Saturday, July 15, 2006

A Free And Sovereign Nation

"As in the past, the Holy See also condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other. Indeed, a State's right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations.

"In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and gives assurances of its closeness to those people who have suffered so much in the defense of their own independence.

"Once again, it appears obvious that the only path worthy of our civilization is that of sincere dialogue between the contending parties."
SS/MIDDLE EAST VIOLENCE/SODANO VIS 060714 (180) [emphasis mine - mfi]


A Big Metal Bowl

4 refugee children from Baghdad share a meal from a metal bowl at a refugee camp near Fallujah
Families continue to be driven from their homes in Baghdad. Neither the occupying American troops or the green zone government are doing very much about it. These four children sharing their meal from a large metal bowl are recent arrivals at a refugee camp for Sunni families. The camp is located near Falluja.


Next In Line

Rummy Casey and a helicopter that hasn't been shot down yet
"No sir, it's the third kid on the left whose sister is due to be gang raped next."


Rinse Spin Repeat

Crashed helicopter sw BaghdadI just love the way news agencies say things here's the caption supplied with this photo:

"A crashed US military helicopter southwest of Baghdad. US hopes of bringing troops home from Iraq in significant numbers this year appear dimmer than ever with Baghdad in the throes of a new wave of sectarian violence"
Never a mention of the fact that the violence in Iraq is caused by the US first invading the place and then continuing to occupy it.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Street Children of the World News

Central Index

The purpose of this blog is to organize news items about street children by country. I am blogging these news items because I have found in the past that many news items are only available online for a few days. By posting them here in country-specific blogs I hope to build a database of news items that may be useful to anyone interested in the problems of street children and how they are perceived in the media. I am also including links to blogs that are about street children since these often contain valuable information and insight.

These country blogs will only contain news items and blog links. If you are interested in projects relating to street children take a look at the street children links directory.

Street Children of the World News

Every Thing Is Under Contol

Refugee girl from al-Jihad neighbourhood arrives at refugee camp July 14th 2006

This girl from the al-Jihad neighboourhood in Iraq is one today's new arrivals at yet another new refugee camp in Baghdad. What she's carrying is her belongings.


What Dubya Did in Germany

After both leaders spoke to the crowd, Bush said: "Thanks for having us. Let's go eat."

Someone handed Bush a long knife and fork and as he prepared to pierce the meat, members of another band lifted their horns and began to play on cue.

Bush cut several slices from the shoulder and Merkel did the same from a haunch, and the eating began.

"At a joint news conference with Merkel earlier in Stralsund, Bush kept mentioning a wild boar, slaughtered and roasted the traditional way, that he planned to share at the dinner.

"I'm looking forward to the feast you're going to have tonight. I understand I may have the honor of slicing the pig," Bush told Merkel.

A few minutes later -- after discussing Iran, the Middle East, the merits of press freedoms in Russia and progress on the Doha round of free trade talks -- Bush returned to the boar.

"Thank you for having me," he told Merkel. "Looking forward to that pig tonight."

Bush answered a few more questions but kept coming back to the boar for a third, then a fourth time.

Bush Holding German baby After he's sucked its brains out
Before tasting the boar the president enjoyed his favourite appetiser of raw baby brain .

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Forward Together?

There are two horrific stories in today's (Al-Zaman) the first which can be found here [Arabic text] says that the militias who conducted what is best described as a pogrom on July 9th in Baghdad's Jihad neighbourhood knew who they were looking for. Here's what Juan Cole has to say about the same story.

"Shiite militamen who undertook the killings had with them long lists of ex-Baathists who had held office under the old regime but had been purged by the Debaathification Committee. The Debaathification Committee has been dominated by Ahmad Chalabi, and much of the documentation for its work was turned over to Chalabi by Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defense. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki also played a central role in the Debaathification Committee."

For more on Chalabi see the Sunday Herald:
Unveiled: the thugs Bush wants in place of Saddam
'I examined my notes of the interviews I conducted with 82 Iraqi opposition leaders, and began identifying those on my list whose thinking resembles Saddam's. To my horror, I decided 75 of the people I interviewed were men who would kill to achieve their goal.' One can only wonder whether Washington has come to the same conclusion, or indeed really cares."

also see this Sourcewatch profile
Go read the whole posting on "Informed Comment," Cole entirely correctly discusses the role of the Debaathification Committee and explains its connection both to Ahmed Chalabi and Nour al-Maliki but I think that Cole is missing the significance of some very important points towards the end of the story.

