Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Why don't American journalists cover the Iraq war anymore? Is it "Iraq Fatigue," as so many say? Or is it because the big corporate owners of the major media in the United States have collectively decided the Iraq war is not "newsworthy"anymore?

Why does it take a journalist from a newspaper in Great Britain to report on Fallujah, Iraq where U.S. troops are trying to restore some kind of order to the city?

This blogger has found he can't depend on the U.S, media for anything that is happening in Iraq. To find out what is happening in Iraq, you have to have a long list of foreign web sites who everyday publish reports on what is taking place in Iraq.

These are legitimate news stories, but the mainstream media in the United States has turned their back on events in Iraq.

The sad part of it is the United States is now carrying the ball virtually all alone in Iraq and the U.S. still has 160,000 troops in Iraq. Virtually all of the "coalition of the willing" have pulled up stakes and headed home.

So a story like this one from The Independent in Great Britain is especially interesting on two fronts. The first is it is news and the second is not a single American journalist ventured into Fallujah, Iraq to find out firsthand what is going on in the Iraqi city.

We will continue to bring readers of our blog, CORKSPHERE stories and news accounts of what is happening in Iraq.

It seems like the only real AMERICAN thing to do inasmuch as so many young American lives are invested in Iraq.

Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE,

Return to Fallujah

Three years after the devastating US assault, our correspondent enters besieged Iraqi city left without clean water, electricity and medicine

By Patrick Cockburn
The U.K. Independent

The last time I tried to drive to Fallujah, several years ago, I was caught in the ambush of an American fuel convoy and had to crawl out of the car and lie beside the road with the driver while US soldiers and guerrillas exchanged gunfire. The road is now much safer but nobody is allowed to enter Fallujah who does not come from there and can prove it through elaborate identity documents.

The city has been sealed off since November 2004 when United States Marines stormed it in an attack that left much of the city in ruins.

Its streets, with walls pock-marked with bullets and buildings reduced to a heap of concrete slabs, still look as if the fighting had finished only a few weeks ago.

I went to look at the old bridge over the Euphrates from whose steel girders Fallujans had hanged the burnt bodies of two American private security men killed by guerrillas – the incident that sparked the first battle of Fallujah. The single-lane bridge is still there, overlooked by the remains of a bombed or shelled building whose smashed roof overhangs the street and concrete slabs are held in place by rusty iron mesh.

The police chief of Fallujah, Colonel Feisal Ismail Hassan al-Zubai, was trying to show that his city was on the mend.

As we looked at the bridge a small crowd gathered and an elderly man in a brown coat shouted: "We have no electricity, we have no water."

Others confirmed that Fallujah was getting one hour's electricity a day. Colonel Feisal said there was not much he could do about the water or electricity though he did promise a man that a fence of razor wire outside his restaurant would be removed.

Fallujah may be better than it was, but it still has a very long way to go. Hospital doctors confirm that they are receiving few gunshot or bomb blast victims since the Awakening movement drove al-Qa'ida from the city over the past six months, but people still walk warily in the streets as if they expected firing to break out at any minute.

Click on link above to read the full account.


This blogger has been writing for months about how the mainstream media has turned away from covering the Iraq war, and now comes word out of The Independent in Great Britain that we are not alone in our observations.

It is a sad, sad commentary on the state of journalism in the United States when reporters and editors can spend more time on the latest on the trivial "hi"jinks of Britney Spears rather than devoting a few lines of copy to the war in Iraq where 160,000 young Americans are bogged down in a giant foreign policy mess.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writing for the U.K. Independent,
spells out in perfectly clear language the mess that has been created in Iraq and how the mainstream media has elected to bury the Iraq war.

If you read nothing else on my blog, CORKSPHERE, I would urge everyone who cares about the United States and the 160,000 troops in Iraq to read this account.

Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE,, a blog dedicated to telling the TRUTH about the war in Iraq because nobody in the mainstream media is doing it anymore.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Our crimes in Iraq must not be forgotten

If the alliance was arrogant at the time of the invasion, it is even more so today

The people responsible for the war have, of course, moved on, and we must follow their fine example. Still they rise, praise be to them. Such self-belief, such resilience, no sign of weakness, no dribble of an apology. Awesome. Instead of being marched off to face war crimes tribunals they are forgiven their trespasses and rewarded generously.

