In killer heels and little else, they have a definite deadly charm. But the risque images of women that have decorated warplanes since the First World War have been scrubbed out.
The Ministry of Defence has decreed they could offend the RAF's female personnel. Officials admitted they had no record of any complaints from the 5,400 women in the RAF. But commanders are erring firmly on the side of caution and "nose art", as it is known, has been consigned to the history books.
Harrier jump jet bombers currently launching daily airstrikes against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan have been scrubbed clean to comply with the orders.
Critics said the MoD should be focusing on more important issues - such as the quality and quantity of equipment available to British forces sent off to war.
Nose art first appeared on warplanes during the First World War and enjoyed a golden age during the Second World War when thousands of American fighters and bombers were decorated with pictures of glamorous women.
The decision to ban the images followed a visit by glamour models to southern Afghanistan before Christmas. During the trip they signed paintings of themselves on RAF aircraft.
Commanders decided the images were sexist and insisted there was no place for them in the modern armed forces.
There was also concern that they could cause offence in a muslim country where until 2001 all women were forced to wear the head-to-toe burkha in public.
Glamour model Lucy Pinder, 23, who visited the RAF detachment at Kandahar last November and signed a painting of herself on a Harrier jet, said such images were only "harmless fun". "It's very flattering and it's nice that they get to do something that takes their minds off things for a while," she said from her home in Winchester, Hampshire.
Conservative MP Phillip Davies said: "Has the MoD really got nothing better to worry about at a time when there are serious concerns over equipment and resources available to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan?"
An RAF spokesman defended the decision to remove images which he said "cut across" the service's culture of equal opportunities. If you have women flying aircraft and working on them as engineers then these kinds of pictures are inappropriate," he said. "That's why it's crossed the line and that's why they have been removed." I wonder how many missions RAF spokesman has flown?
If the jets are doing their job right, those pin-up babe insignias won't offend any Muslims for very long.
Conservative MP Phillip Davies said: "Has the MoD really got nothing better to worry about at a time when there are serious concerns over equipment and resources available to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan?"
Does that mean the female pilots will have to get rid of their Playgirl art, too? Perhaps the RAF planes can simply be turned into Jingle Trucks, which have a long and proud tradition in Afghanistan... not to mention their own version of girlie art.
It ain't just the RAF: in 1988, following the NIMITZ fire, we were in work getting our replacement KA-6D (from VA-52, IIRC) ready to go (The original Boomer tanker was a victim of the fire and was pushed over the side) and we had two of the resident artists do up the nose ( and the Intruder definitely has a nose). long story short: crew loved it, blackshoes loved it, Boat CO saw it and told us it was not going anywhere until that sh!t was gone. (He was an old A-7 driver and was jealous of us all weather medium attack boys). we had the last taugh: at the end of the cruise we painted all the Corsair tires pink.
I think it would be profoundly good for troop morale that if it was at all possible to identify anyone and everyone who had anything to do with that MoD policy, that they should be on the next plane out to Afghanistan, on a multi-year assignment.
It would do marvels to bureaucratic morale, as it were.
If Pakistan can fence their border, the U.S.A. can do it as well on their border with Mexico. It ain't rocket science. And if it is we can do that too. President and Congress just need to set aside their political agendas and do the right thing.
Pakistan should have fenced the border long ago and gotten control of the NorthWester Frontier Province. You can't have a country with one section totally indendent without giving other parts funny ideas. You can't put al id on the Northwest Fronter Province as long as the tribes can dance back and forth across the border. If you can't control Afghanistan than you have to have a fence/wall of some kind.
Afghan and US-led coalition troops killed about two dozen Taleban fighters in a clash in southern Afghanistan, the military said Tuesday.
The combined forces came under attack from rockets and small arms during operations Monday near the village of Chenar, located 35 kilometres north of the city of Kandahar. Coalition air support dropped bombs on three enemy positions during the ensuing four-hour firefight. No casualties were reported among the allied forces or the Afghan civilian population.
Two dozen here, 30 drowned there, 60 more the other day -- oh yeah, it's the start of the dreaded Taliban summer offensive.
I'm not sure how long we can take a pounding like this.
The Afghan government has agreed to hand over the body of a slain Taliban commander to his family in return for the release of five local health workers captured by the Islamist militants, an official said on Tuesday. The five were kidnapped in the southern province of Kandahar in March. Their captors originally demanded the release of Taliban prisoners as ransom and instead this week asked for the body of Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah who U.S.-led forces killed last month, the official said.
"Yesterday it was agreed to," said Abdullah Fahim, a health ministry advisor. "It's their right to have the body of their relative," he added.
President Hamid Karzai told "relevant authorities" to exchange the body of Mullah Dadullah, the top Taliban commander killed last month in southern Afghanistan, for a doctor, three nurses and a driver kidnapped by militants in southern Afghanistan two months ago, said Abdullah Fahim, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry.
The health ministry spokesman said a person nominated by Dadullah's family was expected to arrive in Kandahar from Pakistan later on Tuesday to receive the body.
Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid has said that Dadullah was buried at a secret location near Kandahar. The health ministry spokesman said a person nominated by Dadullah's family was expected to arrive in Kandahar from Pakistan later on Tuesday to receive the body. The swap would be handled by local authorities in Kandahar province, Fahim said, which has seen some of the fiercest fighting between Taliban and U.S.-led forces.
"It's their right to have the body of their relative," he added.
