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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Ongoing War on Truth in Iraq

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website http://dahrjamailiraq.com **

By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 18 April 2006

/*The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from
which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor. They have been
tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad
communiqu├ęs are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far
worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and
inefficient than the public knows ... We are today not far from a
disaster.*-- T.E. Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia), The Sunday
Times, August 1920/

On Monday, April 17, my sources in Baghdad reported fierce fighting in
the al-Adhamiya neighborhood of the capital city, as well as fighting in
the al-Dora neighborhood. One source, who lives in the predominantly
Sunni area of Adhamiya, had been telling me the situation was
disintegrating for days leading up to this. There had been clashes every
day for four days leading up to yesterday's huge clash there, with
sporadic fighting between Sunni resistance fighters and members of the
two largest Shia militias. The armed wing of the Supreme Council for
Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Badr Organization, and Muqtada al-Sadr's
Mehdi Army have been launching ongoing attacks against fighters in the
neighborhood. There is a shorter version of this description.

Civil war.

Yet we don't hear it described as such in the corporate media, nor from
the Cheney administration. Their propaganda insists that Iraq is not yet
in a civil war.

But in Adhamiya, every night now for several weeks roads have been
closed with tires, trunks of date palm trees and other objects to
prevent "kidnappers and Shia death squads" from entering the area,
according to one source, whom I'm keeping anonymous for security reasons.

His description of the fierce fighting in his neighborhood is quite
different from the reporting of it in mainstream outlets.

"Sunday night at 12:30 a.m. clashes started just like on the four
previous nights, but it was very heavy and from different directions. It
was different from the other nights in quantity and quality; it was
truly like the hell which I haven't seen even in the battles of the war
between Iraq and Iran during the eighties," wrote my source. He added
that mortars and rocket-propelled grenades were used, and so much
ammunition that the sky was "glowing red." The situation went on until
Monday morning. He said, "I usually have my cup of coffee in my small
backyard to drink it in a good atmosphere, but the minute I opened the
door someone from the interior ministry commandos shouted at me, telling
me to get inside or he'd shoot me. Of course I stayed inside and the
shooting continued in a very heavy way until 12:30 p.m., when the
American forces came to start helping the militia's attack on
al-Adhamiya after they were watching the scene from their helicopters."

He went on to state very clearly that "these were members of the Badr
militia and Sadr's Mehdi Army who were raiding the neighborhood."

Another witness at the scene wrote, "Men in police uniforms attacked the
neighbourhood. The Ministry of Interior claimed the uniformed men don't
belong to the puppet [Iraqi government] forces, but local residents are
quite sure they are special-forces from the Ministry of Interior,
probably Badr brigades. The neighbourhood was sealed off and the mobile
phone network was disconnected until 10:45 p.m. Electricity was cut off
from 10 a.m. on."

Meanwhile, Reuters obediently parroted
<http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060417/ts_nm/iraq_clashes_dc;_ylt=A0SOwkvr2ENEqXUBAxBZ.3QA;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA-->
the US military by reporting that "Insurgents mount bold attack in
Baghdad," and saying, "About 50 insurgents mounted a brazen attack on
Iraqi forces in Baghdad on Monday, prompting U.S. troops to provide
support in a battle that lasted seven hours, a U.S. military spokesman
said. The guerrillas attacked Iraqi forces in the mostly Sunni Arab
district of Adhamiya in northern Baghdad overnight. Five rebels were
killed and one member of the Iraqi forces was wounded. There were no
U.S. casualties, said the spokesman."

While this press report quoted an Iraqi police official as saying,
"Adhamiya residents have taken up arms to prevent the Shi'ite militia
from entering," and "Adhamiya residents said Shi'ite militiamen
accompanied the Iraqi forces," it added that this could not be confirmed.

An Iraqi in Adhamiya confirmed this immediately after the clashes ended
by writing, "When the uniformed forces entered the neighbourhood, the
National Guards that are usually patrolling the streets left. Young
armed men from the neighbourhood fought side by side with mujahedin
against the attacking forces to protect Al-Adhamiya. Several residents
have been killed in the streets, but there are currently no figures
available. US troops also entered the neighbourhood. At first, they only
stood by and watched; later on they, too, fired at the locals, who tried
to repel the attacks. Later in the day, rumours circulated that another
fierce attack of Al-Adhamiya is planned on Wednesday, but ... couldn't
confirm this information."

Other news outlets directly contradict the aforementioned statement by
the US military spokesman, when one reported
<http://news.monstersandcritics.com/middleeast/article_1155952.php/US_assault_on_Fallujah_leaves_three_Iraqi_civilians_dead>
that "gunmen clashed with residents in Baghdad's Aadhamiya district."

Of course, the military spokesman also failed to mention that on the
same day, "Four gunmen attacked a Sunni mosque
<http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L17701162.htm>killing a guard
in the Adhamiya district of the capital."

Instead, we hear reporting that "[US] Army officials said they had
suffered no casualties, and plan to raid homes in search for the gunmen
<http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060417/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_violence>."

Disturbingly, this obvious US-backed Shia militia invasion of a Sunni
neighborhood may well be a prelude to what the US military is calling a
"second liberation of Baghdad" which they will carry out with the Iraqi
army when a new government is installed.

The Sunday Times reports
<http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2136297,00.html> that US
commanders both in Iraq and at an army base in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
are planning a "carrot-and-stick" approach by offering suffering
populations "protection" from sectarian violence in exchange for
"rooting out insurgent groups or Al-Qaeda."

