Tuesday, December 05, 2006

NYT: "4 Die in Marine Helicopter Accident in Iraq" (Semple)

Four American service members were killed when a military helicopter suffered mechanical failures while flying over a lake in Anbar Province, in western Iraq, and made an emergency landing on the shore, American military officials said Monday.
[. . .]
In the minutes after the accident, 12 of the people on board were accounted for, and the body of one marine was recovered from the water.
The bodies of the three other victims were recovered in the lake on Monday during an intensive search that included air, amphibious and diving teams, officials said.
Citing a continuing investigation, military officials declined to explain how the victims ended up in the water.

The above is from Kirk Semple's "4 Die in Marine Helicopter Accident in Iraq" in this morning's New York Times. They can't explain much, can they? They (the military) says it wasn't brought down by enemy fire, they can't explain why four ended up out of the helicopter. With twelve survivors of the crash (yes, they military doesn't like the word "crash," but, yes, we'll call it what it was -- four people died). Semple also notes a kickback scam that went before a US district court yesterday and led to Tamimi Global Company's Mohammad Shabbir Kahn being fined $10,000 and sentenced to 51 months of prison time while Kellogg Brown & Root's Stephen Lowell Seamans was fined $380,130 and sentenced to 12 months of prison time. The kickbacks were to get control of "two dining subcontracts valued at $21.8 million".

On the crash, Martha notes Nancy Trejos' "Emergency Helicopter Landing Kills 4 U.S. Troops" (Washington Post):

The mayor of Haditha, Ibraheem al-Bayati, and Iraqi army Lt. Hussein Muslih said the helicopter had been shot down by insurgents with machine guns as it was taking off from the town, located near the Euphrates River.
A group that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq posted a sign on a nearby mosque in Haditha announcing that the helicopter had 30 passengers on board and had been downed, according to a resident who read the sign.
The U.S. military strongly denied that machine-gun fire brought down the helicopter, saying that the aircraft experienced mechanical difficulties.
[. . .]

The military is still investigating the crash in Anbar last week of an F-16 fighter jet that killed a U.S. Air Force major. Enemy fire was not suspected.

The F-16 crash refers to one that took Troy Gilbert's life though the US military refused to admit Gilbert died, instead stringing along the press until their attention was elsewhere and then, over the weekend, quietly confirming that Gilbert was dead. (See yesterday's snapshot.)

Today, the US military announces: "Insurgents attacked a Multi-National Division - Baghdad patrol Dec. 4, killing one Soldier and wounding five others. The patrol was conducting operations to deny enemy movements and enforce curfew restrictions in a northeastern neighborhood of the city when it was attacked"; and "A 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier was killed in an accident when his M-1117 Armored Security Vehicle rolled over North of Logistics Support Area Adder Dec. 4." ICCC puts the total number of US troops killed in Iraq since the beginning of the illegal war at 2906 and notes that 16 of those deaths are awaiting the US military's official confirmation.

They can manipulate there as well, like they did with Gilbert. Confirm the 16 slowly so that, when it's "official," the press will look at the number and not run with the "2900 mark hit!" headlines because it's old news by then.

Today on KPFA (airwaves and online, time given is Pacific):

KPFA Special Broadcast: Robert Gates Confirmation Hearing
Tuesday, December 5th, 06:00am
Live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Robert Gates Secretary of Defense confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. With Larry Bensky, Aaron Glantz and our guest experts.

You can also stream online at the Pacifica website and, late in the afternoon, WBAI announced they'd be airing it as well (starting at 9:30 am EST).

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