Sunday, November 20, 2005

Reporting from outside the US mainstream media focus on Iraq

THE conduct of the British police and intelligence services over the July 7 London bombings was a "massive failure from start to finish" for which the government must take the blame.
This withering criticism comes from Crispin Black, who worked for the Joint Intelligence Committee, was an army lieutenant colonel, a military intelligence officer, a member of the Defence Intelligence Staff and a Cabinet Office intelligence analyst who briefed Number 10 on terrorism.
Black says the bombings made UK spies appear "laughable" and left the police looking like "the Keystone Cops". He claims the UK government's refusal to accept that its role in the invasion of Iraq had increased the risk of home-grown terrorism meant that MI5 did not look as closely at British radicals in the run-up to the bomb attacks as it should have done.
"The system failed – fatally," Black said, adding that the biggest error was the "misappreciation of the extent to which the aims and aspirations of international terrorists had penetrated into small elements of the UK’s domestic Muslim population".

The above, sent in by James in Brighton, is from Neil Mackay's "London bombings: 'British intelligence was woeful ... and that was all the government’s fault'" (Scotland's Sunday Herald). James in Brighton, like most of our European members, take a very dim view of Alan Cowell and the New York Times' reporting. James wonders whether the Times will even cover this?

More reality comes via Kyle who e-mails to highlight "Blasts Kill Scores Across Iraq" (

Over 80 Iraqis were killed and some 130 other were wounded in blasts across the war-ravaged country Friday, November 18, drawing a more bleak picture for the country's future.
At least 75 people were killed and 90 wounded when two bombers blew themselves up among the worshippers at two Shiite mosques in Khanaqin, near the Iranian border, a top Iraqi official told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The toll could climb further as more bodies were believed trapped under the rubble at one mosque where the roof collapsed, Diyalah provincial council leader Ibrahim Hasan al-Bajalan told AFP.
"The explosions came within four minutes of one another," he said, adding that the suicide bombers, who wore explosive belts, had joined the faithful for Friday prayers and were sitting in their midst at the time of the blasts.

From reality to empty talk, Gareth notes Guy Dinmore and Steve Negus' "Rumsfeld fuels hopes of cut in US forces in Iraq" (The Financial Times):

Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, on Sunday fuelled expectations that the US was contemplating a big reduction in its forces in Iraq next year, following reports that commanders had submitted plans to cut troop numbers to below 100,000.
Appearing on several Sunday television news shows, Mr Rumsfeld spoke of the significant progress in Iraq on the political front and in training Iraqi government forces, which he said now numbered 212,000.

Just the sort of empty promises to quell debates around the table this holiday week, no? We've heard the song and dance before. Nothing ever happens. Now, just in time for the holidays, we're supposed to all be exicted that Rummy's once again handing out empty promises. He was going to hand out empty promises and kittens but he asked Bill Frist to watch the kittens and no one can figure out where the kittens went!

Will Bully Boy strut around Thanksgiving day, in a hanger, carrying a fake turkey for another photo op? Will the press agree to any agreement that the White House insists upon to ride along? (It's not news, people.) Will ABC again interrupt programming (scaring people as they did that year -- they got complaints on that) on Thanksgiving for a "special announcement!"

Who knows? It's all spin and so far from reality but a lapdog press mistakes it for reporting.

What's the plan? How about this:

"Publicly, we say one thing," he told aides. "Actually, we do another."

An earlier Bully Boy said that, Nixon. From Peter Truthe's "Files reveal extent of Nixon's secrets and lies on war in Cambodia" (The Irish Examiner, sent in by Dominck):

On May 31 1970, a month after Nixon went on TV to defend the previously-secret US bombings and troop movements in Cambodia, asserting that he would not let his nation become "a pitiful, helpless giant", the president met his top military and national security aides at his Western White House in California.
Revelation of the operation had sparked protests and congressional action against what many politicians from both parties considered an illegal war. Nixon noted that Americans believed the Cambodian operation was "all but over", even as 14,000 troops were engaged across the border in a hunt for North Vietnamese operating there. In a memo from the meeting marked "Eyes Only, Top Secret Sensitive", Nixon told his military men to continue doing what was necessary in Cambodia, but to say for public consumption that the US was merely providing support to South Vietnamese forces when necessary to protect US troops. "That is what we will say publicly," he asserted. "But now, let's talk about what we will actually do."

