Sonic Puke
It's all fun and games until somebody pokes out an eye

4/26/2003

US Forces restore more services

(Reuters) - U.S. forces say they are making progress in restoring water and power supplies to Baghdad citizens, but concede there is confusion over who has the authority to run the Iraqi capital.

U.S. officials told a news conference on Saturday that about 60 percent of normal water and power supplies were now available in Baghdad, and full services could resume within a week or two.

Of Iraq's normal daily consumption of 15 million litres of gasoline, Hawkins said, Doura was supplying three million litres and Baiji eight million.

"So we are well over 60 percent of their gasoline needs," he said.

Telegraph says documents link bin Laden to Iraq
Oh no, there's no link between Saddam and Al Qaeda

(Reuters) - The Sunday Telegraph newspaper says it has discovered documents showing Iraqi intelligence hosted an envoy from Osama bin Laden in 1998 and sought to meet the alleged September 11 mastermind in person.

The finding, if verified, would appear to support Washington's assertion of links between ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and bin Laden, one of the justifications for the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The paper said the documents, which its correspondent found in the wrecked headquarters of the Iraqi Mukhabarat intelligence service, showed Iraq brought a bin Laden aide to Baghdad in early 1998 from his former base in Sudan to arrange closer ties.

Iraqi officials sought to have the envoy pass on a verbal message setting up a direct meeting with bin Laden, the paper said.

In one document quoted by the paper an Iraqi official wrote: "We suggest permission to call the Khartoum station (Iraq's intelligence office in Sudan) to facilitate the travel arrangements for the above-mentioned person to Iraq.

"And that our body carry all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden."

A handwritten note on the same page said the letter had been passed on to the deputy director general of the intelligence service, recommending that he "bring the envoy to Iraq because we may find in this envoy a way to maintain contacts with Iraq".

4/25/2003

Threat Gone, Iraqis Unearth Hussein's Nameless Victims
More of Saddams victims being unearthed daily....


"Do you want me to dig up everything or just the head?" the gravedigger asked. Mr. Jassim decided just to see the head, because he believed he could identify his brother by his two missing back teeth.

"There are so many graves that don't have numbers," he said. "We don't know what to do."

The dirt was dry and easily dug and soon the gravedigger held up a skull. "It's not him," Mr. Jassim said. "The teeth are complete."

At grave No. 444, a large family worked together to unearth Hamid Omran, who was 31 when he was arrested in 1994. As the family carefully lifted the bones onto fresh linen, his cousin, Farhan Jassim, 47, exploded in anger.

"I don't think there was a regime in the world that treated political prisoners the way Saddam did," he said. "You can't imagine such exaggerated injustice."

The jaw surfaced. Mr. Hussein, the cousin said, "hated every Iraqi. Believe me, he hated all Iraqis."

Then the family found the skull, which showed a crack in a temple. A guard kicked him when he was arrested, the family said.

Another cousin, Thaer Ghawi, 27, wept as he smoked a cigarette once the bones were out of the grave. "We are just people who opposed the regime," he said. "Why couldn't he just put political prisoners in prison?"

Mr. Hani, the man whose brother disappeared in 1995, spent three hours picking through the grave of his brother. It was laborious. After the teeth, a few small bones, perhaps from the feet or hands, were found. Finally, Mr. Hani had found enough to fill a small coffin. He did not find the skull.

"It is enough for me," he said as he loaded the coffin onto a truck. "I feel relieved. What worried me before was I didn't know if he was alive or dead. Now I know."

Families forced at gunpoint to stay home, ?Human shields? get treatment
Stories of innocent civilians forced to be "human shields" for the Fedayeen Saddam...


(AFP): A young woman shrouded in black cradles the bandaged stump of her right leg and weeps for the 29 relatives - including her husband .who were killed when US forces bombed her village at the height of fighting in southern Iraq.

?We blame Saddam for this,? 25-year-old Metaq Ali said Thursday, tears streaming down her face as she recovered in a tent at a US military field hospital. During the fight, members of Saddam Hussein?s Fedayeen militia, dressed in civilian clothes, were moving in and around homes and firing shots at American forces, she said. When her extended family tried to escape by car, a bomb tore apart their three vehicles.

Fedayeen fighters set up anti-aircraft guns in homes and forced families to remain there at gunpoint, patients said. When the civilians were injured, Saddam?s fighters ran away and left them behind bleeding.

Others told hospital staff they were given guns that no longer worked and forced to advance toward US positions as Fedayeen forces fired shots from behind them. ?That was the most disturbing thing for me in this war,? said Col Harry Warren, an orthopedic surgeon and hospital commander. ?I knew we?d keep receiving more and more civilians - and we did - because they were being placed in these situations.?

Out of the darkness
More about the terrible tortures under Saddam's evil regime...

(Observer) Iraq is giving up its secrets. Slowly and fearfully - because they are not convinced Saddam has gone - the people are telling of the terror, the torture, and the friends and family who disappeared

Mohammed was Mustafa Kothair's favourite uncle. As a child, he would play with the young Mustafa on the dusty village streets of Shuaba. Perhaps the link was that they looked almost identical, both skinny, with long, narrow faces. And Mohammed was kind. He would always give his nephew sweets and toys.
Then Mohammed disappeared. He had refused to join the Iraqi army in 1988. He had been arrested and taken to Basra, then to Baghdad. A month later word was sent to Mustafa's mother that he had been executed. She took Mustafa on the long journey north to collect the body.

