Roy L. Harbin:The DANG-DInGIE American
re:edwards camp shows self
- ~C.A. "Charlie"
Tuggle, an associate professor at the school, said the Edwards
campaign contacted the reporter, second-year master's degree student
Carla Babb, asking for a video of her report to be removed from the
Internet. When that failed, the campaign demanded in three calls to
Tuggle that the TV story be killed, he said.
Tuggle said the campaign had
complained that the reporter misrepresented the story she planned to
do. He also said the Edwards campaign warned that relations with the
school could be jeopardized.
The Edwards campaign had no
comment on the professor's specific contentions. More generally,
spokeswoman Colleen Murray said: "This is silly. We love all
reporters, the problem is the feeling isn't always mutual."
The TV story is to air Monday
on the program "Carolina Week" in Chapel Hill. It was
first posted on YouTube for an MTV contest and drew only a couple of
hundred hits during the first days on the site.
The Edwards campaign
complained to Tuggle, he said, that the student had not disclosed
the angle of the story and had asked for access to do a feature on a
student who was interning for the campaign.
In the report, Babb interviews
students, one on the campaign, one not. She asks whether it is
appropriate for Edwards to base his operations in his affluent
hometown of Chapel Hill, home of the university, as opposed to a
location that would better reflect his campaign platform of fighting
After quoting the students,
Babb concludes her report by saying, "It's ultimately up to the
voters to decide if running a presidential campaign here was a smart
move politically. But it's safe to say, in Chapel Hill, opinions are
In an interview Friday, Babb
said: "I was completely shocked to get a phone call from the
Edwards campaign saying that the story was straight from the
Republican Party and that we needed to take it down."
She said she wanted to do a
story about student opinions about Edwards' headquarters near campus
in Chapel Hill's Southern Village.
Tuggle is the news director of
"Carolina Week" and the broadcast professor who advises
students for the newscast.
"Was it what the campaign
was expecting it to be? No," Tuggle said. "But I don't
know that we're obligated as journalists to tell that the focus of a
story has changed."
Edwards, a former North
Carolina senator, graduated with a law degree from the university
and helped develop and operate a poverty center there after the 2004
- re:edwards stance on
corporate and worker concerns
- ~Edwards also wants to
mandate universal health care, and said businesses should be
required to provide coverage for their workers, or help them
protest,,report deigns mention of ANSWER & WWP involvemnet less
newsworthy than the quakers participation
~Thousands Call for Swift End
to Iraq War
Published: 10/27/07, 11:05 PM
By JASON DEAREN
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Thousands
of people called for a swift end to the war in Iraq as they marched
through downtown on Saturday, chanting and carrying signs that read:
"Wall Street Gets Rich, Iraqis and GIs Die" or "Drop
Tuition Not Bombs."
The streets were filled with
thousands as labor union members, anti-war activists, clergy and
others rallied near City Hall before marching to Dolores Park.
As part of the demonstration,
protesters fell on Market Street as part of a "die in" to
commemorate the thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens
who have died since the conflict began in March 2003.
The protest was the largest in
a series of war protests taking place in New York, Los Angeles and
other U.S. cities, organizers said.
No official head count was
available. Organizers of the event estimated about 30,000 people
participated in San Francisco. It appeared that more than 10,000
people attended the march.
"I got the sense that
many people were at a demonstration for the first time," said
Sarah Sloan, one of the event's organizers. "That's something
that's really changed. People have realized the right thing to do is
to take to the streets."
In the shadow of the National
Constitution Center and Independence Hall in Philadelphia, a few
hundred protesters ranging from grade school-aged children to senior
citizens called on President Bush to end funding for the war and
bring troops home.
Marchers who braved severe wet
weather during the walk of more than 30 blocks were met by people
lining the sidewalks and clutching a long yellow ribbon over the
final blocks before Independence Mall. There, the rally opened with
songs and prayers by descendants of Lenape Indians.
"Our signs are limp from
the rain and the ground is soggy, but out spirits are high,"
said Bal Pinguel, of the American Friends Service Committee, one of
the national sponsors of the event. "The high price we are
paying is the more than 3,800 troops who have been killed in the war
Vince Robbins, 51, of Mount
Holly, N.J., said there needed to be more rallies and more outrage.
"Where's the outcry?