No it isn't. The dead body of a terrorist should be declared state's evidence in the commission of a crime. The corpse should be disposed of in a bulk process that makes the remains unidentifiable. Preferably a group cremation or something like it. [Insert roast pig references here.] The penalty for participating in terrorist activities is that your body will not be buried according to religious traditions. No memorial for family or colleague to revere and mourn over, diddlysquat. This is one significant way to begin attaching a price tag to terrorism. I'd like to see it become standard practice.
In this particular case where, they were able to trade live bodies for a dead one, I'd go through with the trade and then confiscate or exhume the body as needed for evidence in an extortion plot, which is what it is. And no whingeing about cruel and unusual punishment either. After all, the relations of bomb vest murderers don't ask for the chunks and gobbets of flesh afterwards. (And if they do, they should be denied as well.) The criminal is already dead and was involved in inflicting cruel and unusual punishment as a matter of habit. Family members should feel compelled to dissuade relatives they know to be involved in terrorism if only so that they may finally bury them properly.
More than 30 Taliban militants drowned when a boat sank in southern Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday. The boat sank after coming under fire from soldiers as it crossed the Helmand River on Monday carrying Taliban fighters escaping military operations, the ministry said in a statement. This is the second such incident since Friday when another boat sank under similar circumstances, drowning 60 rebel fighters.
In Mondays incident, Afghan soldiers, with foreign support, fired on the boat as it crossed the river, a ministry spokesman said. Over 30 Taliban were on board and all of them drowned, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi told AFP. The bodies had not been recovered, he added. There was no other confirmation of the tolls for either of the boats.
According to Reuters, the boat came under fire from US helicopters and joint ground fire and the Taliban retaliated, resulting in their deaths. Those onboard were all terrorists, a ministry statement said. The US-led coalition said it was aware of the incident, which it claims occurred on Sunday, but did not have any immediate comment on the situation. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force did not have any information about either of the two incidents, reported AFP. A Taliban spokesman rejected the report as baseless, reported Reuters.
How deep of a river could there *be* in southern Afghanistan? One deep enough to sink a boat with sixty thugs onboard? The damned thing doesn't even flow to the sea - it apparently pulls a Great Salt Lake, and is used so extensively for irrigation that I can't imagine it ever gets all that wide or deep.
Posted by: Mitch H. ||
06/06/2007 10:13 Comments ||
"Aaar! Swimmin' be un-Islamic! Pull me out, ifidel!... Yo! Infidel! I be talkin' atchoo!... Hey, infidel?... Glug!"
Don't they have something in Afghanistan like the Henley-on-Todd Yacht Regatta in Alice Springs? where everyone races around in a boat with holes in the bottom, more like a foot race?
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
06/06/2007 11:25 Comments ||
I guess it's just ridiculous to ask if any of them could swim.
Yes, it is. Things like swimming are not highly valued in a lot of 3rd world countries. Sure, they can get into the water and splash around, but actually swimming in water to deep to touch bottom and most 3rd world peoples drown.
I have some Indian friends that like to go to the lake, but will not go near the water, or out in a boat. Terrified they is!
Posted by: Natural Law ||
06/06/2007 12:49 Comments ||
I'm guessing a lot of these "drownings" were assisted. You got the idiots in a small boat, all packed together. You shoot the crap outta the boat. Lots of the guys jump overboard. You shoot them in the water. Fish in a barrel, even if the water was only 4 feet deep.
The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of a dangerous terror suspect to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Abdullahi Sudi Arale is suspected of being a member of the Al Qaeda terrorist network in East Africa, serving as a courier between East Africa Al Qaeda (EAAQ) and Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Since his return from Pakistan to Somalia in September 2006, he has held a leadership role in the EAAQ-affiliated Somali Council of Islamic Courts (CIC).
There is significant information available indicating that Arale has been assisting various EAAQ-affiliated extremists in acquiring weapons and explosives, and has facilitated terrorist travel by providing false documents for AQ and EAAQ-affiliates and foreign fighters traveling into Somalia. Arale played a significant role in the re-emergence of the CIC in Mogadishu.
The capture of Abdullahi Sudi Arale exemplifies the genuine threat that the United States and other countries face throughout the world from dangerous extremists. The detainees being held at Guantanamo have provided information essential to our ability to better understand how Al Qaeda operates and thus to prevent future attacks.
As with all detainees in Guantanamo, Arale will undergo a combatant status review tribunal, where he will be given the opportunity to review an unclassified summary of the evidence against him and contest his enemy combatant status. The International Committee of the Red Cross will be granted access to this detainee. With todays transfer there are approximately 385 detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Gitmo is an odd place. I suspect it was created originally as a Potempkin village, to distract the left's lawyers from the real internment facilities elsewhere.
However it soon became a place where we either put the utterly worthless throwaways for them to focus on, or importantly, a place where we could spend years with high level enemy, divining the philosophy and networks of the greater organization. That is, its underlying principles and long range goals.
To figure this out is worth interrogating some of these high value types on a daily basis for years, using elaborate psychological techniques and obtaining vast amounts of information for data mining.
Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it has arrested three suspected Al Qaeda militants involved in spreading the groups ideology through the Internet.
The Interior Ministry identified two of them in a statement by their aliases Abu Osaid Al-Falluji and Abu Abdullah Al-Najdi and said the arrests were part of a crackdown on terrorism and misleading media that seeks to spread their deviant ideology. They have targeted the youth of the nation with their deceptive calls in the hope of recruiting some of them to achieve their aims, it said. It said Falluji, a Saudi, was involved in preparing terrorist operations and encouraging people to take part in them .
Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said earlier the three were members of Al Qaeda and that one of them was involved in plans to hit the kingdoms oil industry. The third suspect was a foreigner suspected of preparing to publish a magazine for Al Qaeda.
