Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Suspects in court over 'Jazeera bombing' leak


By Gideon Long / Reuters

LONDON - Two men appeared in a British court on Tuesday accused of leaking a secret document which a newspaper said showed that U.S. President George W. Bush wanted to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera.

The hearing came a week after the Daily Mirror reported that a British government memo said British Prime Minister Tony Blair had talked Bush out of bombing the broadcaster's headquarters in Qatar in April last year.

The White House has dismissed the report as "outlandish" and on Monday Blair denied receiving any details of a reported U.S. proposal to bomb Al Jazeera.

Defendant David Keogh, a civil servant who used to work at the Cabinet Office, was charged with making a "damaging disclosure of a document relating to international relations."

His co-defendant Leo O'Connor, once a researcher for a former member of parliament, was charged with receiving a document which he knew, or had reason to believe, was protected against disclosure by Britain's Official Secrets Act.

The two spoke only to confirm their personal details during a 15-minute hearing at Bow Street magistrates' court in central London. The case was adjourned until January 10.

The Daily Mirror said the memo came from Blair's Downing Street office and turned up in May last year at the local office of Tony Clarke, then a member of parliament for Blair's Labor party, who had employed O'Connor as a researcher.

Clarke handed the document back to the government.

O'Connor's lawyer Neil Clark told reporters after the hearing he had not been granted access to the document but hoped he would before the trial resumes.

"Sometime between now and January 10 I hope that that document will be disclosed to me," he said. "It needs to be disclosed because it's impossible to defend unless you know the case that you're facing."

He added that his client regarded media reporting of the case as "inaccurate."

In its report, The Mirror quoted an unnamed government official as suggesting Bush's threat was a joke, but added another unidentified source saying Bush was serious.

Al Jazeera, which has repeatedly denied U.S. accusations that it sides with insurgents in Iraq, has called on Britain and the United States to state whether the report was accurate.

The British government's top lawyer warned media organizations after the Daily Mirror story that they would be breaking the law if they published details of the leaked document.

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Faces of the Fallen



U.S. MILITARY DEATHS IN IRAQ:

2110

U.S. MILITARY WOUNDED IN IRAQ:

15704 Printable Representations:
Deaths

Wounded source: antiwar.com

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS (MINIMUM):

27115

source: iraqbodycount.net

Ministries of ‘political profit’


By Fatih Abdulsalam

Azzaman, November 28, 2005

Sectarian divisions and the run for illegal profits are the main hallmark of the new era, ushered in by U.S. ‘liberation’ troops.

Indeed sectarian affiliation has now replaced loyalty to the country and the flag. You no longer need to be an honest and patriotic citizen to get a government job, for example.

Sectarianism has become the road to riches, influence and government jobs.

The American occupier, already in a quagmire, has a big role in this. There is no need for the U.S.-installed Iraqi governments or officials to hide their sectarian tendencies. Iraqis are well aware of the tragedies such polices have brought to the nation.

The ministries are divided along sectarian lines. Therefore when a new minister assumes his post, the first thing he does is to exclude employees who belong to the opposite sect and replace them by members of his own sect.

This does not happen at the senior levels and posts. The new minister strives to make sure that members of sects other than his own should not be appointed even as janitors.

Cabinet ministers owe their existence and loyalty to the sectarian and ethnic parties that gave them their posts. To please their masters, these ministers resort to practices that are even worse than those reported to have taken place when the former leader Saddam Hussein was in power.

The ministries receive their instructions and orders from their political factions whose main target is to strengthen their popular and military base in the country.

Government officials are keen to enroll their employees in the parties they belong to. As a result the ministries have become arenas for sectarian rivalry and to hell with reconstruction, living standards and public amenities.

Cabinet ministers today have very little to do with human and constitutional rights. To please their sectarian factions, they apply rules that are comparable to those under the former Talaban government in Afghanistan.

Administrative and political formations close to those of the Talaban have taken roots in many ministries and many provinces in the country.

Shrouding such practices with then name of Islam, has given these ministers leeway to achieve their short-sighted sectarian goals at the expense of the nation.

The U.S.-sponsored administrations’ aim has been to make as much profit, whether economic or political, as possible in the time they have been in office.

Iraq is in need of a government that puts an end to political feudalism and sectarianism.

Iraq needs a government that puts loyalty to the country above political and sectarian allegiance.

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Baghdad Burning

... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Baghdad Burning Links...

Earlier this year, Baghdad Burning the blog was turned into "Baghdad Burning" - the book. Feminist Press published the whole first year of blogs in book form and it was a huge honor. The book is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The British version was published by Marion Boyars Publishers .

As if having the blog published as a book wasn't enough- the book itself won the third prize of the Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage in October... An amazing honor.

Also- Baghdad Burning in Japanese... and Baghdad Burning in Spanish. Many, many thanks to the people taking so much time to translate the blog!

- posted by river @ 1:09 AM Congratulations Friend

No Voice...

I’ve lost my voice. That’s not a metaphor for anything, by the way. I’ve managed to literally lose my voice. It’s a bug that has been going around with the change of weather. It began three days ago- my voice was hoarse and I kept having to clear my throat. The next day it had completely disappeared! I didn’t know it was gone until I had wandered downstairs and attempted a “Good morning,” which came out sounding like something from a psychological thriller.

Four things you should know about illnesses in Iraq. When you describe your malady to any Iraqi, there are some general guidelines you can take for granted:-


Short of cancer and terminal illness, any Iraqi has had your malady before you,
Even in cases of cancer or other serious conditions- SOMEONE the abovementioned Iraqi knows *almost* personally has had the condition before you (the neighbor’s sister’s cousin’s nephew)…
Every Iraqi you talk to knows the cure for whatever you’re suffering from, and
Refusing to attempt abovementioned cure is both a personal insult to the well-intentioned curer and further affirmation of your foolhardiness which got you sick in the first place.


I’ve been no exception- everyone has had a cure for me to try.

My mother attempted various soup recipes. My father suggested gargling with a mixture of salt and water (which had me gagging). The cousin swore he cured his own voiceless state last week with a tablespoonful of olive oil three times daily and supervised my dosage (which made the salt and water mixture actually seem quite good). Umm Ala’a, from three houses down, claimed that my voice wouldn’t return unless my whole neck was wrapped snugly in a wool scarf. Finally, the aunt concocted an interesting mixture of baybun (chamomile, which all Iraqis swear by), crushed dry mint leaves and lemon. This was all boiled together, strained and I was ordered to “INHALE” the steam rising from the greenish-yellow liquid and then drink the horrid stuff.

The only person who didn’t have a cure for me was E. “Why would I want you to get your voice back?!” He asked incredulously.

So I’ve spent the last two days communicating with nods, elaborate hand gestures and hoarse whispers. It’s interesting how friends and family react when they realise I’m voiceless- they either lower their own voices to just above a whisper, or they begin to speak unnaturally loud like I might have lost my hearing also.

And that’s why blogging is a wonderful thing right now- it gives a voice to the temporarily voiceless.

I didn’t get to see the Saddam trial- our electricity was out and the neighborhood generator was down. All I’ve been seeing these last two days are bits and pieces of it on various channels (they keep repeating the part where he scolds the judge).

The electricity schedule in what appears to be most areas in Baghdad is currently FIVE hours of no electricity for every one hour of electricity. It’s very frustrating considering the fact that it’s not really cool enough yet for excess electrical heater use- where is it all going? If the electrical situation is this bad now, what happens later when the populace starts needing more electricity?

I intend to spend the rest of the night reading about Bush’s ‘strategy’ for Iraq. I haven’t seen it yet, but I expect it’ll be a repetition of the nonsense he’s been spewing for two and a half years now. Don’t Americans get tired of hearing the same thing?

It’s unbelievable that he’s refused to set a timetable for withdrawal (is he having another "Bring it on..." moment?). It’s almost as if someone is paying him to intentionally sabotage American foreign policy. With every speech he seems to sink himself deeper into the mire. A timetable for complete withdrawal of American forces would be a positive step- it would give Iraqis hope that, eventually, sovereignty will return to Iraq.

