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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #65 - 6 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Get out now-Pilger (
   2. Pro-war Kurd opposes US policy (
   3. Bush Began to Plan War Three Months After 9/11 (Hassan)
   4. Nutcase rock and roll psy warfare ops (k hanly)
   5. Andrew Gilligan- now from Baghdad (ppg)
   6. Death of Scores of Mercenaries Not Reported (Hassan)


Message: 1
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2004 14:33:11 EDT
Subject: Get out now-Pilger

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Get out now

John Pilger

Cover story The New Stateman April 19 2004

Four years ago, I travelled the length of Iraq, from the hills where St
Matthew is buried in the Kurdish north to the heartland of Mesopotamia,
and Baghdad, and the Shia south. I have seldom felt as safe in any
country. Once, in the Edwardian colonnade of Baghdad's book market, a
young man shouted something at me about the hardship his family had been
forced to endure under the embargo imposed by America and Britain. What
happened next was typical of Iraqis; a passer-by calmed the man, putting
his arm around his shoulder, while another was quickly at my side.
"Forgive him," he said reassuringly. "We do not connect the people of the
west with the actions of their governments. You are welcome."

At one of the melancholy evening auctions where Iraqis come to sell their
most intimate possessions out of urgent need, a woman with two infants
watched as their pushchairs went for pennies, and a man who had collected
doves since he was 15 came with his last bird and its cage;  and yet
people said to me: "You are welcome." Such grace and dignity were often
expressed by those Iraqi exiles who loathed Saddam Hussein and opposed
both the economic siege and the Anglo-American assault on their homeland;
thousands of these anti-Saddamites marched against the war in London last
year, to the chagrin of the warmongers, who never understood the dichotomy
of their principled stand.

Were I to undertake the same journey in Iraq today, I might not return
alive. Foreign terrorists have ensured that. With the most lethal weapons
that billions of dollars can buy, and the threats of their cowboy generals
and the panic-stricken brutality of their foot soldiers, more than 120,000
of these invaders have ripped up the fabric of a nation that survived the
years of Saddam Hussein, just as they oversaw the destruction of its
artefacts. They have brought to Iraq a daily, murderous violence which
surpasses that of a tyrant who never promised a fake democracy.

Amnesty International reports that US-led forces have "shot Iraqis dead
during demonstrations, tortured and ill-treated prisoners, arrested people
arbitrarily and held them indefinitely, demolished houses in acts of
revenge and collective punishment".

In Fallujah, US marines, described as "tremendously precise" by their
psychopathic spokesman, slaughtered up to 600 people, according to
hospital directors. They did it with aircraft and heavy weapons deployed
in urban areas, as revenge for the killing of four American mercenaries.
Many of the dead of Fallujah were women and children and the elderly.
Only the Arab television networks, notably al-Jazeera, have shown the true
scale of this crime, while the Anglo-American media continue to channel
and amplify the lies of the White House and Downing Street.

"Writing exclusively for the Observer before a make-or-break summit with
President George Bush this week," sang Britain's former premier liberal
newspaper on 11 April, "[Tony Blair] gave full backing to American tactics
in Iraq . . . saying that the government would not flinch from its
'historic struggle' despite the efforts of 'insurgents and terrorists'."

That this "exclusive" was not presented as parody shows that the
propaganda engine that drove the lies of Blair and Bush on weapons of mass
destruction and al-Qaeda links for almost two years is still in service.
On BBC news bulletins and Newsnight, Blair's "terrorists" are still
currency, a term that is never applied to the principal source and cause
of the terrorism, the foreign invaders, who have now killed at least
11,000 civilians, according to Amnesty and others. The overall figure,
including conscripts, may be as high as 55,000.

That a nationalist uprising has been under way in Iraq for more than a
year, uniting at least 15 major groups, most of them opposed to the old
regime, has been suppressed in a mendacious lexicon invented in Washington
and London and reported incessantly, CNN-style. "Remnants"  and
"tribalists" and "fundamentalists" dominate, while Iraq is denied the
legacy of a history in which much of the modern world is rooted. The
"first-anniversary story" about a laughable poll claiming that half of all
Iraqis felt better off now under the occupation is a case in point.  The
BBC and the rest swallowed it whole. For the truth, I recommend the
courageous daily reporting of Jo Wilding, a British human rights observer
in Baghdad (

Even now, as the uprising spreads, there is only cryptic gesturing at the
obvious: that this is a war of national liberation and that the enemy is
"us". The pro-invasion Sydney Morning Herald is typical. Having expressed
"surprise" at the uniting of Shias and Sunnis, the paper's Baghdad
correspondent recently described "how GI bullies are making enemies of
their Iraqi friends" and how he and his driver had been threatened by
Americans. "I'll take you out quick as a flash, motherfucker!" a soldier
told the reporter. That this was merely a glimpse of the terror and
humiliation that Iraqis have to suffer every day in their own country was
not made clear; yet this newspaper has published image after unctuous
image of mournful American soldiers, inviting sympathy for an invader who
has "taken out" thousands of innocent men, women and children.

What we do routinely in the imperial west, wrote Richard Falk, professor
of international relations at Princeton, is propagate "through a
self-righteous, one-way moral/legal screen positive images of western
values and innocence that are threatened, validating a campaign of
unrestricted violence". Thus, western state terrorism is erased, and a
tenet of western journalism is to excuse or minimise "our" culpability,
however atrocious. Our dead are counted; theirs are not. Our victims are
worthy; theirs are not.

This is an old story; there have been many Iraqs, or what Blair calls
"historic struggles" waged against "insurgents and terrorists". Take Kenya
in the 1950s. The approved version is still cherished in the west - first
popularised in the press, then in fiction and movies; and like Iraq, it is
a lie. "The task to which we have set our minds," declared the governor of
Kenya in 1955, "is to civilise a great mass of human beings who are in a
very primitive moral and social state." The slaughter of thousands of
nationalists, who were never called nationalists, was British government
policy. The myth of the Kenyan uprising was that the Mau Mau brought
"demonic terror" to the heroic white settlers. In fact, the Mau Mau killed
just 32 Europeans, compared with the estimated 10,000 Kenyans killed by
the British, who ran concentration camps where the conditions were so
harsh that 402 inmates died in just one month. Torture, flogging and abuse
of women and children were commonplace. "The special prisons," wrote the
imperial histor-ian V G Kiernan, "were probably as bad as any similar Nazi
or Japanese establishments." None of this was reported. The "demonic
terror" was all one way: black against white. The racist message was

It was the same in Vietnam. In 1969, the discovery of the American
massacre in the village of My Lai was described on the cover of Newsweek
as "An American tragedy", not a Vietnamese one. In fact, there were many
massacres like My Lai, and almost none of them was reported at the time.

