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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to email@example.com. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. The latest from Riverbend (Hassan) 2. Iraqi Documents on Israel Surface on a Cultural Hunt (John Churchilly) --__--__-- Message: 1 Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 10:13:27 -0700 (PDT) From: Hassan <hasseini@DELETETHISyahoo.com> Subject: The latest from Riverbend To: CASI analysis <firstname.lastname@example.org>, iac-discussion <email@example.com> http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ Wednesday, September 15, 2004 Fahrenheit 9/11... August was a hellish month. The heat was incredible. No one remembers Baghdad ever being quite this hot- I think we broke a new record somewhere in mid-August. The last few days, Baghdad has been echoing with explosions. We woke up to several loud blasts a few days ago. The sound has become all too common. It=92s like the heat, the flies, the carcasses of buildings, the broken streets and the haphazard walls coming up out of nowhere all over the city=85 it has become a part of life. We were sleeping on the roof around three days ago, but I had stumbled back indoors at around 5 am when the electricity returned and was asleep under the cool air of an air-conditioner when the first explosions rang out. I tried futilely to cling to the last fragments of a fading dream and go back to sleep when several more explosions followed. Upon getting downstairs, I found E. flipping through the news channels, trying to find out what was going on. =93They aren=92t nearly fast enough,=94 he shook his head with disgust. =93We=92re not going to know what=92s happening until noon.=94 But the news began coming in much sooner. There were clashes between armed Iraqis and the Americans on Haifa Street- a burned out hummer, some celebrating crowds, missiles from helicopters, a journalist dead, dozens of Iraqis wounded, and several others dead. The road leading to the airport has seen some action these last few days- more attacks on troops and also some attacks on Iraqi guard. The people in the areas surrounding the airport claim that no one got any sleep the whole night. The areas outside of Baghdad aren=92t much better off. The south is still seeing clashes between the Sadir militia and troops. Areas to the north of Baghdad are being bombed and attacked daily. Ramadi was very recently under attack and they say that they aren=92t allowing the wounded out of the city. Tel Affar in the north of the country is under siege and Falloojeh is still being bombed. Everyone is simply tired in Baghdad. We=92ve become one of those places you read about in the news and shake your head thinking, =93What=92s this world coming to?=94 Kidnappings. Bombings. Armed militias. Extremists. Drugs. Gangs. Robberies. You name it, and we can probably tell you several interesting stories. So how did I spend my 9/11? I watched Michael Moore=92s movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 (http://www.michaelmoore.com/). I=92ve had bootleg CD version since early August. (Grave apologies to Michael Moore- but there=92s no other way we can see it here=85) The copy has been sitting in a drawer with a bunch of other CDs. One of my cousins brought it over one day and said that while it was brilliant, it was also quite depressing and distressing all at once. I had been avoiding it because, quite frankly, I cannot stand to see Bush for five minutes straight- I wasn=92t sure how I=92d cope with almost two hours. Three days ago, I took it out while the house was relatively quiet- no cousins, no cousins=92 children, parents busy watching something or another, and E. asleep in front of the air conditioner for the next three hours. The CD was surprisingly clear. I had expected some fuzziness and bad sound quality- it was fine. Someone had made the copy inside a movie theater. I could tell because in the background, there was a ringing mobile phone a couple of times and some annoying person in the front kept getting up to adjust his seat. I was caught up in the film from the first moment, until the very last. There were moments, while watching, when I could barely breathe. I wasn=92t surprised with anything- there was nothing that shocked me- all of the stuff about the Bush family and their Saudi friends was old news. It was the other stuff that had an impact- seeing the reactions of Americans to the war, seeing the troops in Iraq being interviewed, seeing that American mother before and after she lost her son in Iraq. Ah, that mother. How she made me angry in the beginning. I couldn=92t stand to see her on screen- convincing the world that joining the army was the ideal thing to do- perfectly happy that her daughter and son were =91serving=92 America- nay, serving, in fact, the world by joining up. I hated her even more as they showed the Iraqi victims- the burning buildings, the explosions, the corpses- the dead and the dying. I wanted to hate her throughout the whole film because she embodied the arrogance and ignorance of the people who supported the war. I can=92t explain the feelings I had towards her. I pitied her because, apparently, she knew very little about what she was sending her kids into. I was angry with her because she really didn=92t want to know what she was sending her children to do. In the end, all of those feelings crumbled away as she read the last letter from her deceased son. I began feeling a sympathy I really didn=92t want to feel, and as she was walking in the streets of Washington, looking at the protestors and crying, it struck me that the Americans around her would never understand her anguish. The irony of the situation is that the one place in the world she would ever find empathy was Iraq. We understand. We know what it=92s like to lose family and friends to war- to know that their final moments weren=92t peaceful ones=85 that they probably died thirsty and in pain=85 that they weren=92t surrounded by loved ones