As it is, people fear the Americans will be here for the next twenty years- unless they are bombed and attacked out of the country. Although many Iraqis support armed resistance in theory, I think that the average Iraqi simply wants to see them go back home in one piece- we feel sorry for them and especially sorry for their families at times. There are moments when you forget the personal affronts- the raids, the checkpoints, the fear of bombing, the detentions, etc. and you can see through it all to the actual person behind the weapons and body armor... On the other hand, you never forget that it's a foreign occupation and will meet with resistance like all foreign occupations.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice can all swear that American troops will not pull out of the country no matter how many casualties they sustain, but history has proven otherwise…

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Contractors Linked to Bribery Case Worked Together

By Charles R. BabcockWashington Post Staff WriterWednesday, November 30, 2005; Page A02
The two defense contractors who allegedly made many of the illicit payments to convicted Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) worked together for several years as relatively small players in the Pentagon's multibillion-dollar procurement system.

It was clear from facts in the criminal charges to which Cunningham pleaded guilty on Monday in San Diego that Mitchell J. Wade, president of Washington-based MZM Inc., is "Coconspirator No. 2." Yesterday, a lawyer for Brent Wilkes, head of San Diego area defense contractor ADCS Inc., said Wilkes is "Coconspirator No. 1" in the charging documents. >>>cont

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Army officers' nude shame

By LUKE McILVEEN

December 01, 2005

NAKED army officers posed for photographs wearing head dress and brandishing firearms in the latest shameful episode to rock the defence forces.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the tasteless prank - which included male officers from Randwick Army Barracks - is now the subject of an Defence Department investigation.

The episode occurred during a joint training exercise between Australian and US troops in July.

The huge joint exercise, dubbed Talisman Sabre, was a mock training run between the Australian armed forces and their US allies.

But for a group of soldiers seconded to the Shoalwater Military Base near Rockhampton, it became an opportunity to ridicule Arab men in front of the cameras.

It was not clear whether the soldiers were poking fun at Iraq, where Australian troops are working to re-build the country.

Shocked staff at the Parramatta RSL Club discovered copies of the photographs on a table following an army function two weeks ago.

It is believed the photos were shown on the night as entertainment for the soldiers' comrades.

RSL bosses were appalled by the pictures, which depicted officers wearing head dress associated with men in Middle Eastern countries.

The case is similar to the Ku Klux Klan scandal revealed in November last year when soldiers at Townsville's Lavarack Barracks wore KKK-style hoods to intimidate black comrades.

After the KKK case, former defence chief Peter Cosgrove ordered a full review of anti-discrimination guidelines in the armed forces.

The latest incident could force the Defence Department to take more decisive action.

In a statement released to The Daily Telegraph last night, Defence confirmed it was investigating the case at the highest level.

"Army is investigating the matter," the statement said.

"Unacceptable behaviour is not tolerated in the army. It goes against the values and ethos of the Army and is an insult to soldiers past and present who represent Australia's cultural diversity."

The latest incident involving soldiers at Randwick barracks comes as the army investigates claims of sexual harassment at the base.

Defence is investigating claims soldiers made explicit remarks to female reservists at the barracks.

Operation Talisman Sabre, held in June, saw 17,000 Australian and US troops combine in one of the largest training exercises held between the two countries.

The contingent included army, navy, air force, marine and special forces units from both countries.

They travelled to north and central Queensland to take part in scenarios including parachute drops and air combat training.

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Meet your killer: final hours of the condemned man




We are Still Living in the Dark Ages did'nt you know , I make no excuses for this man, his crime could have killed our young, he was found guilty, lock him up for life.

December 1, 2005

Today will be the day for long goodbyes, write Connie Levett and Steve Butcher in Singapore.

NGUYEN TUONG VAN has seen his last sunrise - by the time the sun breaks the South China Sea horizon and touches Changi prison tomorrow, the 25-year-old Australian will be dead.

In Singapore they say "hanged at dawn" but Nguyen will go to the gallows at 6am before it's light.

Today will be the long goodbyes, with final visits from his two close friends Kelly Ng and Bronwyn Lew and painful farewells with mother Kim and twin brother Khoa.

Who Nguyen sees on his last day is very much in his own hands. "Van is making the calls in terms of the visits, as to the timing and who is coming," a family friend told the Herald. He will be allowed at least four hours of outside visits.

There are other matters Nguyen must face. He will receive a visit from the hangman, expected to be Darshan Singh.

The executioner will weigh him to calculate the precise length of rope needed to break his neck when the trapdoor drops from under him.

Visiting hours close at 5pm. What to do in the remaining time? Pray and write, say those closest to him.

When Nguyen's appeal was dismissed last October, his mother said outside the court: "He is good, he is always praying."

Today Nguyen, a Catholic and prolific letter writer, is expected to pray and keep penning words of comfort and farewell to his many friends in Australia. Prison officials will prepare a special evening meal for him.

"They find out details of the person's tastes," said M. Ravi, a human rights lawyer who has defended other men on death row. "They will find out if you like extra garam masala in your curry, that sort of detail."

At 4am, a prison guard will knock on Nguyen's door to rouse him if he is sleeping.

"They will offer him breakfast but whether he can eat is another question." Then he will bathe before he is handcuffed and takes the short walk from his cell to the gallows inside the prison.

Those who will attend the hanging include the coroner, the prison superintendent, a medical officer, as well as chaplain Father Gregoire Van Giang.

An autopsy will be performed to establish cause of death and then Mrs Nguyen must collect her son's body by 1pm on Friday or the Singaporean authorities will cremate him. The Australian high commission, which has cared for the family since their arrival in Singapore a week ago, is expected to arrange the return of his body to Melbourne.

At lunchtime, the family plan to attend a formal church service at Mary Mount Convent to commemorate Nguyen's life before flying out of Singapore, probably on Friday evening.

There will be no more reason for them to stay.

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Terrified walk to a long-drop execution
By RUSSELL ROBINSON in Singapore
December 01, 2005

DEEP within the walls of Changi jail, preparations are under way for the hanging of Australian Nguyen Tuong Van.

The Melbourne drug smuggler has less than 24 hours before he is led the short distance from his small solitary cell on death row to the gallows.

Today will the last time Nguyen's mother Kim will see her son alive. Chances are she will be unaware of the preparations being made within the jail to ensure her son's execution is not botched by an equipment malfunction.

Singapore is widely known as the "Hangman of Asia" because of its high number of executions.
Sixty-six Singaporeans and 22 foreigners were executed in Changi from 2001 to September

Because of the Official Secrets Act, it is rarely spoken of in public, so little is known about the gallows and how the executioner goes about his work.

In Singapore, the long-drop method is preferred, a carry-over from British colonial times, and the procedures have changed little since then.

After Nguyen says his final farewell to his family at 6pm today, he will be taken back to his small cell where he will be given his last meal. It is believed Nguyen has used the $8 allocated to his last meal to buy takeaway.

Nguyen will meet with his priest, Father Gregoire Van Giange, later in the evening. It is believed that Father Gregoire will perform the Last Rites on Nguyen during the evening, rather than on the day of his execution.

About 5.30 prison guards will come to Nguyen's cell – he will be handcuffed and hooded and led to the gallows.

It is not known who the executioner will be after reports that Singapore's longest serving hangman Darshin Singh was removed from Nguyen's case for talking to the media.

Nguyen's lawyer Lex Lasry, whose application to be present at the hanging was rejected, said he hoped for Nguyen's sake whoever carried out the execution was experienced.

Nguyen's family will have 90 minutes in which to collect his body before it becomes the property of Singapore and is cremated.

When they collect the body they will be given a series of 13 pictures of Nguyen – part of a bizarre service performed by Changi prison for the families of those on death row.

They are meant to serve as a lasting reminder to the family of the life Nguyen could have had if he had not turned to crime.

Hanging is an ugly way to die. Dislocation of the vertebrae and spinal cord damage will render Nguyen unconscious almost instantly.

The broken neck while hanging leads to "comatose asphyxia" – lack of oxygen while unconscious. Brain death follows in about six minutes, whole-body death in about 15 minutes.

Mrs Nguyen has booked a ticket home to Melbourne for Saturday night. She is expected to bring the body of her son home with her that night.

She talked to a Melbourne funeral director before leaving for Singapore.

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FYI: New Orleans shortening Mardi Gras celebrations


The Lufkin Daily News
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Q: With all the destruction that Hurricane Katrina inflicted on New Orleans, will that city's Mardi Gras celebration be canceled in February?

A: No, it'll just be shortened — from the traditional 12 days of parades leading up to Fat Tuesday to eight days of parades for next year's celebration. City officials say they can't afford the overtime for police officers it would take to oversee 12 days of parades.

Fat Tuesday, the last day before Lent, falls on Feb. 28 next year.