The real tragedy of soldiers policing a colonial occupation is also
suppressed. More than 58,000 American soldiers were killed in Vietnam.
The same number, according to a veterans' study, killed themselves on
their return home. Dr Doug Rokke, director of the US army depleted uranium
project following the 1991 Gulf invasion, estimates that more than 10,000
American troops have since died as a result, many from contamination
illness. When I asked him how many Iraqis had died, he raised his eyes and
shook his head. "Solid uranium was used on shells,"  he said. "Tens of
thousands of Iraqis - men, women and children - were contaminated. Right
through the 1990s, at international symposiums, I watched Iraqi officials
approach their counterparts from the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence
and ask, plead, for help with decontamination. The Iraqis didn't use
uranium; it was not their weapon.  I watched them put their case,
describing the deaths and horrific deformities, and I watched them
rebuffed. It was pathetic." During last year's invasion, both American and
British forces again used uranium-tipped shells, leaving whole areas so
"hot" with radiation that only military survey teams in full protective
clothing can approach them. No warning or medical help is given to Iraqi
civilians; thousands of children play in these zones. The "coalition" has
refused to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to send experts to
assess what Rokke describes as "a catastrophe".

When will this catastrophe be properly reported by those meant to keep the
record straight? When will the BBC and others investigate the conditions
of some 10,000 Iraqis held without charge, many of them tortured, in US
concentration camps inside Iraq, and the corralling, with razor wire, of
entire Iraqi villages? When will the BBC and others stop referring to "the
handover of Iraqi sovereignty" on 30 June, although there will be no such
handover? The new regime will be stooges, with each ministry controlled by
American officials and with its stooge army and stooge police force run by
Americans. A Saddamite law prohibiting trade unions for public sector
workers will stay in force.  Leading members of Saddam's infamous secret
police, the Mukhabarat, will run "state security", directed by the CIA.
The US military will have the same "status of forces" agreement that they
impose on the host nations of their 750 bases around the world, which in
effect leaves them in charge. Iraq will be a US colony, like Haiti. And
when will journalists have the professional courage to report the pivotal
role that Israel has played in this grand colonial design for the Middle

A few weeks ago, Rick Mercier, a young columnist for the Free-lance Star,
a small paper in Virginia, did what no other journalist has done this past
year. He apologised to his readers for the travesty of the reporting of
events leading to the attack on Iraq. "Sorry we let unsubstantiated claims
drive our coverage," he wrote. "Sorry we let a band of self-serving Iraqi
defectors make fools of us. Sorry we fell for Colin Powell's performance
at the United Nations . . . Maybe we'll do a better job next war."

Well done, Rick Mercier. But listen to the silence of your colleagues on
both sides of the Atlantic. No one expects Fox or Wapping or the Daily
Telegraph to relent. But what about David Astor's beacon of liberalism,
the Observer, which stood against the invasion of Egypt in 1956 and its
attendant lies? The Observer not only backed last year's unprovoked,
illegal assault on Iraq; it helped create the mendacious atmosphere in
which Blair could get away with his crime. The reputation of the Observer,
and the fact that it published occasional mitigating material, meant that
lies and myths gained legitimacy. A front-page story gave credence to the
bogus claim that Iraq was behind the anthrax attacks in the US. And there
were those unnamed western "intelligence sources", all those straw men,
all those hints, in David Rose's two-page "investigation" headlined "The
Iraqi connection", that left readers with the impression that Saddam
Hussein might well have had a lot to do with the attacks of 11 September
2001. "There are occasions in history,"  wrote Rose, "when the use of
force is both right and sensible. This is one of them." Tell that to
11,000 dead civilians, Mr Rose.

It is said that British officers in Iraq now describe the "tactics" of
their American comrades as "appalling". No, the very nature of a colonial
occupation is appalling, as the families of 13 Iraqis killed by British
soldiers, who are taking the British government to court, will agree. If
the British military brass understand an inkling of their own colonial
past, not least the bloody British retreat from Iraq 83 years ago, they
will whisper in the ear of the little Wellington-cum-Palmerston in 10
Downing Street: "Get out now, before we are thrown out."


Message: 2
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2004 14:51:05 EDT
Subject: Pro-war Kurd opposes US policy

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Give us hope, not bombs
 Ayub Nuri
16 - 4 - 2004

An Iraqi Kurd who welcomed the US war in his country sees arrogance and for=
crushing chances for freedom. His view: American occupation policy is
dangerously misjudged.

One year ago the Iraqi people welcomed the US troops into their country.
Despite all the hazards of the war, Iraqis could not help coming out of the=
homes and onto their roofs to wave their hands at the US soldiers. Saddam H=
s repressive regime had left few Iraqis against the war. The majority could
not wait for war to overthrow Saddam. Now, American occupation policy has
sharply reduced the numbers of Iraqis welcoming the war and its results. Ki=
thirteen civilians in Falluja in May 2003 lit the fire of a resistance that=
exacted a heavy price from the American army ever since. Those people were
immediately called =E2=80=9Cterrorists and supporters of Saddam Hussein=E2=
=80=9D by the occupying
powers. Saddam=E2=80=99s regime had been overthrown and he himself captured=
, but the
US was still happy to invoke that enemy to fill a space created by the
non-existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which had justified t=
heir war
in the first place. One big mistake made by the Americans has led to today=
critical situation. This was the neglect of a significant section of Iraqi
society, and the man they look to at this turning point in Iraqi history. M=
al-Sadr is the son of one of the highest Shi=E2=80=99ite clerics, Muhammad =
al-Sadr, assassinated by Saddam=E2=80=99s security services in 1999. The Am=
erican occupying
authorities created an Iraqi Governing Council (ICG) in July last year and
appointed 25 politicians and party leaders members of this Council. Later, =
set up a ministerial cabinet, blatantly consisting almost exclusively of
brothers, sons or cousins of the members of the IGC. Muqtada al-Sadr was ne=
consulted nor acknowledged in the creation of either of these institutions.=
reaction, al-Sadr promptly organised his own militia (the Mahdi army) and
nominated his own government. Muqtada al-Sadr is himself only young, but he=
 is the
son of a cleric as revered in status as Ayatollah Sistani, whom the US
authorities in Iraq listen to and take seriously. The occupying forces did =
properly register or appreciate the calm and peaceful environment that the =
leaders and community had insisted upon and permitted to exist from the mom=
that Saddam=E2=80=99s regime fell. From the beginning, Muqtada al-Sadr repe=
ated over
and over again that he did not court or encourage violence against the occu=
forces. This expression of good will was met by the arrest of al-Sadr=E2=80=
deputy in Najaf, and the summary closure of his newspaper Al-Hawza.

