Saturday, November 27, 2004

Yahoo! News - U.S. Sends in Secret Weapon: Saddam's Old Commandos

Yahoo! News - U.S. Sends in Secret Weapon: Saddam's Old Commandos: "NEAR ISKANDARIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - Twenty months after toppling Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), U.S. troops still battling his followers in the heartland of Iraq's old arms industry are hitting back with a new weapon -- ex-members of Saddam's special forces.

For five months, Iraqi police commandos calling themselves the Black Scorpions have been based with U.S. Marines in the region along the Euphrates south of Baghdad, which roadside bombs, ambushes and kidnaps have turned into a no-go areas and earned it the melodramatic description 'triangle of death.'

'All of them were previously officers in the Iraqi army or special forces,' the Scorpions' commander, Colonel Salaam Trad, said at the Marines' Kalsu base near Iskandariya on Saturday.

'But Saddam was dirty and no good for Iraq.'

The performance of this SWAT team, as the Americans call it, could be a critical test of how U.S. forces can hand over to Iraqis to meet their goal of withdrawing from a stable Iraq. U. S. officers in the area say they are increasingly optimistic.

'The hardest fighters we have are the former special forces from Saddam's days,' Colonel Ron Johnson, commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, told reporters. "

By Alastair Macdonald


VOTERGATE - THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM: "Votergate is the investigative documentary feature film uncovering the truth about new computer voting systems, which allow a few powerful corporations to record our votes in secret.

Votergate continued filming through the Nov. 2nd election and will release a 90 minute feature film / DVD soon. This 30 minute Special Edition is designed specifically to help viewers navigate past the fear and spin being thrown at this critical issue."

Song Lyrics: Election By David Rovics

By David Rovics

The candidates lined up in a row
Turn on the cameras, time to start the show
They kissed babies with a tie
Tried every soundbite that might fly
But be they congressmen or preachers
The only ones who made the features
Were the ones who knew their station
Is that a man or a corporation?

And each spineless spam who won that round
Went on to the big buck battleground
They bought some ads and they bought some more
And they got freebies by the score
Hired thugs went door to door
Especially if you're black or poor
Said your vote might be against the law
Don't tell me the deal is raw

And we had an election, it ain't no lie
It was the best one money could buy

The news reported every word
Uttered by these two old birds
As if their tongues were heaven-sent
They didn't tell us what was meant
No voting record to analyze
And once again they'll feign surprise
When history proves to us again
The thieving crooks who are these men


And on the TV not a word
From those dirty commie peacenik nerds
There will be debates, slogans will fly
But only rich men need apply
There's only room up there for two
Tweedledee and tweedledoo
Uncounted ballots will litter the floor
In this banana Republican class war


And when it all is said and done
The pundits will say democracy won
Some will cry into their socks
Some will sit and watch more Fox
Where scandals, wars and desperation
Are all the fault of the United Nations
While those who drill the oil and make the tanks
Laugh out loud all the way to the bank


Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq... let's talk war, politics and occupation: American Heroes...

Baghdad Burning: "I'm feeling sick- literally. I can't get the video Al-Jazeera played out of my head:

It's typical American technique- every single atrocity is lost and covered up by blaming a specific person and getting it over with. What people don't understand is that the whole military is infested with these psychopaths. In this last year we've seen murderers, torturers and xenophobes running around in tanks and guns. I don't care what does it: I don't care if it's the tension, the fear, the 'enemy'� it's murder. We are occupied by murderers. We're under the same pressure, as Iraqis, except that we weren't trained for this situation, and yet we're all expected to be benevolent and understanding and, above all, grateful. I'm feeling sick, depressed and frightened. I don't know what to say anymore� they aren't humans and they don't deserve any compassion."

SoundClick - Falluja Tune In SoundClick SpotLight

SoundClick - Free MP3 music download and much, much more.Today, F911 and a Half featured singer/songwriter David Rovics tune, Falluja, is on the SoundClick Dot Com front page in the Spotlight section.

