Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Najaf: What happened to the children?

What happened to the ‘terrorist children’ captured in the Glorious Battle of Najaf? I suggest you contact your elected representatives and the responsible agencies and ask as I am. I am looking forward to a call-back from Senator Levin’s office next week.

Apparently a substantial number of those ‘hundreds’ injured, captured or killed in the day-long slaughter by US and Iraqi forces may have been non-combatants, women and children.

Stratfor provides some interesting additional information regarding the Najaf Incident and raises some pertinent questions:

Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle
January 31, 2007 03 00 GMT

…Not only is this perhaps the most bizarre incident in almost four years of incessant violence that has ravaged the country, the government’s version of what allegedly transpired raises more questions than provides answers.

  • How could a cult evolve into such a major threat without getting noticed?
  • If this was an obscure cult, why were government forces unable to deal with it on their own?
  • From where did the group acquire such a large cache of weaponry?
  • Given the deep sectarian differences, how can extremist Shia and jihadists both be part of the group?
  • Why would a Shiite religious group risk alienation by engaging in the murder of the clerical hierarchy, especially during the holy month of Muharram?

These and other such questions indicate the government is withholding a lot of information. However, Stratfor has received some information that provides insight into the circumstances leading up to the battle.

We are told the al-Hawatim tribe wanted to organize its own Karbala procession during Ashurah but that a rival group with considerable influence prevented it from doing so. A number of tribesmen were killed at a checkpoint operated by this influential group, including a senior tribal sheikh. The tribe then launched a retaliatory attack that led to the battle. The fact that a large number of those arrested are women and children [emphasis mine–HH] lends some credence to the report that the fighting was related to Ashurah ceremonies.

Stratfor apparently only provides this article to subscribers or google searchers, so google on: “Geopolitical Diary: Deciphering the An Najaf Battle”.

Mike Whitney raises some more good points in Palestine Chronicle:

Mike Whitney: Whitewashing the Massacre in Najaf

The US military is now being used as an “enforcer” in tribal and clan-based disputes. This will make it even more difficult for Washington to prove that its honest broker who can reconcile the differences between the between the warring factions.

By Mike Whitney
PalestineChronicle.com

So far, there are 2 things that we can say with certainty about the massacre of 250 Iraqis outside Najaf on Monday. First, we know that there is no solid evidence to support the official version of events. And, second, we know that every media outlet in the United States slavishly provided the government’s version to their readers without fact-checking or providing eyewitness testimony.

This proves that those who argue that mainstream news is “filtered” are sadly mistaken. There is no filter between the military and media; it’s a direct channel. In fact, all of the traditional obstacles have been swept away so the fairy tales which originate at the Pentagon end up on America’s front pages with as little interference as possible.

In the present case, we were told that “hundreds of gunmen from a ‘messianic cult’ (Soldiers of Heaven) planned to disguise themselves as pilgrims and kill clerics on the holiest day of the Shiite calendar”. We are expected to believe that they put their wives and children in the line of fire so they could conceal their real intention to lay siege to the city. (AP)

This is absurd. How many men would willingly drag their families into battle? In truth, these same tribes make the pilgrimage to Najaf every year to express their devotion to Imam Hussein and to celebrate the Shiite holiday of Ashura. There was nothing out of the ordinary in their behavior.

Gulf Times says:

US military still probing cult battle

Published: Saturday, 3 February, 2007, 10:33 AM Doha Time

BAGHDAD: The US military said yesterday it was still investigating who its troops and Iraq’s security forces fought last week in clashes in which hundreds of people were killed.

The Iraqi government’s account of the battle near the holy city of Najaf has generated conspiracy theories among bloggers sceptical of its suggestion that those killed were members of a messianic Muslim cult plotting to kill top Shia clerics.

“We are investigating who we engaged there. We are not going to say anything as there is still an ongoing investigation,” US military spokesman Major Steven Lamb said, adding that this was standard practice after any major engagement.