    For further views on Al-Hawza and its closure, see articles in the Asia
Times and the World Press Review.

One of the factors that allowed the US forces to deal with the so-called =
Sunni Triangle=E2=80=9D was Shi=E2=80=99ite support for regime change in Ir=
aq. But it is very
difficult to find a convincing, neat description for the type of violence a=
resistance taking place against US forces today. The Shi=E2=80=99ites have =
risen against
the US presence and fight as strongly as the Sunnis do in Falluja and Ramad=
Everybody expected the US authorities to seek a peaceful solution to calm t=
situation down immediately after the Shi=E2=80=99ites got involved. But onc=
e again
they have made the same mistake =E2=80=93 resorted to force, relying on the=
ir tanks to
solve the problem. Neither Muqtada al-Sadr=E2=80=99s supporters nor the Sun=
ni fighters
are a small group, as the US Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, would have
the world believe. These are Shi=E2=80=99ite and Sunni Muslims who reject t=
he occupation
of their country. I went to a meeting of sheikhs and other well-known figur=
who had travelled to Sadr City to tell Muqtada al-Sadr=E2=80=99s representa=
tive in
Baghdad that they were ready to offer their souls, their families and their
money to support Sadr=E2=80=99s revolution. Sheikh Adil al Shara, the deput=
y of al-Sadr=E2=80=99s
representative said to those present, =E2=80=9CBush and the Pentagon have t=
o realise
that the whole of the Iraqi people are the Mahdi army=E2=80=9D =E2=80=93 a =
clear reply to
General Kimmitt=E2=80=99s press conference pledge to =E2=80=9Cdestroy the M=
ahdi army=E2=80=9D. Think of
all the expectations that Iraqi people had for rebuilding the country, find=
jobs and a new life after Saddam; and all the promises that the US presiden=
made to Iraqis, including liberation, rebuilding and democracy. The US army=
using F16 fighter planes and cluster bombs against Iraqi civilians, and
besieging Iraq=E2=80=99s towns. Heavy bombing is not what the Iraqi people =
wanted from
America. Nothing about the coalition forces in Iraq rings true. Japanese tr=
came into Iraq, based in the southern province of Samawa, maintaining that =
have come to participate in rebuilding Iraq. But when has rebuilding been
carried out by tanks, armed vehicles and military bulldozers? America is ve=
proud of its military power, but Americans must understand that this does n=
impress the Iraqi people. We have been through so many wars. We are so very=
accustomed to bombing and killing. Moreover, have the US authorities forgot=
that every house in Iraq has got at least one gun with enough ammunition fo=
the foreseeable future? As we see in some of the battles taking place now, =
families have got heavy weapons. What is 150 thousand US soldiers in the fa=
of Iraq=E2=80=99s multi-million population? A small number of US generals a=
19-year-old soldiers are attempting to take on a very traditional Muslim po=
Most US soldiers have no idea what they have come to Iraq for. They have be=
brained-washed by the words =E2=80=9Cfighting terrorism and liberating a na=
Meanwhile, we hear many rumours about contracts being signed by US administ=
Paul Bremer for millions of dollars. This is taking place when, since 9 Apr=
2003, not one single stone has been put on top of another stone to rebuild
Iraq. Had the coalition forces really come to rebuild Iraq, the war-torn Ir=
people would never have let militias come into being to impede that process=
. But
the Iraqi people are not told what is going on inside the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA) and the governing council: what deals are signe=
d and with
which companies? Sure enough, several militia groups have mushroomed all ov=
the country: not just the Mahdi army, but the Iraqi Mujahideen, the Muhamma=
army, the Ansar al Sunna (Iraqi resistance) and several other unknown group=
s. I
expect the Iraqi people will keep quiet about these groups=E2=80=99 activit=
ies. Many
Iraqis have been arrested for carrying small guns such as pistols. Elsewher=
e in
the country, several children have been killed for pointing plastic toy
weapons at US soldiers. Thanks to the misguided arrogance of Iraqi advisors=
spent almost their whole life in the west, the American army ran into a bat=
this week, screened throughout the whole world, which ended up with them ha=
to negotiate. Muqtada al-Sadr=E2=80=99s group are described as Saddam-suppo=
rting thugs
like the fighters in Falluja. But I have been to both areas and these are
people who had high expectations for post war Iraq, like every other Iraqi.=
has it happened in history that a group of thugs and gangsters have taken o=
n a
strong army like that of the US? Thugs rob banks and break into supermarket=
Clearly al-Sadr=E2=80=99s Mahdi army like the Sunnis in Falluja have lost t=
patience and what little trust they have in the Americans. This suggests ma=
ny more
people could join them. A young supporter of Muqtada al-Sadr came up to me =
said, =E2=80=9Cwe have Mr Bush to thank for making us put aside our differe=
nces with
the Sunnis and get united=E2=80=9D. That is a message which means America c=
an no
longer explain away the Sunnis as Saddam loyalists, because the Shi=E2=80=
=99ites were
systematically exterminated by him. Muqtada al-Sadr is called an outlaw for=
a militia. But there is another story to be told about militias in Iraq.
Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi National Congress, Ayad Alawi of the Ira=
National Accord, and Abdul Aziz Hakim of the Supreme Council for Islamic
revolution in Iraq, are all members of the IGC. They have always had their =
militias. These militias have joined the new Iraqi army, but as soon as the=
re is the
slightest whiff of danger threatening their own position, or even in the
eventuality of an election failure, these leaders will whip their militias =
out of
the Iraqi army in a second. Muqtada, by contrast, has never left the countr=
y. He
has certainly not spent his life abroad for 20 years or more. He is accused
of seeking power. But what is it but the love of power and influence that h=
kept the members of the IGC quiet in the face of all the crimes committed b=
the US army against the people of Iraq? If there is to be any democracy in
post-Saddam Iraq, let people from Falluja and Kufa be active in the country=
politics. Then a free election can decide who should stay and who should go=


Message: 3
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 06:05:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hassan <>
Subject: Bush Began to Plan War Three Months After 9/11
To: CASI newsclippings <>

Bush Began to Plan War Three Months After 9/11
Book Says President Called Secrecy Vital
By William Hamilton

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 17, 2004; Page A01

Beginning in late December 2001, President Bush met
repeatedly with Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks and his war
cabinet to plan the U.S. attack on Iraq even as he and
administration spokesmen insisted they were pursuing a
diplomatic solution, according to a new book on the
origins of the war.

