When I was younger I would count how many countries I had been to on the rubric that yes, if you visit an airport in a country, then you have visited it. Although technically true, I find this way of thinking to be a bit suspect as I've matured.

Similarly, Mr. Rummy has visited Baghdad International Airport. I wonder if he thought about this while there. So, did he really visit Iraq? Well, hm...technically, yes.

And what did he find there?

Soldiers are not happy.

Disgruntled Troops Complain to Rumsfeld

Whoops, I was wrong. He visited Kuwait. The BBC was just saying his speech was from Baghdad. So, he didn't go to Iraq to support the troops at the airport like Bush did the Thanksgiving before this past one. I wonder who will go for Christmas. Somebody of the administration will have to be sent. I bet it's Colin Powell. NE'Oh'KkkH'AN creeps like Anaconda and Wolfy like,

Yeah Colin...go ahead. Iraq's a great place this time of the year. (As he's strapped into a straight-jacket with a powerful hypnotic red beam fixed on his forehead.) Now, go... (as he steps out of the chair off of Air Force One in Amman) We've arranged a fabulous tour for you to see all the marvels of Iraqi acheivement so you can brag about them when you return. We'll take care of your family for you. I mean, we'll keep your seat warm here. Have a nice visit. ...Oh, yea, you'll have to get into the boot of that car to get to Baghdad where your linens are being warmed in the Green Zone.

Emperor of Alienation

A good one from Dr. Kristof. Will he find more troops for the coalition? Same bat time, same bat place.


Where could the Iraqi government possibly learn about ALIENATING potential political allies? Well, thankfully from America...their occupiers, I mean their sponsers! Allawi, King Puppet, along with others are being programmed for Karzai-esque existence. And Sistani and Chalabi on the same list? I'm sorry. This is absurd.

Do I see hope when I think of Iraqi elections today?

No. Not anymore.

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: A Call to Arms

For American Consumption or FAC for short

How many people inside Jordan or Iraq for that matter do you think would believe King Abdullah II of Jordan?

This is clearly for American consumption. We're getting closer to the bad guy...almost there....almost...we'll have to take out a few thousand more Iraqis, but it will have been well worth it. almost...almost...wait, wait...i see something ...no, but almost.


CNN.com - Jordan's king says troops tracking al-Zarqawi 'getting close' - Dec 7, 2004

Church Bombings in Mosul / 1,000 American Combat Death

What a shame...

Who is to blame? What is to blame? The Chaldean one is the church my grandmother went to. It was old then. You see, my grandmother was very Chaldean Catholic, but my grandfather insisted on all the kids being baptized in an Assyrian Orthodox church. Long story how that worked out. But she was a strong woman.

Anyway, this is another black day in Iraq.

I could not fathom what would change the circumstance now. No fake election will change this violence. If Sunnis are not somehow taken into the process, there will be no end in sight. Or Iraq would become a low-grade warfare-state...That's not a great option because it has been this for too long. So, was it essentially American policy to make Iraq into a low-grade warfare state? Or is this the "liberation" Iraqis deserve after so much suffering? Do Iraqis deserve to suffer more because they were tortured and oppressed by Saddam? The same Saddam that America was helping out so much in the 80s. And now, as we have seen through Abu Ghraib, Americans do the torturing and the humiliating. And the terror in the lives of many are directly related to American policy decisions and incompetence on the ground. Most people I know try to avoid American soldiers at all costs these days. I remember the day one gave his phone to my cousin to call us to make sure that we knew everybody was ok. I was very happy that day. There was positive interaction and a service given to my cousin when there were no phone lines. Now, many phone lines are cut. Communication has been lost. Mobile networks put in by the U.S. choice have broken down. Iraq becomes more of a black hole. I wonder if those first "illegal" mobile networks put up very early would work now.

Anyway, I'm just rambling. Bye,

Iraq Churches Bombed; 1,000th American Killed

Rumsfeld faces tough questions from troops - Dec 8, 2004

"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up," Rumsfeld said. Rumsfeld in reply to a question from a soldier that was asking why there were not enough armor on vehicles. If you want the context go to the story at the end.

I urge all U.S. Soldiers and Marines to begin asking those difficult questions to Rumsfeld. This is good news, indeed. Embarrass the hell out of him and get him fired/let-him-resign.

CNN.com - Rumsfeld faces tough questions from troops - Dec 8, 2004

Warsaw Ghetto Becomes Fallujah?

Is this comparison valid?

I was just reading Chris Allbritton's Back to Iraq and saw this. Okay... It could potentially make me sick. Anyway, check this out via George of warblogging via Chris...

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.

I think Chris has a well-balanced assessment. Though I must agree with George that the whole process stinks of historical error.

I find Chris' words here well put, but he should go deeper with this sentence. "The Holocaust was policy; the Tragedy of Iraq is a series of horrific blunders." Isn't Iraq a policy too? Is there not a method there somewhere? I find it hard to believe that it's all horrific blunders. After you make so many mistakes, the pattern resembles a deliberate delusional mind-state. And in that sense, there is an argument that if this is so (if the mistakes made are deliberate) that delusional thinking is the policy of Iraq.

And US troops should not have to pay in blood for the mistakes of their leaders to deliberately fool the world with such ridiculous statements as "smoking gun, mushroom cloud" to go to a place they deliberately knew nothing about...so that when mistakes are made, the defense is merely..."well, it was a mistake. and we are sorry about that." ...WITHOUT, without anybody being accountable for those mistakes! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE???

anyway, i'm out...getting to worked up.

Back to Iraq 3.0: Options in Fallujah and about those elections...

Death Probe

Yes, hold a "death probe"...what is this star trek?...just hold a murder investigation on a mass scale. Oh, but it's war...so, innocent civilians are "collateral damage". i forgot. excuse me. sorry for naming it something it clearly isn't...i mean it wasn't necessary until after 100,000 people have died because of your actions.

BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Hold Iraq death probe, Blair told

An Unfriendly Reminder

Psy Ops let some slip through. Just another reminder of what not to do if you're trying to win hearts and minds. Ooops, it's just a bad apple or two.

Actually, this is a reminder of a war crime of massive proportions. Do you need one?

A group of US civil rights attorneys has brought suit in Germany against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld over the torture case.

Although US military spokesmen keep suggesting that the torture practices were confined to a few soldiers in the lower ranks, and that the photos were mere trophies, Seymour Hersh has argued that the soldiers were ordered to humiliate and photograph the prisoners as a way of blackmailing them into becoming informants for the US. The Americans were depending on Orientalist works like Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind in finding ways of controlling Iraqis, and were convinced that threatening males in an honor society with humiliation was the key.

