Friday, October 10, 2008


Saleh al-Auqaeili died yesterday. He was part of the 30 member Sadr bloc in Iraq's Parliament and he was assassinated in a bombing. From yesterday's snapshot:

Mariam Karouny and Aseel Kami (Reuters) note that another MP from the Sadr bloc, Bahaa al-Araji, is calling it an assassination and has stated, "We are not excluding the possibility that it might be a government-linked group which carried it out." Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) quotes al-Araji telling Al Arabiya TV, "There will be a battle in the elections and this [killing] is indeed a liquidation. We have warned that the Sadr movement has been targeted, especially in seats where they already hold office."

In "Roadside Bomb in Baghdad Kills Shiite Legislator" (Los Angeles Times) today, Jeffrey Fleishman reports that the Sadr City section of Baghdad saw fighting between, on one side, Sadr supporters and, on the other, Iraqi and US forces. Fleishman explains:

A resident of Sadr City, who gave his name only as Mohammed, said fighting broke out about 11 p.m. as militants clashed with Iraqi soldiers and, later, U.S. troops who arrived for backup. Heavy fighting lasted about an hour and was followed by intermittent gunfire, he said.

Fleishman also notes that Ahmed Massoudi ("a Sadr spokesman") states, "The occupation sent us a message by staging this attack because of our stance against the agreement" and by "this attack," he's referring to the assassination. Sam Dagher (New York Times) notes a different spokesperson in "Roadside Bomb in Baghdad Kills Shiite Legislator:"

Mr. Sadr's chief spokesman, Sheik Salah al-Obeidi, said he had no doubt that the United States had ordered the killing, given the Sadrist movement’s strong opposition to the security agreement being negotiated between Washington and Baghdad. "The pressure by the United States on Iraq to sign the treaty was rather obvious over the past week. We saw that with Negroponte's visit," Sheik Obeidi said by telephone.
Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte said Tuesday during a visit to Baghdad that American and Iraqi negotiators were close to resolving issues that had stalled the signing of the agreement, which is intended to govern the presence of American soldiers past December.
Sheik Obeidi said that Mr. Ugaili was involved in formulating the Sadrist movement’s positions on the deal and had been charged with commenting publicly on the issue by the 30-member Sadrist parliamentary bloc.
"By killing Ugaili they are silencing a major opponent of the agreement," Sheik Obeidi said.
He said his movement was planning to demonstrate in Baghdad on Oct. 18 against the American presence in Iraq. Iran, which the United States has accused of backing Shiite militias in Iraq, including elements of the Mahdi Army, has voiced its strong opposition to the agreement.

Ernesto Londono's "Blast Leaves Iraqi Lawmaker Dead" (Washington Post) cites MP Ahmad al-Massoudi of the Sadr bloc:

The attack also raised questions about whether the Iraqi government, which sent troops into Sadr City in May, is equipped to secure the district, once controlled by militias loyal to Sadr. The troops' deployment came as Sadr announced that his movement would focus more on humanitarian assistance than armed struggle.
"We have laid the blame on the occupation forces and the Iraqi government for the martyrdom of [the lawmaker] because the explosion happened in an area that is under the control of" American forces, Massoudi said.
Maher Karim, 32, one of the lawmaker's bodyguards, said Auqaeili died at a hospital hours after the attack.
"Because of the political tension in Iraq, the doctor was worried," Karim said of Auqaeili in an interview Thursday night. "He asked us many times if anyone wanted to resign [and said] they could do so at any time."

Leila Fadel offers perspective on recent shifts in "Assassinations replacing car bombs in Iraq" (McClatchy Newspapers):

U.S. and Iraqi officials are seeing a shift in violence in Iraq from mass car bombings to assassinations using magnetic bombs, weapons with silencers and bicycle bombs. As provincial elections approach, some officials worry that assassinations will increase as political parties try to eradicate their competitors.

"Some of the organizations that are seeking political power are resorting to intimidation and violence," said Maj. Gen. Michael L. Oates, the commander of the Army's 10th Mountain Division, whose area of command includes most of southern Iraq. "So you'll see individual bombs used against a prominent member of a party. I personally think we will see an uptick of that type of violence as we go into the election cycle because . . . the way some people deal with political tension here is to eliminate the other parties by using violence."

Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adrienne Kinne was featured in a report on ABC's World News Tonight. Brian Ross, Vic Walter and Anna Schechter's "Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans" (ABC News, link has text and video) notes:

"These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones," said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA's Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.

Kinne described the contents of the calls as "personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism."

WATCH Kinne discuss why it was 'awkward' listening to her fellow Americans.

For some strange reason, instead of being happy that the news is getting out Amy Goodman and other losers are trying to claim credit. Goody insists she was covering this in May! Another Panhandle Media loser insists he was on in the summer of 2007. April 15, 2007 we noted Ron Jacobs' "A Conversation with Three Iraq Veterans Against the War" (CounterPunch). I'm sure someone covered it before Ron's article. From his article, this is Adrienne speaking:

I've been very frustrated as well. I thought that Vermonters voting for impeachment on town meeting day would mean something. I thought Vermont's State reps would have done something by now to take it to the next level, vote on their own resolutions maybe. I expected Vermont Congressman Peter Welch to stand up and start impeachment in DC. I'm very sick of Congress's failure to act more decisively. Bush has used our soldiers to spy on Americans and to torture. He has lied to the American public to get Americans to support an illegal and immoral war, which I believe makes him guilty of the murder of all of our fallen soldiers and Iraqi civilians. I believe that he needs to be held accountable for his actions. I believe that Congress needs to stop whining about Bush's threats to veto their withdrawal bills. They are using Bush as an excuse for their failure to act and get us out of Iraq, when they could be impeaching him right now. It's all related.

March 25th's snapshot noted Kinne's Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier (regarding this topic, she was noted in other snapshots for her remarks regarding health care at Winter Soldiers):