The first is that according to the witnesses quoted in the story the killers were young, relatively well armed, well dressed, and not particularly choosy about who they killed - if they couldn't find the person they were looking for from their list they just killed somebody else in their place. The second though is a bit more telling. According to al-Zaman they co-ordinated their actions using walkie-talkies and radios, NOT, mobile 'phones and that they were observed using these apparently to "screen" people whom they had captured, the implication of the story being that they were asking for and getting orders about who to kill. That doesn't sound like any of the various groups loosely associated with Muqata al-Sadr's movement to me, and it certainly doesn't sound like his Mahdi Militia.

The membership of the Mahdi militia are young, true, but they're also impoverished and have to buy their weapons and other equipment out of their own pockets - even allowing for a certain amount of racketeering and "protection" money they just don't have the cash to equip themselves with sophisticated comms equipment. 'Nor is it likely that such equipment was "borrowed" from, for example the Ministry of Health, (which is under Sadrite control) because to the best of my knowledge and belief they don't have a plethora of such equipment either. Furthermore involvement by the Mahdi militia in such a pogrom would put the kybosh on al-Sadr's efforts to reach out to Sunnis. It's far more likely that this pogrom is associated with much more avowedly sectarian elements within the green zone government, some have suggested Badr brigade involvement which is far more intuitively plausible.

A Very Rough Guide to Baghdad: Baghdad has somewhere between 5½ and 6 million inhabitants. It is divided by the Tigris into two main areas:
  1. The left bank of the river is called Al Rassafa.
  2. The right bank is called Al Karkh.
Al-Rassafa is older and the population is mainly middle to low income. It's a very highly commercial area.

Al-Karkh is generally less heavily commercialised than Al Rassafa, the exception is Al Mansour which is an important commercial area and has a number of ministeries. The population in Al Karkh is generally middle to high income particularly in Al-Mansour.

A very rough guide to Baghdad Districts by Sect:
  • Adhamiya: majority sunni
  • Baghdad Al-jadida: mixed
  • Dora: mixed becoming mostly Sunni
  • Hurrya city: mixed
  • Kadhimya: shiite majority
  • Karrada: mixed
  • Mansour (Al-Mansour): mixed (many secular Al- Mansour is prosperous.)
  • Sadr City: majority shi'ite

The second story can be found here [Arabic text] it describes how residents in Amiriyah, Al-Dura (Dora), Ghazaliyah, Khadra, Jihad, and Sayyidiyah which are largely Sunni districts in Western baghdad have formed vigilante associations to keep deathsquads out. Cole has picked up on this article too but his posting is short, and some context is needed here's what he has to say:

"Al-Zaman/ DPA say that Sunni Arabs in the West Baghdad districts of Amiriyah, Khadra, Jihad, Ghazaliyah, Sayyidiyah and Al-Dura (Dora) have formed emergency neighborhood patrols for fear that Shiite militias from nearby Shiite-dominated districts to the east will make further raids into their areas. Muezzins or callers to prayer in the Sunni mosques of the Khadra district used amplifiers to call for volunteers, and dozens of young men responded by taking up arms. They especially hastened to do so after armed militiamen attacked the Muluki Mosque in al-Amiriyah District near Karkh late on Wednesday. They set up concrete blocks as barriers barring entry to the Khadra District. As soon as the callers to prayer broadcast the attack on the Muluki Mosque, shopkeepers and merchants in the commercial district closed their establishments.

This narrative of innocent Sunni Arabs policing their neighborhoods from predatory Shiite attacks on mosques obscures those other processes that PM al-Maliki described, whereby the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement is trying to take over these districts politically and extend its sway to Karkh [see: sidebox - mfi]. In a civil war, disentangling offense and defense is no easy task."

I don't agree with Juan that this is a case of a narrative being obscured. In a sense there's nothing particularly new about this development. Vigilante groups in Baghdad's middle-class and upper-class suburbs first sprang up in as a defense against looters in the chaos immediately following the downfall of Saddam Hussein's regime. Residents manned checkpoints to protect their homes and shops. It makes sense in the current climate for residents particularly residents who feel themselves to be under threat to mount checkpoints again. This needs to be seen as part of post-Samarra Iraq. The post-Samarra bombing violence has come in two waves:

  • The first targeted Sunni mosques and the offices of political parties.
  • The second wave is targetting people and it is in response to this second wave of violence that these vigilante neighbourhood defense groups are re-forming.

