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Iraq: Prison Escape Attempt

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    Iraq Inmate Kills Eight in Escape Attempt SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Dec 28, 2005 http://www.whtt.org/index.php?news=2&id=630 An inmate in a Baghdad
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2006
      Iraq Inmate Kills Eight in Escape Attempt
      SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Dec 28, 2005

      An inmate in a Baghdad prison grabbed an assault rifle from a guard
      Wednesday and opened fire, killing eight people, the Interior
      Ministry said. One American soldier was injured in the attempted
      prison break, the U.S. military said.

      The prisoner fired indiscriminately after grabbing an AK-47, killing
      four guards and four inmates, said Iraqi army Brig. Gen. Jalil al-
      Mehamadawi. The Interior Ministry said one guard and three prisoners
      were wounded.

      The U.S. militarys account was slightly different. A statement by
      Sgt. Keith Robinson said "it was reported that 16 prisoners
      attempted to escape the facility after first storming the armory and
      obtaining an undetermined number of weapons."

      Robinson said in addition to the eight deaths that one U.S. soldier
      and five prisoners were injured.

      Guards overtook the gunman and restrained him, al-Mehamadawi said.
      The prison was a Justice Ministry facility that also housed
      foreigners, officials said.

      Police in Karbala said 31 bodies had been unearthed in a mass grave
      discovered this week thats believed to date back to a 1991 uprising
      against Saddam Hussein. Officials hoped to identify the bodies
      through DNA testing.

      In violence Wednesday, gunmen killed a major in the former Iraqi
      army and a person in the car with him in eastern Baghdad, police Lt.
      Thair Mahmoud said. Gunmen in west Baghdad killed Interior Ministry
      Brig. Haider Ali Saied, a hospital official said.


      Associated Press reporters Jason Straziuso in Baghdad and Yahya
      Barzanji in Irbil contributed to this report.


      "We have gotten used to the occupation games and tricks, which aim
      at pitting Iraqis against their religious leaders," Al-Kubeisy told

      Iraqi Sunnis Refute Report on US Bribing Scholars
      By Mazen Ghazi, IOL Correspondent

      CAIRO, January 2, 2006 (IslamOnline.net) – Iraqi Sunni leaders on
      Monday, January 2, refuted as baseless and a clear attempt to
      undermine anti-occupation powers a report by a leading US newspaper
      that few Sunni scholars were on the payroll of US companies
      orchestrating media campaigns to polish the US army's badly bruised

      "Of course we dismiss this (report) in form and essence, but it also
      asserts our long-standing position that any credible political
      process in Iraq is impossible under occupation," Mohamed Ayyash Al-
      Kubeisy, a spokesman for the influential Association of Muslim
      Scholars (AMS), told IslamOnline.net.

      "Any political process could never be held away from pressures by
      occupation forces," he averred.

      Citing current and former employees of a US PR company, the New York
      Times said Monday that a Pentagon contractor that paid Iraqi
      newspapers to print positive articles written by American soldiers
      has also been compensating Sunni religious scholars in return for
      assistance with its propaganda work.

      It quoted an unnamed former employee as saying the Lincoln Group, a
      Washington-based public relations company, was asked by Pentagon
      early in 2005 to identify religious leaders who could help produce
      messages that would persuade Sunnis in the resistance hub of Al-
      Anbar province to participate in national elections and reject the

      He said the PR firm has retained three or four Sunni scholars to
      offer advice and write reports for military commanders on the
      content of propaganda campaigns.

      News of bribes by the Pentagon to Iraqi newspapers to print stories
      written by American soldiers to polish the tarnished image of the US
      occupation in the oil-rich country started popping up late in

      The Los Angeles Times said on Wednesday, November 30, that articles
      have been written in English, translated into Arabic, by US
      military "information operation" troops and then given to Baghdad
      newspapers to print in return for money.

      "Divide and Prosper"

      According to the NY Times report, Lincoln has recently sought
      approval from the military to make Sunni religious leaders one of
      several "target audiences" of the propaganda effort in Iraq.

      The daily said a Lincoln plan titled "Divide and Prosper" presented
      in October to the Special Operations Command in Tampa, which
      oversees information operations, suggested that reaching religious
      leaders was vital for reducing Sunni support for the insurgency –
      the US term for resistance.