It will be the 150th anniversary of the first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. However, parades have been canceled on 13 different occasions, the most recent in 1979 due to a police officers' strike

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Hospitals Come Under Siege


Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar
*
RAMADI, Nov 29 (IPS) - Hospital personnel are reporting regular raids
and interference by the U.S. military as fighting continues in the
volatile Al-Anbar province of Iraq.*

The U.S. raids come as the hospitals face increasing lack of vital
supplies and equipment.

Two hospitals in Ramadi, about 110 km west of capital Baghdad on the
Euphrates river, are being raided regularly by the U.S. military,
doctors say.

"The maternity hospital and the general hospital in our city are the two
biggest hospitals," the official said. "These have both been raided
twice a week by the American forces with the excuse that they are
searching for militants. They (the U.S. soldiers) break every door which
is closed, play with our records and sometimes even detain some of our
staff. The Americans are not adhering to any laws."

Other doctors spoke of the lack of adequate equipment and infrastructure.

Dr. Abdul Qader who works at Ramadi General Hospital told IPS that the
critical care unit there lacked monitors, the CT scan was broken, and
many other instruments were not working. Such problems are now common
around the province, both doctors said.

"In addition to lacking electricity, we often lack fuel deliveries for
our generators," said Dr. Qader. "Our machines often break down, which
puts our patients in very critical situations."

Similar problems have been evident in Baghdad since last year. "We had a
power outage while someone was undergoing surgery in the operating
room," Ahlan Bar, manager of nurses at the Yarmouk Teaching Hospital in
Baghdad told IPS. "He died on the table because we had no power for our
instruments."

The health official said ongoing attacks by militants could provoke U.S.
forces to detain more doctors. "We have only 40 percent of staff we need
to operate effectively," he said. "Even now, we don't have a specialist
in anaesthesia, so this is being handled by the nursing staff. Most
medical staff now are too afraid to work in our province."

The doctors expressed frustration at the U.S.-imposed curfew which
begins at 7 pm daily. Health services at Ramadi General Hospital end at
5 pm so that medical staff can be home before the curfew begins.

The Fourth Geneva Convention lays down specific provisions on delivery
of healthcare services.. "The occupying power has the duty of ensuring
the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in
particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other
articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate,"
Article 55 states.

Article 56 says: "The occupying power has the duty of ensuring and
maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the
medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and
hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the
adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures
necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics.
Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their
duties."

But the U.S. forces continue to target hospitals regardless. Dr. Qasim,
who had come from al-Qa'im hospital to the Ramadi General Hospital to
obtain medical supplies told IPS that the main hospital in al-Qa'im was
targeted by occupation forces Nov. 7.

"On that day 40 percent of our hospital was wrecked and the doctors'
residency was completely smashed," he said. "Then on the next day they
continued with the other 60 percent of the hospital, including the
emergency room and staff residency."

The doctor said patients were transferred to nearby Obeidy Hospital in
the two functioning ambulances, and in civilian cars.

"Even our ambulances were targeted by the soldiers," said Dr. Qasim.
"And in Obeidy City the hospital was under siege, and for three weeks we
worked there without medical appliances or proper facilities."

The health official said he had only 10 ambulances at his disposal, and
he needed approval from American forces to use them.

"Even when we obtained permission from the Americans, we have had four
out of 10 ambulance missions attacked. Recently in Khaldiya (near
Fallujah) an injured man inside one of them was detained along with two
of our doctors." The health official said he had pleaded with American
soldiers many times for assistance. "They accused me of aiding
terrorists," he said.. "But I told them I have nothing to do with the
security situation, and that I deal with injured persons because I have
sworn to deal with the injured. We are two million persons living in a
disaster now."

Sidestepping Courts in the War on Terrorism


Go to Original
By Richard B. Schmitt
The Los Angeles Times

Wednesday 30 November 2005

US seeks leverage by moving detainees or changing their status before scheduled hearings. Critics call it legal dodge ball.
Washington - The timing of the government's indictment last week of terror suspect Jose Padilla, after holding him more than three years without charges, seemed hardly coincidental.

The Supreme Court was being asked to review the Padilla matter, which has sparked a national debate over the treatment of terrorism suspects who are US citizens. By filing criminal charges against him, the Justice Department was reducing the chance that the high court would rule against the government in his case.

It's an increasingly common strategy in the Bush administration's legal war on terrorism: avoiding review by the federal courts whenever possible.

As the government has tried to maximize its power to track down, question and incarcerate suspects here and abroad, it has come to view the courts as a sort of new domestic threat that often affords prisoners more rights than officials feel they legally deserve. Barely a year ago, the Supreme Court gave terrorism suspects broad rights to challenge the government in court.

In the wake of that and other rulings, authorities have moved repeatedly to avoid judicial review by changing the status of prisoners, shipping them overseas or making adjustments in the conditions of their confinement - sometimes days before suspects were to appear in court.

The administration is also considered likely to support legislation, already passed by the Senate, that would greatly limit the rights of detainees and undo much of the 2004 high court ruling for future cases.

Critics say that these and other tactics amount to a kind of legal dodge ball with the Constitution.

"It is really about holding the reins, " said William Banks, a national security expert at Syracuse University Law School. "They simply don't want the courts to push them around."

"Every time a court has been on the verge of granting a detainee a fair shake, the government has taken the ball and gone home," said Joshua Dratel, a lawyer who has represented a number of defendants in terrorism cases - including some held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. "This is part of a pernicious pattern. They have been trying to subvert the process."

Administration officials deny there is any strategy to dodge the courts. But they also say they have a duty to protect the country and that they are taking all necessary steps to fulfill that pledge in what is largely uncharted legal territory.

Given the high stakes, the government would be wrong not to consider all its options, some observers said.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with that. That is just being responsible," said Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who was involved in a number of terrorism cases.

Bryan Sierra, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said officials were limited in what they could say about pending cases - including Padilla's - but added that the paramount consideration has always been the nation's security. "At every point in Mr. Padilla's detention, the tools used have been subject to some form of judicial review," Sierra said.

But defense lawyers, human-rights groups and some legal experts say such a system also allows the government to play a kind of war game with the rights of defendants and the legal process.

The plight of Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri is a case in point, they say. Officials have said they believe that Al-Marri, a native of Qatar who entered the country on Sept. 10, 2001, was a "sleeper cell operative" working to settle foreign terrorists in the US.

Two years ago, the Justice Department was moving against him in federal court in Illinois on charges of fraud and making false statements to authorities. Then the government decided he was too dangerous to be handled by the civilian courts, and he was moved to a military brig in South Carolina and designated an enemy combatant by President Bush.

The abrupt transfer deprived Al-Marri of the protections of the US judicial system.

His lawyers have said they believe that government officials took the action concerned that they were going to lose the criminal case. The move occurred on the eve of a hearing to suppress crucial evidence against him that his lawyers argued had been illegally obtained.

The administration also has fought hard against providing basic legal protections to detainees on the premise that they are being held outside the normal justice system. But officials have made concessions when it appeared their actions were about to be challenged in court. Defense lawyers say the government's goal is to avoid adverse rulings.

Officials afforded another enemy combatant, Yaser Esam Hamdi, access to a lawyer only after the Supreme Court was asked to take up his case. The court ultimately held last year that Hamdi was owed a hearing to make a case about his detention. He never got it. The administration instead deported him to Saudi Arabia, where his family lives, even though he once had been deemed a major threat who was captured on an Afghanistan battlefield.

Elsewhere, the government appears to have released detainees to avoid possible hearings that could air evidence of alleged unsavory tactics by captors. Earlier this year, the US agreed to free an Australian man, Mamdouh Habib, who had been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002 on suspicion of being an Al Qaeda agent.

Some US officials reportedly have said that Habib was released to ensure that a court would not closely examine evidence that he had been tortured in Egypt during interrogations.

The congressional effort to trim the rights of detainees could exacerbate such problems, some legal experts said. A smaller role for the courts, they said, could open up the possibility of additional abuses, such as prolonged detentions and coercive interrogations.

"When the government illustrates, over and over again, this contempt for the judiciary, it breeds its own lawlessness," said Joseph Margulies, an attorney with the nonprofit MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Chicago Law School. Margulies has represented several detainees and helped win the Supreme Court ruling last year establishing their rights to a hearing. "The government should not be afraid to take cases to court." he said.

Padilla's journey through the justice system began when he was picked up by the FBI at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in May 2002 and held on a material witness warrant. A month later, he was removed from the court system when Bush designated him an enemy combatant. He was placed in solitary confinement in a Navy brig in South Carolina, identified by top administration officials as a would-be "dirty bomber" plotting to plant an explosive device that would spread radioactive material. But he was never charged.