As you might expect these groups are almost exclusively centred around mosques. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Mosques are social focal points, even in "secular" areas. They make natural storage points for arms and medical supplies.
  2. Their architecture (high rooves and minarets,) make them natural vantage points from which to keep watch.
  3. Mosques typically have reasonably powerful public loudspeakers (business for these is booming) also and these can be and are used to broadcast alerts to residents to get their guns and rush to defend the barricades.

As yet these groups aren't large armed formations. They typically operate as small separate groups of up to about 50 volunteers who take guard duty in shifts. So far they are are primarily defensive and are not formally linked to the anti-occupation fighters. I have no idea why on earth Juan Cole thinks Maliki's claims in this regard are reliable. When you read the article on it's describing a very typical "neighbourhood watch"/protection scheme. There are concrete and wire barricades put up to control access to the neighbourhood. These are typically manned by young volunteers. In the event of an attempted incursion or of an attack a combination of calls for defenders broadcast from the mosque and mobile telephone alerts issued by the perimeter defenders causes residents to pick up their guns, rush to close the roads into the neighbourhood, and repel the attackers. This pattern is identical to that everywhere else in Baghdad, Sunni, Shia, and mixed alike. In the light of the horrific events in Jihad on the 9th it is completely unsurprising that residents in Amiriyah, Dora, Ghazaliyah, Khadra, Jihad, and Sayyidiyah would step up their defenses. It is also completely unsurprising that people in those areas would ask why it is that many of these death squads seem to know who to look for and where they live. The article quotes one resident in particular - 75 year old Abu Omar as saying that the increasing attacks on mosques, especially after nightfall, have made these precautions necessary. Saying that there had been repeated attacks in Amiriyah, Jihad, and Sayyidiyah by attacksers wearing the uniform of the police. The article quotes other residents as saying that it was their duty to repel attacks by militia elements and that the absence of the State [would] create a law of the jungle and the rule of organised crime syndicates, the forces of terrorism and subversion, and out-of-control militias. It's worth noting that in al-Jihad, Sheikh Hussein, like al-Sadr preaches unity saying "It's the occupation which wants us to fight each other," and that the same is being said by community leaders in al-Furat, which unlike al-Jihad is almost entirely Sunni.

Cole and other western commentators seem absolutely determined to decree that full scale civil war has erupted. Baghdadis are by no means convinced of this, what they are convinced of is that it is the occupation itself which is driving the country towards one.



Merchants Of Death In Iraq

Dahr Jamail needs no introduction to my readers. Ali Fadhil's name might be a little less familiar he's a well known Iraqi journalist, mostly he specialises in corruption cases, I wrote about him back in January in the posting "Iraqi anti-corruption journalist arrested by Americans" and again in this posting Ali Fadhil - update it seems that being falsely arrested and having his home smashed up, an ordeal which he describes in this audio file hasn't taught Dr. Fadhil a lesson. He and Dahr Jamail published this chilling report of yet another American atrocity in Fallujah on July 11th on republished in yesterday's Asia Times.

Merchants of death in Iraq
By Dahr Jamail and Ali Fadhil

FALLUJAH - It could be called perhaps just another raid. Early in the morning on Sunday, June 18, US military helicopters landed near the home of Sinan Abdul-Ilah al-Mashadani in the al-Jughaifi district of Fallujah.

Within two minutes the doors of his home were blasted open and "a strange looking group of people" stormed inside, according to Said Walid Ahmed, a 40-year-old teacher who lives in the neighbourhood.


Sinan Abdul-Ilah al-Mashadani, who was a student at al-Mustansiriya University and the sole supporter of his mother and younger brother and sister, was killed in the raid, apparently by a special operations team supported by the US military, according to witnesses.

"Their [special forces troops'] dogs were biting everybody, including children and women in the neighbourhood," Um Amar, a 63-year-old woman who lives three houses away from Sinan told IPS. "They killed the poor boy in cold blood and arrested his little brother." She burst into tears and began to pray.

