Wednesday, March 5, 2008


How in the world can the Bush Administration and their parrot, FOX NEWS, continue to sing the praises of "the surge" in Iraq when all this is happening in Baghdad and all across Iraq?

Iraq is hardly a model of peace and serenity.

This report contains acts of violence which have been happening all over Iraq including a report on two soldiers, one from Philadelphia and another from Northern California, who died in the United States after serving several tours in Iraq.

The people of the United States deserve the truth and the 160,000 troops in Iraq and another 30,000 in Afghanistan, and their families back in the United States, deserve the truth and not Bush White House "spin" and FOX NEWS lies about conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Baghdad:#1: Elsewhere, US and Iraqi soldiers detonated explosives near Ali al-Azim mosque in the southern Zafaraniyah district in Baghdad.

#2: Two civilians were injured on early Wednesday in two simultaneous blasts that ripped through southern Baghdad, said a police source. "Two improvised explosive devices went off simultaneously in al-Zaafaraniya district in southern Baghdad, injuring two civilians," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq. One of the two blasts targeted a police vehicle patrol," he added.

#3: Iraqi soldiers killed two suspected militants and arrested 38 others during operations across Iraq in the past 24 hours, the Defence Ministry said.

#4: Gunmen killed a truck driver and stole his car in Shaab neighborhood in north Baghdad around 1:00 p.m.

#5: Around 12:30 p.m. an IEd attached to a fuel tank exploded. the incident took place in mashtal neighborhood in east Baghdad. The IED explosion caused a big fire. While extinguishing the fire, another fuel tank which was close to the fire exploded. two fire fighters were injured.

#6: Gunman driving a sedan car (Opel) opened fire inuring a civilian who was driving a BMW car. The incident took place in Mansour neighborhood in west Baghdad on Wednesday afternoon. The Iraqi army check point in the area of the incident arrested the gunman.

#7: Two civilians were injured when an IED exploded in nahdha neighborhood in east Baghdad around 3:00 p.m.#8: Police found four unidentified bodies in Baghdad today. Two bodies were found in Amiriyah, one body was found in Sheikh Maroof neighborhood and the fourth body was found in Shaab neighborhood.

Diyala Prv:Mahmudiya:#1: A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded three others near Mahmudiya, 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.Baquba:

#1: A member of Sahwa council in Kan’an area south of Baquba city was injured in an IED explosion.Kut:

#1: 3 security guards of the Water Resources Management in Kut were wounded on Wednesday, in an explosion at their office.According to a source that spoke to Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq on condition of anonymity, "The explosion took place at the search-room of the Water Resources Management in Kut city, causing injuries to 3 security guards," the source said, adding, "the wounded guards have been transferred to Al-Karama hospital in Kut."Samarra:

#1: A bomb in a parked car killed two people and wounded six others, including four members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood security unit, near a checkpoint in Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. Another police source put the death toll at one and said the attack was by a suicide car bomber

.#2: Two Sahwa councils members (awakening councils members) were killed and four other people (two Sahwa and two civilians) wounded when Sahwa members shot a suicide car bomb tried to attack a check point for Sahwa near Samara drug factory downtown Samara city north of Baghdad around 7:15 p.m.Tuz Khurmato:

#1: Gunmen killed two people and wounded three other family members in an attack on a house in Tuz Khurmato, 220 km (135 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.Salahuddin Prv:

#1: A source in the joint coordination center in Salahuddin said that at least four Syrian truck drivers were kidnapped on Baghdad- Kirkuk Street north of Baghdad on Wednesday morning. The truck were taken to Sleman Bik police station.Udhaim:

#1: A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded two others near Udhaim, north of Baghdad, police said.Kirkuk:#1: According to police and witnesses, gunmen stormed a house in a village near Kirkuk, 250 kilometers north of Baghdad on Wednesday, DPA reported. The police said that the assailants killed two people and injured three others by using automatic machine guns.

#2: One civilian was killed and two others were injured on Wednesday when an improvised explosive device went off targeting their vehicle in southwest of Kirkuk, said a police source. "An explosive charge was detonated targeting a civilian vehicle near al-Azim region, southwest of Kirkuk, killing a civilian and wounding two," the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq on condition of anonymity.