The intensive war planning throughout 2002 created its
own momentum, according to "Plan of Attack" by Bob
Woodward, fueled in part by the CIA's conclusion that
Saddam Hussein could not be removed from power except
through a war and CIA Director George J. Tenet's
assurance to the president that it was a "slam dunk"
case that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

In 31/2 hours of interviews with Woodward, an
assistant managing editor at The Washington Post, Bush
said that the secret planning was necessary to avoid
"enormous international angst and domestic
speculation" and that "war is my absolute last

Adding to the momentum, Woodward writes, was the
pressure from advocates of war inside the
administration. Vice President Cheney, whom Woodward
describes as a "powerful, steamrolling force," led
that group and had developed what some of his
colleagues felt was a "fever" about removing Hussein
by force.

By early January 2003, Bush had made up his mind to
take military action against Iraq, according to the
book. But Bush was so concerned that the government of
his closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair,
might fall because of his support for Bush that he
delayed the war's start until March 19 here (March 20
in Iraq) because Blair asked him to seek a second
resolution from the United Nations. Bush later gave
Blair the option of withholding British troops from
combat, which Blair rejected. "I said I'm with you. I
mean it," Blair replied.

Woodward describes a relationship between Cheney and
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that became so
strained Cheney and Powell are barely on speaking
terms. Cheney engaged in a bitter and eventually
winning struggle over Iraq with Powell, an opponent of
war who believed Cheney was obsessively trying to
establish a connection between Iraq and the al Qaeda
terrorist network and treated ambiguous intelligence
as fact.

Powell felt Cheney and his allies -- his chief aide,
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul D. Wolfowitz; and Undersecretary of Defense for
Policy Douglas J. Feith and what Powell called Feith's
"Gestapo" office -- had established what amounted to a
separate government. The vice president, for his part,
believed Powell was mainly concerned with his own
popularity and told friends at a dinner he hosted a
year ago celebrating the outcome of the war that
Powell was a problem and "always had major
reservations about what we were trying to do."

Before the war with Iraq, Powell bluntly told Bush
that if he sent U.S. troops there "you're going to be
owning this place." Powell and his deputy and closest
friend, Richard L. Armitage, used to refer to what
they called "the Pottery Barn rule" on Iraq: "You
break it, you own it," according to Woodward.

But, when asked personally by the president, Powell
agreed to make the U.S. case against Hussein at the
United Nations in February 2003, a presentation
described by White House communications director Dan
Bartlett as "the Powell buy-in." Bush wanted someone
with Powell's credibility to present the evidence that
Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, a case
the president had initially found less than convincing
when presented to him by CIA Deputy Director John E.
McLaughlin at a White House meeting on Dec. 21, 2002.

McLaughlin's version used communications intercepts,
satellite photos, diagrams and other intelligence.
"Nice try," Bush said when the CIA official was
finished, according to the book. "I don't think this
quite -- it's not something that Joe Public would
understand or would gain a lot of confidence from."

He then turned to Tenet, McLaughlin's boss, and said,
"I've been told all this intelligence about having
WMD, and this is the best we've got?"
"It's a slam-dunk case," Tenet replied, throwing his
arms in the air. Bush pressed him again. "George, how
confident are you?"

"Don't worry, it's a slam dunk," Tenet repeated.
Tenet later told associates he should have said the
evidence on weapons was not ironclad, according to
Woodward. After the CIA director made a rare public
speech in February defending the CIA's handling of
intelligence about Iraq, Bush called him to say he had
done "a great job."

In his previous book, "Bush at War," Woodward
described the administration's response to the
terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001: its decision to
attack the Taliban government in Afghanistan and its
increasing focus on Iraq. His new book is a narrative
history of how Bush and his administration launched
the war on Iraq. It is based on interviews with more
than 75 people, including Bush and Defense Secretary
Donald H. Rumsfeld.

On Nov. 21, 2001, 72 days after the terrorist attacks
on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Bush
directed Rumsfeld to begin planning for war with Iraq.
"Let's get started on this," Bush recalled saying.
"And get Tommy Franks looking at what it would take to
protect America by removing Saddam Hussein if we have
to." He also asked: Could this be done on a basis that
would not be terribly noticeable?

Bush received his first detailed briefing on Iraq war
plans five weeks later, on Dec. 28, when Gen. Tommy R.
Franks, the head of the U.S. Central Command, visited
Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Tex. Bush told
reporters afterward that they had discussed

While it has been previously reported that Bush
directed the Pentagon to begin considering options for
an invasion of Iraq immediately after the Sept. 11
attacks, Bush's order to Rumsfeld began an intensive
process in which Franks worked in secret with a small
staff, talked almost daily with the defense secretary
and met about once a month with Bush.

This week, the president acknowledged that the violent
uprising against U.S. troops in Iraq has resulted in
"a tough, tough series of weeks for the American
people." But he insisted that his course of action in
Iraq has been the correct one in language that echoed
what he told Woodward more than four months ago.

In two interviews with Woodward in December, Bush
minimized the failure to find the weapons of mass
destruction, expressed no doubts about his decision to
invade Iraq, and enunciated an activist role for the
United States based on it being "the beacon for
freedom in the world."

"I believe we have a duty to free people," Bush told
Woodward. "I would hope we wouldn't have to do it
militarily, but we have a duty."