while taking their final breath. When she asked why her son had been taken and that he had been a good person=85 why did this have to happen to him? I kept wondering if she ever gave a second thought to the Iraqi victims and whether it ever occurred to her that Iraqi parents perhaps have the same thoughts as the try to dig their children out from under the rubble of fallen homes in Falloojeh, or as they attempt to stop the blood flowing out of a gaping hole in the chest of a child in Karbala. The flashes of the bombing of Iraq and the victims were more painful than I thought they would be. We lived through it, but seeing it on a screen is still a torment. I thought that this last year and a half had somehow made me a little bit tougher when it came to seeing Iraq being torn apart by bombs and watching foreign troops destroy the country- but the wound is still as raw as ever. Watching those scenes was like poking at a gash with sharp stick- it hurt. All in all, the film was=85 what is the right word for it? Great? Amazing? Fantastic? No. It made me furious, it made me sad and I cried more than I=92d like to admit=85 but it was brilliant. The words he used to narrate were simple and to the point. I wish everyone could see the film. I know I'll be getting dozens of emails from enraged Americans telling me that so-and-so statement was exaggerated, etc. But it really doesn't matter to me. What matters is the underlying message of the film- things aren't better for Americans now than they were in 2001, and they certainly aren't better for Iraqis. Three years ago, Iraq wasn't a threat to America. Today it is. Since March 2003, over 1000 Americans have died inside of Iraq... and the number is rising. In twenty years time, upon looking back, how do Americans think Iraqis are going to remember this occupation? I constantly wonder, three years after 9/11, do Americans feel safer? When it first happened, there was a sort of collective shock in Iraq. In 2002, there was a sort of pity and understanding- we=92ve been through the same. Americans could hardly believe what had happened, but the American government brings this sort of grief upon nations annually=85 suddenly the war wasn=92t thousands of kilometers away, it was home. How do we feel about it this year? A little bit tired. We have 9/11=92s on a monthly basis. Each and every Iraqi person who dies with a bullet, a missile, a grenade, under torture, accidentally- they all have families and friends and people who care. The number of Iraqis dead since March 2003 is by now at least eight times the number of people who died in the World Trade Center. They had their last words, and their last thoughts as their worlds came down around them, too. I=92ve attended more wakes and funerals this last year, than I=92ve attended my whole life. The process of mourning and the hollow words of comfort have become much too familiar and automatic. September 11=85 he sat there, reading the paper. As he reached out for the cup in front of him for a sip of tea, he could vaguely hear the sound of an airplane overhead. It was a bright, fresh day and there was much he had to do=85 but the world suddenly went black- a colossal explosion and then crushed bones under the weight of concrete and iron=85 screams rose up around him=85 men, women and children=85 shards of glass sought out tender, unprotected skin =85 he thought of his family and tried to rise, but something inside of him was broken=85 there was a rising heat and the pungent smell of burning flesh mingled sickeningly with the smoke and the dust=85 and suddenly it was blackness. 9/11/01? New York? World Trade Center? No. 9/11/04. Falloojeh. An Iraqi home. - posted by river @ 2:49 PM _______________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Declare Yourself - Register online to vote today! http://vote.yahoo.com --__--__-- Message: 2 Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004 16:39:44 -0700 (PDT) From: John Churchilly <meso999@DELETETHISyahoo.com> Subject: Iraqi Documents on Israel Surface on a Cultural Hunt To: firstname.lastname@example.org http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shamireaders/message/370 -------------------- http://www.dailystar.co.lb/> Daily Star (Beirut) - Saturday 4th September 2004 Israel tallies up compensation claims by Iraq's Jews By Michael R. Fischbach* On May 6, 2003, the same day that Paul Bremer replaced Jay Garner as head of the US Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) in Iraq, 16 American soldiers from the US Army's Mobile Exploration Team Alpha, along with personnel from ORHA and the Iraqi National Congress (INC), descended into the flooded basement of the bombed-out Iraqi Department of General Intelligence in Baghdad. Although the army team's job was to search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, that day they were seeking something quite different. A former Iraqi intelligence official had tipped off the INC a few days earlier that an ancient copy of the Jewish Talmud lay deep within the General Intelligence headquarters. The INC then told the Americans, who decided that finding such a valuable cultural relic merited the diversion of the army search team from its normal task. Although the troops did not uncover the Talmud, they did discover something else: thousands of manuscripts, documents and books, some of them hundreds of years old, dealing with Iraq's ancient and once thriving Jewish community, which is now virtually extinct. What the troops had found were the archives of the General Intelligence's Israel-Palestine and Jewish Sections. It appears that many of the manuscripts, Torah scrolls and books were confiscated from synagogues and libraries after the mass exodus of the Iraqi Jewish community in 1950-51. Most went to Israel. With the permission of the interim Iraqi Culture Ministry, the Coalition Provisional Authority had the water-damaged documents shipped to Texas, whereupon they were freeze dried and sent to the US National Archives and Records