Another neighbour, Jassim al-Jumaily, said Sinan's father Najim Abdul-Ilah al-Mashhadani was killed during Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004 when his house was bombed by US warplanes.


People in the neighbourhood said they heard some of what was going on. "The screaming of Sinan's mother and sisters was frightening," Jumaily said. "All we could do was pray for their safety, trying to comfort each other that the worst possibility was that they would arrest Sinan."

After the men had been inside the house for three hours, Jumaily and other witnesses said they heard Sinan's mother wailing, and saw the men leave with Armin, her 13-year-old son who was being beaten by the men and bitten by their dogs as he was taken away. [See also this story on Gorilla's Guides - mfi]

Many of the neighbours then went to Sinan's home, and found his body, covered with sheets and mattresses. There was a pool of blood on the floor, some was splattered on the walls.

"Three days after his detention, Amin was released," said Muhammad al-Deraji, director of MHRI. "The left hand of this orphaned child was bitten three times, and is now scarred and deformed."

The US forces also raided other homes in the area, Deraji said. "One of the dogs attacked a woman who tried to protect her baby. The dog bit the mother's hand."

Deraji said the forces looted money and jewelry from several of the houses they raided.

IPS sent an email to Major Douglas Powell at the Combined Press Information Center for the Multi-National Force in Iraq to request comment on the incident. There was no reply.

Later, IPS phoned the US military spokesperson in Baghdad to request information on the incident. The spokesman, who declined to give his name, said, "We have no information confirming this event ever took place."

(Inter Press Service) [Emphasis added - mfi]

That's the same Fallujah in which there's great progress according to this story by the (embedded) Antonio Castaneda of AP and that's the same US Army which is trying not to commit any further atrocities by having a higher level of understanding and cultural sensitivity:

"I don't think it hurts us at all to take a look at it, and ask some tough questions about how we're perceived and how we act as soldiers here in Iraq," Chiarelli said in the interview. "It falls in line with what I'm trying to do in urging a higher level of understanding and cultural sensitivity."

Looks like some of those tough questions still aren't being asked. How many atrocity investigations are there so far?


How To Win Friends And Influence People (Part 3!!!)

I've always liked the Australians, any nation that includes within its idiom the expression that somebody is "as welcome as a turd in a swimming pool" has a certain something going for it. but even by Australian standards this one just keeps on giving. We're now up to three exclamation marks and I confidently expect to hit exclamation mark number four before the month is out. The story so far:

  • Australian officials are trying to get Iraq back as a market for agricultural produce.
  • They're less than poplular with the Iraqi Minister for Trade because of Australian embroilment in the oil-for-food and bribery scandals.
  • Iraq has already rejected one shipment of Australian wheat because it was contaminated.
  • Australian troops opened fire on the bodyguards of the Iraqi Minister for Trade, killing one bodyguard, two civilians, and wounding others
  • The Australian government has not only refused to apologise but said that the bodyguards opening fire was perfectly proper.

Just to remind you of what I said at the time the story broke :

"Al-Sudani is a power within the dominant Shi'ite bloc. As trade minister he's responsible amongst other things for overseeing the importation of much of the basic foodstuffs such as wheat that in a country with 60% unemployment and a shattered distribution network the population rely upon for survival. Like most Iraqi politicians he was less than impressed when a large cargo Australian wheat contaminated with Iron ore arrived in Iraq back in May 2005. Subsequent contracts went to other suppliers."

The next day I said this:

As I noted yesterday al-Sudani - seen here attending Friday prayers in Iraqi trade minister al-Sudani Friday prayers Sadr city June 16 2006Sadr city on June 16th 2006, is a powerful figure within the ruling Shi'ite bloc. It appears that the Australian security personnel were a protection detail for a visit by Greg Hull. Hull is Australia's STC (Senior Trade Commissioner) for Iraq, Jordan and the Palestinian territories and was apparently not present at the time. Various reports suggest that they "became nervous" and opened fire at the car containing bodyguards who were (of course) in plain clothes and armed with the ubiquitous AK-47. From the reports of eyewitness accounts of the killing the Australians thought that the car containing the bodyguards was trying to overtake theirs and opened fire killing one bodyguard, two civilians, and wounding three other bodyguards

This one is going to run and run, please read on, by the way the Australians still haven't bothered to mention that two civilians were also killed. You can take it that minister al-Sudani has noted that with both interest and displeasure. He's still "livid" and he has the power to make his displeasure stick.