And if that's not reminder enough that war is hell, go to Fallujah In Pictures.

Professor Cole continues,

Thomas E. Ricks has a characteristically piercing examination of the way in which a single blogger has been able to challenge the public relations efforts of the entire US military with regard to the human cost of the Fallujah campaign. He contrasts the US military's powerpoint slides of the fighting in Fallujah (linked to at Soldiers for Truth) with Fallujah in Pictures, a web site hosted by an anonymous individual in New York, which put up disturbing pictures from the fighting that were not printed in US newspapers or shown on US television, but which were widely seen in the rest of the world. Ricks interviews experts who universally conclude that the blogger's presentation trumped that of the US military.


"Issues" or perhaps Mistakes? ....or perhaps War Crimes?

Tony "Bahloney" Blair says at his meeting with the dictator Perv. Musharaff,

'In respect of Iraq, we agreed that whatever the issues of the past, the important thing now is to see the strategy through and ensure that Iraq is capable of becoming a stable and democratic state.

Terror causes 'must be tackled'

There's the unresolved and close to 40 year occupation of The West Bank and Gaza, hm... let me think what else is there?

Oh yea, I forgot...these pictures don't help, do they? Oh but that's none of Tony's fault, of course. This is for Ken who seems to have a common form of amnesia and somebody else who's really getting on my nerves these days. And since the former needs to be reminded what torture and abuse is, I thought this may be a veritable instructional manual for him. This is also for Donald Rumsfeld, the symbol of the symptom of the problem that continues to get worse. He also needs the reminder of what he would probably call, along with Condi, "a historical document having no relevancy in acheiving a balanced and stable Iraq." Well, I'm sorry. What was done was done. And there has still been nobody besides a few peaches held accountable for these atrocious acts...these war crimes.

I call for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. As part of his constituency I demand that he resign his second term and that they put somebody equally as guilty of war crimes in his place. Somebody like Condaleeza Rice should be the head of the Defense Department, you know? Come on, Mr. Vice President...shuffle things around a bit. At least put John Ashcroft there...I mean seriously. It would be a moribund muselix of fun. And the man is a latter-day John Lennon for God's sake. He writes, composes, and sings. Incredible. He could really catch all those Cat Stevens' in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. So think it over.

Sorry to any Americans reading this that find this offensive to your sensibilities. But this is what our government has done in Iraq. I just kindly ask you to ask our rulers (I mean leaders), what commanders are really responsible for these heinous acts?

And if this is the first time you've seen these photos, welcome back to reality.


Ukraine in the Membrane, Ukraine in the Brain

Aljazeera.Net - Ukraine elections betray Western bias

"...international relations expert Bulent Gokay, a senior researcher at Keele University in Britain, pointed out that a worryingly obvious fact is being overlooked.

'The two candidates, both Prime Minister Vickor Yanukovich and Yushchenko, have their roots in the same anti-democratic ruling elite which divided the wealth of the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union.'"

Sistani being programmed?


Aljazeera.Net - Sistani poll official in 'US custody'

Marc Sageman's 16 words

“We are seen as a hypocritical bully in the Middle East and we have to stop!" [via G McG]

All Mosquitos, No Swamp; No Elephants Either:
Wasn't it Machiavelli who said if you were going to invade and occupy another people that it would be necessary to completely destroy certain areas in order to rebuild things from scratch so that they lack any resemblence of the past? I will try and look this up and supply a source. But this quote reminds me of him and the passage I remember him writing that has to do with the infrastructural aspect of invasion and occuption.

I don't think this article is that great. There's still an insanely programmed black-out as far as Fallujah goes. One article in the times doesn't make up for the deliberate attempt to squash the Iraqi voice in Fallujah and beyond.

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Reconstruction: In Falluja's Ruins, Big Plans and a Risk of Chaos: "The city's power lines are so badly damaged that in most of the city, they will have to be ripped out and rebuilt from scratch - a project that will take six months to a year, American engineers say. "
Dowd droppin the hypertextual wisdom. [via G. Livingston]

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Jingle Bell Schlock: "One of them is the cardinal rule of anxiety: Avoidance makes it worse; confrontation gradually improves it."

I love making and helping people confront themselves. And being in a trance-like self-critical mode lately, I hope I'm not over-confronting myself...and not dealing with a current project I've thought about for far too long. Now that action is crystallizing with it, I am both excited and freaked out...and I can't sleep.

...Maybe if I just lay my head down.

Andrew Topolski out of NY shows you some of his latest work online.
This is a web version of an eerie video from a video installation done by J. Johnson. You should check it out.

casualties - dangerous

On Currency

The fixed-rate yuan has helped the euro rise to record highs against the dollar this year.

European officials believe freeing up the yuan and it allowing it to rise in value would take pressure of the strong euro which is causing concern because it makes eurozone exports more expensive.

Berlin: more flexibility for Chinese currency

Naomi VS U.S. Embassy

US authorities have denied that hundreds of civilians were killed during last April's siege, and have lashed out at the sources of these reports. For instance, an unnamed "senior American officer", speaking to the New York Times last month, labelled Falluja general hospital "a centre of propaganda". But the strongest words were reserved for Arab TV networks. When asked about al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya's reports that hundreds of civilians had been killed in Falluja, Donald Rumsfeld, the US secretary of defence, replied that "what al-Jazeera is doing is vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable ... " Last month, US troops once again laid siege to Falluja - but this time the attack included a new tactic: eliminating the doctors, journalists and clerics who focused public attention on civilian casualties last time around.

Eliminating doctors
The first major operation by US marines and Iraqi soldiers was to storm Falluja general hospital, arresting doctors and placing the facility under military control. The New York Times reported that "the hospital was selected as an early target because the American military believed that it was the source of rumours about heavy casual ties", noting that "this time around, the American military intends to fight its own information war, countering or squelching what has been one of the insurgents' most potent weapons". The Los Angeles Times quoted a doctor as saying that the soldiers "stole the mobile phones" at the hospital - preventing doctors from communicating with the outside world.

Read this piece by Naomi Klein. It's well sourced. Somebody needs to say it like this. I am happy to see Naomi take such action.