Since we are the Great Satan, we have the right to "demonize" AQ wherever they exist in the world. We have the right to dispatch with them. AQ needs to be an illegal organization anywhere in the world. It's hard being the Great Satan. Our work is under-appreciated.
Nine militants of Islamist outfit Allahr Dal were captured by Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) from different parts of Kushtia city yesterday. Meanwhile in Barisal, three activists including a leader of Islamist militant group Hijbut Tawhid were apprehended by Sharikal police on Monday night.
Rab earlier launched raids at various parts of the city on Monday night in search of the militants. The operation ended before dawn yesterday. A team of Rab 12 led by Major Hasib first arrested Rawnak Hossain on Monday evening. He arrived in Kushtia several days back and was regrouping the militants in the district, according to Rab 12. The law enforcers then apprehended the eight other militants from different areas of the city with the information gathered from Rawnak, Rab officials said in a press briefing held at Kushtia Rab office. The arrestees admitted to being involved in regrouping activists of the Allahr Dal, founded by Matin Mehedi, a detained Islamist militant kingpin, claimed Rab officials. The arrestees were handed over to Kushtia sadar police. Police will soon produce them in court.
Ha! They should live so long!
Our Barisal correspondent reports, Sharikal police arrested three activists including a leader of Hijbut Tawhid while they were propagating militant ideology at Adhuna-Senerhut bazar under Sharikal union of Gournadi upazila on Monday night. The three arrestees are Alamgir Howladar, regional leader of the outfit, and activists Jamal Sharif and Anis Sheikh. Several books and leaflets written by organisation chief Bayzid Khan Ponni from Karotia, Tangail have been seized from the arrestees, said M Mahbub, sub-inspector in charge of Sharikal police camp.
The three were handed over to Gournadi police. Manzur Morshed, sub-inspector and second officer of the police station, lodged a case under section 54. The arrestees were produced before a court on Tuesday afternoon with a seven-day remand prayer for interrogation. The magistrate of the court sent the arrestees to jail and fixed next week for the hearing of the remand prayer.
This article starring:
Manzur Morshed, sub-inspector
M Mahbub, sub-inspector in charge of Sharikal police camp
Police said on Tuesday that they arrested two suspected militants wanted in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl. Attaur Rehman and Faisal Bhatti were arrested on Monday in Kashmor, a town northeast of Karachi, said Saghir Mugheri, an area police officer. However, a lawyer for the mens families said they were picked up by security agencies in 2003 and have been secretly held in custody since then.
Mugheri said both men were members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant organisation linked to Al Qaida. A senior detective on the team investigating Pearls case said Rehman is suspected of leading the gang that kidnapped Pearl in Karachi in 2002. Rehman, also known as Naim Bukhari, supervised the reporters detention in a shack for several days before he was killed, said the detective, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said both suspects were also involved in the 1998 murder of two Iranian engineers in Karachi, the killing of two Shiite Muslim lawyers in 2000, and an unsuccessful attempt to release a fellow militant from a prison van in 1998 that left two guards dead.
Mugheri said police seized the pair in a car traveling toward Balochistan and that weapons and explosives were found in the vehicle. He said they would be transferred to Karachi for further investigation. However, Maqboolur Rehman, a human rights lawyer, claimed the two suspects had been in custody since being seized from Karachi in 2003. He dismissed the announcement of their arrest as an attempt to conceal their long confinement without trial or contact with their families, reported the Associated Press.
An Indian court sentenced two more people to life imprisonment on Tuesday for their role in the countrys worst bombings in 1993 that killed 257 people.
The court also handed jail terms between 5 to 14 years to another three people convicted in the case. The court in Mumbai, where the attacks took place, has convicted 100 people and has so far sentenced 68. Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt, 47, is the most high profile of the convicts. He was found guilty of possessing illegal arms and no date has been set for his sentencing. Those sentenced so far include smugglers, petty criminals, a Bollywood producer and policemen and customs officials who took bribes to let the explosives go unchecked.
An 83-year-old man was also jailed for life for planning the blasts.
Islamabad, 5 June (AKI) - Pakistani police said on Tuesday that they have arrested two militants suspected of involvement in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl. According to local police, Attaur Rehman and Faisal Bhatti, were arrested on Monday in Kashmore, on the border between Sindh and Baluchistan. Both men are believed to be leading figures in Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a militant group linked to al-Qaeda. However reports of their arrests are denied by lawyers for the men's families who alleged the pair were picked up four years ago by the secret services and held ever since.
Rehman, who also goes under the name Naim Bukhari, is suspected of supervising the detention of Pearl for several days before he was killed.
Daniel Pearl, a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, was seized while researching a story on Islamic militants on January 23, 2002. His body was found buried on the outskirts of Karachi.
A police spokesman said four Kalashnikov rifles, two pistols and bomb-making material were found in the men's car.
Turkish officials: Troops enter Iraq By SELCAN HACAOGLU, Associated Press Writer
ANKARA, Turkey - Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who attack Turkey from bases there, two Turkish security officials said. Turkey's foreign minister denied its troops had entered Iraq.
Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, characterized the action as a "hot pursuit" raid that was limited in scope. They told The Associated Press it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks as Turkish troops built up their force along the border.
One official said the troops went less than two miles inside Iraq and were still there in late afternoon. "It is a hot pursuit, not an incursion," one official said.
The officials stood by their statement despite denials from Turkish and Iraqi officials.
Turkey's private NTV television quoted Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as saying reports of a cross-border operation were false.
"There is no such thing, no entry to another country. If such a thing happens, then we would announce it," Gul said. "We are in a war with terror, we will do whatever is necessary to fight terrorism."
