Monday, May 31, 2004 - Politics - Pentagon: China Re-Strategizes After Iraq

WASHINGTON — The speed with which U.S. ground forces captured Baghdad and the prominent role played in Iraq by U.S. commandos, have led China to rethink how it could counteract the American military in the event of a confrontation over Taiwan, the Pentagon says.

The Chinese also believe, partly from its assessment of the Bush administration's declared war on terrorism, that the United States is increasingly likely to intervene in a conflict over Taiwan or other Chinese interests, according to the Pentagon analysis.

"Authoritative commentary and speeches by senior officials suggest that U.S. actions over the past decade ... have reinforced fears within the Chinese leadership that the United States would appeal to human rights and humanitarian concerns to intervene, either overtly or covertly," said the Pentagon.

The assessments are in an annual Defense Department report to Congress on Chinese military power. The Pentagon took the unusual step of releasing the report late Saturday night.
OpinionJournal - Featured Article: "One thing we've learned about Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein is that the former dictator was a diligent record keeper. Coalition forces have found--literally--millions of documents. These papers are still being sorted, translated and absorbed, but they are already turning up new facts about Saddam's links to terrorism.

We realize that even raising this subject now is politically incorrect. It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever--that 'secular' Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn't mix. But John Ashcroft's press conference yesterday reminds us that the terror threat remains, and it seems especially irresponsible for journalists not to be open to new evidence. If the CIA was wrong about WMD, couldn't it have also missed Saddam's terror links?

One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda 'summit' in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which the 9/11 attacks were planned. The U.S. has never been sure whether he was there on behalf of the Iraqi regime or whether he was an Iraqi Islamicist who hooked up with al Qaeda on his own.

It is possible that the Ahmed Hikmat Shakir listed on the Fedayeen rosters is a different man from the Iraqi of the same name with the proven al Qaeda connections. His identity awaits confirmation by al Qaeda operatives in U.S. custody or perhaps by other captured documents. But our sources tell us there is no questioning the authenticity of the three Fedayeen rosters. The chain of control is impeccable. The documents were captured by the U.S. military and have been in U.S. hands ever since.

As others have reported, at the time of the summit Shakir was working at the Kuala Lumpur airport, having obtained the job through an Iraqi intelligence agent at the Iraqi embassy. The four-day al Qaeda meeting was attended by Khalid al Midhar and Nawaz al Hamzi, who were at the controls of American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon. Also on hand were Ramzi bin al Shibh, the operational planner of the 9/11 attacks, and Tawfiz al Atash, a high-ranking Osama bin Laden lieutenant and mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. Shakir left Malaysia on January 13, four days after the summit concluded."

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Yahoo! News - Libyan Nuclear Devices Missing : "The whereabouts of the parts is one of several mysteries that has preoccupied officials involved in the biggest investigation of nuclear smuggling in history -- the probe into the black-market network led by former Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. U.S. and U.N. investigators have identified many of the network's operatives and methods and recovered tens of thousands of parts in a dragnet that has reached from Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Europe. Yet, the investigators believe that some of the suppliers to the network have not yet been identified -- and perhaps some customers, as well.

'We haven't gotten to the bottom of the story,' acknowledged one senior Bush administration official involved in the investigation. 'We continue to look for, and expect to make, new discoveries. We don't think the story is fully revealed yet.'

Unraveling the network and recovering missing parts and blueprints are viewed as urgent because of the possibility that nuclear technology could be diverted to unfriendly governments or terrorist groups. Yet, despite cooperation by numerous countries -- and by Khan -- the investigation has proven difficult and time-consuming.

'It is taking longer than anyone expected,' said David Albright, a nuclear expert and president of the Institute for Science and International Security. 'But if we don't succeed, there's a real chance the network will reconstitute itself and spread again.'

Khan and a small group of business associates were the architects of the trading network, which coordinated the manufacture and shipment of nuclear components from as many as a dozen locations to Libya, North Korea, Iran and possibly other countries. Although the smuggling ring traded mostly in components for gas centrifuges -- complex machines used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons -- the network is also known to have supplied uranium and nuclear weapons blueprints to Libya.

The dramatic decision by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in December to renounce his pursuit of nuclear weapons brought the Khan network to light and provided investigators with clues that led to the discovery of suppliers and shipping routes, according to U.S. officials and documents.

In recent weeks, investigators for the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, have zeroed in on newly discovered suppliers as well as a handful of manufacturing centers described by investigators as workshops for centrifuge parts."
Yahoo! News - Militants Kill 10 in Saudi Arabia Complex KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia - Suspected Islamic militants sprayed gunfire inside two oil industry compounds on the Persian Gulf, killing at least 10 people — including one American — before taking at least 50 hostages at an expatriate residential complex.

Saudi security forces seeking to kill or capture the militants stormed the walled, waterfront Oasis complex, where a housing manager said 50 hostages were still being held including Americans, Italians and Arabs.

A police officer at the scene told The Associated Press that Saudi forces had surrounded the attackers on the sixth floor of a high-rise building inside the luxurious compound.

Saudi Arabia's scheme to export terrorism from their country seems to be backfiring.
Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11, by Thomas L. Friedman :
Excerpt from...
Longitudes and Attitudes
Exploring the World After September 11
Prologue: The Super-Story

"The cold war system was characterized by one overarching feature -- and that was division. That world was a divided-up, chopped-up place, and whether you were a country or a company, your threats and opportunities in the cold war system tended to grow out of who you were divided from. Appropriately, this cold war system was symbolized by a single word -- wall, the Berlin Wall.

The globalization system is different. It also has one overarching feature -- and that is integration. The world has become an increasingly interwoven place, and today, whether you are a company or a country, your threats and opportunities increasingly derive from who you are connected to. This globalization system is also characterized by a single word -- web, the World Wide Web. So in the broadest sense we have gone from an international system built around division and walls to a system increasingly built around integration and webs. In the cold war we reached for the hotline, which was a symbol that we were all divided but at least two people were in charge -- the leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union. In the globalization system we reach for the Internet, which is a symbol that we are all connected and nobody is quite in charge.

Everyone in the world is directly or indirectly affected by this new system, but not everyone benefits from it, not by a long shot, which is why the more it becomes diffused, the more it also produces a backlash by people who feel overwhelmed by it, homogenized by it, or unable to keep pace with its demands.

The other key difference between the cold way system and the globalization system is how power is structured within them. The cold war system was built primarily around nation-states. You acted on the world in that system through your state. The cold way was a drama of states confronting states, balancing states, and aligning with states. And, as a system, the cold war was balanced at the center by two superstates, two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union.

The globalization system, by contrast, is built around three balances, which overlap and affect one another. The first is the traditional balance of power between nation-states......

The second important power balance in the globalization system is between nation-states and global markets. These global markets are made up of millions of investors moving money around the world with the click of a mouse. I call them the Electronic Herd, and this herd gathers in key global financial centers -- such as Wall Street, Hong Kong, London, and Frankfurt -- which I call the Supermarkets. The attitudes and actions of the Electronic Herd and the Supermarkets can have a huge impact on nation-states today, even to the point of triggering the downfall of governments.........

The third balance that you have to pay attention to -- the one that is really the newest of all and the most relevant to the events of 9/11 -- is the balance between individuals and nation-states. Because globalization has brought down many of the walls that limited the movement and reach of people, and because it has simultaneously wired the world into networks, it gives more power to individuals to influence both markets and nation-states than at any other time in history. Whether by enabling people to use the Internet to communicate instantly at almost no cost over vast distances, or by enabling them to use the Web to transfer money or obtain weapons designs that normally would have been controlled by states, or by enabling them to go into a hardware store now and buy a five-hundred-dollar global positioning device, connected to a satellite, that can direct a hijacked airplane -- globalization can be an incredible force-multiplier for individuals. Individuals can increasingly act on the world stage directly, unmediated by a state.

So you have today not only a superpower, not only Supermarkets, but also what I call "super-empowered individuals." Some of these super-empowered individuals are quite angry, some of them quite wonderful -- but all of them are now able to act much more directly and much more powerfully on the world stage.

Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States in the late 1990s. After he organized the bombing of two American embassies in Africa, the U.S. Air Force retaliated with a cruise missile attack on his bases in Afghanistan as though he were another nation-state. Think about that: on one day in 1998, the United States fired 75 cruise missiles at bin Laden. The United States fired 75 cruise missiles, at $1 million apiece, at a person! That was the first battle in history between a superpower and a super-empowered angry man. September 11 was just the second such battle. "
The Australian: 'Terrorists' lead Sadr militia [May 29, 2004] : "Terrorists' lead Sadr militia
From correspondents in Najaf, Iraq
May 29, 2004

THE militia of radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is led by former loyalists of ousted president Saddam Hussein and 'terrorists', a spokesman for one of Iraq's main Shi'ite parties said today.