Guardian Unlimited | Guardian daily comment | You asked for my evidence, Mr Ambassador. Here it is

Rumsfeld Stays in Office to Avoid Jail Time

just f'in great...and yea, that's all I have to say about that.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Bush asks defence chief to stay

The Fetishization of All Things Arabic

Is fetishizing all things Arabic a manner in which we can reach more truth? When has fetishizing something led to more than an obsession, something more positive and substantive that deals more with reality (--the reality of even the spectrum of human emotions or other abstractions--) than singular (or individual) desires?

One can argue there is a fine line between fetishization and plainly good intention. I see this very well. But I am curious as to how we make sure we are not orientalizing (or in the Arabic person's case) reflexively orientalizing where we should not be...in order to make, say, the Iraqi voice ring clearer and build networks that are stronger.

Also, I find interesting how exoticizing things Arabic has contributed to some misunderstanding of the person who is Arabic of culture or race by western peoples. Yes, even I've experienced this...and continue to experience this daily.

I've always said the following as an Iraqi being outside of Iraq and mingling with all sorts of people from all over the world. On many an occasion, when somebody from the west finds out you're Iraqi when meeting even casually, they take either two steps backward or two steps forward.

Sometimes both can happen. They'll take two steps backward, then come forward...slowly or quickly. Sometimes they'll take two steps forward and then go two steps backward. Soon you're dancing salsa. And I'm afraid a lot of misunderstanding occurs in this stepping forward and backward, i.e. salsa dancing. Either because the person is unable to understand, say in my case, that I have a load of other things going on in my life (some predictable and some unpredictable) that might spark me into a freaked out frothing at the mouth fury (or more mild emotional discomfort) that nobody around me will escape. Everybody will salsa! So while I absolutely love meeting new people all the time--and don't plan stopping--I realize there's some salsa-esque maneuvering required in order to have a normal relationship with some people because of conscious or subconscious dissonance with regard to "the other". And if you've read the Iraqi Agora you might be able to find more of my freaking out. It can be effective for blogging. Because I do think the more emotional and personal blogs are more interesting to read. But it's not effective for one's sanity in these difficult times.

Of course, I could be over-estimating about certain situations...but I'm just being frank. You can be Mary.

(I'll write more later about this...I've got to go now.)
Fast Internet Service for The People; Telecoms Fight Plans For Public Networks
Interesting how my media consumption has taken on ironic and surreal tones in this short day. I have now just visited Juan Cole's Informed Comment and what do I find? He's talking about Journalism and the lack of reportage too...it's been on my mind endlessly these past few days. Because what I hear out of Iraq and what I hear in the media simply do not match up. There's such a blackout now that people are becoming dumber and dumber about the actual facts on the ground. The reasons seem obvious to me, but that's not the point. How do we change this so that people get real information?

Informed Comment
It's amazing to me how little is reported. Here's a sliver of the violence in the daily news. It has to be spectacular and sensational to make a headline. And, unfortunately for all, Iraq is still doing sensational and spectacular really well. But is the press really doing it's job reporting the true human consequences of such violence?

I'd be venturing near the absurd to fathom this as a possibility. Because they can hardly leave Baghdad these days...even if they wanted to. So, mostly everybody is reporting from their hotel room. I have an idea. Why don't you let all the refugees from Fallujah have hotel rooms for free. And then just have less reporters since they're not really reporting anything of any substance anyway.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Baghdad hit by two major attacks

The Yes Men on Dow Chemical's responsibility in the Bhopal Disaster - Updated & Corrected

I flipped on BBCworld today and who was on the idiot box but one of the members of 'the yes men' who was representing Dow Chemical and something-Carbine company...the companies responsible for the Bhopal huminatarian disaster. So, Andy--or Jude Finestra, representative of Dow Chemical--talked on and on about how Dow accepts the responsibility for the killing of 20,000 plus people. Amazing! I recently met the two at IDFA (the Dutch International Documentary Film Festival) where they showed their hilarious film.

Later, I went and did some cleaning and made a few phone calls, then I came back to the tv and the same BBC News anchor was correcting the interview by saying it was part of "deception" and the person was not a representative of Dow Chemical.

Anyhow, we know what the real deception and who was in the wrong in this matter. And, of course, the point was that Dow Chemical has yet to take responsibility for the disaster. Andy was merely using a creative way to call them out on their grave error. I salute 'the yes men'.
A true Dow representative is now coming on BBC (HAHAHA....) and is claiming the report BBC carried earlier was false and had nothing to do with DOW! live blogging...this is incredible.

so go visit their site and see their movie...it's brilliant.


UPDATE & CORRECTION: I just want to clear a couple things up now that I've visited theyesmen website and got their explanation on this action. When I was blogging while it was happening, I was excited about seeing Andy on the TV box after meeting him in person at IDFA. Now that I have learned more about the Bophal disaster directly because of this incredible event, I realize my tone should have been a bit more conciliatory and somber. So, I apologize for that specifically. Bophal is a continuing nightmare because of this chemical plant. And Dow should take responsibility and repent for the mess they have made over the past 20 years. Dow Chemical needs to update and correct their denial policy in Bophal. Drawing attention to the matter is the first step in this direction.


-Not Finestra: The name of Andy's Dow Chemical character is the following, not Finestra. "Mr. Jude (patron saint of the impossible) Finisterra (earth's end)..."
-The explanation: they explain this action in vivid detail. and they have video of the broadcast in mov, rm, and wmv. A must see really...

Ass Kiss Tour '04

Bush gets snuggly wuggly with Canada as he kicks off his Ass Kiss '04

NO S - H - I , that's IT! you premadonna retards of reality

The synopsis of this article published in the nytimes deserves one big, NO SHIT. Imagine having to win back the confidence of the people whose city you destroyed. Is that possible, I ask? If somebody destroyed your little town, would you be so willing to be like, "Yea, I would welcome you to my home and offer you some tea and sweets while throwing flowers in your face so we could talk over this whole destroying my town thing, but my home doesn't exist any longer. Do you have any suggetions as to where I might go? That would be so kind of you."

As officials prepare to start letting residents return to Falluja, they must figure out how to win back the confidence of the people whose city they have destroyed.

Reconstruction: In Falluja's Ruins, Big Plans and a Risk of Chaos

F - U - C, not OK: Rwanda announces invasion of Congo


Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Rwanda announces invasion of Congo

Mayhem in Iraq

Welcome to the (lucky) Iraqi reality. Coming from Abu Khaleel's Glimpse via Nada writing a letter.

