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Afghanistan War Weekly: October 25, 2010


Although the WikiLeaks files released this week are from the US Army in Iraq, they have implications for the war in Afghanistan and the antiwar movement. And there is more to come, including a release of 15,000 documents on Afghanistan withheld from last summer’s release. I’ve written a few preliminary thoughts below, along with links to good analyses of the documents themselves. Especially important in this regard is Aljazeera, which has been running reports on the documents several times a day, and has two very good half-hour specials on their YouTube page.

The United States in now engaged in a two-prong military and PR offensive in Afghanistan. The first three phases of military action against the Taliban in the Kandahar region have now been completed. The military says it has been successful, but informed analysis is becoming more skeptical, noting that the Taliban has simply faded away from battle. The so-called “peace negotiations” in Kabul are still murkey, but again, some analysts are interpreting events as less-than-meets-the eye, with inconsequential “contacts” being hyped as progress in settling the war. For both the military and the diplomatic offensives, news originating from the US/NATO has to be read against important milestones, including the November NATO meeting in Lisbon and the December review by the Obama team of the progress of the war. An independent effort by the military (i.e., not orchestrated by the White House) to stress light at the end of the tunnel would be consistent with last year’s media campaign by McChrystal and Petraeus to pressure Obama into giving them the additional trooops that they wanted. The next goal of the military will be to get more time to win the war, beyond the July 2011 draw-down milestone.

Finally, from what has been publicly released about the high-level meeting in Washington with the Pakistan millitary and political leaders, it seems that the White House has offered the Pakistan military billions more in military aid, while demanding that Pakistan become more aggressive in fighting the Taliban and its allies. Washington has also been presssuring Pakistan to allow more CIA (and perhaps other troops) inside Pakistan, and has restated its interest in using US military personnel against the armed opposition in Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan, the home of the “Quetta Shura,” the leadership circle of Mullah Omar et al.

Once again, if you find this newsletter useful, I would appreciate your help in expanding circulation. I would also appreciate suggestions about good articles to link here, and also comments (pro & con) that would help to make this newsweekly better. My email is fbrodhead@aol.com. This “issue” and some previous editions of the Afghanistan War Weekly are posted on the websites of United for Peace and Justice (http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=4111) and War is a Crime (www.afterdowningstreet.org/aww).

----Frank Brodhead, Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

FEATURED ESSAYS

The shaming of America [On the WikiLeaks documents]

By Robert Fisk, The Independent [October 24, 2010]

---- As usual, the Arabs knew. They knew all about the mass torture, the promiscuous shooting of civilians, the outrageous use of air power against family homes, the vicious American and British mercenaries, the cemeteries of the innocent dead. All of Iraq knew. Because they were the victims. Only we could pretend we did not know. Only we in the West could counter every claim, every allegation against the Americans or British. Find a man who'd been tortured and you'd be told it was terrorist propaganda; discover a house full of children killed by an American air strike and that, too, would be terrorist propaganda, or "collateral damage", or a simple phrase: "We have nothing on that." Of course, we all knew they always did have something. And yesterday's ocean of military memos proves it yet again. http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewFreeUse.act?fuid=MTA0OTM2Njk%3D

"War Does This to Your Mind"

By Kathy Kelly, Counterpunch [October 22, 2010]

---- Khamad Jan, age 22, remembers that, as a youngster, he was a good student who enjoyed studying. “Now, I can’t seem to think,” he said sadly, looking at the ground. There was a long pause. “War does this to your mind.” …During the Taliban attacks, Khamad Jan’s father was captured and killed. As the eldest, Khamad Jan bore responsibility to help provide for his mother, two brothers and two sisters. But he struggled with debilitating depression, so much so that villagers, anxious to help, talked of exorcism. One day, he said he felt ready to give up on life. Fortunately, community members and his friends in a local youth group, the "Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers," have helped him come to terms with the pain he feels, assuring him that he can find a meaningful future. http://counterpunch.org/kelly10222010.html

Digging in for the Long Haul in Afghanistan: How Permanent Are America’s Afghan Bases?
By Nick Turse, TomDispatch [October 21, 2010]

---- Some go by names steeped in military tradition like Leatherneck and Geronimo. Many sound fake-tough, like Ramrod, Lightning, Cobra, and Wolverine. Some display a local flavor, like Orgun-E, Howz-e-Madad, and Kunduz. All, however, have one thing in common: they are U.S. and allied forward operating bases, also known as FOBs. They are part of a base-building surge that has left the countryside of Afghanistan dotted with military posts, themselves expanding all the time, despite the drawdown of forces promised by President Obama beginning in July 2011. http://original.antiwar.com/engelhardt/2010/10/21/how-permanent-are-amer...

Tea in Kabul

By Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times [October16, 2010]

---- A few vignettes to explain why I believe America’s strategy in Afghanistan isn’t working: Scene 1: A home in Kabul where I’m having tea with a remarkable woman, Soora Stoda, who runs a logistics company serving the American military. Ms. Stoda despises the Taliban and shudders as she remembers her terror as a seventh grader when the Taliban stormed her secret school for girls. She said Taliban thugs beat the girls and murdered the teacher, who was Ms. Stoda’s aunt. Yet Ms. Stoda, like all contractors, has to pay off the Taliban directly or indirectly to work in insecure areas. She estimates that for every $1,000 her company is paid for work in such places, some $600 often ends up in the hands of the Taliban. “Sometimes, it’s even more,” she added. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/opinion/17kristof.html?_r=1&ref=nichol...

THE WIKILEAKS FILES AND AFGHANISTAN

The release of 400,000 US Army files about the Iraq war has important implications for the war in Afghanistan and the antiwar movement. WikiLeaks reminds us that these documents are classified only as “secret”; “top secret” and whatever comes next are still not available. Also, these are documents only from the US Army; the Air Force, CIA, DIA, etc. documents are not part of this mix. WikiLeaks also announced that it would soon release 15,000 more documents about Afghanistan, presumably those that were withheld from last summer’s release and thus presumably even more “sensitive.”

As for implications about Afghanistan, The Iraq documents also show that, contrary to their claims, the Pentagon was keeping records about Iraq civilian deaths; and presumably are also keeping similar records about Afghanistan. Also, the Iraqi files show that even the records of Iraq Body Count, let alone the Army itself, greatly understate the level of civilian casualties. And the Iraq documents show more than 1,300 cases where US military personnel knew that individuals had been/were being tortured by Iraqis, and that their orders were to “report” the abuse and do nothing about it. Until proven otherwise, we can assume that the same regulations apply to Bagram and elsewhere. The documents also describe the high civilian casualty rates caused by air strikes in Iraq; under the regime of General Petraeus, air strikes in Afghanistan have increased greatly. The documents also reveal at least 15 instances of murder of Iraqis by private security contractors (e.g. Blackwater), giving support to President Karzai’s claims that private security in Afghanistan should be removed because they kill too many people.

The US media has loyally played down the content and significance of the WikiLeaks documents. The New York Times had the Pentagon vet its documents before publication. The Times major story featured what the documents allegely showed about Iranian meddling in the Iraq war; British correspondents Jonathan Steele (The Guardian) and Patrick Cockburn (The Independent) describe the Iranian files as largely rumor driven and inaccurate. Yesterday’s Times main article by correspondent John Burns focused on the “controversy” surrounding WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange. And while the Times noted each of the categories of the documents’ revelations, little quantitative information was supplied (e.g. more than 600 “escalation of force” killings of civilians) that would allow the reader to grasp the significance of what they were reading.

The best collections of documents and analysis are by far those at The Guardian [UK] and Aljazeera. Also particularly useful are; Emily Dugan, et al., “Torture, killing, children shot – and how the US tried to keep it all quiet,” The Independent [UK] [October 24, 2010]

http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewFreeUse.act?fuid=MTA0OTM3MjE%3D; Patrick Cockburn, ”Echoes of El Salvador in tales of US-approved death squads,” The Independent [October 24, 2010] http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/patrick-cockburn-echoe... and Juan Cole, “Arab Press: War Logs will Damage US Reputation,” [October 23, 2010] http://www.juancole.com/2010/10/arab-press-iraq-wikileaks-will-damage-us.... The WikiLeaks documents and much else are on their website, www.wikileaks.org.

THE WAR IN WASHINGTON

U.S. military, civilian officials claim progress in Afghan war

By Joshua Partlow, Washington Post [October 16, 2010]

---- With a year-end report card coming due, top U.S. military and civilian officials in Afghanistan have begun to assert that they see concrete progress in the war against the Taliban, a sharp departure from earlier assessments that the insurgency had the momentum. Despite growing numbers of Taliban attacks and American casualties, U.S. officials are building their case for why they are on the right track, ahead of the December war review ordered by President Obama. … Yet even as U.S. officials here echo Gates's assessment, they have offered relatively little evidence to back up their claims of progress. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/16/AR201010...

The High-Level Meeting with Pakistan

Making effort toward peace with Taliban

By Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post [October 21, 2010]

---- The administration is holding a three-day "strategic dialogue" with top Pakistani officials in Washington this week, the third such session this year designed to bring Pakistan closer to U.S. policy aims. Discussions center on distribution of a $7.5 billion five-year economic and development assistance package, as well as more than $300 million in aid that the administration has contributed to disaster efforts after recent floods there. The administration plans to ask Congress to approve $2 billion in financing this year for Pakistani equipment purchases in this country. Spread over five years, that amount would provide an increase of about one-third to current annual financing of about $300 million. Overall military assistance to Pakistan in fiscal 2010 totaled about $1.9 billion. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/20/AR201010...

U.S. Warns Pakistan: Fight Taliban or Lose Funding

By Adam Entous, et al., Wasll Street Journal [October 22, 2010]

---- Obama administration officials have privately warned Pakistani leaders that continued inaction against Taliban and al Qaeda havens bordering Afghanistan could jeopardize some of the large U.S. cash payouts on which Islamabad depends. The warnings raise the stakes for talks this week in Washington between U.S. and Pakistani officials, after months of growing tensions in which the administration has delivered a steady drumbeat of criticism of Islamabad's perceived unwillingness to take stronger action against the Afghan Taliban and its allies. The U.S. is under pressure to show gains in the war in advance of the planned drawdown of U.S. troops, due to begin in July. It has ramped up military operations in Afghanistan's south and east, facilitated Afghan-led talks with the Taliban, and stepped up a campaign of drone strikes against militant groups that stage cross-border attacks from Pakistan. Those efforts have heightened the need for support from Pakistan, which says it has stepped up its own efforts but doesn't have the resources to go into the regions where the militants are based because of other needs. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230333950457556641057494141...