Several military officials at the Pentagon said they have seen nothing Wednesday that would confirm the reports of Turkish troops crossing the border into Iraq.
One military official said that small numbers of Turkish forces periodically move in and out of Iraq doing counterinsurgency operations, but not thousands at one time. The officials requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
The White House said there has been "no new activity" in northern Iraq to justify the press reports. Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said that U.S. officials in the region have confirmed that the activity is a continuation of Turkey's years-long campaign against the Kurdish PKK guerrillas of Kurdistan Workers' Party.
"The Turkish government reports no new incursions into northern Iraq," Johndroe said. "U.S. officials on the ground confirm no new activity."
Johndroe said Washington remains "concerned about the PKK and the use of Iraq as a safe haven."
Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said he could not confirm any Turkish troops were in Iraq but "we are looking into it and obviously we are very concerned."
The last major Turkish incursion into northern Iraq was in 1997, when about 50,000 troops were sent to the region.
I could see the Turks saying they crossed to scare the PPK into thinking they were not safe and had to base further from the border while knowing just saying so would not really freak out the US and allies.
It's been a while since we've seen a court report. LOT'S more detail than we usually get in these reports - makes it way too long to copy here, but worth reading.
CCCI CONVICTS 51: SENTENCES 6 TO DEATH, 6 TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) convicted 51 individuals from May 13 - 19 for violations of the Iraqi Terrorist Law, Penal Code and Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Orders enforced by the Iraqi judiciary.
Three Iraqis were convicted and sentenced to death by the CCCI May 15 for violating Article 406 of the Iraqi Penal Code.
They were directly involved in the murder of another detainee at Camp Cropper near Baghdad, Iraq.
Ahmad Hassan Ali, 25, Jasim Muhammad Hilal, 32 Ali Asama Ail Abrahim, 21 were convicted and sentenced to death May 16 for violating of Article 4/1 of the Terrorist Law. On Sept. 13, 2006 a joint patrol consisting of Macedonian and Iraqi Special Forces raided a farmhouse believed to be part of an insurgent training camp in Baghdad. Inside the house, joint forces found the three defendants dressed in military attire, carrying weapons and guarding two hostages who were blindfolded, handcuffed and had been beaten. During the raid, joint forces found two AK-47's, four magazines for the AK-47's, one Glock pistol, three pistol magazines, two pairs of handcuffs and one ski mask. The joint forces brought the two victims to MNF forces who treated their wounds and took statements from the victims, which included the names of all three defendants as individuals who had kidnapped and tortured them.
Mamas over there don't have much imagination - nothing like our inner-city Amerimamas. Six guys, 18 total names. 50% of the guys include 'Ali' as one of their names, and 33% include 'Mohammed'. The latter is a bit below the normal distribution, but it is only a small sample (and soon to be the #1 - with a bullet - name in England!)
ANKARA, Turkey - Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press.
Two senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the raid was limited in scope and that it did not constitute the kind of large incursion that Turkish leaders have been discussing in recent weeks.
It is not a major offensive and the number of troops is not in the tens of thousands, one of the officials told the AP by telephone. The official is based in southeast Turkey, where the military has been battling separatist Kurdish rebels since they took up arms in 1984.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces killed two terrorists and detained 10 suspected terrorists in raids targeting an al-Qaeda in Iraq vehicle-borne improvised explosive device network Wednesday morning.
Coalition Forces raided several locations in follow-on operations after a Tuesday raid that killed a senior leader in a Baghdad VBIED cell. Presumably Muhammad Mahmud 'Abd Kazim Husayn al-Mashadani, also known as Abu Abdullah
When Coalition Forces entered a building in Baghdad, two suspected terrorists ignored an interpreter's instructions to comply with Coalition Forces' orders. The two men ran into the building and attempted to retrieve weapons visible inside. Next time, follow instructions!!
Coalition Forces, reacting to the hostile threat, engaged the two men, killing them. One other suspected terrorist was detained on the scene and three vehicles used to transport weapons and personnel for the VBIED cell were destroyed.
In five other raids in Baghdad, Coalition Forces detained six suspected terrorists associated with the VBIED network and destroyed two vehicles used to transport weapons and personnel for the cell. A related raid south of Tarmiyah netted three suspects tied to the terrorist group.
Reports from suspected terrorists captured during the Coalition raids indicate there are IEDs in place around the city, which Coalition Forces are now identifying and neutralizing.
Intelligence reports also indicate that the VBIED cell is responsible for chlorine attacks, assassination attempts against Iraqi officials and other high-profile attacks in Baghdad.
"Targeting the al-Qaeda in Iraq VBIED network is a top priority for Coalition Forces," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.
"We continue to work to reduce and eventually eliminate the ability of terrorists to attack innocent Iraqis."
I don't know who this guy is, but he was important enough to be named in the press release.
AL-QAEDA LEADER KILLED IN BAGHDAD
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces killed a terrorist leader and detained three other suspected terrorists during an operation in Baghdad June 5 to disrupt a bombing network in the city.
Intelligence reports indicated the targeted building in the raid was a residence known to be a safe house for the targeted individual.
As Coalition Forces were securing the targeted building, numerous suspected terrorists attempted to flee and were detained by ground forces. One terrorist made continuous hostile attempts to evade the ground forces and refused to listen to instructions given by the interpreter with Coalition Forces. Coalition Forces, responding in self-defense, engaged the terrorist, killing him. Three suspected terrorists were also detained during the raid.