My sister and her immediate family are all now in Amman, Jordan and my other brother and sisters and their children are preparing to leave Iraqs for Syria. At the moment there are about 2 million Iraqi in Jordan and the same in Syria and Lebanon. Some 200,000 Christian Iraqis have fled the country in the last couple of months. This is the freedom and democracy promised to the Iraqis

A Glimpse of Iraq: Mayhem in Iraq

The argument for and against troops staying in Iraq

Nicholas Kristof of the nytimes argues,

If U.S. troops leave Iraq too soon, the country will simply fall apart. The Kurdish areas in the north may muddle along, unless Turkey intervenes to protect the Turkman minority or to block the emergence of a Kurdish state. The Shiite areas in the south might establish an Iranian-backed theocratic statelet that would establish order. But the middle of the country would erupt in bloody civil war and turn into something like Somalia.
I also have to concede that those calling for withdrawal may in the end be proven right: perhaps we'll stick it out in Iraq and still be forced to retreat even after squandering the lives of 1,000 more Americans. Those of us who believe in remaining in Iraq must answer the question that John Kerry asked about Vietnam: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

The best answer to that question, I think, is that our mistaken invasion has left millions of Iraqis desperately vulnerable, and it would be inhumane to abandon them now. If we stay in Iraq, there is still some hope that Iraqis will come to enjoy security and better lives, but if we pull out we will be condemning Iraqis to anarchy, terrorism and starvation, costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the next decade.

Those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, whose lives we placed at risk by invading their country, are the reasons we should remain in Iraq, until we can hand over security to a local force. Saving hundreds of thousands of lives is a worthy cause to risk American lives for, even to die for.

This is a fair enough estimate. I am wavering on the issue now exactly because it's very difficult for me to see any better option. The situation is all-around terrible. What are the solutions? It's hard to say right now which is the right path. But we musn't get caught in complacency. People need to act and create, support the Iraqi voice, and not ignore it. Ask Iraqis what they want. Don't leave them out of the process. That was, and still is, the most dangerous thing. Alienating Iraqis of any race or religious sect. ...

But, yes, I think withdrawal is necessary for a stable Iraq. Yet, I see Kristof's point. I think that Iraqis need to be given assurances that there will not be a permanent American presence. Little steps need to made that might spark some good ideas. We need a streak of positivity combined with some inward criticism and outward accountability. There's too much chaos and too little accountability right now. It's difficult to focus and think properly about a situation when you've been avoiding reality for so long. But it needs to be confronted eventually. The sooner the better.

Saving the Iraqi Children by Dr. Nicholas Kristof
Juan Cole writes,

The London Times reports that nearly 700 persons die under suspicious circumstances (most of them from bullet wounds) every month in Baghdad. These are not, at least mainly, victims of the guerrilla war. They are mostly victims of crime or revenge. I figure that as 8400 murders a year in a city of 5 million, or 168 per 100,000 per annum. The highest murder rate in the US for 2003 was 45.8 per 100,000, in Washington, DC, with Detroit coming in second. That is, Baghdad is nearly four times as dangerous as the most dangerous American cities, more than a year and a half after the fall of Saddam. The US has by its stupid mistakes deprived Baghdad's residents of the basic right to personal security. It is true that Saddam's secret police used to dump bodies at the morgue, of course. But all the polls show that Baghdadis feel themselves substantially worse off in personal security now, and no wonder.



Um, excuse me...who's using chemical weapons now?

Dahr Jamail reports,

BAGHDAD, Nov 26 (IPS) - The U.S. military has used poison gas and other non-conventional weapons against civilians in Fallujah, eyewitnesses report..

”Poisonous gases have been used in Fallujah,” 35-year-old trader from Fallujah Abu Hammad told IPS. ”They used everything -- tanks, artillery, infantry, poison gas. Fallujah has been bombed to the ground.”

Hammad is from the Julan district of Fallujah where some of the heaviest fighting occurred. Other residents of that area report the use of illegal weapons.

”They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud,” Abu Sabah, another Fallujah refugee from the Julan area told IPS. ”Then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them.”

'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah

Iraqi public opinion

The Daily Outrage: "Iraqi Public Opinion

** Only 33 percent of Iraqis think they're better off now than before the war, as a Gallup poll discovered.

** Just 36 percent believe the interim government shares their values.

** 94 percent say Baghdad is more dangerous than it was before the war.

** 66.6 believe the US occupation could start a civil war.

** 80 percent want the US to leave directly after the January elections."
This is getting so absurd. It's not surprising, though.
Akhhh ya akhhhh...hal wataniya!
Leading Iraqi Parties Call for Election Delay
I like this. COUP 2K-Lumpen

Juan Cole trying to be smeared by MEMRI

Good luck trying to discredit Professor Cole. You will fail miserably.

Here's the entry Juan Cole writes about MEMRI's outragous attempt to silence one of the only sane voices of knowledge about Iraq in the US

Divide and Conquer

This is where we are now in Iraq. Get LeVine's take on the current situation. The thinking is perhaps that if they marginalize Sunnah from the elections it will be benificial for the Iraqi 'democracy' they'd like to see...which would be a version of the current "new face" dictat we see rearing its ugly head at the Iraqi population.

Iraq's Lose-Lose Scenario, by Professor Mark LeVine

newkular family

newkular family is a catalyst for electronic media creation, development, and circulation. Through our electronic media library and community efforts, we seek to expose electronic music and video to a broader audience, and to assist young people with the resources they need to express themselves through these media.

newkular family

networked_performance: multi-disciplinary research in location aware media

This is 'an open forum to discuss network-enabled performance for an international conference in 2006'. I believe this is part of a very important dialogue needing attention and participation. CLICK HERE TO GO DIRECTLY TO THE FORUM. (or click any other link to go to the net. performance website)

Please go check it out.

networked_performance: multi-disciplinary research in location aware media

UPDATE: Sorry I didn't post about this earlier. Seems as though the forum is closed as of yesterday. Anyway, there are some great links on both webpages I linked above. So, visit and enjoy!

Achtung! Blog about Media Law

Robert J. Ambrogi is a lawyer and a journalist based in Rockport, Mass. He is executive director of the Mass. Publishers Association.

Media Law - A blog about freedom of the press.

babble: http://www.robert-fisk.com is down!

Robert Fisk site is down. hm...

babble: http://www.robert-fisk.com is down!

Zarqawi in Kirkuk? WTF!

So, the still mythical character of Zarqawi (we have yet to see any hard evidence of his existence) is now in Kirkuk according to pukmedia.com?

First off, hat-tip to Kurdo.

