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The Iraq thread 4

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Once the guy on the left tries to reload he´ll be in serious "sling" trouble. What are those ? Haha ! Sorry...

Edit: After watching the pic a second time, I have to assume the guy on the left is a circus artist who is able to change magazine with his toes. biggrin_o.gif

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Well, its a staged photo, these guys would probably have shot the guy with the camera if they'd burst through the door , and he was directly in front of them.

I wonder how Iraqi cops and civilians feel about the weapons for cash thing, there on like $50 a month, and the guys that were making there lives hell can now kick back with a couple of grand in their pocket for doing it.

"The Iraqis like wearing balaclavas," says Douglas. "It makes them look fearless, and terrifies the enemy."

It probably hinders people trying to murder them and there families too.

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Seymore Hersh on Iraq (Berkley interview)

Quote[/b] ]

BERKELEY – The Iraq war is not winnable, a secret U.S. military unit has been "disappearing" people since December 2001, and America has no idea how irreparably its torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison has damaged its image in the Middle East. These were just a few of the grim pronouncements made by Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter Seymour "Sy" Hersh to KQED host Michael Krasny before a Berkeley audience on Friday night (Oct. 8).

The past two years will "go down as one of the classic sort of failures" in history, said the man who has been called the "greatest muckraker of all time" and (paradoxically) the "enfant terrible of journalism for more than 30 years." While Hersh blamed the White House and the Pentagon for the Iraq quagmire and America's besmirched world image, he was stymied by how it all happened. "How could eight or nine neoconservatives come and take charge of this government?" he asked. "They overran the bureaucracy, they overran the Congress, they overran the press, and they overran the military! So you say to yourself, How fragile is this democracy?"

From My Lai to Abu Ghraib

That fragility clearly unnerves him. Hersh summarizes his mission as "to hold the people in public office to the highest possible standard of decency and of honesty…to tolerate anything less, even in the name of national security, is wrong." He tries his best. More than any other U.S. journalist alive today, he embodies the statement that "a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government," a belief defined by the conservationist Edward Abbey.

His country has not always thanked him for it — neocon Pentagon adviser Richard Perle has called Hersh "the closest thing we have to a terrorist," while his 1998 book on John F. Kennedy's administration, "The Dark Side of Camelot," cost him many friends on the left. But Hersh's reputation remains more bulletproof than most. The author of eight books, he first received worldwide recognition (and the Pulitzer) in 1969 for exposing the My Lai massacre and its cover-up during the Vietnam War. 1982's "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House," painted Henry Kissinger as a war criminal and won Hersh the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography.

Most recently, as a staff writer for the New Yorker, Hersh has relentlessly ferreted out the behind-the-scenes deals, trickery, and blunders associated with the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Back in May 2003, he was the first American reporter to state unequivocally that we would not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. (A mea culpa from a Slate journalist who doubted Hersh on WMDs also inadvertently confirms his prescient track record.) And in April of this year, he broke the story of how U.S. soldiers had digitally documented their torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqis at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The several articles he wrote for the New Yorker about Abu Ghraib have been updated and edited into his latest book, "Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib."

"Bush scares the hell out of me"

Hersh came to Berkeley at the invitation of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism and the California First Amendment Coalition. His appearance in the packed ballroom of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Union was the fitting end to a week of high-profile events in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement.

The Hersh event began only minutes after the second debate between President George W. Bush and John Kerry concluded. Krasny naturally asked Hersh — who had watched the debate at North Gate Hall stone-faced in the middle of a rowdy crowd — what he thought of the match.

"It doesn't matter that Bush scares the hell out of me," Hersh answered. "What matters is that he scares the hell out of a lot of very important people in Washington who can't speak out, in the military, in the intelligence community. They know in ways that none of us know, the incredible gap between what is and what [bush] thinks."

With that, he was off and running. One could safely say that for the next hour, Hersh proceeded to scare the hell out of most of the audience by detailing the gaps between what they knew and what he hears is actually going on in Iraq.

While his writing is dense but digestible, in person Hersh speaks with the rambling urgency of a street-corner doomsayer, leaping from point to point and anecdote to anecdote and frequently failing to finish his clauses, let alone his sentences. His train of thought can be difficult to catch a ride on. This evening, it was a challenge for Krasny to slow him down long enough to get a word or question in edgewise. For example, here's a slice of raw Hersh on the current situation in Iraq:

Quote[/b] ]

I've been doing an alternate history of the war, from inside, because people, right after 9/11, because people inside — and there are a lot of good people inside — are scared, as scared as anybody watching this tonight I think should be, because [bush], if he's re-elected, has only one thing to do, he's going to bomb the hell out of that place. He's been bombing the hell of that place — and here's what really irritates me again, about the press — since he set up this Potemkin Village government with Allawi on June 28 — the bombing, the daily bombing rates inside Iraq, have gone up exponentially. There's no public accounting of how many missions are flown, how much ordnance is dropped, we have no accounting and no demand to know. The only sense you get is we're basically in a full-scale air war against invisible people that we can't find, that we have no intelligence about, so we bomb what we can see.