The president described praying as he walked outside
the Oval Office after giving the order to begin combat
operations against Iraq, and the powerful role his
religious beliefs played throughout that time.
"Going into this period, I was praying for strength to
do the Lord's will. . . . I'm surely not going to
justify war based upon God. Understand that.
Nevertheless, in my case I pray that I be as good a
messenger of His will as possible. And then, of
course, I pray for personal strength and for

The president told Woodward: "I am prepared to risk my
presidency to do what I think is right. I was going to
act. And if it could cost the presidency, I fully
realized that. But I felt so strongly that it was the
right thing to do that I was prepared to do so."

Asked by Woodward how history would judge the war,
Bush replied: "History. We don't know. We'll all be

The president told Woodward he was cooperating on his
book because he wanted the story of how the United
States had gone to war in Iraq to be told. He said it
would be a blueprint of historical significance that
"will enable other leaders, if they feel like they
have to go to war, to spare innocent citizens and
their lives."

"But the news of this, in my judgment," Bush added,
"the big news out of this isn't how George W. makes
decisions. To me the big news is America has changed
how you fight and win war, and therefore makes it
easier to keep the peace in the long run. And that's
the historical significance of this book, as far as
I'm concerned."

Bush's critics have questioned whether he and his
administration were focused on Iraq rather than
terrorism when they took office early in 2001 and even
after the Sept. 11 attacks. Former Treasury secretary
Paul H. O'Neill and former White House
counterterrorism coordinator Richard A. Clarke have
made that charge in recently published memoirs.

According to "Plan of Attack," it was Cheney who was
particularly focused on Iraq before the terrorist
attacks. Before Bush's inauguration, Cheney sent word
to departing Defense Secretary William S. Cohen that
he wanted the traditional briefing given an incoming
president to be a serious "discussion about Iraq and
different options." Bush specifically assigned Cheney
to focus as vice president on intelligence scenarios,
particularly the possibility that terrorists would
obtain nuclear or biological weapons.

Early discussions among the administration's national
security "principals" -- Cheney, Powell, Tenet and
national security adviser Condoleezza Rice -- and
their deputies focused on how to weaken Hussein
diplomatically. But Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz
proposed sending in the military to seize Iraq's
southern oil fields and establish the area as a
foothold from which opposition groups could overthrow

Powell dismissed the plan as "lunacy," according to
Woodward, and told Bush what he thought. "You don't
have to be bullied into this," Powell said.
Bush told Woodward he never saw a formal plan for a
quick strike. "The idea may have floated around as an
interesting nugget to chew on," he said.

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.,
according to Woodward, compared Bush to a circus rider
with one foot on a "diplomacy" steed and the other on
a "war" steed, both heading toward the same
destination: regime change in Iraq. When it was clear
that diplomacy would not get him to his goal, Card
said, Bush let go of that horse and rode the one
called war.

But as the planning proceeded, the administration
began taking steps that Woodward describes as helping
to make war inevitable. On Feb. 16, 2002, Bush signed
an intelligence finding that directed the CIA to help
the military overthrow Hussein and conduct operations
within Iraq. At the time, according to "Plan of
Attack," the CIA had only four informants in Iraq and
told Bush that it would be impossible to overthrow
Hussein through a coup.

In July, a CIA team entered northern Iraq and began to
lay the groundwork for covert action, eventually
recruiting an extensive network of 87 Iraqi informants
code-named ROCKSTARS who gave the U.S. detailed
information on Iraqi forces, including a CD-ROM
containing the personnel files of the Iraq Special
Security Organization (SSO).

Woodward writes that the CIA essentially became an
advocate for war first by asserting that covert action
would be ineffective, and later by saying that its new
network of spies would be endangered if the United
States did not attack Iraq. Another factor in the
gathering momentum were the forces the military began
shifting to Kuwait, the pre-positioning that was a key
component of Franks's planning.

In the summer of 2002, Bush approved $700 million
worth of "preparatory tasks" in the Persian Gulf
region such as upgrading airfields, bases, fuel
pipelines and munitions storage depots to accommodate
a massive U.S. troop deployment. The Bush
administration funded the projects from a supplemental
appropriations bill for the war in Afghanistan and old
appropriations, keeping Congress unaware of the
reprogramming of money and the eventual cost.

During that summer, Powell and Cheney engaged in some
of their sharpest debates. Powell argued that the
United States should take its case to the United
Nations, which Cheney said was a waste of time.
Woodward had described some of that conflict in "Bush
at War."

Among Powell's allies was Brent Scowcroft, national
security adviser to Bush's father, who wrote an op-ed
piece against the war for the Wall Street Journal.
After it was published in August 2002, Powell thanked
Scowcroft for giving him "some running room." But Rice
called Scowcroft to tell her former boss that it
looked as if he was speaking for Bush's father and
that the article was a slap at the incumbent

Despite Powell's admonitions to the president, "Plan
of Attack" suggests it was Blair who may have played a
more critical role in persuading Bush to seek a
resolution from the United Nations. At a meeting with
the president at Camp David in early September, Blair
backed Bush on Iraq but said he needed to show he had
tried U.N. diplomacy. Bush agreed, and later referred
to the Camp David session with Blair as "the cojones
meeting," using a colloquial Spanish term for courage.

After the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution
authorizing the resumption of weapons inspections in
Iraq, Bush became increasingly impatient with their
effectiveness and the role of chief weapons inspector
Hans Blix. Shortly after New Year's 2003, he told Rice
at his Texas ranch: "We're not winning. Time is not on
our side here. Probably going to have to, we're going
to have to go to war."

Bush said much the same thing to White House political
adviser Karl Rove, who had gone to Crawford to brief
him on plans for his reelection campaign. In the next
10 days, Bush also made his decision known to Cheney,
Rumsfeld, Powell and the Saudi ambassador, Prince
Bandar bin Sultan. Bandar, who helped arrange Saudi
cooperation with the U.S. military, feared Saudi
interests would be damaged if Bush did not follow
through on attacking Hussein, and became another
advocate for war.

According to "Plan of Attack," Bush asked Rice and his
longtime communications adviser, Karen Hughes, whether
he should attack Iraq, but he did not specifically ask
Powell or Rumsfeld. "I could tell what they thought,"
the president said. "I didn't need to ask their
opinion about Saddam Hussein or how to deal with
Saddam Hussein. If you were sitting where I sit, you
could be pretty clear."

Rumsfeld, whom Woodward interviewed for three hours,
is portrayed in the book as a "defense technocrat"
intimately involved with details of the war planning
but not focused on the need to attack Iraq in the same
way that Cheney and some of Rumsfeld's subordinates
such as Wolfowitz and Feith were.