Second, I've got family in Kirkuk. And I'm aware of the situation. And if America says Zarqawi is there and go in there and act like they are acting in Fallujah it would be like lighting a nuclear warhead with the HDX the army errantly didn't protect after opening the door to the Al Qa'Qaa complex. Iraq's fate could rest on what happens in Kirkuk in the coming months. No joke.

If the "Coalition Forces" frame Zarqawi like this, attack Kirkuk and mismanage and destroy it--along with most of Iraq--...well I pray (even though I'm agnostic) for the people involved in what could be a very terrible situation. I pray for the people dropping the bombs on Kirkuk and being killed and injured by those bombs. We get into the apocalypse-zone if Kirkuk is managed like Falloojah. Already I'm finding it difficult to comprehend and then comment about the current situation ...I will address the Kirkuk question in more detail soon.

Kurdo's World

25,000 US Casualties???

What's this? 25,000 US casualties in IRAQ? What if the American public knew this if it is actually true? I wonder. I think it is a sick thing to have to be sent to Iraq to fight more in this insane war. And I am sorry to each family that has endured an injured or killed member of their family because of this stupid stupid war. It is a travesty of enormous proportions. I wish you each peace in your hearts. lim.

via Juan Cole
I seem to have gotten a rise out of some because I am pissed off that so many innocent people are being killed all over Iraq with little hope in sight. This BS is going to repeat over and over again. And what is the result? Less safety for America and Iraq. And that's what you would like? Well, if so, you're crazy and that pisses me off even more... that some of you are so damn ignorant as to the ugly reality now enveloping Iraq. I'll try and refrain myself from using explicitives in the future.

'Stunning' LACK OF SANITY in Falluja


BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | 'Stunning' arms haul in Falluja

UPDATE: According to AFP, the story being trumpeted all day on Fox Cable News about the discovery of chemical and anthrax weapons labs in Fallujah by Iraqi troops is questionable to say the least. The US military denies it and Hans Blix is skeptical. I smell the troika of Iyad Allawi, Naqib al-Falah, and Hazem Shaalan behind this announcement, which will be remembered even if it is discredit

Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse - A Wikipedia Production

This is exhaustive research put in one place for you about Abu Ghraib and prisoner abuse in Iraq. It's a good and organized approach to the whole issue. I thought, in the spirit of the times.

Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse - Wikipedia
Thanks Abu Khaleel. This is Disgruntled Americans: A Soldier's View

For Africa

An image my cousin took in Africa about a year ago. Children soldiers. ...unbelievable.

Dr. Cole Explains, Describes Reactions- Why All THIS Rage

a partial explanation of the moment at least...

Large Protests Against Fallujah Campaign, Mosque Killing
US Hated From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli

U.S. should probe itself for some sense of humanity

There is another shift underway. Unfortunately, it is in the direction of pure vitriol. As expected by many, the violence injected into Falloojah has spread and continues to spread. It is not some insignificant event that this shooting inside a mosque took place. Iraqis are adding this event to the realm of Abu Ghraib as a blood-curdling pantomime of the recent-past. There will be little chance of any success as mistake after terrifying mistake, like this, takes place. Animosity is increasing with many Iraqis inside Iraq. And animosity is also increasing within myself. What can I say besides this? If I have a rage now brewing inside myself unlike any other I've ever experienced through the quality of insanity American forces continue to display with their reckless use of violence. Then what about the less fortunate Iraqi young person who has been alienated from his own wishes for freedom. We stare at the abyss. And why might I ask this? Because you will not achieve anything with this method of violence. Aren't I pointing out the obvious? Obviously, it's not that obvious to the architects of this madness.

Beyond these words, I am speechless for the moment. And don't give me the "bad-apple" bullshit.


U.S. to Probe Shooting of Wounded Iraqi

Where is the good news now Mr. President?

Dahr Jamail writes yesterday, "A man, woman and child died when the public bus they were riding in approached a US checkpoint there when they were riddled with bullets from anxious soldiers. A military spokesman said the bus was shot because it didn’t stop when they asked it to.

One of my friends here works on the election commission for Iraq-he stopped by tonight laughing at the new date which has been set for the election of January 30th. “They have this new date for their rigged elections,” he rolls his eyes, “And nobody in Iraq believes their propaganda. Elections? Here? I don’t know anyone who will vote. Perhaps the entire country can vote absentee for reason of car bomb!” "

Iraq Dispatches: More blood, More chaos

International Committee of the Red Cross calls for greater respect for basic tenets of humanity

"We are deeply concerned by the devastating impact that the fighting in Iraq is having on the people of that country."- Statement by Pierre Krähenbühl, Director of Operations of the ICRC

As hostilities continue in Falluja and elsewhere, every day seems to bring news of yet another act of utter contempt for the most basic tenet of humanity: the obligation to protect human life and dignity. This week it was the killing of a wounded fighter and of yet another hostage – humanitarian worker Margaret Hassan – that shocked the world. Like any other armed conflict, this one is subject to limits, and they must be respected at all times.

For the parties to this conflict, complying with international humanitarian law is an obligation, not an option. There is an absolute prohibition on the killing of persons who are not taking active part in the hostilities, or have ceased to do so. It is also prohibited to torture them or to subject them to any form of inhuman, humiliating or degrading treatment. Furthermore, the parties to the conflict must provide adequate medical care for the wounded – friend or foe – on the battlefield or allow them to be taken elsewhere for treatment. They must do everything possible to help civilians caught up in the fighting obtain the basics of survival such as food, water and health care. The taking of hostages, whether Iraqi or foreign, is forbidden in all circumstances. If these rules or any other applicable rules of international humanitarian law are violated, the persons responsible must be held accountable for their actions.

Regrettably, recent events have again shown just how difficult it has become for neutral, independent and impartial humanitarian organizations to assist and protect the victims of the conflict in Iraq. Once again, the International Committee of the Red Cross appeals for everything possible to be done to allow such organizations to come to the aid of the thousands of Iraqis who are suffering."

Iraq : ICRC calls for greater respect for basic tenets of humanity
I feel exactly the same as Abu Khaleel. So, no need to repeat...as he is there and feels it more than I. into the white, lim

I am at loss because I do not know whom to address or how! Sometime ago, someone wrote that my problem was that I was addressing several Americas at once. This is probably true. Somebody else once wrote that I will find myself repeating myself many times, which is also true.

The other thing is that I was really almost thrown off-balance by the Fallujah campaign. Although I was expecting such an outcome… yet, the grotesque scale of destruction, the total lack of any respect for human life, the short-sightedness of short-term policy gains at the expense of enormous long-term disasters, somehow leave me discouraged and depressed.