Where's the horror that almost 4,000 Americans have died in a
foreign country that we invaded?" Robbins said. "I'm
almost as angry at the American people as I am the president. I
think Americans have become apathetic and placid about the whole
In New York, among the
thousands marching down Broadway was a man carrying cardboard peace
doves. Some others dressed as prisoners, wearing the bright orange
garb of Guantanamo Bay inmates and pushing a person in a cage.
In Seattle, thousands of
marchers were led by a small group of Iraq war veterans.
At Occidental Park, where the
protesters rallied after the march, the American Friends Service
Committee displayed scores of combat boots, one pair for each U.S.
solider killed in Iraq.
Associated Press writer Bob
Lentz in Philadelphia contributed to this report.~
American Friends Service
Committee - Quaker values in action
The American Friends Service
Committee (AFSC) is a Quaker organization that includes people of
various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace, ...
- sarah sloan
Sarah Sloan is the Washington,
D.C., organizer of the anti-war group International ANSWER and a
member of the Workers World Party (WWP), a Marxist-Leninist ...
- Sarah Sloan: Civilian
Sarah Sloan is a leading
International Action Center youth organizer and an IAC Commission of
Inquiry researcher. She spoke on NATO’s claim that it tried to
re:guiliani on terorism
anti-racist attack by race baiters on 'voucher advocate'
- ~NAACP Wants Apology From
Published: 10/27/07, 12:45 AM
By BROCK VERGAKIS
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The
founder of Overstock.com rejected the NAACP's demand for an apology
Friday after an Internet video surfaced of him saying that Utah
minorities who don't graduate from high school might as well be
burned or thrown away.
Patrick Byrne's comments were
posted on YouTube. The video clip was from a debate two weeks ago in
Provo, where he was speaking in favor of vouchers, public aid for
families sending kids to private schools.
A statewide voucher program
that would grant $500 to $3,000 per child based on family income is
on the Utah ballot Nov. 6.
On the YouTube video clip,
Byrne says: "Right now, 40 percent of Utah minorities are not
graduating from high school. You may as well burn those kids. That's
the end of their life. That's the end of their ability to achieve in
this society if they do not get a high school education. You might
as, just throw the kids away."
Byrne has made similar remarks
in other debates. He said Friday he had no intention of apologizing
and claimed his comments were taken out of context.
"These folks have been
selective in their editing," Byrne told The Associated Press.
"I very clearly said the system is throwing away 40 percent of
the minority kids because they're not graduating. I'm saying that
I'm against throwing kids away.
"People against vouchers
are in favor of throwing the kids away," Byrne said.
Jeanetta Williams, a voucher
opponent and president of the NAACP's Salt Lake branch, said the
videotaped comments shocked her and she believes Byrne meant that
minorities who don't graduate should be burned or thrown away.
"Those were his words,
not mine," she said.
Williams noted that Byrne
didn't mention white children who don't graduate. Utah is 83.5
percent white, 11 percent Hispanic and 1 percent black.
"It says he's not
sympathetic to the minority community and he means exactly what he
said," Williams said of Byrne's lack of an apology.
Byrne, chief executive of
Utah-based Overstock, has long been a voucher advocate and has
donated several hundred thousand dollars to the voucher movement in
The National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People opposes vouchers, saying they
could lead to segregated public schools. It says tuition still would
be out for reach for many minority families because a voucher
wouldn't cover the entire cost of private school.~
- re:army corrects
mistake,,but watch the race baiters turn it into a 'psychogandic
~Army: Black Soldiers Wronged
in POW Case
Published: 10/27/07, 12:25 AM
By RORY MARSHALL
SEATTLE (AP) - Black soldiers
court-martialed 63 years ago in the rioting death of an Italian
prisoner of war at Fort Lawton were unfairly denied access to their
attorneys and investigative records and should have their
convictions overturned, the U.S. Army said Friday.
The ruling by the Army's Board
of Corrections of Military Records applies to four soldiers who
petitioned military investigators with the help of two congressmen,
but could eventually cover two-dozen more soldiers found guilty of
rioting over alleged resentment of Italian prisoners' living
conditions on the post.
Samuel Snow, 84, one of the
petitioners who served a year in prison, said he was "elated"
by the decision.
"It just knocked me off
of my feet," Snow said from his home in Leesburg, Fla.
"No, I don't have no
resentment over it," he said. "I've just kept myself clean
up to this present moment."