Bush told Powell of his decision in a brief meeting in
the White House. Evidently concerned about Powell's
reaction, he said, "Are you with me on this? I think I
have to do this. I want you with me."

"I'll do the best I can," Powell answered. "Yes, sir,
I will support you. I'm with you, Mr. President."

Bush said he did not remember asking the question of
his father, former president George H.W. Bush, who
fought Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. But, he
added that the two had discussed developments in Iraq.

"You know he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms
of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal
to," Bush said.

Describing what the 41st president said to him about
Iraq, the 43rd president told Woodward:

"It was less 'Here's how you have to take care of the
guy [Hussein]' and more 'I've been through what you've
been through and I know what's happening and therefore
I love you' would be a more accurate way to describe

=A9 2004 The Washington Post Company

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Message: 4
From: "k hanly" <>
To: "newsclippings" <>
Cc: "pen" <>
Subject: Nutcase rock and roll psy warfare ops
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 10:58:14 -0500

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

Along Fallujah's front line, U.S. uses rock 'n' roll to snag insurgents

Saturday, April 17, 2004

By Jason Keyser
The Associated Press

FALLUJAH, Iraq - In Fallujah's darkened, empty streets, U.S. troops blast
AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" and other rock music full volume from a huge speaker=
hoping to grate on the nerves of this Sunni Muslim city's gunmen and give a
laugh to Marines along the front line.
Unable to advance farther into the city, an Army psychological operations
team hopes a mix of heavy metal and insults shouted in Arabic - including,
"You shoot like a goat herder" - will draw gunmen to step forward and
attack. But no luck Thursday night.

The loud music recalls the Army's use of rap and rock to help flush out
Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega after the December 1989 invasion on his
country, and the FBI's blaring progressively more irritating tunes in an
attempt to end a standoff with armed members of the Branch Davidian cult in
Waco, Texas, in 1993.

The Marines' psychological operations came as U.S. negotiators were pressin=
Fallujah representatives to get gunmen in the city to abide by a cease-fire=

Six days after negotiations halted a U.S. offensive against insurgents in
the city, the Marines continue carving out front-line positions and hope fo=
orders to push forward. Many are questioning the value of truce talks with
an enemy who continues to launch attacks.

"These guys don't have a centralized leader; they're just here to fight. I
don't see what negotiations are going to do," said Capt. Shannon Johnson, a
company commander for the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. Word of truce
talks last week forced his battalion to halt its plunge into the northeast
section of the city just hours after arriving to back up other Marines.

In the meantime, perhaps the fiercest enemy - everyone here seems to agree =
is the boredom, and worst of all the flies that pepper this dusty Euphrates
River city west of Baghdad. Marines burn them, using matches to turn cans o=
flammable bug spray into mini blow torches. They also try to kill them by
sprinkling diesel fuel over fly colonies. They joke about calling in air

Fallujah's front lines remain dangerous.

On Friday, insurgents fired several mortars at U.S. forces. One of the
shells blasted a chunk out of a house where Marines are positioned, filling
the building with dust and smoke. No one was injured.

A short time later, an F-16 jet dropped a 2,000-pound bomb on the city,
sending up a massive spray of dirt and smoke and destroying a building wher=
Marines had spotted gunmen.

"The longer we wait to push into the city, the more dangerous it's going to
be," said Cpl. Miles Hill, 21, from Oklahoma, playing a game of chess with =
fellow Marine in a house they control.

"(The insurgents) have time to set stuff up." He guesses the insurgents are
likely rigging doors with explosives, knowing Marines will kick them in
during searches if they sweep the city.

Up on the roof, Pfc. James Cathcart, 18, kept watch from a sandbagged
machine-gunner's nest Friday. His platoon commander passed along word that
troops found a weapons cache that included a Soviet-made sniper rifle with =

"A night-sight, sir?" he said, surprised that insurgents had the technology=
His commander told him to keep his head down. "Everyone here wants to push
forward. Here, you're just a target," Cathcart said.

The young Marine looked out over grim city blocks around a dusty soccer
pitch and a trash-strewn lot, as a rain shower passed over. He said during
the long hours of duty, he wonders what the insurgents are doing, how many
there are and if they're watching him.

Adding to the eery feeling up, he said, are the music and speeches in Arabi=
that come over mosque loudspeakers.

Unable to advance farther, Marines holed up in front-line houses have linke=
the buildings by blasting or hammering holes through walls between them and
laying planks across gaps between rooftops, a series of passageways they
call the "rat line."

Lying on his stomach on a rooftop and wearing goggles and earplugs, a Marin=
sniper keeps an eye to his rifle sight. His main task in recent days has
been trying to hit the black-garbed gunmen who occasionally dash across the
long street in front of him. To dodge his shots, one of the gunmen recently
launched into a rolling dive across the street, a move that had the sniper
and his buddies laughing.

"I think I got him later. The same guy came back and tried to do a low
crawl," said Lance Cpl. Khristopher Williams, 20, from Fort Myers, Fla.

Others have run across the street, hiding behind children on bicycles, said
the sniper. In his position - reachable only by scaling the outside ledge o=
a building - he sits for hours with his finger poised on the trigger of a
rifle that fires 50-caliber armor-piercing bullets with such force that the
muzzle flash and exiting gasses from the weapon have blackened the bricks
around the gun.

On the street in front of his position sits a car riddled with bullets,
where the bloated, fly-infested bodies of three armed men have been left.
The vehicle was shot by Marine gunmen before the sniper set up his position=

Along the front line, Marines have been firing warning shots to scare away
dogs chewing on corpses. In some cases, the troops have wrapped bodies in
blankets and buried them in shallow graves.

At night, the psychological operations unit attached to the Marine battalio=
here sends out messages from a loudspeaker mounted on an armored Humvee. On
Thursday night, the crew and its Arabic-language interpreter taunted
fighters, saying, "May all the ambulances in Fallujah have enough fuel to
pick up the bodies of the mujahadeen."

The message was specially timed for an attack moments later by an AC-130
gunship that pounded targets in the city.

Later, the team blasted Jimi Hendrix and other rock music, and afterward
some sound effects like babies crying, men screaming, a symphony of cats an=
barking dogs and piercing screeches. They were unable to draw any gunmen to
fight, and seemed disappointed.