See also: Reuters, “U.S. - Pakistan Dialogue Faces Prickly Issues,” [October 20, 2010]

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/10/20/world/international-us-usa-pak... Josh Rogin, “In surprise appearance, Obama delivers tough love message to visiting Pakistani officials,” Foreign Policy [October 20, 2010]

http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/20/in_surprise_appearanc... and Matthew Lee, “US ups Pakistani military aid by $2 billion,” Associated Press [October 22, 2010] http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101022/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_us_pakistan_aid...

U.S. Seeks Wider CIA Role

By Julian E. Barnes and Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal [October 23, 2010]

---- The U.S. is pushing to expand a secret CIA effort to help Pakistan target militants in their havens near the Afghan border, according to senior officials, as the White House seeks new ways to prod Islamabad into more aggressive action against groups allied with al Qaeda. The push comes as relations between Washington and Islamabad have soured over U.S. impatience with the slow pace of Pakistani strikes against militants who routinely attack U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. asked Pakistan in recent weeks to allow additional Central Intelligence Agency officers and special operations military trainers to enter the country as part of Washington's efforts to intensify pressure on militants. The requests have so far been rebuffed by Islamabad, which remains extremely wary of allowing a larger U.S. ground presence in Pakistan, illustrating the precarious nature of relations between Washington and its wartime ally.

There are currently about 900 U.S. military personnel in Pakistan, 600 of which are providing flood relief and 150 of which are assigned to the training mission.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230435410457556862181810968...

USEFUL FACTS ABOUT THE WAR
US Casualties

---- 42 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this month, bringing the number of US soldiers killed in 2010 to 405. Additionally, 14 soldiers from other Coalition countries have been killed so far in October. This brings the total number of US deaths in Afghanistan to 1,352, and the total number of Coalition deaths is 2,172. The number of US soldiers wounded in July 2010 (the latest figures available) was 576, the highest monthly total so far. This brings the total US wounded since the war began to 7,266. To learn more go to www.icasualties.org. See also: Salah Hemeid, “Death and body bags,” Al-Ahram [October 20, 2010] http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2010/1020/re3.htm

Afghanistan Casualties

---- Between January 1 and June 30, 2010, 1,271 civilians were killed and 1,997 injured. This brings the total number of civilians killed since January 1, 2007 to 7,324. Between January 1 and June 30, 2010, 214 members of the Afghan National Army were killed, bringing the total killed since January 1, 2007 to 1,043. Between January 1 and June 30, 2010, 289 members of the Afghan National Police were killed, bringing the total killed since January 1, 2007 to 2,340. From Susan G. Chesser, “Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians,” Congressional Research Service [August 11, 2010] http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R41084.pdf, where the sources for the figures can be found.

According to the Afghanistan Ministry of the Interior, during the past six months 1,119 civilians were killed and 2,473 were wounded, while 959 police were killed and 2,473 were wounded. The Ministry claimed 4,012 insurgent attacks during the six-month period. Also, 3,098 insurgents were killed, 2,800 were arrested, and 632 were wounded. [FB - The “killed” to “wounded” insurgent ratio raises some questions.] http://www.juancole.com/2010/09/afghan-villagers-demonstrate-against-us-...

Pakistan Casualties

---- According to an on-going study by the New America Foundation, the United States has launched 78 drone strikes in northwest Pakistan this year, bringing the total number of such strikes since 2004 to 174. The study states that between 1,166 and 1,790 people have been killed, according to “reliable press accounts.” Of these, the study estimates that two-thirds of the deaths have been “militants” and about one-third were “civilians.” NB the “estimating” and labeling is usually done by local government and/or military personnel; local civilians often give much higher numbers for civilian deaths. The study can be read at http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones For a different view on the extent of civilian casualties by drone attacks, see Daniel L. Byman, “Do Targeted Killings Work?” Foreign Policy [July 4, 2009] http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2009/0714_targeted_killings_byman.aspx...

The Cost of the War

---- According to the website www.costofwar.com, expenditures on the Afghanistan war have reached $359 billion, and the total for both wars is $1.098 trillion. For a useful resource on the costs of war, go to “Bring Our War $$ Home” at www.bringourwardollarshome.org/index.html

Public opinion about the war in Afghanistan

---- Sixty percent of Americans believe the US war in Afghanistan is a lost cause, up from 55% in July. Only 31 percent still think the US can win the war. From a Bloomberg National Poll conducted October 7-10, 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_public_opinion_on_the_war_in_...

---- Nearly six in 10 Americans continue to oppose the war in Afghanistan amid a growing pessimism about the situation the United States faces in that country, according to a new national poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 44 percent of the public believes things are going well for the United States in Afghanistan, down from 55 percent in March.

According to the poll, 58 percent of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan. [September 29, 2010] http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/09/29/afghanistan.poll/

---- American support for the war in Afghanistan has never been lower, according to the latest CNN polling. Only 37% of all Americans favor the war, 52% say the war in Afghanistan has turned into a Vietnam. In a September poll by CNN and Opinion Research, only 9% of respondents thought the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were the most important problem facing the country, 49% thought the economy mattered most. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/15/what-the-numbers-say-abo...

DAMAGED SOLDIERS, BROKEN ARMY

Far more troops survive IEDs in Afghanistan
By Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today [October 20, 2010]

---- Better battlefield treatment and faster medevac flights have helped to cut nearly in half the number of troops killed by roadside bombs in Afghanistan, military officials say. The Pentagon says 24 troops died from the 180 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that detonated in September. One year ago, 46 troops died from 131 IEDs in September. IEDs remain the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. IEDs wound two of three troops hurt in battle. Insurgents planted 1,321 bombs that were detected or blew up in September, the third-highest monthly total in the 9-year-old war, and 16% more than in September 2009.
http://www.usatoday.com/cleanprint/?1287663821343

(Video) War’s Hidden Death Toll: After Service, Veteran Deaths & Suicides Surge

From Democracy Now! [October 18, 2010] – 12 minutes

---- As of this month, over 5,700 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. That count does not include those veterans who commit suicide or die from war-related issues after returning home from military service. Well, a new investigation into California veterans and active service members reveals that three times as many veterans are dying soon after returning home than those being killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. According to the report published in the Bay Citizen and the New York Times, more than 1,000 California veterans under 35 died between 2005 and 2008. http://www.democracynow.org/2010/10/18/wars_hidden_death_toll_after_service

THE WAR IN KABUL
Death threats, low salaries leave Kandahar government understaffed

By Bashir Ahmad Naadem, Pajhwok [Afghanistan] [October 17, 2010]

---- The rising number of assassinations in southern Kandahar province is scaring people away from taking jobs in the administration. There are at least 600 local government vacancies in Kandahar City, the provincial capital, and various districts and not one person has applied. Over the past nine years more than 600 tribal elders, government and foreign non-government workers have been killed in the province, according to government figures. http://www.pajhwok.com/en/2010/10/17/death-threats-low-salaries-leave-ka...

Afghan: Consult system on military ops not working

By Heidi Vogt and Amir Shah, Associated Press [October 17, 2010]

---- A system meant to ensure Afghan officials are consulted on sensitive international military operations has been "ineffective," the Afghan government said Friday. Officials from the Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and the Afghan intelligence agency are stationed at Bagram Air Field — the main U.S. base in Afghanistan — as part of an effort to ensure the Afghan government is included in military decisions, particularly on issues such as night raids and house searches. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101017/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan

Iran Is Said to Give Top Karzai Aide Cash by the Bagful

By Dexter Filkins, New York Times [October 23, 2010]

---- The [Iranian] ambassador, Feda Hussein Maliki…handed Mr. Daudzai [Karzai’s chief of staff] a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills. … The bag of money is part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to buy the loyalty of Mr. Daudzai and promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace. Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and NATO benefactors, they say. The Iranian payments are intended to secure the allegiance of Mr. Daudzai, a former ambassador to Iran who consistently advocates an anti-Western line to Mr. Karzai, the officials said. Mr. Daudzai briefs Mr. Karzai each morning. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/world/asia/24afghan.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

As anti-corruption measures lag in Afghanistan, U.S. looks to grass-roots effort

By Ernesto Londono Washington Post October 17, 2010;

---- Corruption and poor governance in many Afghan provinces are helping the Taliban and other insurgent groups gain ground across the country. U.S. officials here have come to see corruption as one of the chief obstacles to legitimizing and expanding the reach of the Afghan government. So far, however, U.S. anti-corruption efforts in Afghanistan have led to more setbacks than successes, leading some Afghan and U.S. officials to argue that the United States should focus on a bottom-up approach instead of trying to reform from above.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/17/AR201010...

The Parliamentary Elections

Pervasive Fraud: A Quarter of Afghan Votes to Be Thrown Out

By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [October 17, 2010]

---- The latest reports regarding the investigations into allegations of fraud in last month’s Afghanistan parliamentary election continue to turn up evidence beyond all reason, with the latest evidence showing conclusively that fraud was pervasive across the nation in the vote. Which is sort of old news, but the definition of “pervasive” continues to expand, and now officials familiar with the investigation say that roughly a quarter of the votes cast, or roughly one million votes, will be thrown out on the basis of fraud.The Afghan Presidential election last year saw heretofore-unprecedent levels of fraud in an ostensibly free election, and officials had expressed concern that very little had changed with regard to the oversight in the election. In the end this concern was vindicated, as both violence and complaints of overt fraud far exceeded even last year’s vote. http://news.antiwar.com/2010/10/17/pervasive-fraud-a-quarter-of-afghan-v...

New Candidates to Win Half of Afghan Parliament Seats Amid Fraud

By Eltaf Najafizada and James Rupert, Business Week [October 20, 2010]

---- Candidates have complained of the month-long delay in announcing preliminary results. The Independent Election Commission received more than 3,000 fraud complaints, originating from each of the country’s 34 provinces, Manawi said. That means all results will be audited by the complaints commission, which is headed by a Supreme Court justice, Sayed Murad Sharifi. The Washington-based National Democratic Institute, which sent observers to 730 polling stations in 30 out of 34 provinces, said in a Sept. 20 report that the conduct of the ballot showed “substantial improvement over past elections,” in part due to the removal of 6,000 officials suspected of fraud in the 2009 presidential poll and the introduction of unique serial numbers on voting slips. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-10-20/new-candidates-to-win-half-o...

