Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Iraq's Sadr calls for protest against U.S. forces on Friday

REUTERSReuters North American News Service
May 27, 2008 13:11 EST

BAGHDAD, May 27 (Reuters) - Anti-American Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a mass protest on Friday against negotiations between Washington and Baghdad on keeping U.S. troops in the country beyond 2008.

"We invite Iraqis to join us for a mass demonstration after Friday prayers unless the government cancels this agreement," Sadr said in a statement issued by his office in the holy Shi'ite city of Najaf on Tuesday.

He said the protests would continue nationwide until the government agreed to hold a referendum on the continued U.S. presence. Sadr pulled his bloc out of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government last year in protest at his refusal to negotiate a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal.

Sadr called for a million-strong march against the U.S. presence in April but later called it off for security reasons.

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When Vice President Dick Cheney was head of Halliburton one of the companies biggest subsidaries was KBR, Kellogg, Brown and Root, who has million dollar contracts to provide systems and services for American troops in Iraq.

KBR installed a shower at an Iraq Army base and a Green Beret was electrocuted when it was found KBR failed to ground the electricity leading to the shower.

Green Beret electrocuted in shower on Iraq base

Story Highlights
At least 12 U.S. troops have been electrocuted in Iraq from wiring problems
Ryan Maseth, 24, died January 2 while taking a shower on base
"I truly couldn't believe he would be electrocuted," his mom says
Defense Department inspector general, Congress launch investigation

By Abbie Boudreau and Scott BronsteinCNN Special Investigations Unit

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A highly decorated Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth died a painful death in Iraq this year. He died not on the battlefield. He died in what should have been one of the safest spots in Iraq: on a U.S. base, in his bathroom.

The water pump was not properly grounded, and when he turned on the shower, a jolt of electricity shot through his body and electrocuted him January 2.

The next day, Cheryl Harris was informed of his death. A mother of three sons serving in Iraq, she had feared such news might come one day.

"I did ask exactly, 'How did Ryan die? What happened to him?' And he had told me that Ryan was electrocuted," she said.

Her reaction was disbelief. "I truly couldn't believe he would be electrocuted ... in the shower," she said.

Maseth, 24, was not the first. At least 12 U.S. troops have been electrocuted in
Iraq since the start of the war in 2003, according to military and government officials. Watch mom describe horror, heartbreak over son's electrocution »

In fact, the Army issued a bulletin in 2004 warning that electrocution was "growing at an alarming rate." It said five soldiers died that year by electrocution, with improper grounding the likely culprit in each case.

The Army bulletin detailed one soldier's death in a shower -- eerily similar to Maseth's case -- that said he was found "lying on a shower room floor with burn marks on his body."
Maseth's mother says the Army was not immediately forthcoming with details about her son's death.

At one point, she says, the Army told her he had a small appliance with him in the shower on his base, a former palace complex near the Baghdad airport.

"It just created so much doubt, and I know Ryan, I know Ryan, I know how he was trained, I know that he would not have been in a shower with a small appliance and electrocuted himself," she said. Watch "I can't make sense around Ryan's death" »

The Army refused to answer CNN's questions about the case, citing pending litigation by Maseth's family.

Maseth's mother says she pressed the military for answers, eventually uncovering more details about her son's electrocution. The surging current left burn marks across his body, even singeing his hair. Army reports show that he probably suffered a long, painful death.

Fellow soldiers had to break down the door to help, said Patrick Cavanaugh, an attorney for Maseth's parents.

Click on this link for full story


The mainstream media continues to "spike" any story reflecting on the deteriorating conditions in Iraq. The mainstream media in the United States can no longer be trusted to give Americans information on the spiraling out of control violence in Anbar and now other provinces in Iraq.

It was only a few months ago, President Bush, General Petraeus and FOX NEWS were shouting from the rooftops about how "the surge" had brought peace and quiet to Anbar Province.

That has all gone down the drain now and Anbar is falling apart. The violence is spreading to other provinces as Iraq heads into the blistering summer months with one province after another feeling "the surge," only this time "the surge" is the "the surge" of violence by insurgents, Al Qaeda and the Mehdi Army all who HATE the United States.

Editorial comment by BILL CORCORAN, editor of CORKSPHERE.

Is Diyala Heating Up, or is This Business as Usual?

by: Chris LeJeune
Wed May 28, 2008 at 12:36:22 PM EDT

A number of different stories over the past few days suggest that Anbar might not be the only province starting to heat up.

Security authorities released 160 detainees from Iraqi detention centers through the Diala police department after proving that they were not involved in any criminal acts, the chief of local police said on Wednesday morning.