'The leadership of the Mehdi Army has been infiltrated by Baathists and terrorists and we have a list of their names,' Sheikh Qassem al-Hashimi, of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), told reporters.

'This group planned the assassination attempt against Sayed (honorific) Saddredin al-Kubbanji yesterday and it is the same group that killed Sayed Mohammed Baqer al-Hakim and Sayed Abdul Majid al-Khoei.'

Kubbanji, the Najaf-based representative of SCIRI, escaped unscathed an attempt on his life yesterday as he finished giving the weekly sermon at the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf.

Hakim, a founder of SCIRI and its former leader, was killed in a massive car bomb attack at the shrine in August while Khoei, a moderate and prominent cleric, was stabbed to death near the shrine in April 2003."

Friday, May 28, 2004

Reuters News Article Governing Body, U.S. Pick CIA Link Allawi as Iraqi PM:

"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iyad Allawi, a former member of Saddam Hussein's Baath party who then worked with the CIA to topple him, was chosen as prime minister of Iraq Friday.

Charged with taking over from the U.S. occupation authority on June 30 and leading his country to its first free elections next year, his nomination emerged from a unanimous consensus at a meeting of the 25 U.S. appointees on Iraq's Governing Council.

United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, whom Washington asked to help shape a new Iraqi government, welcomed the choice of the British-educated, Shi'ite neurologist through a spokesman.

It was unclear how far U.S. officials or Brahimi influenced the choice of a long-time exile known to few Iraqis and whom people in Baghdad said was an outsider they could not trust.

Brahimi and Iraq's U.S. governor Paul Bremer endorsed the nomination, Governing Council member Mahmoud Othman said: 'We had a meeting with Bremer and Brahimi and they both agreed and congratulated him and were happy about it,' Othman told Reuters.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said only that he was waiting to hear from Brahimi and made no mention of Allawi, who survived an assassination bid by Iraqi agents in London in 1978.

A secular Muslim from Iraq's long-oppressed majority Shi'ite community, Allawi will be joined on the 30-member team by Sunni Muslims, Kurds and representatives of Iraq's other minorities.

Brahimi is expected to announce a Sunni president, two vice presidents and 26 cabinet ministers over the next few days.

'Mr. Brahimi welcomes the decision to nominate Mr. Allawi,' said Brahimi's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi, adding that the two would meet soon to discuss candidates for remaining government posts."
Suicide U.: Iran registers volunteers for martyrdom -WorldTribune.comIran has established what could be the first training center for Islamic suicide attackers.

Iranian sources and media asserted that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has established a center to train suicide attackers throughout the world. The sources identified the center as the World Islamic Martyrs and Fighters Staff Headquarters.

The facility was said to have been established by the IRGC's intelligence service, responsible for the sponsorship and support of Islamic insurgency groups linked to Teheran. The groups have included Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

The existence of the center was first reported on May 26 by the state-operated Iranian Student News Agency, Middle East Newsline reported. On Friday, a similar version was published by the London-based daily A-Sharq Al Awsat in an article by Iranian analyst Ali Nouri Zadeh.

"This information is credible and its publication was approved by leading elements of the regime who want to send a message to the United States and its allies in the Middle East that Teheran would be ready to respond to any attack," an Iranian source said.

The training center has already produced a promotional video in which an IRGC intelligence officer detailed Iranian strategy to dominate Arab and Islamic countries through the support of insurgency groups. A-Sharq Al Awsat, which said it has received the video, reported that the officer also discussed the importance of Iranian control over Iraq, which he said contains 11 percent of world oil reserves.

A Western intelligence source said Iran has sought to establish a training center for suicide attackers. But the source could not determine whether the center was already operating.

A-Sharq Al Awsat quoted the officer, identified as as H.A., as urging suicide or missile strikes against the West. The officer said the United States and its Western allies have 29 sensitive facilities that have been targeted.

"We are monitoring these locations and know how to strike them," the officer said on the video.
Belmont Club: "It is a measure of how strange the world has become that Lt. Col. Robert R. Leonhard, U.S.A. (ret) writes in the Army Magazine about how situations similar to Wong's satirical scenario will become the rule rather than the exception (Hat tip, reader MIG). Col. Leonhard argues that Sun Tzu's maxim to fight in cities 'only when there is no alternative' is hopelessly outdated because there is nowhere else to fight.

We do not live in Sun Tzu?'s world, nor even in that of Clausewitz, Fuller or Liddell Hart. The modern world has urbanized to an unprecedented degree, and it is inconceivable that future military contingencies will not involve urban operations. Sun Tzu lived and wrote (if indeed he was a real person) in the agrarian age, when most of the land was either wilderness or cultivated. Large segments of the population lived outside cities, and warfare typically occurred in flat, open terrain. Such battlefields--the stomping grounds of warriors from Sun Tzu to Napoleon--are becoming scarcer each day. Furthermore, the very success of American joint operations--and joint fires in particular--guarantee that a clever opponent will move into cities for protection. The modern battlefield is urban.

Because such a battlefield is densely populated, modern operations will cease to become purely military in character, instead becoming complex politico-military-media problems. Leonhard maintains that a US military constituted around largely military functions lacks the dimensionality necessary to successfully fight in this new arena. The US military is laboring under the crippling disadvantage of having no dedicated method of dealing with charred teddy bears.

In addition to the familiar tactical issues described above, the urban warrior must deal with refugees, media, curfews, crowd control, municipal government, street gangs, schools, armed citizens, disease, mass casualties, police, cultural sites, billions of dollars of private property, infrastructure and religion, to name but a few factors. In this context, the brigade combat team that dominates the central corridor is woefully inadequate; likewise, the doctrine and force structure behind it.

I have previously tried to demonstrate ('Factors of Conflict in the Early 21st Century,' ARMY, January) that the operational level of war is becoming an anachronism because the idea of a theater military campaign is no longer relevant. Theater operations have become so intertwined with global considerations, and military factors have become so integrated with diplomatic, economic and cultural factors, that theater warfare is becoming indistinguishable from global grand strategy. In a similar manner, the challenge of urban operations will serve to redefine the tactical level of war.

The answer to the problem in his view is to break down the traditional walls between military operations and civilian governance. Wars will no longer be fought between armies. They will be fought between societies.

The interagency task force, rather than the joint force, must become the basis for future operations. With the elements of national power coalescing at the tactical level of war, a loose confederation of governmental agencies at the combatant commander level is simply insufficient. An honest look at our recent operations in Afghanistan would reveal a superb performance by our military and a half-hearted, poorly integrated participation by the rest of the U.S. government agencies. As a result, American foreign policy appears to be 90 percent military with a few economic and diplomatic add-ons. This is a recipe for disaster in future urban warfare. We need to graduate to the formation of the interagency task force.

The interagency task force would be built around a Marine expeditionary unit or an Army brigade, reinforced with joint fires. In addition, it would have active participation from the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Justice, the CIA, the FBI and (as needed) Agriculture, Health and Human Services, the Office of Economic Advisors and Labor. It would also have congressional liaison teams. At present, most of these agencies of the U.S. government lack a mission to assist in foreign policy, but this must change. The elements of national power--the integration of which is crucial to effective grand strategy--reside in these agencies. They must become players in war and peace."

Another great article by Wretchard of the Belmont club, in which he discusses a very interesting article in the Army Magazine, and describes how the old doctrine of "total war" is being superseded by a new unnamed doctrine, in which every aspect of society must be represented in each large military unit in order to win wars. What good is it to defeat the VC at Tet if the media portrays it as a defeat? What good is it to defeat an enemy and then have the people turn on you because they have no food, or civil stability, etc. Right now our military in Iraq is increasingly filling the roles that the CIA, FBI, police, hospitals, legislature, media, educational institutions etc. play in our own country. More resources and strategies are needed to dominate in all these arenas simultaneously. I think we are in the midst of a huge change in military strategy. I suppose it's a response to fourth generation warfare, and the extension of many things we are already doing, but the pressure of an actual war acts to speed up the process.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

IHT: Search: "WASHINGTON: William Safire The three factions controlling Iraq - long suspicious of one another - are now on the brink of open tribal warfare. Not the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds - I mean the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA.

The spark setting off this U.S. bureaucratic conflagration is the former Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi, a sophisticated, secular Shiite who organized resistance to the Sunni despot Saddam Hussein before it was popular.

Since 1996, the CIA has hated him with a passion. In that year, American spooks egged on Iraqi officers to overthrow Saddam. Chalabi claims to have warned that the plotters had been penetrated, and when the coup failed and a hundred heads rolled, he dared to blame the CIA for bloody ineptitude. This is at the root of his detestation by Tenet Co. and the agency's subsequent rejection of most Iraqi sources of intelligence offered by Chalabi's group.

