Monday, July 23, 2012

Iraq:Gunmen kill 13 soldiers on Iraqi base; death toll rises to 82 in bloodiest day of year, police confirm -



Iraq:Death Toll In Iraq Bomb Attacks Reaches 39.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The death toll in a string of bomb attacks in Iraq on Monday rose to 39, with at least 118 wounded, police and hospital sources said.
The explosions included a car bomb and a suicide attack, in and around the Iraqi capital Baghdad, as well as four car bombs in the northern oil city of Kirkuk.
(Reporting by Baghdad newsroom; writing by Rania El Gamal in Dubai, editing by Diana Abdallah)


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Iraq: U.S. Covers Up Womans Murder And Gets Caught.

Iraq:U.S.Wasted $8 Billion On Iraq Reconstruction.

Source RT

AFP Photo/Ali Al-Saadi
AFP Photo/Ali Al-Saadi

Billions of taxpayer dollars are vanishing in Iraq as the government fails to properly monitor its spending. The U.S. has wasted an estimated $6 to $8 billion in its reconstruction effort in Iraq, largely due to poor reviews of contractor invoices.

In its final audit report, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Funds (SIGUR) said that of the $51 billion effort to reconstruct Iraq,“the precise amount lost to fraud and waste can never be known,”largely due to poor record keeping by the Pentagon and the Department of State.
Inspector general Stuart Bowen, whose office spent more than $200 million tracking the reconstruction funds and producing reports, said a significant sum was wasted on inaccurate or inefficient service costs charged by contractors.

In many cases, invoices were checked months after they had been paid. Additionally, the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq, together with violence around the capital, made visits to check on reconstruction projects dangerous and expensive.

“To make a movement outside the embassy grounds requires 48 hours of notice, three hardened vehicles and a couple of shooters in each vehicle, and limited time on site to carry out your mission,”the inspector general said.

As a typical example of inefficient spending, one contractor charged the government $80 for a pipe fitting that could be purchased elsewhere for $1.41.

Large funds were also squandered on a $35 million project to construct an international airport in Baghdad. Four years into the project, Bowen’s office estimated that half of the budget was“at risk of being wasted.”

The inspector general found that too few contracting officers were in charge of validating large sums of money. In one instance, a single contracting officer was in charge of authorizing $2.5 billion in spending on a DynCorp contract for Iraqi police training.

DynCorp contractors were previously overpaid, and the State Department was once required to recover more than $60 million from the company.

But the problem is rooted deeper than just the reconstruction effort.

In 2011, the Associated Press reported that up to $60 billion had been wasted in Afghanistan and Iraq, which it predicted would increase as the U.S. withdraws its troops.

“Much of the contingency-contract waste and fraud could have been avoided,”stated a 2011 report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.“Unless changes are made, continued waste and fraud will undercut the effectiveness of money spent in future operations, whether they involve hostile threats overseas or national emergencies here at home requiring military participation and interagency response.”

Nearly a third of the funds spent on contracting were fraudulently used or wasted, said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in 2011.

Contracting was out of control,”the senator said last August, after a trip she took to Iraq.“It was the wild, wild West. There was no competition. There was money being wasted. There were pallets of money disappearing. There were things being built that weren’t even functioning.”

One year later, taxpayer dollars continue to be wasted. Although SIGIR investigated $635 million in spending since its founding in 2004, much of the $51 billion Iraqi reconstruction budget may continue to disappear undocumented and unverified.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“Dodgy Dossier” to Newspaper “Editor”: Tony Blair Re-invents Himself.

We came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we dare to slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed of what we did and trying to undo some of the evil we committed … we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them…
— Erskine Childers, 1870-1922
Even by the standards of a seemingly increasingly partisan British media, the decision to invite Tony Blair to Guest Edit the London Evening Standard on June 27th, the fifth anniversary of his leaving office, was, well, bizarre.

The Standard (established1827) gained early eminence for its detailed foreign news. Within little over forty years of its founding, reporters had covered the American Civil War, the Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War.

Fast forward to the turn of this century when well grounded fact-checking had apparently become less relevant. The last time Blair “edited” The Standard (or apparently detonated all editorial scrutiny and detachment) was on September 24th, 2002, when the newspaper’s bannered page one read: 45 Minutes from Attack with a picture of Saddam Hussein and: “Dossier reveals Saddam is ready to launch chemical war strikes.” The full front page was taken up by the then Prime Minister’s “revelations” of the (first) “Dodgy Dossier.”