Adrienne Kinne: I think that one of the costs of war at home is the cost to our freedom and our Constitution. In Military Intelligence there are specific guidelines and one of those specific guidelines is supposed to cover how we conduct ourselves is a guideline called USSID 18 which stands for United States Signals Instructive 18 -- which says that in an effort to uphold Americans Constitutional rights, Military Intelligence cannot collect on Americans. And to show the seriousness with which we took this directive in 1997 or thereabouts I intercepted a radio transmission of a Middle Eastern military entity which referenced the name of an American diplomat that was visiting the Middle East. Because an American's name was referenced we decided to delete every single record that that cut was ever collected It wasn't even directly collecting on American but just the reference And maybe that was something that we didn't necessarily have to do but we took our oath to not collect on Americans very seriously. And so we erased every single record that that cut ever took place. After 9-11 when I was again activated, I was again stationed at the same field site for the NSA in the States and I was assigned not to collect radio transmission of Middle Eastern military entities but Inmarsat satellite phone calls from Iraq, Afghanistan and a huge swath of that region And initially all the cuts -- this is a brand new system Why they put 20 reservists in charge of it, I will never know. With virtually no oversight whats over, which was another problem. But, in the beginning, we were getting all of these cuts which were unidentified -- it was a brand new system, it was just, we had a front end out there that was collecting all these satellite phone conversations, sending it back to the United States and we would go through and just listen, randomly, through all of these identified cuts just kind of like fishing for whatever we could find. And as time passed, I saw in this computer system, you could -- once you identified the telephone number, who it belongs to -- you can actually program the computer to come up with a name of whatever group belongs to it and the priority for whatever priority the cut is. So for instance "priority one" would have been a terrorist affiliated organization. As time passed, I saw our que not fill up so much with anything that had to do with terrorism but, um, humanitarian aid organizations, NGOs and even to include journalists. And this was not by any means the majority of the cuts we collected but even after we knew that it was the International Red Cross/Red Crescent rather than block their phone number, which we could have done, we continued to collect. And these are the two reasons we were given that allowed us to collect on these organizations. One was that these people were eyes on the ground and as they were going through Iraq they might happen upon weapons of mass destruction and give their location. So we could monitor them in case they ever referenced the location of WMDs. The other reason was that they could potentially, the organization could potentially lose their phone and it could be picked up by a terrorist and they would start using it. So we had to make sure that no terrorist ever secured the phone of another organization and then started using it and we had to maintain coverage on those phone numbers just in case. And this kind of came to a head for me in probably sometime in the beginning to middle of 2002 when I was listening to a conversation between a British aid worker and an American aid worker in the area And they weren't talking about anything of particular relevance. They were talking about whatever was going on in their office. It was so irrelevant that I can't really remember what the conversation was about. But what I do remember is that the British aid worker said to the American, "You know you really should be careful what you say on the phone because the Americans are listening." And the American, rightly thinking that he was protected from being monitored by our government said, "No they can't collect against me because I am an American citizen and I'm protected by USSID 18." And when he referenced USSID 18 I don't know why but that just kind of because that's Military Intelligence lingo, I thought that that might be of some relevance. Either the person was prior military which is probably very likely and was familiar with what was going on or come to find out most aid workers working outside of our country know about USSID 18 because they know their USSID 18 rights are being violated all the time by our government. I drew that cut to the attention of my officer in charge and he relayed it to the watch office and everybody actually got into a mini-uproar because this American referenced USSID 18 to a non-American. And they acted as if this American had just enacted some form of treason by referencing USSID 18 to a British -- an ally, supposedly, person. So shortly after that there was all this hubbub about whether or not we can collect on Americans, whether or not USSID 18 is even relevant anymore, whether or not we should be monitoring these NGOs. And they consulted -- whoever "they" is, I don't know. I was in my little spot where I was told I was a collector and I wasn't allowed to ask questions about anything. I couldn't analyze, I couldn't ask questions, my job was to collect and pass the information on. And it was shortly thereafter that we were told we were given a waiver that we could collect on Americans in the Middle East. And this included conversations that took place with people in the Middle East calling their family members in the United States. And we could hear both sides of the conversation but we were told that in order to protect the Americans in the United States we would just not report on their half of the conversation -- even though we were collecting it, even though we were listening to it, we would just not add that to the report. Why it matters where an American is in this world as to whether or not their rights are protected by our Constitution I do not know. But apparently, I've been kind of somewhat reviewing all the changes that are happening to Military Intelligence and FISA law, all of this is no longer just a matter of a verbal waiver, it's all legal. And that our government is using these occupations to destroy our Constitutional rights as Americans is, personally, I think, impeachable but in any reference criminal. I could kind of go through the different instances where I feel that information was collected which we could have very well known it was misinformation, we would pass it on anyway. But I think more importantly I just want to speak to the fact that it is not only our soldiers, marines, National Guard reservists, Air men and women, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan that are supporting these wars. It is every single member of the military whether or not you are State side, whether or not you are abroad, whether or not you are intercepting transmissions in country. By serving in the military we are all supporting the occupations. And I really just think that's incredibly important for all of us to recognize because people always want to look and put so much on the shoulders of our veterans who have witnessed so much in Iraq and Afghanistan and act as if they're the only ones that have to bear the burden of ending these occupations. But I for one having served many years before 9-11and before Afghanistan and before Iraq am so sorry that through my service I in any way shape or form supported the initiation of wars which put you all in such horrible, horrible positions. And I just wanted to say one last thing that I think in many ways it's ironic -- and I may be using that word inappropriately or incorrectly -- that I served in the military for ten years and it's only been since joining Iraq Veterans Against the War that I feel like I've done anything good.

Credit Adrienne. Credit someone early on the story like Ron as well, but credit Adrienne. This nonsense of "I was there first! I was there before ABC News!" Oh, boo-hoo. Grow up. More than likely (especially with Amy Goodman), you didn't do a damn thing. You gave one day's segment. For a few tiny moments, your audience was encouraged to think about it and then you moved on. What Rebecca calls the "Baby cried the day the circus came to town" coverage. (After Melissa Manchester's hit "Don't Cry Out Loud.") We should be thrilled that ABC News finally showed interest in the story and damn proud of Adrienne who's told her story for some time now. Instead it's all "Boo hoo!" of "I did a segment on it in May!" and "I wrote a blog post in the summer of 2007!" Face reality, glory hogs, the only thing you have to wallow in is your uselessness. You've done nothing but gas bag about elections for two years. There is no pride for you in this. Stop trying to steal Adrienne's and stop trying to render people like Ron, who actually were first out of the gate on this, invisible.

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