The Catholic Church blesses and receives the deceiver (Mr Blair); fat banks and oil companies welcome them on boards (Jonathan Powell, Mr. Blair et al); they are called to make peace in the Middle East and lecture us on ethics ( Mr Blair and Mr Campbell) and invited in to the Cabinet (Jack Straw).

For some (still) enthusiastic warmongers – boys who never forgot the excitement of running around shooting their toy guns at strangers – the invasion and colonisation is the best thing ever.

The "surge" has worked, they declare – our boys and American soldiers are not dying in the numbers they were, and look!, Iraqis are coming out to play, buy and sell, smoke their pipes in tranquillity, and thousands are returning from exile in Syria. Hip hip hooray. For we're the jolly good fellows.

In the US with the primaries going full blast, John McCain is anointed as the noble saviour, the man who promises to crush all those aliens out there who are plotting to kill the US of A. I attended the BBC Radio 4 Alistair Cooke Lecture delivered by McCain, and what I heard was a man who uses his terrible experiences in Vietnam to justify all future wars he wants his country to wage.

Bill and Hillary both actively and tacitly supported the invasion of Iraq and never once defended the UN route. These candidates are "liberals", we are told. Only in America. None of the above are exactly in the habit of mentioning the caged of Guantanamo or the anguish of Iraqis. Obama did fleetingly touch on these ugly American transgressions, but not for long, and not with intense moral purpose. At least the guy tried, and had the guts to vote against the invasion. The others still seem to believe fervently that the attacks on 9/11 outweigh all other acts of political violence.

If the alliance, its leaders and brass bands were imperiously arrogant when they went into Iraq, they are even more so today. Failure has given them no humility at all and completes the cycle of villainy. They lied and broke international law and appear to have no duty of care towards the innocent inhabitants of that blighted land.

Iraqi deaths are now calculated at around one million. According to international organisations monitoring migrations, Iraq is going through one of the largest and most serious humanitarian crises in the world, with population displacement within and from Iraq.

Last November, cholera figures were the worst for 40 years, says an Iraqi health minister. Childhood diseases are rampant. There are relentless bombardments across the country, for reasons not given, on people unseen and labelled al-Qa'ida.

The current hand-wringing about British journalistic standards concentrates entirely on small, domestic matters.

The real shame and scandal is that air attacks on Iraq go on and on and get hardly any serious coverage. In 2006, there were 229 such raids; in 2007 there were 1,447 raids (dead uncounted and unidentified).

The ghastly, ruthless General David Petraeus says they have now reached a "sustainable level of violence". That is, at least, a truthful assessment and one that explains why we went into Iraq.

If the allies allow Iraqi Sunnis, Shias and Kurds to carry on murdering each other day after day, not so many that it turns into a full-blown civil war, we can steal their oil and control the place.

Meanwhile, here Lord Guthrie, once Chief of Staff, and others of his ilk are furious with Gordon Brown for promising that the consent of Parliament will be sought before any future war is launched by the Government. These generals have become extraordinarily bullish after the lamentable collapse of all their strategies in Iraq – thereby fending off any accountability and reasonable interrogation as to why even Basra became disillusioned with our presence.

There are, thank God, people who keep alive truth and awaken our collective conscience.

On Tuesday there is a public meeting in London (courtesy of the Stop the War Coalition) organised by Phil Shiner, public interest lawyer and an indefatigable campaigner for justice. For years he has tried to expose the brutality of some of our soldiers in Iraq who have committed heinous crimes against the populations and got away with it. At the meeting, which all good people should attend, Shiner will be talking about the British state and how it tolerates the torture, mutilations and killings of Iraqi civilians.

This Thursday the Jordanian Jamil el-Banna and Libyan Omar Deghayes go to court to argue against extradition to Spain to face charges of terrorism. These are the two men who were last year released from Guantanamo Bay, where they were caged and tortured for five years. Imagine the state of their minds and bodies, their fears of incarceration.

Here they were interrogated by our spooks and police officers, and released without charge. Yet Spain clamours for them and we will deliver them into yet another jurisdiction unless the lawyers can win the case. Helena Kennedy and Geoffrey Bindman have spoken up to defend these poor men; journalist Victoria Britten has investigated charges against them for four years and tells me she is absolutely sure they are innocent. Great Britain, Mr Brown? Tell me about it.

Just released too is the film Battle for Haditha by the exceptionally diligent director Nick Broomfield (I must remember him in my prayers). He has bravely brought to the screen an untold story of the war – the massacres of innocents by the allies in Hathida, a middle-class Sunni city where he says "couples would honeymoon on the Euphrates". Fallujah was similarly "punished". Both places at first supported the invasion and learnt to their cost that their saviours had dark intent and too many had lost their own humanity.