Iraqi Letter to America: Fallujah Done... Next!
Why embedded journalists are being taken for a ride, by Peter Beaumont, The London Observer

shot up bus

What could this possibly conjure up? Echoes of Lebanon's past can be heard today on Iraq's streets. I really hate to say this, but enough with self-censorship.

Iraqi civilians gunned down at checkpoint


Powell 'Pushed Out' By Bush For Seeking To Rein In Israel

A handy Daily Show Video Archive keeps the soul alive

Here's onegoodmove's video archive of the daily show.

And there's Lisa Rein's as well.

onegoodmove: Daily Show Video Archives

Tanks on the Streets in LA

I missed this as it's been busy. It's pretty crazy footage of anti-occupation/"bring the troops home now" protest that happened in LA. I noticed access to this is buggy when tried out with microsoft's internet explorer. Go get firefox 1.0 if you have a problem viewing.tanks-on-la-streets.mov (video/quicktime Object)

Violence spreading

Zeyad's latest...


Fierce fighting has been going on in several areas of Baghdad for the last 4 hours. I was supposed to leave for Basrah this morning, as soon as I walked out of the front door I was face to face with ten or so hooded men dressed in black carrying Ak-47's and RPG's. They had set up a checkpoint right in front of our door.

Someone barked at me to go inside. Nabil was also about to leave for his school. His driver had just called him and said that he was turned back at the street entrance by another checkpoint. We looked at the main intersection and it was swarming with armed men running about and motioning drivers and pedestrians to leave the area.


UPDATE: I had to sleep during the day since I was up all night yesterday. The fighting hasn't ceased yet. I woke up several times to hear nearby explosions and then I drift back to sleep.

Just in case you were wondering. Yes, we did contact the police in our neighbourhood using the public phone numbers they had given out a couple of months ago. Guess what? They were surrounded by insurgents and couldn't do anything about it. In Adhamiya, the police station was set on fire and four policemen were killed in the fighting, the rest seem to have left their posts. The National Guard base in Saddam's former palace near the Adhamiya bridge was also under attack for the whole day.

Relatives calling us from other areas confirmed that the clashes erupted all at once around 6:30 am indicating that this was a coordinated movement. Many say this was in response to the incident yesterday at the Abu Hanifa mosque in Adhamiya which is a sacred Sunni shrine. Apparently storming the mosque during the friday prayers has provoked Arab and Muslim clerics to call for Jihad yet again. Qardhawi reiterated his call for Jihad in Iraq yesterday on Al-Jazeera describing it as a "religious duty", and the International Union of Muslim Scholars based in Pakistan has also called all Muslims to head to Iraq for Jihad.

One can't help but notice that the clerics who usually incite holy wars in Iraq against the US occupation on the expense of Iraqis are based in countries allied to the US such as Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. On the other hand, you have Sheikh Salah Al-Din Kuftaro, son of Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro, the late Grand Mufti of Syria, publicly denouncing the behaviour of Iraqi insurgents yesterday during Friday prayers at the Kuftaro mosque in Damascus. He described them as the "present day Kharijites" and their actions as "unislamic".

Fierce fighting continues to spread and erupt


Iraqi journalist Abbas Ahmed Ibrahim says,"The war is over, but there is no peace...and the killings go on"

Here comes the legislative bulldozer...watch out people.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 - House Republican leaders blocked and appeared to kill a bill Saturday that would have enacted the major recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission, refusing to allow a vote on the legislation despite last-minute pleas from both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to Republican lawmakers for a compromise before Congress adjourned for the year.

Wave of Sadness Washes Over Me

I'm so wet with this wave of sadness now. I know...I know very well how sick it is that so many innocent Iraqis have been killed in the seige on Falloojah and then in the fall-out occuring all around Iraq as the violence continues to spread. But Ms. Hassan's story continues to hit me extremely hard...it almost upsets me that this is only one person, but she was so extraordinary. And this tears down so many barriers that will prohibit so much necessary help reaching Iraq and Iraqis in the foreseeable future.

I also believe once Falloojah began this time Ms. Hassan was doomed, but of course how could one say this at the time. We had to keep some hope alive. Tahsin Ali Hassan, Ms. Hassan's Iraqi husband, can be heard in the democracy now video today that's linked below. This man pleads for his wife's body to be returned. And I just couldn't handle hearing and seeing him. It makes me so distraught...I cannot, I dont know... Look, I'm a strong man, but this is becoming too much.

I've got to go. Too much is too much.


Democracy Now! | Headlines for November 17, 2004
Iraq Dispatches: More from Dahr Jamail, one of the last remaining independent journalists in Iraq

Iraq Dispatches

Amidst the Madness, We have a story of comfort and happiness

HUBBY is coming back in a couple hours!!! I'm so happy for you NIW! Yellah, have so much fun and check back with all your friends.

If people don't mind me speaking for all fellow Iraqi bloggers for a moment...you are a light at the end of the tunnel. And I hope each of us can have such re-unifications of such great emotional significance. We love ya! ;) Our best to HUBBY!!!

Much peace and grace,


Kristof: The Bush Revolution

"So what should we expect in a second term?

A squeeze on North Korea The hawks have been impatient with what they see as the coddling of North Korea, and unless there is progress soon, there will be a push to get tougher and apply sanctions.

A continued embrace of Ariel Sharon With Mr. Powell out, there will be no one in the administration pushing Mr. Bush toward a more balanced policy. Tony Blair will try, but he's too far away.

A collision with Iran When Iran's new agreement with Europe on curbing its nuclear programs falls apart, the U.S. will resume its push for regime change in Iran (ironically, pushing for regime change in Iran and Cuba is what keeps those regimes in power). Then the U.S. will discuss whether to look the other way as Israel launches airstrikes on Iranian nuclear sites.

Dithering on Darfur Mr. Powell traveled to Darfur, proclaimed the slaughter there to be genocide and quietly pushed within the administration to get some action. I wish he had done much more, but, by contrast, the White House has been lackadaisical.

A litmus test of foreign policy prospects will be whether John Bolton, a genial raptor among the doves at State, is promoted to be its deputy secretary. For liberals who have been wavering on whether to move to New Zealand, that would be a sign to head for the airport."

Duly noted, Dr. Kristof...adding to the chorus of educated individuals like Dr. Juan Cole that are speaking up about Bush as a revolutionary.

