Friday, June 30, 2006

Hamdan SCOTUS Decision Roundup

A Governing Philosophy Rebuffed
Ruling Emphasizes Constitutional Boundaries

Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, June 30, 2006; Page A01

For five years, President Bush waged war as he saw fit. If intelligence officers needed to eavesdrop on overseas telephone calls without warrants, he authorized it. If the military wanted to hold terrorism suspects without trial, he let it.

Now the Supreme Court has struck at the core of his presidency and dismissed the notion that the president alone can determine how to defend the country. In rejecting Bush's military tribunals for terrorism suspects, the high court ruled that even a wartime commander in chief must govern within constitutional confines significantly tighter than this president has believed appropriate.

For many in Washington, the decision echoed not simply as a matter of law but as a rebuke of a governing philosophy of a leader who at repeated turns has operated on the principle that it is better to act than to ask permission. This ethos is why many supporters find Bush an inspiring leader, and why many critics in this country and abroad react so viscerally against him.

Bush came to office intent on expanding executive power even before Sept. 11, 2001, encouraged in particular by Vice President Cheney, who has long been convinced that presidential authority was improperly diminished after Watergate.

The decision to create military commissions to try terrorism suspects, instead of using civilian courts or courts-martial, represented one of the first steps by the administration after the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington to create a new legal architecture for handling terrorism cases.

As described by the New Yorker this week, the executive order establishing military commissions was issued without consultations with then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell or then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice after a concerted push by Cheney's legal adviser, David S. Addington, now his chief of staff.

"Rather than push so many extreme arguments about the president's commander-in-chief powers, the Bush administration would have been better served to work something out with Congress sooner rather than later -- I mean 2002, rather than 2006," said A. John Radsan, a former CIA lawyer who now teaches at William Mitchell College of Law.

The administration relied on the same expansive view of its power in detaining U.S. citizens indefinitely as enemy combatants, denying prisoners access to lawyers or courts, rejecting the applicability of the Geneva Conventions in some instances, employing harsh interrogation techniques and establishing secret CIA prisons for terrorism suspects in foreign countries. Only its telephone and e-mail surveillance program, which is operated by the National Security Agency, stirred much protest in Congress.

The administration often fended off criticism by arguing that the commander in chief should not be second-guessed. "The Bush administration has been very successful in defining the debate as one of patriotism or cowardice," said Andrew Rudalevige, author of "The New Imperial Presidency" and a Dickinson College professor. "And this is not about that. This is about whether in fighting the war we're true to our constitutional values."

In some ways, the ruling replicates a pattern in American history where presidents have acted aggressively in wartime, only to be reined in by courts or Congress. Even some Bush supporters said yesterday that it may be appropriate now to revisit decisions made ad hoc in a crisis atmosphere, when a president's natural instinct is to do whatever he thinks necessary to guard the nation against attack.

"That's what presidents do, and I say thank goodness for that," said George J. Terwilliger III, deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush. "But once you get past that point . . . both as a matter of law and a matter of culture, a more systemic approach to the use of authority is appropriate."

Full Article

Counterterrorism Blog

The news networks are proclaiming that the Supreme Court handed the President a "strong rebuke" in the Hamdan case by declaring the proposed Gitmo trials are illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.

Oh, really?

The decision is actually a huge political gift to President Bush, and the detainees will not be released that easily. The President and GOP leaders will propose a bill to override the decision and keep the terrorists in jail until they are securely transferred to host countries for permanent punishment....


This view of unbridled executive power is what was disemboweled by the Hamdan ruling. But will the administration adjust its behavior? Somehow, I doubt it. Look for them to continue seeking forgiveness rather than permission, and force each and every action to be challenged by lawsuits before they conform to the narrow ruling in each case....

Confederate Yankee

I’m familiar with a saying that goes, “if you can keep your head, while everyone around you is losing theirs, then clearly, you don’t understand the situation.”

When it comes to Hamdan, that is certainly the case for me.

Quite frankly, I’ve never been sure about the military tribunal route for terrorism suspects captured overseas. To me it either makes sense to try them as criminals in a federal court, hold them until hostilities were over (if we deem the Geneva Conventions apply), or execute them like rabid dogs (if we deem the Geneva Conventions don’t apply). The tribunal route just seemed odd to my sensibilities.

Pirate's Cove

So, give non-US citizens, who are also not members of a legitimate government, the same rights as US citizens.

The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison in Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.