The decision could grant the
soldiers honorable discharges, back pay and benefits.
overwhelmed with joy. You don't often get a chance to pursue justice
on behalf of something that happened (63) years ago," Rep. Jim
McDermott, D-Wash., who requested the review along with Rep. Duncan
In 1944, POW Guglielmo
Olivotto was found hanging on wires in an obstacle course following
a night of rioting on the post in what is now Seattle's Discovery
Forty-three black soldiers
were tried in one of the largest courts-martial of World War II. Of
those, 28 were found guilty of rioting and sentenced to as many as
25 years in prison.
Only two of the 28 soldiers
are believed to be still alive, said Jack Hamann, who wrote a book
on the case, "On American Soil: How Justice Became a Casualty
of World War II."
The other petitioners - Booker
W. Townsell, of Milwaukee; Luther L. Larkin, of Searcy, Ark.; and
William G. Jones, of Decatur, Ill. - are all deceased.
Larkin and Jones were also
convicted of manslaughter and their convictions will also thrown out
in the ruling, Hamann said.
Hamann said the ruling also
will give the deceased soldiers marble headstones for their graves,
and their families will be entitled to American flags.
"My first thought is,
what a shame it is that the folks who this injustice was done to are
not around to see this," Hamann said. "And yet I'm so
elated that their families will finally know that these men did not
commit these crimes."
The lawyer in charge of the
case for the board, John Tait, did not immediately return a phone
call seeking comment Friday night.~
- re:dem politico smeared
through hubby being defender of FtDix terror suspects
- ~A court-appointed lawyer
for a defendant accused of plotting an attack on Fort Dix said
Tuesday that a campaign mailer suggesting that his wife, a political
candidate, might be sympathetic to terrorists could taint the jury
Attorney Michael Riley said
told U.S. District Court Judge Robert Kugler that the ad could sway
potential jurors in the case against his client, Shain Duka, and the
four other men who were charged in May with conspiring to kill
The Republican mailer that
went out this month criticizes his wife, Tracy, a Democrat running
for a seat in the state Assembly.
It features a picture of
masked men carrying automatic guns. It reads: "He came to our
country illegally. He plotted with other Islamic radicals to kill
American soldiers at Fort Dix. Now, Tracy Riley's family's law firm
is defending him ... and your tax dollars are paying them to do it."
"If she goes to Trenton,
will she really fight for tougher crime laws that hurt her clients?"
Michael Riley, a former
prosecutor, said he was considering trying to force the GOP to hand
over their mailing list so he could figure out which potential
jurors received the flier.
"It's pretty despicable
stuff," Kugler said, noting that Dawn Marie Addiego, one of the
Republican candidates, is a lawyer. "She should know better."
Addiego accused Riley of
exploiting the issue for political gain.
"I'm shocked that Tracy
Riley and her husband would stoop so low as to use a federal
courtroom as the stage for an obvious campaign stunt," she said
in a statement on Tuesday. "Not as surprising is Tracy Riley
making yet another attempt to divert attention away from the serious
issue we've raised."
Tracy Riley, who graduated
from law school this year but has not taken the bar exam, said it's
unfair to link her to her husband's career. She said her husband is
upholding the Constitution by taking on a client accused of a
frightening crime - something she said her opponents don't seem to
"They clearly don't
understand what the Sixth Amendment means," she said, referring
to the part of the U.S. Constitution that provides for people
accused of crimes to have a fair trial.
The mailer also features
Republican state Senate candidate Phil Haines and Assembly candidate
Scott Rudder. Neither Haines, who is also a lawyer, nor Rudder
returned calls for comment Tuesday.
Authorities say the men - all
foreign-born and in their 20s - were training for the attack and
buying weapons. The five face life in prison if they're convicted. A
sixth man, Agron Adbullahu, was charged with weapons offenses and
was scheduled to plead guilty in the case on Wednesday.~
re:2 major darfur rebel groups
boycott kaddafi sponsored peace talks w/sudanese gov
- ~The Justice and Equality
Movement claimed Friday that the groups attending Saturday's session
were proxies for the Sudanese government.
"The mediators adopted
the policy of bringing every single individual and group, and all
these groups and individuals were created by the Sudanese
government," said Ahmed Tugod Lissan, the movement's chief
More than 200,000 people have
died since ethnic African rebels in Darfur took up arms against the
Arab-dominated Sudanese government in 2003, accusing it of decades
of discrimination and neglect. Sudan's government is accused of
retaliating by unleashing a militia of Arab nomads known as the
janjaweed - a charge it denies.