But a week after the battle amid orchards and houses north of Najaf, mystery shrouds exactly who the fighters were and what triggered the day-long battle in which a US attack helicopter was shot down, killing its two crew.

Hundreds of people arrested in the aftermath, including women and children, are under guard. [emphasis mine–HH] Journalists were not allowed to visit the scene of the fighting until Thursday, four days after the battle, and only then accompanied by soldiers.

According to Middle East Online, almost 300 persons were taken into custody after the Najaf Incident:

Iraq lifts curfew in Najaf

Iraqi officials say nearly 2,000 civilians killed in raging sectarian conflict across Iraq in January.

By Hasan Abdul Zahra – NAJAF, Iraq

Iraqi authorities on Friday lifted a curfew imposed on Shiite Islam’s holiest city of Najaf in a bid to thwart attacks a day after 73 people died in twin suicide bombings in nearby Hilla…

On Sunday, Iraqi and US forces fought members of a Shiite sect north of Najaf, killing more than 250 “Soldiers of Heaven,” wounding more than 200 and arresting almost 300 [emphasis mine–HH].

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

3 February, 2007 Posted by | 1st Cavalry, Army, Bush, children, covert operations, intelligence, international law, Iraq, law of nations, Levin, massacre, media, memory hole, murder, Najaf, national security, peace, prisoners, repression, scanlyze, SCIRI, war, war crimes, weird | Leave a comment

Michael Ledeen flies down the Memory Hole and Comes Out Smelling Like A Rose

Nice rundown on Michael Ledeen’s “down the memory hole” trip to discovering he had in fact, always opposed the Iraq war! The neocon rats are fast abandoning this sinking ship.

Michael Ledeen: The Best There Ever Was

Much of the blurghosphere is gaping in slack-jawed amazement at Michael Ledeen this afternoon. And rightfully so. Others in the right-wing’s core of frothing foreign policy lunatics are spectacular liars, landing the equivalent of double and triple axels with ease. But Ledeen has flown far beyond what anyone had dreamed possible for human beings. Behold, the nonuple axel of lying:

I do not feel “remorseful,” since I had and have no involvement with our Iraq policy. I opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place and I advocated—as I still do—support for political revolution in Iran as the logical and necessary first step in the war against the terror masters.

WOW. Let’s rewind the tape and watch that one again in slow motion.

More at: A Tiny Revolution

Neo Culpa Vanity Fair article that sent Ledeen diving down the memory hole

Namebase entry: Michael Ledeen
Michael A. Ledeen, Freedom Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
Michael A. Ledeen profile on Rightweb
Michael Ledeen at Sourcewatch, Center for Media and Democracy
Michael Ledeen (wikipedia)
The Power of Nightmares: Film-maker Adam Curtis Uncovers the Truth (and Lies) About Terrorism. This BBC three-part series features some interesting interview clips with Ledeen.

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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2 February, 2007 Posted by | 1984, agents of influence, Alice in Wonderland, Ambrosiano, American Enterprise Institute, BBC, Bush, capitalism, conservatism, covert operations, freemasonry, Gladio, intelligence, Iran-Contra, Israel, media, memory hole, national security, neoconservative, news, Orwell, P2, politics, scanlyze, stay-behinds, war, weird | Leave a comment

Bush explains that the violence at Najaf was ’caused by Sunni Arabs like al-Qaida’

George W. Bush said in an interview with NPR on Jan 29, 2007 that the violence in Najaf was the fault of Sunni Arab organizations such as Qa’edat al-Jihad which Bush persists in referring to as Al-Qaida. Al-Qaida, or “the base” was the “other government agency” informal name for the MAK base near Khost during the Saudi and US-financed “Contra” war against the Afghan government in the 1980’s.

Salient points follow:

JUAN WILLIAMS: Mr. President, we can’t say thank you enough for giving NPR this time, so thank you.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: You bet.

MR. WILLIAMS: All right, Mr. President, the reports that 300 militants were killed, an American helicopter shot down yesterday in Najaf – that’s one of the deadliest battles of the war, what can you tell us?

PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, Juan, I haven’t been briefed by the Pentagon yet. One of the things I’ve learned is not to react to first reports off the battlefield. I will tell you, though, that this fight is an indication of what is taking place, and that is the Iraqis are beginning to take the lead, whether it be this fight that you’ve just reported on where the Iraqis went in with American help to do in some extremists that were trying to stop the advance of their democracy, or the report that there’s militant Shia had been captured or killed [emphasis mine–HH]. In other words, one of the things that I expect to see is the Iraqis take the lead and show the American people that they’re willing to the hard work necessary to secure their democracy, and our job is to help them.

So my first reaction on this report from the battlefield is that the Iraqis are beginning to show me something [emphasis mine–HH].

MR. WILLIAMS: Well, now, one of the concerns might be that you have – the gunmen were trying to assassinate clerics and pilgrims – Shia pilgrims. So I’m wondering if that’s an indication of a civil war – a term that, you know, you’ve been reluctant to use.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I think it’s an indication that there are murderers who will kill innocent people to stop the advance of a form of government that is the opposite of what they believe. You know, we can debate terms, but what can’t be debated is the fact that Iraq is violent, and the violence is caused by Sunni Arabs like al-Qaida, [emphasis mine–HH] who have made it clear that they want to create chaos and drive the United States out so they can have safe haven, and then they could launch attacks against America.

Full Transcript: NPR Interview with President Bush , National Public Radio (US) Jan 29, 2007. Link to audio of interview.

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 February, 2007 Posted by | Afghanistan, Army, Bush, covert operations, intelligence, interviews, Iraq, massacre, media, military, Najaf, national security, news, NPR, politics, radio, repression, scanlyze, war, war crimes | Leave a comment

More on the Najaf Incident: hundreds of terrorist children defeated?

I’ve collected some more links on the Najaf ‘incident’. I find it very peculiar that the US media are sticking to the rather unlikely sounding ‘official story’. BBC to its credit followed up its initial reporting of the ‘official story’ with a skeptical analysis by Roger Hardy (no relation AFAIK). Apparently of the 500-1000+ casualties being reported among the ‘terrorists’ over 100 were what I guess in the Orwellian Newspeak of the Bush Administration would logically be termed ‘terrorist children’.

Roger Hardy Confusion surrounds Najaf battle BBC

The official version of events has not gone unchallenged.

According to accounts on an Iraqi website and in the British newspaper The Independent, the drama began with a clash between an Iraqi tribe on a pilgrimage to Najaf and an Iraqi army checkpoint.

The fighting escalated, army commanders called for reinforcements, and US aircraft launched an intense aerial bombardment – with significant loss of life.

According to this account, the involvement of the Soldiers of Heaven appears to have been accidental.

Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily Pilgrims massacred in the ‘battle’ of Najaf Asia Times, Feb 1, 2007
Battle in Najaf: Is US-Iraqi Claim of Gunfight with Messianic Cult Cover-up for a Massacre? Democracy Now Includes interviews with Patrick Cockburn and with a local doctor, Dr. Amer Majid who says he treated the wounded. Video and Audio feed available.
Peace Voter Najaf: Victory or Massacre? Daily Kos
James Risser Massacre in Najaf: Maliki learns that the best way to deal with dissent is with US bombs Daily Kos
Mike Whitney The Media Cover-up of the Najaf Massacre uruknet.info
DoD Identifies Army Casualties AubreyJ.org

See also: Keyword ‘Najaf’ on scanlyze

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 February, 2007 Posted by | 1984, 1st Cavalry, Army, audio, Bush, children, covert operations, intelligence, Iraq, massacre, media, military, Najaf, national security, news, Newspeak, Orwell, peace, politics, protest, repression, scanlyze, strategy, video, war, war crimes | 2 Comments

What if Bush has a strategy working as intended in Iraq and Afghanistan? What could it be?

Let’s imagine that George W. Bush is intelligent, that he is not insane, and that he has a strategy at work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s imagine further that Bush’s strategy is working as intended. What could that strategy be?