On Monday, F911 and a Half will post a Falluja Music Video using David's song and images from journalist Dahr Jamail. Check out a little demo preview.

Permission to Use Jamail's Copyright Images: E-Mail (Nov. 27)

>>Do I have your permission to use your photos in the>Fallujah Song music video? If so, can I FTP them in a single download? I'd like to publish it Monday.>>Thanks,>>-JOlmsted>

I don't know technical stuff...but you have my permission to use them.

Today, one of Dahr Jamail's photos is on the front page of Michael Moore Dot Com along with his story, Fallujah Refugees in Their Own Words.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Hard News: 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah

Hard News: 'Unusual Weapons' Used in Fallujah: "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.”

He said pieces of these bombs exploded into large fires that burnt the skin even when water was thrown on the burns. Phosphorous weapons as well as napalm are known to cause such effects. ”People suffered so much from these,” he said.

Macabre accounts of killing of civilians are emerging through the cordon U.S. forces are still maintaining around Fallujah.

Dahr Jamail is an independent, freelance journalist who lives in Alaska. He has spent over five months in Iraq, writing about the effect of the occupation on Iraqi people. His work has been translated into Arabic, Polish, Spanish, Japanese, German, and Russian.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Daily Star - Politics - 2,000 dead in Fallujah as U.S.-led forces sweep area

The Daily Star - Politics - 2,000 dead in Fallujah as U.S.-led forces sweep area: "US-led forces rounded up scores of suspected rebels in Iraq's 'triangle of death' on Thursday as officials said the death toll from the this month's massive operation in Fallujah was more than 2,000.
Iraqi soldiers combing the remains of the devastated city of Fallujah also found a suspected chemical bomb factory, along with pamphlets on making toxic substances such as anthrax, a top Iraqi official said.
The largest Sunni party threatened to boycott the Jan. 30 vote, dealing a blow to hopes for a broad national turnout that would legitimize the new assembly. "

WorkingForChange-Thanksgiving in Iraq

WorkingForChange-Thanksgiving in Iraq: "Last year, at Thanksgiving, candidate/President George W. Bush scored a PR coup by making a surprise visit to troops in Baghdad for Thanksgiving dinner.
This year, if he attempts the same stunt, he will find an Iraq that, thanks to his ill-advised policies, teeters on the brink of civil war. If such a war comes to pass, the Fallujah offensive will mark a significant turning point, a point at which ordinary Iraqis divested themselves of any last remaining tolerance for the Americans.
Characteristically, American media has yet to fully catch up to the latest bad news from Iraq. And, so, while American media focused on the recent U.S. blitz on Fallujah, the political and military fallout from that offensive hasn't gotten nearly the play it deserves. Put simply: Iraqi anger over the flattening of Fallujah, and the creation of a refugee population of the survivors among its 400,000 residents, not only threatens the January elections, but has turned virtually every corner of Iraq into an insurgent hotbed. "

Geov Parrish

antiwar: I give thanks for Arundhati Roy. (Multimedia Catalog)

antiwar: I give thanks for Arundhati Roy. SpeakerDo turkeys enjoy thanksgiving? by Arundhati Roy.

It's not good enough to be right. Sometimes, if only in order to test our resolve, it's important to win something. In order to win something, we need to agree on something." After a tour d'horizon, the author of The God of Small Things calls for a " minimum agenda" as well as a plan of action that prioritises global resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Click Title to enter the multimedia Arundhati Roy shine.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Kevin Sites Blog: Open Letter to Devil Dogs of the 3.1

Kevin Sites Blog: "Since the shooting in the Mosque, I've been haunted that I have not been able to tell you directly what I saw or explain the process by which the world came to see it as well. As you know, I'm not some war zone tourist with a camera who doesn't understand that ugly things happen in combat. I've spent most of the last five years covering global conflict. But I have never in my career been a 'gotcha' reporter -- hoping for people to commit wrongdoings so I can catch them at it.

This week I've even been shocked to see myself painted as some kind of anti-war activist. Anyone who has seen my reporting on television or has read the dispatches on this website is fully aware of the lengths I've gone to play it straight down the middle -- not to become a tool of propaganda for the left or the right.

