Four U.S. Service Members Killed In IED Strike Near Deh Rahwod Feb. 13, 2006 COMBINED FORCES COMMAND: AFGHANISTAN Release # 060213-04
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan: Four U.S. service members were killed today when their up-armored Humvee was struck by a suspected improvised explosive device north of Deh Rahwod in Uruzgan Province. The service members were on patrol with Afghan National Army forces at the time of the attack.
Shortly after the attack, the patrol was engaged with small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The Coalition responded with fixed and rotary wing attack aircraft to support the U.S. forces on the ground. Battle-damage assessment is ongoing. Two Nepalese aid workers were kidnapped at gunpoint in the centre of the capital, Kabul. Two days earlier eight Afghan soldiers were killed by two roadside blasts in the Afghan province of Kunar. Initial reports say that at least one of the bombs was of a new infra-red type used recently in Iraq to kill British and US soldiers.
“The Idea That 3,300 British Troops, Can Police It Is Laughable”
Feb 12, 2006 Simon Jenkins, yahoo.com/s/huffpost [Excerpt]
I have watched America (with Tony Blair's assistance) reopen the Afghan opium trail and readmit the Taliban to southern Afghanistan.
A friend returning from Baluchistan, probably the most lawless place on earth, reports that it is awash in drug and oil money, available on demand to Taliban and al-Qaeda.
The perception that America is cutting and running from the region is enough to drive the big Arab money back towards the Taliban. The idea that 3,300 British troops, now returning to the area, can police it is laughable.
Cheney Approves New Weapon For Iraq Combat:
Says Pentagon Will Save Billions
(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File via PB)
Vice President Dick Cheney, center, inspects a prototype of the new Minus 16 rifle that will be issued in April to all U.S. forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unveiled at an undisclosed location Feb. 12, the weapon will be produced by Halliburton Corporation. In 2005, Halliburton received a $41 billion secret emergency Defense Department grant for weapons research and development after a Pentagon task force on counterinsurgency, led by three-star General M. T. Soot, recommended development of a fresh response to the simple but effective weapons used by freedom-hating baby-eating terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This will show the enemy that whatever they can do, we can do better,” said Cheney, pointing out that the simplified design of the new rifle not only represents a technological breakthrough, ideal for use in arid, sandy terrain, but will also save billions yearly in manufacturing costs, and save additional billions yearly in expenses for ammunition. The new rifle uses an easily manufactured round lead ball, another technical breakthrough Cheney said was achieved by the Halliburton R & D team tasked to come up with the specialized counterinsurgency weapon. “No other troops in the world will have this weapon,” Cheney said. ”Our fighting men and women deserve nothing less.” In other news, the Pentagon announced today that General M. T. Soot will retire May 1, 2006. He will accept a position with Halliburton Corporation as Director, Weapons Research and Development, at a salary of $2,500,000 a year. Halliburton would not confirm rumors that General Soot will personally take charge of a new $10 billion Pentagon funded top secret program at Halliburton to develop technology that can replace the heavy and expensive ceramic plates used in combat body armor with compressed fish scales. Speaking anonymously, a Halliburton official pointed out that this could save the Pentagon an additional $40 billion a year “because the fish scales will cost next to nothing. As it is, the fish processing industry just throws them away.” If the program is a success, the Halliburton source said the new technology can also be used to protect vehicles in combat areas. “Instead of all that heavy steel that has to be bought and installed at great expense, the troops will be issued cans of concentrated fish scale, and apply it to the vehicles themselves on the spot in Iraq or wherever.” The source pointed out that a secret $4 billion Defense Department grant to Halliburton for researching terrorist religious views had learned that Middle Eastern terrorist fanatics believe fish scales are “unclean.” “They think any Muslim who comes in contact them will be turned into a frog and forced to listen to speeches by President Bush for all eternity,” he said. “This is the perfect answer to the IED problem. They won’t use them if they know that after one goes off, fish scales will be blowing around all over the place. We’ll have them where we want them.” General Soot declined to be interviewed for this report.