Administration in Washington for restoration and preservation. Archives officials are presently seeking between $1.5 million to $3 million in donations to further the restoration work. The final disposition of the documents remains an open question. The Americans also discovered documents in the General Intelligence headquarters basement relating to Jewish property in and around Baghdad, property that had been sequestered by the Iraqi government beginning in 1951, during the mass emigration. The Israeli government has long campaigned to have the value of Jewish property abandoned in the Arab world deducted from any compensation the Israelis may one day pay to Palestinian refugees for the property they abandoned in Israel in 1948. Indeed, Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Natan Sharansky asked the Americans in 2003 to look for anything relating to Iraq's Jewish community after conquering the country. After the property records were discovered in Baghdad, the State Department in late May 2004 passed along to Sharansky 800 black-and-white photocopies of the Arabic-language documents. After translation, they will be turned over to the Israeli Justice Ministry, whose director-general, Aharon Abramovitz, co-chairs the Israeli government's Compensation Committee for Jews Who Left Arab States. The Justice Ministry maintains an archive of 12,000 files dealing with property claims of Jewish immigrants from Arab countries and Iran. The unit responsible for this archive was first established in 1969, disbanded in the early 1990s, and recently revived. The Israeli government has not been alone in discussing compensation for Jewish property taken over in Iraq. This was just the latest example of the interest in such property that arose in 2003, soon after Iraq's defeat. Iraqi Jewish exiles in the US began discussing lawsuits. Groups like the World Jewish Congress raised the issue with the US Congress and the British Parliament. Another organization, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, issued a lengthy report entitled "Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries: The Case for Rights and Redress" in June 2003. The publicity and lobbying worked: The US House of Representatives held hearings on Jewish emigrants from the Arab world in June 2003, and later passed a resolution of support for these emigrants in October. In March 2004, both the House and the Senate adopted a joint resolution calling on the US government to raise the issue whenever it brings up the Palestinian refugee question in diplomatic discussions. Beyond talk, there even has been one specific success in the campaign to compensate former Iraqi Jews. In April 2004, French insurance giant AXA agreed to pay $130,000 to three Israelis who had bought policies decades ago when they were living in Iraq, and added that four others were eligible for payment. AXA's interest in this issue actually predates the invasion of Iraq. The firm agreed in late 2002 to look into old insurance policies taken out by Jews in the Arab world, and in October 2003 the Israeli Justice Ministry published in the Israeli press information from its files regarding approximately 200 cases of Iraqi Jewish insurance policies that were never paid out. Nor has all the talk of Jewish property compensation been restricted to Israel and Western countries. Discussion of Jews and property has also surfaced within Iraq itself. In late December 2003, a source within the Iraqi Governing Council told the Jerusalem Post that the council was considering restitution of Jewish property seized as of 1951. Rumors of "foreign Jews," presumably former Iraqi citizens, seeking to buy land in Iraq, were rife. The exiled Iraqi Shiite cleric Ayatollah Qazim al-Husayni al-Hairi issued a fatwa from Qom, Iran, as a result. The decree sanctions death for any Jew seeking to buy land in Iraq. Jewish property claims have also emerged elsewhere in the Arab world. Perhaps as part of Libya's attempts to emerge from its pariah status, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, stated in March 2004 that the Libyan government would pay compensation for property seized from Jewish emigrants after 1948. Turning over captured documents on Jewish property was not the first example of American sympathy with Israeli and Jewish interests in Iraq. In July 2003, the Jewish Agency, in coordination with the Israeli prime minister's office and other international Jewish organizations, was allowed to fly six, mainly elderly Jews from Baghdad to Israel. Despite their attempts to stop the illegal export of objects stolen from Iraqi museums, the Americans one month later handed over to Israeli authorities in Jordan the helmet of an Israeli aviator shot down over Iraq in June 1967 that they had taken from a Baghdad military museum. This past March, Secretary of State Colin Powell assured a delegation from the World Jewish Congress that he would work for restoring citizenship to Iraqi Jewish emigrants who were denationalized, as well as for property compensation. Such attention on compensation could also heighten global attention on compensation and-or restitution of the property abandoned by Palestinian refugees in 1948 and later confiscated by Israel. So, too, might Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision earlier this year that Israel would compensate any Jewish settlers evacuated from settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. Where might this money come from? Sharon's disengagement plan calls for an international body to take possession of the buildings left behind in evacuated Jewish settlements, and determine their value for potential compensation payments to Israel. Whether all this attention on Jewish and Palestinian property abandoned under duress long ago will lead to concrete action, however, remains to be seen. ----- *Michael R. Fischbach is a professor of history at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia, and a consultant on refugee property issues. His book, "Records