Rebel groups are also
threatening to expand the violence into vital oil areas near Darfur.
The Justice and Equality Movement attacked an oil field this week,
kidnapping two workers and demanding all foreign oil companies leave
because oil sales benefit the Sudanese government.
The other boycotting group,
SLA-Unity, is suspected of killing 10 African Union peacekeepers in
Darfur last month, the worst attack against the group since the
7,000-strong force deployed to the area.~
- re:people detained for
transporting chadians,,not sudanese?
- ~Seven crew members of a
plane contracted to fly more than 100 children out of Chad were
detained, authorities said Saturday, and Chad's president promised
punishment for anyone involved in a plan to spirit the children to
President Idriss Deby traveled
Friday to the eastern city of Abeche where 103 children were being
cared for after authorities arrested nine French citizens, who had
attempted to fly them to France. The French aid group L'Arche de
Zoe, or Zoe's Arc, said it had arranged French host families for the
children. It said they were orphans from Sudan's Darfur region.
But the head of UNICEF France,
Jacques Hintzy, said Saturday that many of the children appeared to
be from Chad, not Sudan. He also said the children were given
bandages to provide the impression their evacuation was
health-related, though none was injured.
Late Friday, state television
showed Deby visiting with the children, many of them in tears. Deby
called the situation "intolerable" and "shocking"
and said: "Everyone who is implicated will be punished."~
~Doumgor said authorities were
trying to ascertain the family status of each of the children, and
that officials would search the refugee camps along the Chad-Darfur
border to find their parents.
Hintzy said the organization
was questioning each of the children and it appeared that the 48
questioned so far were Chadian children, not Sudanese.
"Today we spoke to 48 of
the 103 and I can tell you that these 48, according to the name of
the village they gave us, are all Chadians," Hintzy told RTL
"Our impression is that
the majority aren't orphans but at this stage it's just an
impression," Hintzy said, adding that UNICEF, the U.N. child
protection agency, would try to find the childrens' families.~
~The Darfur region has
suffered 4 1/2-years of conflict that has left more than 200,000
people dead and 2.5 million displaced.
The violence began when ethnic
African rebels in Darfur took up arms against the Arab-led
government in 2003, accusing it of decades of discrimination and
neglect. The government is accused of retaliating by unleashing a
militia of Arab nomads known as the janjaweed - a charge it denies.~
~The ministry warned French
citizens months ago against taking in children from Darfur, saying
aid groups in the Sudanese region opposed the appeal by Zoe's Arc.
Diplomatic officials have said
that such an evacuation mission could infringe on national laws and
threatened to exploit the troubles of the children in the region.
secretary-general of Zoe's Arc, said the group asked host families
for $3,400 each to pay for the operation's logistics, but that some
gave much less. She stressed that the families were not adopting the
children, but merely taking them in.
"We just wanted to save
them from death, by giving them a host family," she told Le
- re:charges levied
- ~Chad charged six French
citizens with kidnapping after they tried to fly out 103 African
children from the remote border region with Sudan, bandaging them up
to look injured and claiming they were Darfur orphans in need of
The case threatens to impede
aid efforts for hundreds of thousands of Darfur refugees by
intensifying already deep local suspicions about the motives of
Seventeen Europeans have been
detained since Thursday, when authorities blocked an attempt by a
French group calling itself L'Arche de Zoe - Zoe's Ark - to fly the
African children to Europe, where they were to be placed with host
The French Foreign Ministry
and others have cast doubt on the claims by the little-known group
that the children are Darfur orphans.
"According to initial
information ... there seem to be many Chadian children and even many
who are not orphans," French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman
Pascale Andreani told reporters in Paris on Tuesday.~
- re:fighting in somolia
- ~Islamic fighters briefly
occupied a police station in south Mogadishu, before heading back
out of the area, chanting "God is great," witnesses said.
Witnesses said at least seven people including a woman had died in
the heavy fighting between insurgents, government troops and
government-allied Ethiopian forces.
At least 35 people wounded in
the fighting were being treated at Mogadishu's Medina Hospital, said
Tahir Mohammed Mahmoud, an administrative assistant. He said it was
the worst fighting, and heaviest day for hospital admissions, for at
least four months in the war-scarred city.~
~Mogadishu has been plagued by
fighting since government troops and their Ethiopian allies chased
out the Council of Islamic Courts in December. For six months, the
Islamic group controlled much of southern Somalia, and remnants have
vowed to fight an Iraq-style insurgency. Thousands of civilians have
been killed in the fighting this year.
