Daily Archives: April 4, 2007

McCain’s Iraq market workers killed in clear reprisal

After John McCain and the hundreds of soldiers left the market, that evening, as the market workers went home, twenty one were grabbed and killed:

In another brutal attack, suspected militants massacred a group of 21 Shia workers overnight after laying an ambush north of Baghdad.Travelling in three minibuses, the workers were abducted on the main road out of Baghdad to neighbouring Diyala. The 21 Shias, together with six Kurdish colleagues still missing, worked in Shorja market of Baghdad.

Medics said their handcuffed and blindfolded bodies were found near a water treatment plant in Morariyah village after daybreak.link

… 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital. The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.

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The US Army knows of this kind of problem, and has previously taken steps to avoid reprisals on Iraqis:

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The Wall Street Journal reports today that Iraqi businessmen are in a tough situation: they need American funds to restart their businesses, but if anyone knows they’re getting U.S. cash they run the risk of being shot or blown up. Capt. Dan Cederman came up with an answer to this dilemma last year while he was talking with the owner of a vocational school that was receiving U.S. reconstruction funds:

With the work well under way last fall, Dr. Noori asked Capt. Cederman to see the renovations for himself, both men say. But the Iraqi stressed the importance of keeping the U.S. role secret. “Can you come in without anyone seeing you come in?” Dr. Noori remembers asking….”I thought, ‘Why don’t we just raid the place?’ ” Capt. Cederman recalls.

….The U.S. raid took place last September. Dr. Noori, who had been alerted to the timing, stayed home the day of the strike to prevent his workers from finding out that he knew many of the soldiers….The ruse worked so well that Capt. Cederman decided to carry out a similar raid last month at the printing plant here that had been fixed up with U.S. funds.

Yesterday I called for John McCain to quit the presidential race and consider retiring from public service.
Today I repeat that call, and suggest that he owes an apology to his constituents and to the people of Iraq.

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Filed under Iraq, John McCain for president of Del Boca Vista

The US and Iran: Elliot Abrams’ sandbox; Part 4; HOSTAGES FREED; Phoney ABC report on Iran nuclear program

Breaking news: Iranian President Ahmadinejad has announced that the 15 British sailors and marines will be freed. He says that he has pardoned them as a gift to the British people to celebrate Easter and the birth of the prophet Mohammed.

Eliot Abrams had a pretty good day yesterday; the spin of the great propaganda media outlet wheel stopped on ABC News, and the story wheel stopped on “nuclear”. So this nutso anonymous nonstory got slipped to Disney/ABC, who not only ran it, but also slipped it back into a question at Bush’s news conference, Bush comments, the rest of the media pick it up as a new story, etc, etc. thus completing the bullshit cycle. Elliot loves it when his stories get that re-injection thing. This was a total propaganda success. No real news, big mushroom cloud scare, totally anonymous. Congrats to the ISOG for continuing to fool America.
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Brian Ross and Christopher Isham Report:

Iran has more than tripled its ability to produce enriched uranium in the last three months, adding some 1,000 centrifuges which are used to separate radioactive particles from the raw material.

The development means Iran could have enough material for a nuclear bomb by 2009, sources familiar with the dramatic upgrade tell ABC News.

The sources say the unexpected expansion is taking place at Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant outside the city of Natanz, in a hardened facility 70 feet underground.

The addition of 1,000 new centrifuges, which are not yet operational, means Iran is expanding its enrichment program at a pace much faster than U.S. intelligence experts had predicted.

“If they continue at this pace, and they get the centrifuges to work and actually enrich uranium on a distinct basis,” said David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, “then you’re looking at them having, potentially having enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 2009.”

Previous predictions by U.S. intelligence had cited 2015 as the earliest date Iran could develop a weapon.

See yesterday’s post for Scott Ritter’s opinion. Basically there is nothing new in this story; the Iranians continue to struggle with the whole centrifuge, as they have for many, many years, and the chances of anything changing is low. Ten years or more, and they have less than two hundred functioning centrifuges. What does that tell you?

This story is such bull that Glenn Greenwald was moved to slam it at Salon.

It just seemed inconceivable that such an obviously significant claim would be emphatically advanced by ABC News with such skimpy information and using such shoddy methods.

Yet it is now the following day. The article has provoked the predictable reaction. And President Bush was asked about the report today during his press conference, where the questioner specifically stated that ABC News has reported that Iran may have a nuclear bomb by 2009 (transcript will be posted when available). That is now a claim that is being treated as credible, because it has the stamp of ABC News on it, and it has now been injected into the public debate over what to do about Iran.

But the report is worthless and a complete violation of basic journalistic standards. It provides no information whatsoever about the “sources” — are they government sources, private individuals, intelligence operatives, Iranian, American or from some other nation, people with a discernible agenda or bias? The ABC News report provides no information whatsoever. What possible excuse is there for that? And why would a report attributed exclusively to a term so vague as to be impoverished of any meaning — “sources” — be the slightest bit credible or even worthy of publication?

Sean-Paul Kelley, who writes frequently (and insightfully) about Iran and recently returned from a long trip there, notes several reasons why the “substance” of the claim is so suspect. In a separate post, he notes that the whole claim about the Iranian nuclear progress seems to hinge on a huge condition which the article never suggests has been fulfilled. In fact, once you get past the first two sensationalistic paragraphs that throw around “2009” as the target date when the Evil Iranians are going to be able to create the Mushroom Clouds over our cities, it is actually difficult, if not impossible, even to discern what this ABC News report really is even claiming.

So within less than 24 hours, a completely shoddy, unreliable and vague ABC News report translates into a straightforward statement at the President’s Press Conference that “Iran will be capable of building a nuclear bomb within two years.”

There were several other stories but that is enough for today. The others will be discussed tomorrow.

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After Ignoring Previous Agreements, Bush Pushes For Another Disarmament Agreement

From The Liberal Avenger:

The Bush administration wants the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament to ban production of nuclear bomb-making fissile material, but key members of the conference want the US to live up to previous agreements before moving forward.

Since Bush came to power, the US has backtracked on several anti-proliferation agreements, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. So the president shouldn’t be surprised when negotiators from China and Russia greet his proposal to ban the manufacture of bomb-grade material by saying, “Until when? Until you decide to violate yet another treaty?”

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics