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[casi] News, 6-13/8/03 (2)

News, 6-13/8/03 (2)


*  Looted and for sale in Iraq: the deadly core of nuclear weapons
*  Israeli firm wins public telephone contract in Iraq
*  Kidnap Gangs Add to Iraqis' Insecurity
*  Iraqi Central Bank head requests transfer of frozen funds
*  Gold bars turn out to be copper
*  President appoints Greenwich man to Iraq position
*  UK forces seize ship smuggling Iraqi oil


*  Kurdistan Islamic Movement threatens U.S. forces after leader arrested
*  Tribal leader reportedly assassinated in Mosul
*  Abu Ghurayb Prison gets face lift and new name
*  11 killed in Baghdad bomb blast
*  New, improved and more lethal: son of napalm
*  One Iraqi killed, two US soldiers injured in Baghdad
*  US troops kill six Iraqis
*  Ex-Gurkha killed in ambush as more riots flare in Basra
*  US detains Shiite cleric in flashpoint Iraqi town
*  'Human shield' faces $10,000 fine
*  U.S. Soldier Dies in Bomb Attack West of Baghdad
*  Rough Justice


by David Pratt, Foreign Editor, and Felicity Arbuthnot
Sunday Herald, 3rd August

PURE uranium oxide which could be used in the making of a dirty nuclear bomb
capable of killing countless people is being offered for sale in a Basra
souk for $250,000.

Senior American officials have confirmed that rampant looting was discovered
by US marines arriving at the al-Tuwaitha nuclear site on April 7.

Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) in Vienna, says: As many as 400 potentially lethal radioactive
sources are still missing from the inventory at al-Tuwaitha. The Sunday
Herald source, who cannot be named for fear of reprisals, was approached by
black marketeers in Basra and asked if he would help sell the material. He
said: The cylinders are about a foot long, grey in colour with a red band
around the top. The skull and crossbones warning logo, and the label pure
uranium oxide are clearly marked in English. He added that it is thought to
have come from the al-Tuwaitha complex, which is 15 miles southeast of

John Large, a leading independent nuclear consultant, said the size and
description of the cylinders suggests this is enriched uranium.

He added: A well-informed terrorist might be able to construct a crude
nuclear device which would act like a mini-nuclear reactor and generate
highly radioactive fission products for release into the urban atmosphere.
Even if the uranium was not enriched, he says any radio active material is
dangerous in the hands of terrorists because of its psychological impact.

The public perception of all things nuclear is of a fate worse than death.
The use of even low-level uranium in a dirty bomb would cause widespread
psychological and economic panic. US Army officials who checked the
al-Tuwaitha site soon after the marines arrived encountered high radiation
levels in the storage building and withdrew. For three weeks prior to this,
hundreds of villagers who live in the shadow of the barbed wire fences that
surround the labyrinth of the nuclear plant had been bathing in and drinking
water laced with radioactive contaminants from barrels they had stolen,
emptied and used as containers.

The barrels, experts say, had held uranium ores, low- enriched uranium
yellowcake, nuclear sludge and other by-products. Some villagers have since
contracted symptoms attributed to radiation contamination.

Ever since, atomic agency officials have pressed for access to the site, but
American officials have resisted. They say that the mandate of the agency in
Iraq has expired and that allied forces are in charge, said Melissa Fleming.

The uncertainty surrounding the case underlines a worrying new trend, as a
spate of incidents from Nigeria to the former Soviet Union and Latin America
suggests radioactive materials needed to build dirty bombs could emerge
almost anywhere.

MENA (Jordan), 4th August

Iridium Satellite Israel is supplying Iraq with public telephones worth four
to five million dollars. The global satellite voice and data communication
provider was authorized last month by the office of the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA) to sell its mobile satellite communications
services, subscriber terminals, and related equipment in Iraq.

According to CEO of Iridium Satellite Israel Ami Schneider, the order was
placed by a Jordanian company, reported Globes. The company also plans to
market several thousands of mobile telephones in Iraq.

Israel's Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu signed a general permit late
last month authorizing trade with Iraq. The new agreement normalizes
commercial and financial ties between the two countries, marking the Jewish
state's recognition of Iraq as a hostile-free nation.

Israeli companies can now trade and invest in Iraq without facing any
sanctions from the government. A group of Israeli industrial representatives
reportedly made a trip to Baghdad this past June in order to scope out
business opportunities related to the reconstruction effort.

Iridium Satellite Israel is a subsidiary of the privately held corporation
Iridium Satellite. The company acquired the assets of the Iridium company in
December of 2000. It is a provider of global satellite voice and data
solutions with complete coverage of the earth. Through a constellation of 66
low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites operated by the Boeing Company, Iridium
delivers communication services to and from remote areas where no other form
of communication is available.

Iridium currently provides service to the US Department of Defense under a
multi-year contract. Iridium Satellite Israel is owned by Iridium Satellite
Solutions' regional operators in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Eastern Europe, and
East Africa, and a group of investors headed by Schneider. ‹

by Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Times, 6th August

 BAGHDAD ‹ Stolen from his Baghdad street two weeks ago while playing with
friends, Peter Yakob, a mute child of 6, couldn't tell the gang of Iraqi
kidnappers his phone number.

For two days, the kidnappers tried to get it from him while the boy's family
waited frantically for a message from the criminals.

On the third day, Peter's parents chalked their phone number on an exterior
wall of their home. Within 30 minutes, a call came demanding what to them
was an unimaginable amount: $50,000.