Less personal is the State tribe's aversion. At Foggy Bottom, the State Department's headquarters, a policy of pre-emption and of regime change, urged by Chalabi, was always disdained. When Baghdad fell, Arabists at State were heavily influenced by the preference of Sunni leaders in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan for another Baathist Sunni strongman to be installed in Saddam's place for the sake of regional 'stability' - despite the wishes of Iraq's Shiite majority and Kurdish minority.

The Pentagon, as we know, had a quite different view of America's mission. The Defense Department wanted to set up a democratic Iraq to cut off the incubation of terror in the Middle East. It found much of Chalabi's information, as well as his contacts in potentially meddlesome Iran, to be useful; indeed, as recently as last week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Richard Myers, noted that intelligence supplied by him 'saved soldiers' lives.'

Into this internecine snicker-snack was injected Robert Blackwill, a tall academician-diplomat who is becoming a kind of Wilsonian Colonel House to President George W. Bush. His mission: Get America out as occupying power by the beginning of summer, and pass off the job of organizing the transition to elections to the UN envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi.

To accomplish this, Blackwill adopted a Lola policy: Whatever Brahimi wants, Brahimi gets.

The UN man, an Algerian who was a top official of the Arab League, wanted first to protect the Sunnis, the group that had profited most during Saddam's reign. To accommodate Brahimi, L. Paul Bremer 3rd was told to welcome more Baathists into power and U.S. military commanders were prevailed upon to back away from an attack on weapons-laden Falluja, heart of pro-Saddam insurgency.

Brahimi had another demand: Cut off Chalabi, who was not only complaining loudly about the end of de-Baathification, but had led the Governing Council to hire an accounting firm and lawyers to investigate the United Nations' complicity in the $5 billion oil-for-food kickback ripoff. On orders, Bremer shut down the Iraqi attempt to recover the stolen money. Accountants were hired who were more amenable to the United Nations.

Bremer then went all the way. He permitted Iraqi police to break into and trash Chalabi's political headquarters as well as his home, carting off computers and files, America's way of thanking him for helping craft Iraqi constitutional protections. Gleeful CIA operatives who accompanied the raid spread rumors that the troublesome Iraqi was a spy for Iran and a blackmailer of recipients of oil largess. True? Who knows? But his shattered picture made the cover of Newsweek, savagely labeled 'our con man in Iraq.'"
U.S. Newswire - Environmental Factors Key in Developing Children's Intelligence; New Research Shows How Parents Can Improve the Odds for Higher IQ: "WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A child's IQ is shaped long before he/she enters elementary school and is affected more by environmental factors than previously thought, says a new book, which offers advice to parents for improving their children's IQ

Maximizing Intelligence, written by David J. Armor, an education expert and public policy professor at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, says that intelligence is influenced by a series of factors, and that parents have more impact on a child's developing intelligence than anyone -- or anything -- else.

'Parents have more impact on their child's IQ than any other persons or institutions, including schools,' Armor said. 'The impact is greatest in infancy and early childhood, much less after ages eight or nine. To maximize this impact, parents have to do certain things, even things before their child is conceived.'

The 'to do' list for parents to maximize a child's IQ includes:

1. Finish high school and go as far in school as you can.

2. Wait until you're at least in your 20s to have a child.

3. Get married before having a child and make sure that both parents are involved in raising the child.

4. Limit your family to two children, especially if you have a lower income.

5. Try to have a good income before starting a family.

The second list, after conception, includes:

1. Get good nutrition and prenatal health care to avoid low-weight birth.

2. Breast feed your child -- very important! This ensures essential nutrients for brain growth.

3. Spend as much time as possible instructing your child -- starting as early as possible -- in reading, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. Expose your child to as many experiences outside the home as possible.

4. Nurture your child with love, affection and respect; avoid excessive physical discipline.

The 'nature versus nurture' controversy dates back to at least the 19th century. As students prepare to return to school, and at a time when the public school system in the United States is under attack, this debate has taken center stage in arguments about what accounts for differences in academic achievement. Maximizing Intelligence convincingly argues that, while both genetics and environment play a role in a child's intelligence, environmental factors, especially at an early age, are of primary importance. Working from this premise, Armor shows how intelligence may be heightened."
My Way - News: "Senor said the U.S. military decided to redeploy its troops around Najaf after moderate Shi'ite clerics stepped forward to try to end the fighting and prodded radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to take steps such as withdrawing his militiamen from the city.

The young firebrand cleric made his commitments in a letter to Shi'ite leaders who had approached him in a bid to end the fighting in Najaf, Senor said.

'The coalition did not participate in the negotiation of the text of this letter but was kept aware of its progress,' said Senor.

'We are hopeful that Moqtada al-Sadr will live up to the commitments he made in his letter. If Moqtada al-Sadr does in fact live up to the commitments he made to the Shi'a house, we will play our part.'"

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

WorldNetDaily: Sustainable oil?: "Currently there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 680 billion barrels of Middle East reserve oil.

Creating that much oil would take a big pile of dead dinosaurs and fermenting prehistoric plants. Could there be another source for crude oil?

An intriguing theory now permeating oil company research staffs suggests that crude oil may actually be a natural inorganic product, not a stepchild of unfathomable time and organic degradation. The theory suggests there may be huge, yet-to-be-discovered reserves of oil at depths that dwarf current world estimates.

The theory is simple: Crude oil forms as a natural inorganic process which occurs between the mantle and the crust, somewhere between 5 and 20 miles deep. In his 1999 book, "The Deep Hot Biosphere," Dr. Gold presents compelling evidence for inorganic oil formation. He notes that geologic structures where oil is found all correspond to "deep earth" formations, not the haphazard depositions we find with sedimentary rock, associated fossils or even current surface life.

He also notes that oil extracted from varying depths from the same oil field have the same chemistry – oil chemistry does not vary as fossils vary with increasing depth. Also interesting is the fact that oil is found in huge quantities among geographic formations where assays of prehistoric life are not sufficient to produce the existing reservoirs of oil. Where then did it come from?

Another interesting fact is that every oil field throughout the world has outgassing helium. Helium is so often present in oil fields that helium detectors are used as oil-prospecting tools. Helium is an inert gas known to be a fundamental product of the radiological decay or uranium and thorium, identified in quantity at great depths below the surface of the earth, 200 and more miles below. It is not found in meaningful quantities in areas that are not producing methane, oil or natural gas. It is not a member of the dozen or so common elements associated with life. It is found throughout the solar system as a thoroughly inorganic product.

Even more intriguing is evidence that several oil reservoirs around the globe are refilling themselves, such as the Eugene Island reservoir – not from the sides, as would be expected from cocurrent organic reservoirs, but from the bottom up.

Dr. Gold strongly believes that oil is a "renewable, primordial soup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attached by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs." " Fallujah Emerging As Islamic Mini-State :

"FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - With U.S. Marines gone and central government authority virtually nonexistent, Fallujah resembles an Islamic mini-state _ anyone caught selling alcohol is flogged and paraded in the city. Men are encouraged to grow beards and barbers are warned against giving 'Western' hair cuts.

'After all the blood that was shed, and the lives that were lost, we shall only accept God's law in Fallujah,' said cleric Abdul-Qader al-Aloussi, offering a glimpse of what a future Iraq may look like as the U.S.-led occupation draws to a close. 'We must capitalize on our victory over the Americans and implement Islamic sharia laws.'

The departure of the Marines under an agreement that ended the three-week siege last month has enabled hard-line Islamic leaders to assert their power in this once-restive city 30 miles west of Baghdad.

Some were active in defending the city against the Marines and have profited by a perception _ both here and elsewhere in Iraq _ that the mujahedeen, or Islamic holy warriors, defeated a superpower.

Under the agreement, the Marines handed security in the city to a new Fallujah Brigade made up largely of local residents and commanded by officers of Saddam Hussein's former army.

With the departure of the Marines, the position of the U.S.-appointed civil administration has been weakened in favor of the clerics and the mujahedeen who resisted the U.S. occupation. That is a pattern that could be repeated elsewhere in Iraq after the occupation ends June 30, unless other legitimate leaders come forward to replace those tainted by association with the occupation."
Strategic Forecasting, Inc. Improvements in Western Intelligence :

"Taken together, the recent incidents indicate the United States and its allies are armed with increasingly actionable intelligence from their sources in the Middle East, Pakistan and elsewhere. Although al Qaeda might remain, in the intelligence community's words, a 'ghost' or an elusive hydra, the community's failures prior to the Sept. 11 attacks no longer can justify ongoing complacency toward its warnings about the risks of attacks. The government alerts also cannot be dismissed merely as attempts to elicit 'chatter' or otherwise improve officials' view into the threat from radical Islam.