of Dispossession: Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict," will soon be reprinted in the Middle East by the American University of Cairo Press. He wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR ============================ http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/07/international/worldspecial/07FIND.html?pagewanted=print&position= New York Times - 7th May 2003 Iraqi Documents on Israel Surface on a Cultural Hunt BAGHDAD, Iraq - What began today as a hunt for an ancient Jewish text at secret police headquarters here wound up unearthing a trove of Iraqi intelligence documents and maps relating to Israel as well as offers of sales of uranium and other nuclear material to Iraq. In one huge room in the flooded basement of the building, American soldiers from MET Alpha, the "mobile exploitation team" that has been searching for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq for the past three months, found maps featuring terrorist strikes against Israel dating to 1991. Another map of Israel highlighted what the Iraqis thought were the locations at which their Scud missiles had struck in the Persian Gulf war of 1991. The strikes were designated by yellow-and-red paper flowers placed atop the pinpointed Israeli neighborhoods. Team members floated out of the room a perfect mock-up of the Knesset,the Israeli Parliament, as well as mock-ups of downtown Jerusalem and official Israeli buildings in very fine detail. They also collected a satellite picture of Dimona, Israel's nuclear complex, and a female mannequin dressed in an Israeli Air Force uniform, standing in front of a list of Israeli officers' ranks and insignia. Of even greater interest to MET Alpha was a "top secret" intelligence memo found in a room on another floor. Written in Arabic and dated May 20, 2001, the memo from the Iraqi intelligence station chief in an African country described an offer by a "holy warrior" to sell uranium and other nuclear material. The bid was rejected, the memo states, because of the United Nations "sanctions situation." But the station chief wrote that the source was eager to provide similar help at a more convenient time. The discoveries, which American military officers called significant but which did not by themselves offer documentary evidence of direct Iraqi links to terror attacks on Israel, were the serendipitous byproduct of one of the strangest missions ever conducted by MET Alpha. The search began this morning when 16 soldiers from MET Alpha teamed up with members of the Iraqi National Congress, a leading opposition group headed by Ahmad Chalabi, to search for what an intelligence source had described as one of the most ancient copies of the Talmud in existence, dating from the seventh century. The Talmud is a book of oral law, with rabbinical commentaries and interpretations. A former senior official of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein's secret police, had told the opposition group a few days earlier that he had hidden the ancient Jewish book in the basement of his headquarters. The building had been badly damaged by coalition bombing, said the man, who is now working for the Iraqi National Congress, but he was still willing to take a group there to recover it. MET Alpha hesitated. Its mission was hunting for proof of unconventional weapons in Iraq, not saving cultural and religious treasures. But Col. Richard R. McPhee, its commander, decided that the historic Talmud was too valuable to leave behind. Early this morning, a seven-vehicle convoy pulled out of the Iraqi Hunting Club, a former Baathist retreat that is now the headquarters for the Iraqi National Congress. Accompanied by members of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, MET Alpha's chaplain, who has a strong interest in religious texts, and a reporter, the group arrived at Mukhabarat headquarters only to find the section of the building in which the precious document was said to be stored under four feet of murky, fetid water. Dead animals floated on the surface. The stairwell down to the muck was littered with shards of glass, pieces of smashed walls and other bombing debris. Temporarily daunted by the overpowering stench, MET Alpha's leader,Chief Warrant Officer Richard L. Gonzales, and two other MET Alpha soldiers eventually collected themselves and plunged into the mire in search of the holy text as the team chaplain shook his head in disbelief. What they found instead of the precious book was what the former Iraqi intelligence official said was the operations center of the Mukhabarat's Israel-Palestine department. Two Iraqi National Congress members joined the soldiers in the water as they inched their way by flashlight through the 50-foot hallway to the rooms where they happened upon the intelligence documents. Slogging down the dank hallway, the soldiers reached a room where they found hundreds of books floating in the foul water. There they rescued three bundles of older Jewish books, including a Babylonian Talmud from Vilna, accounting books of the Jewish community of Baghdad between 1949 and 1953 and dozens of more modern scholarly books mostly in Arabic and Hebrew - "Generals of Israel," by Moshe Ben-Shaul; David Ben-Gurion's "Memoirs"; and "Semites and Anti-Semites," by the Princeton scholar Bernard Lewis. But no seventh-century Talmud. In the end, MET Alpha collected and turned over one large truckload of intelligence documents to the Defense Intelligence Agency for analysis. As for the missing Talmud, Mr. Gonzales said his team believed that it might still be at the bottom of the Mukhabarat's flooded basement. That view was reinforced by the recovery of a wooden box with Hebrew writing,which the former Iraqi intelligence officer said might have contained the priceless artifact. -------------------- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/shamireaders/message/370 __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? 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