"When we said we couldn't pay, they said: 'That's your problem. Either pay
the money or we'll send him home to you in a sack,' " said Peter's mother,
Makdonya Yusuf, 47. After desperate bargaining, the family paid a $15,000

In the security vacuum that followed the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime,
looting came first, followed by carjackings. Now the appearance of highly
organized kidnapping gangs sends a worrying message to U.S.-led occupation
authorities, suggesting a level of criminal planning and commitment well
beyond the spasm of thievery that followed the regime's fall.

The kidnappings have a dark, ruthless quality, often targeting children and
teenagers, usually from Iraq's tiny Christian community where no tribal
networks exist to fight back against the gangs.

In many cases, the only sons of large middle-income or wealthy families are
seized. The abductions, which are often committed in broad daylight, add to
Iraqis' sense that nowhere is safe, day or night.

Bernard Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner who is
overseeing Iraq's police force, held a briefing Tuesday to announce that a
gang of nine kidnappers had been caught Monday in central Baghdad and that
several hostages were freed.

He did not mention that the kidnappers killed a female hostage during the
operation, carried out by Iraqi police. That fact emerged during questioning
of Iraqi officers near the end of the briefing. Kerik said the police
conducted the operation without U.S. help, attacking a house at dawn and
triggering a gun battle. One suspect was wounded.

Because the Iraqi police force doesn't keep crime statistics, it's difficult
to establish exactly how many kidnappings are occurring, but members of the
Christian community listed many cases and Kerik said three other gangs had
been arrested in recent weeks. Police uniforms were found at the home of
those arrested Monday, Kerik said, suggesting that the kidnappers posed as
police. He urged Iraqis to report abductions.

But several families of kidnapping victims, interviewed by The Times in
Baghdad, said they had approached police or the U.S. military for help but
got little or no assistance. Instead, they paid ransoms ranging from $15,000
to $75,000 for the release of loved ones.


Emanuel Lirato is a patriarch with a motorcycle business he started 55 years
ago. His son Maher, 50, an epileptic, was kidnapped July 20 when a car with
heavily armed bandits cut him off as he reached the family business by car.


Lirato blamed coalition authorities for the frequent kidnappings, saying
they had dismantled the old security structures without putting something in
their place.

"They abolished the army, the security forces and the police," he said. "So
they gave the bad guys a chance to make the best of this chaos and lack of
security. They made it easy for them to commit their crimes.

"I think the gang will come again and maybe this time they'll take me, not
my son," he said. "If things get worse, I'll have to leave Iraq."

Adib Yunan, Peter's uncle, said Hussein's release of prisoners before the
war planted the seeds of the crime spree. "This is the aftermath of two or
three wars," he said. "There are so many men who have no job, so they resort
to the simplest way to get money."



RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 34, 7 August 2003

Iraqi Central Bank acting Governor Faleh Dawud Salman asked UN members on 4
August to release all frozen assets of the former Iraqi government held in
their states to a development fund set up at the New York Federal Reserve,
Reuters reported the same day. The UN authorized the establishment of the
development fund in Security Council Resolution 1483. Under that resolution,
the fund was to be established at the Iraqi Central Bank and monitored by an
international advisory board. A U.S. official told Reuters that the New York
Federal Reserve bank account was an interim agreement. In a letter to the
Security Council, Salman wrote, "I respectfully ask that you urge all member
states to transfer Iraqi assets in their jurisdictions to this account
without delay," Reuters reported. (Kathleen Ridolfo)


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 34, 7 August 2003

Gold-colored bars confiscated by coalition forces during raids in Iraq have
proven to be copper, according to a White House report cited by Reuters on 1
August. The bars reportedly came from truckloads of gold-colored bars
confiscated by coalition forces in May. According to Reuters, one truckload
carried an estimated value of $500 million, while another was valued at $100
million -- the driver of that truck had told coalition forces at the time of
the confiscation that he was transporting copper.

The discovery was revealed in a White House report to Congress outlining
U.S. reconstruction efforts in Iraq that said some 1,100 gold-covered bars
were tested in Kuwait. "Analysis of the initial sampling of ingots revealed
they were comprised of approximately 64 percent copper and 34 percent zinc.
Consultation with metallurgists indicates the bars analyzed to date are most
likely melted-down shell casings," the report indicated. The White House
also reported that $800 million in currency has been found in Iraq. More
than $7 million has not been authenticated, according to the report, because
the notes were wet and damaged. In addition to the above-mentioned bars,
some 1,071 bars were seized in coalition raids under the code name Operation
Desert Scorpion, which ran from 15-29 June (see "RFE/RL Iraq Report," 4 July
2003). (Kathleen Ridolfo)

Boston Globe, 8th August

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) A Greenwich resident will serve as director of private
sector development in Iraq, in an appointment by President Bush.

Thomas Foley, 51, who said he befriended Bush in 1974 when they both
attended Harvard, will report directly to the top U.S. administrator in
Iraq, Paul Bremer, the Greenwich Time reported.

Foley is chairman and founder of the NTC Group, a private equity investment
company. He was chairman of Bush's Connecticut campaign finance committee in
2000, after raising more than $100,000 for his college friend.

Foley plans to leave for Iraq early next week and stay in Baghdad for nine
months. He was appointed to the post last week during a visit with the
president in Washington.

He will be in charge of 200 state-owned enterprises, including mining,
chemical, cement and tobacco companies. Oil production and two state-owned
banks are the only industries that will not be under his supervision, he

Second, over the next six months, he will draft a privatization plan for the
state-owned businesses.

Finally, he will manage all trade and foreign investments into Iraq.

''Basically, I need to help get Iraq's economy going in the right
direction,'' Foley said.