If Blair is elected President of the EU and either Clinton or McCain get the US presidency, the final insults will be added to the endless injury suffered by the Iraqis. They will know conclusively that there ain't no justice in the world. And some of them will turn to terrorism. And the peace we hope for will never come.


In still another sign the "surge" is crumbling, the U.S. backed Sunni militias are fighting with the U.S. backed Iraqi government.

The fragile peace process in Iraq is getting more complicated each day as various members of the warring tribal groups battle with each other and with the U.S. led Iraqi government.

There has also been an increase in the number of suicide bombings in Baghdad and even Anbar Province which not long ago was being hailed by President Bush, the U.S. military and FOX NEWS as a model of how well the "surge" is working.

Two suicide car bombings took place in Anbar Province on Tuesday killing 30 Iraqis and injuring scores of others.

U.S.-Backed Sunni "Awakening" Militias Clash with U.S.-Backed Government

By Dahr Jamail and Ahmed Ali, IPS News

Posted on February 12, 2008, Printed on February 13, 2008

U.S. backed Sunni militants have challenged the U.S.-backed Iraqi government in Baghdad, and demanded political power after two women were killed by government forces.

Tensions rose earlier this month when men dressed in Iraqi security personnel uniforms kidnapped two women. Their naked bodies were found later.

After the incident, the 'Awakening Groups' in Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad, gave Shia police chief Gen. Ghanim al-Qureyshi until mid-day Friday to apologize and to arrest the men responsible.

"We hereby declare suspension of all co-operation with U.S. military, Iraqi security forces and the local government," Abu Abdullah, spokesman for the Awakening Council in Diyala province announced after the deadline passed.

On Saturday hundreds of members of the Awakening Council shut their offices and held three separate demonstrations in Baquba. The government in Baghdad promised to send a committee to investigate the incident, following which the Awakening Council of Diyala resumed security of the city.

Click on link above to read the full story.


The alarming rate of suicide with members of the National Guard and Reserves who served in Iraq and Afghanistan is just another reminder of the tragedy of both wars.

Most vet suicides among Guard, Reserve troops
New government report raises alarm, calls for long-term mental services

The Associated Press
updated 3:39 p.m. CT, Tues., Feb. 12, 2008

WASHINGTON - More than half of all veterans who took their own lives after returning from Iraq or Afghanistan were members of the National Guard or Reserves, according to new government data that prompted activists on Tuesday to call for a closer examination of the problem.

A Department of Veterans Affairs analysis of ongoing research of deaths among veterans of both wars — obtained by The Associated Press — found that Guard or Reserve members accounted for 53 percent of the veteran suicides from 2001, when the war in Afghanistan began, through the end of 2005.

The research, conducted by the department's Office of Environmental Epidemiology, provides the first demographic look at suicides among veterans from those wars who left the military.

Joe Davis, public affairs director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said the Pentagon and VA must combine efforts to track suicides among those who have served in those countries in order to get a clearer picture of the problem.

"To fix a problem, you have to define it first," Davis said.
At certain times in 2005, members of the Guard and Reserve made up nearly half the troops fighting in Iraq. Overall, they were nearly 28 percent of all U.S. military forces deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or in support of the operations, according to Defense Department data through the end of 2007.

Many Guard members and Reservists have done multiple tours that kept them away from home for 18 months, and that is taking a toll, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in a statement Tuesday.

"Until this administration understands that repeated and prolonged deployments are stretching our brave men and women to the brink, we will continue to see these tragic figures," Murray said.

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said the military's effort to re-screen Guard and Reservists for mental and physical problems three months after they return home is a positive step, but a more long-term, comprehensive approach is needed to help them.

Click on link above to read the rest of the story.

By Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE, the blog that tells what is really happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and with our troops returning from the wars.


According to this YouTube video there are over 130 militias in Iraq's Diyala Province alone who are now rebelling against the U.S. military.

The situation is grim and the prospects for peace are growing more dire as each day goes by.

As we have been mentioning on our blog, there has been a resurgence of violence in Baghdad and all across Iraq as the Iraqi people become more and more discontent with the inability of the Iraqi government to provide even basic services like water and electricity to Iraq.

This YouTube video explains in detail what lies ahead.

Bill Corcoran, editor of CORKSPHERE, a blog that provides the latest news from the Iraq war zone.