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April 13, 2007 – “Suicide bombings” are a daily occurrence in Iraq, and are the major propaganda tool used by the US government and its mainstream media to convince the world that there is still some “freedom and Democracy” work to be done by US troops in Iraq. But what if they are a cover for something else?
Read this excerpt from a news report from July 2006:
Violence may bring partition of Baghdad
Iraq’s politicians [i.e. Pentagon and Israeli officials] were reported yesterday to be drawing up provisional plans to divide Baghdad into Sunni and Shia halves after a week of bloodshed that has left the government’s security plan to pacify the capital in tatters.
The proposal would mean an acceptance that the country could not be held together and would mark a dramatic failure for the American policy of fostering national unity.
The Tigris river, which would become the dividing line between the predominately Sunni districts of west Baghdad and the majority Shia in the east.
Now read this report of an event that occurred two days ago:
Suicide bomb collapses Baghdad bridge At least 10 killed
April 12, 2007
BAGHDAD – A suicide truck bomb exploded on a major bridge in Baghdad early Thursday, collapsing the steel structure and sending cars tumbling into the Tigris River below, police and witnesses said. At least 10 people were killed.
The al-Sarafiya bridge connected two northern Baghdad neighborhoods – Waziriyah, a mostly Sunni enclave, and Utafiyah, a Shiite area. After more than a year of massacres of Sunni and Shia civilians by US-sponsored death squads working out of the Iraqi interior ministry, both Sunni and Shia civilians have fled neighborhoods where they were originally in the majority or where there was a mix of the two groups.
Before the al-Sarafiya bridge was destroyed, nine spans across the Tigris linked western and eastern Baghdad. Now there are eight. How long will they last?
The Tigris river now serves as a de facto dividing line between the mostly Shiite east and the largely Sunni west of the city, with the bridges the only connection between them. It’s called “counter insurgency strategy” – divide and conquer.
The reports that a “truck suicide bomb” had been detonated on the bridge came from the US military. No independent Iraqi or other source was able to verify this claim. In fact, AP Television News video showed the bridge broken in two places suggesting two blasts.
Other Iraqi eyewitnesses claim that a US attack helicopter fired two missiles at the bridge, but with the mainstream media parroting only the official US military line that it was “suicide truck bomb” these eyewitness reports are never heard.
The fact is, the al-Sarafiya bridge was built by the British in the early part of the 20th century, so since it belonged to the occupation army, it was theirs to blow up.
Suffice to say that, from now on, it would be wise when reading reports about daily bombings in Iraq to replace the words “suicide bomber” with “US military”.
Robert Fisk recently commented on the US military plan for “gated communities” in Baghdad:
Faced with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad – despite President George Bush’s “surge” in troops – US forces in the city are now planning a massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighbourhoods with barricades and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.
The campaign of “gated communities” – whose genesis was in the Vietnam War – will involve up to 30 of the city’s 89 official districts and will be the most ambitious counter-insurgency programme yet mounted by the US in Iraq.
The system has been used – and has spectacularly failed – in the past, and its inauguration in Iraq is as much a sign of American desperation at the country’s continued descent into civil conflict as it is of US determination to “win” the war against an Iraqi insurgency that has cost the lives of more than 3,200 American troops. The system of “gating” areas under foreign occupation failed during the French war against FLN insurgents in Algeria and again during the American war in Vietnam. Israel has employed similar practices during its occupation of Palestinian territory – again, with little success.
But the campaign has far wider military ambitions than the pacification of Baghdad. It now appears that the US military intends to place as many as five mechanised brigades – comprising about 40,000 men – south and east of Baghdad, at least three of them positioned between the capital and the Iranian border. This would present Iran with a powerful – and potentially aggressive – American military force close to its border in the event of a US or Israeli military strike against its nuclear facilities later this year.
The latest “security” plan, of which The Independent has learnt the details, was concocted by General David Petraeus, the current US commander in Baghdad, during a six-month command and staff course at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Those attending the course – American army generals serving in Iraq and top officers from the US Marine Corps, along with, according to some reports, at least four senior Israeli officers – participated in a series of debates to determine how best to “turn round” the disastrous war in Iraq.
So far, the Baghdad campaign has involved only the creation of a few US positions within several civilian areas of the city but the new project will involve joint American and Iraqi “support bases” in nine of the 30 districts to be “gated” off. From these bases – in fortified buildings – US-Iraqi forces will supposedly clear militias from civilian streets which will then be walled off and the occupants issued with ID cards. Only the occupants will be allowed into these “gated communities” and there will be continuous patrolling by US-Iraqi forces. There are likely to be pass systems, “visitor” registration and restrictions on movement outside the “gated communities”. Civilians may find themselves inside a “controlled population” prison.