But I find myself a lightning rod for controversy in reporting what I saw occur in front of me, camera rolling. "

Iraq Dispatches: Fallujah Refugees

Iraq Dispatches: Fallujah Refugees: “Doctors in Fallujah are reporting there are patients in the hospital there who were forced out by the Americans,” said Mehdi Abdulla, a 33 year-old ambulance driver at a hospital in Baghdad, “Some doctors there told me they had a major operation going, but the soldiers took the doctors away and left the patient to die.” He looks at the ground, then away to the distance.

Honking cars fill the chaotic street outside the hospital where they’d just received brand new desks. The empty boxes are strewn about outside. Um Mohammed, a doctor at the hospital sat behind her old, wooden desk. “How can I take a new desk when there are patients dying because we don’t have medicine for them,” she asked while holding her hands in the air, “They should build a lift so patients who can’t walk can be taken to surgery, and instead we have these new desks!” Her eyes were piercing with fire, while yet another layer of frustration is folded into her work."

Welcome to!

Welcome to!: "On my way to work Wednesday morning, I looked up and saw a giant billboard with a picture of George W. Bush and the words 'OUR LEADER' under it. The first thing I thought was, when was the last time I have seen a president on a billboard? What is going on? Didn't Saddam Hussein have his picture up everywhere? What next, a statue?
I am so concerned with our country and the division. I still stand by my vote, which was for John Kerry. George W. Bush has a lot of work to do to change the way I feel. Putting him up on a billboard does not make him a better president. His actions speak louder than words. " Iraqi Farmers Aren't Celebrating World Food Day "As part of sweeping 'economic restructuring' implemented by the Bush Administration in Iraq, Iraqi farmers will no longer be permitted to save their seeds. Instead, they will be forced to buy seeds from US corporations -- including seeds the Iraqis themselves developed over hundreds of years. That is because in recent years, transnational corporations have patented and now own many seed varieties originated or developed by indigenous peoples. In a short time, Iraq will be living under the new American credo: Pay Monsanto, or starve.

When the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) celebrated biodiversity on World Food Day on October 16, Iraqi farmers were mourning its loss.
A new report [1] by GRAIN and Focus on the Global South has found that new legislation in Iraq has been carefully put in place by the US that prevents farmers from saving their seeds and effectively hands over the seed market to transnational corporations. This is a disastrous turn of events for Iraqi farmers, biodiversity and the country's food security. While political sovereignty remains an illusion, food sovereignty for the Iraqi people has been made near impossible by these new regulations.

'The US has been imposing patents on life around the world through trade deals. In this case, they invaded the country first, then imposed their patents. This is both immoral and unacceptable', said Shalini Bhutani, one of the report's authors."

Monday, November 22, 2004

AlterNet: WireTap: How to get your own FBI file (LiveJournal)

AlterNet: WireTap: How to get your own FBI file: "When 22-yr-old Live Journal user, 'annie' posted some inflamatory, satyrical comments about George Bush on her LiveJournal earlier this week, she was reported by another LJ user. The rest, as she describes it, has changed her approach to free speech.
'At 9:45 last night, the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life,' she writes, in a post warning other LiveJournal users about their lack of privacy. "

Welcome to the North County News

Welcome to the North County News: "MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has covered the story aggressively on his Countdown program, as have liberal radio talk show hosts on Air America.

'There has been a justifiable uproar about the major differences between the exit

polls in Ohio and Florida and the actual results,' writes Sheldon Drobny, a CPA and venture capitalist and co-founder of Air America Radio.

'Democrats and Republicans, who both saw the same exit polls that showed an electoral landslide in favor of Kerry, have confirmed this,' he continued. 'It is important that people know how accurate random sampling of historical events can be in order for them to understand how unlikely it is that the exit polls were wrong.'

'We have a Watergate story here that could give the media a post-election explosive news story that could make the 2000 Florida vote debacle look like small potatoes,' Drobny concluded.