The Great Game/Containment

In this theory, the bombs fall on Baghdad and Helmand but the target is Moscow.

The term, The Great Game is attributed to a British Intelligence Officer, Lt. Arthur Connoly of the 6th Bengal Light Cavalry. He used the term in, Journey to the North of India through Russia, Persia and Afghanistan, London, Richard Bentley, 1834, to describe the rivalry between the British and Russian empire in Central Asia.

A similar theory, now called containment, was proposed in a famous article by George Kennan. In The Sources of Soviet Conduct, Foreign Affairs, July, 1947, Kennan, writing as “X”, proposed that the Soviet Union be crippled economically through an economic and cultural blockade, while it would be destabilized through covert actions and propaganda. He wrote,

…it will be clearly seen that the Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the western world is something that can be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points…

…we have in Russia today a population which is physically and spiritually tired. The mass of the people are disillusioned, skeptical and no longer as accessible as they once were to the magical attraction which Soviet power still radiates to its followers abroad. The avidity with which people seized upon the slight respite accorded to the Church for tactical reasons during the war was eloquent testimony to the fact that their capacity for faith and devotion found little expression in the purposes of the regime.

In these circumstances, there are limits to the physical and nervous strength of people themselves. These limits are absolute ones, and are binding even for the cruelest dictatorship, because beyond them people cannot be driven. The forced labor camps and the other agencies of constraint provide temporary means of compelling people to work longer hours than their own volition or mere economic pressure would dictate; but if people survive them at all they become old before their time and must be considered as human casualties to the demands of dictatorship. In either case their best powers are no longer available to society and can no longer be enlisted in the service of the state.

Managed chaos

The idea here is that the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan is not an aberration but is in fact calculated and intended. Doctrines of “asymmetrical warfare” hold that terrorism and armed propaganda are “force multipliers”… therefore we destroy the pillars of civil society so that our own “freedom fighters” can do their asymmetrical thing. This could be considered similar to the Sudanese strategy in Darfur, or the Contra war the US has conducted in Latin America, most notably in the 1980’s.

Peter Beaumont et al After the surge … what next? The Observer, Sunday January 14, 2007
David L. Grange, Asymmetric Warfare: Old Strategy, New Concern, National Strategy Forum Review Winter 2000
James Johnson Implications for the Ten Division Army: Selective Engagement or Managed Chaos Masters Thesis, US Army Command and Military Staff College, 1994

Opium Wars

Afghanistan

world’s largest producer of opium; cultivation dropped 48% to 107,400 hectares in 2005; better weather and lack of widespread disease returned opium yields to normal levels, meaning potential opium production declined by only 10% to 4,475 metric tons; if the entire poppy crop were processed, it is estimated that 526 metric tons of heroin could be processed; source of hashish; many narcotics-processing labs throughout the country; drug trade source of instability and some anti-government groups profit from the trade; 80-90% of the heroin consumed in Europe comes from Afghan opium; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering through informal financial networks

CIA Word Factbook, Field Listing, Illicit Drugs

This is the full report of the opium survey of Afghanistan that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime made public in September 2006. There was considerable alarm when it was announced that opium cultivation in Afghanistan rose to 165,000 hectares in 2006, a 59% increase over 2005.

This 6,100 tons of opium gives Afghanistan the dubious distinction of having nearly a monopoly of the world heroin market.

Major traffickers, warlords and insurgents are reaping the profits of this bumper crop to spread instability, infiltrate public institutions, and enrich themselves. Afghanistan is moving from narcoeconomy to narco-state.

