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


Loss Estimates Are Cut on Iraqi Artifacts
Looting of Iraqi museum only a fraction of what was reported...

(NYT) Even though many irreplaceable antiquities were looted from the National Museum of Iraq during the chaotic fall of Baghdad last month, museum officials and American investigators now say the losses seem to be less severe than originally thought.

Col. Matthew F. Bogdanos, a Marine reservist who is investigating the looting and is stationed at the museum, said museum officials had given him a list of 29 artifacts that were definitely missing. But since then, 4 items ? ivory objects from the eighth century B.C. ? had been traced.

"Twenty-five pieces is not the same as 170,000," said Colonel Bogdanos, who in civilian life is an assistant Manhattan district attorney.

A Top Qaeda Member, Tied to 9/11, Is Captured
Links to Al Qauda turning up in Iraq daily...

A top operative of Al Qaeda suspected of playing crucial roles in both the bombing of the American destroyer Cole in 2000 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was captured in Pakistan on Tuesday along with five other terrorist suspects, American officials said today.

Walid Ba'Attash, a Saudi citizen of Yemeni descent who was captured in Karachi by the Pakistani authorities, is the highest-ranking Qaeda leader to be taken into custody since Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the terrorist network's chief of operations, was captured on March 2, American officials said.

Mr. Ba'Attash has been identified by American intelligence officials as an important lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, and deeply involved in many of Al Qaeda's most deadly plots. He is thought to have used many different aliases in recent years, including Tawfiq al-Atash and Tawfiq bin Atash.

American officials believe that Mr. Ba'Attash was the mastermind behind the Cole attack, and was also a leading participant in a critical meeting of Qaeda operatives in Malaysia in January 2000 that may have been called to plan the Sept. 11 attacks. Two of the 19 hijackers involved in the attacks on New York and Washington also attended the Malaysia meeting.

Mr. Ba'Attash has been on the C.I.A.'s list of top Qaeda leaders. Once he is turned over to the United States for questioning, as American officials expect, Mr. Ba'Attash will be the only person in American custody who attended that planning session, and he may be able to provide the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. fresh insight into the inner workings of the Sept. 11 plot.


200 freed Iraqi prisoners of war leave desert camp singing and cheering for President Bush
POW's glad we liberated their country....

Chanting "Saddam no, Bush yes," some 200 Iraqi prisoners of war were let go Sunday at the coalition's main internment camp in the desert near the southern port of Umm Qasr.

The men, many of them barefooted, shook hands with the American soldiers guarding the camp before boarding buses and trucks to be driven to nearby Basra, southern Iraq's largest city.

"I gave orders to my five men not to fight and we surrendered," he said, his eyes red from the sand. "Americans were coming for our own good. ... What has Saddam done for us? I'm 30 and I haven't enjoyed life -- no justice, no piece of land, no car."

The freed POWs said they were treated well by their captors. Many shook hands with coalition soldiers before being driven away.

Before Atheer Abdul-Karim, 25, joined his fellow Iraqis in singing a folk song on board a departing bus, he shouted out: "They paid us 17,000 (Iraqi dinars a month) to fight Americans. I would have killed Saddam for one dollar."