Just absurd, that terrorists are protected the same as American citizens. People who are part of the group that attacked and killed Americans multiple times, culminating in 9/11, as well as the people who sheltered and supported them. Sickening.

Darfur: Sudan to Lobby Rwanda on UN

From the New Times courtesy of The Coalition for Darfur

The Sudanese government is planning to send a delegation to Rwanda in its efforts to seek support from African countries in a bid to block a United Nations peacekeeping force from going to Darfur.

Speaking to The New Times, Ismail Dahab Mohamed, the Sudanese Deputy Head of Mission in Kampala said his government is opposed to replacing the African Union troops with those of the United Nations.

"Rwanda and Burundi are good countries and are near us. We shall also go there to seek for their support against the proposal to replace the African Union peacekeeping forces with those of the United Nations. We shall go there like we are doing to other countries so that we can be supported in our efforts to block these troops from coming to Darfur," he said.

Dahab said that the AU peacekeeping forces only need logistical and financial support to bring about stability in the area.

"As Sudan, we do not think that by taking the UN forces there, the problem will be solved, but we think that the AU mandate should be supported because they can contain the situation," he said.

Dahab also revealed that the African leaders are to meet at the end of this month in the Sudan to discuss Darfur problems and also come up with possible solutions.

"We are committed to ending this problem and we want support from our friends in Africa. We hope that we can resolve the problems as Africans under our organisational structures. At the end of this month, we hope to meet many other African leaders and we discuss matters of the Sudan peace processes. We shall also discuss the issue of UN forces coming to Sudan. We want support from Africa so that we can resolve the matter and head toward peace in the region," he said. Efforts to contact the foreign affairs minister Dr. Charles Murigande on phone by press time yesterday, were fruitless.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

SCOTUS Scraps Military Tribunals for GITMO Guests

Supreme Court Rejects Guantanamo War Crimes Trials
In 5-3 Decision Justices Rebuke Bush's Anti-Terror Policy
By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 29, 2006; 1:22 PM

The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions violate U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war prisoners.

In a 5-3 decision, the court said the trials were not authorized by any act of Congress and that their structure and procedures violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.

The ruling, which overturned a federal appeals court decision in which Roberts had participated, represented a defeat for President Bush, who had ordered military trials for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base. About 450 detainees captured in the war on terrorism are currently held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Trying them before military commissions would place them under greater restrictions and afford them fewer rights than they would get in federal courts or regular military courts.

The ruling does not mean that the United States must close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility or free any of its detainees...

Full Article

Not an unexpected decision but It reigns in W's ever increasing attempts to expand the powers of the executive branchand it effectively reinstates the detainees right of Habeas Corpus (The right to know why one is being held.) Under the tribunals detainees often were never informed what they were charged with. Why is that of import? Because the Founding Fathers believed Habeas Corpus was important enough to cite the Crown's violation of it as one of the reasons for the colonies to rebel.

Additionally this ruling affords the detainees the protection of the Geneva Conventions which I found surprising. According to SCOTUS Blog:

"Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment.

This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes)." (All emphasis in the last paragraph was added by yours truly.)

That certainly opens up a whole new can of worms, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Report: Voting Machines NOT Tamper Proof

A Single Person Could Swing an Election
Electronic Systems' Weaknesses May Be Countered With Audits, Report Suggests
By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Wednesday, June 28, 2006; Page A07

To determine what it would take to hack a U.S. election, a team of cybersecurity experts turned to a fictional battleground state called Pennasota and a fictional gubernatorial race between Tom Jefferson and Johnny Adams. It's the year 2007, and the state uses electronic voting machines.

Jefferson was forecast to win the race by about 80,000 votes, or 2.3 percent of the vote. Adams's conspirators thought, "How easily can we manipulate the election results?"

The experts thought about all the ways to do it. And they concluded in a report issued yesterday that it would take only one person, with a sophisticated technical knowledge and timely access to the software that runs the voting machines, to change the outcome.

The report, which was unveiled at a Capitol Hill news conference by New York University's Brennan Center for Justice and billed as the most authoritative to date, tackles some of the most contentious questions about the security of electronic voting.

Republican Reps. Tom Cole (Okla.) and Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, joined Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) in calling for a law that would set strict requirements for electronic voting machines. Howard Schmidt, former chief of security at Microsoft and President Bush's former cybersecurity adviser, also endorsed the Brennan report.

It's not a question of 'if,' it's a question of 'when,' " Davis said of an attempt to manipulate election results.

