Today the US military announced: "AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq -- A Multi National Force -- West Marine died as the result of a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province April 3. The Marine’s name is being withheld pending next-of-kin notification and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in Iraq to 4265.
There was an announced death yesterday as well. Pity the so-called paper of record fancies itself Women's Wear Daily today. In the real world, Khalid al-Ansary, Tim Cocks and Charles Dick (Reuters) report,
Iraqi forces have arrested two Sunni Arab neighbourhood guards, a security spokesman said on Saturday, after a string of other arrests in Baghdad that raised tensions.
U.S.-backed Sunni Arab fighters who switched sides to fight al Qaeda in late 2006 have been key to reducing violence in the capital and elsewhere, but many have been dismayed by the past week's arrests and attacks on guards accused of criminal acts.
Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said the two were detained in the capital's southern Dora district four days ago. He did not say why.
Last Saturday, Iraqi forces seized Adil al-Mashhadani, head of a patrol unit in central Baghdad's Fadhil neighbourhood, sparking clashes with his supporters that killed three people. Moussawi said 32 others were detained in Fadhil, 11 of them already released, with the others staying in for questioning.
Meanwhile, staying with "Awakenings" but turning to PRESS CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN AGAIN news . . .
A number of e-mail drive-bys (including from one paper, not the New York Times) have come in insisting that the US isn't paying for the "Awakenings" and that it's only a few hundred that weren't already under control of al-Maliki's government. A number of the e-mails from non-reporters cite a really bad AFP article as proof that it was only a "few hundred."
Oh, you poor, pathetic fools. Grow the hell up and quit e-mailing me your damn garbage. Reality, every word here was correct. Reality, anyone saying otherwise didn't know what the hell they were talking about.
From M-NF's press release on the Thursday turnover of the last "Awakenings" [entitled "Final SoI transfer in Northern Iraq (Tikrit)"] which was issued today:
Coalition forces turned over complete authority of the Sons of Iraq program in Salah ad-Din province to the Government of Iraq in the final SoI transfer in Multi-National Division-North at Forward Operating Base Dagger, April 2.
Iraqi government officials, provincial government leaders, sheikhs and military members from the 4th Iraqi Army and 25th Infantry Division celebrated the formal transfer of control with a signing ceremony in a palace on the banks of the Tigris River. More than 10,000 men in Salah ad-Din registered with the Sons of Iraq program and are scheduled to receive their first paycheck from the Iraqi government in May.
A "few hundred"? "More than 10,000." al-Maliki's been paying them and not the US? They are now "scheduled to receive their first paycheck from the Iraqi government in May." Now the way I read "their first paycheck from the Iraqi government," that means their first-ever pay check from the Iraqi government. It seems pretty clear to me.
But then, it always clear to me because I actually checked my information and didn't grab a half-sentence in a press report, run with it and make it into a paragraph, into a full-blown story. M-NF has been laughing at the press and the way they've covered the "Awakenings" (in terms of payment and who had been turned over and who wasn't). Doesn't anyone call and check? That was my question. No. And I laughed with friends in M-NF at certain reporters (including one who wrote an e-mail so filthy he should get some sort of Henry Miller award).
I'm sorry your press and education systems failed you but that was never my problem. We stand by what went up here and would continue to stand by it even if the press release hadn't been issued.
With the exception of two Kaye Whitley defenders (actually, Kaye's friends hold the record for filthiest e-mails -- what a point of pride for Kaye), this week has seen non-stop e-mails insisting that the "Awakenings" were all handed over in March except for a "few hundred" and that the US hasn't paid any "Awakenings" in months.
I don't read the bulk of the e-mails. A huge number of people help out and it's not worth their time to put up with that nonsense.
In other, know reality news: Alsumaria is reporting that a cache of weapons has been found . . . yeah, Fadhil. No, all the weapons weren't discovered and taken in the house-to-house search. They also note Moqtada al-Sadr has issued an order for a "Million Men March" in Baghdad April 9th. Also from Alsumaria:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki announced that defunct Baath Party and Al Qaeda have infiltrated Sahwas stressing at the same time that these forces which have contributed to ascertaining security by fighting extremists will not be abandoned. Al Maliki added that Al Fadhel incidents do not concern Sahwas but an organized armed party. "This is a message sent to the people taking the same path as organized criminals", he said.
Violence reported today includeds . . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which wounded seven people and a Baquba bombing which one person.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Friday night home invasion in Tikrit which resulted in one death (the police officer, it was his home).
From from ETAN:
East Timorese Deserve Justice!
Statement by the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) on the Anniversary of the Liquiça Massacre
Contact: John M. Miller +1-718-596-7668; +1-917-690-4391
On the tenth anniversary of the massacre at the Catholic Church in Liquiça, ETAN urges the international community to finally respond to the demand for justice of the victims of this and other horrific crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor (Timor-Leste). Those responsible for the many crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed during Indonesia's illegal occupation of East Timor between 1975 and 1999 must be held accountable. The victims of the Liquiça massacre and their families should not have to wait another decade for justice.
Calls for justice are not calls for revenge.
Only through credible trials and respect for the rule of law will victims find closure.
Only through real accountability will genuine friendship flourish between peoples of Indonesia and East Timor.