=A9 2004 Associated Press - All rights reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Message: 5
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: Andrew Gilligan- now from Baghdad
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 12:36:07 -0400

Spectator UK
 17 April 2004

The sound of rockets in the morning

Iraq is a disaster in the making, says Andrew Gilligan, unless the American=
learn to stop playing into the hands of their enemies


Twelve months after the war which was supposed to return Iraq to the
=91international community=92, to open it up for democracy, trade and progr=
Baghdad is a city almost totally cut off from the outside world.

Not one of the four main roads linking the capital with its neighbours,
Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Kuwait, is safe to travel on. At the city
approaches from north, south and west, Baghdad has gunmen like London has
DIY warehouses. Iraqis are routinely stopped and robbed. As for foreigners,
anyone stupid enough to try these roads has, in the last few days, almost
always ended up a hostage, or dead.

There is only one comparatively safe way in for Westerners =97 a single dai=
flight from Amman with Royal Jordanian, the last civil airline still
reckless enough to fly into the war zone. On board, RJ gallantly pretends
that everything is normal. There are boarding passes, in-flight magazines,
small beige meals on plastic trays. But then you notice that the entire cre=
seem to be South African. Many of your fellow passengers are wearing
stetsons. And when we come in to land, it is with a plummeting,
G-force-inducing corkscrew descent, designed to confuse anti-aircraft
missiles and keep the insurgents guessing about our final angle of approach
until the last possible moment.

On the road in from the airport, all the palm trees have been chopped down
to provide clear fields of fire. The parapets of every overbridge are toppe=
with high barbed-wire fences to prevent the grateful locals throwing rocks
at us. The terminal itself is a =91sterile zone=92, with no Iraqi and no
civilian motor vehicle allowed within two miles of it. The first port of
call, after dropping your bags at the hotel, is the Royal Jordanian office
to make absolutely sure of your seat out. The scene there is like Saigon,
say, two weeks before the fall: not quite open panic just yet, but not far
off it. The price of a return ticket for the 80-minute flight has risen to

The Coalition=92s loss of the most basic of all possible military
necessities =97 the security of its own supply, not to mention escape,
routes =97 says everything about the terrible mess it now finds itself in.
After the final collapse, earlier this year, of the case on weapons of mass
destruction, the events of the last ten days have ruthlessly stripped away
all Whitehall=92s and Washington=92s other remaining fantasies, deceptions =
pretences about Iraq: that the situation is =91gradually improving=92, that=
Iraqi people welcome us, that the resistance is confined to =91internationa=
terrorists=92 and Baathist =91remnants=92 determined to recapture the golde=
n days
of Saddam. These must be the world=92s only known =91remnants=92 which grow=
every week.

In Britain=92s case, there is also loss of the greatest delusion of all =97=
the British have any control whatever over the actions of the Coalition.
British officials have been reduced to complaining to newspapers that they
wouldn=92t do it like this, never the best of signs.

The main US military spokesman, Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt, is quite
clearly a man in denial. As recently as Tuesday, he was still claiming that
the fighting in the main battlefield, Fallujah, was all due to foreign
fighters, including the =91key al-Qa=92eda linchpin=92, Abu Musab al-Zarqaw=
i, who
has been linked by the Americans to more terrorist attacks than Semtex. Yet
only about 5 per cent of those captured or killed in Fallujah have been
foreigners. Kimmitt is the same man who greeted the beginning of the
violence last week as a =91localised uptick=92.

Watching Kimmitt=92s performance, it suddenly dawned on me that the Coaliti=
is in the same position as Saddam was during the war, living in a bunker,
convincing himself that everything was fine when all around the seeds of
failure were being sown. What has been lost since 4 April is not territory:
that can, and no doubt will, be regained, the supply routes re-secured; the
military force facing the Americans is not that great. What has been lost i=
credibility, both in the eyes of the world and, more importantly, among the
Iraqi people themselves.

The loss of credibility is nowhere more apparent than in the promises made,
and broken, about the new, postwar Iraq. Waiting in line at the Royal
Jordanian ticket counter, I flip through a British government dossier. Not
the famous, sexed-up weapons of mass destruction one, nor even the PhD
thesis ripped off by Dr Alastair Campbell, but the very final effort, the
DeLorean 83 Series, of the legendary Downing Street dossier production line=
This dossier, entitled =91A vision for Iraq and the Iraqi people=92, with a
foreword by the Prime Minister, plopped on to the newsdesks on 16 March
2003, four days before the outbreak of war. Not surprisingly, it attracted
little attention, and was published only on the Foreign Office website, the
dossier equivalent of straight-to-video. But it repays reading now.

=91We=92ve set out for you that should it come to conflict, we make a pledg=
e to
the people of Iraq,=92 writes Mr Blair. The pledges were for =91peace: a un=
Iraq living at peace with itself=92, for =91freedom: an Iraq whose people l=
free from repression and the fear of arbitrary arrest=92, and for =91good
government: an Iraq respecting the rule of law, whose government helps
rebuild Iraq=92s security and provides its people with food, water and high
quality public services, especially health and education=92. The UN, pledge=
the Prime Minister, will be heavily involved in Iraq=92s reconstruction and
will administer the country=92s oil revenues.

A year on, none of these reasonably modest promises has been carried out,
not even the one about freedom from repression (attacking a civilian city
with helicopter gunships, as the Americans did last week, can hardly be
described as community policing). Back in Baghdad for the first time since
the war, I cannot help feeling the most striking sense of d=E9j=E0 vu. The
Palestine Hotel, from which I covered the conflict, is as wretched as ever,
down to the last carpet stain and the 15-minute wait for the lifts. The
rickety concrete is still shaken by bombs and mortars; the early-morning
insurgent rocket attack on the Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters
across the river, and the blastaway American response, have become so
regular that they are known to the Palestine=92s inmates as the =91Dawn Cho=
Just as in the war, only this time for safety reasons, it is not possible t=
travel outside Baghdad.