While criminals prosper, the rest of society suffers. In Afghanistan, opium is choking development and democratization. The rule of the bullet and the bribe exists where there is no rule of law.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Opium Survey 2006

Britain fought two Opium Wars from 1834 to 1860 to force China to buy British opium. After World War II, the United States has fought a series of wars and proxy wars in the worlds major opium growing areas, including Burma, Laos, Thailand, Columbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Kurdistan.

see also,

William E. Colby, Heroin, Laos, and the USA New York Review of Books, November 22, 1990.
Gary Webb, The Dark Alliance, San Jose Mercury News, 1996.
Jensen-Stevenson, Monika and Stevenson, William. Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POWs in Vietnam. New York: Dutton (Penguin Books), 1990 [namebase entry]
Kwitny, Jonathan. The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA. New York: W.W. Norton, 1987. [namebase entry]

Oil War

This is a common theory, the only twist here being that the intent would be not to obtain the oil but simply to drive up prices by restricting supply. As long as Saudi Arabia remains on board (how much longer?) the US-aligned corporations have enough excess capacity to meet the oil demand. So to guarantee profits, the Seven Sisters need not to obtain more supplies, thus putting yet more oil on the market; but to simply insure the destruction of the productive capacity of their rivals.

Divide and rule

In this scenario, the US would intentionally foment sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shiite in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and elsewhere. The US would favor the Shiia because they are in the minority and the idea would be to destabilize the Sunni regimes in particular Saudi Arabia, which has an economic stranglehold on the US by means of its massive investment portfolio and oil reserves.

Divide and Rule (wikipedia)

Permanent war

The theory of Permanent War is eloquently articulated in George Orwell’s novel, 1984:

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed…

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.

George Orwell, 1984

The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. (There is, in fact, good reason to believe that codified law had its origins in the rules of conduct established by military victors for dealing with the defeated enemy, which were later adapted to apply to all subject populations. ) On a day-to-day basis, it is represented by the institution of police, armed organizations charged expressly with dealing with “internal enemies” in a military manner. Like the conventional “external” military, the police are also substantially exempt from many civilian legal restraints on their social behavior. In some countries, the artificial distinction between police and other military forces does not exist. On the long-term basis, a government’s emergency war powers – inherent in the structure of even the most libertarian of nations – define the most significant aspect of the relation between state and citizen.

In advanced modern democratic societies, the war system has provided political leaders with another political-economic function of increasing importance: it has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary social classes. As economic productivity increases to a level further and further above that of minimum subsistence, it becomes more and more difficult for a society to maintain distribution patterns insuring the existence of “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” The further progress of automation can be expected to differentiate still more sharply between “superior” workers and what Ricardo called “menials,” while simultaneously aggravating the problem of maintaining an unskilled labor supply.

The arbitrary nature of war expenditures and of other military activities make them ideally suited to control these essential class relationships. Obviously, if the war system were to be discarded, new political machinery would be needed at once to serve this vital subfunction. Until it is developed, the continuance of the war system must be assured, if for no other reason, among others, than to preserve whatever quality and degree of poverty a society requires as an incentive, as well as to maintain the stability of its internal organization of power.

Lewis Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain

Shock and Awe: A Strategy of Terror

The purpose of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq might be to establish for the world and the internal population, the utter ruthlessness of the Government and its willingness to use maximum force against those who disagree with its agenda.

Harlan K. Ullman and James Wade Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, National Defense University, 1996
Scanlyze review of The Power of Nightmares by Adam Curtis

Establish dictatorship

A strategy of permanent war could be a means to establish dictatorship inside the US, suppress dissent, co-opt the media, and take control of the reins of power at home and abroad. The use of torture and concentration camps abroad will provide the legal and social acceptance of such measures in the Fatherland, er, Homeland.

And finally the ever-popular,

All of the above!

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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31 January, 2007 Posted by | 1984, 6th Bengal Light Cavalry, 9/11, Afghanistan, Arthur Connoly, Bush, capitalism, containment, corporations, covert operations, dictatorship, Gary Webb, George Kennan, grand strategy, Great Game, intelligence, Iraq, Lewis Lewin, managed chaos, military, oil, opium, Opium War, Opium Wars, Orwell, peace, permanent war, politics, Report from Iron Mountain, scanlyze, shock and awe, strategy, war, William Colby, X | 1 Comment