See Also: Alissa J. Rubin, “Widespread Fraud Is Seen in Afghan Elections” By New York Times [October 17, 2010] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/world/asia/18kabul.html?ref=world; Alissa J. Rubin, “Afghan Election Commission Is Praised for Its Fairness, in Spite of Tainted Voting,” New York Times [October 20, 2010] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/world/asia/21kabul.html?ref=world&page... and Joshua Partlow, “Officials: Nearly 1 in 4 Afghan ballots invalid due to fraud,” Washington Post [October 20, 2010] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/20/AR201010...

Ban on Private Contractors

US Construction Projects in Afghanistan Shutting Down Over Contractor Ban

By Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com [October 21, 2010]

---- This weekend Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that he was backing down on his blanket ban on private security contractors, allowing the NATO forces to continue to employ contractors in a number of cases on bases and in embassies. The ban will, however, continue in the broader sense. Indeed, a number of US-funded reconstruction projects are already being shut down because the sites can no longer be protected by private security, which is amounting to them having no security at all. Officials say that the ban is affecting $1.5 billion in US projects across the nation, all but bringing the “civilian surge” in Afghanistan to a complete halt nationwide. Roads have stopped being constructed, and some 20,000 Afghans are expected to be put out of work. http://news.antiwar.com/2010/10/21/us-construction-projects-in-afghanist...

NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE ARMED OPPOSITION
U.S. officials, experts: No high-level Afghan peace talks under way

Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers [October 21, 2010]

---- Despite news reports of high-level talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, no significant peace negotiations are under way in Afghanistan, U.S. officials and Afghanistan experts said Thursday. These same experts said the reports, which appeared in a number of U.S. media outlets, could be part of a U.S. "information strategy" to divide and weaken the Taliban leadership. "This is a psychological operation, plain and simple," said a U.S. official with firsthand knowledge of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's outreach effort. "Exaggerating the significance of it (the contacts) is an effort to sow distrust within the insurgency, to make insurgents suspicious with each other and to send them on witch hunts looking for traitors who want to negotiate with the enemy," said the U.S. official. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/10/21/102428/us-officials-experts-no-hig...

Afghan-Taliban peace talks are nothing new and may be overstated, many contend

By Deb Riechmann and Kathy Gannon, Associated Press [October 20, 2010]

---- But some coalition officials, Afghans and people familiar with insurgent leaders say contacts with militants are nothing new and have been overstated — perhaps to split the ranks of fighters or create the impression in the West of progress in resolving the unpopular war. They also questioned how the U.S. could be serious about peace at a time when it is escalating its military commitment with punishing attacks in southern Afghanistan and drone strikes on militants across the border in Pakistan.Hakimullah Mujahed, former Taliban ambassador to the United Nations and a member of an Afghan government council tasked with exploring contacts, called the reports of ongoing discussions a "propaganda campaign." "If these people were sincere in taking part in negotiations, it would not be in the media, it would be secret and underground and through some friendly government," he said.

http://wire.antiwar.com/2010/10/20/afghan-taliban-peace-process-may-be-o...

See also: Robert Dreyfuss, “Can Karzai Cut Pakistan Out of a Deal With the Taliban? No.” The Nation [October 20, 2010] http://www.thenation.com/blog/155479/can-karzai-cut-pakistan-out-deal-ta... and Dexter Filkins, “Taliban Elite, Aided by NATO, Join Talks for Afghan Peace,” New York Times [October 19, 2010] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/world/asia/20afghan.html?sq=filkinsafg...

TRAINING THE AFGHAN ARMY AND POLICE

Allies target lapsed Taliban as they set up own Afghan militia

By Kim Sengupta, The Independent [UK] [October 25, 2010]

---- A controversial programme by the US and Britain to enlist former Taliban fighters and other armed groups to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan is underway. Supporters of the "Sons of Shura" hold that they are brave men risking their lives to fight for their community. To others, though, they are a violent private army in the making who will only add to the strife in a violent land. The force is similar to one that was organised by General David Petraeus in Iraq and credited with turning the tide of the war in Iraq. However, as the Pentagon documents released at the weekend highlighted, those militias were also responsible for carrying out atrocities to which the Americans often turned a blind eye. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/allies-target-lapsed-taliba...

THE WAR ON THE GROUND
NATO squeezing Taliban militants, but fragile gains don't mean Afghan insurgency is dead

By Deb Riechmann, Associated Press [October 23, 2010]

[FB – A good overview of the this year’s war.]

---- Taliban commanders dead or captured. Insurgents routed from strongholds. Stopping short of claiming it has broken the back of the insurgency, NATO is touting progress ahead of Washington's year-end review of the war — and hoping that this time, the alliance has the force and experience to keep militants from regaining momentum. Besides the White House review, the top U.S.-NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, must convince allies at a NATO gathering next month that his war strategy is working and the campaign deserves continued support. The Taliban are being battered in the south in offensives by fortified NATO forces, but militants remain active in the east and have opened new fronts in the north. Insurgents have been beaten back in the past, only to quickly reclaim lost territory. http://wire.antiwar.com/2010/10/23/nato-squeezing-taliban-but-no-claims-...

Nato launches major offensive to clear Taliban heartland

By Kim Sengupta, The Independent [UK] [October 17, 2010]

---- The final and critical phase of the offensive to clear Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban, began yesterday with hundreds of troops carrying out an air assault on the main insurgent base in the region. The attack on the "Horn of Panjwaii" by American, Afghan and Canadian troops - along with British special forces - is part of a plan to drive militant fighters towards Nato and Afghan forces positioned to intercept them and towards a wide "tank trench" designed to force them away from the orchards and vineyards and on to the main roads. Retaking the Kandahar hinterland is a key part of the West's exit strategy from the war. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/nato-launches-major-offensi...

Nato surge on Taliban stronghold drives civilians into the line of fire

From The Independent [October 21, 2010]

---- The first eyewitness accounts of Nato's assault on the final Taliban sanctuary threatening Kandahar City have begun to emerge, painting a picture of sporadic fire fights, steady progress by Afghan and coalition forces, and flight by those inhabitants wealthy or lucky enough to escape the violence. In interviews with The Independent, tribal elders, government officials and civilians in Kandahar City provided vivid descriptions of special forces night raids and Nato's bombardment of the area in the preceding month - designed to damage the local Taliban leadership - and the tactics the insurgents used to cow inhabitants before fleeing in the face of coalition firepower. http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewFreeUse.act?fuid=MTA0NDM2NDI%3D

See also: Carlotta Gall, “Coalition Routs Taliban in Southern Afghanistan,” By New York Times [October 20, 2010] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/21/world/asia/21kandahar.html?ref=world; Joshua Paratlow, “Despite successful U.S. attacks on Taliban leaders in Afghanistan's northwest, insurgency remains in control,”’ Washington Post, [October 24, 2010] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR201010... Ben Farmer, “'Birthplace of the Taliban' improves after latest US offensive,” The Telegraph [October 24, 2010] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8083915/Birth... and Spencer Ackerman, “Did a New Rocket Help Rout the Taliban? Depends What You Mean by ‘New’ and ‘Rout,’” Wired [October 21, 2010]

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/10/did-a-new-rocket-help-rout-the-t...

PAKISTAN AND THE AFGHANISTAN WAR
FATA: Inside Pakistans Tribal Regions

By the New America Foundation

A survey of opinion in 120 villages

http://pakistansurvey.org/

A Glimpse into the Silicon Heart of the CIA's Drone Program

By Joanne Mariner, Counterpunch [October 21, 2010]

---- The Suffolk County courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts, is an unlikely place to learn about the CIA's drone program. The suit gives worrying indications that the CIA may have knowingly relied on untested and substandard software to operate its drones. The CIA is not a party to the Massachusetts case. But its unmanned aerial vehicle program, whose operations are very much at issue in the case, was responsible for at least 20 missile strikes that are believed to have killed more than 150 people last month in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. http://counterpunch.org/mariner10212010.html

Drone Data

---- This year has been the busiest yet for the United States' covert drones program in northwest Pakistan: as of Oct. 15, the Obama administration has authorized at least 88 strikes, which reportedly have killed between 440 and 730 people, the majority of them reported militants. In the busiest year of the program, September was the busiest month, with 22 reported strikes targeting militants in North Waziristan, a viper's nest of Haqqani network insurgents, Pakistani Taliban fighters, members of al-Qaeda and other local militants. The flurry of attacks was reportedly aimed at interrupting a Pakistan- based plot, linked to al-Qaeda, involving plans to carry out "Mumbai-style" attacks in major European cities. http://pakistansurvey.org/about/drones. For a different view on the extent of civilian casualties by drone attacks, see Daniel L. Byman, “Do Targeted Killings Work?” Foreign Policy [July 4, 2009] http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2009/0714_targeted_killings_byman.aspx...

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"The Secret Iraq Files" (0:31)

AljazeeraEnglish, Oct. 22nd, 2010

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U-s_S2E2Bo

The video for the full and nearly one-hour report is further below.

Al Jazeera had full access to nearly 400,000 classified US military documents. Our coverage will begin at 2100 GMT, with full coverage starting at 2200 GMT.

"Iraq files 'not surprising'" (3:46)

AljazeeraEnglish, Oct. 22nd, 2010

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sD7AlgUzWxM

For the past 10 weeks, working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, Al Jazeera has analysed tens of thousands of documents, sourced through WikiLeaks, which cover six years of war - in the biggest leak of US military secrets in history.

The secret files reveal extensive abuse at Iraqi police stations, army bases and prisons.

According to the files, coalition troops reported the allegations to their superiors on more than 1,300 occasions.

Sabah al-Mukhtar, lawyer and president of the Arab Lawyers Association in London, spoke to Al Jazeera about the allegations of "torture", and said Iraqis will not be surprised by the findings.

The above is a short interview, but what Sabah al-Mukhtar says is plenty and like he says, these Iraq War logs released through Wikileaks definitely aren't going to impress Iraqis. They may be very happy that these war logs are now out in the public domain, but most Iraqis, many anyway, surely won't be surprised about the crimes described in these logs. As Sabah al-Mukhtar says, the reality is far worse than what these war logs will tell us about, and I definitely believe that he's right, as some of my posts following this one will illustrate.

I believe that the following report probably the two-part AlJazeera report that David Swanson referred to. And it should be interesting for comparing with what we should already know based on what has been reported in the past.

"The Secret Iraq Files" (56:01)

AljazeeraEnglish, Oct. 23rd, 2010

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNt7T_JTIkk

It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint - revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat. This special programme reveals the truth about the war in Iraq.