      Al-Kubeisy, however, made it clear that US attempts in this regard
      will hardly meet any success.

      "The Iraqi people are loyal, committed and hold their scholars at
      high esteem. We have gotten used to the occupation games and tricks,
      which aim at pitting Iraqis against their religious leaders.

      He asserted that "divide and prosper" is an infamous tactic used by
      occupation forces throughout history.

      Mohamed Al-Samarrie, a senior AMS member, agreed.

      "These reports are part of the psychological war launched by the US
      forces against the Iraqis to undermine trust between the masses and
      their religious leaders, especially after realizing that mosques and
      scholars are the source of inspiration for the people," he told IOL.

      "These rumors surfaced only after US forces had failed in
      (implementing) their programs in Iraq. They also came after hundreds
      of scholars and imams were killed or detained and attempts to draw a
      wedge between the scholars and the masses failed," Al-Samarrie, imam
      of a Baghdad mosque, added.

      The American PR company said scholars "exercise a great deal of
      influence over the people in their communities and oftentimes it is
      the religious leaders who incite people to violence and to support
      the insurgent cause".

      Please feel free to contact News editor at:
      Englishnews @ islam-online.net


      IRAQ: What keeps us busy
      by Anita David
      30 December 2005
      Christian Peacemaker Teams

      What do you do to get people released by kidnappers? How do you
      know the kidnappers are who they say they are? How do you know what
      they want to hear before they release our friends? How do we get
      those who've spoken on our behalf to do more?

      How do you encourage others who may have some influence to become
      engaged? How do you contact them? How do you know who the most
      influential people will be when you are not certain what the
      kidnappers want?

      How do you treat a TV crew who shows up at 2:00 a.m. in front of your
      Baghdad apartment building with a police escort to shoot video of our
      location? I know the answer to this one, but just to let you know*

      We make phone calls, we answer questions from media via telephone.
      We write letters of thanks to the people and organizations who have
      supported us. In morning meetings we brainstorm "other" strategies as
      though we had a clear one. We write messages to our teammates and to
      their "hosts" and post them on the CPT website. We listen to small
      arms fire. We talk about how many Iraqis are kidnapped and how no
      one pays much attention except their families.

      We wait and wait and we celebrate Christmas with a real tree which,
      when it arrives, gives off a beautiful scent. We decorate it with
      blinking lights, the best of which were given to us as a Christmas
      present by the man who drives for us. We exchange gifts. On
      Christmas night we sing carols for our landlord and his family.

      We speak three times a day with the team in Canada, once a day with
      the team in Amman, intermittently with the teams in Hebron and at
      Tuwani. We wash our clothes, cook our meals, clean our apartment,
      write reflections for CPT Net.

      We thank our Iraqi friends continuously for standing by us and
      continuing to work with us. Their presence with us puts them in real
      danger. We continue to shop in the market and when we walk down our
      street our neighbors ask about our teammates - have we heard, has
      anyone called, what are we doing.

      It's the same in the markets. Everyone remembers Tom and asks about
      him I still visit Adil, sit on his front porch and ask him what he
      thinks we should do, how is the stock market doing, does he have new
      pictures of his grand daughter?

      Every conversation with everyone revolves around this kidnapping.
      There is no escape from either this place or this kidnapping. What
      we do, along with other Iraqis is try to think our way through and
      around the stupidity of daily violence, intermittent presence of
      water and electricity, long delays in traffic and bad, bad air. And
      we enjoy and are humbled by offerings of graciousness and friendship
      from so many Iraqis.

      How do you respond to U.S. press reports criticizing our presence
      here? Proof of our "recklessness" is the kidnapping of our four
      teammates. How do you react to Rush Limbaugh who says "* I like any
      time a bunch of leftist feel-good hand-wringers are shown reality."
      What makes him think there's even one leftist feel-good hand-wringer
      here? What kind of man "likes" the suffering of others? How is the
      reality of over 2000 dead, over 15,000 wounded Americans and a much
      greater number of dead and wounded Iraqis working for him? Why does
      he accept the consequences of war? And a final question which begs
      answering--do we have the right to advocate a message of peace if we
      are not prepared to pay the cost of nonviolent peacemaking?