Some 1.5 million Somalis are
now in need of food and protection - 50 percent more that at the
start of the year - due to inadequate rains, continuing internal
displacement and a potential cholera epidemic, the U.N. says.~
re:ramadi currently a brighter
spot than last year
- ~Last year, U.S. Marine
Corps intelligence officials declared Anbar lost. "The social
and political situation has deteriorated to a point" where U.S.
and Iraqi troops "are no longer capable of militarily defeating
the insurgency," according to a five-page report written in
August 2006 by Col. Peter Devlin, a military intelligence officer
with the Marine Expeditionary Force.
The Sunni insurgency had sunk
roots so deep in Anbar that the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida
front group, declared Ramadi its capital.
"These guys were
ruthless," said Col. John W. Charlton of Spokane, Wash., the
American commander responsible for Ramadi. "They would come in
and cut young men's heads off and drag their bodies through the
An important turning point was
the founding late last year of the Anbar Awakening Council by the
charismatic Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha. He united dozens of Sunni
tribes against al-Qaida.
Fed up with the violence and
eager for revenge against al-Qaida members who killed 10 family
members, including his father, Abu Risha persuaded citizens to join
the police force. They did - in droves - despite past attacks
"Sheiks see themselves as
prominent leaders of the community. They recognize you have to have
good, intelligent people running things," Charlton said. "(Abu
Risha) wasn't saying, 'Do this for me.' He was saying, 'Do this for
your family, for your country.'"
There are now 8,000 police
officers and 14 police stations in Ramadi, according to the U.S.
military. That's compares with fewer than 200 officers in spring
"Al-Qaida was just
reeling," Charlton said. "They lost their capital. They
lost all their good areas around there. ... We essentially made a
gated community out of a city of 300,000 people."
But al-Qaida struck its own
shocking blow - killing Abu Risha last month.
U.S. military leaders called
the fatal bombing an inside job, organized by one of Abu Risha's
bodyguards. All the alleged perpetrators were rounded up.
The sheik's death could easily
have shattered the fragile peace.
Instead, Charlton said, the
people declared Abu Risha a martyr. His image now appears on posters
in the streets, on walls in offices and on placards in car
windshields. A parade was held in his honor on Oct. 23. Schoolgirls,
bunches of silk flowers in one hand, waved the yellow flag of the
Anbar Awakening, now renamed the Iraqi Awakening.
"People do feel the
weight's off," said Ambassador Ryan Crocker. "Al-Qaida
simply is gone."
What remains of al-Qaida in
the province is a contingent near Lake Tharthar, just north of
Ramadi, according to Charlton, who initiated an attack there last
~Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha has
taken over the movement from his slain younger brother. They were
always close, talking daily while the elder brother ran family
businesses in Dubai and the younger took care of things at home.
Despite his loss, Ahmed Abu Risha seems to accept - though not
relish - his new leadership role.
His brother embraced the
spotlight, but Ahmed seems to shy from it. He's soft-spoken,
friendly, but not extroverted. He said he meets about 300 people a
day who come looking for jobs, offering advice, asking for help. He
is now on his first visit to the U.S., and plans to meet with
"We are the only movement
that is supported by all the people," he told The Associated
Press. "We are the only people who fought al-Qaida and won. We
are good fighters and we are good builders and now we want to
rebuild this country."~
(wow,,that sounds like how
we're supposed to talk.it's a pity how our folks can't all be proud
of opposing murdering thugs.)
- re:tribal leaders
kidnapped,,1 found bullet riddled
- ~Gunmen in Baghdad
snatched 10 Sunni and Shiite tribal sheiks from their cars Sunday as
they were heading home to Diyala province after talks with the
government on fighting al-Qaida, and at least one was later found
shot to death.
The bold daylight kidnapping
came as the top U.S. commander in Iraq said the threat from the
terror network has been "significantly reduced" in the
A suicide car bomber,
meanwhile, struck a busy commercial area in the oil-rich, northern
city of Kirkuk, killing at least eight people and wounding 26,
A new general assumed control
of the region north of Baghdad, acknowledging that violence remains
high but expressing confidence that the military has al-Qaida on the
run there as well.