Sound like mafia tactics to you?

The article states that "Sources close to the Pentagon said Iraqi forces
would take the lead, supported by American air power, special
operations, intelligence, embedded officers and back-up troops.
Helicopters suitable for urban warfare, such as the manoeuvrable AH-6
"Little Birds" ... are likely to complement the ground attack."

This is disturbingly similar to what just occurred in al-Adhamiya.

Another glaring example of the Cheney administration/US military's
ongoing war on truth in Iraq is the open wound which is Fallujah.

Heavy-handed assaults by the US military continue in Fallujah, where as
recently as this Monday three Iraqi civilians were killed, along with 10
wounded in the Jebail district of the city. Of the 10 wounded, three
were women and two were children. According to Mustafa Karim
<http://news.monstersandcritics.com/middleeast/article_1155952.php/US_assault_on_Fallujah_leaves_three_Iraqi_civilians_dead>,
with an Iraqi security force in the city, "US forces fired on houses in
the district following confrontations with armed groups in the
vicinity." Karim added that residents of Fallujah have been demanding an
easing of the tight security procedures imposed by Iraqi and US armed
forces on the region since November 2004, which have obstructed the
passage of civilians into and out of the region, and "Fallujah has been
recently witnessing a renewed escalation of armed confrontations between
US forces and armed Iraqi groups."

In fact, fierce fighting in Fallujah has been ongoing since just a few
months after the November 2004 US attack, which destroyed most buildings
and homes in the city of 350,000 people.

But the US military doesn't want people to see that American soldiers
are dying there on nearly a daily basis as of late. Rather than calling
it Fallujah when soldiers die there, they prefer a sort of Bermuda
Triangle approach and use "Al-Anbar Province" for the location of these
deaths.

Let's have a brief glance at some soldiers killed recently in "Al-Anbar
Province":

* April 17, Department of Defense (DOD) announced (hyperlink 'announced'
with http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2006/nr20060417-12834.html )
the death of a Marine who "died April 14 from a non-hostile motor
vehicle accident in Al-Anbar province, Iraq."

* April 16, CENTCOM announced
<http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Casualty%20Reports%201/DispForm.aspx?ID=1212&Source=http%3A//www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Casualty%20Reports%201/Current%20Reports.aspx>:
"Camp Fallujah, Iraq - A Marine ... died due to enemy action while
operating in al Anbar Province April 15."

* April 16, Camp Fallujah, Iraq - Multi-National Forces (MNF) Iraq
announced <http://www.mnf-iraq.com/Releases/Apr/060416h.htm>: "Three
Marines ... died due to enemy action while operating in al Anbar
Province April 15."

* April 15, Camp Fallujah, Iraq - MNF Iraq announced
<http://www.mnf-iraq.com/Releases/Apr/060415b.htm>: "Two Marines died
and 22 were wounded due to enemy action while operating in al Anbar
Province April 13 ... Ten wounded Marines ... were evacuated to a
medical facility at Camp Fallujah."

* April 15, DOD announced
<http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2006/nr20060417-12833.html>: "four
Marines died April 15 when their HMMWV struck an improvised explosive
device during combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq."

* April 11, DOD announced
<http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2006/nr20060411-12793.html>: "Lance
Cpl. Juana NavarroArellano, 24 ... died April 8 from wounds received
while supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq."

* April 10, Camp Fallujah, Iraq - CENTCOM announced
<http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Casualty%20Reports%201/DispForm.aspx?ID=1198&Source=http%3A//www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Casualty%20Reports%201/Current%20Reports.aspx%20>:
"A soldier ... died from wounds sustained due to enemy action while
operating in al Anbar Province April 8."

* April 10, Camp Fallujah, Iraq - CENTCOM announced
<http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Casualty%20Reports%201/DispForm.aspx?ID=1199&Source=http%3A//www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Casualty%20Reports%201/Current%20Reports.aspx%20>:
"Two soldiers ... died due to enemy action while operating in al Anbar
Province April 9."

* April 8, Camp Fallujah, Iraq - MNF Iraq announced
<http://www.mnf-iraq.com/Releases/Apr/060408d.htm>: "A Marine ... died
from wounds sustained due to enemy action while operating in al Anbar
Province April 7."

Note the clue that several of these are issued from "Camp Fallujah, Iraq."

This is hardly a complete list of US soldiers killed in Fallujah, and
some of the aforementioned may not have actually been killed inside that
city. However, military announcements of the deaths of soldiers in other
places mention the name of specific cities, whether they occur in
Samarra <http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2006/nr20060417-12836.html>
or Tal Afar
<http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2006/nr20060410-12790.html> or
elsewhere.

Obviously the US military is being intentionally vague when it comes to
their admittance of losing American soldiers within the city limits of
Fallujah. An email I received Monday from one of my sources in Fallujah
sheds much light as to why this is the case, not only in Fallujah, but
throughout Iraq.

"Resistance [in Fallujah] is very active and all the destruction to the
city by American soldiers did not succeed to stop them. You know the
city was totally destroyed in the November attack and is still
surrounded and closed for anyone other than citizens of the city. What
is going on now is that the Americans are trying to conceal their
failure here by not letting anybody in. There were at least five
explosions today and more than one clash between resistance fighters and
US soldiers. So all the military procedures, together with the thousands
of casualties, were in vain. In short, the American Army seems to be
losing control in this country and God knows what they will do in
revenge. I expect the worst to come."

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