#3: Gunmen killed Abdul-Sattar Tahira, a professor at Kirkuk University, police said. Tahira held New Zealand citizenship, they said.

#4: A roadside bomb wounded one civilian in an attack against the convoy of Major-General Hazim al-Khazraji, a senior police officer in Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.Mosul:

#1: A civilian was injured in an IED explosion in Sinjar town west of Mosul city on Wednesday afternoon, police said.

#2: Police found three bodies in al Wihda neighborhood in south Mosul. One of the bodies was headless, police said.#3: An IED exploded targeting a police patrol in al Jammasa neighborhood in east Mosul city on Wednesday afternoon. Five people were injured (three policemen and two civilians)Kurdistan:

#1: A Turkish television station reports that Turkish aircraft have bombed Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq. Private NTV television cited officials of the rebel Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PKK, as saying Turkish helicopters bombed region of Sidekan in neighboring Iraq. The Turkish military has not yet confirmed or denied the report.

Afghanistan:#1: The joint forces were patrolling northeast of Helmand province's Gereshk district Sunday when Taliban fighters fired on them with small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, a coalition statement said. The Afghan and coalition troops returned fire and called in airstrikes, killing "several insurgents," the statement said. It did not give further details.


#1: Sgt. Matthew J. Rhoads, a 29-year-old paratrooper from Philadelphia who served seven months in Iraq, was found dead Sunday in his residence at Fort Bragg, N.C. Maj. Thomas Ernhardt, spokesman for the 82d Airborne Division, said that a preliminary investigation did not indicate foul play, but that an autopsy was under way.

#2: A former North Monterey County High School student who survived two tours of duty in Iraq was killed Sunday in a two-car accident in Killeen, Texas, near Fort Hood, the Army base where he was stationed. Sgt. Rodolfo "Rudy" Maldonado Jr., 23, died from injuries he suffered at 2:49 a.m. Sunday when the 2004 Honda Civic he was driving crossed the median for unknown reasons, skidded sideways through the northbound traffic, and collided with a 2007 Chevy Avalanche that was stopped legally at a yield sign onto Highway 195. The driver of that truck, a 17-year-old Killeen girl, was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where she reportedly was in stable condition.


The House Armed Services Committee is being asked to invite actress Angelina Jolie to testify — not to gain more media attention, which certainly would happen, but to talk about how Operation Iraqi Freedom is going.

By Rick Maze - Staff writer

Jolie, a United Nations goodwill ambassador, wrote in an opinion column for Thursday’s Washington Post that she has seen improvements in Iraq as the U.S., U.N. and Iraqi government “have begun to work together in new and important ways.”

Jolie said the buildup of U.S. forces appears to be working and that troops she spoke with on a recent visit wanted to see the mission through.

“When I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq,” she wrote.

That column prompted Rep. Thelma Drake, R-Va., to ask the armed services committee chairman to invite Jolie to testify.

“Sadly, Ms. Jolie’s positive perspective on the current security situation in Iraq has gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream press,” Drake said in a letter to Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., the committee chairman.

A spokeswoman for Skelton said the chairman had not yet seen the letter.


The nation's foremost authority on post-traumatic stress disorder testified in federal court Monday that up to 30 percent of combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to be diagnosed with the ailment and that the Veteran's Health Administration is not doing enough to help them.

John Koopman

San Fracisco Chronicle

Mar 04, 2008

Dr. Arthur Blank, a psychiatrist who has worked with troops and veterans with PTSD since 1965, said the disorder is treatable, but it requires a "human connection" with a therapist, and that's something the VA is ill-prepared to support.

"With hope and with help, recovery is possible," he said.

Dr. Blank testified at a hearing in connection with a lawsuit brought by veterans advocacy groups against the VA, claiming that the federal government's health care system for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan illegally denies care and benefits.

The plaintiffs, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans United for Truth, are seeking to make the case a class action on behalf of 320,000 to 800,000 veterans or their survivors. The hearing Monday concerned a request by the veterans groups that the judge issue a preliminary injunction ordering the VA to provide immediate mental health treatment for veterans who suffer from stress disorders and are at risk of suicide.