These events indicate that at least some parts of the U.S. counterterrorism community have reached a crucial milestone in their operational and analytical capabilities -- which aids their ability to predict al Qaeda's next moves and other emerging threats. It is in light of this assessment that threats issued specifically against the domestic United States, in addition to Western assets overseas, could be viewed as credible. "
U.S. Warns Of Al Qaeda Threat This Summer ( : "In April, an FBI bulletin to law enforcement agencies warned of possible truck bombs. A source familiar with the government's threat discussions said yesterday that truck bombs are a primary concern.

'I'm more worried than I was at Christmastime,' said one senior U.S. intelligence official, comparing the 'election threat' to the canceling of specific airline flights around the holidays. He said the U.S. government is convinced there are as yet unidentified al Qaeda operatives residing in the United States, waiting for the word to launch plots.

'They are here, and there are indications they are preparing' attacks, said the official, whom government policy bars from being named.

Another FBI bulletin, issued last week, urged law enforcement officials to be on the alert for possible suicide bombers. Officials were urged to take note of people dressed in bulky jackets in warm weather, clothing smelling of chemicals or trailing electrical wires, and they warned that potential bombers may be dressed in uniform or even disguised as pregnant women.

Within the past three weeks, members of the House and Senate intelligence committees have received briefings from the CIA and the FBI on what the CIA counterterrorism center has termed the 'election threat.' The members have asked the agencies for more specific, follow-up briefings, including an assessment of al Qaeda's presence in the United States, congressional sources said.

One counterterrorism official said al Qaeda still aims to carry off an attack that would kill large numbers of people, and is aiming at modes of transportation such as airlines and ships. Anything less than a spectacular attack, such as a suicide bombing, would appear weak to al Qaeda's financiers, according to the counterterrorism official.

President Bush has said two-thirds of al Qaeda's pre-Sept. 11, 2001, leadership has been killed or captured. But CIA Director George J. Tenet has said many established terrorist groups that previously did not work together are making a concerted effort to undermine the United States."
News Afghanistan, the war the world forgot : "Three years after the overthrow of the Taliban and George Bush's declaration of victory in the first conflict in the war on terror, Afghanistan is a nation on the edge of anarchy.

A devastating indictment of the Allies' failure to help reconstruct the country in the wake of the 2001 conflict is to be delivered in a parliamentary report.

The Independent has learnt that an all-party group of MPs from the Foreign Affairs Committee has returned from a visit to the country shocked and alarmed by what they witnessed. They warn that urgent action must be taken to save Afghanistan from plunging further into chaos because of Western neglect.

As President Bush and Tony Blair unveil their plans today for the future of Iraq through the draft of a new United Nations resolution, the MPs warn that the mistakes of Afghanistan could be repeated with similar tragic consequences in Iraq."
News UN troops buy sex from teenage refugees in Congo camp: "Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering.

The Independent has found that mothers as young as 13 - the victims of multiple rape by militiamen - can only secure enough food to survive in the sprawling refugee camp by routinely sleeping with UN peace-keepers.

Testimony from girls and aid workers in the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Bunia, in the north-east corner of Congo, claims that every night teenage girls crawl through a wire fence to an adjoining UN compound to sell their bodies to Moroccan and Uruguayan soldiers.

The trade, which according to one victim results in a banana or a cake to feed to her infant son, is taking place despite a pledge by the UN to adopt a 'zero tolerance' attitude to cases of sexual misconduct by those representing the organisation."

Stories like this are so common. I don't know why people persist in making the UN out to be morally superior to anyone else. There are people who believe any war is wrong unless the UN declares it. Well, any war the US wages at least. But why? The UN represents a circle of tyrants and failed states, who put on suits and pretend to be statesmen. And our media and politicians are stupid enough to fall for it. I hate the UN.
Don't give Iraqis self-rule all at once: "Here's a story no American news organization thought worth covering last week, so you'll just have to take it from me. In the southern Iraqi town of Amara, 20 men from Scotland's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders came under attack from 100 or so of Muqtada al-Sadr's ''insurgents.'' So they fixed bayonets and charged.

It was the first British bayonet charge since the Falklands War 20 years ago. And at the end of it some 35 of the enemy were dead in return for three minor wounds on the Argylls' side.

If you're used to smart bombs, unmanned drones and doing it all by computer back at HQ, you're probably wondering why a modern Western army is still running around with bayonets at the end of their rifles. The answer is that it's a very basic form of psychological warfare.From Baghdad press conferences to Colin Powell, too much of the tone is half-hearted and implicitly apologetic: On bad days, the president himself is beginning to sound like an unmanned drone. The coalition needs to regain the offensive, to demonstrate not just weary stoicism but fierce will -- the same will those Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders showed. Bush has to be bold and imaginative, and to end the impression that he, his administration and America itself are mere hostages to events.

How do you do it? Many commentators are now calling for faster elections in Iraq. I'd prefer to go for ''asymmetrical federalism,'' which is a Canadian term, but don't let that put you off. What it means is that the province of Quebec has certain powers -- its own immigration policy, for example -- that the province of Ontario doesn't. Something of the sort is already happening on the ground in Iraq. There are some 8,000 towns and villages in the country. How many do you hear about on the news? For a week, it's all Fallujah all the time. Then it's Najaf, and nada for anywhere else. Currently, 90 percent of Iraqi coverage is about one lousy building: Abu Ghraib. So what's going on in the other 7,997 dots on the map? In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar's history and ''in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.'' That assessment is from the anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian, by the way.

That policy of ad hoc, incremental, rolling devolution needs to be accelerated. Towns and provinces should have as much sovereignty as they can handle, on the obvious principle that the constituent parts of ramshackle federations rarely progress at the same pace. "
The uneasy loyalties of a Muslim soldier Mirza Mahmood Ahmad of Great Falls, Va., recalls his uneasy feelings about his son’s deployment to Iraq in January, though he is proud of the young man’s service in the Virginia National Guard.

“I said, ‘Bashir, you want to go? There is no confusion in your mind? You are a Muslim. You may have to fight against other Muslims.’ ”

His son was annoyed by the question, Mr. Ahmad says.

“He said, ‘First of all, I’m a medic. I won’t be fighting. Second,’ he said, ‘I can’t back out’ — because of his loyalty to his fellow soldiers,” says Mr. Ahmad, 47, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen who owns his own international wireless company. ...

Mr. Ahmad says he must defend his son’s presence in Iraq to some at his mosque who question how a Muslim can go to an Islamic country and fight against members of his own religion.

“I have had to explain why Bashir is doing this,” he says. “He’s an extremely smart kid. People like Bashir should be in the Army. I think he’s making a major contribution.”

His son — Pfc. Mirza Bashir Ahmad, 21, a political science student at Radford University — serves as a Virginia National Guard medic with the 276th Engineer Battalion out of Richmond.

In an e-mail from Iraq, Pfc. Ahmad said American Muslim soldiers in Iraq must walk a fine line to maintain the trust of their comrades while not offending other Muslims.

“Sometimes ... I get the feeling I am being watched with an evil eye” by other soldiers, Pfc. Ahmad wrote.

“I do often feel like I am viewed with suspicion, but that is always from soldiers who don’t know me,” he said. “There are always jokes about me helping the terrorists and being a spy, but I shrug it off as humor in bad taste at the wrong time.”

Pfc. Ahmad said other soldiers in his unit look to him for leadership in situations with Muslims that require diplomacy.

“People often come to me as an authoritative figure on the politics, religion and culture of the region, and if there requires ... a representative to talk to locals, I will be asked to do so because ... I may be more welcomed,” he said.

Mr. Ahmad immigrated to the United States in 1977 and belongs to a Muslim minority that interprets the Koran — and specifically the idea of jihad, or holy war — differently from many other Muslims.

“We are not against jihad,” he says. “The ignorant majority of Muslims have a wrong interpretation of jihad, which is to fight against non-Muslims. The true interpretation is that any struggle for good — it could be against yourself — is jihad.”

Mr. Ahmad’s brother, a George Mason University graduate and computer expert, was assassinated by Islamic extremists in Pakistan in 1999 because of his views.

Mr. Ahmad does not think his family’s situation is particularly noteworthy, he says, and asked not to be photographed. “It’s unusual for us, a first-generation American family, in a very awkward time. [September 11] has changed a lot of things.”
Jihad’s Unlikely Alliance MADRID — The odd crew of longtime extremists and radicalized gangsters accused of carrying out the March train bombings here nourished their holy war with holy water.

And hashish.

The water came from Mecca, the Muslim holy city in Saudi Arabia. The conspirators drank it during purification rituals at a barbershop that was an after-hours prayer hall for adherents of Takfir wal Hijra, a secretive Islamic sect allegedly active in the criminal underworld of Europe and North Africa.