When is correct. I've been discussing this possibility off and on for over a year now. Auditing is good but ballot confirmation printouts are the best way to protect our nation. And its good to see that something is finally being done to prevent tampering.

SCOTUS Upholds Texas Redistricting (mostly)

Justices Uphold Most of Texas Redistricting Map

By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 28, 2006; 5:06 PM

The Supreme Court today upheld most of a Republican-engineered redrawing of congressional boundaries in Texas at the instigation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), but it threw out part of the new map that it said discriminated against Latino voters.

In another of a series of fractured rulings -- this one produced six separate opinions -- the high court found nothing inherently wrong with drawing new congressional districts in mid-decade. While the 2003 Texas redistricting plan had partisan motives of increasing the Republicans' congressional majority, the court said, it did not amount to unconstitutional political gerrymandering.

On the issue of whether part of the new map was drawn with the effect of disenfranchising minority voters in south and west Texas in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the court ruled 5-4 that such a violation occurred and ordered that it be remedied.

Not exactly what I had hoped for. Considering that Texas Dems had previously redistricted Texas to their benefit the ruling wasn't unexpected. However thats one more house seat for the Democrats although I doubt that district will be redrawn in time for the November elections.

Another Blogger for Kinky

While I was away fellow Teddy Roosevelt admirer The Bull Moose decided to endorse Kinky Friedman for Governor of Texas. He even bought a Kinky Friedman action figure. I'm jealous.

Sam Houston Smiles
The Moose congratulates the Kinkster.

Good news from the Lone Star State! Kinky Friedman has been certified to appear on the November ballot as a candidate for Governor.

At least in Texas, voters will have a real choice for their Chief Executive. Texians will be able to select either the Republican or Democrat or from two independent candidates. That's political diversity.

full post

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flag Burning on the Rise?!

In the Senate, Covering Themselves in Old Glory
By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, June 27, 2006; Page A02

The Citizens Flag Alliance, a group pushing for the Senate this week to pass a flag-burning amendment to the Constitution, just reported an alarming, 33 percent increase in the number of flag-desecration incidents this year.

The number has increased to four, from three.

The naive among us may have trouble appreciating how four flag-burning episodes would constitute a constitutional crisis. But the men and women of the Senate, ever alert to emerging threats, are on the case.


Ya know, I don't think I've ever met anyone who was pro-flag burning. But I have met many people who were against limiting freedom of expression including flag burning.

I've heard a lot of people say things similiar to "Burning the flag dishonours those that fought for it." but it seems to me that eroding the rights and principles that they fought to protect dishonours their sacrifices and memory far more.

No soldier died for the flag in the same way no Christian fed to the lions died for two intersecting pieces of wood.

Isn't the symbol less important than what it represents? Then why erode what the symbol stands for in order to protect the symbol?

I was watching CSpan's morning show the other day and they were taking calls about the issue and they had two people call in on the Republican line that both espoused a viewpoint that I hadn't heard before or thought of which kinda went like this, "I am opposed to a constitutional ammendment on flag burning because its idolatry."

another two, from the same phone line, shared this opinion," I think we should ban burning of the flag as long as the flag was made in America. 97% of all American flags are made in China shouldn't American's be making American flags?"

And you know they both have really good points.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

On Vacation

I'm going on vacation with no net access. I'll be back in a week.

Sudan: No U.N. Troops Will Be Allowed In Darfur

From the NY Times:

Leader Won't Allow U.N. Force in Darfur

Published: June 21, 2006

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir voiced strong opposition to the deployment of Western troops in Darfur, vowing his country would not be "recolonized," the state news media reported. "I swear that there will not be any international military intervention in Darfur as long as I am in power," Mr. Bashir was quoted as telling a meeting of his party. "Sudan, which was the first country south of the Sahara to gain independence, cannot now be the first country to be recolonized." The United Nations wants to replace an under-equipped contingent of African troops in Darfur with its own peacekeepers. Article

What a fat load of crap.

To stay current on the crisis in Darfur please visit Sudan Watch (which is updated several times a day)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rice Warns N. Korea Not to Test Missile

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 19, 2006; 4:56 PM

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned today it would be "a very serious matter and indeed a provocative act" if North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile.

Rice's remarks, made at a news conference this afternoon with the Spanish foreign minister, are the latest in a series of warnings to the reclusive Pyongyang government not to end a moratorium on missile testing it agreed to in 1999.

Because of cloud cover and high altitude wind patterns, officials believe the earliest day for a potential missile launch would be Tuesday evening in Washington. North Korea is 14 hours ahead of Washington, and officials expect the North Koreans would launch a missile during daylight hours.