In September, a federal appeals court upheld his detention. Padilla's lawyers filed a request with the Supreme Court to review the case, demanding that he be charged or set free. A deadline had been set for this week for the government to respond to Padilla's petition.

Officials at the Justice Department said that because they have decided to pursue criminal charges against Padilla, the Supreme Court should have no reason to get involved at this juncture. "We believe that the petition is moot," US Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales said last week in announcing the indictment.

The terror-related charges against Padilla bear little resemblance to the government's original accusations against him.

Justice officials offered no assurances that Padilla would not be thrown back into military custody if the criminal case did not go well. Padilla's lawyers plan to press the high court to take the case.

"There is no guarantee that the government won't do this again," said Jennifer Martinez, a Stanford law professor who is assisting Padilla's defense.

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CPT


November 29, 2005

Four members of the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT)
<http://dahrjamailiraq.com/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=album40>
in Baghdad have been abducted and taken hostage recently. This event is
horribly dismaying for me, as I’ve known embers of CPT since before I
ever ventured to Iraq.

Back in November of 2003, while sitting in Amman, Jordan waiting to go
into Iraq, I met a member of CPT who had been working in Palestine. He
told me he was walking with Palestinian children as they went to school,
in order to prevent them from being attacked by Israeli settlers.

Later I would learn that this same individual had returned to Palestine
and was beaten so severely by Israeli settlers that he was hospitalized
for several weeks.

Last Thanksgiving, November 24, 2004 I shared a meal with members of
their team in Baghdad, along with several of our Iraqi friends. We gave
thanks together for being in Baghdad in solidarity with our Iraqi
brothers and sisters. All of us – the CPT members and myself -- were
then and remain fully committed to getting out the truth about the
illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq.

On the website of CPT is a quote of scriptural reference which reads,
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s
friends.”

This is what the members of CPT do in Baghdad. I’ve seen them do this
first-hand. They graciously opened their files of documents to me when I
was working on stories about Iraqis who have been in US military
detention centers inside Iraq. They have worked extensively on fighting
for the rights of Iraqi detainees and supporting their families. The
team documents home raids conducted by the US military, and have worked
to assist internally displaced people (refugees) inside of Iraq who are
left homeless by heavy-handed US military operations such as those in
Fallujah and Al-Qa’im.

In addition, CPT has been instrumental in bringing media attention to
villages and towns in Iraq which have suffered collective punishment by
the US military.

Each of the members of CPT in Iraq I have met are committed to
non-violence and being a truthful witness to the ravages of war and
occupation. They have been accused by their captors of being spies or
missionaries. This is simply not the case. If there is any group
operating in Iraq today who works tirelessly to end the suffering of
Iraqis, it is CPT.

Triumph of the Beast

November 29, 2005

"In the end, the forty-third President of the United States will have
impeached himself simply because of the absence of credible transparency
and administrative accountability from the beginning of his regime—for
the dismantling of habeas corpus, for the sake of torture."

Continue reading "Triumph of the Beast"

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Randi Rhodes Air America


Bush’s speech

Senators John Kerry & Jack Reed respond


Tal Afar photos


Michael Ware, Time Magazine’s Baghdad Bureau Chief with a report of how things are REALLY going in Iraq.

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Blind, stubborn, isolated and clearly delusional


Blind, stubborn, isolated and clearly delusional, what Bush called a plan for victory was nothing more than the same tired stump speech we’ve been hearing since 2003. Unbelievable.

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Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security,yesterday postponed a hearing on national security


November 30, 2005 -- Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations, yesterday postponed a hearing on national security whistleblowers. The decision came one day after the US Supreme Court denied cert in the case of translator Sibel Edmonds against the FBI. The Edmonds case highlighted a Bush administration policy of harassment and termination of intelligence and law enforcement agents who demonstrate any degree of independence, adherence to ethics, or skepticism. Edmonds and other national security veterans formed the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition as a result.

The following letter was sent by wrongfully terminated National Security Agency (NSA) analyst Russ Tice to Shays prior to the postponement of the hearing:

28 NOV 2005

The Honorable Christopher H. Shays,

Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations,

U.S. House of Representatives,

1126 Longworth Building,

Washington, D.C. 20515-0704

Dear Congressman Shays,

I am a former intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA), where I was retaliated against for following regulations, and reporting my suspicions that a coworker was involved in espionage. I have recently found out that the mother of the person I suspected was very highly placed at posts in the Department of Defense (DoD) at the Defense Information Security Agency (DISA), as a Deputy Under-Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon for Intelligence, and the Principal Deputy Director of the Defense Security Service (DSS). She was granted these posts and given our country’s highest security clearances despite the fact that, as young women, she was a product of Communist China who came to the United States in 1960. Considering this, I believe the prospect of her daughter being involved in espionage is greatly enhanced.

The means of retaliation used against me by the security office at NSA was to have me declared psychotic in order to revoke my security clearance. This action was taken despite the fact that the very same office at NSA conducted my routine psychological evaluation only nine months prior and found me to be normal. The DoD Inspector General, and the Merit System Protection Board have already sanctioned this outrageous act. As you know, the whistleblower laws both current and proposed do not protect me from such a vile act as this.

Consequently, I believe I would be a perfect candidate to testify at your subcommittee hearing on national security whistleblowers and the abuse of security clearances. I have been informed by POGO that my name was submitted to your office as a candidate to testify at this hearing, yet I have received no word from you. From what I understand, your hearing will include the bureaucratic entities that condone and foster the very misconduct that is in question. I likewise have heard that the two whistleblowers to appear were not removed from their posts nor were their security clearances revoked in retaliation. Can you please explain to me why I was not contacted by your office about this upcoming hearing or why no intelligence officers will be testifying? At this date I am still very willing to testify at your hearing and I would think that the retaliation dealt to me by the “National Security” Agency (NSA) would be very pertinent to a hearing on “national security” whistleblowers.

As it currently stands, your proposed hearing does not represent me or the abuses perpetrated against U.S. intelligence officers. It also omits the only organization that is specifically dedicated to national security whistleblowers, the National Security WhistleBlower Coalition (NSWBC). To the detriment of the security of our citizens, the Intelligence Community (IC) is using security clearance revocations as weapons of retaliation to silence officers as a means of covering up malfeasance, misconduct, and incompetence. In this letter I have intentionally included some specifics of my case to alert you to the gravity of the potential consequences that involve national security whistleblowers.

It is with this in mind that I implore you to forgo the 06 December hearing and reschedule it to include intelligence officers that have been victims of security clearance abuses and other NSWBC members who have recent and firsthand knowledge of what these abuses mean in terms of our nation’s security. Anything other will be a travesty of justice and a serious breach of faith of the American people in terms of their safety and security that is entrusted into your hands.

Very Respectfully,

Russell D. Tice

Former Intelligence Analyst & Action Officer, National Security Agency Member, NSWBC


Shay's postponement notice:

POSTPONEMENT NOTICE
11/29/05
TO: Members of the Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations

The Subcommittee hearing entitled:

National Security Whistleblowers in the post-9/11 Era: Lost in a Labyrinth and Facing Retaliation by Security Clearance Revocation

originally scheduled for December 6 has been postponed.

Issues involving security clearances and whistleblower protections are both complex and controversial. Invited witnesses, particularly the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and the Government Accountability Project (GAP), requested more time to gather information and prepare testimony.

In the meantime, the Subcommittee has directed inquiry letters to key federal agencies seeking documents detailing the myriad of regulations, policies and practices that govern security clearance suspension and revocation. Clearance actions can be used as a retaliatory tool against whistleblowers. Agency responses are due on or before January 9, 2006. The hearing has been rescheduled for January 24.

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Aegis Defense Services, the Pentagon contractor led by international mercenary Tim Spicer, seems to have some morale problems among its security force


November 30, 2005 -- Aegis Defense Services, the Pentagon contractor led by international mercenary Tim Spicer, seems to have some morale problems among its security force in Iraq. In the last six weeks, Aegis has experienced the following from its Tikrit security force alone: four resignations and three requests for transfers, all denied. The personnel problems are being blamed on pompous and arrogant managers who have been assigned to Tikrit and Forward Operating Base (FOB) Camp Speicher.

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Formerly Circulated News on the Crimes of the interior Ministry

Al Hurriyah Massacre on 27/08/2005

Al Burkan (Volcano) Brigade, under the interior ministry's commandos, has executed a raid and detention operation in Al Hurriyah/Al Dawla'i, region early on Tuesday morning, corresponding to 23/08/2005 (at 4.00 am).