DeBar stressed a concession was not legally binding. He also believes a 'Constitutional crisis' is about to erupt.

'What he should do is call a national press conference, recite each and every case of apparent fraud and or error that could bear on the outcome,' DeBar said. '(Kerry) should remind voters strongly of the 2000 theft of Florida�he should redefine the results, and then redefine himself as someone worthy of challenging them. And he should go to the mat, both legally and politically.'

'Call a million-voter rally in D.C, or, better, simultaneously in (New York), D.C, (Boston), L.A., (San Francisco), Cleveland, (Chicago), etc�Hey, maybe there really were only 51 (million) that voted for Kerry and 53 (million) that vote for Bush. Let's see our 51 million in the streets. Better, let Bush and Cheney see 'em.'."

Welcome to the North County News

Welcome to the North County News: "Recount efforts in Ohio by Kerry intensify

by Adam Stone
A top-ranking official with Democratic Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign told North County News last week that although unlikely, there is a recount effort being waged that could unseat Republican President George W. Bush.

'We have 17,000 lawyers working on this, and the grassroots accountability couldn't be any higher -no (irregularity) will go unchecked. Period,' Kerry spokesman David Wade said.

A verbal firestorm erupted last week between an area supporter of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and Wade after the Kerry spokesman derided Nader for creating a 'phony wedge issue between progressives.'

Nader has been calling on Kerry and his vice presidential running mate, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, to, in his words, 'follow through on their post-election promise to the American people to make sure every vote counts, starting in Ohio.'

A Kerry victory in Ohio means he would have the necessary electoral votes to take the White House."

antiwar: Washington Post: Children pay the cost of Iraq's chaos

antiwar: Article from the Washington PostBAGHDAD -- Acute malnutrition among young children in Iraq has nearly doubled since the United States led an invasion of the country 20 months ago, according to surveys by the United Nations, aid agencies and the interim Iraqi government.

After the rate of acute malnutrition among children younger than 5 steadily declined to 4 percent two years ago, it shot up to 7.7 percent this year, according to a study conducted by Iraq's Health Ministry in cooperation with Norway's Institute for Applied International Studies and the U.N. Development Program. The new figure translates to roughly 400,000 Iraqi children suffering from "wasting," a condition characterized by chronic diarrhea and dangerous deficiencies of protein.

These figures clearly indicate the downward trend," said Alexander Malyavin, a child health specialist with the UNICEF mission to Iraq.

The surveys suggest the silent human cost being paid across a country convulsed by instability and mismanagement. While attacks by insurgents have grown more violent and more frequent, deteriorating basic services take lives that many Iraqis said they had expected to improve under American stewardship.

Iraq's child malnutrition rate now roughly equals that of Burundi, a central African nation torn by more than a decade of war. It is far higher than rates in Uganda and Haiti.

"The people are astonished," said Khalil M. Mehdi, who directs the Nutrition Research Institute at the Health Ministry. The institute has been involved with nutrition surveys for more than a decade; the latest one was conducted in April and May but has not been publicly released.

Mehdi and other analysts attributed the increase in malnutrition to dirty water and to unreliable supplies of the electricity needed to make it safe by boiling. In poorer areas, where people rely on kerosene to fuel their stoves, high prices and an economy crippled by unemployment aggravate poor health.

"Things have been worse for me since the war," said Kasim Said, a day laborer who was at Baghdad's main children's hospital to visit his ailing year-old son, Abdullah. The child, lying on a pillow with a Winnie the Pooh washcloth to keep the flies off his head, weighs just 11 pounds.

"During the previous regime, I used to work on the government projects. Now there are no projects," his father said.

When he finds work, he added, he can bring home $10 to $14 a day. If his wife is fortunate enough to find a can of Isomil, the nutritional supplement that doctors recommend, she pays $7 for it.

"But the lady in the next bed said she just paid $10," said Suad Ahmed, who sat cross-legged on a bed in the same ward, trying to console her skeletal 4-month-old granddaughter, Hiba, who suffers from chronic diarrhea.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

As U.S. Forces Raided a Mosque

As U.S. Forces Raided a Mosque BAGHDAD - An eyewitness commentary to IPS through a U.S. raid on a Baghdad mosque Friday gives a vivid picture of what a 'successful raid' can be like.