      Where People Cannot Afford Their Country
      Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches

      Inter Press Service
      Dahr Jamail and Harb Al-Mukhtar

      *BAGHDAD, Dec 1 (IPS) - Despite the allocation of billions of
      dollars of U.S. government money for "reconstruction", Iraqis are
      struggling to exist amidst soaring prices, unemployment, a
      devastated infrastructure, and cuts in services.*

      Iraqis received a monthly food ration during the Oil for Food
      programme which was set up to provide relief during the sanctions
      against Iraq up to the invasion in 2003. The head of each family was
      allotted monthly food coupons for commodities like sugar, rice, tea,
      detergents, cooking oil, beans and baby milk.

      But the U.S.-backed governments, starting with the Iraqi Governing
      Council, have failed to consistently deliver the monthly food basket
      on time, amidst an unemployment rate estimated at close to 70

      Abu Ali, 66, worked until recently as a distributor of the monthly
      food ration.

      "The Ministry of Trade used to give us sugar for the people," he
      said. "But not any more. This means we have to buy it from the
      market at twice the price just to achieve the same quantity. What
      will poor people do now to get their sugar?"

      Abu Mushtaq, a 40 year-old father of five lacks the money to buy
      products in the market, even after receiving 120,000 Iraqi Dinars
      (roughly 85 dollars) monthly from the government to offset the
      shortfall in the food ration.

      "Everything has gone up in price so many times," Abu Mushtaq told
      IPS. "Petrol, kerosene, even the price of bread has gone up so many
      times since the invasion. The invaders only came to Iraq to fill up
      their own pockets."

      The recent influx of government money to offset the untimely
      delivery of food rations has raised the demand for particular items,
      along with prices. This trend is disconcerting because the
      government's record of keeping food supplied is getting worse.

      "The Ministry of Trade did not give sugar for the last seven months,
      nor rice for two months," Abu Ali said. "Nor tea for four months,
      and no cooking oil for the last three months."

      Meanwhile the market price of sugar has risen 25 percent, of rice 80
      percent, tea 100 percent and cooking oil 50 percent.

      Most homes in Baghdad get on average only three hours of electricity
      supply per day, and Iraqis who can afford them use small generators.
      But petrol shortages and rationing continue, with only 40-50 litres
      allowed per vehicle monthly.

      The interim government is considering a five-fold increase in petrol
      prices early next year.

      The situation is being further complicated by attempts by some
      Iraqis to compensate for the dramatic shifts in their economy. "Many
      landlords are raising rents two or three times the normal amount,"
      said Abu Ali. "This creates a bad spiral for everyone."

      Hope also appears to be in short supply. "Anybody who tells you there
      are plans for this is a liar," Abu Anas, who works in the Ministry of
      Trade told IPS. "The government is still interim, so they cannot make
      plans, and they don't think that is their task. God help the Iraqi

      Many analysts have blamed the U.S. government squarely for this
      situation. "The 'reconstruction' of Iraq is the largest American-led
      occupation programme since the Marshall Plan (for reconstruction of
      Europe after the second world war)," analyst Ed Harriman wrote in
      the London Review of Books. "But there is a difference: the U.S..
      government funded the Marshall Plan whereas (defence secretary)
      Donald Rumsfeld and (former administrator of Iraq) Paul Bremer have
      made sure that the reconstruction of Iraq is paid for by
      the 'liberated' country, by the Iraqis themselves."

      According to Harriman's research, 6 billion dollars in assets were
      left over from the UN Oil for Food programme, and revenue from
      resumed Iraqi oil exports brought another 10 billion dollars in the
      year following the invasion.

      Nevertheless, while the U.S. Congress voted to spend 18.4 billion
      dollars of U.S. taxpayers' money in Iraq on 'reconstruction',
      Harriman says that "by 28 June last year, when Bremer left Baghdad
      two days early to avoid possible attack on the way to the airport,
      his CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) had spent up to 20 billion
      dollars of Iraqi money, compared to 300 million dollars of U.S.

      Allegations of fraud and theft have plagued the occupiers of Iraq
      from the beginning. Auditors with the U.S. government are reported
      to have found serious problems.

      "The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts,
      involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and
      corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution,"
      writes Harriman.

      "They have also discovered that 8.8 billion dollars that passed
      through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer
      was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding
      out where it went. A further 3.4 billion dollars earmarked by
      Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to
      finance 'security'."

      Iraq has oil and dollar wealth, but the people do not see it.



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