Full Article

South Park creators Mat Stone and Trey Fisher could not be reached for comment although sources not even remotely associated with either of them inform us that Mat Stone is currently in Washington D.C. but Trey Fisher has been moved to an undisclosed secure location.

Related Post:

North Korea Ready to Test ICBM

North Korea Ready to Test ICBM

North Korea fuels missile, readies launch, U.S. officials say
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- North Korea is believed to have completed fueling a missile capable of reaching Alaska, raising the probability of an imminent test launch, U.S. officials said on Sunday.

The United States plans to join Japan in a sharp response if the test goes ahead.

Washington has warned Pyongyang against the launch in a message passed to North Korean diplomats at the United Nations but there was no response, American officials said.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Pyongyang could still decide to scrap the launch, but that was unlikely given the complexity of siphoning fuel back out of a missile prepared for launch.

The test is expected to involve a Taepodong-2 missile with an estimated range of 2,175 to 2,670 miles (3,500 to 4,300 kilometers). At that range, parts of Alaska in the United States would be within reach as well as Asia and Russia.

North Korea lacks an operational missile that can hit the continental United States, the California-based Center for Nonproliferation Studies said in a recent report.


Just when you thought it was safe to leave the bomb shelter. Of course it could just be part of Kim Jong-il's plan to thank South Park creators Mat Stone and Trey Fisher for their portrayal of him in Team America: World Police.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Emergency Bill Includes Darfur Money

The Associated Press
Thursday, June 15, 2006; 1:33 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Senate on Thursday allocated $60 million toward launching a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The money to help stem the brutality and chaos in Darfur is part of the $94.5 billion emergency spending bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and aid to Gulf Coast hurricane victims. President Bush has said he will sign it into law.

The Darfur money was included in an amendment sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and co-sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. To pay for the proposed peacekeeping mission, funding for a huge U.S. embassy project in Baghdad was cut.


To keep up to date on the Crisis in Darfur visit The Coalition for Darfur

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Iran: Let the Haggling Begin

Iran Says Will Offer Nuke Package Changes

The Associated Press
Saturday, June 17, 2006; 10:50 AM

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's foreign minister said Saturday the government likely would suggest amendments to a Western package of incentives meant to persuade the Islamic republic to give up its uranium enrichment program.

Manouchehr Mottaki would not give any timing for Iran's response. The Tehran regime previously has said some parts of the package were acceptable while others needed to be changed, and the central issue of uranium enrichment needed clarification.

"It is a step forward," he said.

Mottaki said Iran would come up with its own amendments to the package.

"In the end, we will present our proposals. It's a two-way street," he told reporters at a joint news conference with Iraqi politician Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, who heads that country's largest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.


Ok, they're going to send back a proposal that the U.S. and The EU will reject and make a counter offer to. Then the diplomatic wrangling (aka haggling) really begins. What will be telling is how long it takes them to come up with each counter offer. If they continually counter offer quickly, it means that they are actually willing to cut a deal. If their counter offers take months, then they are stalling for time and we'll have a real problem unless satellite intelligence shows that they are demolishing installations between offers.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Today in Partisans Behaving Badly

Partisan Fight Over Iraq War Erupts on Hill

Published: June 16, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 15 — The House and the Senate engaged in angry, intensely partisan debate on Thursday over the war in Iraq, as Republicans sought to rally support for the Bush administration's policies and exploit Democratic divisions in an election year shadowed by unease over the war.

It was one of the sharpest legislative clashes yet over the three-year-old conflict, and it came after three days in which President Bush and his aides had sought to portray Iraq as moving gradually toward a stable, functioning democracy, and to portray Democrats as lacking the will to see the conflict through to victory.

In the House, lawmakers moved toward a vote Friday after more than 11 hours of debate on a Republican resolution promising to "complete the mission" in Iraq, prevail in the global fight against terrorism and oppose any "arbitrary date for withdrawal." In the Senate, lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to shelve an amendment calling on the United States to withdraw most troops by the end of this year, although Democrats vowed to revisit the debate next week.


This really strikes me as a publicity stunt pulled off at the tax payers expense. 11 hours equals roughly 873$ per representative ( $165,200 divided by 52 weeks then divided by 40 hours) times 435 reps equals $379,755 spent arguing about a non binding resolution of no real import. Can we dock their pay?

The only real purpose of this that I see is to get certain vocal Democrats on the record so they can later be quoted by their opposition and to allow certain Republicans a chance to grandstand.