An image showing the corpses of martyrs



These forces have more than 100 of the residents. Three days later, 36 corpses were found on a rural road in Al Kut region, after being exposed to torture. According to the forensic medicine report, the martyrs have been murdered on Tuesday at 10 pm, i.e. ten hours after their detention.

According to the witnesses testimony (in Al Kut region), a number of the interior ministry's vehicles were present in this region. They have let down a number of persons, who were hand-tied. A person in police uniform has shot them with a gun, which is only used on behalf of policemen. The empty bullets (outer sleeves) were found and placed at Al Kut police station.

Al Mutlaq family fro Deilam Albu Kalifah clan suffered the most during this mass massacre. The victims of this family have reached 15 (Ahmed, Riyadh, Firas, Mustafa, Mohamed, Ali and others).
The victims were exposed to the extremist types of torture. They have been all tied up, their eyes were plucked out, their hands and legs were broken, and fuel was poured over them. Their teeth were pulled out while they were alive. The following images show the barbarianism of these criminals

Mousa Al Husseini
A member of the Democratic National Party

Note: We have pictures of the bodies of victims who were tortured to death. If you need to have the following pictures please contact us.
Al-Mendhar

An image showing the process of trying the victims
A victim with pulled out teeth
A victim with broken arms
A victim with bulked-out eye
A victim burned with fuel
An image showing how the shoulder of the martyr has been dislocated
An image showing burning corpses with fuel
An image showing the barbarianism of criminals
An image showing stripping off the skin of the martyr
An image showing a hole in the corpse of the martyr

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Hadi Al Ameri, Head of Badr Militia, is Iran's First Man in Iraq


Al Malaf website – Amman – Special – Badr and the Supreme Council are financially and organizationally under the Iranian Army General Staff. Their monthly budget is 3 million dollars.

Al Malaf Net has obtained very important documents that disclose some aspects of the Iranian security, intelligence and military interference in Iraq through its most significant allies on the Iraqi arena, The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution and its affiliated militia (Badr Organization). The documents obtained by Al Malaf Net mainly speak about the role played by Hadi Al Ameri, head of the Shiite Badr Militia, who is also heading the Integrity Committee in the Iraq Parliament.

It is well-known that the leaders of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, with its military wing (Badr Brigade) were based in Iran during the years, preceding the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime. They used to receive support and orders from the Iranian security authorities.

During the past two years, many Iraqi patriotic politicians have been talking about the Iranian intervention in the Iraqi affairs through the council and Badr militia. These politicians were accused on behalf of Iran and its allies that they were agents for the United States. The serial of the issue of such penetration and the talk about it is still continuous. A few days ago, Al Janabi Clan has accused Iran, and what it called as Iranian agents in the Iraqi Interior Ministry of being behind the assassination of the lawyer Sa'dun Al Janabi, the lawyer of one of the assistants of ousted Iraqi president. Approximately two months ago, a scandal was launched about the smuggling of engines of the Iraqi MiG-29 planes in a garage belonging to Badr Organization and that they were on their way to be exported to Iran, in addition to the exportation of many equipments of the military industries council through the borders to Iran. Moreover, organizations of Islamic and humanitarian names have spread in Iraqi southern cities, which many press and security reports state that they are run on behalf of the Iranian intelligence "Ettelaat". Al Janabi clan has also confirmed the existence of a floor in the Interior Ministry, which is under the control of the Iranian intelligence "Ettelaat", where active Sunni elements are tortured and murdered. This accusation has urged the British ambassador in Baghdad to demand Al Ja'fari's government to investigate on this issue. In addition, there are operations of exporting great quantities of weapons to Iraq, the entry of large numbers of Ettelaat and Revolutionary Guards elements to Iraq, and the suspicious and dangerous flow of Iranian drugs to a country that has not known this "epidemic" in the past.

Reports coming from Iran state that Iran is the one behind the programmed operations of kidnap and assassination targeting elements opposing it, who are mainly Sunnis. These operations are executed by persons dressed in "police uniform and riding vehicles belonging to the interior ministry.' The accusations in this regard are numerous and the list of those assassinated or kidnapped is full, the most prominent of whom is the lawyer Sa'dun Al Janabi and Mohamed Awad Al Bandar, the official in the former regime, who is currently detained, on behalf of the multinational alliance forces.

With regard to understanding the nature of the Iranian role in Iraq, several security and press reports stress Hadi Al Ameri, the most prominent identity in this equation, who possesses all the keys relating to the connections with Iran and is the in charge of the strongest security authority in Iraq at present; Badr Organization.

Who is Abu Hassan Al Ameri?

Hadi Farhan Abdullah Al Ameri, known as "Abu Hassan Al Ameri", is currently leading Badr Organization and is one of the figures that are directly connected to the Iranian Al Quds Brigade.
Al Ameri's journey started with the Shiite opposition, by the beginning of the 80s, when he left Iraq to Jordan, where he remained for a few days before moving to Syria. In Syria, he contacted the Supreme Council and he was transported to Iran. He spent all the following years there.

Al Ameri holds the Iranian nationality under the name of Hassan Ameri and his wife is Iranian. He usually visits Iran and meets with Qassem Sulaimani, the head of Al Quds Brigade, under the Iranian guard forces, on a regular basis.

While being in Iran, Al Ameri played a role in torturing the Iraqi prisoners, who were captured by Iran during the Iraqi-Iranian war. Prisoners who returned from there accuse him of being the cruelest against them. This role helped him to reach the status that he occupies in the eyes of the Iranians.

In 1986, Abu Hassan joined Badr Brigade and was enrolled in the Higher 'Dafos' Course in the Command and General Staff College in Imam Al Hussein University, under the Iranian guard forces. His rank is equivalent to a Brigadier General in the revolutionary guard.

During the past two years, Abu Al Hassan Al Ameri, Abu Hassan Al Ameri maintained his connections with Al Quds Brigade. His salary is regularly sent from Iran to his account no. 3014 as a member in Al Quds Brigade. The number of his file in Al Quds Brigade pay roll is 10074. He receives more tan 2 million and 600 thousand Iranian riyals a month, which is equivalent to the salary of a Brigadier General in the Iranian revolutionary guard.

Abu Hassan had contacts in Iran with the top command in Al Quds Brigade, such as Qassem Sulaimani and Qa'ani, commander of the Brigade and his deputy, in addition to the guard Brigadier General Hamed, chief of the intelligence of Al Quds Brigade, Kareem, head of the operations department in Al Quds Brigade, the guard Brigadier General Irej Masjedi, the guard Brigadier General Ahmed Faruzenda, the guard Brigadier General Mohamed Ja'fari, the chief of staffs of the guard forces and the other commanders of the guard forces. He used to meet with them and receive his orders directly from the guard Brigadier General Qassem Sulaimani, Masjedi and Ja'fari.

During the fall of the former regime, he was accompanied with the commanders of Zafr Base, under Ramadan Base, when he entered the city of Al Imara for the first time through Mahran borders station.

Al Malaf Net has sufficient information that clearly state that Abu Hassan submits security reports on the conditions in Iraq to Qassem Sulaimani during each visit he makes to Iran.

On February 20, 2002, he went to Kermanshah through Al Kut. He participated in meetings with Al Quds Brigade. On February 30, 2002, he participated with Abu Zarr Al Khalesi, who arrived at Kermanshah through Baqubah, a day earlier, to participate in a meeting with Al Quds Brigade, under the guard forces, and receive the guidelines and directions from the guard Brigadier General Ja'fari.

The information also states that on February 28, 2003, he participated in a meeting with the commanders of Fajr Base in Al Ahwaz City and in January 2005, he met with the commanders of Al Quds Brigade at a borders station.

Badr Forces, under the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution
Abu Hassan Al Ameri, a high-ranking member in the Central Committee of the institution, known as the Central Authority, which is the biggest security-military organization in Iraq that plans and executes tens of military and security operations against Iran's opposers in various Iraqi cities, on a daily basis. He works directly under the command of Abdel Aziz Al Hakim.

The Central Authority receives its Fatwas for the assassination operations directly for Khamenei office. Targets are specified in coordination with the command of the Iranian Ramadan Base. Hence, any agreed upon operation is executed. The Central Authority has 7 main members, who are currently officials at the interior ministry or the Iraqi police, according to the reports.