Click on link to read full story.


How far off were they? Well, it depends on which figure you choose to start with. Here's the range: According to key officials in the Bush administration back in 2002-2003, the invasion and reconstruction of Iraq was either going to cost $60 billion, or $100-$200 billion. Actually, we can start by tossing that top figure out, since not long after Bush economic advisor Larry Lindsey offered it in 2002, he was shown the door, in part assumedly for even suggesting something so ludicrous.

By William D. Hartung, Tomdispatch.comPosted on March 5, 2008, Printed on March 5, 2008

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz championed the $60 billion figure, but added that much of the cost might well be covered by Iraqi oil revenues; the country was, after all, floating on a "sea of oil." ("To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong," he told a congressional hearing.) Still, let's take that $60 billion figure as the Bush baseline.

If economists Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes are right in their recent calculations and this will turn out to be more than a $3 trillion war (or even a $5-7 trillion one), then the Bush administration was at least $2,940,000,000,000 off in its calculations.

That definitely qualifies as a ballpark figure for an administration that never saw a budget estimate for one of its imperial dreams that it couldn't hike. Take just one of its major "reconstruction" projects: getting the vast U.S. embassy staff out of a former palace of Saddam Hussein and into a brand-new, almost Vatican-sized "embassy," a genuine mother ship, being built from the ground up inside Baghdad's heavily fortified (and often heavily shelled) Green Zone. Originally scheduled to open in mid-2007, what will undoubtedly be the largest "diplomatic" mission on the planet was initially budgeted for $592 million. Predictably, its price tag soared another $144 million, and now comes in at $736 million, as yet unopened.

In December 2007, the State Department officially certified it "substantially complete," but, as with most Bush administration construction projects in that country, it remains in a state of staggering unreadiness; two of the State Department employees who worked on it are now "under criminal investigation"; and the State Department is dragging its feet about handing over relevant documents to Congress. Ho-hum.

Nothing, of course, has been cheap for American taxpayers who are financing the Bush administration's war policies. It's been like putting up money for an administration staffed by shopaholics let loose in Neiman Marcus or gambling addicts freed to roam Las Vegas with no betting limits.

Bo back to link to read the full story.


The fallout from the war in Iraq continues to spread to areas of Iraq with no let up in sight.

A leading Iraqi psychiatrist has said the violence and mayhem the children of Iraq have seen since the United States invaded and occupied Iraq has left the children mentally damaged for life.

Iraqi Psychiatrist Ali: Iraq’s Future is Wounded

According to Ali, the whole of Iraqi society, but especially the children, bear psychological scars from witnessing violence and death every day: “Iraq needs psychological help, too.”

Bıa news centre

Iraqi psychiatrist Numan Serhan Ali has been studying societal trauma in Iraq for years. In November 2006, he had to leave the country, and now works with Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan. His family is still in Baghdad. “We talk over the Internet and the phone.”

Ali had come to Istanbul as a speaker at the fifth International Meeting for a World without War at the weekend.

Ali believes that Iraqis need not only food aid, but also psychological support because the occupation has left deep traumas and invisible wounds: “They need to be listened to, they need to talk, and they need to learn rules.”

Multiple traumas lead to increase in violence

“40 percent of Iraq’s population are experiencing five different traumas. More than three traumas usually means the risk of death and heart attack.” Ali emphasises the frequency of stress, fear, depression and anxiety, and points to an increase in suicide, drug use, armed robbery, kidnappings and murders.

Death is a daily possibility

He does not have to look far to give examples: “I have lost four relatives. Five colleagues have been murdered. They were close friends, two of them my students. One was killed the day he got his degree. All the murders are unsolved. Three or four of my neighbours have been killed, two of them children who were shot when they were at home.”

“Going to work takes half an hour, but it is a traumatic journey. When you have avoided an explosion, you feel lucky, but also guilty.”

Children and women most affected

The situation of women and childre is worst: “There are many nightmares and a fear of going outside. This is a real fear. Many children do not go to school anymore because of it. Also, it is said that US soldiers are detaining 200-500 “child convicts.”