I mean they could have been doing something much more important like, oh I don't know, passing legislation requiring people to have a license in order to wear a speedo in public. They could have even given it an important sounding name like "The Blindness Prevention and Public Decency Act". Which would have been a lot more fun to blog about.

Iraqi Insurgencies Strength Waning?

Papers show 'gloomy' state of insurgency
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press WriterThu Jun 15, 5:52 PM ET

A blueprint for trying to start a war between the United States and Iran was among a "huge treasure" of documents found in the hideout of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraqi officials said Thursday. The document, purporting to reflect al-Qaida policy and its cooperation with groups loyal to ousted President Saddam Hussein, also appear to show that the insurgency in Iraq was weakening.

The al-Qaida in Iraq document was translated and released by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie. There was no way to independently confirm the authenticity of the information attributed to al-Qaida.

Although the office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the document was found in al-Zarqawi's hideout following a June 7 airstrike that killed him, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the document had in fact been found in a previous raid as part of an ongoing three-week operation to track al-Zarqawi.

"We can verify that this information did come off some kind of computer asset that was at a safe location," he said. "This was prior to the al-Zarqawi safe house."

The document also said al-Zarqawi planned to try to destroy the relationship between the United States and its Shiite allies in Iraq.

While the coalition was continuing to suffer human losses, "time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance," the document said.

The document said the insurgency was being hurt by, among other things, the U.S. military's program to train Iraqi security forces, by massive arrests and seizures of weapons, by tightening the militants' financial outlets, and by creating divisions within its ranks.


While its important to realize that this document has not been authenticated independently there are a few points that just stand to reason.

Zarqawi's death is a pretty good indicator that division exists within Al Quaeda in Iraq's ranks. After all somebody ratted him out. Zarqawi's intentional targeting of civilians was not a tactic loved by other Al Qaeda leaders including Bin Laden himself. Additionally it may have created recruitment problems as I'll wager your average potential Islamic terrorist recruit prefers not to blow up Moslem women and children intentionally. Besides how many people are really keen on the idea of blowing themselves up?

Starting a conflict between Iran and the U.S.? Totally plausible. It follows the old adage of,"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Terrorism on U.S. soil? Totally believable. Although that could have backfired and strengthened the U.S. public's resolve to finish the war.

What is important is that no concrete plans of how they planned to accomplish these tasks were released (as of yet). At best its a wish/bitch list at worst its spin from the Iraqi government.

Why might it be spin? The fact that it was a computer file and the fact that the Iraqi PMs office erroneously claimed that it was found in Zarqawi's hideout:

"Although the office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the document was found in al-Zarqawi's hideout following a June 7 airstrike that killed him, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the document had in fact been found in a previous raid as part of an ongoing three-week operation to track al-Zarqawi.

"We can verify that this information did come off some kind of computer asset that was at a safe location," he said. "This was prior to the al-Zarqawi safe house.""

I'd prefer it weren't spin. We get enough of that from our own government.

Iran Considering Nuclear Gift Basket

Iran: Incentive Package a 'Step Forward'
The Associated Press
Friday, June 16, 2006; 6:42 AM

SHANGHAI, China -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that the six-nation incentive package aimed at getting his country to halt uranium enrichment was a step forward in resolving the dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

"Generally speaking, we're regarding this offer as a step forward and I have instructed my colleagues to carefully consider it," Ahmadinejad told reporters after meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of a regional summit in Shanghai.

Ahmadinejad's remark was the highest-level sign that Iran was preparing to negotiate over the package of incentives offered by the Big Five of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany.


Unlike the AP article Reuters adds:
"However any decision on matters of state would rest with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not the president."

I figure we'll eventually drop the language that requires them to halt enrichment while talks are ongoing, they'll allow inspectors in, and then they'll ask for enriched uranium at Crazy Larry's discount prices. I just wish everyone would quit the posturing and get down to the actual haggling. But then it wouldn't be politics would it?

Have You Seen Me?

Abu Ayyub al-Masri

If you have seen this man please call 1-800-B1-Bomber
Or send a text message to 500#
with the word "bomb" in the message field
Then hand the phone to him and run.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

US/Iraqi Troops Root Out 864 Terrorists

I know its a long read, but its all good news.

Post-al-Zarqawi raids kill 104 insurgents
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press WriterThu Jun 15, 12:46 PM ET

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 104 insurgents in hundreds of raids since terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was slain last week, and the American death toll in the war in Iraq hit 2,500, the U.S. military said Thursday.