The senior generals who constructed the new “security” plan for Baghdad were largely responsible for the seminal – but officially “restricted” – field manual on counter-insurgency produced by the Department of the Army in December of last year, code-numbered FM 3-24. While not specifically advocating the “gated communities” campaign, one of its principles is the unification of civilian and military activities, citing “civil operations and revolutionary development support teams” in South Vietnam, assistance to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq in 1991 and the “provincial reconstruction teams” in Afghanistan – a project widely condemned for linking military co-operation and humanitarian aid. [read more]
Why do young people protest against war? April 9, 2007Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
Thursday, March 8th, 2007
Assisted by MWAW, five young reporters from Headliners spent Saturday February 24 reporting from the Anti-Trident/Troops Out of Iraq demonstration in London. They wanted to find out why young people had decided to go on the protest march, and also interviewed some of the organisers and those speaking at the rally. Watch their 5-minute video here.
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Monday, March 12th, 2007
A new media monitoring body was launched on Firday aimed exclusively at highlighting and challenging distorted or misleading reporting on Iran. Launched in the House of Commons the group, part of the Westminster Committee on Iran, will monitor the news media and use a system of “rapid rebuttal” to confront political bias where ever it occurs. The Westminster Committee on Iran, who oppose military intervention against Iran, will bring cases to the appropriate regulating authorities and demand that strong measures be taken against broadcasters, journalists and editors found to have breached regulatory codes of practice.
The Westminster Committee on Iran revealed that it already has a case-load of more than sixty instances of media misrepresentation which it has drafted into complaints and which will be investigated by the Press Complaints Commission, Ofcom and the BBC’s own internal complaints structures.
The complaints range from reports in local news papers to stories on the BBC national news. Indeed further to a complaint by the Westminster Committee about a recent BBC TV news broadcast, the BBC complaints department have launched an investigation into political bias. On Sunday 25th February 2007, news anchor Emily Maitlas described President Amadinejads “no breaks” statement of his determination to continue with a civilian nuclear enrichment programme as his “latest defiance of the West” and “just the latest example of Iran ratcheting up the tension”. Whilst Maitlas was talking, the report showed archive images of missiles being shot into the sky.
Another complaint being investigated by the Press Complaints Commission focuses on a series of articles by Daily Telegraph journalist, Con Coughlin. On 24 January 2007, relying on an unnamed “European defence official” Coughlin alleging that North Korea is helping Iran prepare a nuclear weapons test. In December 2006, the Telegraph ran a headline article by Coughlin, also based on unnamed intelligence sources, that claimed that Iran was “grooming Bin Laden’s successor”. The fact that Coughlin was the journalist who discovered “the fact” that Saddam Hussein could launch weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes and unearthed “the link” between the 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Ata and the Iraqi intelligence, gave the Westminster Committee particular cause for concern.
With the expiry of the UN’s resolution 1737 the Westminister Committee on Iran believe that, as in 2003, President Bush is planning to order a strike on Iran ‘in support of the authority of the UN’. By monitioring and challenging unbalanced reporting, the Committee hope to ensure that the media are not used to spin this nation into supporting or participating another illigitimate and unjustified military action.
The launch of the Westminster Committee on Iran’s Media Monitoring Group took place at 10.30am 9th March in the Jubilee Rooms, Palace of Westminster, SW1.
For more information contact: 0207 219 3000 or WCOI@hotmail.co.uk
Anger as hostages sell stories to highest bidders April 8, 2007Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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Keep an eye out on e-bay too.
The 15 British military hostages released by Iran were accused last night of cashing in on the ordeal by selling their stories in a string of lucrative media deals.
The sailors, who spent 13 days in captivity and at times feared for their lives, have been given permission by the Ministry of Defence to give exclusive interviews. The MoD justified lifting the ban on military personnel selling their stories while in service because of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ involved.
The former captives are expected to make around £250,000 between them. Faye Turney, the 26-year-old seawoman, is likely to get the most profitable deal. She is said to have sold her story for £150,000 in a joint contract with a newspaper and ITV.
The development was criticised by politicians and relatives of victims killed in the Iraq war. Liam Fox, the shadow Defence Secretary, said: ‘One of the great things about our armed forces is their professionalism and dignity. Many people who shared the anxiety of the hostages’ abduction will feel that selling their stories is somewhat undignified and falls below the very high standards we have come to expect from our service men and women.’
Colonel Bob Stewart, a British commander of United Nations forces in Bosnia, told the Sunday Times that the MoD had turned a military disaster into a media circus. ‘The released hostages are behaving like reality TV stars,’ he said. ‘I am appalled that the MoD is encouraging them to profit in this way.’