“Domestic violence has increased, as has the number of widows. Since the occupation, the number of premature births and miscarriages has doubled. The number of caesarean births has increased because people are scared of uncontrollable situations. Women are weighed down with life and the stress of daily life has increased.”

Lack of psychological support

Despite all these problems, there are only 40 psychiatrists ofr 25 million Iraqis. The number of psychological experts has dropped by a third because doctors and academics have been primary targets of kidnappings and unsolved murders.

For Ali, the effects of the occupation are like those of torture, forcing people to live in inhumane conditions and humiliating them. He said that he knew about the torture at the Abu Ghraib prison before it became public knowledge, but was too frightened to say anything.

Like the US psychologists in Guantanamo Bay, there are also psychological experts who become part of the torture process. “In Abu Ghraib and in Guantanamo Bay, the health experts did not report the evidence of torture. This is shameful.”

Too many say "I did not know that"

For Ali, anti-war meetings like the one at the weekend are important: “There are still many people in the world who do not know what is happening in Iraq. Often, when I speak at a panel, people from the audience say, ‘I did not know that.’” (TK/AG)


Since the introduction of this blog two months ago, not a single post has captured the interest of readers as the story and accompanying video apparently showing a United States Marine throwing a puppy off a cliff in Iraq.

The United States Marine Corps has issued a statement and will be investigating the case.

Marine seems to hurl puppy off cliff in video

By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writerPosted : Tuesday Mar 4, 2008 19:29:38 EST

A video that appears to show an armor-clad Marine hurling a small puppy off a cliff and joking with his buddies as it smashes against a rock-strewn desert landscape has sparked outrage online and an investigation by commanders in Hawaii.

A 22-year-old lance corporal from Seattle was named in several online postings as the “puppy killer” and accused of being a “sociopath.” A home address for the Marine was posted on several sites, with at least one urging readers to “make him pay.”

Marine Corps Times could not confirm his identity.

Marine officials on Hawaii have also been unable to confirm that the rifleman based at Kaneohe Bay is the Marine shown in the pixilated, undated video.

“We’re still looking into it. We’re trying to confirm that this is our Marine,” said Maj. Chris Perrine, a spokesman for 3rd Marine Division on Hawaii.

Later Monday, officials at Marine Corps Base Hawaii issued a statement condemning the video.
“The video is shocking and deplorable and is contrary to the high standards we expect of every Marine,” the statement said.

“This video came to our attention this morning, and we have initiated an investigation. We do not tolerate this type of behavior and will take appropriate action.”

“The vast majority of Marines conduct their duties in an honorable manner that brings great credit upon the Marine Corps and the United States. There have been numerous stories of Marines adopting pets and bringing them home from Iraq or helping to arrange life-saving medical care for Iraqi children. Those are the stories that exemplify what we stand for and how most Marines behave,” the statement said.

Various postings of the video had been viewed more than 32,000 times as of Monday afternoon, according to the Web site YouTube. See video in post on the this blog here:

Some experts say the dog may have been dead before being thrown.

“We think he may have already been dead, but we’re not exactly sure,” said Kristin Dejournett, a cruelty caseworker with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, in a telephone interview.

The puppy appears motionless as the Marine holds it by the scruff of the neck.

“It seems kind of stiff,” Dejournett said. “As the [Marine] pulls his arm back in preparation to throw the puppy, the puppy stays in that same position; it doesn’t move around.”

PETA has received more than 40 phone calls and e-mails complaining about the video over the past few days, Dejournett said.

The group has assigned an audio-visual expert to analyze the recording, she said. “They’re trying to see if they can slow it down and take some stills from it to see if that puppy was actually alive,” she said.

As the puppy flies through the air, the video’s soundtrack features a distinct yelping sound, but Dejournett said that could have been edited in afterward. She noted that the squealing sound does not diminish as the puppy appears to fade in the distance.

To some degree, she said, it doesn’t matter whether the Marines were torturing the puppy or playing with a dead animal.

“Regardless, it is horrifying and it’s not the kind of behavior that we want to see our troops engaging in,” Dejournett said.