Muhammad Mahmud Abd Kazim Husayn al-Mashadani, also known as Abu Abdullah, was the terrorist killed during the raid. He was a known al-Qaeda emir in the Hay al-Jamah area of Baghdad and part of a deadly vehicle-borne improvised explosive device cell. He was positively identified as Muhammad Mahmud Abd Kazim Husayn al-Mashadani by associates and individuals detained during the raid.
"A key link in the VBIED network has been removed," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson. "We will continue to assault the VBIED network in order to stop their indiscriminate attacks against the people of Iraq."
BAGHDAD (AP) - Car bombings shook the streets leading to Baghdad's most revered Shiite Muslim shrine Wednesday, and police reported at least seven people were killed and 27 others wounded. The simultaneous blasts at two key intersections in the Kazimiyah district were the latest blows in an unending series of apparent attacks by Sunni extremists bent on terrorizing Iraq's Shiite majority and inflaming hostilities between the two sects.
Orcs are at it again.
In one of Wednesday's bombings, a parked car exploded at al-Zahraa Square, an intersection a half-mile from the large, golden-domed Kazimiyah shrine, in an area of closely packed homes and shops that is largely controlled by al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. Hussein Alwan, 50, a bakery shop owner, said there were no police or troops nearby to be targeted, "just civilians." "We rushed over and saw people dead or injured in burning cars, and we tried to save them while waiting for the firemen and ambulances," he said.
The second explosion, also of an unoccupied vehicle, occurred at the Aden intersection, at the western entrance to the Kazimiyah quarter. Police, meanwhile, found and disabled a third car bomb on a Kazimiyah street, said an officer at the Interior Ministry, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. Police initially put the death toll at five, but raised it to seven as the morning wore on.
BAGHDAD: Four years into the war that opened with "shock and awe," U.S. warplanes have again stepped up attacks in Iraq, dropping bombs at more than twice the rate of a year ago.
The airpower escalation parallels a nearly four-month-old security crackdown that is bringing 30,000 additional U.S. troops into Baghdad and its surroundings an urban campaign aimed at restoring order to an area riven with sectarian violence.
It also reflects increased availability of planes from U.S. aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. And it appears to be accompanied by a rise in Iraqi civilian casualties.
In the first 4 1/2 months of 2007, American aircraft dropped 237 bombs and missiles in support of ground forces in Iraq, already surpassing the 229 expended in all of 2006, according to U.S. Air Force figures obtained by The Associated Press.
"Air operations over Iraq have ratcheted up significantly, in the number of sorties, the number of hours (in the air)," said Col. Joe Guastella, Air Force operations chief for the region. "It has a lot to do with increased pressure on the enemy by MNC-I" the Multinational Corps-Iraq "combined with more carriers."
The Air Force report did not break down the specific locations in Iraq where bombings have been stepped up. But U.S.-led forces also are locked in new and dangerous fronts against insurgents outside Baghdad in such places as Diyala, a province northeast of the capital.
A second U.S. Navy aircraft carrier on station since February in the Persian Gulf has added some 80 warplanes to the U.S. air arsenal in the region.
At the same time, the number of civilian Iraqi casualties from U.S. airstrikes appears to have risen sharply, according to Iraq Body Count, a London-based, anti-war research group that maintains a database compiling news media reports on Iraqi war deaths. Zarqawi was a "civilian".
The rate of such reported civilian deaths appeared to climb steadily through 2006, the group reports, averaging just a few a month in early 2006, hitting some 40 a month by year's end, and averaging more than 50 a month so far this year.
Those are maximum tolls based on news reports, and they count those killed by Army helicopter fire as well as by warplanes, Iraq Body Count's John Sloboda said. The count is regarded as conservative, since it doesn't include deaths missed by the international media.
The U.S. military itself says it doesn't track civilian casualties.
"The reality of civilian deaths is a year-on-year increase," said Sloboda, a psychology professor at Britain's Keele University. "This particular part of it airstrikes have rocketed up more than any other."
Air Force figures show that, after the thousands of bombs and missiles used in the 2003 "shock and awe" invasion, U.S. airpower settled down to a slow bombing pace: 285 munitions dropped in 2004, 404 in 2005 and 229 in 2006, totals that don't include warplanes' often-devastating 20mm and 30mm cannon or rocket fire, or Marine Corps aircraft.
The number of Air Force and Navy "close air support" missions, which usually involve a flyover show of force or surveillance work, rather than bombing, also has grown by some 30 to 40 percent this spring, said Army Lt. Col. Bryan Cox, a ground-forces liaison at the regional air headquarters.
Examples of attacks, as reported in the Air Force's daily summary:
_Last Friday, an Air Force F-16 fighter dropped a guided 500-pound bomb near the northern city of Tal Afar that destroyed a vehicle laden with explosives to be used as a bomb.
_The day before, an F-16 dropped a similar bomb on "an inaccessible building being used by insurgents" near Samarra, north of Baghdad, with "good effects."
_Last Wednesday, another F-16 dropped bombs on "an illegal bridge and an insurgent vehicle in Baghdad."
Police and other Iraqi sources sometimes report civilian casualties in such airstrikes that are not reflected in the official U.S. accounts.
Air Force Col. Gary Crowder, deputy director of the regional air operations center, said such casualties "pale in comparison" with civilian casualties from ground combat.
"In Iraq, we minimize our deployment of air-delivered weapons in populated areas," he said.
Crowder, Guastella and Cox were interviewed outside Iraq at the regional U.S. air headquarters. Journalists are allowed to visit that low-profile base on condition they don't disclose its location, a politically sensitive matter to the host country.