Iran Calls Britons’ Alleged Mistreatment a ‘Lie’ April 8, 2007Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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(A reminder, never to trust an English in the dark and now not in any circumstances)
LONDON, April 7 — An Iranian official said Saturday that allegations of mistreatment from a British naval team seized last month in the Persian Gulf were unfounded and stage-managed.
“The mistreatment of the sailors is a lie,” said Ali Akbar Javanfekr, Iran’s presidential press adviser, according to Agence France-Presse. “By dictating certain statements made by the freed troops, the British authorities are seeking to improve their situation and diminish the pressure of British public opinion.”
he 15 sailors and marines were captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in what they insist were Iraqi waters. Iran, which contends that the crew had crossed into Iranian waters, released the group Wednesday in a gesture President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called a gift to the British people.
The crew began two weeks of compassionate leave Saturday.
In a news conference Friday, six of the crew members said they were psychologically intimidated during their 13 days of captivity, and described being blindfolded and lined up facing a wall in a Tehran prison while guards cocked their guns.
Pope: Nothing positive in Iraq (apart from Oil) April 8, 2007Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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Pope Benedict XVI has voiced his dismay over the turmoil in Iraq and described the country as “torn apart by continual slaughter”.
The pope also used his traditional Easter Sunday message to voice his concern over the “growing unrest” in Afghanistan and ongoing violence in Africa and other parts of the world.
“Nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees,” the pope told tens of thousands of people gathered in St Peter’s Square to hear his Easter “Urbi et Orbi” [to the city and the world] message.
He condemned terrorism and the use of religion to justify a “thousand faces of violence” and said “peace is sorely needed”.
Elsewhere in his speech the pope touched upon the Middle East saying the region’s future was “put seriously in jeopardy” by the political paralysis in Lebanon.
But he said he saw “some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian authority” following the formation of a Palestinian unity government last month.
He singled out the “catastrophic humanitarian situation” in Darfur and other African places of suffering, including violence and looting in Congo, recent fighting in Somalia and the “grievous crisis” in Zimbabwe, marked by crackdowns on dissidents, a disastrous economy and severe corruption.
Aside from lamenting the world’s suffering in his message that was broadcast worldwide, the pope ended on a positive note by delivering Easter greetings in 62 languages, including Hebrew and Arabic.
Earlier he celebrated Easter Sunday Mass on the flower-adorned steps of St Peter’s Basilica.
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Allegations spark fresh speculation of secret deal
An Iranian diplomat who was freed last week, two months after being seized in Iraq, said yesterday that he had been tortured by the CIA while in captivity at an Iraqi government installation.
The claims by Jalal Sharafi on Iranian state television will lead to fresh speculation that the diplomat was freed as part of a deal to secure Wednesday’s release of 15 British servicemen seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The allegations also come amid continuing political fall-out over the two-week hostage crisis in both London and Tehran, with both Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Prime Minister Tony Blair being criticised for their behaviour during the stand-off.
While Sharafi’s claims are very similar to those made by the servicemen on their return to Britain, the recent US history of renditions, kidnapping and abuse make them difficult to ignore.
Although US officials denied yesterday any role in Sharafi’s abduction, his release has led inevitably to suspicion that it was part of a secret deal that has also seen US forces grant access to five other detained Iranians in Iraq.
Sharafi was kidnapped in February by gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms. When he was released on Tuesday, Iraq’s Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari, said the diplomat was in good health but ‘did not know who had held him’.
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A Nottingham mosque has been severely damaged in a fire described by a leading imam as “an act of terrorism against Muslims”. Police and fire investigators are trying to determine the exact cause of the blaze at the Madni Masjid Mosque on Alberta Terrace in Forest Fields. Imam Raza ul Haq said he believed paint was thrown around the inside of the mosque and then set alight.
The fire, which started on Thursday night, is being treated as suspicious. “It’s not fair. It’s our understanding and belief that this is an act of terrorism against the Muslims,” Imam Haq said. “It’s completely something which people have done deliberately. Someone has entered the building – he has thrown the paint all over the place.”
More than 900 people worship at the converted church which has been used as a mosque for at least 20 years.
What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico? April 8, 2007Posted by infidelkafirwatch in Uncategorized.
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Contributed by Tom
Putting the Iran Crisis in Context
By Noam Chomsky
The debate over Iranian interference in Iraq proceeds without ridicule on the assumption that the United States owns the world. We did not, for example, engage in a similar debate in the 1980s about whether the U.S. was interfering in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan.