The Bush Revolution


I thought this was appropriate, seeing how Fallujah has sparked violence that has spread beyond. In April complete destruction was the aim, but for political reasons the mission was aborted. Now, well, we have a media blackout, save embedded reporters getting sick footage of an unarmed Iraqi fighter being shot while unarmed and lying on the ground...


so we've heard enough (I believe) to understand the idea of using a town's destruction as an example is still pervasive. And if you know about Guernica, the aim was to create total destruction of a town in order to serve as a similar example.


Cartlinear Map

This is to contrast to the data on IQ vs voting tendencies. It's a cartogram that controls for population rather than land mass. And it's just a cool map. There are others, too. Just go here.

More on my day's reaction to Ms. Margaret Hassan's Murder

I woke up. Got online. Then I went to the BBC and my mind began spinning as I saw the headlines about Mosul and Ms. Hassan. I got extremely nauseous and ran to the toilet, then proceeded to throw up everywhere. It happened within a span of 2-3 minutes. Sorry if I'm grossing you out. But that's what happened. And now I know what's in store for Iraq beyond a doubt. I'm physically sick because of things I feared the most. I didn't post mentions of these two events until I had laid back in bed asking why a million more times while trying to relax my mind. And let's just say the toilet doesn't work anymore. (I know, more detail than you needed.)

Right now, that's all I have to say. This was a grande Madam d'Iraq. And I repeat the people who did this cannot possibly have any sense of what she means to Iraq and Iraqis. And her murder will sicken me for the rest of my life. It is so unacceptable.

I'm still in shock because I thought for sure that she would be released like the four from Un Ponte. It makes no sense. But there are very clear conclusions we may draw upon because of her murder, as I mentioned when she was first captured. And they speak volumes. Check out that post if you like. Right now, can't blog any more about this...I try to do more later.

Peace be upon Ms. Hassan and Peace be upon all Iraqis who disagree with such heinous crimes.


Times Online - World

Goss: No Critical Thinking Allowed

In other words, leave the CIA or fall into line without clear-eyed analyses based upon factual evidence. That's like driving blind when dropping several lit ciggarettes in your crotch while on a curvy mountain pass.

A brave new America, indeed.

The New York Times > Washington > New C.I.A. Chief Tells Workers to Back Administration Policies


Just when I thought things couldn't get worse. Who ever is responsible for this is NOT Iraqi. I will have further comments soon.

Margaret Hassan Murdered
Welcome to America, Where We Keep Our Electorate Dumb:
I hope you live in a blue state, or you might feel really chided by this graphic.
Khalil Ibrahim, an eyewitness in Fallujah...still taking questions live
Abu Laith, an eyewitness in Fallujah
CIA in Turmoil: The New Boss is Meeting Resistence from American Spies...that's at least how the headline reads from the front page. Well, you know what I think? Porter Goss BETTER meet resistence from American spies or else the whole world is up shit-creek. Imagine a president that puts all his men, his neo-cons in all the positions where clear-thinking analysts and others exist. I MEAN ANACONDA as Secretary of State, too??? IMAGINE what these next 4 are going to be like? It almost makes you want to cry thinking about the INSANE possibilites. Unbelievable, unbelievable...


This whole thing , everything that's going on, it just blows my mind.

US launches major Mosul assault
on a lighter note... or is it? Historically, meta/phorical (i.e. symbolic) penis-envy wars lead to real ones. But we can see it lightly now at least! I think.

So, the meta/phorical penis-envy award goes to...

China plans world's tallest tower

Snowballs or Rocks...

Which one?

And I'd like to say Happy Eid, but how can I say that when HNK makes such a poigniant post like the one linked below?

And I cannot begin to tell you how much it breaks my heart to see both her, Najma, and their family going through what they are going through in Mosul and in Iraq in general. And that's just one story. Imagine how many others have gone through this and much more. Well my family has recently been added to this list of being influenced by the chaos. And let me tell you...it does not feel good. But Iraqis will resist. Just as that small Palestinian child who had more balls than anybody like Rumsfeld or Wolfowitz or the President and Cheney for that matter. Unfortunately, in Iraq we have things other than just stones that cause much more damage. That is one reason the real war has just begun. Iraqis are resistance embodied. But we don't have depleted uranium munitions. We don't have cluster bombs and tomahawk cruise missles. We don't have stealth bombers and aircraft carriers. We don't have a lot. But Americans, and yes, I am a part of this as much as I hate it, Americans will have to quit Iraq. And us Iraqis will see self-determination. Who will we thank? Ourselves. History is merely repeating itself. The British couldn't last, nor will this American occupation. The blood that is being spilled in such an inane manner and amount by both Americans and Iraqis will have been for absolutely nothing but the attempted re-colonialization of a people that know all-to-well how this can be stopped. So, please listen to William Polk America...leave, leave Iraq...choose to leave instead of being thrown out. And do this sooner than later.

Here is HNK's post now:

hnk's blog: Talking about me...

Stop Killing Us. You are them. I am Liminal. Hear me roar.

But it would be best to listen to Iraqis inside Iraq roar first.

I haven't felt much like blogging lately because of a number of reasons. The situation is developing so I don't want to follow certain things up until matters are conclusive with regard to my family. All I'll say now is that there is a butt-load of money involved and some unsavory characters that do not get an ounce of my sympathy. Unfortunately, the mayhem that has enveloped Iraqi cities was for-the-most-part instigated by Fallujan nightmare II or is it III now?...and added to the list of those who cannot garner a smidgin' of my ameable nature are many of the American military commander Barbarians that are destroying parts of Iraq with cluster bombs like these. I am convinced they knew this violence would spread and that they do not want elections. Iraqi elections, as I said on the Iraqi Agora a long long time ago, threatens America. The real war is just starting. And these assholes are licking their lips to purge the CIA, the State Department, and other intelligence agencies of sentient beings or people of more "moderate" views that do not agree with the way Bush Inc. are neo-conning the world into their evil plans for the region at large. For the lack of a better term...isn't that a quasi-fascist thing to do? Oh, but liberating people by ripping apart their babies bodies in a hail storm of cluster bombs isn't? So forget the quasi...to quote the sex pistols,

God save the queen [or Prez]
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
Potential H-bomb

God save the queen [or Prez]
She [He] aint no human being
There is no future
In England's [America's] dreaming

Anyway, I'd like to offer this site as something to divert your attention to while Iraq goes up in flames because of the foolish behaviour of the mayors of Baghdad, the American administration, and proxy-ruler supreme negroponte. I might put up other interesting sites that might help accomplish this tremendous feat of experiencing pleasure while knowing so much wrong is being done. But I'll see.