A few things have changed. There are mobile telephones and satellite TV; my
Baghdad friends were able to watch my travails last summer on BBC World.
Looking at things from a distinctively Iraqi perspective, they all seemed
convinced that the British government had put me in prison. I had to
reassure them that Lord Hutton did not have quite such impressive powers as
Saddam Hussein. But there seems to have been virtually no new construction,
or reconstruction =97 not even always a making good of the depredations of =
war. At the Yarmuk hospital, where I spent several messy hours during the
bombing, the bloodstains have been cleaned from the walls, but even now not
all the medical equipment looted in the days after the liberation has been

In the Jumhuriya district of Baghdad, temporary home of thousands of
refugees from Fallujah, Iraqi hospitality towards foreigners is strained.
But I am eventually offered a glass of tea. =91The problem with the America=
in Fallujah is that they do not distinguish between friend and enemy,=92 sa=
Najim Abdullah al-Azzawi, a building contractor. =91So everyone ends up as =

Later, in a different part of town, I have a chance to observe the truth of
this maxim for myself. I am at the al-Mustansria University when it is
raided by the Americans for the second time that day. Sausen al-Samir, the
head of the English department, is showing me the damage they did on their
first visit =97 smashed doors and windows, broken furniture, a trashed
photocopier =97 when the campus is again surrounded and men in boots burst =
the stairs. =91F=97ing get out of here,=92 screams one of the soldiers, poi=
his gun at us. =91This is a Coalition operation.=92

Al-Samir, furious, stands her ground, demanding to be taken to the
commanding officer, Major Williams. =91I want an apology for this morning,=
she says. =91Ma=92am, I=92m not in the apology business given what we found=
he replies. Later the major takes me aside and shows me the haul: nine
Kalashnikovs, a pistol, a rocket-propelled grenade and leaflets calling for
violence against the Coalition. The raid is perfectly justified, but you ca=
=92t help thinking they could have done it more politely. Was it really
necessary to break all the doors down? Don=92t the university staff have ke=
How do the soldiers know that the leaflets were produced on the photocopier
they smashed =97 and anyway, don=92t rather a lot of other people need the
copier, too? =91We will look into all that, sir,=92 says the major. =91But =
you do
see what we=92re up against.=92 I do, which is why it makes sense not to
manufacture even more difficulties for yourself.

The Americans=92 new Clerical Enemy No.1, Muqtada al-Sadr, might also come
into the category of a manufactured difficulty. He does have a real
following, but a minority one. He has no scholarly achievements to his name=
no religious qualifications. In a milieu where age and experience is very
important, al-Sadr is touchingly sensitive about his extreme youth. Rather
like a Western supermodel, though of course in reverse, it is impossible to
obtain an accurate report of his age. His followers claim he is 32, but
unkind critics say he is only 24. Like so many other kids these days,
al-Sadr may be a little low on all that religion stuff, but he does
understand the virtue of branding. In a remarkable display of political
chutzpah, he capitalised on the power vacuum in the immediate aftermath of
war to rename an entire Baghdad district of two million people after
himself =97 or, more properly, his deceased father and uncle, both revered
figures in the Shia pantheon. He expanded his large network of social and
municipal services in the Shia slums; =91Sadr City=92 contains, among many =
things, a Muqtada al-Sadr Orphanage, where the sexes are segregated and the
boys get three times more space than the girls. Stern pictures of al-Sadr
holding up an admonishing index finger decorate many public buildings in
Sadr City. You do wonder how anyone who can allow himself to be depicted in
so cheesy a manner can become such a big deal. The answer, of course, is th=

Rather like Mohammed Aideed in Somalia, the Americans have seized on al-Sad=
as the embodiment of all that is rotten in the state of Iraq. Just as with
Aideed, all they have succeeded in doing is elevating him to a position of
greater credibility. Al-Sadr=92s Mahdi army, let it not be forgotten, was
mobilised for the =91final struggle=92 last week. But it has ended up
withdrawing from almost all the towns it seized. Only a serious attack by
the Americans on al-Sadr could give him the catalyst he seeks. As I write,
the Americans are surrounding the holy city of Najaf, promising to =91seize=
kill=92 the great man. Al-Sadr, quite clearly overjoyed by the prospect, ha=
been giving TV interviews promising to resist to the death.

The Americans are paying dearly for their rush to war and their spurning of
the United Nations. If the occupation had been a UN effort, it would not
have been an occupation; and last week would probably never have happened.

Withdrawal would be an unthinkable humiliation. As this week=92s request fo=
more troops showed, the Coalition=92s only possible way forward is to get
sucked in deeper. Nobody knows when the Iraqi elections will be. The
insurgents, on the other hand, know exactly when the US and British
elections are going to be. There are now 40 hostages, of 12 different
nationalities, held in Iraq. But the real hostages are George Bush and Tony

Andrew Gilligan is defence and diplomatic editor of The Spectator.


Message: 6
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 10:42:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hassan <>
Subject: Death of Scores of Mercenaries Not Reported
To: CASI newsclippings <>

Death of Scores of Mercenaries Not Reported
by Robert Fisk and Patrick Cockburn
The Star
April 15, 2004

April 13 2004: "The Star" Baghdad - At least 80
foreign mercenaries - security guards recruited from
the United States, Europe and South Africa and working
for American companies - have been killed in the past
eight days in Iraq.

Lieutenant-General Mark Kimmitt admitted on Tuesday
that "about 70" American and other Western troops had
died during the Iraqi insurgency since April 1 but he
made no mention of the mercenaries, apparently fearful
that the full total of Western dead would have serious
political fallout.

He did not give a figure for Iraqi dead, which, across
the country may be as high as 900.

At least 18 000 mercenaries, many of them tasked to
protect US troops and personnel, are now believed to
be in Iraq, some of them earning $1 000 (about R6 300)
a day. But their companies rarely acknowledge their
losses unless - like the four American murdered and
mutilated in Fallujah three weeks ago - their deaths
are already public knowledge.

The presence of such large numbers of mercenaries,
first publicised in The Independent two weeks ago, was
bound to lead to further casualties.

But although many of the heavily armed Western
security men are working for the US Department of
Defence - and most of them are former Special Forces
soldiers - they are not listed as serving military
personnel. Their losses can therefore be hidden from
public view.

The US authorities in Iraq, however, are aware that
more Western mercenaries lost their lives in the past
week than occupation soldiers over the past 14 days.

The coalition has sought to rely on foreign contract
workers to reduce the number of soldiers it uses as
drivers, guards and in other jobs normally carried out
by uniformed soldiers.

Often the foreign contract workers are highly paid
former soldiers who are armed with automatic weapons,
leading to Iraqis viewing all foreign workers as
possible mercenaries or spies.

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