04/06/07 “ICH” — – Unsurprisingly, George W. Bush’s announcement of a “surge” in Iraq came despite the firm opposition to any such move of Americans and the even stronger opposition of the (thoroughly irrelevant) Iraqis. It was accompanied by ominous official leaks and statements — from Washington and Baghdad — about how Iranian intervention in Iraq was aimed at disrupting our mission to gain victory, an aim which is (by definition) noble. What then followed was a solemn debate about whether serial numbers on advanced roadside bombs (IEDs) were really traceable to Iran; and, if so, to that country’s Revolutionary Guards or to some even higher authority.
This “debate” is a typical illustration of a primary principle of sophisticated propaganda. In crude and brutal societies, the Party Line is publicly proclaimed and must be obeyed — or else. What you actually believe is your own business and of far less concern. In societies where the state has lost the capacity to control by force, the Party Line is simply presupposed; then, vigorous debate is encouraged within the limits imposed by unstated doctrinal orthodoxy. The cruder of the two systems leads, naturally enough, to disbelief; the sophisticated variant gives an impression of openness and freedom, and so far more effectively serves to instill the Party Line. It becomes beyond question, beyond thought itself, like the air we breathe.
The debate over Iranian interference in Iraq proceeds without ridicule on the assumption that the United States owns the world. We did not, for example, engage in a similar debate in the 1980s about whether the U.S. was interfering in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, and I doubt that Pravda, probably recognizing the absurdity of the situation, sank to outrage about that fact (which American officials and our media, in any case, made no effort to conceal). Perhaps the official Nazi press also featured solemn debates about whether the Allies were interfering in sovereign Vichy France, though if so, sane people would then have collapsed in ridicule.
In this case, however, even ridicule — notably absent — would not suffice, because the charges against Iran are part of a drumbeat of pronouncements meant to mobilize support for escalation in Iraq and for an attack on Iran, the “source of the problem.” The world is aghast at the possibility. Even in neighboring Sunni states, no friends of Iran, majorities, when asked, favor a nuclear-armed Iran over any military action against that country. From what limited information we have, it appears that significant parts of the U.S. military and intelligence communities are opposed to such an attack, along with almost the entire world, even more so than when the Bush administration and Tony Blair’s Britain invaded Iraq, defying enormous popular opposition worldwide. [read more]
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By Chris Marsden
7 April 2007
Captain Chris Air, the man in charge of the 15 marines and sailors captured by Iranian revolutionary guards and released on April 4, told Sky News that they were on an intelligence-gathering mission.
The admission, made five days before he was seized in the Shatt al Arab waterway, was suppressed until after the Royal Navy personnel were released, according to Sky, “so it would not jeopardise their safety.”
Of course, the embargo placed on the story also served to deceive the public and sustain the propaganda campaign portraying Iran as having carried out unprovoked aggression against a blameless British force.
The joint Five News and Sky News interview was recorded on March 13 aboard HMS Cornwall.
Air informed Sky that his team was on an “Interaction Patrol,” during which they board various fishing dhows—ostensibly to search for contraband but also to gain intelligence on Iranian activity.
“This is what’s called an IPAT,” he told Sky’s Jonathan Samuels: “An Interaction Patrol whereby we come alongside or even board the fishing dhows and basically interact with the crew.
“Basically, we speak to the crew, find out if they have any problems, let them know we’re here to protect them, protect their fishing and stop any terrorism and piracy in the area.
“Secondly, it’s to gather int [intelligence]. If they do have any information, because they’re here for days at a time, they can share it with us. Whether it’s about piracy or any sort of Iranian activity in the area. Obviously, we’re right by the buffer zone with Iran.”
“It’s good to gather int on the Iranians,” he added.
When he was asked whether there were “any dangers,” Air replied, “At the moment, we haven’t encountered anyone who’s been anything other than compliant….
“We are capable of doing non-compliant boardings as well,” he added, “however, I think they’d be a bit stupid to start being aggressive with us because obviously we’ve got seven armed Marines….”
The gathering of intelligence is an integral part of the combined operations of the US and Royal Navies involving two aircraft carrier battle groups patrolling the waters off Iran. The naval presence has been built up against a political background of United Nations sanctions imposed on Tehran over its uranium-enrichment programme and allegations that it is arming and funding the insurgency in Iraq.
Preparations for a possible military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities—either by the US or Israel—have been extensively leaked to the press by sources in America’s security services.
Under such circumstances, the dispute over whether or not the British vessels were in Iranian or Iraqi waters when their boats were boarded is somewhat academic, given the admission that they were there to spy on Iran. At the very least, it further undermines the credibility of Britain’s denials of hostile intent.
The official response of the Blair government to the belated broadcast of Sky’s self-censored report was to portray Air’s remarks as uncontroversial.
Defence Secretary Des Browne told Sky News that “Modern military operations all have an element of gathering intelligence.” He further insisted that “The UN mandate would clearly empower the military taskforce to gather information about the environment in which they were working.” [read more]