Wheat deal to Iraq in danger
From: The Daily Telegraph
By Luke McIlveen July 11, 2006

AUSTRALIA'S wheat trade with Iraq is at risk of collapse after the Iraqi trade minister accused our defence force of failing to properly investigate the fatal shooting of his bodyguard.
Abdul Falah al-Sudany - whose bodyguard was killed during a shootout with Australian troops last month - claims no Iraqi witnesses were interviewed during a defence force inquiry.

The Defence Department could not provide a response yesterday to questions about whether Iraqi witnesses were allowed to give their version of the June 21 shooting.


The departmental inquiry found the soldiers acted properly, believing the car contained insurgents.


Iraq has accused Canberra of asking the Diggers involved their version of the incident but not consulting the several wounded Iraqis who survived the shooting.

"He said he will reconsider the trade relationship if the Australian Government does not agree to talk to the wounded," Mr Hanoun said.

"We have informed the (Australian ambassador in Iraq) on this today."

Mr Sudany was livid after the June 21 shooting, believing the Diggers had recklessly opened fire on a friendly vehicle.

Prime Minister John Howard stood firm against the claims, saying he would not apologise because Australian troops were always professional [bwaaaaaaahahahahahahaha "yeah rhoight" as we say back home in Dublin - mfi. However let me wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes and we'll continue.]

ACM Houston backed the PM, saying the action by the troops was reasonable, adding that they should have opened fire sooner
[emphasis and comments added - mfi]


Iraq shooting inquiry reopened
From: AAP July 11, 2006

AN inquiry into the fatal shooting of the Iraqi trade minister's bodyguard by Australian troops has been reopened after the country threatened to review its trade relationship with Australia. A defence spokeswoman confirmed the Australian Defence Force (ADF) would review the results of its investigation, issued on Friday, that found Australian troops had acted within their rules of engagement when they opened fire on a vehicle carrying the bodyguard to Adbul Falah al Sudany on June 21.

The announcement comes after Iraq threatened it would review trade ties unless Australia agreed to interview more of the wounded victims of the shooting.

"We are aware of comments by the Iraqi trade minister regarding the ADF investigation into the June 21 incident," the spokeswoman said.

"The Iraq trade minister is aware of the results of the investigation and that the ADF will review the findings to take account of any new evidence."

The ADF would continue to seek interviews with the Iraqis involved, she said.


Australian ABC has this to say at the end of its coverage:

Iraq has been a major buyer of Australian wheat and Australia and the United States have been in fierce competition for contracts with Iraq since 2003.

Australia has said it had received no formal notification that its trade with Iraq would be affected by the shooting incident.

So let's see soldiers from a country heavily involved in the oil for food scandal and which already had one shipment of wheat rejected as contaminated open fire, they kill and wound bodyguards, they kill civilians, they don't bother their ar**s to interview the witnesses, they refuse to apologise, they make the minister's spokesman out to be a liar. Who do they think they are the Pentagon? Please send the url to this story to any Australian wheatfarmer or mutton farmer of your acquaintance and then point them at this dictionary entry I've highlighted to relevant meaning in bold text like this for the hard of compehension:


Main Entry: liv·id
Pronunciation: 'li-v&d
Function: adjective


4 : very angry : ENRAGED <was livid at his son's disobedience>

Sales of wheat and mutton been exceptionally good this year have they?

Earlier installments in this thrilling saga series of misplaced marsupial machodom can be found below:
How To Make Friends And Influence People Part 2 (!!)

How To Make Friends And Influence People (!)

What's the strine for clusterfuck?


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

All The Judicial Guarantees Which Are Recognized As Indispensable By Civilized Peoples

"The Supreme Court has determined that Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 applies as a matter of law to the conflict with Al Qaeda. The Court found that the military commissions as constituted by the Department of Defense are not consistent with Common Article 3.

“It is my understanding that, aside from the military commission procedures, existing DoD orders, policies, directives, execute orders, and doctrine comply with the standards of Common Article 3 and, therefore, actions by DoD personnel that comply with such issuances would comply with the standards of Common Article 3. … In addition, you will recall the President’s prior directive that “the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely,” humane treatment being the overarching requirement of Common Article 3.