The security reports, which were disclosed by knowledgeable political sources to Al Malaf Net in Amman, state that among the new security tasks that Badr Organization was assigned to achieve, while the Iraqi parliamentary elections are approaching, is the physical liquidation of the opposers of the Iranian regime, or assassinating them politically and spiritually through distorting their image in the Iraqi street by fabricating false stories that suggest doubt to their patriotism or life history, or accusing them of corruption, etc.

The same documents state that Hadi Al Ameri receives a sum of 3 million dollars a month as salaries for the affiliates of Badr Brigade all over Iraq, in addition to other sums that are sent for executing terrorist-intelligence operations and activities by Badr Brigade. This is executed through delegating the financial official of Badr organization to Iran and carrying the sum into Iraq.

Documents

Date: 26/07/2005

Paying the expenses and salaries of the members of Badr Organization and the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution, on behalf of Al Quds force, under the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Brigade

In reference to the confidential information that we obtained about Al Quds Force, under the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Brigade, during the past two and half years since the fall of the former Iraqi government, the office of Khamenei and Al Quds Force has continued to pay the salaries of the members of Badr Organization, the Supreme Council and the necessary expenses in Iraq. It did not specify a time for stopping paying such money. The last portion of the organization and council salaries were paid until last June.

It is worth mentioning that the documents obtained from Iran clearly show the financial relations between Badr Organization and the Supreme Council with the Iranian regime, two years after their return to Iraq.

Documents prove that the Supreme Council is affiliated to the Iranian regime and include the budget of the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq.

The first document includes a message sent by the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq to Al Nasr Command Committee. The second document states the estimation of the budget of the Supreme Council for the fiscal year 1382, which corresponds to 2003 AD.

Due to the financial system in the Iranian armed forces, which pays the budget in Iranian hard currency (toman) and paying the member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq in dollars, it shows a difference in the sums, when converting the Iranian currency into dollars. This was the topic of the message sent on behalf of the supreme council, in which it demanded Al Nasr Command to make up for the difference. It is worth mentioning that there are three types of currencies for exchange in Iran.

Additional information states that the financial affairs official in the Supreme council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq has traveled to Iran, one day after sending the message, i.e. on 12/05/2003. He attended a meeting with Colonel Haras Gholami, an official in the planning and programming department (the Budget and Considerations Administration) in the headquarters of the General Command of the Iranian Armed Forces. The two of them have solved the dilemma of the financial differences. The translation of the message as we received it with all its linguistic mistakes is as follows:

Document 1

In the name of the Almighty Allah
The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq – Number: …451
The Executive Committee
Date: 21/02/1982
Urgent

To: The honorable Al Nasr Command Committee/ Budget and Financial Affairs

Subject: Applied Differentiation

Due to the current sensitive conditions in Iraq, it is necessary to estimate the salaries f the Supreme Council officials as perfect as possible.

Therefore, please advise of the applied differentiation sum of the minimum for the officials of the supreme council in the current year, if possible.

We wish you continuous success,

Head of the executive Committee
Mohamed Taqi Al Mawla (Signed)

A copy to:
The Armed Forces General Staffs – Planning, Programming and Budget department – (for preparation)
Presidency of the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq (for studying)

Document 2

The following document refers to the approved budget in 1381 (Iranian chronology), corresponding to 2002 AD, and the suggested budget on behalf of the Armed Forces General Staffs in 1382 (2003 AD). The Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq officially receives the salaries of its affiliates from Tehran. They are actually in Iraq. The Supreme Council is considered as a division affiliated to the Iranian Armed Forces General Staffs. It is worth mentioning that the suggested budget of the Supreme Council has been designated in case of its existence in Iraq. The expenses for the council are not designated in case it existed in Tehran.

A table of the financial considerations for the Supreme Council, suggested on behalf of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staffs

The sums are estimated in Riyals (the Iranian currency)

Subject: The financial considerations approved in 1381 (2002 AD). The suggested budget on behalf of the General Staffs for 1382 (2003 Ad)

Notes

Salaries and bonuses: 4,000,000,000 4,000,000,000
The Feast Bonuses: 216,000,000 216,000,000
Work Bonuses: 70,000,000 52,000,000
Expenses of duties, transportation and telecommunications: 137,000,000 120,000,000
Treatment: 135,000,000 135,000,000
Rent: 88,000,000 88,000,000
Phone Expenses: 20,000,000 20,000,000
The expenses of agreed upon services, obsoletes, fuel, water, electricity: 738,000,000 700,000,000
Expenses of Commodities and equipments in service: 168,000,000 80,000,000
Courtesy and ceremonies Expenses: 630,000,000 500,000,000
Burial expenses: 5,000,000 4,000,000
Expenses of security affairs, protection and security personnel: 400,000,000
Electronic security: 268,321,536
Confidential: 125,000,000 125,000,000
Purchasing services: 280,000,000
Considerations of programs, plans, and new programs of the Supreme Council: 1,000,000,000
Total: 9,127,851,536 6,560,000,000
Confidential

The Assassination of Megbel Al Sheikh Issa

Details of the assassination of Mr. Megbel Al Sheikh Issa, a Sunni member of the Iraqi constitution drafting committee, on behalf of the agents of the Iranian Al Quds Force

Date: 08/08/2005

Upon orders issued on behalf of Fajr Camp in Ahwaz, under the Iranian Al Quds Force, the Unified Islamic Front, Al Nasiriyah Branch, which consists of Badr Organization, Al Shaban 15 Movement, the Islamic Front Organization and the Islamic Da'wa Party – Iraq Organization, and …., have held a meeting in July 2005 in Al Nasiriyah. They have selected their targets for terrorist operations and listed the following names on the assassination list:

Sheikh Hareth Al Dhari
Mesh'an Al Jabouri
Dr. Iyad Allawi
Hazem Al Sha'lan
Dr. Mohsen Abdel Hameed
Major General Rasheed Fleih, from the interior ministry
Dr. Megbel Al Sheikh Issa
Dr. Kamal Al Obaidi
Iyham Al Samera'i (former electricity minister)

Upon the aforementioned plot, Dr. Megbel Al Sheikh Issa was assassinated on 19/07/2005 with another member in the constitution drafting committee.

Within a related context, a confidential report (issued in its linguistic, dictation and grammatical mistakes), which was sent on behalf of the groups affiliated to Fajr Camp, has explained the details of the assassination as follows:

"On 19/07/2005, Dr. Megbel Issa and Dr. Kamel Al Obaidi, members of the constitution drafting committee were chased and eliminated, as they were against the federation plan in the south, in addition to supporting and approving terrorism. They also desired to use the resources of the south western Iraqi regions. Meanwhile, they were presenting a plan that was not in favor of the south of Iraq and saying that the federation system would lead to the division of Iraq and the south of Iraq would turn into an Iranian province, as the majority of residents in the south are from Iran."

The names of the persons who executed this operation are as follows:
Abu Ali Al Ibrahimi, from Badr Organization
Mohamed Dhidan, from Badr Organization
Abu Ali Al Baghdadi, from Shaban 15 Movement
Abu Ali Al Mashrafawi, from Al Da'wa Party – Iraq Organization
Abbas Fadhel, from Shaban 15 Organization
Abu Ahmed Al Madab, fro Da'wa Party - Iraq Organization
Abdel Basset, from the Islamic Front Organization

It is worth mentioning that the operation has been executed by shooting them at the end of the meeting of the constitution drafting committee, on their way home at 12.00 noon. The two persons who shot them were Mohamed Zidan, from Badr Organization and Abbas Fadel, from Shaban 15 Movement.

Source: AL Malaf Net

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UN: International Control over Army and Police Tools in the Murder Operations


Baghdad – The United Nations held all Iraqi parties as liable for the murder and injury of 26 thousand Iraqis due to terrorist attacks, and illegal assassinations and executions since last September 1 until October 31.

I a report under the title of "the situation of human rights from last September 1 to October 31" pointed out, "The repetitive bombarding campaigns that were executed by armed groups against civilians and mosques have led to increasing worries regarding the deterioration of relations among the members of the community and turned into a state of fear, hatred and revenge."

It added, "Great parts of Iraq are still suffering from a state of general collapse of law and order, which is represented in the spread of violence all over the country."

In its report, the United Nations pointed out, "The terrorist attacks and illegal targeted assassination operations and executions have led to the murder and injury of hundreds of civilians."

It noted, "The wide-scale security operations launched on behalf of the Special Forces and Iraqi police are still ignoring the instructions announced on behalf of Bayan Baqer Soulagh last August, for securing protection for individuals during detention and search operations."