I'll make some comments on the above report in a separate post, but will also make some now. It's a fine report. It doesn't tell us about important dark realities of this war on Iraq and because of the US and UK, directly, but it's a fine report. I don't think really better could be expected of AlJazeera or any news media. And Julian Assange spoke well.

The Pentagon spokesman lied, plenty.

The Iraqi Interior Minister speaks bullshit and some, if not all, of my posts following this one will strongly illustrate why.

"The Secret Iraq Files - Part two" (29:15)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QMQKcVCJxs

We are getting an insight into the rise of al-Qaeda in Iraq - who pays for it and does it get its money? We will also reveal details about Iran's secret war inside Iraq, and America's massive use of air power - is it as pecise as they claim?

Regarding al-Qaeda in Iraq, I'll be providing links and excerpts from important relevant articles in posts following this one; certainly my posts on death squads and covert black ops by the U.S. and U.K. anyway. However, I can also provide an immediate hint as to my belief and it's that AQ in Iraq is either fiction, or it's a covert black op under US control.

The part of the report on Nouri al-Maliki and Iraqi politics, but while I'm referring to when the founder and exec. director of the Iraq Foundation for Development and Democracy speaks is good. As he says, the war logs from Wikileaks don't really tell Iraqis anything they didn't already know. Iraqis welcome that the logs are from an American source, but "Iraqi politicians will use this against each other", he adds. Hence, political troubles are ahead. What's important in what the guest says is what may happen with Iraqi politics and evidently soon; like over coming weeks.

The AlJazeera host asks the guest if he thinks that Iraq may return to a situation like in 2006 and what he evidently means is civil or sectarian war, but that never really happened; as enough people who aren't sufficiently read, but who are sharp, have written about. See my posts following this one; posts on death squads and covert black ops by the US and UK.

Regarding "Iran's secret war inside Iraq", see my posts following this one. They illustrate plenty on what my view is and what the actual reality in Iraq was when the US claimed that Iran was involved in violence in Iraq. People can also learn more from the British Bombers index page at BRussellsTribunal.org that'll be linked in one of my posts after this one, as well as the "Salvador Options and Death Squads" index linked in the home page of the same Web site.

AlJazeera is like many news media, repeating western claims without any critical analysis or questioning.

And note that Iraqi Sunnis who are or were members of the Iraqi government buy the western claim that Iran was involved with violence in Iraq, but it evidently is again believed without critical investigation and Sunnis were highly targeted and know that Iran and Iraq fought a war in the 1980s. US and UK covert black ops and being actually in control of the Interior Ministry of the US puppet government in Iraq while all of this was ignored by most people, including in Iraq, understandably would lead Iraqi Sunnis to think Iran was very responsible for the extreme violence against Sunnis. Yet, that's the sort of outcome often sought with the use of covert black ops by the US and UK. They want to cause divisions.

It's better explained with articles linked and excerpted in my posts after this one. Definitely see those posts. I'm seeing that while it's certainly not the fault of Wikileaks and perhaps also not of the people who provided the logs to Wikileaks, we're still getting western propaganda, deception, cover-up, lies in some of these logs.

"Listening Post: The Listening Post - The ongoing WikiLeaks saga" (22:53)

AljazeeraEnglish, added Aug. 7th, 2010

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNt7T_JTIkk

The truth is out there, but what does it all mean? On this episode of The Listening Post, we turn our attention to figures involved in the WikiLeaks Afghan war logs and the debate over what the US government should do about it. Plus, we take a look at the dark side of online video gaming.

Re. the AlJazeera report, "The Secret Iraq Files", linked in my first post in this page:

The part on Iraqi "security" guards torturing Iraqi detainees early in the report actually provides information that should be seriously informative for people who did relatively little reading over the past several years about dark realities in Iraq.

And the top U.S. command was definitely guilty in this and this was rather always beyond question. My additional post(s) following this one will illustrate this fact.

Gen. Peter Pace vs Rumsfeld, Nov. 29th, 2005:

This part of the Aljazeera report, starting at 7:35, definitely is a very interesting bit of history to be reminded of.

And the Pentagon spokesman is a hellish liar, and it becomes sort of interesting to listen to his stage script after reading from honest and very good sources; as will be illustrated possibly further on in this post, or certainly one my next post(s).

Some supporting sources on the torture crimes:

The Canadian Mind Products page, below, is about torture, only, not mentioning death squads. The page briefly mentions many of the kinds of torture that were practiced against Iraqi detainees, including "boring holes with an electric drill, burning, and cutting open and resuturing like turkey". Where the page refers to the latter torture, there's a linked video (several different formats to choose from), and source links are provided for plenty of the rest of what's said in the page. I checked several of the source links and they still work.

http://mindprod.com/politics/iraqtortures.html

People who read the above page and the sources will be able to see that we could definitely have known plenty of the various ways in which torture was practiced during this war on Iraq, as well as the fact that U.S. command most definitely knew starting several years ago.

There's a picture near the top of the above page to show the sign at the or an entrance to Guantanamo Bay prison. The text specifically associated with the picture reads, "Sign at Guantánamo torture camp mockingly reads HONOR BOUND TO DEFEND FREEDOM, reminiscent of Hitler’s Arbeit Macht Frei he had painted over the gates to the Jewish concentration camps".

"Arbeit Macht Frei"

wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Arbeit_macht_frei

"Arbeit macht frei" (German pronunciation: [ˈaɐ̯baɪt ˈmaxt ˈfʁaɪ]; literally "work makes free") is a German phrase that can be translated as "work will make you free," "work liberates"[1] or "work makes one free".[2][3] The slogan is well-known for being placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps, including most famously Auschwitz I, where it was made by prisoners with metalwork skills and erected by order of the Nazis in June 1940.

The expression comes from the title of an 1873 novel by German philologist Lorenz Diefenbach, in which gamblers and fraudsters find the path to virtue through labour.[2][4] The phrase was also used, in French ....[5] (snip)

"‘Driller killers’ spread a new horror in Iraq"
by Hala Jaber, March 5th, 2006

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article737635.ece

THERE was no sign of danger as Mohammed Sammarai arrived at his brother Mustafa’s home for lunch last week, no hint that this would be their last meal together.

It was not until after they had been joined by their old friend Ali Ahmad that they heard a commotion outside and realised something was wrong. Even then, the three men — all government employees, all Sunnis — had no inkling of the terrifying events that were about to overwhelm them.

First two police vehicles pulled up outside their house in the Hay al-Jihad district of Baghdad’s sprawling southern suburbs. Then came a convoy of up to 10 black BMWs and Opels — the favoured cars of the Shi’ite militias. Suddenly masked men brandishing Kalashnikov automatic rifles were storming inside.

Ahmad was arrested. Mustafa protested. Mohammed fled upstairs. There was no escape, however, as Ahmad recalled.

(snip)

“Who are you?” the family demanded to know.

“We are from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq,” one of the men is said to have shouted.

They beat the brothers, dragged them and Ahmad, 40, outside and thrust each man into the boot of a different car, firing their Kalashnikovs into the air to deter anyone tempted to intervene.

(snip)

Ahmad was freed on the imam’s orders, apparently because he had merely been a guest of the brothers and had not been suitably identified.

“I walked home barefoot in a terrible state,” he said. “I could not call any official to report this. How could I when they were involved?” Two days later he found his friends’ bodies in the city’s Teb al-Adli mortuary. Mustafa’s right eye had been gouged out and his right leg broken. Other parts of his body appeared to have been penetrated by an electric drill, an increasingly common tool of torture in Iraq.

Mohammed’s body bore similar injuries. Both men had been shot in the head.

(snip)

The killings have left Ahmad bewildered; he says he knows of no reason why his friends should have been targeted by a militia. But the remarks of a United Nations official last week suggest their murders fit a pattern emerging in the sectarian violence that has claimed at least 500 lives since an attack on February 22 on the golden-domed Askari shrine, a Shi’ite mosque in Samarra.

John Pace, the outgoing head of the UN human rights office in Baghdad, said the vast majority of the bodies arriving at the mortuary showed signs of summary execution and many had their hands tied behind their backs. “Some showed evidence of torture, with arms and leg joints broken by electric drills,” said Pace, a Maltese official.

(snip)

Regarding the Askari shrine mentioned in the above article, there's information about the bombing there in Feb. 2006 in one of my following posts. It was not committed by Iraqi resistance groups or fighters.

"173 prisoners found beaten and starved in Iraq government bunker

· PM's deputy leads inquiry into torture allegations
· Reports of corpses among malnourished inmates"

by Jamie Wilson, Nov. 16th, 2005

www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/16/usa.iraq

The Iraqi government has begun an investigation into the alleged abuse of more than 170 prisoners who were found locked in an interior ministry bunker in Baghdad, many of them beaten and malnourished and some apparently brutally tortured.

US troops who were searching for a missing teenage boy discovered the detainees on Sunday night during a raid. They were found in an underground cell near an interior ministry bunker in Jadiriya, in middle of the city. (snip)

(snip)

Reports received by the Guardian from sources in Baghdad said there were rumours that mutilated corpses and torture instruments had also been found at the underground bunker, including bodies with electric drill holes in their heads.

Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, the head of the country's largest Sunni political party, told the Associated Press he had personally spoken to Mr Jaafari and other government officials about torture at interior ministry detention centres, including the one where the detainees were found. But, he said, the government routinely dismissed his complaints, calling the prisoners "former regime elements."

"According to our knowledge, regrettably, all the detainees were Sunnis," said Mr Abdul-Hamid, head of the Iraqi Islamic Party. "In order to search for a terrorist, they used to detain hundreds of innocent people and torture them brutally."

(snip)

Meanwhile in Washington two Iraqi businessmen detained by US forces in 2003 have claimed soldiers threw them into a cage of lions, pretended to be executing them, and carried out other acts of torture during months in captivity.

(snip)

Death squads (and torture):

"US “democracy” in Iraq: death squads, torture and terror"
by James Cogan, July 6th, 2005

www.wsws.org/articles/2005/jul2005/iraq-j06.shtml

On July 1, the WSWS wrote on the evidence gathered by Knight Ridder journalists that substantiated the widespread allegations that US-backed forces are carrying out the extra-judicial killing of suspected opponents of the US occupation.

A report detailing their findings was published on June 27 -- three days after one of the journalists, Yasser Salihee, was killed by a single shot to the head as he approached a US checkpoint. Salihee and fellow reporter Tom Lasseter documented dozens of cases in May and June of the corpses of men being dumped at morgues after they had been detained by the Wolf Brigade, the most prominent of the special police commando units operating under the authority of the Iraqi interior ministry.