You will ensure that all DoD personnel adhere to these standards. In this regard, I request that you promptly review all relevant directives, regulations, policies, practices, and procedures under your purview to ensure that they comply with the standards of Common Article 3."

This is an apparent reversal of the American refusal to abide by the conventions in particular Article 3. Article 3 is common to all of the conventions it’s main provisions outlaw:

Full text of posting on markfromireland


As a mark of respect and the grief we share with our much loved friend Fatima's family there will be no postings tomorrow.

Ali, Ali (al-Basrawi), Anthony, Declan, Dubhaltach, Erdla, Gerard, Hussayn, Mark, Omar, Tony, Padhraic, Peter, Richard, Zeynab.

Neighbourhood Watch

Composite graphic showing residents preparing for to protect their neighbourhood Scenes such as this are now common in Baghdad. The outbreak of inter-communal violence involving rocket attacks, mortars, grenades, shootings, and of course car and roadside bombings have escalated dramatically since last Thursday night.

In this composite graphic of scenes today in the Ghazaliya district going clockwise:

  1. A resident behind his garden wall pockmarked with bullets holes.
  2. A manned machinegun emplacement on the roof of the al-Muhajeeren (Sunni) mosque.
  3. Inside the mosque residents prepare medical kits for distribution to casualties and their families

The proximate cause of the violence in Baghdad is the attempt by the American occupation and the Green Zone Government to reestablish control over Baghdad. To achieve this goal they mounted several operations against the Mehdi Army Militia which is (very loosely) under the control of Muqdata al-Sadr. The broader aim is to remove or at least severely diminish his power base. As might be expected in any operation involving artillery and air strikes in a very densely populated area there were many civilian casualties. Baghdad's Shia population (particularly in Sadr city) already feel themselves under siege, and as anybody with a shred of sense could have predicted Baghdad as a whole erupted. Armed gangs stormed neighbourhoods seeking victims for revenge attacks. Repeated frantic efforts by clergy on all sides to rein in the violence have so far proved ineffective. I expect this situation to continue.

Two boys crying baqouba hospitalOutside of Baghdad the situation in the usual "hotspots" continues to deteriorate in Baquoba this morning there was a driveby shooting of a row of textile shops.

Gunmen traveling in a car fired at random at the shops two shop owners including the father of these two boys were killed four and customers wounded.

Body of engineer being removed from his carIn the north of the country as might also have been expected determined efforts to prevent seccessionist Kurds from taking over Kirkuk completely are also intensifying. The Kurds have long dreamt of a homeland of their own. Understandable considering how they are treated. Several discoveries of oil are intensifying their efforts to establish an independent Kurdish state. This is particularly problematic in Kirkuk which has been an arab town since ancient times. Saddam savagely repressed the Kurds and mounted what can only be described as pogroms against them. to this end he tried to further "arabise" the town by importing population from other parts of Iraq. Following the fall of Sadam's regime Kurdish militia engaged in an orgy of looting and killing in Kirkuk against arabs and turkmen. The photo to the left shows the body of a petroleum engineer shot this morning being taken from his car. I expect attacks against anybody involved in the petroleum industry in the north to intensify sharply.


US DOD to reorganise contracting looting in Iraq

The Pentagon’s Business Transformation Agency has been ordered to restructure and transform contracting processes and systems in Iraq.

Gordon England, deputy secretary of Defense, has appointed Paul Brinkley, Defense deputy undersecretary for business transformation and co-director of BTA, to overhaul DOD contracting and occupation operations in Iraq. Brinkley is to evaluate:

  • contracting,
  • logistics,
  • fund distribution,

  • and financial management,

in Iraq to ensure

"alignment to theater commanders’ goals for reconstruction and economic development,"

memo dated June 22.

The task force will be responsible for advising Defense contracting offices on how to increase Haliburton's profits improve processes and increase contributions to the Republican Party meet statutory and regulatory requirements. "We appreciate your support Oh master for these changes as we adjust our way of killing more ragheads and looting the treasury to urgent new requirements," Brinkley and Modly grovelled wrote in this June 26 memorandum.

