Saturday, January 13, 2007

US strikes on al-Qa'ida chiefs kill nomads

The herdsmen had gathered with their animals around large fires at night to ward off mosquitoes. But lit up by the flames, they became latest victims of America's war on terror.

It was their tragedy to be misidentified in a secret operation by special forces attempting to kill three top al-Qa'ida leaders in south-ern Somalia.

Oxfam yesterday confirmed at least 70 nomads in the Afmadow district near the border with Kenya had been killed. The nomads were bombed at night and during the day while searching for water sources. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Kenya has acknowledged that the onslaught on Islamist fighters failed to kill any of the three prime targets wanted for their alleged role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

The wanted men are Fazul Abdullah Moham-med, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and Abu Taha al-Sudani, who were all supposedly sheltered by the Union of Islamic Courts during its short reign in Mogadishu.

The operation, which opened a new front in Washington's anti-terror campaign, seems to have backfired spectacularly in the five days since it was launched. In addition to the scores of Somali civilians killed, the simmering civil war in the failed state has been rekindled.

Yesterday concern was mounting at the high number of civilian casualties, despite a claim by the US ambassador, Michael Ranneberger, that no civilians had been killed or injured and that only one attack had taken place. The UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, reported that an estimated 100 people were wounded in Monday's air strikes on the small fishing village of Ras Kamboni launched from the US military base in Djibouti after a mobile phone intercept.

Friday, January 12, 2007

friday random ten

Photo by Ryan McManus

friday random ten (12/01/2007)

1. "You! Me! Dancing!" - Los Campesinos! [Hold On Now Youngster...]

2. "The Smile On My Face" - The Two-Bit Terribles [Punk As It's Not]

Tilly and the Wall - Wild Like Children
3. "Nights of the Living Dead" - Tilly and the Wall [Wild Like Children]

Ciccone Youth - The Whitey Album
4. "Macbeth" - Ciccone Youth [the Whitey Album]

Hawkwind - Hall of the Mountain Grill
5. "The Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke)" - Hawkwind [Hall of the Mountain Grill]

Ride - Nowhere
6. "Vapour Trail" - Ride [Nowhere]

Under Byen - Samme stof som stof
7. "Siamesick" - Under Byen [Samme Stof Som Stof]

The Fall - Slates / A Part of America Therein, 1981
8. "Slates, Slags, Etc."- The Fall [Slates/ A Part of America Therein]

Math and Physics Club - Math and Physics Club
9. "April Showers" - Math and Physics Club [Math and Physics Club]

Beat Happening - You Turn Me On
10. "Teenage Caveman" - Beat Happening [You Turn Me On]


Thursday, January 11, 2007

US forces storm Iranian consulate

US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six members of staff.

The troops raided the building at about 0300 (0001GMT), taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

The US military would only confirm the detention of six people around Irbil.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

800,000 Privileged Youths Enlist To Fight In Iraq

WASHINGTON, DC—Citing a desire to finally make a difference in Iraq, in the past two weeks, more than 800,000 young people from upper-middle- and upper-class families have put aside their education, careers, and physical well-being to enlist in the military, new data from the Department Of Defense shows.


At the on-campus temporary recruitment table at Reed College in Portland, OR, the line of students eager to sign up for active duty stretched around the block Monday. Recruiters across the country reported a similar trend, with scores of young people asking how soon they could be ready to go to battle in Iraq.

"They don't have these recruitment centers where I live," said Daniel Feldman, 26, who resides in the affluent neighborhood of Brookline, MA and recently passed his bar exam. "I didn't realize you could just sign up, but now that I do, all of my friends from law school, yoga class, and temple are going to join, too. And not the Reserves either. We're talking down and dirty, right on the front lines."


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Steve Bell

US launches airstrike on Somali village

US air strikes on sites in southern Somalia believed to be the hideouts of al-Qaida suspects have left "many" dead, it was reported today.

Two helicopters were seen launching attacks today following two strikes by a heavily-armed gunship yesterday. The strikes were believed to be targeting Islamists wanted for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in other African countries.

Officials said suspects had been seen hiding on the remote Badmadow island on the southern tip of Somalia, close to the Kenyan border.


A senior government official, speaking to Reuters, said he understood there were "many dead bodies and animals in the village" after the first overt military action by the US in Somalia since the 1990s.

"The US were trying to kill the al-Qaida terrorists who carried out the bomb attacks on their embassies in Kenya and Tanzania," Somalia's deputy prime minister, Hussein Aideed, said. "They have our full support for the attacks."

However, the attacks were condemned by the EU today. "Any incident of this kind is not helpful in the long term," Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a European commission spokesman, said.

Witnesses said at least four civilians were killed in the attack, including a small boy.


WASHINGTON — President Bush will outline his "new way forward" in Iraq on Wednesday to a nation that overwhelmingly opposes sending more U.S. troops and is increasingly skeptical that the war can be won.

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday shows a daunting sales job ahead for the White House, which is considering a plan to deploy up to 20,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq.

Those surveyed oppose the idea of increased troop levels by 61%-36%. Approval of the job Bush is doing in Iraq has sunk to 26%, a record low.

Monday, January 08, 2007

This Modern World

Young Republicans want to help!

delusional cynicism

Paul Krugman

The only real question about the planned “surge” in Iraq — which is better described as a Vietnam-style escalation — is whether its proponents are cynical or delusional.

Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thinks they’re cynical. He recently told The Washington Post that administration officials are simply running out the clock, so that the next president will be “the guy landing helicopters inside the Green Zone, taking people off the roof.”

Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his research on irrationality in decision-making, thinks they’re delusional. Mr. Kahneman and Jonathan Renshon recently argued in Foreign Policy magazine that the administration’s unwillingness to face reality in Iraq reflects a basic human aversion to cutting one’s losses — the same instinct that makes gamblers stay at the table, hoping to break even.

Of course, such gambling is easier when the lives at stake are those of other people’s children.

Well, we don’t have to settle the question. Either way, what’s clear is the enormous price our nation is paying for President Bush’s character flaws.