The claims contained in the Knight Ridder story have now been backed by a feature in the July 3 edition of the British Observer, headlined “Revealed: grim world of new Iraqi torture camps”.

Baghdad-based investigative reporter Peter Beaumont wrote: “Six months ago, Human Rights Watch (HRW) laid out a catalogue of alleged abuses being applied to those suspected of terrorism and called for an independent complaints body in Iraq...."

“To add to HRW’s allegations of beatings, electric shocks, arbitrary arrest, forced confession and detention without trial, the Observer can add its own charges. These include the most brutal kinds of torture, with methods resurrected from the time of Saddam; of increasingly widespread extra-judicial executions; and of the existence of a ‘ghost’ network of detention facilities — in parallel with those officially acknowledged — that exist beyond all accountability to international human rights monitors, NGOs and even human rights officials of the new Iraqi government.”

Beaumont stated: “If there is a centre to this horror, it is Baghdad’s Ministry of the Interior, and the police commando units that operate from there.” The article went to make the following specific charges:

(snip)

Like the Knight Ridder journalists, Beaumont reviewed morgue evidence of men whose families allege were killed after being detained in police commando custody. He also interviewed men who claimed to have been tortured by the Wolf Brigade, and spoke with Western and Iraqi officials.

Hassan an-Ni’ami, an outspoken anti-occupation cleric, was seized by police commandos in Baghdad in late May. His hideously tortured body was dumped at a morgue 12 hours later, with police handcuffs still attached to his wrist. His chest had been burned, possibly with cigarettes. He had been whipped. His nose and one arm were broken. Horrifically, his kneecaps had been drilled through with what appeared to have been an electric drill. Finally, he had been shot multiple times in the chest and head.

Torture admitted by Iraqi government

(snip)

The www.BRusselsTribunal.org home page has a link for "Torture and Prison Abuse in Iraq" and it links to the following index of articles that span from 2003 to the present, 2010 anyway.

www.globalpolicy.org/iraq/humanitarian-issues-in-iraq/torture-and-prison...

The home page of BRussels Tribunal also provides links for other specific topics or aspects of this war on Iraq.

There'll be some important articles on the death squads in my next post(s).

The article further below by Max Fuller, "Crying Wolf: ...", is about the death squads that brutally operated (and possibly sometimes continue to operate) in Iraq during the present war while the U.S. clearly knew about this. The article also briefly mentions some of the brutal torture practiced by US puppet Iraqi government "security" forces or guards against Iraqi detainees. And, in both cases, the US knew and more than knew and Max Fuller isn't the sole person to have excellently written about this.

More can be found in the "Salvador Option and Death Squads" index linked in the home page of BRussellsTribunal.org.

The following piece makes for an excellent introduction for or to Max Fuller's article.

"Uncovering the Roots of American Terrorism in Iraq"
by Mike Whitney, Dec. 2nd, 2005

www.uruknet.info/?p=18360

Max Fuller has written the most important article of the year and perhaps the decade. In his "Crying Wolf: Media Disinformation and Death Squads in Occupied Iraq", Fuller painstakingly lays out the details and documentation to prove that the United States intelligence agencies are behind the vast incidents of murder and torture being carried out in Iraq today. If Fuller’s thesis is correct, then the War on Terror, that mighty engine of imperial carnage, is nothing more than a public relations scam to enlist public support.

(snip)

It means that the "central front in the war on terror" is a phantom; a specter; a chimera that cloaks itself in the dull braying of plutocrats who promise democracy, but only deliver greater deprivation, sorrow and fear. It means that the ideological headwaters of global terrorism is Washington and that behind the scratchy façade of Al Qaida videos and dubious accounts of suicide bombers, the insidious fist of the imperial master continues to pound away at its victims. It means that, as Martin Luther King said, "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own country."

The media has played a central role in trying to obfuscate the details of America’s involvement in the terror-war by characterizing the hundreds of murder victims as the result of tit-for-tat sectarian violence or of rogue Shiite militias loosely connected to the Interior Ministry. But, as Fuller deftly demonstrates, the more likely explanation is that the Ministry is executing a clear strategy of gratuitous terror devised and directed by their American handlers.

(snip)

The one reporter who diverged from these fabrications was Yasser Salihee, reporter for Knight-Ridder news. Salihee had uncovered critical information about the weaponry, vehicles and origins of the death squads, and was expected to file reports on those topics. His coverage, however, was cut short when he was assassinated in a gangland style hit at a checkpoint outside Baghdad by an American sniper. With just one precision shot to the forehead, another unembedded journalist was removed from covering Bush’s folly.

Fuller’s research exposes the Interior Ministry as the hub of the clandestine death squad activity. The assumption that the ministry is manned exclusively by theocratic Shiites is just more misleading media gibberish. In fact, one of the more brutal counterinsurgency groups, the Sunni-led Special Police Commandos, is headed by a former officer in Saddam’s Baath Party. ...

(snip)

Needless, to say, the CIA does not move major assets like Steele and Casteel into a prickly situation like Iraq to shuffle papers by a water-cooler. These are the main gears in the machinery of the Iraqi death squads; the movable parts in Washington’s apparatus of state terror. There is nothing either "random" or "disjointed" in the butchery produced by their labors.

(snip)

Nearly everything that appears in the corporate media has been intentionally misleading as part of the broader information war, to keep the American people from grasping the truth about the chief perpetrator of terrorism in Iraq today; the US intelligence agencies. As the Los Angeles Times notes, "The entire intelligence establishment is a creation of the Anglo-American secret services, which began building at least as early as the beginning of the occupation."

(snip)

Given Fuller’s thesis, it’s likely that most of the alleged "suicide" bombings are nothing more than stationary vehicles set off by remote-control and reported as suicide attacks by the compliant media to perpetuate the racial stereotypes of crazed Muslim fanatics.

Fuller’s article is a difficult read with hefty documentation that tends to have a mind-numbing effect. Never the less, the ponderous emphasis on facts and actual news reports serve his greater purpose of proving a very tenuous and thorny theory, that the US is overseeing a humongous clandestine operation that has fractured the country and destabilized the region. ...

(snip)

Regarding the "suicide" bombings, my next post is much about this topic, with links to and excerpts from important articles.

"Crying Wolf: Media Disinformation and Death Squads in Occupied Iraq"

Max Fuller, GlobalResearch.ca, Nov. 11th, 2005

www.uruknet.info/?p=17684

Abstract

The phenomenon of death squads operating in Iraq has become generally accepted over recent months. However, in its treatment of the issue, the mainstream media has zealously followed a line of attributing extrajudicial killings to unaccountable Shia militias who have risen to prominence with the electoral victory of Ibramhim Jafaari's Shia-led government in January. The following article examines both the way in which the information has been widely presented and whether that presentation has any actual basis in fact. Concluding that the attribution to Shia militias is unsustainable, the article considers who the intellectual authors of these crimes against humanity are and what purpose they serve in the context of the ongoing occupation of the country.

---------------------------------------

(snip)

The appearance of death squads was first highlighted in May this year, when over a 10-day period dozens of bodies were found casually disposed of in rubbish dumps and vacant areas around Baghdad. (snip)

The evidence was sufficiently compelling for the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), a leading Sunni organisation, to issue public statements in which they accused the security forces attached to the Ministry of the Interior as well as the Badr Brigade, the former armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), of being behind the killings. They also accused the Ministry of the Interior of conducting state terrorism (Financial Times).

Since then, a steady stream of the victims of extrajudicial killings has flowed through the Baghdad morgue. (snip)

(snip)

The killings have not been confined to Baghdad. (snip) These few examples represent the tip of a rapidly expanding iceberg, with the majority of extrajudicial-style killings seriously under-investigated and underreported.

(snip)

However, instead of placing the blame squarely on the apparatus of the new Iraqi state, the mainstream media has almost exclusively chosen to shift the emphasis away, resorting to a number of standardised literary devices. The first device is to frame extrajudicial killings in the context of a wider panoply of supposed retaliatory sectarian violence. For example, .... The second device is to state or imply that the security forces are closely associated with largely unaccountable Shia militias, especially the Badr Brigade. (snip)

Most importantly, reports variously stress that the government, Interior Ministry and police are under sectarian Shia control. (snip)

(snip) Whilst all of these devices are employed in various combinations, notably absent from every account is any serious examination of the new Iraqi state or, assiduously avoided, the role of the occupying powers, leaving the most thoughtful of journalist to wonder with Beaumont whether the Iraqi state is "stumbling towards a policy of institutionalised torture" or whether human-rights abuses are conducted by "rogue elements" within the security apparatus (Salihee's investigation represents the one exception, with the emphasis placed firmly on the organs of the state, supported by solid primary evidence).

Police Commandos and Disinformation Brigades

An instructive starting point for an examination of the prevailing media consensus is to consider some of the forces of the Iraqi state most closely associated with allegations of serious human rights abuses.

The majority of accusations are general. Journalists refer to the police, security forces, the National Guard or to poorly identified police commandos, but specific accusations have been made against a unit known as the Wolf Brigade. The identification of the Wolf Brigade with cases of abduction, torture and execution in Baghdad was first made on 16 May, .... (snip)

(snip)

On 9 June rightwing US think tank the Council for Foreign Relations published a paper devoted to Iraqi militias (CFR), simultaneously repeated in the New York Times. (snip)

(snip)

Those familiar with Peter Maas's article "The Way of the Commandos", published by The New York Times Magazine just six weeks earlier, will recognise that, in fact, the Wolf Brigade bears a striking similarity to the unit he identifies as the Special Police Commandos. The Police Commandos, too, were formed in autumn 2004 and saw one of their first major commitments in Mosul in November; like the Wolf Brigade, their leader also founded an unspeakably vile television show called Terrorism in the Grip of Justice.

That sounds very American for a tv show to me.

But there are fundamental distinctions between these units as well. The Police Commandos were founded on the initiative of then Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib, the son of a former Iraqi Chief of Staff, believed by many to have been a major CIA asset (National Review Online), under the command of his uncle, an ex-Baathist, Sunni military intelligence officer and CIA coup-plotter called Adnan Thabit. (snip)

A key figure in the development of the Special Police Commandos was James Steele, a former US Army special forces operative who cut his teeth in Vietnam before moving on to direct the US military mission in El Salvador at the height of that country's civil war. Steele was responsible for selecting and training the small units (or death squads) who were boasted to have inflicted 60% of the casualties caused in that 'counterinsurgency' campaign (Manwaring, El Salvador at War, 1988, p 306-8). Principally, the tens of thousands of victims were civilians.