Brinkley and Modly have cut BTA’s Information and Federation Strategy Directorate balls off disbanded the Information and Federation Strategy Directorate as part of the scam reorganisation


Monday, July 10, 2006

"The only thing these sand niggers understand is force and I'm about to introduce them to it"

"What's an Iraqi Life Worth?"
Note 4:
"A particular point to note is no money is paid to Iraqi’s killed by insurgents. This was, to me at any rate one of the first indisputable indications that a cover up in Haditha had been attempted by the local commanders. The payments are made solely as a result of US actions and are made at the discretion of the local commander. In Haditha the US army first claimed that the 24 in Haditha had been killed by insurgents and then paid them. Clearly a HUGE discrepency between policy and what was done. The question immediately arose in my mind as to why the money was paid. The only reasonable explanation is as "hush money.".

Organisations Working With And On Behalf Of Street Children - Community Children

This is a worldwide directory (current up to last year) of charities that work for or directly with street kids it's organised in 6 parts. There's a google search on site:

PART 1 of 6: A through B

PART 2 of 6: C

PART 3 of 6: D through H

PART 4 of 6: I

PART 5 of 6: J through R

PART 6 of 6: S through Z


IRAQ: Insecurity, under-funding threaten children’s health in Basra

BASRA, 9 Jul 2006 (IRIN) - NGOs devoted to health issues in southern Iraq say that dozens of children have died of relatively common diseases since January due to a lack of medicine.

"There are no official statistics about the number of children who have died in Basra since January," said Hassan Abdullah, a senior official in the Basra governorate. "But local health department employees and volunteers from some NGOs have collected information suggesting that about 90 children have died as result of the lack of medicine." According to Abdullah, this is worse than the same period last year, when some 40 children died for similar reasons.

Marie Fernandez, a spokeswoman for Vienna-based aid agency Saving Children from War, said that the agency – which has been working with local doctors – has noted a lack of essential supplies, especially intravenous infusions and blood bags. "There’s a lack of everything. Children are dying because of bleeding because there are no blood bags available," said Fernandez. "Antibiotics, Pentostam [an antimony compound used in the treatment of parasite infection], special milk for dehydrated children, and almost all medical material for emergency conditions aren’t available."

In Baghdad, Ministry of Health officials say they are struggling to acquire the required medicines, but noted that their efforts were largely impeded by security issues and official corruption. "Because of security problems, it’s difficult to have a complete picture of the problem," said senior ministry official Ahmed Saleh. "We’re going to conduct a thorough study on the cases in the south – especially on the lack of medicine, because corruption is complicating the problem."

Rising mortality rates

Fernandez noted that about 40 children per day had been admitted to the children’s hospital in Basra since May, due to high temperatures and poor water quality. "Children between the ages of one and three years are the most affected by problems of dehydration and pneumonia, meningitis, malnutrition and typhoid," she said. "And some cholera cases have also been reported."

According to doctors at Basra’s Maternity and Child Hospital, about 14 to 16 new cancer and leukaemia cases have also been reported among children each month. "It’s painful to see so many children dying of cancer as a result of inadequate treatment," said Dr Ali Hashimy, an oncologist at the hospital. "If there was medicine, they would have been saved."

Two weeks ago, Saving Children from War sent a consignment of medicine worth 250,000 euros to the only two hospitals specialising in child care in southern Iraq. "We’re very happy that some organisations are helping us, but the consignment isn’t enough," said Hashimy. "We urge all international organisations to give more assistance to these innocent victims of war."

Specialists also note a disturbing increase of cases of Kala Azar among children, especially at the height of summer and under deteriorating sanitation conditions in Basra. Kala Azar, transmitted by the sand fly, is a chronic and potentially fatal parasitic disease that preys on the internal organs. "There are about 40 to 50 cases of Kala Azar per month in Basra’s Maternity and Child hospital," said Fernandez. "Kala Azar can be completely cured if treated by Pentostam, but it can be fatal without treatment."

Pentostam has not been available in southern Iraq for several months – not even on the black market, where the drug had been available last year.

A waning professional class

A concurrent shortage of doctors and nurses has also been reported in Basra. According to Abdullah, there are no reliable statistics on how many doctors, dentists, pharmacists and nurses have left the area, but unofficial data suggests that at least 200 health professionals have left since January. Health ministry statistics also suggest that an average of 30 doctors and nurses per month have left Iraq over the past year after being targeted by criminal gangs.