"The Diala police freed 160 detainees from the Bucca detention center in Basra and Karkoush jail in Baladruz after they had been proven not guilty of involvement in any crime," General Ghanem al-Qureshi told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq - (VOI). "The total number of detainees released as of January 2008 until now reached 1,435," the general explained.

Detainee release has been happening across Iraq for several years now, and by itself does not seem to point to any increase in violence. However, that story was from today, and was followed by a number of other stories also released in the last 72 hours.

"An explosive charge detonated, this morning, in al-Khwelis village near Ba'aquba, killing a civilian and wounding another,"

Two civilians were killed and a third was wounded on Wednesday as a roadside bomb exploded in Diala province, central Iraq, a local official source said.

Both of those attacks were from today, this was from yesterday:
At least
an Iraqi soldier was killed and another wounded on Tuesday morning as gunmen attacked a checkpoint in Diala, central Iraq, a police source said. "Gunmen, believed to be from Qaeda Organization, launched an attack on a checkpoint manned by Iraqi troops in Hibhib district, killing a soldier and wounding another,"

Even the livestock isn't safe:
Four shepherds disappeared along with their livestock on Monday in the desert areas in southwest Baaquba, an official security source said. "Four herdsmen disappeared today in the desert area in Baladruz, southwest of Baaquba," "Their families informed security authorities of their disappearance along with scores of livestock," Ba'aquba, the capital of Diyala, lies 57 km northeast of Baghdad.

So, is this normal for Diyala province, or a sign of change? Could this be related to the detainee releases, or AQI moving from one area into another?


Over 7,500 police members sacked this year- official

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq
Wednesday , 28 /05 /2008 Time 6:56:59

Baghdad, May 28, (VOI) – The Iraqi Ministry of Interior dismissed more than 7,500 police members from their positions in 2008, a senior under-secretary of state at the Ministry said on Wednesday, citing absence, negligence, and corruption as the main reasons behind the sacking.


The mainstream media and especially FOX NEWS, the parrot of the Bush White House, continue to say violence is down in Iraq and yet every single day we bring readers of this blog reports from Iraq on how violence continues at an alarming rate and there are more deaths of US troops and coalition forces.

According to former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book, the mainstream media was "in the tank" for the Bush administration in the run up to the Iraq war, and judging by how the mainstream media continues to ignore the violence in Iraq and takes Pentagon handouts as the Gospel Truth about Iraq, the mainstream media is still in Bush's hip pocket.

War News for Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Xinhuanet is reporting the death of a ISAF soldier in an explosion in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, May 28th. Four other soldiers were wounded in the attack. Here's NATO statement.The DoD is reporting a new death previously unreleased by CENTCOM. Sgt. Frank J. Gasper died in an IED explosion in Najaf, Iraq on Sunday, May 25th. No other details were released.

The DoD is reporting a second new death previously unreported by CENTCOM. Sgt. Blake W. Evans died in an IED attack in the Al Jazeera Desert, Iraq on Sunday, May 25th. No other details were released.Reported