The brutal attack on those seeking refuge in Liquiça churchyard was part of the ongoing campaign to intimidate the East Timorese people into opposing independence and to create the illusion that any violence arose spontaneously among the East Timorese. At that time, the Liquiça killings were a clear statement that Indonesia's security forces had no intention of allowing an uncoerced vote. However, a month later, the UN, Indonesia and Portugal signed the May 5 agreement, which called for the Indonesian police to provide security for the coming UN-organized vote and for the Indonesian military to be left in place.
The events of 1999 and the preceding years of illegal occupation continue to affect the East Timorese, who continue to suffer from largely unhealed mass trauma. This is one of the underlying causes of the 2006 crisis in Dili. The failure to hold accountable those responsible for organizing and implementing the violence in Liquica and throughout the occupation has created a culture of impunity. Perpetrators believe they will not be held accountable for their crimes and victims often feel that they must take justice into their own hands. These attitudes contributed to the attacks on the President and Prime Minister early last year.
In Indonesia, impunity for past human rights crimes undermines the rule of law and democratic progress. Instead of facing trial, key figures in East Timor's oppression are running for prominent political offices. BackgroundOn April 6, 1999, hundreds of East Timorese and Indonesian militia, soldiers and police attacked several thousand internally displaced refugees taking shelter in the Catholic church in Liquica after slaughtering several civilians nearby the day before. According to a report commissioned by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [ http://etan.org/etanpdf/2006/CAVR/12-Annexe1-East-Timor-1999-GeoffreyRobinson.pdf ], the attack left up to 60 people dead, although the precise death toll is still unknown. The refugees had sought shelter in the churchyard after fleeing earlier militia attacks.
Eyewitness accounts and subsequent investigations showed that members of the notorious police unit BRIMOB played an active role in the attack as did the Besi Merah Putih militia (BMP, Iron Rod for the Red-and-White). Military units, including members of its special forces, Kopassus, were also involved.
According to the OHCHR report, "Although the attack was carried out mainly by BMP militiamen, eyewitnesses have testified that TNI (including Kopassus) and Brimob troops backed up the miltias and fired their weapons during the attack.""The systematic disposal of corpses... [t]ogether with the substantial evidence of TNI [Indonesian military] and Police involvement in the massacre itself, the presence of key officials at the scene of the crime, and the responsibility of those officials for creating and coordinating the BMP... makes it a virtual certainty that the Liquiça church massacre was planned by high-ranking TNI and civilian authorities," the report added.
The assault on the refugees did not end on April 6. Less than two weeks later, more than a dozen survivors and others were murdered on April 17 at the house of Mario Carrascalão in Dili, East Timor's capital.
These murders followed an officially-sponsored rally by militia. Those seeking to provide aid and comfort to survivors in Liquiça had their convoys attacked in subsequent months.All of the security officials tried in Indonesia's Ad Hoc Human Rights Court for their involvement in the massacre and other crimes were acquitted either at trial or on appeal, including police chief Timbul Silaen, regional military commander General Adam Damiri and East Timor military commander Tono Suratman.
In November 2001, the UN-funded Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) indicted nine Indonesian officers and 12 local militia for the massacre. The massacre was also cited in a wide-ranging indictment issued in 2003 by the UN-backed Serious Crimes process. It accused senior officials, including General Wiranto, former Indonesian defense minister, who is now a candidate for Indonesian president, of responsibility for crimes against humanity in East Timor in 1999.
All are currently residing in Indonesia. The Serious Crimes process in Dili convicted and jailed one militia member, who had been indicted separately of three murders, including one during the massacre. Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and brutally occupied the territory until October 1999, with backing from the United States and other powers. The United Nations never formally recognized Indonesia’s claim, and as many as 200,000 East Timorese were killed as a result of the Indonesian occupation. In 1999, Indonesia agreed to a UN-organized referendum on East Timor's political status.
After the referendum, in which East Timorese people voted overwhelmingly for independence, Indonesian security forces and the militia they controlled laid waste to the territory, displacing three-quarters of the population, murdering more than 1400 civilians, and destroying more than 75% of the buildings and infrastructure. Recently, the Timor-Leste NGO Forum urged the international community to "now implement the UN's repeated promises by allocating the necessary political, financial and legal resources to end impunity for these crimes against humanity."
In February, representatives of 60 organizations signed a letter to the UN Security Council urging concrete action to ensure justice and accountability for crimes committed during the Indonesian occupation. They decried "a double standard of justice, undermining the rule of law and respect for human rights in Timor-Leste, Indonesia and internationally." They wrote "A decade has passed since Indonesia's violent exit from Timor-Leste, and Indonesia has repeatedly demonstrated that it cannot or will not credibly try or extradite perpetrators of crimes connected with Indonesia's occupation of Timor-Leste."
ETAN was formed in 1991. The U.S.-based organization advocates for democracy, justice and human rights for Timor-Leste and Indonesia. ETAN opposed the nomination of Adm. (ret.) Dennis Blair, who as Pacific commander, delivered a message of 'business-as-usual' to General Wiranto in the immediate aftermath of the Liquiça massacre.
For additional background on the Liquiça massacre see ETAN's web site: http://www.etan.org.
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FYI, Kat will have a review up here this weekend of Stevie Nicks' new album. It will probably go up Sunday morning but it may be Sunday evening. (She's written it in longhand -- and it's long -- on the flight back. It's completed and just needs typing.)
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