The hashish came from Morocco, European investigators believe. The ideologues of the terrorist cell justified selling drugs as a weapon of jihad. The Moroccan dealer who financed the plot traded a load of hashish for the dynamite that slaughtered 191 people aboard commuter trains on March 11. The drug trafficker led the cell along with a Tunisian economics student, a duo whose disparity reflects the evolving nature of Islamic terrorism. Both blew themselves up after a standoff with Spanish police last month.

As investigators analyze the Madrid bombings and try to prevent new attacks, they are intrigued by the importance of the drug connection. The predominantly Moroccan cell came together with remarkable speed, teaming a drug gang with students and shopkeepers and raising the specter of “narco-terrorism,” a phenomenon more commonly associated with such nations as Colombia. It also offers a textbook example of the potentially explosive combination of Islamic extremism and organized criminal networks.

“It worries us very much,” a Spanish police commander said. “Until now, Islamic terrorism and drugs were two separate areas. Now you are not sure where to look. You are not sure whom you are dealing with. I don’t know of any previous cases like this in the West.”

Madrid’s hidden jihad reflects a wider effort by Islamic networks in Europe and North Africa to tap the violent energy of criminal networks of diverse ethnicities and specialties, anti-terrorism officials say.

In Italy, a member of the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia, converted to Islam and recently set up an exchange of arms for drugs between the Camorra and Islamic terrorists, an Italian prosecutor said.

In the prisons of Belgium and neighboring countries, recruitment by Islamic groups has accelerated during the worldwide terrorism offensive stoked by the war in Iraq, said Belgian police anti-terrorism commander Alain Grignard.

“The intermingling of terrorist networks with the criminal milieu is becoming more and more important,” said Grignard, an expert on Islam. “It’s in prisons where political operatives recruit specialists whom they need to run their networks — specialists in fraudulent documents, arms trafficking, etc. They use concepts that justify crime, that transform it into redemption.... The prisons of today are producing the terrorists of tomorrow.”

As seen in Little Green Footballs

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Yahoo! News - Qaeda Has 18,000 Militants for Raids - Think Tank :

"LONDON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda has more than 18,000 militants ready to strike and the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq (news - web sites) has accelerated recruitment to the ranks of Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s network, a leading London think-tank said on Tuesday.

Al Qaeda's finances were in good order, its 'middle managers' provided expertise to Islamic militants around the globe and bin Laden's drawing power was as strong as ever, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.

It warned in its annual Strategic Survey that al Qaeda would keep trying to develop plans for attacks in North America and Europe and that the network ideally wanted to use weapons of mass destruction.

'Meanwhile, soft targets encompassing Americans, Europeans and Israelis, and aiding the insurgency in Iraq, will do,' the institute said.

'Galvanized by Iraq if compromised by Afghanistan (news - web sites), al Qaeda remains a viable and effective network of networks,' it said.

The IISS said al Qaeda lost its base after the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001 but had since adapted to become more decentralized, 'virtual' and invisible in more than 60 countries.

'The Afghanistan intervention offensively hobbled but defensively benefited al Qaeda,' it said.

The institute said 2,000 al Qaeda members and more than half of the group's 30 leaders had been killed or captured.

The IISS said the 1,000 al Qaeda militants estimated to be in Iraq were a minute fraction of its potential strength.

'A rump leadership is still intact and over 18,000 potential terrorists are at large with recruitment accelerating on account of Iraq,' the IISS said. It gave no source for the figure.

Purported video and audio tapes by bin Laden have appeared from time to time despite a U.S.-led manhunt since the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington to capture him 'dead or alive.'

'Bin Laden's charisma, presumed survival and elusiveness enhance (al Qaeda's) iconic drawing power,' the IISS said.

It said al Qaeda was reported to be exporting extremism on a global scale with 'middle managers' providing planning, logistical advice, material and financing to smaller groups in Saudi Arabia and Morocco and probably Indonesia and Kenya.

The IISS said the Madrid train bombings in March suggested al Qaeda had now fully reconstituted and had set its sights firmly on the United States and its closest allies in Europe."
US intelligence fears Iran duped hawks into Iraq war

An urgent investigation has been launched in Washington into whether Iran played a role in manipulating the US into the Iraq war by passing on bogus intelligence through Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, it emerged yesterday.

Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbour, and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq.

According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions.

The CIA has asked the FBI to investigate Mr Chalabi's contacts in the Pentagon to discover how the INC acquired sensitive information that ended up in Iranian hands.

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

Larry Johnson, a former senior counter-terrorist official at the state department, said: "When the story ultimately comes out we'll see that Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in history. They persuaded the US and Britain to dispose of its greatest enemy."

Mr Chalabi has vehemently rejected the allegations as "a lie, a fib and silly". He accused the CIA director, George Tenet, of a smear campaign against himself and Mr Habib.

However, it is clear that the CIA - at loggerheads with Mr Chalabi for more than eight years - believes it has caught him red-handed, and is sticking to its allegations.

"The suggestion that Chalabi is a victim of a smear campaign is outrageous," a US intelligence official said. "It's utter nonsense. He passed very sensitive and classified information to the Iranians. We have rock solid information that he did that."

Saturday, May 22, 2004

The Biloxi Sun Herald BAGHDAD, Iraq - I am a soldier with the 16th Engineering Battalion of the 1st Armored Division. Our unit is presently in combat against the uprising of Muqtada al-Sadr......

Our leaders acted with caution and care to secure ever-stronger cards against Sadr while working to achieve four main goals. The first goal was to isolate Sadr. Second was to exile him from his power base in Baghdad. Third was to contain his uprising. And the last was to get his hard-line supporters to abandon him and to encourage moderates to break from him.

This has been done brilliantly. Sadr is losing everything. Consider just some of the goals we've accomplished recently:

• Goal One: Sadr's so-called Mahdi Army militia now is fighting alone. The people of Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf are not supporting him. His forces are isolated.

• Goal Two: His one-time powerbase, Sadr City in Baghdad, has been lost. Sadr has been exiled. We have him on the run. Other Shia leaders are breaking from him. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has left Sadr's call for jihad and uprising to founder on deaf ears. Paul Bremmer and Gen. John Abizaid stunned the Shia community by negotiating a calm in Fallujah. That tail-spinned Sadr's ability to intimidate Iraq's Shia leaders. The Iraqi people of Najaf and Karbala are offended by this Baghdad thug coming to their cities and trying to hijack them into conflict with the United States.

• Goal Three: Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia are insulting the most sacred sites of Shia Islam daily. This is offending Iraq's Shia leaders very much. Our units, in fact, are operating within 500 meters of the most sacred Shia religious sites, and the local people are not resisting. This is what the pessimists at home are preventing you from understanding. Something like this would have been impossible before Sadr and his militia thugs went into there to hijack Iraqi Shia Islam. The people of Najaf and Karbala know we are not there to conquer and occupy the religious sites; we are there to liberate them from this would-be tyrant.

• Goal four: Now Sadr's patrons and mentor in Iran are breaking from him. Grand Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri in Qom, Iran, is no longer backing him. Haeri was a close intimate to Sadr's respectable father. Sadr has been abandoned.

I'm not blind to the casualties this is causing us. My battalion should be home reunited with family and friends after serving a full year here. Instead, we are still here where the temperature is reaching 115-125 degrees. And some of my fellow soldiers have fallen.

U.S. soldiers are working their hardest. Be strong and persistent in your faith with us. Sadr's militia is desperate, so it is dangerous, but keep this in perspective.

The pessimists would have you believe this is a disaster. Don't listen. I think some of them believe their reputations require our failure because they have been so negative. Eliminating Sadr's threat is part of the mission. We are further ensuring the liberation of the Iraqi people. This has to be done, and we are doing it.
Telegraph | News | Billion-dollar timebomb puts Chalabi at risk

Ahmad Chalabi is in possession of 'miles' of documents with the potential to expose politicians, corporations and the United Nations as having connived in a system of kickbacks and false pricing worth billions of pounds.

That may have been enough to provoke yesterday's American raid. So explosive are the contents of the files that their publication would cause serious problems for US allies and friendly states around the globe.

Late last year and several months before Paul Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority became involved, Mr Chalabi had amassed enough information concerning corruption in the oil-for-food scandal to realise that he was sitting on explosive material.

It was information that would lead to the publication in a Baghdad newspaper in January of a list of 270 businessmen, politicians and corporations, of whom many were alleged to have received money in the form of kickbacks from Saddam's regime.

The list published in the newspaper al-Mada included British, Russian and French politicians, among them Benon Savan, who ran the UN's oil-for-food programme.

'The Iraqi regime, like all dictatorships, kept meticulous records with countless cross-references,' said a source close to Mr Chalabi.