Before he leaves for Iraq, Foley must receive top secret clearance from the

MENA (Jordan), 8th August

The British Navy intercepted a ship smuggling 1,100 tons of oil from Iraq
Friday. Royal Marine commandos boarded the vessel in the Northern Arabian
Gulf and arrested its captain and crew.

It is not clear who owns the vessel or where it was headed. The ship, called
Navstar 1, was registered in Panama and had a Ukrainian crew. The vessel
will be hauled to Iraq's southern port of Umm Qasr in the next few days,
where the crew will be handed over to the Iraqi police for questioning,
reported Reuters.

"This is the most significant seizure we have had since the end of the war,"
said Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Richard Walter. US and British forces
in Iraq have been trying to crack down on widespread smuggling of oil since
they overthrew Saddam Hussein four months ago.

Up to three-billion-dollars worth of illegal oil exports crossed the Gulf
seas in 2002, making their way from the besieged Iraq to black markets in
neighboring states. Members of Saddam Hussein's regime landed the spoils
from these unregulated oil sales, with profit rates estimated at around $100
per ton.



RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 34, 7 August 2003

The Islamic Movement of Iraqi Kurdistan has threatened to take action
against U.S. forces after the weekend arrest of their leader, Shaykh Ali Abd
al-Aziz in Halabjah. The movement's foreign relations representative, Ihsan
Abd al-Aziz, told Al-Jazeera in a 3 August interview that he held the
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) responsible for the safety of the shaykh
and his escorts.

"We, the Islamic Movement, have thousands of youths...[in] Al-Fallujah,
Samarra, and all [of] Iraqi Kurdistan," Abd al-Aziz said, adding, "If this
issue is not resolved peacefully and an apology is not made to Shaykh Ali,
the Islamic Movement, and all Muslims in Iraq, then we in the Islamic
Movement will use another way of dealing with [U.S. forces]." He said that
the PUK, and its leader, Jalal Talabani, would also be held responsible,
since they are in charge of security in the Al-Sulaymaniyah Governorate, and
because "some of [Talabani's] forces guided these U.S. forces into the city
of Halabjah." If the situation remains unresolved, he threatened, "The
crisis will continue and escalate in the Sunni areas from Al Fallujah to
Al-Ramadi and all Kurdistan." There is no word from U.S. forces as to why
the shaykh was arrested.

Meanwhile, the Higher Council for the Liberation of Iraq issued a demand for
the immediate release of Abu Jihad al-Nawawi, the deputy leader of the
council, who was arrested by U.S. forces last week, Al-Jazeera reported on 2
August. The group held a demonstration outside Coalition Provisional
Authority (CPA) headquarters in Baghdad to protest the arrest, and issued a
statement threatening to escalate "the situation against the coalition
forces," according to Al-Jazeera. The statement also claimed that al-Nawawi
was subjected to inhuman and illegal methods during interrogation. (Kathleen


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 34, 7 August 2003

A tribal leader from one of Iraq's largest tribes, the Shammar, was
reportedly assassinated in Mosul, Voice of Mujahedin radio reported on 3
August. Shaykh Sha'lan Munif al-Faysal, also known as Sha'lan al-Jarbah, was
killed when assailants opened fire on the car he was traveling in. The
shaykh reportedly exchanged fire with his attackers, killing one. He was
killed along with his driver. According to the radio report, there are
conflicting explanations for his killing. Some Iraqis speculated that the
assassination was a crime, while others linked him to the unidentified
informant who provided U.S. forces with the location of Uday and Qusay
Hussein. (Kathleen Ridolfo)


RFE/RL IRAQ REPORT, Vol. 6, No. 34, 7 August 2003

The Abu Ghurayb Prison has been renovated and renamed by the U.S.-led
administration in Iraq, Reuters reported on 4 August. The prison, located
approximately 32 kilometers west of Baghdad, was notorious under the Hussein
regime for the torture and execution of its prisoners. According to Reuters,
between 20,000 and 40,000 prisoners were housed at the facility, which has
been renamed the Baghdad Central Penitentiary by the coalition authority. It
reopened on 4 August.

"We've had to start from scratch, with the prisons completely unserviceable
and all the prisoners on the run," Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who is
in charge of Iraq's prisons, told reporters during a tour of the facility.
The prison currently houses 500 prisoners, 400 of them common criminals, the
news agency reported. They are reportedly kept outside in razor-wire pens
under 50 degree Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) heat, awaiting a court date.

According to, the prison facility "occupies 280 acres
with over 4 kilometers of security perimeter and 24 guard towers. The prison
is composed of five distinct compounds each surrounded by guard towers and
high wall." The website noted that satellite imagery suggested new
construction at the site in mid-November. "Four new prison compounds appear
to be in the early stages of construction. The foundation and footings are
either being dug or concrete has been poured." The website also noted
widespread reports of mass graves either within the perimeter or near the
prison, "but this is not apparent from imagery alone." It is unclear how
much of the facility was damaged during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

According to Reuters, prisoners chanted "Freedom, freedom" at U.S. soldiers
as reporters toured the facility. A U.S. soldier has reportedly written
"Death Row" under an Arabic sign in one part of the prison, the news agency
reported. The penal code used by the U.S. in Iraq does not allow for the
death penalty. (Kathleen Ridolfo)

News International, 8th August

BAGHDAD: A car-bomb exploded outside the Jordanian Embassy here on Thursday,
sending a car hurtling onto a rooftop, killing at least 11 people and
suggesting that Iraq's violence could be shifting from a resistance to the
American occupation toward a terrorist insurgency.