And when you know the world's future may be passed on to the Terminator. I say, put a tutu on him and see how he operates before changing the constitution for the expressed purpose of this. I'm all for the change, but I don't want to see Arnold as the next Reagan nightmare. (Seen on the streets of Berlin)

Other questions:

-Where is Sistani?
-Why isn't he objecting forcefully to this massacre and spreading of violence? Maybe I'm missing something, so somebody please fill me in if I'm incorrect.
-What would you do if somebody invaded your country? invaded your home? killed your grandfather? kidnapped your cousin? all in the name of liberating you from ...from what? from even more death? Because American tanks and weaponry are not leaving Iraq anytime soon. And true liberation will only come when this happens.

hasta la pasta, al-kaka la pantalone, re-electum a robot and dark human matter i'd rather put in somebody's rectum to hide from the world through rabid constipation...but not my rectum, thank you.

your meta-pocket-of-resistance,


Representative Poetry On-line: Version 3.0

Catch Iraq, It's Falling


My cousin was kidnapped

I don't feel in the least bit inhibited to speak about this incident. I plan on doing so soon, but things are too hectic now. People need to know about these things to understand how difficult life in Iraq has gotten. The violence is spreading. It would be fair to say that I'm terrified at this point. BTW, Raed is doing a spectacular job at keeping up with events going on, so visit his blog. Not to mention the wonderful project the Jarrars are coordinating. Please donate to this effort. You can find out more about it at Raed's or Khalid's.

I have to run now.


No more excuses

Yasser Arafat dies

Yasir Arafat dead?

What is going on?

Fadhil Badrani in Fallujah: 'Watching tragedy engulf my city'

I am surrounded by thick black smoke and the smell of burning oil. There was a big explosion a few minutes ago and now I can hear gunfire. A US armoured vehicle has been parked on the street outside my house in the centre of the city. From my window, I can see US soldiers moving around on foot near it. They tried to go from house to house but they kept coming under fire. Now they are firing back at the houses, at anything that moves. It is war on the streets. The American troops look like they have given up trying to go into buildings for now and are just trying to control the main roads. I am sitting here on my own, watching tragedy engulf my city.

'Watching tragedy engulf my city'

Meandering mind keeps me up at night

This blog is meant to serve cathartic purposes. After being so silent about so much that was so bothersome, I began blogging because of the inspiration Salam, Riverbend, then Zeyad gave me. Now, because I've had a cold during the past 4-5 days due to little rest and too much work to do...I think I've gone a little over-board. Things have been both incredibly fresh and exciting & horrible and terrifying at the same time. The hot and cold of it and constant travels have worn me thin. Recently morose off of an excruciating election result, Falloojah, and more family stresses...I'm forgetting what I have right in front of my face.

So, I watched a film called "A Taste of Cherry" by Abbas Kiarostami the Iranian director. It's about a man that tries to get somebody, anybody, to help him committ suicide. Yet along the way, he learns a lot about life from total strangers that are not from Iran. It's a poetic externalization of an internal existential battle. The visualizations are breath-taking. I believe it won the Palm d'Or in 1997. I recommend it. Film can be escapism. But it can also serve cathartic purposes and even teach one through stories and method. Though it can torment through allusion, as well.

Speaking of which, I've been watching a lot of war movies lately. You know, the classics like Apocalypse Now/Coppala, A Thin Red Line/Mallick, Full Metal Jacket/Kubrick. And a newer classic of Errol Morris' called "The Fog of War." The first time I tried to watch the film I couldn't handle the powerful allusions to the situation in Iraq. You see, Robert S. McNamera eerily reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld. I was watching it a bit earlier and something he said struck me as interesting. Being wide awake and just finding out my family's ok...I've had a sudden burst of energy & lucidity. Anyway, he says something in a very poigniant part of the movie that I've transcribed,

The U.S. Japanese war was one of the most brutal wars in all of human history. Kamikaze pilots , suicide, unbelievable...what one can criticize is that the human race prior to that time and today has not really grab-bled with what i call 'the rules of war'...was there a rule that said you shouldn't bomb , shouldn't kill, shouldn't burn to death a 100,000 civilians a night. LeMay said if we lost the war we would have all been prosecuted as war criminals. And I think he's right. He, and I would say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought of as immoral if his side has lost. Well, what makes it immoral if you lost and not immoral if you win?

And there are so many parts of the film that serve as an echo-chamber for what I see happening in Iraq today. Comparing Vietnam with Iraq was just done by a commander in Fallujah. "Another Hue city"...I believe. Lyndon Johnson sounds like Dubya, too. The bombs are just bigger...not smarter. Ordinance cannot be smart when involved in urban warfare. And the way peoples bodies are broken are similar, the tools are just a bit more "sophisticated" and destructive.

And then, there's the issue of history. Because of the ignorance of history or the misinformation in history books in the US, Americans have complete misconceptions about entire races of people. We seem to be moving backward over here. How can you continue modernizing an army, and stop modernizing your mind or outlook on the world?

When McNamera talks about using Agent Orange...I think, how ironic...over and over again. That's a chemical weapon. In the movie there are 11 lessons, Lesson #9 In order to good you have to do evil. How much evil must we do in order to do good? he asks...well, this is essentially what the Marine's outlook was that I mentioned in a few posts earlier. I just don't buy it along with all the double-standards that go along with it. What makes America so righteous to make such horror in peoples lives? I don't think it's right. War is not right. And killing people will not help create the example for democracy to thrive. Fallujah will have the opposite effect of the stated intentions that Rumsfeld stated yesterday.

Lesson #11: You can't change human nature.

We all make mistakes. We know we make mistakes. I don't know any military commander who's honest who would say he has not made a mistake. There's a wonderful phrase: "the fog of war". What the fog of war means is that war is so complex ...our judgement and our understanding are not adequate. And we kill people... unnecessarily. Wilson said, we won the war to end all wars. I'm not so naive or simplistic to believe that we can eliminate war. We're not going to change human nature any time soon. It isn't that we aren't rational. We're rational. But reason has its limits. There's a quote from T.S. Elliot which I love, "We shall not cease from exploring. And at the end of our exploration we will return to where we started and know the place for the very first time." Now that's in a sense where I'm beginning to be. [he chokes up with tears]

And I hope that is where Rumsfeld and others in this administration get to at some point. Because they will all be better people for it if they do. Values...

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