Air attacks in Iraq are still relatively low compared with the numbers of weapons dropped in Afghanistan 929 this year as of May 15.
The rate of such reported civilian deaths appeared to climb steadily through 2006, the group reports, averaging just a few a month in early 2006, hitting some 40 a month by year's end, and averaging more than 50 a month so far this year.
Estimates of civilian deaths are always suspect. However, that said, we are losing around 100 soldiers per month. If bombing shortens the war, saves soldiers and kills civilian terrorists, please do more bombing.
More is better. Even more will be even better, as the flow of useful information continues to increase. But surely things that blow up houses and bad guys don't come only from infernal flying machines, which suggests to me in my ignorance of such things that good guy-caused explosions increased at a great deal more than double the previous rate. Go, exploders, go!
Hey, the media makes the rules, don't ya see. You are not allowed to drop more than a certain amount of bombs in the war without Pinch Sulzberger's approval. Why, its just not fair. Sort of like in baseball. Its not fair that the Yankees have such a high payroll but are the furthest out of 1st place of any team. If it was up to the media, all the other teams - Boston, Baltimore,et.al. - would only be allowed to hit one homerun a game and only if that homerun didn't win any away games. That way the feelings of the home fans would not be hurt and the Yankees could gain a little more respect.
Posted by: Jack is Back! ||
06/06/2007 11:13 Comments ||
The surge has turned into a nationwide offensive against any and every remaining enemy occupied area.
When the dumbasses kidnapped the soldiers, the search quickly turned into an aggressive offensive that is clearing out a great number of bad guyz of all descriptions. It has turned out to be one of the worst mistakes they ever made.
The number of PGM delivered is up but the reason is simply that the number of targets ID'd is up as a result of increasing cooperation from the Sunni Iraqis who are dropping the dime on the terrs with increasing frequency. This is an indicator of success. This is all covered in an excellent Strategy Page article that also notes that while PGM deliveries are up over 100% civilian casualties resulting therefrom are up only 25%, a fact the MSM also fails to note. Instead they use a BS figure from fellow terr sympathisers people in London.
And if we're using Navy aircraft to deliver ordnance, I hope it's in Basra because that's an awfully expensive way to deliver a bomb.
Actually, field troops were taking it directly to the enemy before the kidnappings. IED caused deaths are down, while active combat casualties were higher in May. Trust me: troops are fighting exactly the kind of war that they want to fight. Morale is high, and locals are providing more intel.
MOSUL - Gunmen murdered a Catholic priest and three assistants in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which Pope Benedict condemned as a senseless killing.
Iraqi police said Chaldean Catholic priest Ragheed Aziz Kani and his assistants were killed near the church of Rouh Al Quds after leading Sunday prayers in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad on Sunday. Police sources said gunmen stopped Kanis car, dragged him and his assistants out and shot them dead.
Iraqi sources say Al Qaeda-inspired militants are behind the attacks against Christians in Mosul, a religiously and ethnically mixed city of around 3 million people. It is also home to ethnic Kurds, Shias and Sunni Arabs, as well as some Turkmen and Christians.
In a telegram sent on his behalf to Mosuls bishop of the Chaldean Rite Catholics on Monday, Pope Benedict said he was deeply saddened. The Pope paid tribute to the costly sacrifice of those killed and prayed that their deaths would inspire in the hearts of all men and women of goodwill a renewed resolve to reject the ways of hatred and violence.
Um, sure, your Holiness, we'd all like to see that; in the meantime bless the Marines and soldiers who go in harms way to protect the flock.
... which Pope Benedict condemned as a senseless killing.
Which goes to show it is either the Pope's reasoning skills or his frankness which are lacking. No offense. We need to speak the truth to this barbarism notwithstanding the wishful thinking from the Holy See or elsewhere.
BAGHDAD - Iraqi police opened fire on a female suicide bomber as she approached a Baghdad recruitment centre on Tuesday, blowing up her explosives belt but preventing a far deadlier attack.
A woman wearing a suicide belt tried to blow herself near a national police recruitment centre near Sadr Al Qanat, interior ministry operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf told AFP. Some elements of the mechanised brigade saw a suspicious woman and ordered her to stop, but she didnt respond and approached the recruits, so they opened fire on her and she exploded, he added.
Security and defence officials said three police were lightly wounded in the attack, but Khalaf could not confirm this.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, unfortunate young woman, allowed herself to be used by a group of nasty men too cowardly to strap on a boom vest themselves, and now she's dead.
A suicide bomber struck a gathering of anti-al-Qaida tribal leaders in troubled Anbar province on Tuesday, blowing up his car as they met, killing at least 15 people, police and hospital officials reported.
The elders belonged to the al-Buissa tribe, a majority of whom have joined in an alliance, the Anbar Salvation Council, against the group al-Qaida in Iraq. Police said the car bomb exploded in their midst as they sought to solve a tribal dispute in a market in Amiriyah, 65 kilometers west of Baghdad. As many as 18 people were killed and 15 wounded, according to police and Dr. Ahmed Hussein of Fallujah hospital. A US military spokesman in the area, Marine Maj. Jeff Pool, put the number of dead at 15 and the wounded at 13.
Is lunch over *already*? That was some mighty fine pie.
Hamas and Fatah forces fought a major gun battle on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip near the Karni commercial crossing. The incident is the most serious flare-up in factional fighting in two weeks. An officer with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Presidential Guard said a "large number" of Hamas militants attacked a key Presidential Guard position near the crossing, wounding at least one guard member. The Presidential Guard officer said the Hamas fighters attempted to infiltrate the position but were pushed back by the Presidential Guard, a Fatah-dominated force which receives U.S. backing.