The two cars carrying the
sheiks - seven Sunnis and three Shiites - were ambushed in Baghdad's
predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Shaab at about 3:30 p.m.,
police officials said.
The sheiks were returning to
Diyala province after attending a meeting with the Shiite-dominated
government's adviser for tribal affairs to discuss coordinating
efforts against al-Qaida in Iraq, police and a relative said.
Police found the
bullet-riddled body of one of the Sunni sheiks, Mishaan Hilan, about
50 yards away from where the ambush took place, an officer said,
adding that the victim was identified after his cell phone was found
A relative of one of the
abducted Shiite sheiks blamed Sunni extremists and said the
attackers picked a Shiite neighborhood to "create strife
between Shiite and Sunni tribes that have united against al-Qaida in
But, Jassim Zeidan al-Anbaqi
said, "this will not happen."~
~Petraeus said the reduced
threat from al-Qaida had given way to nonsectarian crimes -
kidnapping, corruption in the oil industry and extortion.
"As the terrible
extremist threat of al-Qaida has been reduced somewhat, there is in
some Iraqi neighborhoods actually a focus on crime and on extortion
that has been ongoing and kidnapping cells and what is almost a
mafia-like presence in certain areas," he said.~
- re:sheiks tell of ordeal
and echo bush
- ~A daring rescue operation
secured their freedom.
A meeting Tuesday between most
of the former captives and military officials - including the Iraqi
commander of the rescue operation - offered the first detailed
picture of the tense and fast-moving events: the kidnapping, the
slaying of one captive and the seven-hour rescue mission Monday
converging on an area that was "not fit for rats."
The sheiks, recounting their
30-hour ordeal to a small group of reporters including The
Associated Press, said they were tortured and humiliated. At least
three of the sheiks were visibly bruised. One man's left eye was red
and swollen. The two others had bruises on their backs, arms and
But they insisted that they
emerged from captivity more determined than ever to continue their
"We already forgot the
pain and the wounds from our ordeal," said Haroon
al-Mohammedawi, the bearded leader of the group from Khalis, a
region in Diyala province where the terror organization has a heavy
presence. "We pledge to you, the people and leadership of Iraq,
that we will stay the course."~
~The swift action to rescue
the sheiks, launched by about 200 Iraqi soldiers and backed by the
U.S. military, reflected the strategic importance of local
reconciliation initiatives and the forging of alliances with Sunni
tribes in areas where the terror network remains active.
The strategy was stunningly
effective in several Baghdad neighborhoods, areas south of the
capital known as the "triangle of death" and in the vast
western province of Anbar, forcing al-Qaida militants to flee and
reducing the levels of violence.
Failure to free the hostages
would have dealt a blow to efforts to rally the residents of Diyala,
a mix of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, behind the U.S. and Iraqi forces
in the fight against al-Qaida.
Lt. Gen. Abboud Qanbar, the
overall Iraqi commander of Baghdad, said the kidnappers belonged to
The U.S. military, however,
said the culprits were rogue members of the Shiite Mahdi Army
militia led by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who in August
ordered his fighters to lay down their arms for six months. The
military has claimed that such splinter Shiite groups are doing
everything possible to stop Iraqis from joining U.S. forces - even
in the fight against the Sunni al-Qaida in Iraq.~
~They combed orchards and
raided homes in a wide area to the northeast of Baghdad before they
finally located the house where the sheiks were held prisoner, he
"The area where the house
was is not fit for rats to live in," al-Qusaibi said. "The
kidnappers' response to our arrival was slow, and the gunfight
lasted only minutes."
Four of the kidnappers were
killed in the gunfight and six were detained, according to the Iraqi
Defense Ministry. U.S. military officials, however, said the number
of suspected kidnappers detained was much larger.
Al-Qusaibi said several of his
men were superficially wounded, but none was killed.
The U.S. military has sought
to play down the role it played in the rescue operation, touting the
success as evidence of the growing capabilities of the Iraqi forces.
"The sheiks' rescue
mission is one that required advanced coordination and execution
that couldn't have been accomplished without significant coalition
support just a few months ago," said Brig. Gen. John F.
Campbell, who was closely involved in the rescue mission.
"We had U.S. advisers on
the ground that assisted with aerial support and we also had some
additional ground forces that could have supported if required,"
he told the AP.
U.S. Army Col. Philip L.