Blair’s current editing foray was heralded by a breathless interview with him by Sarah Sands, the actual Editor, in his offices “with a view of the American Embassy from the window”, the room adorned with photographs of him including with “… Arnie Schwarzenegger, and crowds of laughing African children.”
Tony Blair’s stated global vision includes his “Africa Governance Initiative.”
Further: “Whether in the Middle East, faith, Africa, climate change … my focus is on devising long term solutions to some of the world’s most difficult problems”, he states modestly.

The mass graves and apocalyptic destruction in the Balkans and Iraq, the near world beating corruption in Kosovo – where streets and children are named after him – Iraq’s despotic, nepotistic US-UK choice “Prime Minister” — whose improbity and inability to restore or to halt the collapse of even basic services, burdens under which the population stagger daily — hardly reflect beacons of hope for his messianic, megalomanic, planetary “long term solutions.”
Back to The Standard interview. Incredibly, he cites Iraq’s growing economy and falling infant mortality rate: “It will end up with a happy ending but it has to go through what the whole region has to go through which is to put religion in its proper place and to realise democracy isn’t just a technical system but an attitude of mind”, opined the man of whom George W. Bush said: “We pray together” and who, of course, joined that chilling “Crusade”.

However, infant mortality in Iraq “dropping” from the death-dealing embargo years? Iraq, with the second largest oil reserves, is now a shocking nine places below Zimbabwe in neo-natal deaths on the world scale.

Moreover, Doctors in the 2004 bombarded city of Falluja have been “overwhelmed” by birth defects, including babies with two heads, Cyclops eyes, no eyes, no brain, no limbs, paralysis and a cancer epidemic.
Iraqi children being born with birth defects has been devastating families for years. A July 2010 study showed that increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in Falluja surpass those of the atomic bomb devastated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in more

War Criminal Blair :Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War has been delayed for another year because officials are refusing to allow Tony Blair's private messages to George W. Bush to be released. - Could It Be To Do With Giving The OK To Use Nepalm In Fallujah ?

    The publication of the final report from the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War has been delayed for another year because officials are refusing to allow Tony Blair's private messages to George W. Bush to be released.
    The delay was announced today by inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot in a letter to David Cameron.
    It means the committee's final judgement will not be delivered until at least a decade after the war.

    Secret relationship: The publication of the final report from the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War has been delayed for another year because officials are refusing to allow Tony Blair's private messages to George W. Bush to be released

    Sir John complains that the inquiry team's ability to publish 'a balanced, fair and accurate' report is being undermined by the refusal of Whitehall officials to let them publish the documents on which their conclusions are based.
    Intelligence papers relating to MI5, MI6, the listening post GCHQ and the deliberations of the Joint Intelligence Committee are understood to be among the messages being held back.

    But in his letter, Sir John also makes clear he wants the government to release Mr Blair's private letters to President Bush, which are understood to show that he committed in principle to support a US war in Iraq long before he came clean with the public.
    He also wants to be able to show the public details of deliberations in Cabinet over the war, which are likely to expose the true nature of the discussion over the legality of the conflict and the degree to which ministers were in the dark about the intelligence case for war.
    In a letter to Mr Cameron, Sir John says there are unresolved disputes over 'a number of particularly important categories of evidence, including the treatment of discussions in the cabinet and cabinet committees and the UK position in discussions between the prime minister and heads of state or government of other nations.'
    Sir John explicitly says issues around Mr Blair's evidence 'will need to be resolved'.

    Facing questions: Tony Blair addressing the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry in January 2010. Sir John Chilcot wants the government to release Mr Blair's private letters to President Bush

    Facing questions: Tony Blair addressing the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry in January 2010. Sir John Chilcot wants the government to release Mr Blair's private letters to President Bush

    He also refers to the inquiry's desire to publish 'transcripts from a small number of private hearings' - understood to include testimony from intelligence officers.
    Mr Blair has already discussed his letters widely in his evidence and his spin doctor Alastair Campbell reveals elements of the discussions in his diaries.
    Yet Cabinet Office officials, led by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and his predecessor Lord O'Donnell, have argued that publication of the letters would undermine future candour between leaders if there was a prospect of them being published.
    Sir John's letter will pile pressure on Mr Blair to grant a one-off exemption to the rules to allow publication of his correspondence with President Bush.