Hamas, which leads a Palestinian unity government with Abbas's Fatah faction, confirmed the nearly three-hour-long gun battle near Karni but said the Presidential Guard initiated the exchange. A senior Western security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there were several injuries on the Hamas side. Hamas had no immediate comment on whether its forces sustained any casualties.
The Western security source said Hamas attacked the same position, a Presidential Guard training base next to Karni, on May 15 at the height of last month's factional fighting between Fatah and Hamas. Tuesday's flare-up near Karni was the most serious since a shaky ceasefire between Fatah and Hamas took hold two weeks ago after a wave of factional fighting killed some 50 Palestinians.
A senior Western security source said between 50 and 100 Hamas militants took part in the morning assault, but those figures could not be independently confirmed. "They (the Hamas militants) tried to take over the crossing but were repulsed," the Western security source said.
According to the latest news from Nahr-el Bared refugee camp, the morale of Fatah al-Islam is crumbling and their leader Shaker al-Absi has rolled up his prayer mat and caught the last flying carpet to Damascus threatened to kill all those that surrender. But many fighters have surrendered or in the process of doing so. According to the latest report 22 have surrendered to Fatah mainstream organization. Fatah mainstream is fully supportive of the army and it is expected that all those that surrender will be turned over to the justice department.
D'ya think Hezbollah will lend out an old rusty amb'lance shot full of holes by Israeli American missiles?
Lebanons prime minister Fouad Siniora has promised all those that surrender a fair trial.
Right after a fair execution
Fighting nevertheless continues at Nahr-el Bared amidst reports that the army has tightened its grip on the terrorists to finish them off as planned. Lebanon is battling on several fronts to crush Islamist militants after deadly firefights broke out in a second Palestinian refugee camp and another bomb blast struck the capital. The situation remained tense around two refugee camps at opposite ends of the country where the army has been fighting armed militias which operate outside the control of the Lebanese authorities. In all, 108 people have been killed in 17 days of bloodshed, the deadliest internal feuding since the 1975-1990 civil war that has added to tensions in a country already in the grip of an acute political crisis.
The unrest is centered around the Nahr al-Bared camp on the shores of the Mediterranean in northern Lebanon where troops have been laying siege to Al-Qaeda inspired Sunni Muslim extremists from Fatah al-Islam. But fears it could spread through other camps were fuelled when deadly fighting broke out Sunday at the Ein al-Helweh camp between the army and members of another shadowy group known as Jund al-Sham or Soldiers of Damascus.
I thought it was "Soldiers of the Levant," but I guess they're better at Arabic than I am.
And underscoring the fragile security situation, a bomb ripped through a public bus in Christian east Beirut on Monday, wounding at least 13 people, a security source said. The explosion in the mixed residential and industrial district of Sed al-Baushrieh was the fourth to rock Lebanon since the clashes between the army and the Islamists broke out on May 20. "The bombings and the clashes are connected," Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said after an emergency cabinet meeting.
Footage broadcast by Lebanese television showed the bus had been burned out by the force of the explosion. Several parked cars and the facade of a nearby shopping centre were also badly damaged. The security source said one suspect had been arrested.
The blast came as sporadic battles erupted again around Nahr al-Bared, where the well-armed band of Fatah al-Islam fighters have been able to resist the superior firepower of the Lebanese military for more than two weeks. However, the situation remained calm around Ein al-Helweh in the southern city of Sidon on Tuesday after the fighting that left two Islamists and two soldiers dead on Monday. "We cannot feel safe when there are lawless areas with armed Islamists," complained businessman Mohamad Zein as hundreds of Palestinian refugees set up temporary homes in the city's parks.
The latest flare-up raised concerns the violence could spread to more of the 12 camps which hold well over half the 400,000 Palestinians in Lebanon, mostly in conditions of abject poverty, and have become breeding grounds for extremism. Jund al-Sham, which has no clear hierarchy or particular leader, is believed to have about 50 militants armed with assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
In north Lebanon, army troops including about 1,000 crack commandos were tightening the noose around the militants holed up in Nahr al-Bared, where both sides are vowing to fight to the end. "We will never surrender... we will fight till the last drop of blood," Fatah al-Islam spokesman Abu Salim Taha told Al-Jazeera television on Sunday. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has warned Fatah al-Islam to surrender or be wiped out.
Washington announced it was considering sending more supplies to the Lebanese army after Congress last month approved a seven-fold increase in military assistance for 2007 to 280 million dollars. "There are some additional items that are already under consideration that we are talking about with the Lebanese forces," said US national security adviser Stephen Hadley.
The earlier US aid package had already drawn strong criticism from Russia whose Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned of its potential to "destabilize" Lebanon. But Lebanons prime minister responded by saying Who will defend Lebanon if our army is weak ?"
It is not known whether the army is planning to enter the Nahr al-Bared camp for a final ground assault . By longstanding convention, it does not enter Lebanon's Palestinian refugee camps, leaving security inside to militant groups. Fatah al-Islam, a tiny but well-armed band of Sunni extremists which first surfaced only last year, is believed to have about 250 fighters, according to the prime minister.
They all want to fight to the death until they face death then surrender starts to look good. I am still waiting for the CNN/MSNBC/CBS/NBC/ABC film of the indiscriminate bombardment of the camp/town. As far as surrendering to Fatah, I bet a lot of them were surrendered by the point of the gun because Fatah has lost what little credibility it had in these camps.
Lebanese troops pounded Islamic gunmen hiding in a Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon on Tuesday, on the fifth straight day of the military's sustained assault to crush the Fatah al-Islam fighters.