'The UN's oil-for food programme provided Saddam Hussein and his corrupt and evil regime with a convenient vehicle through which he bought support internationally by bribing political parties, companies, journalists and other individuals of influence,' said Claude Hankes-Drielsma, a British strategy consultant who was hired by Mr Chalabi."
New York Post Online Edition: postopinion KILL FASTER! That propaganda is increasingly, viciously, mindlessly anti-American. When our forces engage in tactical combat, dishonest media reporting immediately creates drag on the chain of command all the way up to the president.

Real atrocities aren't required. Everything American soldiers do is portrayed as an atrocity. World opinion is outraged, no matter how judiciously we fight.

With each passing day — sometimes with each hour — the pressure builds on our government to halt combat operations, to offer the enemy a pause, to negotiate . . . in essence, to give up.

We saw it in Fallujah, where slow-paced tactical success led only to cease-fires that comforted the enemy and gave the global media time to pound us even harder. Those cease-fires were worrisomely reminiscent of the bombing halts during the Vietnam War — except that everything happens faster now.

Even in Operation Desert Storm, the effect of images trumped reality and purpose. The exaggerated carnage of the "highway of death" north from Kuwait City led us to stop the war before we had sufficiently punished the truly guilty — Saddam's Republican Guard and the regime's leadership. We're still paying for that mistake.

In Fallujah, we allowed a bonanza of hundreds of terrorists and insurgents to escape us — despite promising that we would bring them to justice. We stopped because we were worried about what already hostile populations might think of us.

The global media disrupted the U.S. and Coalition chains of command. Foreign media reporting even sparked bureaucratic infighting within our own government.

The result was a disintegraton of our will — first from decisive commitment to worsening hestitation, then to a "compromise" that returned Sunni-Arab Ba'athist officers to power. That deal not only horrifed Iraq's Kurds and Shi'a Arabs, it inspired expanded attacks by Muqtada al-Sadr's Shi'a thugs hoping to rival the success of the Sunni-Arab murderers in Fallujah.

We could have won militarily. Instead, we surrendered politically and called it a success. Our enemies won the information war. We literally didn't know what hit us.

The implication for tactical combat — war at the bayonet level — is clear: We must direct our doctrine, training, equipment, organization and plans toward winning low-level fights much faster. Before the global media can do what enemy forces cannot do and stop us short. We can still win the big campaigns. But we're apt to lose thereafter, in the dirty end-game fights.

We have to speed the kill.

For two decades, our military has concentrated on deploying forces swiftly around the world, as well as on fighting fast-paced conventional wars — with the positive results we saw during Operation Iraqi Freedom. But at the infantry level, we've lagged behind — despite the unrivaled quality of our troops.

We've concentrated on critical soldier skills, but ignored the emerging requirements of battle. We've worked on almost everything except accelerating urban combat — because increasing the pace is dangerous and very hard to do.

Now we have no choice. We must learn to strike much faster at the ground-truth level, to accomplish the tough tactical missions at speeds an order of magnitude faster than in past conflicts. If we can't win the Fallujahs of the future swiftly, we will lose them.

Friday, May 21, 2004
U.S. military sources said senior commanders have been concerned over the failure or refusal by several militaries in the coalition to fight Shi'ite insurgents in central and southern Iraq.

The sources said these non-U.S. coalition forces have demonstrated an unwillingness to sustain casualties in battles with the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army.

"The message relayed to some of these forces – by both commanders and political leaders – is that there's no sense in getting hurt or killed in Iraq," a U.S. military source said. On May 16, Italian troops withdrew from their base in the southern city of Nasseriya after the outpost was attacked by Mahdi Army combatants, Middle East Newsline reported.

An Italian soldier was killed and 16 others were injured before the Italian commander ordered his troops to evacuate Nasseriya and redeploy in an air force base in Talil about 10 kilometers away.

The U.S. sources said the Italian force demonstrated little resistance in face of the Mahdi Army attack. They said the Italian soldiers, led by their commander, sought to flee after the first casualty.

"Most of these allies contributed forces to Iraq because of the generous U.S. aid package that was promised them, rather than any belief in the mission."

The result has been that with the exception of Britain, the contribution of coalition forces has not helped the U.S.-led effort to quell the Sunni and Shi'ite insurgencies in Iraq. The United States intends to increase troop deployment by 20,000 soldiers in Iraq over the next few months, including a brigade that will come from units deployed in Japan and South Korea.......

Privately, however, U.S. military sources said the combat performance of Italy and other coalition partners has reflected policy set by their governments in an effort to avoid casualties as well as friction with Shi'ite insurgents. The sources cited an appeal by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini for U.S. military commanders to avoid direct attacks on such Shi'ite cities as Karbala and Najaf.

The U.S. military has detected deteriorating morale and capabilities in virtually all of the non-U.S. forces in Iraq, the sources said. They said that some allies such as Czech, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea have hardly fought in Iraq. Ukrainian troops were said to have fled the battle in central Iraq.

One exception has been the Polish unit, which demonstrated excellent defensive capabilities. But the Polish forces were said to have performed poorly in offensive missions.

The most effective forces apart from the United States have been those from Britain. Britain has deployed nearly 30,000 troops, the second largest in Iraq.

On May 15, British troops killed 16 Mahdi Army combatants during a clash between Basra and Amara. The fighting began when a British patrol encountered an ambush.
Press can't let abuse story go - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - May 21, 2004: "Press can't let abuse story go
By Jennifer Harper

Accounts and graphic photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse persist in the press despite the fact that the story has run its course.
The world already knows salient details of the prisoner humiliation and nudity, the causes of the abuse are under official investigation, and the courts-martial have begun. Yet, the caterwaul in the press against the American military and the war in Iraq continue.
'U.S. faces growing fear of failure,' noted one recent Washington Post headline.....
Positive human-interest accounts about the armed forces are rare. The press tends to ignore battlefield vignettes from military news services, which could offer an expanded perspective to the public.
For example, 30 U.S. airmen and soldiers delivered school supplies and toys — gifts from American children — to an Iraqi village on Monday. Yesterday, Air Force medical teams airlifted a critically ill Iraqi infant and her mother to an Ohio hospital for treatment.
The news focus is elsewhere......
Tim Graham of the Media Research Center (MRC) noted yesterday that the "gay marriage story" overtook the prisoner abuse story in the press, but only for a day.
"This abuse story is just not going away. It's still the first topic on most network news," Mr. Graham said. "And there's strong focus on the court-martials, on the bad apples — it's as if those troops represent the military at large, as far as the media is concerned. That is very discouraging."
The center has been following "the bias problem" among broadcasters who use the abuse story to build a case against the war in Iraq and the Bush administration. As a sample, the group tracked abuse stories from April 29 through May 11 on NBC and found that the network aired 58 stories on the abuse in that period.
The MRC also found, however, that in the past year, NBC had aired only five stories on mass graves found in Iraq from the Saddam Hussein era.

CBS News | America's 'Best Friend' A Spy? | May 21, 2004 07:56:51: "(CBS/AP) Senior U.S. officials have told 60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl that they have evidence Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi has been passing highly-classified U.S. intelligence to Iran.

The evidence shows that Chalabi - who was once seen as the man likely to lead Iraq by White House and Pentagon officials - personally gave Iranian intelligence officers information so sensitive that if revealed it could, quote, 'get Americans killed.' The evidence is said to be 'rock solid.'

Sources have told Stahl a high-level investigation is under way into who in the U.S. government gave Chalabi such sensitive information in the first place. "

Thursday, May 20, 2004

My Way News: "Both the United States and Iraqis must shoulder the burden of stopping violence and shifting to democracy, he told them.

'The United States will lead, or the world will shift into neutral,' Bush said. The line drew nods of approval from his listeners.

Several lawmakers said Bush reiterated his determination to stick to a June 30 transfer date.

'He talked about 'time to take the training wheels off,'' said Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio. 'The Iraqi people have been in training, and now it's time for them to take the bike and go forward.'

Journalists were barred from the session. She and other lawmakers spoke afterward.

Bush took no questions from the lawmakers, and Sen. George Allen, R-Va., said there was no dissent in the room.

Bush was interrupted by applause 'probably dozens of times, and several standing ovations,' Allen said.

Several GOP lawmakers who attended the meeting said Bush told his audience to brace for more violence after June 30 and predicted insurgents would try to disrupt subsequent elections.

Lord Robertson, the recently retired NATO secretary general, said in an interview with The Associated Press that he believes the U.S.-led coalition will need more troops after June 30 than the 135,000 there now."
Yahoo! News - Chalabi severs ties with US-led authority in Iraq : "Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmed Chalabi said his relations with the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority were 'non-existent' after an overnight raid against his house.

'My relationship with the CPA now is non-existent ...' he told reporters after claiming a firefight had narrowly been avoided between his guards and US-backed Iraqi police during the raid.

'I am America's best friend in Iraq; if the CPA finds it necessary to direct an armed attack against my home you can see the state of relations between the CPA and the Iraqi people.'