Witnesses outside the walled embassy compound in western Baghdad said the
bomb was placed in a parked minibus or sports utility vehicle and detonated
remotely. Only the chassis was left. A mangled vehicle lay atop a nearby
building. At least 11 victims, including two small children, were taken to
Baghdad's morgue. A wounded policeman said at least four fellow officers
were killed.

Doctors said more than 50 people were wounded, including six Jordanians.
"What this shows is that in fact we have some terrorists that are operating
here," Sanchez said and added "It shows we are still in a conflict zone."

The attack on the embassy was a new kind of violence in Iraq, where
guerrillas have been targeting occupying American troops with bombs,
grenades and Kalashnikovs. Officials in Amman, the Jordanian capital, said
evidence from the scene of the attack suggested that the explosion was an
"orchestrated terrorist attack" against Jordan with political motivations.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Shortly after the blast, young Iraqi men stormed the embassy, chanting
anti-Jordanian slogans and destroying photographs of Jordanian King Abdullah
II and his late father, King Hussein. American forces and Iraqi police
dispersed them.

Hours after the embassy attack, a fierce gun-battle broke out on a Baghdad
street where US soldiers are often seen shopping. The street, called Outer
Karada Street, is one of Baghdad's most crowded, with about three kilometers
of shops selling everything from electronics to shoes. The attack began with
an explosion near an American Humvee parked in the median strip that turned
the vehicle into a charred skeleton. Shots came from a nearby office
building, and soldiers returned fire into the two-storey structure.

Within minutes at least 20 Humvees and eight Bradley fighting vehicles
joined the fight, launching rounds from heavy machine guns that set the
building ablaze. Three helicopters hovered overhead. The Americans stormed
the building after letting about 20 people flee with their hands in the air.
They emerged five minutes later without any detainees.

Spec. Nicole Thompson of V Corps, the Army unit controlling Baghdad, said
two Americans were injured. Two soldiers were killed in another Baghdad
firefight on Wednesday night, the US Central Command announced on Thursday
without elaborating.

Sanchez said coalition forces would have to remain in Iraq for years to
allow Iraq to develop a new army of at least three motorised divisions for
defensive purposes. He said American forces had begun to avoid blind sweeps
that could alienate Iraqis and to focus on specific targets.

The US 4th Infantry Division, operating north of Baghdad in the area where
Saddam is believed to be hiding, conducted 24 raids, arresting 49 people and
killing two in the 24-hour period ending on Thursday morning, according to
Maj- Gen Ray Odierno. Four of the detainees were "targeted individuals," he

Lt-Col Steve Russell said one of the men organised cells and paid armed
fighters for attacks on the US forces. Two others, both former Iraqi
generals, organised guerrilla attacks nationwide, and the fourth was a
Fedayeen militia ringleader.

Russell declined to name any of them, but said one of the leaders was known
as "The Rock." At one of the raids, Apache attack helicopters circled as
about 100 soldiers backed by four battle tanks surrounded a hotel. The
troops led out 39 men, questioned them, and released all except one but not
without a warning. "If you fight against your government," Russell told the
freed men, "we will hunt you down and kill you."

by Ben Cubby
Sydney Morning Herald, 8th August

The Pentagon no longer officially uses the brand-name 'Napalm', but a
similar sticky, inflammable substance known as 'fuel-gel mixture', contained
in weapons called Mark-77 fire bombs, was dropped on Iraqi troops near the
Iraq-Kuwait border at the start of the war.

"I can confirm that Mark-77 fire bombs were used in that general area,"
Colonel Mike Daily of the US Marine Corps said.

Colonel Daily said that US stocks of Vietnam-era napalm had been phased out,
but that the fuel-gel mixture in the Mark-77s had "similar destructive

"Many folks (out of habit) refer to the Mark-77 as 'napalm' because its
effect upon the target is remarkably similar," he said.

On March 22nd, correspondent Lindsay Murdoch, who was travelling with the US
Marines, had reported that napalm was used in an attack on Iraqi troops at
Safwan Hill, near the Kuwait border. Murdoch's account was based on
statements by two US Marine Corps officers on the ground.

Lieutenant-Commander Jeff A. Davis, USN, Office of the Assistant Secretary
for Defense (Public Affairs) had called Murdoch's story "patently false".

"The US took napalm out of service in the 1970's. We completed the
destruction of our last batch of napalm on April 4, 2001, and no longer
maintain any stocks of napalm," Commander Davis told smh online. He was
apparently referring to Vietnam-era Napalm-B, which consisted of inflammable
fuel thickened with polystyrene and benzene.

The inflammable fuel in Mark-77 fire bombs is thickened with slightly
different chemicals, and is believed to contain oxidizers, which make it
harder to extinguish than Napalm-B.

Neither weapon technically contains napalm. The chemical mixture that became
known as 'napalm' - a combination of naphthalene and palmitate - was used
only in the earliest versions of the weapon.

Napalm was banned by United Nations convention in 1980, but the US never
signed the agreement. Use of Mark-77 fire bombs is considered legal by the
US military.

Ms. Toni McNeal, a spokesperson for Rock Island Arsenal, in Illinois, said
the facility is currently producing a further 500 Mark-77s for the US Marine

She said she did not consider the Mark-77s to be napalm bombs.

But Mark-77s are referred to as 'napalm' in some current US inventories and
public affairs documents.

A US Navy public affairs document dated 22/10/99 says that the US Navy no
longer uses napalm but "the US Marine Corps has a requirement and uses it at
ranges at Yuma and Twenty-Nine Palms."

