Iraq: Prison Escape Attempt
- 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
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
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
"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,"
"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
Iraq has oil and dollar wealth, but the people do not see it.
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