U.S. soldiers raided the Abu Hanifa mosque in Baghdad during Friday prayers, killing at least four and wounding up to 20 worshippers.

At 12:30 pm local time, just after Imam Shaikh Muayid al-Adhami concluded his talk, about 50 U.S. soldiers with 20 Iraqi National Guardsmen (ING) entered the mosque, a witness reported.

”Everyone was there for Friday prayers, when five Humvees and several trucks carrying INGs entered,” Abu Talat told IPS on phone from within the mosque while the raid was in progress. ”Everyone starting yelling 'Allahu Akbar' (God is the greatest) because they were frightened. Then the soldiers started shooting the people praying!”

Talat said he was among a crowd of worshippers being held back at gunpoint by U.S. soldiers. Loud chanting of 'Allahu Akbar' could be heard in the background during his call. Women and children were sobbing, he said.

”They have just shot and killed at least four of the people praying,” he said in a panicked voice. ”At least 10 other people are wounded now. We are on our bellies and in a very bad situation.”

Talat gave his account over short phone calls. He said he was witnessing a horrific scene.

”We were here praying and now there are 50 here with their guns on us,” he said. ”They are holding our heads to the ground, and everyone is in chaos. This is the worst situation possible. They cannot see me talking to you. They are roughing up a blind man now.” He evidently could talk no further then. (Video, Story Updates)

IPS, civil society's leading news agency, is an independent voice from the South and for development, delving into globalisation for the stories underneath.
The core activity of IPS is a global news agency producing independent news and analysis about events and global processes affecting the economic, social and political development of peoples and nations, especially in the South. IPS is the news agency of Civil Society and the South, Development Issues, The Globalisation Process and of the People Excluded from It.

The flagship World Service of the agency presently covers over 120 countries. The service is produced in English and Spanish, with selected stories translated into French, German, Finnish, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai, Mandarin, Nepali and Kiswahili. The daily output is currently around 112000 words.

Sixth Iraq oil well set ablaze by saboteurs "KIRKUK, Iraq : Saboteurs set ablaze another well in Iraq's northern oilfields overnight, bringing to six the number firefighters are trying to extinguish in the region, security guards said.

'Saboteurs exploded a bomb, setting oil well number 20 on fire,' said Lieutenant Colonel Hammudi Ali, of the security force operating for the state-owned North Oil Company.

The well is located in the Al-Khabbaza field, west of the city of Kirkuk, where five other wells were already ablaze following previous attacks.

'The firefighters are still trying to put out the fires, but so far they haven't managed to extinguish a single one,' Ali said.

Guards thwarted a second sabotage attempt overnight, killing one assailant and wounding another, at a well further west, said Colonel Nawzad Ahmed, also from the oilfields protection force.

In an audio message posted on the Internet a week ago, a man claiming to be Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, Iraq's most wanted man, urged insurgents to attack oil facilities around the country in their battle against the US military presence. "

The Free Press -- Ohio hearings show massive GOP vote manipulation, but where the hell are the Democrats & John Kerry?

The Free Press -- Independent News Media - Harvey Wasserman: "Columbus, Ohio---Hour after hour the testimonies are the same: angry Ohioans telling of vicious Republican manipulation and de facto intimidation that disenfranchised tens of thousands and probably cost the Democrats the election.

At an African-American church on Saturday and then at the Franklin County Courthouse Monday night, more than 700 people came to testify and witness to tales of the atrocity that was the November 2 election.

Organized by local ad hoc groups, the hearings had a court reporter and a team of lawyers along with other appointed witnesses. At we will be making the testimonies available as they're transcribed and organized, and we will present a fuller accounting of the hearings, along with a book that includes the transcripts.

But one thing was instantly and abundantly clear: the Republican Party turned Ohio 2004 into an updated version of the Jim Crow South. "