Ground Crew To Pilot
[Thanks to M]
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.
P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on
something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.
IRAQ RESISTANCE ROUNDUP
Assorted Resistance Action 02.13.2006 By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, AP & Aljazeera & CBS Worldwide Inc. & Xinhua & Reuters & Agence France-Presse & Deutsche Presse-Agentur & Feb. 12, ROBERT F. WORTH, NY Times
Insurgents killed two Iraqi policemen in Baquba, north-east of Baghdad, according to hospital sources. The sources said the two policemen were shot dead as they were waiting to have their hair cut in a barber shop. The attackers were reported to have made off in a police car. A roadside bomb attack in Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of Baghdad, killed two policemen and wounded one, police said. Guerrillas also shot dead a policeman protecting electricity generating facilities near a hospital in Baghdad's Sadr City. A police colonel and a brigadier were killed on Sunday in two different incidents in Ramadi.
Insurgents also killed an Oil Ministry employee as he was driving in western Baghdad. Iraq's former electricity minister, Ayham al-Samarie, escaped injury when a roadside bomb exploded near his three-vehicle convoy in Baghdad, said police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq. The blast wounds three of Samarraie bodyguards, one of them seriously injured. Al-Samarie, a Sunni Arab political figure, was a member of the transitional government established after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein's regime. The bomb targeted the convoy of al-Samarie, a dual Iraqi-U.S. citizen, as it passed through Baghdad's western Mansour district, said Mohammed al-Jibouri, an official at the ex-minister's office.
Two vehicles of Samarraie's convoy were damaged in the blast, added the source.
Guerrillas killed three brothers and two of their sons in an attack on a street in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, police said. All five were identified as members of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the country's leading [collaborator] Shiite political party, police said. Another roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad's southwestern Baiyaa neighborhood targeting an Iraqi police patrol, wounding two policemen, police said. A fuel truck was set on fire when gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at it near the town of Dujail, about 60 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
A policeman was killed and two others wounded on Sunday when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Tuz Khurmatu, police said.
Two policemen were killed and another wounded on Sunday when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. Four policemen were killed on their way home from work in the northern oil refinery town of Baiji. The policemen had taken off their uniforms, a precaution common among Iraqi security forces, and were headed to the city of Kirkuk in a civilian car when guerrillas waylaid them on the highway.
In the northern oil city of Kirkuk, gunmen assassinated Khalid Abdul Hussein Muhammad, a doctor at Haweeja General Hospital, police officials said. Dr. Muhammad's brother, Majid Hussein Muhammad, said he had refused to treat insurgents who were injured in confrontations with American forces.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
END THE OCCUPATION
This Ain't No Video Game The relentlessness of his reporting details exactly how broad and how deep the graft and outright theft of our national treasury and soul by the rich and powerful truly is. Needless to say, it's a depressing tale. From: Ron Jacobs
Sent: February 13, 2006
This Ain't No Video Game: A Review of Jeffrey St. Clair's Grand Theft Pentagon (Common Courage, 2006) Once upon a time in America, there was a form of newspaper reporting known as muckraking. Some folks preferred to call this form of reporting "investigative reporting."
No matter. Whatever it was called, the purpose of the reporting, the reporters, and the papers that ran the articles was to expose corruption, graft and just plain old evil in the echelons of government and big business. Of course, there was also a hope that this exposure would end the reported abuses or, at the least, get rid of the worst abusers and most corrupt men involved.
Magazines in the first wave of muckraking included McClure's, Colliers, and Everybody's and some of the better known writers were Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, and Ida Tarbell.
Over the years this type of reporting has become harder to find. Many of the magazines and journals that used to run the often long articles that investigative reporting requires fell victim to the machinations of monopoly capitalism. Of course, this was fine with the capitalists, who were often the targets of the muckrakers.