The report confirmed, "The current military operations, especially in western and northern regions of the country, are still causing the immigration and suffering of thousands of families, in addition to causing severe harm to civilians in general."

The report pointed out, "The random murder operations and terrorist acts that occurred in several parts of Iraq are still resulting in the murder of hundreds of people and disabling many others, including children."

The report believed, "The spread of armed militias and terrorist and criminal organizations that are acting without fear of penalty, represents major challenge of law and order, and a threat for the security of citizens." It considered that extreme worries arise from the fact that "some crimes have been committed on behalf of persons in police or army uniform, who are using their equipments and devices."

The report shed the light on the fact that "the sectarian violence in some regions, including Baghdad, aims at shaking the peaceful coexistence which has always been, until recently, the distinguishing characteristic for the common relationships among the constituents of the Iraqi community." It noted, "The received reports from districts in Baghdad, such as Al Hurriya, Al Azamiyah, Al Ameriyah, Al Khadra, Abu Dasheer, New Baghdad and Al Dawra, show that the current violence has resulted in the immigration of individuals and their families to the neighboring districts after being exposed to threats and murder."

The report hinted to "receiving reports about similar immigration cases to and from Al Basra, Baghdad, Nainawa and Al Anbar.' According to the report, there are "repetitive reports from preliminary sources stating that the Arabs residing in Iraq are still victims of disgrace, hatred, provocation and abusive detention, due to an alleged belief that they are linked to 'the foreign fighters'.

The United Nations Human Rights' Office has expressed its worries "for the presence of a great number of detainees in the country." It said that the total number of detainees is continuously increasing, due to the mass detentions that were executed recently during the security and military operations."

The report pointed out that the great majority of the detainees were arrested by the multinational forces for "urgent security reasons". The United Nations confirmed that it would continue its efforts for assisting the Iraqi government in "its attempts to adopt a culture based on the dominance of law and respecting human rights." The United Nations has expressed "that it is sorry for the re-activation of the death sentence". It urged the Iraqi government to "alleviate all the death sentences that would be issued in the future for encouraging the right to survive."

The United Nations said that according to the list submitted by the Iraqi government, there are 54 persons waiting for execution, while there are 2 persons in Erbil waiting to be executed." The United Nations expressed its worries for "extending the alert state all over Iraq, except for the three northern provinces."

It believed that under the increase of the rate of violence and violations of human rights, the Iraqi authorities should concentrate on fighting the phenomenon of escaping penalty, which is widely spread and has not been confronted, as it would cause serious damages to the supremacy of law and peaceful coexistence."

Al Zaman

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Revealed: the real story behind the great Iraq Museum thefts


The story of what really happened inside the Iraq Museum when thousands of valuable antiquities were stolen in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 US invasion has been revealed in a new book.
Written by the chief investigator, it says there were three separate thefts, at least one of which was an inside job, another the work of professionals, and a third where fleeing Iraq military had left open a door which let in the looters. At least 13,864 objects were stolen, making it the biggest museum theft in history.

But the book reveals that, with an estimated 500,000 objects in the museum and thieves having the run of the place for 36 hours, the wonder is the loss was not far closer to the original, inaccurate, reports of 170,000 items. And the efforts of Iraqi, US and Italian officials, plus police and customs worldwide, have so far led to the recovery of 5,400 items, nearly 700 from inside the US and Britain.

All this - as well as the remarkable tale of the reclaiming of the fabulous Treasure of Nimrud - is told in Thieves of Baghdad, available only in the US, and written by Matthew Bogdanos who has been described, with only a minimum of hyperbole, as a real-life Indiana Jones.

He was born in New York, as a boy worked in his family's Greek restaurant, became a marine, a reservist, a lawyer in the city's district attorney's office, lost his home in the 9/11 attacks, and had to use all his marine training to fight through crowds and emergency service workers to rescue his family from an flat whose windows were blown in and contents covered in two inches of ash. Weeks later, he was in uniform as a marine Lt-Colonel, on operations in Afghanistan, and thence, by 2003, to southern Iraq.

It was here, on 18 April in Basra, he heard the Iraq Museum has been plundered. Bogdanos - a keen amateur classicist - requested permission to investigate, put a team together, and hurried north to Baghdad. He arrived at the museum compound on 20 April. It was not a pretty sight. It had been used as a fighting position, Iraq army uniforms were scattered all around, as were expended RPGs. In a courtyard smoldered the remains of hundreds of Ba'ath party cards and files. And, above the centre door to the main building, was a large handwritten sign 'Death to all Americans and Zionist pigs'.

Saddam's forces had abandoned the museum sometime on 10 April. Two days later senior curators returned, chasing off the last of the looters that had numbered 300-400 at their height. It was in this window of 36 hours that the thefts occurred.

The first area the US team entered was the administrative offices where the destruction was "wanton and absolute". Everyone of the 120 offices had been ransacked, every piece of furniture broken. But, in the public galleries, the damage was far lighter. Of 451 display cases, only 28 were damaged, but nearly all were empty. To his relief, Bogdanos learnt their contents had been removed by staff ahead of the invasion to a "secret place" within the museum known only to the five most senior officials. Where that was, no one was then saying. But 40 antiquities - including some of the best, like the Sacred Vase of Warka, the Mask of Warka, Bassetki Statue and the eighth century BC ivory 'Lioness Attacking a Nubian' - were stolen. The thieves, says Bogdanos, were "organised and selective".

The above-ground storage rooms told a different story. Here was where looters had struck, getting in via a door left open by Iraqi soldiers who, even as they fled, discarded their uniforms in a trail of clothing. The looters has swept entire shelves of items into bags, and the result was 3,138 missing items, such as jars, vessels and shards.

On 2 May [check], Bogdanos and companion crept down a dark hidden stairwell towards the basement storage area. They saw its great metal door was wide open with no sign of a forced entry. Someone in the know had got there first. "The chaos," wrote Bogdanos, "was shocking: 103 fishing tackle-sized plastic boxes, originally containing thousands of cylinder seals, beads, amulets and jewellery were randomly thrown in all directions Amid the devastation, hundreds of surrounding larger, but empty, boxes had been untouched. It was immediately clear that these thieves knew what they were looking for and where to look." The investigators feared the worst. But they discovered that 30 cabinets containing part of the world's finest collection of cylinder seals and tens of thousands of gold and silver coins were untouched.
What Bogdanos later surmised was that the thieves had the relevant keys, but had dropped them and, in the unlit basement and lacking torches, had been unable to find them again. What, however, had been taken was 4,795 cylinder seals, 5,542 coins, glass bottles, beads, amulets, and jewellery. As Bogdanos wrote: "It is simply inconceivable that this area had been found, breached and entered by anyone who did not have an intimate insider's knowledge of the museum." Bogdanos fingerprinted all 23 staff who returned after the invasion and were known to have access to storage rooms. But many staff did not return, including Jassim Muhamed, the museum's former head of security. Yet the biggest obstacle to the investigators' work was the poor state of the under-funded museum's records. The storage rooms, for instance, contained thousands of unlogged excavated items. A full inventory did not exist, and, Bogdanos estimated, would take years to compile. Recovery of missing items had to take priority.

An amnesty started within two days. Word was put out to immams, newspapers and television, and on the street that anyone returning an item would be asked only one question: "Would you like a cup of tea?". An Arabic-speaking member of Bogdanos's team was posted on the gate to solicit returns, and the team walked the streets, drank endless cups of tea in cafes, and played backgammon with anyone who looked as if they might know something. In one, Bogdanos, still a keen amateur boxer at 45, staged an impromptu sparring match with a local champion to provide a diversion while a colleague quizzed an informant.

The response was almost immediate. Bags containing an item would be dropped off, items allegedly taken for 'safe-keeping' were brought in by hand, some antiquities were left at mosques, others simply handed to a patrolling US soldier. The Sacred Vase of Warka, after two weeks of negotiation, was returned in June in a car boot, along with 95 other artifacts. Bogdanos was even contacted when on leave and handed a 4,000 year old Akkadian piece in a brown envelope as he sat in a Manhattan coffee shop. All but 101 of the 3,138 items stolen from the storage rooms have been recovered, yet at least 8,500 pieces are still missing, the most significant being the Lioness ivory.

Just over 2,000 recoveries were the result of raids, the biggest being at a farmhouse on 23 September. Under a foot and a half of dirt in the backyard was the Mask of Warka. In November, two raids on the same day produced the Nimrud brazier, used to warm the throne room of King Shalmaneser III in the ninth century BC, plus 76 pieces stolen from the basement, including the Bassetki Statue, which had been covered in grease and hidden in a cesspit.