Security incidents:Baghdad:#1: Fighting between U.S. troops and militant forces in Baghdad's Sadr City killed five people and wounded eight, Iraq's Interior Ministry said Wednesday. The fighting occurred in Sadr City's Fadhailiya district, scene of several clashes between U.S.- and Iraqi-led forces and supporters of rebel Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, CNN reported.#2: Iraq's largest Sunni Arab political bloc has suspended talks on ending its boycott of the Shiite-led government due to a dispute over which positions it would assume, the head of the bloc said Wednesday.#3: In violence Wednesday, sporadic gunbattles broke out in a Shiite stronghold in southeastern Baghdad as detentions and raids against al-Sadr's followers continue to strain a truce that ended nearly two months of fierce clashes in the capital. Iraqi police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said three civilians were killed and five others wounded in the fighting that broke out about 6 a.m.#4: A roadside bomb also struck a car in the Qara Taba district, northeast of Baghdad, killing a farmer and his son, local official Serwan Shukr said.#5: Around 9am, police found 4 dead bodies in Ubaidi neighborhood after being informed by the American troops.#6: Around noon, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Diyala bridge neighborhood.6 people were injured including 2 policemen.#7: Around 12:30 pm, a mortar hit the ministry of planning building. No casualties recorded.Diyala Prv:#1: A father and a son were killed Wednesday in a bomb blast in Iraq's restive Diyala province. bomb went off on a main road linking Qura Tiba and Kafri near Baquba, 185 kilometres north-east of Baghdad, hitting a civilian vehicle, the Voices of Iraq news agency quoted a local official, Sirwan Shukr, as saying. Two passengers in the car - a father and his son - were killed and another son was injured in the blast.#2: At least a civilian was killed and one more wounded on Wednesday in a roadside bomb explosion in Diala province, central Iraq, a police source said. “An explosive charge detonated, this morning, in al-Khwelis village near Ba’aquba, killing a civilian and wounding another,” the source, who asked to be unnamed, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq.Karbala:#1: Two people were killed in clashes between Iraqi police and unidentified gunmen near the Shi'a holy city of Karbala, police said on Wednesday. Heavy fighting erupted on Tuesday evening between police and gunmen in the district of Al-Rafee, 30km from Karbala, local Police Chief General Shakir Jowdat told AFP. He said a search operation had been launched in the area. There were no further details about the identity of the attackers or their motive.Amarra:#1: An Iraqi army soldier was killed on Tuesday by unknown gunmen in central Amara city, a security source said. “Unknown armed men opened fire on an Iraqi army soldier in al-Qadissiya region, killing him instantly,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.Baiji:#1: Police killed seven suspected al-Qaeda militants during clashes in a village just outside the town of Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, on Tuesday and Wednesday, police said. Three policemen were wounded in the clashes.Kirkuk:#1: Deputy Chief of Kirkuk Emergency Police Forces survived unharmed an attempt on his life in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Wednesday morning, a police source said. “An explosive charge detonated, this morning, near the motorcade of Lieutenant Colonel Fuad Shewani in central Kirkuk, wounding an escort,” the source, who requested anonymity, told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq. The source added that Shewani survived the attack unharmed.Al Anbar Prv:Fallujah:#1: A policeman was killed on Tuesday in a roadside bomb explosion targeting a police vehicle patrol in eastern Falluja, a police source said. “An explosive charge, planted on a road in al-Senaa neighborhood in eastern Falluja, went off, killing a policeman,” the source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.Garma:#1: A mob stormed the house of a member of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood patrol and stabbed him to death in the town of Garma, 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.Afghanistan:#1: In the eastern province of Khost, meanwhile, two suicide bombers tried to attack a US military outpost but were stopped by Afghan police at a checkpoint. Police opened fire and killed both bombers, said Gen. Mohammad Ayub, the provincial police chief. He said no one else was killed. A US spokesman said he didn't immediately have any information about the incident.Police fired on a suicide bomber who was driving a vehicle filled with explosives toward a military base with US and Afghan troops in Gurbaz district of south-eastern Khost province, said Mohammad Ayoub, provincial police chief. He said three Afghan civilians were injured in the explosion Wednesday morning.#2: In Helmand province, a suicide bomber on a motorbike targeted a police truck but missed, said Doulad Wazir, the governor's spokesman. One civilian was killed, he said.a man riding a motorbike packed with explosives detonated himself near a police vehicle in Lashkargah city, in southern Helmand province, provincial police chief Mohammad Hussain Andewal said. The blast killed the bomber and wounded two policemen and two civilians, he said.


Iraq's main Sunni bloc suspends government talks

Wisam MohammedReuters North American News Service
May 27, 2008 18:56 EST

BAGHDAD, May 28 (Reuters) - Iraq's main Sunni Arab political bloc said on Wednesday it had suspended talks to rejoin the Shi'ite-led government after a disagreement with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki over a cabinet post.

Persuading the bloc to rejoin has been a main aim of U.S. policy in Iraq and is widely seen as a vital step in reconciling the country's factions after years of conflict. Sunni Arabs have little voice in a cabinet dominated by Shi'ites and Kurds.

"We have suspended negotiations with the government and pulled out our candidates," said Salim al-Jibouri, spokesman for the Accordance Front. He said the decision was taken after Maliki objected to a candidate for a cabinet position.


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi soldiers rounded up six teenagers in northern Iraq who were being trained, against their will, to carry out suicide bombings for al Qaeda in Iraq, the Interior Ministry said.

Troops conducting house-to-house searches in Mosul found six teens, ages 15 to 18, who were being trained to perpetrate attacks against Iraqi security forces, said ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf.

Insurgents had threatened to kill the boys or their families if they refused to comply with the training, Deputy Interior Minister Kamal Ali Hussein told reporters.

"The Saudi insurgent threatened to rape our mothers and sisters, destroy our houses and kill our fathers if we did not cooperate with him," one of the youths told The Associated Press in Mosul.

The boys were rounded up as part of the Mother of Two Springs operation targeting al Qaeda in Iraq in Mosul and Nineveh province. The offensive has netted the detentions of more than 1,300 suspects.

The teens had been trained in recent weeks, Khalaf said.

A Saudi national -- a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq operative -- had been one of their trainers, but he was believed to have died in a military operation, Khalaf said. It is not known where or when he was killed.

The group of teens included the son of a female physician, the son of a college professor and four youths who belonged to families of poor vendors.

All six boys were taught how to carry out suicide attacks with explosive belts and a date was fixed for each one of them, Hussein said, adding that Iraqi soldiers had questioned the boys.