The emergency unit in the Teaching Hospital was closed for five months after a number of doctors were killed by unidentified attackers while working there. Now many doctors and nurses refuse to go to work, fearing for their lives. "I have a family to look after," said one paediatrician from the Teaching Hospital, speaking anonymously. "Even though it’s my responsibility to look after my patients, I can’t risk turning my sons into orphans – their father, also a doctor, was killed while doing his duty at the hospital."

Nurses earning the equivalent of between US $150 and $200 per month say these salaries do not justify the tremendous risks they take. "We’ve asked the central government to review their salaries," said Abdullah. "If salaries aren’t increased, we’re going to lose the nurses.

Notes: Link to info on Kala Azar and emphasis added by me at request of reader Fatima

Copyright © IRIN 2006 IRIN is a UN humanitarian news and information service.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

We're Going To Be Running A Colony - Part 3

ID paper issued 1993 for Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi showing she was 14 at the time she was raped and murdered by American soldiersThe document you're looking at is an identification card issued by the Iraqi government in 1993. It shows that Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi was born on August 19th, 1991. Five U.S. soldiers have now been charged in a rape and multiple murder case. A sixth has been charged with dereliction of duty for not reporting the crime. Confirming what Mark wrote in his original posting that she was 14 and therefore a minor and not 20 years old at the time she was raped and murdered as the American authorities originally tried to claim


Background To The Current Outbreak Of Sectarianism In Iraq

I have written a briefing for western readers interested in learning more about the background to the increase of sectarianism in Iraq. The briefing covers from the Ottoman period to the present American occupation of Iraq. Here's an extract:

The US led invasion and occupation of Iraq has dramatically deepened sectarian tensions. The Americans wanted to establish a pro-occupation government that would inter alia:

  1. Request American assistance to "bring order" to the country.
  2. Grant immunity to American military personnel and contractors for crimes committed
  3. Grant permission for the US to establish permanent bases in Iraq.
  4. Sign production sharing agreements with American oil companies.

  5. Open the Iraqi economy to imports from American companies.

To achieve this it searched for Iraqi political actors to form a local government which would act as an adjunct to the occupation. Local secular political forces were marginalised by the American occupiers who did not want people who it deemed to be too nationalist in the Iraqi government it sought to establish. Instead it sought out religious parties, groupings, and politicians who it believed would be less experienced and more compliant.

Intensifying Iraqi resistance to the American occupation of Iraq strengthened the occupying forces opposition to Iraqi nationalism in all its forms. The US occupiers aggressively promoted a view of Iraqi politics that focussed entirely upon ethnic/religious questions and completely ignored the long tradition of secular nationalism. Moreover the American occupation government ignored except at the crudest of levels the complex ethnic mix and diversity found in many Iraqi cities and regions, such as Mosul, Basrah, Kirkuk, and of course Baghdad. A compliant western mass media in particular the news wire and television services accepted this paradigm without question. When questions were to be asked or interviews to be undertaken a variety of "experts" from right-wing think tanks were available for interview and the production of a snappy soundbite in support of American policies on demand. That many of these pundits had little experience of Iraq and that many of them could not even speak Arabic never occurred to western journalists. Moreover the US occupation's military tactic, of using Kurds and Shia to police Sunni towns, worsened relations between religious communities thereby seemingly validating the idea that Iraqis were incapable of living together. That many of these local troops, in particular those drawn from the Peshmerga had a revenge agenda of their own never seems to have occurred to most American officers in the field until it was too late.

The full text of the briefing can be found at my markfromireland site.

Escalating Reprisals

Yesterday night's bombing of the Shi'ite al-Zahra' mosque in Baghdad, killed three, amongst them these two young girls and wounded 19 others sufficiently seriously to require hospitalisation. Two girls killed during Saturday July 8 2006 bomb attack at the al-Zahra Shi'ite mosque Baghdad

As the bombers no doubt intended there were reprisals today. Gunmen are engaging each other and civilians are being caught in the crossfire, motorists are being stopped at checkpoints and shot if their identity cards have typically Sunni names.Two patients Yarmouk hospital Baghdad injured in the violence following the Al Zahra mosque bombing

The attacks and counter-attacks are still continuing so far at least 50 have been killed, the number of wounded is as yet impossible to estimate. Tensions are particularly high at the moment as many believe that the occupation are targetting Shia Baghdadis indiscriminately in an an attempt to reduce the power of Muqdata al-Sadr.