Twenty-Nine Palms, in California, is the home base of some of the Marine
Corps units that took part in the attack on Safwan Hill in Iraq.

Captain Robert Crum, USMC, Public Affairs spokesman for Twenty-Nine Palms,
said: "Mk 77s are not routinely used in training at 29 Palms. Yet it would
be inappropriate to say that they are never - or never would be - used in
training here.

"The average young Marine may be unfamiliar with the technical nomenclature,
and probably does refer to this munition by the vernacular 'napalm'."

Napalm was banned by a United Nations convention in 1980, but the US never
signed the agreement. The US military considers the use of Mark-77 weapons
to be legal.

Jordan Times, 8th August
BAGHDAD (AFP) ‹ Two US soldiers were wounded in a bomb blast on a main
Baghdad shopping avenue Thursday, sparking a furious street battle between
the coalition and guerrilla fighters that left one Iraqi dead.

The attack in the heart of the city where US soldiers regularly buy
appliances, and the blistering shootout that ensued, marked a clear
escalation in the low-level war between the Americans and loyalists of
ousted President Saddam Hussein.

Generally, the shadowy fighters, who have killed 55 American soldiers since
major combat operations were declared over May 1, detonate their bombs or
fire their rocket-propelled grenades and run, but on Thursday, they stayed
and sprayed fire on US troops.

Two soldiers from the First Armoured Division had just climbed back into
their all-terrain Humvee, parked on a divider in the middle of Karada street
when a bomb exploded at 2:00pm (1000 GMT), leaving their vehicle in flames,
said Major John Frisbie and witnesses.

Earlier, a military officer from the men's company said three had been
wounded in the blast.

Within five minutes, US soldiers on the street came under fire from the top
floors of a three storey building where the men had been shopping, and the
two sides traded fire, Frisbie said.

One Iraqi bystander was mowed down on the street, an AFP correspondent

The soldiers had fired in the man's direction, after hearing a shot,
witnesses said.

People stood over the body screaming, blood forming a puddle behind his
head, while the dying man rolled his eyes and his Adam's apple bobbed.

A US soldier said they suspected the man may have been one of the assailants
and the crowd confiscated his gun ‹ which the military says is a trend in
the vicious insurgency pitting Saddam loyalists against US soldiers.

A gunbattle then raged intermittently, the crackle of Kalashnikovs trading
with booming US guns. The exchange prevented a US military helicopter
buzzing overhead from landing and picking up wounded.

A local grocer said he heard an explosion and ran out of his shop to see a
Humvee in flames. Afterwards, he said he saw people carrying a US soldier
who had lost his legs in an explosion.

People caught in the crossfire were seen hiding behind white refrigerators
and other appliances put out for sale on the avenue's bustling sidewalk.

The three-storey building, where the gunmen holed up, caught fire during the
fighting, and a US soldier was seen escorting men and children away from the
structure as smoke billowed out. The army started to spray jets of water on
the flaming yellow-brick building.

Shortly afterwards, several additional military vehicles rumbled down the
street, including Bradley fighting vehicles and hard-back Humvees to provide
support to the 10-vehicle force already engaged in the firefight. A combat
helicopter sliced through the sky.

At 3:00pm (1100 GMT), the army apprehended two suspected fighters from the
building, Frisbie said.

He added an improvised explosive device had been found in the very same city
block one week before.

"You're standing in a war zone," he said, surveying the bullet-pocked and
charred three storey building that had been home to electronics and
television shops, as well as a men's hair salon, before Thursday's blast.

The explosion had gutted life on the street, leaving an outdoor falafel
vendor wounded in the leg. His cart was blackened and pieces of burnt bread
were abandoned on its counter.

A Toyota with a new 25-inch television in the back and its windows shattered
stood empty by a smoking metal heap.

Store owners denied anyone had fired from their building, despite clear
evidence to the contrary of a booming gunbattle.

Interpreters using loudspeakers demanded information about the men who
attacked the Americans, and soldiers handed out posters to children of
masked gunmen that urged Iraqis to turn the fighters in.

"My store is riddled with 4,000 bullets," said Qassam Al Zubaidi, 31, whose
television shop was where the two soldiers had been shopping before heading
back to their car.

"The Americans owe me 30,000 dollars."

News International, 9th August

TIKRIT: US troops shot dead five Iraqi men and a child in Saddam Hussein's
hometown of Tikrit on Friday, a local hospital chief said, but the military
said they had killed only two, who were "illegally trafficking weapons".

Dr Salah al-Dulaimi told AFP US soldiers opened fire at five arms sellers
who were test firing Kalashnikov assault rifles for customers at 8:30am
(0430 GMT), killing them. A child who was in the marketplace of the town,
175 kilometres north of Baghdad, was also fatally shot, and a woman was
wounded, he said. But Lieutenant-Colonel Bill MacDonald, of the 4th Infantry
Division, assigned to Tikrit, gave a different version of events.

"Soldiers of 4th ID sent out an observation patrol to monitor a location
where suspected former regime loyalists were trafficking illegal arms. At
7:30am (0330 GMT), a team observed four men. The team engaged the four men,
two were wounded, two were killed," MacDonald said.

"One of the wounded was treated at the scene, the other wounded man was
evacuated to an Iraqi hospital, both are under custody of the Iraqi national
police," he added. No US forces were injured, MacDonald said. The soldiers,
who checked the area afterwards, found AK 47 rifles, loaded magazines and
small arms ammunition "and material that can make up improvised explosive
devices, such as wires and switches".