Other magazines and newspapers became the victim of the news media's shift to broadcast journalism. In the earlier days of that medium, there were many bold attempts to re-create the investigative form. Television news shows like 60 Minutes began in this mold, but now rarely present investigations that would upset the apple cart of the corporations that fund them. Currently, when shows that move in this direction do make it to television (PBS's NOW comes to mind), they are attacked by the forces they threaten and either disappear or tone down their stories, thereby becoming just one more hour of pap on the television.
During the 1950s and 1960s a few magazines appeared that represented a second wave in US muckraking: Ramparts, Scanlan's, IF Stone's Weekly and even more mainstream journals like Playboy and Esquire ran pieces that fell within the confines of this journalistic form.
Of course, perhaps the most famous investigative journalism of the past century appeared in the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times with the publication of Woodward and Bernstein's investigation of the Watergate scandals and the Pentagon Papers, respectively. For the magazines and newspapers that still exist from that short list, those golden days are ancient history. Except for the occasional series on city crime or local graft, these papers and magazines are mere shadows of their earlier selves.
Fortunately, there is Counterpunch.
Like a select few of its counterparts, this paper expands the limits of journalism, running investigative reports, commentary, announcements and cultural criticism both online and in a paper version.
Edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, this journal often reminds me of Ramparts in its glory days. Going well beyond other leftish magazines like The Nation, Mother Jones and The Progressive, and maintaining a stubborn independence not found in organizational journals, Counterpunch is a consistent source of reporting that goes to the heart of the matter. "Radical" in its essential definition. Jeffrey St. Clair's most recent book, Grand Theft Pentagon, is a collection of muckraking exposes of the corruption and greed that help fuel Washington's wars. Many of the pieces in the book originally appeared in Counterpunch, but their presence here in one volume brings together the full force of the theft and corruption we live with. Although the scope of the ruling elites' arrogance is easy enough to see, the scope of the corruption isn't.
St. Clair's book changes that.
The relentlessness of his reporting details exactly how broad and how deep the graft and outright theft of our national treasury and soul by the rich and powerful truly is. Needless to say, it's a depressing tale. Whether he's detailing the fraudulent manipulations of federal contracts specified for indigenous peoples by white guys with offices in Virginia or the no-bid contracts of Halliburton and General Dynamics, St. Clair provides the reader with detail after researched detail of the grandest larceny in history. Let me remind you; there's been some tough competition for that title. His profiles of the US's biggest war profiteers are as detailed as his profiles of those men who deal with (and for) them.
His most biting and even humorous words are saved for his profiles of the men who currently run this land. I chuckled loudly more than once while reading his chapter on George Bush that he titles "High Plains Grifter." The guy sitting next to me on the bus thought I was reading something intentionally comic, not a book about government corruption and war.
St. Clair's reportage on the apparent refusal of the Bush administration to take Osama bin Laden out of business before September 11, 2001 is a story that should get much greater play than it has.
His chapters on the business of war and its accompanying corruption and graft are like bookends to that chapter. After all, if the events of 9/11 had not happened, one wonders if the US would be at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, one wonders if the Bush administration would even be in power, especially since it is their use of the 9/11 events that helps them maintain their fearful hold on a substantial part of the US electorate. Of course, if Bush weren't in the White House, one wonders how much difference it would make anyhow. That's the danger of muckraking:-it can render the reader hopeless and cynical, especially in today's world of surveillance and all-encompassing barcode-produced data storage. That's where the intention of the original muckrakers is important to recall. Sinclair, Steffens, Tarbell and the rest of those reporters wrote their exposés to anger and inspire their readers into taking action. It wasn't enough to be ticked off that your government was a den of thieves and your leaders were well-connected criminals. You had to take this knowledge and use it to change things. Remember this after you finish Grand Theft Pentagon.
“Who Are We To Search These Peoples’ Homes? Do We Really Have The Right To Do This?”