Another US contributor was the same Steven Casteel who as the most senior US advisor within the Interior Ministry brushed off serious and well-substantiated accusations of appalling human right violations as 'rumor and innuendo'. Like Steele, Casteel gained considerable experience in Latin America, in his case participating in the hunt for the cocaine baron Pablo Escobar in Colombia's Drugs Wars of the 1990s, as well as working alongside local forces in Peru and Bolivia (Maas op. cit.). Whilst Casteel's background is said to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the operation against Escobar was a joint intelligence effort, involving the CIA, DEA, Delta Force and a top-secret military intelligence surveillance unit knows as Centra Spike (Marihemp, SpecWarNet). (snip) However, the operation did lead to the formation of a death squad known as Los Pepes, which was to form the nucleus for Colombia's present paramilitary death-squad umbrella organisation, the AUC, responsible for over 80 percent of the country's most serious human-rights abuses (Colombia Journal). Whilst no official connection was ever admitted, Los Pepes relied on the intelligence data held in the fifth-floor steel vault at the US Embassy in Bogota that served as the operation's nerve centre. (snip)

Casteel's background is significant because this kind of intelligence-gathering support role and the production of death lists are characteristic of US involvement in counterinsurgency programs and constitute the underlying thread in what can appear to be random, disjointed killing sprees. Probably the best-attested example of such an operation is Indonesia .... Similar cases can be made for the CIA supplying death lists and/or overseeing operations in Vietnam (OC Weekly), Guatemala, ..., and El Salvador, .... For an extensive list of countries in which the CIA has supported death squads, see the database compiled by Ralph McGehee (Serendipity).

The link for the page at Serendipity.li is no longer valid, but a Web search using "Ralph McGehee" and "death squads" turns up links and the following is one of the links. The page provides a long "list of countries in which the CIA has supported death squads".

"An International Guide to CIA Death Squads"
by Ralph McGehee (a former agent or officer CIA who became a whistleblower or lamplighter)

www.whale.to/b/mcgehee.html

Continuing with Max Fuller's article:

Such centrally planned genocides are entirely consistent with what is taking place in Iraq today under the auspices of crackdowns like Operation Lightning, which make use of so-called Rapid Intrusion Brigades to make widespread, well orchestrated arrests (Financial Times). It is also consistent with what little we know about the Special Police Commandos, which was tailored to provide the Interior Ministry with a special-forces strike capability (US Department of Defense). In keeping with such a role, the Police Commando headquarters has become the hub of a nationwide command, control, communications, computer and intelligence operations centre, courtesy of the US (Defend America). Interestingly, supplying a state-of-the-art communications network to coordinate mass murder was part of the plan in Indonesia as well (Pilger, The New Rulers of the World, p 30); it is doubtless common practice.

Finally, we know that by 30 January of this year, the Police Commandos had six functioning brigades and in early April the Al-Nimr (Tiger) Brigade took over from the Al-Dhib (Wolf) Brigade in Mosul (UNAMI). Interestingly, one of the Police Commandos' first Brigade commanders was a Shiite, apparently called Rashid al-Halafi, but Maas noted that "he was regarded warily by other Shiites because he held senior intelligence posts under Saddam Hussein".

Untangling the Web

Clearly, the Wolf Brigade, though commonly treated in media reports as an autonomous entity, is actually one component of the Interior Ministry's Special Police Commandos. (snip)

(snip) It seems that a nebulous Wolf Brigade linked to Badr, full of vengeful Shiite militiamen serves as a useful foil for allegations of 'state terrorism', but that when the accusations are sufficiently well-grounded, it is easier to keep it out of the spotlight for fear that a pattern of gross and systematic violations of human rights might start to emerge. The significance of this lies far beyond merely being able to expose sloppy journalistic practices, but actually reveals key characteristics of both the US imperial war machine and of the nature of their current occupation of Iraq.

(snip)

In fact, the entire intelligence establishment is a creation of the Anglo-American secret services (Los Angeles Times), which began building at least as early as the beginning of the occupation (Detroit Free Press), although it may be suspected that the process was conceived long before. The new Iraqi establishment was staffed by long-term CIA assets, .... (snip) Further agents (presumably existing intelligence assets for the most part) were recruited from Iraq's main political groups, .... These agents became the Collection, Management and Analysis Directorate (CMAD), whose principal job was to 'turn raw intelligence into targets that could be used in operations' (Detroit Free Press, op. cit.). Initially, 'operations' were carried out by a paramilitary unit composed of militia from the five main parties, who, under the supervision of US commanders, worked with US special forces to track down 'insurgents' (Washington Post). As the new Iraqi state apparatus developed, CMAD was split between the ministries of Defence and Interior, with an 'elite corps' creamed off to form the National Intelligence Service (Detroit Free Press, op. cit.). To oversee all three bodies, the National Intelligence Coordination Committee was established, headed, as National Security Advisor (appointed in April 2004), by Mowaffak Rubaie. This 'leading Shiite moderate' had been a spokesman for the Dawa Party in the 1980s when it was a serious terrorist organisation targeting Iraq, before moving on to help coordinate the Iraqi opposition from London (Asia Times Online, op. cit.). In London he worked with the Khoei Foundation, a pro-US charitable organisation that has distributed money for the CIA and is linked with the National Endowment for Democracy through Prime minister Jaafari's advisor Laith Kuba, another long-term CIA asset (Village Voice).

These new intelligence agencies supply the data for the Interior Ministry to make arrests. A graphic and harrowing account of such arrests on 27 June 2004 was provided by UPI's P. Mitchell Prothero, in what he describes as the "welcome arrival of frontier-style law enforcement". (snip) On 29 June members of the Oregon National Guard swept into the grounds of the Interior Ministry and disarmed plain-clothed Iraqi policemen whom they had observed beating bound and blindfolded prisoners (Oregonian). The US soldiers began to administer first aid to the prisoners, .... Steven Casteel was called to help deal with the situation (Boston Globe). After hours of negotiations, the soldiers unwillingly withdrew, leaving the victims in the hands of their torturers. Perhaps their ultimate fate will never be known, but as Casteel commented, "There's always a pendulum between freedom and security".

Like Thabit and Flayyih, Shahwani has retained his position under the transitional government and continues to report directly to the CIA (Seattle Times). Clearly, however, the purpose of stating or implying that unaccountable militias are behind the extrajudicial executions and/or that sectarian rivalries, especially Shia control of the Interior Ministry (which, as Beaumont correctly points out, is the centre of the horror), are to blame, is to distance the US from the almost unthinkable ongoing crimes against humanity. Comparable disinformation strategies have been employed in every counterinsurgency conflict with which the US has been involved; it is known as establishing "plausible deniability". (snip) In reality, they function as part of a shadow state, which exists to implement policies that must remain unaccountable.

More specifically, in the case of Iraq, this disinformation strategy not only seems to be designed to mask the real intellectual authors of genocidal crimes, but also, increasingly, appears to be directed towards creating the very sectarian divisions that it hides behind.

Towards Balkanisation

In every country where US-backed counter insurgency operations have taken place with their attendant massacres and death squads, the conflict has existed as one dimension in a strategy of neo-colonisation. (snip)

In this respect, Iraq is no different. (snip) This is not a sectarian issue. To the extent to which opposition becomes effective, the leaders and activists of the movement are likely to become military targets for the state death squads, whatever guise they take.

(snip)

While many in the mainstream media and Iraq's puppet government have argued that insurgents linked to Abu Musab Zarqawi and al-Qaida are behind much of the violence, deliberately hoping to inflame sectarian divisions and incite a civil war (eg. News Day), it is interesting to note how closely their dangerous schemes correspond with the avowed aims of one of the most powerful figures in present-day Iraq. Mowaffak Rubaie, the US-installed national security advisor, promotes a vision that he calls "democratic regionalism", by which Iraq would be dismembered into a loose federal system of four to six distinct provinces, with ... and Baghdad as a separate district as well as the seat of federal government, .... Coincidentally, such a plan is well catered for by Iraq's new constitution (NPR), but would amount to the disintegration of the Iraqi state. A de facto civil war would undoubtedly advance this process.

The parallels with the break up of Yugoslavia are obvious. (snip)

In view of mounting evidence of Anglo-American involvement in the bombing campaigns targeting Iraqi civilians, notably the brief arrest of two British SAS men found with a car packed with explosives (William Bowles), it is worth speculating a little on the implementation of their wider strategy. Discounting Al-Qaida and Zarqawi in Iraq as fabrications designed for easy media consumption (Centre for Research on Globalisation), we are left with a situation in which someone is targeting Shias, ..., and someone is targeting Sunnis, .... It is impossible that the Iraqi resistance could account for this pandemic of fratricidal violence, .... It is equally impossible that SCIRI and the Badr Brigade could account for much of it in a milieu dominated by CIA assets and US military forces. What is possible is that both sides of the apparent sectarian violence are run as part of a huge CIA-lead intelligence operation designed to split Iraq at the seams. I tentatively suggest that the intelligence apparatus at the Interior Ministry is contriving attacks on Sunnis and that British and US special forces in conjunction with the intelligence apparatus at the Iraqi Defence Ministry are fabricating insurgent bombings of Shias. Overseeing the entire operation is the "cream" of CMAD under the direction of top-level US intelligence asset Mowaffak Rubaie, a man already experienced at participating in bombing campaigns, undoubtedly working hand in glove with the CIA and the National Security Council in the US.

False Flags, Semiotics and Vulgar Marxists

The French theorist Jean Baudrillard famously once stated that the first Gulf War did not take place. By this he did not mean that nothing happened, but that its presentation in the media consisted of an overwhelming barrage of the signs of War, which bore essentially no relationship to the annihilation of a Third World army by the most advanced military power in history. In short it was a simulation of war. (snip)

Fifteen years later, the same charges can be levelled against the recent Iraq "War" and the country's subsequent occupation. Most importantly, I believe that a process akin to that Baudrillard highlighted is being actively employed to simulate a civil war in Iraq. False-flag intelligence operations are aimed at sowing seeds of a sectarian strife that was largely non-existent prior to the invasion. Thus, even many Sunni Iraqis are coming to believe that the well-organised death squads run from the CIA-controlled intelligence hub are actually the Badr Brigade they often claim to be; and thus British SAS men in Arab disguise plant bombs at Shia religious festivals to be blamed on fanatical Wahabi Sunni "insurgents".