Even as the Iraqi government released a document found in al-Zarqawi's hideout that appeared to show the insurgency was weakening, new violence erupted. Gunmen shot and killed 10 Shiites in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad.

U.S. officials also identified the man claiming to have succeeded al-Zarqawi as head of the al-Qaida in Iraq terrorist group as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian with ties to al-Qaida.

American and Iraqi forces have carried out 452 raids since the June 7 airstrike on al-Zarqawi, and 104 insurgents were killed in those actions, said U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell.

The nationwide raids led to the discovery of 28 significant arms caches, Caldwell said.

He said 255 of the raids were joint operations, while 143 were carried out by Iraqi forces alone. The raids also resulted in the captures of 759 "anti-Iraqi elements."


Caldwell said al-Zarqawi's successor apparently is the same person as a man identified by the nom de guerre Abu Hamza al-Muhajer who has claimed to have succeeded al-Zarqawi and vowed to avenge him in threatening Web statements in recent days.

The Afghanistan-trained Al-Masri, an explosives expert, was a key figure in the al-Qaida in Iraq network and was long responsible for facilitating the movement of foreign fighters from Syria into Baghdad, Caldwell said at a news conference.

Al-Masri has been a terrorist since 1982, "beginning with his involvement in the Egyptian Islamic Jihad," which was led by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, Caldwell said.

Authorities said a document found in al-Zarqawi's hideout that includes a blueprint for trying to foment a war between the United States and Iran and also appears to show that the insurgency in Iraq is weakening.

The document said the insurgency was being hurt by the U.S. military's program to train Iraqi security forces, by massive arrests and seizures of weapons, by tightening the militants' financial outlets, and by creating divisions within its ranks.

"Generally speaking and despite the gloomy present situation, we find that the best solution in order to get out of this crisis is to involve the U.S. forces in waging a war against another country or any hostile groups," the document said.

"We mean specifically attempting to escalate the tension between America and Iran, and American and the Shiite in Iraq," it quoted the documents as saying, especially among moderate followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq.

The document's authenticity could not be independently verified.

National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie called it "the beginning of the end of al-Qaida in Iraq."

"Now we have the upper hand," he said at a news conference in Baghdad. "We feel that we know their locations, the names of their leaders, their whereabouts, their movements, through the documents we found during the last few days."

Baghdad was in the second day of a huge security crackdown involving 75,000 Iraqi army and police forces backed by U.S. forces. It includes a curfew extended by 4 1/2 hours — from 8:30 p.m. until dawn — a weapons ban, and the frisking of motorists at checkpoints around the capital. The government did not say how long the crackdown would last.

Operation Forward Together began Wednesday — one day after Bush visited Baghdad to reassure Iraqis of Washington's continued support and exactly a week after al-Zarqawi's death in a U.S. airstrike.

Full Article

That would make a total of 864 insurgents out of commission. Now assuming that they were all members of Al Quaeda in Iraq that would be roughly 5% of Al Qaeda in Iraq's estimated 17,000 members. Not bad for a weeks worth of work. Hopefully further intelligence was gathered from the raids. that'sats true and the raids are able to continue as a result of it this could snowball enough to crush Al Qaeda in Iraq. Either way by pressing the attack it might be enough to keep Al Qaeda in Iraq off balance. Additionally such effectiveness against one insurgent group may soften another one up for negotiations:

Iraq Amnesty Plan May Cover Attacks On U.S. Military
Leader Also Backs Talks With Resistance

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, June 15, 2006; Page A01

BAGHDAD, June 14 -- Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday proposed a limited amnesty to help end the Sunni Arab insurgency as part of a national reconciliation plan that Maliki said would be released within days. The plan is likely to include pardons for those who had attacked only U.S. troops, a top adviser said.

Maliki's declaration of openness to talks with some members of Sunni armed factions, and the prospect of pardons, are concessions that previous, interim governments had avoided. The statements marked the first time a leader from Iraq's governing Shiite religious parties has publicly embraced national reconciliation, welcomed dialogue with armed groups and proposed a limited amnesty.

Reconciliation could include an amnesty for those "who weren't involved in the shedding of Iraqi blood," Maliki told reporters at a Baghdad news conference. "Also, it includes talks with the armed men who opposed the political process and now want to turn back to political activity."

While I can't say that I'm overjoyed at the amnesty part I do see the logic of it. It may be the only way to get everyone to the negotiating table. Additionally the Iraqi government is not excluding former Baathists from holding government jobs or serving in the military.