The former Pentagon (news - web sites) favourite also called on US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqi people without delay.

'My message to the CPA is let my people go, let my people be free. We are grateful to President Bush for liberating Iraq (news - web sites) but it is time for the Iraqi people to run their affairs,' he told a press conference."

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

IHT: Search The awful news CNN had to keep to itself
Iraqis' torment
By Eason Jordan
: "I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam.

An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth. Henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us.

Last December, when I told Information Minister Mohammed Said Sahhaf that we intended to send reporters to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, he warned me they would 'suffer the severest possible consequences.'

CNN went ahead, and in March, Kurdish officials presented us with evidence that they had thwarted an armed attack on our quarters in Arbil. This included videotaped confessions of two men identifying themselves as Iraqi intelligence agents who said their bosses in Baghdad told them the hotel actually housed CIA and Israeli agents. The Kurds offered to let us interview the suspects on camera, but we refused, for fear of endangering our staff in Baghdad.

Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for 'crimes' including speaking with CNN on the phone.

They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull, ripped out her brains and put them in a jar, and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family's home.

I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely.I came to know several Iraqi officials well enough that they confided in me that Saddam was a maniac who had to be removed. One Foreign Ministry officer told me of a colleague who, finding out his brother had been executed by the regime, was forced, as a test of loyalty, to write a letter of congratulations on the act to Saddam.

An aide to Uday once told me why he had no front teeth. Henchmen had ripped them out with pliers and told him never to wear dentures, so he would always remember the price to be paid for upsetting his boss. Again, we could not broadcast anything these men said to us.

Last December, when I told Information Minister Mohammed Said Sahhaf that we intended to send reporters to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, he warned me they would "suffer the severest possible consequences."

CNN went ahead, and in March, Kurdish officials presented us with evidence that they had thwarted an armed attack on our quarters in Arbil. This included videotaped confessions of two men identifying themselves as Iraqi intelligence agents who said their bosses in Baghdad told them the hotel actually housed CIA and Israeli agents. The Kurds offered to let us interview the suspects on camera, but we refused, for fear of endangering our staff in Baghdad.

Then there were the events that were not unreported but that nonetheless still haunt me. A 31-year-old Kuwaiti woman, Asrar Qabandi, was captured by Iraqi secret police occupying her country in 1990 for "crimes" including speaking with CNN on the phone.

They beat her daily for two months, forcing her father to watch. In January 1991, on the eve of the American-led offensive, they smashed her skull, ripped out her brains and put them in a jar, and tore her body apart limb by limb. A plastic bag containing her body parts was left on the doorstep of her family's home.

I felt awful having these stories bottled up inside me. Now that Saddam's regime is gone, I suspect we will hear many, many more gut-wrenching tales from Iraqis about the decades of torment. At last, these stories can be told freely."Not "new" news, but in keeping with the "media war" idea. Maybe the U.S. should hire Al-Sahaf AKA "Baghdad Bob" to be our media rep. I'm sure his price isn't too high, and that guy's awesome!
BBC NEWS | UK | Soldier arrested over hoax photos : "Soldier arrested over hoax photos
The Daily Mirror published photos allegedly showing prisoner abuse
At least one soldier has been arrested in connection with faked Iraqi torture pictures published in the Daily Mirror, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The soldier is being questioned by the Special Investigations Branch.
The newspaper apologised for publishing the hoax pictures on Saturday following the sacking of editor Piers Morgan.
And the Sunday Telegraph said Trinity Mirror executives planned to reveal the identity of its sources for the story to the Royal Military Police (RMP).
The RMP had said a truck shown in the photographs had never been in Iraq."
Here's another battle in the media war.
Belmont Club News Coverage as a Weapon:

"Historian John Terraine notes that unit casualty rates during the Civil War were close to those experienced by the British Army on the Somme. The 1/Newfoundland Regiment lost 84 % of its men on that fatal July 1, 1916. But the 1st Texas Regiment lost 82.3% in Antietam and the 1st Minnesota lost 82% at Gettysburg. Nor were these exceptional. 'In the course of the Civil War 115 regiments (63 Union and 52 Confederate) sustained losses of more than 50 percent in a single engagement'. Losses during World War 2 were just as brutal. ........

Defeat in that conflict came to those whose armies were driven from the field, whose cities were reduced to rubble and whose manpower resources could no longer continue the struggle.Viewed in this context, the American "defeat" in Iraq projected by the press must be understood as being something wholly different from anything that has gone before. The 800 odd US military deaths suffered since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom a year ago are less than the number who died in the Slapton Sands D-Day training exercise in 1944. The campaign in Iraq has hardly scratched American strength, which has in fact grown more potent in operational terms over the intervening period. Nor has it materially affected the US manpower pool or slowed the American economy, which is actually growing several times faster than France, which is not militarily engaged.

The defeat being advertised by the press is a wholly new phenomenon: one which leaves the vanquished army untouched and the victor devastated; the economy of the vanquished burgeoning and that of the victor in destitution; the territory of the loser unoccupied and that of the winner garrisoned. It is an inversion of all the traditional metrics of victory and defeat. That the assertion is not instantly ludicrous is an indication of the arrival of a new and potentially revolutionary form of political wafare.

It was during the Vietnam War that the Left first discovered the potential war-winning ability of media coverage. The concept itself is merely an extension of the blitzkrieg notion that the enemy command structure, not his troop masses, are the true center of gravity on the battlefield. During the campaign of 1940, Heinz Guderian's panzers bypassed many French formations, leaving them unfought, knowing that if their command structure were severed, the whole musclebound mass would fall to the ground headless. What the Left gradually discovered during the course of the Vietnam war was that Guderian had not been bold enough. Guderian still felt it necessary to win on the battlefield. He had not realized that it was possible to ignore the battlefield altogether because it was the enemy political structure, not his military capability, that was the true center of gravity of an entire campaign. It was General Giap during the Vietnam War who first planned a military operation entirely around its possible media effect. The Tet offensive was a last desperate attempt to gain the upper hand in a war he was losing.

The Communist forces had taken a series of military defeats. the US/ARVN forces had pacified much of the south by the end of 1967 (222 out of 242 provinces). Operation Junction City (February-March 1967) and other sweeps had seriously disrupted NLF activity in the south and forced the COSVN into Cambodia.

At a July 1967 meeting the Communist Party leadership recognized their failures and decided to re-orientate their operations to target two key political weaknesses. Firstly, the deep gulf between the US public and the US government over support for the war and its actual progress. Secondly, the tensions existing between the US military and their Vietnamese allies.

The leadership decided to concentrate on a few high profile operations, that would take place in the public (and the US media) eye rather than fighting the conflict away from major urban centres. This would bolster Northern moral, possibly inspire uprisings in the South and provide the impression, and hopefully the reality, that the US/ARVN were not winning the war and it was likely to be a long time before they did. The new policy also marked a victory for the 'hawks' over the 'doves' in the Communist Party leadership, in late 1967 around 200 senior officials were purged........

The emergence of the press and media as decisive implements of warfare arose from changes in the nature of late twentieth century war itself. If battlefield reality was paramount in earlier wars it was because literally everyone was there. During the Civil War 15 percent of the total white population took the field, a staggering 75% of military age white males. During the Great War the major combatants put even higher proportions of their men on the line. Even after World War 2 it was still natural for children to ask, 'Daddy what did you do in the War?' and expect an answer. Reality affected everybody. But beginning with the Vietnam War and continuing into the current Iraqi campaign, the numbers of those actually engaged on the battlefield as a proportion of the population became increasingly small.........But whereas General Giap was forced to rely on the Western media to carry his message home, modern day Jihadis have decided to create their own media outlets like Al Jazeera to shape public opinion.........................This set up a clash between two forces, one enjoying a preponderance in every area of military capability and skill but failing to recognize news coverage as a strategic weapon; and another whose military strategy was literally made for television.

The US discovered how expensive it was to be wholly outmatched in this key combat system. Just how expensive was underscored by the media coverage of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse incident in which newspapers in the United States and Britain published fake abuse photographs on top of the genuine ones without a rapid rebuttal. This blindness sprang not only from the tradition of keeping the military apart from civilian activities, but also from a reluctance to venture into areas protected by the First Amendment. It was nearly a year after OIF before the US began halting steps to redress the balance by establishing the Arabic Al Hurrah media outlet and creating a series of local television stations under the Spirit of America initiative.

Yet the extension of warfare into the area of media coverage is fraught with great danger, in no small part because it subtly alters the definition of where the battlefield lies and who an enemy combatant is.
Although Giap failed in every military respect, he succeeded in providing the press with the raw material necessary to alter the dynamics of American domestic politics. While he could not alter reality, the Giap could alter the perception of reality enough to give anti-war politicians a winning hand which they played it to the hilt.

...........But the changing balance between the political and military aspects of war means that this line will begin to blur as military activities cross over into the political. Already, the Pentagon is beginning to offer direct news from Iraq. It has also reorganized its command structure in Iraq to explicitly recognize the role of political warfare."
Another great article from the Belmont Club. - Top Stories - Tests Confirm Sarin in Iraqi Artillery Shell NEW YORK — Tests on an artillery shell that blew up in Iraq on Saturday confirm that it did contain an estimated three or four liters of the deadly nerve agent sarin (search), Defense Dept. officials told Fox News Tuesday.
The artillery shell was being used as an improvised roadside bomb, the U.S. military said Monday. The 155-mm shell exploded before it could be rendered inoperable, and two U.S. soldiers were treated for minor exposure to the nerve agent.
Three liters is about three-quarters of a gallon; four liters is a little more than a gallon.
The soldiers displayed "classic" symptoms of sarin exposure, most notably dilated pupils and nausea, officials said. The symptoms ran their course fairly quickly, however, and as of Tuesday the two had returned to duty.
The munition found was a binary chemical shell, meaning it featured two chambers, each containing separate chemical compounds. Upon impact with the ground after the shell is fired, the barrier between the chambers is broken, the chemicals mix and sarin is created and dispersed.
My Way - News Iraq's Sistani Urges Forces to Leave Holy Cities : "NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraq's foremost Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on U.S. forces and Shi'ite militia fighters to withdraw from the holy cities of Najaf and Kerbala Tuesday.
It was the most clear-cut statement on the issue from Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shi'ite authority, since militiamen loyal to radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr launched an uprising against the U.S.-led occupation in April.
Sadr's followers, in sermons at mosques across southern, Shi'ite dominated Iraq, have urged Shi'ites to converge on Najaf and Kerbala to defend the cities against U.S. forces.
But Sistani said in his statement it was too dangerous and Shi'ites should instead demonstrate in their hometowns against the presence of all military bodies in the cities.
'The office of Ayatollah Sistani calls on citizens in all of the cities and governorates not to head to holy Najaf due to the dangerous circumstances that the holy city is passing through,' the statement said.

Instead, it said, gatherings should be organized in mosques and provinces around the country, 'to protest violations of the sanctity of the two holy cities.'

Sources in Sistani's office said the statement was aimed mostly at Sadr's militia, which has been accused of attacking U.S. forces from inside mosques, including the Imam Hussein mosque in Kerbala, one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines.
" N. Korean rail explosion foiled missile shipment to Syria A North Korean missile shipment to Syria was halted when a train collision in that Asian country destroyed the missile cargo and killed about a dozen Syrian technicians.
U.S. officials confirmed a report in a Japanese daily newspaper that a train explosion on April 22 killed about a dozen Syrian technicians near the Ryongchon province in North Korea. The officials said the technicians were accompanying a train car full of missile components and other equipment from a facility near the Chinese border to a North Korea port.
A U.S. official said North Korean train cargo was also believed to have contained tools for the production of ballistic missiles. North Korea has sold Syria the extended-range Scud C and Scud D missiles, according to reports by Middle East Newsline.
"The way it was supposed work was that the train car full of missiles and components would have arrived at the port and some would have been shipped to Syria while others would have been transported by air," an official said.
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Officials said the North Korean shipment to Syria was not meant to have contained chemical or biological weapons. They said foreign rescue crews summoned to the train explosion did not report any chemical contamination.
The explosion was said to have been caused by a collision of two trains. The collision downed an electrical power line, the sparks from which detonated the fuel from the train.

Monday, May 17, 2004

FrontPage :: The Sacred Muslim Practice of Beheading by Andrew G. Bostom Reactions to the grotesque jihadist decapitation of yet another "infidel Jew," Mr. Berg,
make clear that our intelligentsia are either dangerously uninformed, or simply unwilling to come to terms with this ugly reality: such murders are consistent with sacred jihad practices, as well as Islamic attitudes towards all non-Muslim infidels, in particular, Jews, which date back to the 7th century, and the Prophet Muhammad's own example.
According to Muhammad’s sacralized biography by Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad himself sanctioned the massacre of the Qurayza, a vanquished Jewish tribe. He appointed an "arbiter" who soon rendered this concise verdict: the men were to be put to death, the women and children sold into slavery, the spoils to be divided among the Muslims. Muhammad ratified this judgment stating that it was a decree of God pronounced from above the Seven Heavens. Thus some 600 to 900 men from the Qurayza were lead on Muhammad’s order to the Market of Medina. Trenches were dug and the men were beheaded, and their decapitated corpses buried in the trenches while Muhammad watched in attendance. Women and children were sold into slavery, a number of them being distributed as gifts among Muhammad’s companions, and Muhammad chose one of the Qurayza women (Rayhana) for himself. The Qurayza’s property and other possessions (including weapons) were also divided up as additional "booty" among the Muslims, to support further jihad campaigns.
...For centuries, from the Iberian peninsula to the Indian subcontinent, jihad campaigns waged by Muslim armies against infidel Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Hindus, were punctuated by massacres, including mass throat slittings and beheadings. During the period of “enlightened” Muslim rule, the Christians of Iberian Toledo, who had first submitted to their Arab Muslim invaders in 711 or 712, revolted in 713. In the harsh Muslim reprisal that ensued, Toledo was pillaged, and all the Christian notables had their throats cut. On the Indian subcontinent, Babur (1483-1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire, who is revered as a paragon of Muslim tolerance by modern revisionist historians, recorded the following in his autobiographical “Baburnama,” about infidel prisoners of a jihad campaign:....
Recent jihad-inspired decapitations of infidels by Muslims have occurred across the globe- Christians in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Nigeria; Hindu priests and "unveiled" Hindu women in Kashmir; Wall Street Journal reporter, and Jew, Daniel Pearl. We should not be surprised that these contemporary paroxysms of jihad violence are accompanied by ritualized beheadings. Such gruesome acts are in fact sanctioned by core Islamic sacred texts, and classical Muslim jurisprudence. Empty claims that jihad decapitations are somehow "alien to true Islam," however well-intentioned, undermine serious efforts to reform and desacralize Islamic doctrine. This process will only begin with frank discussion, both between non-Muslims and Muslims, and within the Muslim community.
Roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent explodes in Iraq : "A roadside bomb containing sarin nerve agent exploded near a U.S. military convoy, but there were no casualties, the U.S. military said Monday.
'The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-millimeter artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found,' said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the chief military spokesman in Iraq. 'The round had been rigged as an IED (improvised explosive device) which was discovered by a U.S. force convoy.
'A detonation occurred before the IED could be rendered inoperable. This produced a very small dispersal of agent,' he said."

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Saddam fears Iraqi torture
CIA interrogators have seized on an admission by Saddam Hussein that he fears torture at the hands of his Iraqi enemies, and are threatening him with a quick handover to the new government in a renewed effort to break his silence.
They are also trying to exploit a new-found obsession of the former dictator with hygiene and careful food preparation to persuade him to begin giving information after five frustrating months of questioning.
Lengthy daily interrogation sessions have been structured around an apparent attempt to prepare Saddam to be handed over to the interim government that takes power after June 30.
The 67-year-old, who admitted that he feared torture soon after he was arrested last December, has been told his transfer will be delayed if he begins to co-operate with his interrogators." Report: Syrians, 'equipment' were in N. Korea train blast Special to World
Sunday, May 16, 2004
Syrian technicians accompanying unknown equipment were killed in the train explosion in North Korea on April 22, according to a report in a Japanese newspaper.
A military specialist on Korean affairs revealed that the Syrian technicians were killed in the explosion in Ryongchon in the northwestern part of the country, according to the Sankei Shimbun. The specialist said the Syrians were accompanying "large equipment" and that the damage from the explosion was greatest in the portion of the train they occupied.
The source said North Korean military personnel with protective suits responded to the scene soon after the explosion and removed material only from the Syrians' section of the train.
The New Yorker : "The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld's decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of elite combat units, and hurt America's prospects in the war on terror.
According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon's operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld's long-standing desire to wrest control of America's clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A."
Very interesting take on things. Basically Rumsfeld sees the State Department and CIA as being too bureaucratic, weak and slow moving, which they are. Therefore he created a black ops program to hunt down and kill top Al Qaeda leaders. After some victories in Afghanistan, it was decided to involve this group of ex special forces soldier in the effort to interrogate prisoners in Iraq and help stem the insurgency. Despite being successful in gaining actionable information, the use of these special black ops forces to interrogate prisoners who increasingly were not high level terror suspects, but just Iraqis in the wrong place at the wrong time, has put the entire black ops program at risk of discovery, as the press swarms over the prison abuse scandal. A regrettable affair, from many different standpoints.