Whether such tactics succeed in provoking further, autonomous acts of violence directed against the civilian population is much less significant than the impact they are able to exert within the media. This Anglo-American intelligence operation acts as a factory churning out the signs of Civil War: a "wave of tit-for-tat sectarian violence" and the consequent ethnic cleansing. The signs are produced to be picked up by the media and spun and spun until nothing is left but a nebulous Civil War with no internal logic or structure, with the occupying forces as powerless to intervene as they were in the Balkans while Iraq splits into Rubiae's desired four to six autonomous provinces. Those few journalists, like Yasser Salihee and Steven Vincent, who break the mould and start to investigate the actual authorship of extrajudicial killings themselves become victims.

When one former CIA operative candidly claimed that "Intelligence services are the heart and soul of a new country" (Washington Post)), .... What they were actually confessing is that the essence of a state is the organisation of violence as the ultimate coercive measure and that the intelligence apparatus functions as its brain. ...

(snip)

Reading the complete article is rather essential and anyone who does certainly will not regret having done so; for people wanting to truthfully understand the violence in Iraq against innocent Iraqis, anyway. The article doesn't really, not specifically anyway, the many so-called suicide car bombings, as foreigners have called these bombings, but we should consider that these, many of these bombings anyway, likely were covert black ops; instead of committed by Iraqi resistance groups.

People who use the "Salvador Option and Death Squads" index linked in the home page of BRussellsTribunal.org will find other important articles by Max Fuller; as well as important related articles by other people.
He also has an author's index at GlobalResearch.ca.

The author of the following article only refers to the Badr Brigade, so keep Max Fuller's above article in mind.

"Iraq's death squads
Deborah Davies reports from inside Baghdad"

by Deborah Davies, Channel 4, Nov. 15th, 2006

www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3879

(snip)

Another of the children, Hanin, was asleep in her parents' bed. She's almost matter of fact as she describes what happened next. 'I heard a gunshot so I cuddled my Dad. They came into our room and I told them not to kill my Daddy but the man threatened to shoot me. They shot Daddy and then they shot my Uncle.'

Five men were shot dead that night - a sixth had been killed in the street three weeks earlier. Their crime? The head of the family, Sheik Khadem Sarheed, was leader of a well-known Sunni tribe. Now he's dead, along with four of his adult sons and one son-in-law. One of the sons was a policeman and recognised the killers. 'He told them he was a policemen like them', says his widow, 'But they shot him in the neck and in the stomach'.

Neighbours saw the police cars parked outside the house and recognised the uniforms of the notorious police commandos. They're highly trained, heavily armed officers, more like soldiers than ordinary policemen. And they report directly to the Ministry of the Interior. Over the last eighteen months these commandos - who are almost exclusively Shia Muslims - have been implicated in rounding up and killing thousands of ordinary Sunni civilians.

A hundred dead bodies a day

Up to a hundred bodies a day are found dumped on waste ground and rubbish tips around Baghdad. They've usually been dreadfully tortured. Acid and electric drills are the favourite methods and many of the bodies are still wearing police handcuffs.

As we discovered, there is even compelling evidence that the secret prisons of Saddam's day are back - stinking hell-holes where hundreds of victims are herded together to be raped, tortured and maimed for no crime other than belonging to the wrong sect.

And it's all happening under the eyes of US commanders, who seem unwilling or unable to intervene. These are the chilling findings of a special investigation, filmed for a Channel 4 documentary, The Death Squads that reveals how one of the most senior ministers in Iraq's new administration stands accused of presiding over a campaign to torture, maim and execute his enemies. And this is the dossier that utterly explodes the myth that peace and a liberal democracy are blossoming in the new 'liberated' Iraq.

In the bloody mayhem of Baghdad it's very difficult to untangle exactly who's who amongst the various death squads who now rule the streets. There are organised criminal gangs, kidnapping and killing for ransom money, and there are private militia groups loyal to particular clerics or clan leaders. But there is no question that among the most efficient of the death squads are the police commandos.

As part of our investigation, we traced how these commando units have been deliberately infiltrated and taken over by one of the most militant Islamic groups, the Badr Brigade. They're the military wing of an Iraqi political party, The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. SCIRI was set up in the early 80's in exile in Iran and its aim was always to overthrow Saddam and his Sunni government and replace them with a Shia government. Now, very helpfully, the Americans have done that for them.

Return of the Badr Brigade

(snip)

I just did a Web search to see if there's an online copy of Channel 4's documentary and the following video posted roughly three years ago clearly matches.

"The Death Squads" (45:25)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-377952052252839443

The torture and slaughter of Iraqi civilians is reaching unprecedented heights with estimates of up to 655,000 dead. Night after night death squads rampage through Iraq's main cities. In Baghdad, up to a hundred bodies a day are dumped on the streets. Often they've been tortured with electric drills. Yet those doing the killing have little to do with al Qaeda or Sunni insurgents. The majority of the killings are carried out by Shia death squads who want to turn Iraq into a Shia state aligned to Iran. This shocking film investigates the links between the death squads and high-ranking Shia politicians. It reveals how the Shia militia that these politicians control have systematically infiltrated and taken over police units and even entire government ministeries. It investigates how these units are closely linked to the death squads, indeed they often are the death squads. And the killers act with impunity -- there's little investigation into their activities.

The following evidently is only a slightly longer copy of the Channel 4 documentary, but, and while I haven't started to play this copy yet, maybe it's not in English, or perhaps it is, but while also displaying translations in (I guess) Arabic.

"The Death Squads" (46:53)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2055734209233161557

The same documentary, except in two parts:

Part 1,

www.liveleak.com/view?i=82f_1193118431

Part 2,

www.liveleak.com/view?i=2e5_1193119028

What I am wondering now, with the release of the Iraq War logs through or by Wikileaks, is whether these logs inform readers about some of the highly important covert black ops the U.S., and U.K., oversaw and also partook in committing in Iraq. If not, then these ops are very important to learn about; essential.

UPDATE:

I just came across the following online flash video movie for Max Fuller's article further above, "Crying Wolf: ...".

www.cryingwolf.deconstructingiraq.org.uk

If for some reason you don't see the "Play" button in the above home page, for I don't see it, then the film can be directly played with the following flash video file, .swf.

www.cryingwolf.deconstructingiraq.org.uk/cryingwolf.swf

The following (above) flash movie examines the epidemic of violence sweeping Iraq and considers who should be held intellectually responsible. Every statement that is made is based on solid evidence drawn from mainstream media sources.

Viewers should be aware that due to the nature of the subject, some images ... are of a disturbing nature.

The implications of the evidence are even more disturbing.

www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/print.asp?ID=3704

Captured SAS men 'spying on drill torturer'
Introduction – Sunday October 16, 2005

The following article is yet another prime example of disinformation masquerading in the guise of journalism.

Published in today’s London Sunday Telegraph, it purports to reveal why the two British Special Forces men captured by Iraqi police in Basra recently, were disguised as Iraqis. The reason, we are informed, is that they were SAS men spying on an evil Iraqi "drill torturer".

No explanation as to why they were carrying so much weaponry and explosives, pictured below, just a story that casts the men’s mission in a positive light as possible, while concealing its true nature and portraying the Iraqi police as little better than terrorists.

However, the photo of the men’s equipment exposes the Telegraph’s story for the lie that it is. For if the men were indeed on a surveillance mission they would never have been encumbered with so much equipment. The very nature of surveillance and reconnaissance would have required them to be as lightly equipped as possible and certainly not laden down with explosives.

So once again we have a mainstream media peddling lies on behalf of the Anglo-American establishment. Just as they did in the run up to the Iraq invasion with countless reports about Iraq’s “alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction", all of which have proven to have been groundless but which at the time were used to convince the public as to the necessity of invading Iraq. Ed.

Also see British Bombers
http://www.sploid.com/news/2005/09/the_british_bom.php

(picture)

Captured SAS men 'spying on drill torturer'
Sean Rayment – The Telegraph Sunday October 16, 2005

(snip)

The above article may or may not be linked in the "Salvador Option and Death Squads" index linked in the home page of www.BRussellsTribunal.org and that I repeatedly recommend, but there are plenty of articles in the following index on this covert SAS black op. in the following index.

www.brusselstribunal.org/BritishBombers.htm

The following is an interesting article and the link was obtained from the above British Bombers index. The British military investigator found hung was investigating the above SAS terrorism or failed terrorism op.

"British military investigator found hung in Basra"
by Julie Hyland, Oct. 21st, 2005

www.wsws.org/articles/2005/oct2005/basr-o21.shtml

Bombing of mosque in Samarra, 2006:

I noticed today that there's an index linked in the home page of BRussells Tribunal specically about the attack on the Muslim mosque in Samarra in, I believe, Feb. 2006, and the index is entitled, "The Events in Samarra". It's about the bombing at/of the Askariya Mosque, aka al-Askariya Mosque and Golden Mosque, in Samarra.

It's one of the topics that I've meant for readers to read about from articles linked in the "Salvador Option and Death Squads" index and maybe there are some related articles linked in that index, as well; but since there's a separate index specifically about the bombing of this mosque, then this index probably has links to more articles. And the index has links for a considerable number of statements and declarations made by different groups and/or people; probably including Muqtada al-Sadr and Ayatollah al-Sistani, both of whom had called out to warn all Iraqis that the bombing of the Golden Mosque surely was a covert, black op of the criminal occupying power, which was my view at the time.

Anyway, the "The Events in Samarra" index page has two sections of links. The first is for links for statements and declarations by different parties, while the second section is for articles by different individual, independent writers, as well as some news media.

Checkpoint covert, black ops, and suicide car bombings:

Some of the articles linked and excerpted from, below, are about more than these car bombings, but they include enough mention of these ops.

The Pentagon spokesman who speaks in the nearly one-hour AlJazeera video report link in my first post, above, eventually talks about the "security" checkpoints that were set up all over the place in Baghdad, f.e. He spoke of these as supposedly providing security, but there's an extremely dark reality with these checkpoints. They were used in "Salvador Option" fashion.

I've been searching for an article that described two cases of checkpoint guards covertly planting explosives in the back of a farmer's truck when he was taking some harvest crop to market, and in what I've always believed to recall the article having called a taxi driver's car. I'm having difficulty finding that article, but have from some that refer to the incident with the farmer, as well as about checkpoint guards planting explosives in cars; just that they're apparently not taxis.

The following article is definitely one to fully read, but anyone wanting to read only the part about the western-called suicide car bombings can just scroll down to where the part about "Car bombs" is excerpted.