    Report author: Sir John fears the inquiry team's ability to publish 'a balanced' report is being undermined

    Report author: Sir John fears the inquiry team's ability to publish 'a balanced' report is being undermined

    Gus O'Donnell told the Chilcot panel that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US and would not be in the public interest.
    'We have attached particular importance to protecting the privacy of the channel between the prime minister and president,' he said.
    But Sir John has emphasised that the protocols were 'put in place to protect national security, international relations and the personal security of individuals.
    'They are not there to prevent embarrassment.'
    The inquiry held 18 months of public hearings between the end of 2009 and early 2011 and was originally expected to publish by the summer of 2011.
    But Sir John Chilcot has now revealed that he will not even begin approaching witnesses the report will criticise for their comments before the middle of next year.
    That means the final report will not be published until the autumn of 2013 and potentially into 2014.
    It is expected to criticise Mr Blair's use of intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in making the case for war - in particular through the creation of the so-called 'dodgy dossier'.
    Sir John is on record as saying that Mr Blair's claim that MI6 established 'beyond doubt' that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction was 'not possible to make on the basis of intelligence'.
    He reveals that the report is expected to exceed one million words in length, though it will also come with a more digestible summary for the public.

    Read more:

    Saturday, July 14, 2012

    Iraq:Torture And Terror American-Style - U.S. forces used mustard gas, nerve gas and other burning chemical weapons against Iraqi civilians in their November assault on the city of Falluja.

    By Sharon Smith | March 18, 2005 | Page 5

    ON MARCH 1, Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli of Iraq's Ministry of Health made a startling revelation at a Baghdad press conference:
    U.S. forces used mustard gas, nerve gas and other burning chemical weapons against Iraqi civilians in their November assault on the city of Falluja.
    Ash-Shaykhli added, "[A]ll forms of nature were wiped out in that city. I can even say that we found dozens, not to say hundreds, of stray dogs, cats and birds that had perished as a result of those gasses."
    Yet only Arab journalists were present to report this news, which has yet to appear in the mainstream U.S. media.
    Il Manifesto journalist Giuliana Sgrena--now in a Rome hospital recovering from bullet wounds from U.S. troops--described the November assault on Falluja as a "massacre." She reported charred bodies, indicating the possible use of napalm, buried by the dozens in mass graves. "The sad story of common graves, which started at Saddam's times, is not yet finished," Sgrena commented.
    In addition, Sgrena reported on the torture of ordinary Iraqis at the hands of U.S. forces, including the gruesome experiences of Mithal al-Hassan, detained for 80 days and tortured at Abu Ghraib.
    Al-Hassan described women prisoners forced to separate feces from urine with their hands and to drink water from a toilet bowl.
    When asked whether there were cases of rape, she replied that there were, but refused to discuss them, citing cultural customs. From her cell, she could hear children screaming as they were being tortured with dogs.
    Al-Hassan's description of child torture offers a new dimension to Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski's testimony during the investigation of torture at Abu Ghraib last May. Karpinski described an 11-year-old boy at Abu Ghraib who told her "he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying."
    As it turns out, the troops who fired on Sgrena's vehicle on March 4 were from the 3rd Infantry Brigade--accused of committing various war crimes last year, "from rape to hog-tieing and beating up an Iraqi detainee," according to Britain's Guardian newspaper. The Army investigation, launched in April, was concluded in July without charges filed, because "there was insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations."
    But the Army's inability to discover evidence of war crimes is apparently from its own lack of effort. The American Civil Liberties Union has made public 1,200 pages of abuse investigations obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, noting that none of the 13 cases of suspected abuse--including numerous instances of U.S. troops firing on civilians at military checkpoints--resulted in charges.
    The Army's investigation into the rape accusation against four 3rd Infantry Brigade soldiers, for example, was halted due to "lack of evidence"--without even interviewing the two alleged Iraqi rape victims.
    Another case contained in the documents involves a DVD made by members of a Florida National Guard unit while serving in Iraq last year.
    The DVD can no longer be viewed online at the Palm Beach Post Web site. Called "Ramadi Madness and the Haj Files," it shows a soldier holding up the hand of a dead Iraqi to wave "hi" to the camera; another soldier kicking a wounded Iraqi prisoner; and a soldier taking the butt of his rifle to a detainee. The Army's internal investigation, however, cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing.
    Perhaps most disturbing about "Ramadi Madness" is its "day in the life" exposure of occupied Iraq--including a scene of soldiers joyriding down a Ramadi street, whooping and hollering at Iraqi pedestrians to "get out of the way" as their vehicle swerves threateningly close.
    Two years ago, the U.S. invaded Iraq, using the claim that Saddam Hussein had "gassed his own people" and buried them in mass graves, while the torture of ordinary Iraqis was widespread. Now the U.S. can claim the same.
    The war on Iraq is not merely a war based on lies and hypocrisy. It is an imperialist invasion of a sovereign nation, aimed at humiliating its population. And imperial arrogance, apparently, knows no bounds.