MacDonald also said three US soldiers were wounded in separate attacks
around Tikrit, where the 4ID is scouring the countryside in a bid to disable
the support network of Saddam and hopefully find the ousted president
himself. Two were hospitalised after roadside bomb attacks, and a third was
wounded by a mortar round, but returned to duty.

The 4ID arrested 12 Iraqis, including three wanted for attacks, during raids
overnight and early Friday, MacDonald said. "Late Thursday-early Friday, we
conducted four raids and we detained 12. Out of these 12, three were former
regime loyalists involved with illegal weapons training and organising
attacks against coalition forces," he said. Two weapons caches were seized,
containing a total of more than 100 Kalashnikovs, a dozen sniper rifles,
more than 35 rocket-propelled grenades, 23 rockets, 10 mortars and a box of

Also on Friday, a Fourth Infantry Division soldier died while sleeping at
his base in the town of Kirkush near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, US
Central Command said in a statement. No further information was available,
but the incident was under investigation, it said.


by Justin Huggler in Baghdad
The Independent, 11th August

British soldiers fought to control rioting Iraqis in the southern city of
Basra for the second day running yesterday. At least one Iraqi protester was
shot dead, but in the chaos in the city nobody could tell who killed him. A
Nepalese former gurkha working for a private security firm was shot dead in
an ambush by Iraqi gunmen.

Masked men claiming to represent an Iraqi resistance group appeared in a
video shown on al-Jazeera television holding rocket-propelled grenade
launchers (RPGs) and vowed: "We will make the whole land of Iraq a graveyard
to all those villain invaders."

The unrest in Basra is some of the worst the British have faced since the US
President, George Bush, declared the war over. While American soldiers have
faced daily attacks by RPGs and explosives in the rest of the country, in
the south things have been generally quieter for the British.

But the violence which seethed on the streets of Basra yesterday was not
orchestrated by the resistance, it appears. Rather it was ordinary Iraqis
who took to the streets in fury at constant power cuts and acute fuel
shortages. With temperatures above 50C (122F), Iraqis desperately need
electricity to power their air conditioners.

The country is suffering from severe power cuts, which have done nothing to
make the Americans and British popular. But in Basra they have been severely
exacerbated after a local power station was attacked - it is not clear by
whom - and put out of action.

When the mains go off, Iraqis turn to generators. But they need fuel for
these and, incredibly in a country with Iraq's vast oil reserves, there is a
severe fuel shortage.

British troops and tanks were guarding petrol stations from enraged
protesters yesterday. Many in Basra were blaming Kuwait, accusing the
country, which sided with the Americans during the invasion of Iraq, of
stealing Iraqi oil.

About 1,000 Iraqis took to the streets of Basra, according to the British
Army. Angry crowds gathered around cars and demanded to know if there were
Kuwaitis inside. Elsewhere, they set up barricades of burning tyres. In
scenes reminiscent of the West Bank, they threw stones at passing trucks and

Reporters in the city saw an injured man being carried out of a schoolbus,
its windows shattered by stones.

The former gurkha was shot dead after his car was ambushed in Basra as he
delivered mail for the United Nations. He was working privately for the
company Global Security. Many Nepalese former gurkhas work for private
security firms in Iraq.

In what the British Army said was a "separate incident", British soldiers
came under attack and returned fire.

Arab commentators suggestedthe British may now be feeling a little of the
heat the Americans have been facing in Baghdad. But this is by no means an
organised Shia resistance, yet. Shia religious leaders have still not issued
any fatwas calling for resistance: yesterday's riots were enraged people
taking their anger on to the streets. If the Shia start resisting in
earnest, it could get a lot worse.

But Iraq's Sunni resistance has already started. The resistance fighters who
appeared in the video shown on al-Jazeera yesterday, their faces swathed in
red-chequered keffiyehs, insisted they were not supporters of Saddam
Hussein. "We are ready to give our sons' lives," one of them read out in a
statement. "The Baathists [Saddam's regime] were not ready to give their
sons' lives to defend the country, to defend Baghdad. How can they talk
about resistance?"

Next to him sat another man with a Kalashnikov, and behind them stood two
fighters with RPG launchers.

A number of resistance groups have emerged. While some support the deposed
Iraqi leader, other Sunni Islamist groups do not and there has been
squabbling between the factions.

Attacks on the occupation forces continued yesterday. Two American soldiers
were injured in an attack in Tikrit. Two more American soldiers and an Arab
journalist for al-Jazeera were also wounded in a grenade attack in Baghdad.

Jordan Times, 11th August
BAQUBA, Iraq (AFP) ‹ A leading Shiite cleric was arrested overnight by
American troops in the flashpoint town of Baquba northwest of Baghdad, the
man's son told AFP Sunday.

US soldiers picked up at midnight Ali Abdul Karim Al Madani, 48, the highest
ranking Shiite cleric in the Dyala region who had previously been jailed
from July 2-4, his son Hasan Abdul Halim Al Madani told AFP.

Madani, whose brief arrest last month sparked demonstrations that left one
man dead in a mysterious explosion, was led away by 30 US soldiers, who came
in five Humvee vehicles, backed up by two tanks and a transport truck.

Twelve others were arrested along with him, including two bodyguards, the
cleric's nephew Haider Abdul Halim told AFP.

At the time of his previous arrest, US troops suspected the greying cleric
of a connection to a large weapons cache found in a Baquba mosque and also
of calling for violence against the Americans.

During the latest raid, Haider complained the troops had confiscated 20
million dinars ($14,000) collected by Madani for the construction of a new
mosque. He said no reason was given for the arrest, while US troops had
noimmediate comment.