When they got to the central police station, Mohammed's body lay covered in a sheet among a score of other mangled, brutalised corpses. Uncaring guards smoked cigarettes as keening relatives sifted through the remains. Blood covered the floor as Mustafa and his mother gingerly lifted the sheets until they saw Mohammed's face. 'My mother just cried and cried,' Mustafa said.

His killers had not not treated his body with the respect due to a Muslim. It had already been several days since he had been killed. 'They had done nothing to prepare his body, not even washed it. They just slaughtered him. They had not treated him as a Muslim should treat another Muslim,' Mustafa said.

There were five bullet holes in Mohammed's chest, grim reminders of the accuracy of the executioner's machine gun. But the final insult was to come. Mohammed's family had to pay for the ammunition, five dinars per bullet. Weeping, Mustafa's mother handed over 25 dinars.

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Kassim, 28, was jailed for not wanting to join a frontline military unit. He wanted to keep his job as a bus driver on a military base. His punishment for speaking his mind was three years in jail. In the first month, three guards dragged him out of his cell and held him down on the floor. He did not know what was happening as he felt the stabbing pain of needles across his back. Blood flowed over his skin. It was only later that he realised what had been done: the men had forcibly tattooed him. They had drawn a pair of hands in chains, a permanent reminder of his time in jail.

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In 1991, 25 young men from Shuaba were rounded up and accused of rebelling against the government. None returned. Others from Shuaba were killed openly. Those most vulnerable were religious men such as Shakur Balbur. A devout Shia, he prayed at the mosque often enough to get himself arrested in the brutal days of 1991. When his wife, Nathal, went to collect his body, she was horrified to see his torturers had electrocuted him . 'His skin looked like it had been set on fire. It was horrible.'

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If party officials felt any village was showing signs of dissent, they switched the power off. It would take days of begging to get it turned on again. Villagers cowered in the darkness of the night, fearing the arrival of militia troops bent on vengeful violence.

4/22/2003

Scars document regime’s torture
More stories of the terror of Saddams evil regime coming out daily...

(MSNBC) Anwar Abdul Razak said both his ears were cut off. Saad Abdul Wahab said his jailers placed electrodes on his navel to administer shocks. Nabil Abdul Ali said his shoulders were dislocated and an electric wire was wrapped around his genitals and attached to a hand-cranked machine. Zuhair Kubba said he was hung upside down and beaten with an iron rod.

Torture was considered so routine that many former prisoners shrugged at first when asked about it. “Of course, they tortured me. Beating people here is something regular,” said Maithem Naji.

Sometimes, Abdul Ali recalled, he had his hands tied behind his back, and then he was hung in such a way as to dislocate his shoulders. Sometimes, they used electricity on him. On his penis and under his nails. Ali demonstrated how it worked, making at hand-crank motion as he explained that the wire to the electricity machine was wrapped around his genitals.
And sometimes, they threatened to abuse his family’s women in front of him. “They used to tell me I’m going to get your sister and your mother right now and take off their clothes in front of you,” he said.

ENTIRE FAMILIES JAILED
Eventually, the family was taken to a prison in Basra known as the Jail for Adult Re-Education because it used to house a school for adult education. There were many other entire families there, Abdul Ali said, and there they were reunited with his father, Abdul Karim.

U.S. Finds $600 Million Cash in Baghdad
Oil for Palaces/Saddam squirrels away cash while his people starve...

(AP) - U.S. soldiers trying to stop looting in Baghdad ran into a huge cache of cash - more than $600 million in $100 dollar bills hidden behind a false wall.
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Brooks also noted that while many hospitals and clinics in Iraq had little power or medical supplies, Saddam's regime had plenty of generators and medicines available but never delivered them.

In warehouses operated by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, U.S. forces found more generators and spare generator parts than they had expected, along with plenty of medical supplies.

"There are enough supplies here ... to make immediate impact on the condition of several medical facilities," Brooks said, adding that coalition forces will deliver the supplies to hospitals.

Keeping the supplies away from the people. What an evil bastard. I wonder if the people who said the sanctions were killing Iraqi children are taking note of who was doing the killing....

4/20/2003

The Saddam Files
Stories of the horrors of Saddams regime now coming to light....

Anwar Abdul Razak, remembers when a surgeon kissed him on each cheek, said he was sorry and cut his ears off. Razak, then 21 years old, had been swept up during one of Saddam Hussein’s periodic crackdowns on deserters from the Army. Razak says he was innocently on leave at the time, but no matter; he had been seized by some Baath Party members who earned bounties for catching Army deserters. At Basra Hospital, Razak’s ears were sliced off without painkillers. He said he was thrown into jail with 750 men, all with bloody stumps where their ears had been. “They called us Abu [Arabic for father] Earless,” recalls Razak, whose fiancee left him because of his disfigurement.

It didn’t take much to wind up in a torture chamber. Policeman Majid al Halaf, 33, says he was arrested for firing his gun into the air at a wedding celebration. For three months, the local Baathists tried to make him confess he was an enemy of the party. They applied electric shocks—using wires from a hand-cranked generator—to various body parts including his genitals. Unable to break him, the Baathists finally let him go. “Afterward, they just said, ‘Sorry’,” says Halaf, who went back to police work.

Ulga said he was sentenced to 12 years in jail for belonging to an armed religious group called “the revenge movement for Sadr,” referring to a martyred Shiite cleric. He had been arrested with 19 others; the lucky ones were executed right away. The rest were tortured with electric cattle prods and forced to watch the prison guards gang-rape their wives and sisters. Some were fed into a machine that looked like a giant meat cutter. “People’s bodies were cut into tiny pieces and thrown into the Tigris River,” said Ulga.