Swinford, a senior adviser to al-Qusaibi's unit, said the speed with
which the Iraqis prepared and launched the operation was the key to
He told the AP that he and
al-Qusaibi, commander of the Iraqi army's 9th Division, "felt
that speed was the most important factor. Had we taken the time to
plan, prepare, and rehearse to a higher level the sheiks could have
been moved or killed before we got there."
Five of the surviving six
sheiks attended Tuesday's meeting with Iraqi and U.S. commanders at
an Iraqi army camp on the outskirts of Baghdad.
The meeting's atmosphere was
"They had removed our
head dress, and you put it back on our heads," al-Mohammedawi
said, addressing the Iraqi commanders and alluding to the insult a
traditional Arab feels when his head dress, known in Arabic as
"uqal," is forcefully removed by a rival.
Al-Qusaibi basked in the
limelight and accepted lavish praise from U.S. commanders for
leading his men from the front.
"I had to be at the front
to save the lives of my men," al-Qusaibi, in green camouflage,
said to a U.S. commander in a husky voice. "I lost my voice
shouting orders during a gunbattle with the kidnappers," he
- re:us to give iraqis
control of karbala
- ~U.S. forces will turn
over security to Iraqi authorities in the southern Shiite province
of Karbala on Monday, the American commander for the area said,
despite fighting between rival militia factions that has killed
Karbala will become only the
eighth of Iraq's 18 provinces to revert to Iraqi control, despite
President Bush's prediction in January that the Iraqi government
would have responsibility for security in all of the provinces by
- re:iraqi pm admits
christians,,er catholocs,,er chaldeans need protection
- ~Iraqi PM Pledges to
Published: 10/27/07, 5:06 PM
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's prime
minister pledged Saturday to protect and support the Christian
minority that has been fleeing the chaos and sectarian violence in
After receiving the Chaldean
patriarch of Baghdad, Emmanuel III Delly, Nouri al-Maliki affirmed
his government's readiness and determination to defend the small
community and to stop the outflow of Iraqi Christians, according to
a statement released by al-Maliki's office.
Delly, who is the head of
Chaldean Church in Iraq and spiritual leader to all Chaldeans, has
been outspoken about the need to protect minority Christians from
Iraq's spiraling violence.
Earlier this month, Pope
Benedict XVI appointed Delly a cardinal, when he named 23 new
"princes" of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Christian community here,
about 3 percent of the country's 26 million people, is particularly
vulnerable, and has little political or military clout to defend
Since the U.S.-led invasion in
2003, Iraqi Christians, who are mostly Chaldeans, have been targeted
by Islamic extremists who label them "crusaders" loyal to
Churches, priests and business
owned by Christians have been attacked by Islamic militants.
Seeking better and safer life,
about 50 percent of Iraq's Christians are thought to have left the
country, according to a report issued by the U.S. Commission on
International Religious Freedom, which advises the White House and
- ~The 80-year-old head of
the ancient Chaldean Church in Iraq said the hopes of freedom in the
aftermath of Saddam Hussein's ouster in 2003 have given way to
"We had hoped that the
situation would be better. In fact it is worse," he told The
Associated Press during an interview at his guarded compound in
"Car bombs, roadside
bombs, killings, assassinations. All of these things were not
happening in the past. There was stability and security."
But Delly, who was one of 23
new cardinals named by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 17, blamed the
violence on extremists and said it is his job to reach out to
Muslims and followers of other faiths to promote unity.
"I pray every day to God
to enlighten the minds of the officials and guide them to the road
of peace and reconciliation," he said.~
~The country's Christian
population was estimated at more than 800,000 before the war - the
majority of them Chaldean-Assyrians and Armenians, with small
numbers of Roman Catholics.
They were generally left alone
under Saddam's regime, and many, including former foreign minister
and deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, reached the highest levels of
power. But after Saddam's ouster, Christians became perceived as
supporters of the U.S., the Minority Rights Group says.
Christians were increasingly
targeted by the Sunni-led insurgency, causing tens of thousands to
flee, isolating many of those who remained in barricaded
neighborhoods and forcing them to hide their religious affiliation
when venturing out. Up to 50 percent may have left Iraq, says the
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises
the U.S. government.
Attacks on Christians peaked
with a coordinated bombing campaign in the summer of 2004 aimed at
Baghdad churches and again last September after the pope made
comments perceived to be anti-Islam.~