"There are no good relations with the Americans. Like all Iraqis, we are
against the occupation, but we are for peaceful negotiations with them,"
Haider said.

He added Madani, the son of a former grand ayatollah, backed the line of
Iraq's current senior Shiite cleric Ali Al Sistani, who advocates a
wait-and-see approach towards the US forces.

Meanwhile, in the centre of Baquba, US soldiers were fired on early Sunday
by two members of Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen paramilitary group from their
car, said Ibrahim Ali, 40, a security guard with the coalition.

The pair then fled their vehicle after the soldiers fired back and blood
stains were found on the car's frontseat, he said.

The car had the words "Long live Fedayeen Saddam" scrawled on its hood.

Also overnight, the main US base, outside of town, received one round of
mortar fire, while helicopters combed the surrounding fields and groves for
the attackers, said witness Issam Al Dulaimi, 34.

Late Saturday, a rocket-propelled grenade set a US military vehicle aflame
on the road to the main US base in Baquba, said labourer Ziad Hadi, 30.

He did not know if there were any casualties in the attack at about 10:30 pm
(1830 GMT).

Baquba, 60 kilometres northwest of Baghdad, is home to both Sunni and Shiite
Muslims, and has been a regular battleground between US troops and guerrilla
insurgents linked to Saddam.

Three US soldiers were killed in a grenade attack while guarding the local
children's hospital here last month.

Sarasota Herald Tribune, 12th August

SARASOTA -- A Sarasota woman who served as a "human shield" during the war
in Iraq faces thousands of dollars in civil penalties.

According to a letter dated March 20 from the federal Department of the
Treasury, Faith Fippinger broke the law by crossing the Iraqi border -- a
violation of U.S. sanctions that prohibit American citizens from engaging in
"virtually all direct or indirect commercial, financial or trade
transactions with Iraq."

Fippinger, who returned home on May 4, learned of the letter from her
brother, who kept track of her mail while she was overseas. Once she arrived
in the United States, she had 20 days to respond, which she did.

Now, Fippinger, 62, owes the United States at least $10,000, which is
$10,000 more than she says she will pay.

In a letter Fippinger mailed to the government in May, she said she would
not pay a fine.

"If it comes to fines or imprisonment, please be aware that I will not
contribute money to the United States government to continue the build-up of
its arsenal of weapons," Fippinger wrote in her response to the charges. She
said she has no intention of paying. "Therefore, perhaps the alternative
should be considered."

The alternative could be as much as 12 years in prison.

Fippinger said the $10,000 was a settlement offered to her by the Treasury
Department as a quicker alternative to a drawn-out legal battle that could
cost her up to $1 million.

If Fippinger does not pay, the fine may increase, and the money will be
drawn from her retirement paycheck, her Social Security check or any of her

She says she doesn't have much.

"She was (in Iraq) in violation of U.S. sanctions," said Taylor Griffin, a
Treasury Department spokesman. "That's what happens."

The letter, signed by David Harmon, chief of the enforcement division of the
Office of Foreign Assets Control, demanded that Fippinger include in her
response the purposes and dates of her time in Iraq, along with a
description of any financial transactions she made.

The letter also asked for the name of any travel agent who arranged the
trip, any U.S. goods she might have donated and any Iraqi goods she might
have brought home.

"They're saying that I, as a human shield, exported services to Iraq by
going over there," Fippinger said Friday.

In her response, Fippinger wrote that the only money she spent was on food
and emergency supplies.

She and others from 30 countries spread out through Iraq in a futile effort
to prevent American bombing of the country. She spent about three months
there, including time at an oil refinery. Only about 20 of nearly 300 "human
shields" were Americans, she said.

They all face the same charges as Fippinger.

"I thought it was one of my friends pulling a joke on me," said one of them,
Ryan Clancey of Milwaukee on Friday.

He said the Treasury Department didn't promise that the case would be closed
if he paid the $10,000.

"They use the word settlement as in 'perhaps we won't punish you,'" he said.

The Treasury Department employee who contacted Clancey told him that three
others were facing possible criminal charges, but would not say who they
were or whether Clancey would join their ranks.

Griffin said Fippinger and the others also violated a ban against travel to

"I was aware I was violating a travel ban," Clancey said. "But I needed to
meet the people we were going to bomb and kill."

So far, arguments against the penalties have proven fruitless.

"When you break the law, you can expect to get a fine," Griffin said. "The
Bush administration is committed to the full and fair enforcement of the

by Huda Majeed Saleh
Yahoo, 12th August

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier was killed and two soldiers were wounded
in a bomb attack Tuesday west of Baghdad, as Kurds near the Iranian border
said they had captured dozens of militant fighters trying to infiltrate

A U.S. Army spokeswoman said the soldier died when three synchronized bombs
were detonated near a U.S. convoy in the restive town of Ramadi.

The attack brought to 57 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in guerrilla
attacks since the start of May.

In the northern city of Mosul, a U.S. Humvee was destroyed in a blast and
witnesses said four casualties were taken away. The U.S. Army said it had no

U.S. forces occupying Iraq come under daily attack, and Washington says
die-hard Saddam Hussein loyalists and some foreign militants are behind the
guerrilla campaign.

Adel Murad, a spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), told
Reuters in Baghdad that Kurdish Peshmerga militiamen had rounded up 50
people near the Iranian border -- some of them members of the shadowy Ansar
al-Islam group, which Washington has linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda

Paul Bremer, Iraq's U.S. governor, told a news conference that Ansar
al-Islam was one of the groups under suspicion for a truck bomb attack on
the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad last week that killed at least 17 people
and wounded scores.

He said the attack was "an act of irresponsible terrorism by criminals" but
it was too early to say who was to blame.

"It's possible this attack was conducted by foreign terrorists. It is also
possible it was conducted by Iraqis," he said. "The investigation by Iraqi
police is going forward."


by Rod Nordland
NEWSWEEK, 18th August

The family of Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi deputy prime minister who surrendered
early to Coalition forces, is outraged. Once the international face of
Saddam's regime, Aziz is now confined in a stifling room with just a bed at
Camp Cropper, the American prison at Baghdad airport.     

HIS RELATIVES CAN'T visit him, and they have no idea when or if he'll be
released. At least he can write: "I am okay and getting good medical care,
but I miss you all and the grandchildren. Hugs and kisses," he penned in a
letter to his wife, Violet, on July 15. The one-page letter, shown to
NEWSWEEK, included a P.S.: "Please send me magazines and newspapers,
cigarettes (a lot, preferably Marlboros), underwear and a disdash [the
lightweight gown for men]." Violet Aziz says she sent what he requested,
"but when I wanted to send more, they said, 'Only once a month.' Where are
the human rights that the U.S. is always talking about?" Aziz's sister Amal
adds: "It's a shame how he is being treated."

Few Americans will get teary for Tariq Aziz, faithful servant to the Butcher
of Baghdad. But consider the case of Rafet Kamal, a 27-year-old shop clerk
who went out for cigarettes one night two weeks ago and never returned home.
Kamal's father, named Kamal Sayit, an unemployed laborer with no connections
and no English, went from prison to police station to hospital looking for
him. At Camp Cropper, he was simply turned away at gunpoint. Finally, after
10 days of fruitless searching, Sayit visited Baghdad's morgue last Tuesday.
He suspected the worst by this point, if only because his son had taken a
pistol out with him. It was for personal protection, Sayit says, but he knew
Coalition troops forbade it. Attendants ushered the father to one of five
refrigerated rooms, where bodies lay piled two or three deep, nearly all of
them young men with gunshot wounds. There he found his son lying on top, his
body riddled with bullets. Sayit beat his own head with both fists and
cried, "I just want to know: was he killed by American soldiers?"

He will never know for certain, because no one will ever investigate. That's
partly because there is no codified system of justice in occupied Iraq. As
many as 8,000 people have disappeared since Saddam's regime collapsed, and
many relatives are searching for answers about their fate. More than 5,000
are in U.S. custody; others may be among those killed by fellow Iraqis, and
in some cases by American troops. Those who have been detained are nearly -
always held incommunicado, without access to lawyers or even the right to
contact their families. In most cases their loved ones can't find out where
they are. With Iraqi prisons looted and destroyed, captives are jailed in
barbed-wire compounds, converted warehouses and vast tent camps. Conditions
are primitive; at their worst they amount to what Amnesty International
describes as "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."


American forces, however, have killed hundreds of Iraqis, including many
innocent bystanders. The military keeps no records of civilian victims, and
usually lets family members take the body away. If no one claims it,
soldiers take it to the morgue. Sometimes the victims are shot when failing
to heed a roadblock, or when they happen into a fire fight. Last week a bomb
under a Humvee exploded, and troops fired wildly into the crowded shops
nearby. There was no return fire, but the shooting went on for hours and
left at least one Iraqi bystander dead. The week before, four Christians on
their way to church in Baghdad's upper-class Mansour district were shot to
death as they happened upon the scene of a house raid; the military says the
incident is under investigation. With at least a dozen hit-and-run attacks a
day taking place against American troops, such mishaps are commonplace.
Adding to the body count, troops are now allowed to shoot looters and curfew
violators if they don't heed orders.

At Baghdad's morgue, the results are plain to see. Two or three times a day
now, according to clerk Muhammed Hussein, the morgue receives corpses of
people killed by the Coalition; they arrive in the black body bags used by
the U.S. Army. Pathologist Hassan Faisal Lazim says more than 3,000 victims
have arrived at the facility, which serves only Baghdad, since Saddam's
regime fell. Most are victims of Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence, and 95 percent
have been killed by gunshot. While only 15 to 20 percent of them have been
shot by the Coalition, according to Lazim's estimates, that's still a
significant death toll. General Sanchez said last week: "Unfortunately, in
some cases, when you're in the middle of a fire fight, there are innocent
civilians that are hurt."

Last week pickup trucks pulled into the Baghdad morgue's driveway, one after
another, with bodies of young men who had been shot. Some came with wailing
family members; in other cases corpses had been collected from the street
after curfew lifted at 6 a.m. Policeman Satter Abdul Wahid arrived in his
car, the rear window busted out, with a man's body in the trunk, the feet
sticking out over the side. The corpse had been found on the street, shot
seven times with heavy-caliber bullets; beyond that no one knew anything.
"Even if they didn't do this, I blame the Coalition forces," Wahid said. "If
they let the police operate independently, this wouldn't happen."

By 10:30 that morning, Lazim had performed 22 autopsies, and bodies were
still arriving. All but one were gunshot victims. A steady stream of Iraqis
arrived, looking at the faces of the corpses in the truck beds, on the
autopsy tables inside and stacked in the refrigerators. Most went away
relieved, to search elsewhere, but occasionally someone started wailing. No
one could tell Kamal Sayit who had killed his son, but his wounds seemed to
be from a small-caliber weapon such as a pistol‹probably not military. It
was small consolation. He slumped to the tiled examining room floor and wept
into his hands.

With Colin Soloway in Tikrit, and Christopher Dickey and Scott Johnson in

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