Bogdanos says one of their best sources of information was the now discredited Dr Ahmed Chalabi, whose Iraqi National Congress forces stopped a truck bound for Iran and found on it no fewer than 465 items. Meanwhile, with publicity and photographs of some missing items circulated to Interpol and customs, more of the stolen items started to be seized abroad - 1,395 of them by the end of 2003. Some 669 were seized in 2003 when four FedEx boxes, addressed to a New York art dealer, were impounded by US customs at Newark airport.

But what of the fabulous Treasure of Nimrud, 1,000 pieces of gold, crowns, necklaces, rosettes, bracelets and precious stones from the eighth century BC? One of the great archaeological discoveries of the last hundred years, it had been seen in public only once, briefly, in 1989. A year later, it was moved by the Hussein regime to the Central Bank. It had not been seen since, and, shortly before the battle for Baghdad, Saddam's sons, Uday and Qusay, had emptied that bank's vaults of much of their contents.

On 26 May, the investigators showed up at the bank's vaults, and found them flooded with 20ft of water. A National Geographic film crew agreed to pay for them to be pumped out, in return for an exclusive. On 4 and 5 June the team returned, and found in the vaults a collection of wooden boxes (plus the body of a would-be robber). One by one they were opened, revealing the burial goods from the royal tombs of Ur, until one box remained. At 1.43pm, its lid was prised open and there was every Hollywood film's idea of ancient treasure - gold crowns, bracelets, necklaces and anklets.

And Bogdanos? Early next year he will be back at the DA's office, conductinginvestigation into worldwide antiquities trade. All his royalties from his book are being donated to the Iraq Museum.

The Independent On Line
By David Randall

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Blood money boom for Iraqi donors as hospitals run dry


The buyers and the sellers meet in corners, away from prying eyes. The deals are done after hurried negotiations, and bundles of notes change hands. But these are no ordinary transactions; the cash being traded is blood money.

In Iraq, a country being torn apart in a seemingly never-ending conflict, there is now an acute shortage of blood. And the worse the violence becomes, the higher its black market prices rise.

Faced with the crisis, the medical authorities will supply blood for operations and treatment only if families or friends of the victims can provide an equal amount in return. There are exceptions for the most serious of cases, when up to two litres are given free.

But on many occasions, relatives are unable to donate the blood because they are too old or ill themselves, or because they have a blood type the hospitals do not want because they already a preponderance of it.

And into this gap in the market fit people like Ali Mahmood Hashim, who, unemployed with three children to feed, is selling the only thing of worth he has left. "There is nothing else I can do," he said outside the Bab al-Modam medical complex in central Baghdad. "Everything is expensive and we have no money. I am not forcing anyone to buy my blood, but there are always those willing to pay for it."

The prices of blood vary from 20,000 to 40,000 dinars per litre, with the negative type fetching more because of its comparative rarity. The sellers will either give blood, pretending to be a relative of the victim, or provide it already extracted, in a bottle.

It is unclear whether selling one's own blood is legal. The sellers are routinely arrested by police but recently a judge ruled that it is not strictly against the law. However, there do exist rules about how often someone can give blood - regulations of which the sellers are in clear breach.

The National Blood Transfer Centre at Bab al-Modam, the largest in Iraq and the only one in Baghdad, is situated alongside three medical colleges and a large cemetery. It is also around the corner from Haifa Street, a notoriously dangerous thoroughfare where bombings and ambushes against US and Iraqi military patrols take place almost every day. The Americans are evacuated to the Green Zone, but some of the Iraqis on both sides end up at Bab al-Modam.

Alwan Jaseem Mohammed, 33, is the car-park supervisor at the medical complex. He saw the lucrative blood trade going on around him and decided to join in. "I am not doing anything to feel shame. I am saving people's lives," he said. "I have now done it four times and each time the relations have given me a 'gift'. The ones who are poor gave me 10,000 dinars, but I have received up to 40,000 dinars. I have never obliged anyone to pay me."

Kardam Khalid Ismail runs a kiosk near by selling soft drinks, sweets and cigarettes. He is 27 years old and looks pale with a distinctive yellow tinge to the whites of his eyes. "Yes, I sell blood. But I do not think it is a crime at all," he said. "Sometimes I go in disguise, with longer or grey hair, or with a false beard, to make sure the people at the blood centre do not recognise me."

As well as the police, the men keep an wary eye out for "bosses", local hardmen who run syndicates of blood-sellers. Ahmad Nazaar Hassan, known as "the crocodile", heads such a group. He came immediately to the point: "You will get very good blood for 40,000 dinars... Ah, you are a journalist, then it'll be 50,000," he chortled.

One buyer, Gaith Saleh Salman, a 45-year-old teacher, ran out of the clinic. "Who will give me negative blood?" he shouted. "I will pay whatever it takes. My wife is at al-Rahibad hospital. It is a private hospital but even there they have not got the negative type. I am desperate." But there was no one with negative blood willing to sell and he walked back dejectedly.

The Independent
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The Great Satan Deliberates with Iran's Leader (Rahbar) Khamenei



Nasr Al Majali from London: Last month's statement of the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that the United States is preparing for a dialogue with Iran and making contacts with it as a part of efforts to end terrorism in Iraq has been confirmed.

The United States has requested Iran to close its borders against the insurgents in Iraq and avoid arousing sedition among the Shiaas in Iraq. In a statement to Newsweek Magazine, the American ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has admitted launching contacts with Iran. Nevertheless, the American department of state has undervalued such news. It said that the contacts would not affect the nature of the current relations. Such developments coincide with resuming European negotiations with Tehran, regarding the nuclear file.

In case such information on contacts between the Guide Ali Khomeini, who is usually described as the Leader (Rahbar in Persian) of Tehran, which usually accuses Washington of being "The Biggest Satan ", this would be the first public contacts between the two countries, since the collapse of relations after the incident in which Iranian students occupied the American embassy, upon the triumph of The Islamic Revolution in 1979. The relations are still cut.

The current talk about the approach of launching contacts with Iran, which would be at the highest level for decades; on behalf of the US ambassador to Baghdad ; Zalmay Khalilzad. This ambassador, of Afghani origin holding American nationality, has conducted hard tasks in two hot cases during the past four years. These are Afghanistan, until it reached its current semi-stable status with elected government and parliament, and Iraq, where he was appointed as an ambassador. Khalilzad has participated in wide-scale activities, which let to the success of the referendum on the new constitution, upon which the elections would be conducted next month.

US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack confirmed Khalilzad's plans for making contacts with Tehran, for requesting the assistance of the latter in tranquilizing the current violence in Iraq. Nevertheless, the spokesman added that these talks would not affect the nature of the American-Iranian relations, which were cut in 1979, when Iranian students occupied the American embassy in Tehran and took diplomats as hostages. The United States had formerly made contacts with Iran through Switzerland or the United Nations.

Last month, Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, stated that the United States is studying the possibility of making direct contacts with Iran, as a part of the attempts for alleviating the violence waves in Iraq. McCormack did not disclose whether Khalilzad has already held meetings with Iranian officials, or whether such meetings were on his agenda. Nevertheless, he insisted on stating that establishing relations with Iran is logical, due to Iran's closeness to Iraq, according to a report by BBC.

Speaking about contacts between the mortal enemies coincides with European statements, which are positive towards Iran, regarding its nuclear file.

It is worth mentioning that last Sunday; the spokesman for the EU said to the CNN network that the European Troika, which consists of Germany, Britain, and France, has sent a message to the Iranian government offering resuming the deliberations relating to Tehran's nuclear program.

Christina Galjak, one of the consultants of Javier Solana, the European Foreign Policy Commissioner, in the EU, said that the EU has suggested discussing, whether there are sufficient common points for resuming negotiations relating to the nuclear program. She added that no date has been specified in the message for resuming these negotiations.

It is worth mentioning that the European situation has been announced in Barcelona on Sunday, where the Euro-Mediterranean Summit is held. On Sunday, the Iranian news agency, however, confirmed that the three European countries are ready to resume negotiations with Tehran next December.

Finally, the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security, Ali Larijani, has sent a message to the foreign affairs ministers of the European Troika on November 6. In the message, he announced that Iran welcomes holding logical and constructive talks, within the framework of international laws.

It is worth mentioning that the Europeans set a condition for Iran to stop the uranium enrichment in order to resume official negotiations. The International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors has decided not to send the Iranian file to the Security Council for allowing time for the efforts exerted to reach a settlement.

Ilaf

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