Need another flashback?

The military chiefs, more than their civilian bosses, expressed worry about how the war was going.

No, no one's snuck you any window pane, the reality is we're back where we were. No drugs needed to take us back there.

Polly e-mails to note "New study details Iraq insurgency" (BBC):

Up to 3,000 foreign insurgents may be fighting in Iraq, but they remain a small part of the overall rebellion, a US military analyst has suggested.
Algerians, Syrians and Yemenis are most numerous among foreign insurgents, said ex-White House aide Anthony Cordesman.
Mr Cordesman, a veteran analyst, used Saudi and other regional security studies to collate data on insurgents.
The figure is three times as large as unofficial Pentagon estimates, but may total no more than 10% of insurgents.
The Iraqi insurgency remains largely home-grown, Mr Cordesman added, with 90% or more hailing from Iraq.

Lynda e-mails to note Sabah Ali's "Yosfiya: The 21st Century Nazis Are Here" (Iraq Dispatches):

On the dusty side way, a deserted house was destroyed, the walls split, the windows smashed, the okras left to dry un plucked, so are the cotton trees. The apiary boxes and the animals' yard were empty and deserted. The driver explained that the house was raided, bombed by sound bombs, two men were arrested, one of them, Nektal Rahman Adaay was killed during the arrest. The family,12, are now living with relatives. Nasser village looked completely deserted. Nothing could be seen or heard except dogs’ barking. Most of the houses were burnt out. We were filming the first, Hussein's which was completely destroyed and burnt out except for Imam Ali's picture, when a young man, covered with dust, appeared from nowhere and asked curiously what we were doing. He was very surprised to see journalists "at last" as he said, and began relating what happened on November 5, 2005, the first day of Ramadan.
The Iraqi police Special Forces, Al-Hussein Brigades, came at dawn. There were around 20 pick ups full of them. They were hit on the highway very badly from a place behind the Yosfiya Water Project, east of the village. Tens of them were killed. Their cars were burnt. Some of them hid inside the village. The battle went on for 3 hours. In the end some of them managed to run away. In the afternoon, the same day, more forces returned back accompanied by the American troops and helicopters. They evacuated their dead, raided the houses, killed and arrested the men, humiliated the families, killed the cows and chickens, destroyed the yards, and set the village on fire.
"They dragged one of the men Abbass Oeid, more than 70 years, and beat him to death. Two other man, were arrested, Karim Motar, 50, and Riyadh Talab Jabr, 20. Their bodies were found three days later in Baghdad. They put police uniform on Karim’s body. Riyadh was naked. Both were savagely tortured, their bones, backs, and arms were smashed".

Pru e-mails to note Lindsey German's "Bring the troops home THIS christmas" (Socialist Worker):

It was all supposed be over by this Christmas. That was the date in the United Nations' original timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.
Now, in a carefully orchestrated piece of theatre, New Labour tells us to welcome comments by Iraq's puppet president, Jalal Talabani, that British troops might possibly be out not in six weeks but by Christmas next year, provided his barely existing Iraqi forces can somehow take over.
But the same people spun the same tale 12 months ago. And over this last year the chaos and devastation in Iraq have got worse.
The occupation has claimed the lives of over 100,000 Iraqis. It has brought the use of depleted uranium, napalm and phosphorus, reported last week. Over 2,000 US soldiers have been killed and the British death toll is tragically nearing 100. A clear majority of Iraqis want the occupation to end.
In order to hold on, Tony Blair and George Bush are fanning the flames of the very civil war they claim they are trying to prevent.
Most people in Britain and the US also want to end the occupation. The revelations by former British ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer that Blair rushed headlong to back Bush’s war confirms that Blair was never looking for a peaceful solution.
The growing number of military families now calling for the troops to be brought home is a sign of the deepening feeling against the occupation and of the pressure on Blair.
And there is no appetite for sending more troops to Afghanistan, which the government announced this week.
After four years of occupation, Afghanistan has just had its worst month of violence since US and British forces invaded.
Yet the response from the White House is more bellicose noises against Syria and Iran, threatening catastrophe across the Middle East. All this places immense importance on the International Peace Conference taking place in London in three weeks time.
Lindsey German is the convenor of the Stop the War Coalition. She writes here in a personal capacity. For more on the peace conference go to
Activists set for peace conference
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