Meanwhile, seven Fatah al-Islam members surrendered to the mainstream Palestinian faction of Fatah in the southern parts of the besieged Nahr el-Bared refuge camp near his northern port city, a Palestinian commander said. It was the first sign that a major Palestinian faction - in this case the Fatah group of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas - responded to calls by Lebanese authorities to actively campaign against the al-Qaida inspired Fatah al-Islam.
From his base in the southern Ein el-Hilweh Palestinian camp, Fatah commander Maj.-Gen. Khaled Aref told The Associated Press that the seven in Nahr el-Bared came over to Fatah positions there, handed over their weapons and pledged to stay out of the fighting. Aref also said that Fatah was trying to convince Palestinian residents of the camp who had sided with the gunmen to abandon the fight wreaking destruction on their homes.
After an overnight lull, fighting in Nahr el-Bared resumed Tuesday, with exchanges of heavy gunfire and sporadic explosions ringing out from the camp. Troops shelled the gunmens' hideouts with artillery fire, sending up plumes of white and gray smoke. Since Friday, when the army launched its offensive to drive the insurgents out, periods of lull and fierce fighting have alternated at the Nahr el-Bared camp and its outskirts. The army stepped up its offensive against the militants, who have embraced an al-Qaida-style doctrine, rejected government demands to surrender and vowed to fight to the death.
More than 100 people have been reported dead since the fighting first broke out May 20 between the army and Fatah al-Islam. It is the worst internal violence since the end of Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war. On Monday, the insurgents clashed with Lebanese troops in the Ein el-Hilweh camp - which is Lebanon's single largest Palestinian camp - threatening to open a new flashpoint that could complicate the military effort to defeat Fatah al-Islam. Two government soldiers and one of the gunmen were reported killed in the fighting at Ein el-Hilweh, in the southern city of Sidon, which began when the Jund al-Sham group attacked army outposts late Sunday.
But on Tuesday, Ein el-Hilweh remained calm. A security force made up of Palestinian Islamic factions that was set up to prevent further Jund al-Sham frictions with the army, was expected to deploy in the camp's neighborhoods that were the scene of Monday's clashes.
The bombardment of Nahr el-Bared has angered Palestinians in some of Lebanon's 11 other refugee camps and there were fears that fighting could spread. Ten soldiers have been killed and 44 wounded at Nahr el-Bared since Friday. Army casualties since the fighting began stood at 45 dead at Nahr el-Bared and two at Ein el-Hilweh. About 60 Fatah al-Islam operatives were also reported killed. At least 20 civilians have been reported dead at Nahr el-Bared, but recent civilian casualties were unknown. About 5,000 Palestinian refugees - and a couple of hundred gunmen - are believed to be still in Nahr el-Bared.
"Ma, don't wait up! I have to go away for a while. Give Allan my regards!"
Damascus, 5 June (AKI) -A man Lebanese authorities believe to be the mastermind in a series of attacks allegedly carried out by the militant Palestinian group Fatah al-Islam has fled Lebanon and is now in Syria, according to to a Lond-based pan-Arab newspaper.
"Curly-toed track shoes, don't fail me now!"
Lebanese judicial sources cited by the daily al-Sharq al-Awsat said the man, described as a young Lebanese, but not identified by name, plotted several attacks on military and tourist targets. The sources also said they believe he received instructions from abroad.
The man also planned the recent clashes between the Lebanese army and Fatah al-Islam fighters based in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared in northern Lebanon, according to information provided by several Fatah al-Islam fighters captured in the fighting.
According to al-Sharq al-Awsat, four Saudi Arabians allegedly linked to Fatah al-Islami were arrested in Lebanon where they were apparently involved in training the militants based there.
Yet another outrageous prevarication on the part of the current so-called war-mongering administration - and its every counterpart in the West - is to allow State-actors to get away with funding, arming and providing sanctuary to these evil b*stards. The modicum of spine we showed after 9/11 sent them all scurrying for their nests but years of allowing Syria and Iran and the rest to do as they please have removed all deterrence. I still think with contempt on the Royal Navy's recent performance in the Gulf.
I'm in the process of migrating the comments from MySQL to Postgres, which is a more robust database. Right now we're making two copies of each comment, one to each database, while I copy the old comments a month at a time. Occasionally things will get out of synch, but I'm hoping they'll be brought back to where they're supposed to be when the process is done.
Once I've moved the comments, which is the largest table, I'll move the articles. When they've been moved, I'll shut down MySQL.
If Postgres isn't robust enough to handle the load -- which it should be -- I can always use Oracle. I'll just have to rewrite major chunks of my code, rather than the minor chunks I'm dealing with now.
Yesterday I got in once via a Google Image search for "curly toed slippers" (don't ask). The first page of results had a July 2006 copy of the Defender-Scimitar and Times Picayune. Click on the pic, click on the googlecache, bada bing! I'm in. LOL.
Oracle Aplication Server running on Linux interfacing with a separate Oracle database server also on Linux. Then you could do the code in PL/SQL. I know, it's easy for me to say and in reality it would be a heck of a lot of work. But it would be robust. Keep up the good work and keep smiling and it'll piss 'em off all the more.
While we're talking technicalities, there's a minor bug I talked about a couple of days ago : when one wishes to use the two po*rn pics found in ye ole RB Stash'o pics, the "po*rn" and the "po*rno-jeremy", even when there's just the code for the pic and no text, the words-filter delete the entry, and so, the two pics are basically unusable, which is a shame. I don't suggest altering the words-filter or anything, just to rename the pics.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.