"The Strategy of Disintegration:
False flags, dirty tricks and the dismemberment of Iraq"

by Israel Shamir, "Championing Democracy for Israel & Palestine", israelshamir.net

www.israelshamir.net/Contributors/Contributor42.htm

(snip)

As Iraqi society descends further and further into mayhem, comedians, satirists and commentators of all kinds have made great hay from the supposed incompetence and stupidity of our leaders. But as the Canadian Spectator suggested recently, if it should happen that the United States is not run by buffoons, “one must conclude that chaos, impoverishment and civil war in the Muslim world…far from being the unintended consequences, are precisely the objectives of U.S. policy.” (1)

As with 9/11, the trigger event for the War on Terror, incompetence is the preferred explanation for the nightmare scenario in Iraq today. Though counterintuitive to the domesticated populations of the West, a plan to deliberately fragment Iraq along ethnic lines is amply confirmed by the published record. ...

Ultimately, the ease with which Western academics casually decide to reshape the countries of their choice owes itself to the continuing legacy of Orientalism. ...

Dismantling Iraq

(snip)

UN targeted, after 12 years in Iraq

When a truck bomb tore through U.N. headquarters four months into the occupation, killing special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 19 others, pro-consul Bremer suggested two possible culprits: “Saddam loyalists or foreign insurgents”. The interim government’s Ahmed Chalabi, however, had received prior notice of the attack the week before. Chalabi had been warned that a “soft target” was to be attacked, although it would be “neither the Coalition Authority nor coalition troops”. But the UN, whose security had been withdrawn that day, was never warned. (5)

Kerbala and Baghdad

By November 2003, with the guerilla campaign inflicting heavy losses on US forces, the media and interim governing authority began a steady drumbeat of sectarian brainwashing. After weeks of scare mongering about a civil war, coordinated explosions left 143 Shia civilians dead in Kerbala and Baghdad. The blame fell on ‘Al Qaeda’, but journalist Robert Fisk asked the obvious question: “If a violent Sunni group wished to evict the Americans from Iraq…why would it want to turn the Shia population…60 per cent of Iraqis, against them?” No answer was provided, and the senseless attacks increased. (6)

Al Iskandariya

In early February 2004 American authorities claimed to have intercepted a message from Iraq asking ‘Al Qaeda’ for help in fomenting a civil war. Almost immediately, as if to underline the message, an explosion killed 50 Shias in the small town of Iskandariya. “Terrorists spark fear of civil war,” announced The Independent, contradicting the town’s residents who, without exception, attributed the blast to an American air strike. “They heard a helicopter overhead, and the whoosh of a missile just before the blast.” The blast itself left a crater three metres deep, more consistent with a missile than a car bomb (7)

‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’

As with the parent organization, nothing about this group rings true. Until 2004 ‘Al Qaeda,’ a Sunni-only set up, had never uttered a word against Shias. But as the Iraqi Resistance campaign gained unstoppable momentum, the reportedly deceased Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi suddenly resurfaced. Calling for war against the ‘infidel’ Shia community, he went on to wage a parallel campaign characterized more by gratuitous attacks on civilians than by ejecting the US from Iraq. In the following years, wherever the US unleashed massive assaults in Iraq, Zarqawi was conveniently ‘discovered’ to be hiding. The November 2004 assault on Fallujah was waged with white phosphorous and left at least 6,000 dead beneath the ruins, and yet US surveillance was so sharp that Zarqawi, with his one wooden leg, was apparently observed fleeing on the first day! Amongst Iraqis, the all-purpose Zarqawi was referred to as a kind of mobile WMD able to appear wherever required. His story remained incredible right up to the end, the released photo evidence showing the lightly bruised body of a man killed with a 500lb bomb. (8)

Nick Berg, Margaret Hassan and the Abu Ghraib scandal

(snip)

The ‘Salvador Option’

Long after piles of corpses began appearing by the roadsides, victims of anonymous assassins, Newsweek magazine reported on a Pentagon plan to use counterinsurgency death squads to eliminate Iraqi Resistance fighters and their supporters. The so-called ‘Salvador Option’, named after a similar campaign in Central America in the 1980s, was confirmed by later reports of Interior ministry involvement in the burgeoning death squads. As the victims mounted, the corporate media filtered the story through its angle of Sunni fanatics targeting innocent Shia civilians. But the facts showed a different story. ...

Car bombs

2005 saw a spectacular rise in the use of car bombs, many directed against innocent civilian targets. Though the Zarqawi network was said to have no more than about a thousand men in Iraq, it apparently had an endless supply of personnel ready to sacrifice themselves for the holy war. Other accounts, however, suggest a different explanation.

In May 2005, former Iraqi exile Imad Khadduri, reported how a driver whose license had been confiscated in Baghdad was questioned for half an hour at an American military camp, informed that there were no charges against him, and then directed to the al-Khadimiya police station to retrieve his license. "The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was…carrying a heavy load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and … found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat…the only feasible explanation for this incident is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated ‘hideous attack by foreign elements’”. (According to Khadurri, the scenario was repeated again in Mosul, when a driver’s car broke down on the way to the police station where he was sent to reclaim his license. The mechanic he then turned to discovered the spare tire to be laden with explosives.) (12)

In the same month, 64-year-old farmer Haj Haidar, who was taking his tomato load from Hilla to Baghdad, was stopped at an American checkpoint and had his pick-up thoroughly searched. Allowed to go on his way, his 11 year-old grandson then told him he saw one of the American soldiers placing a grey melon-sized object amidst the tomato containers. Realizing the vehicle was his only means of work, Haidar fought his initial impulse to run and removed the object from his truck, placing it in a nearby ditch. He later learnt that it had in fact exploded, killing part of a passing shepherd’s flock of sheep. (13)

At this point, legendary Iraqi blogger ‘Riverbend’ reported that many of the supposed suicide bombings were in fact remotely detonated car bombs or time bombs. She related how a man was arrested for allegedly having shot at a National Guardsman after huge blasts struck in west Baghdad. But according the man’s neighbours, far from having shot anyone, he had seen “an American patrol passing through the area and pausing at the bomb site minutes before the explosion. Soon after they drove away, the bomb went off and chaos ensued. He ran out of his house screaming to the neighbors and bystanders that the Americans had either planted the bomb or seen the bomb and done nothing about it. He was promptly taken away.” (14)

The SAS in Basra

(snip)

“Could it be a good thing?” Samarra and the ‘Civil War’

Although the incessant sectarian brainwashing was clearly having an effect, Iraqis continued to dismiss the idea of a civil war. (17) In the wake of the destruction of Samarra’s Golden Mosque, however, the scale of the killing in Iraq rose sharply. Those responsible for this critical attack wore Iraqi National Guard uniforms according to the mosque guards. Joint forces of Iraqi ING and Americans, patrolling the surrounding area the whole while, went on to assist a militia attack on a Sunni mosque in a pre-programmed ‘response’. The response of most ordinary Iraqis, however, was quite different, According to Sami Ramadani “None of the mostly spontaneous protest marches were directed at Sunni mosques. Near the bombed shrine itself, local Sunnis joined the city's minority Shias to denounce the occupation and accuse it of sharing responsibility for the outrage. In Kut, a march led by Sadr's Mahdi army burned US and Israeli flags. In Baghdad's Sadr City, the anti-occupation march was massive.” (18) The Western media, however, could now seize upon each and every incident as evidence of an irreparable social disintegration. Columnist Daniel Pipes approvingly observed that sectarian conflict would reduce attacks on US forces as Iraqis fought each other. His comments were then reflected on Fox News with onscreen captions that read: “Upside To Civil War?” and “All-Out Civil War in Iraq: Could It Be a Good Thing?” (19)

History as mystery

The key to justifying the horrendous colonial assault on Iraq was the non-stop manufacture of lies. ...

(snip)

Iraq resists

After the 1991 bombing of Iraq, and George Bush Sr.’s announcement of a ‘New World Order’ of American hegemony, foreign policy forums effectively proclaimed the nation-state obsolete. In fact, the global imposition of the Western model of development after WWII had already ended the traditional independence of the State. The ‘new’ ideology was simply a recognition of facts on the ground. ... In Iraq, consciousness of the big picture is greater than anywhere. Thus, the planned breakdown into generalized sectarian conflict has not materialized. ...

(snip)

Riverbend was definitely a very good or excellent source for information about the real realities in this war on Iraq.

I got the link for the following article from the British Bombers index page at BRussells Tribunal and which I included a link for following the article excerpted from at the top of this post.

"Cars stolen in US used in suicide attacks"
by Bryan Bender, Oct. 4th, 2005

www.smh.com.au/news/world/cars-stolen-in-us-used-in-suicide-attacks/2005...

The FBI's counterterrorism unit has launched a broad investigation of US-based theft rings after discovering some vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, including attacks that killed US troops and Iraqi civilians, were probably stolen in the United States, according to senior US Government officials.

The FBI's deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, Inspector John Lewis, said the investigation did not prove the vehicles were stolen specifically for car bombings in the Middle East, but there was evidence they were smuggled out of the US by organised criminal networks that included terrorists and insurgents.

Cracking the car-theft rings and tracing the cars could help identify insurgent leaders and shut down one of the means used to attack the US-led coalition and the Iraqi Government, the officials said.

(snip)

... Terrorism specialists said they believed Iraqi insurgents preferred American stolen cars because they tended to be larger, blended in more easily with US convoys, and were harder to identify as stolen.

Tell me when I can stop LMAO.

I believe the the two following articles, by Imad Khadduri and Frank Morales, are referred to by Max Fuller in his article linked and excerpted from in my post prior to this one. Or if not in Max Fuller's article, then certainly in an article by John Kaminski, "Sick strategies for senseless slaughter", June 14th, 2005. There's a copy of the latter at GlobalResearch.ca and the link should be found in an author index for him there.

""Combat terrorism" by causing it"
by Imad Khadduri, May 11th, 2005

www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KHA505A.html

The original title for the above piece apparently is, "A warning to car drivers".

The link for the following article was obtained from the one immediately above.

"The Provocateur State - Is the CIA Behind the Iraqi "Insurgents" -- and Global Terrorism?"

by Frank Morales, World War 4 Report, WW4Report.com, May 10th, 2005

www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MOR505A.html

This latter article provides important historical information, as well as links for related articles by other people, illustrating that black covert ops by the US and UK in the war on Iraq most surely were conducted; and possibly continue today, on a lower scale.

al-Zarqawi:

This character, more believably of fiction, rather than of reality, in Iraq during this war there, was reportedly killed a number of times and mysteriously kept resurrecting to be killed again. This happened a few or more times and western media kept reporting these killings of him without questioning if the whole story was always a myth. Or if it wasn't him, then it was another so-called Al Qaeda in Iraq leader; unless it happened with both.

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