And yet — despite the more than 1,000 deaths of U.S. soldiers and the horrific number of Iraqi casualties — Bush continues to believe we are doing the right thing, according to Hersh. "He thinks he's wearing the white hat," he said, adding that is what makes this administration different from previous ones whose hypocrisy Hersh has exposed. Bush and the neocons "are not hypocrites."

Enter the utopians

"I think it's real simple to say [bush] is a liar. But that would also suggest there was a reality that he understood," explained Hersh. "I'm serious. It is funny in sort of a sick, black humor sort of way, but the real serious problem is, he believes what he's doing." In effect, Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and the other neocons are "idealists, you can call them utopians." As Hersh understands them, they really believe that the solution to global terrorism began with invading Baghdad and will end only with the transformation of the last unfriendly government in the Middle East into a democracy.

"No amount of body bags is going to dissuade [bush]," said Hersh, despite the fact that Hersh's sources say the war in Iraq is "not winnable. It's over." As for Kerry's war plans, Hersh said he wished he could tell him to stop talking as if the senator's plan for Iraq could somehow still eke out a victory there. "This is a disaster that's been going on. It's a civil war, the insurgency. There is no 'win' anymore in this war," he argued. "As somebody said, 'We're playing chess, they're playing Go.'"

Later, Hersh shared something he had yet to write about. Sources were suggesting that the many acts of domestic terrorism in Iraq that U.S. officials have been attributing to suspected Al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are in fact a smokescreen set up by the insurgents. "They decided to wage war against their own population," he said. "It's a huge step, with enormous consequences.…The insurgency has simply deflected what they're doing onto this man. And we fell for it."

What is worse, he said impatiently, was that because U.S. forces had "privatized" so many of Iraq's institutions, it had decimated the job market in the country."This is why Bush can talk about 100,000 people wanting to go work in the police or in the army. It's because there's nothing else for them to do. They're willing to stand in line to get bombed because they want to take care of their family," he said.

Hersh has been accused many times of sympathizing with "the enemy," and told that his publicizing of incidents like the My Lai massacre and the Abu Ghraib torture only fan the flames of anti-American sentiment around the world. He related that he's been asked if he feels guilty about the beheadings of two Americans who were wearing uniforms like those worn at Abu Ghraib. "As if the Iraqis needed me to tell them what's going on in that prison!" he responded. He also repeated a question often posed to him: "Was it immoral to go in … [T]he idea that Saddam was a torturer and a killer, doesn't that lend a patina of morality to going after him?" The answer to that one, he said unsmilingly, "is of course, Saddam tortured and killed his people. And now we're doing it."

In addition to adding more details to the woeful chronology of the Abu Ghraib scandal, in which the military stopped the abuse only after Hersh's story brought it crashing down onto front pages around the world — four months after it was first reported to the Department of Defense — Hersh speculated on why those dehumanizing techniques had been used. He was sure that they were not, as some have claimed, the "stress outlet" or other spontaneous recreational ideas of young soldiers from West Virginia. Instead, he said, they were the outgrowth of a massive manhunt for information, any information, about first Al Qaida, the Taliban, and then the Iraqi insurgency:

Quote[/b] ]

My government has a secret unit that since December of 2001 has been disappearing people just like the Brazilians and the Argentineans did. Rumsfeld decided after 9/11 that he could not wait. The president signed a secret document…There's a team of people, they fly in unmarked planes, they fly in Gulfstreams, they have their own choppers, they don't carry American passports, and they just grab people. And maybe in the beginning I can understand there was some rationale. Right after 9/11 we were frightened, we didn't know what to do …

The original idea behind the sexually humiliating photos taken at Abu Ghraib, Hersh said he had heard, was to use them as blackmail so that the newly released prisoners — many of whom were ordinary Iraqi thieves or even civilian bystanders rounded up in dragnets — would act as informants. "We operate on guilt, [Muslims] operate on shame," Hersh explained. "The idea of photographing an Arab man naked and having him simulate homosexual activity, and having an American GI woman in the photographs, is the end of society in their eyes."

And the fact that Americans had perpetrated such acts — and refused to take responsibility for it — ended America's role as any kind of moral leader in the eyes of not just the Middle East, but the world, Hersh railed. He talked about an Israeli, a longtime veteran of the troubles between his country and the Palestinians, who had emailed him to say, in essence, "We've been killing them for 40 or 50 years, and they've been killing us for 40 or 50 years, but we know that somewhere down the line we're going to have to live with those SOBs…If we had treated our Arabs the way you treated them in Abu Ghraib, the sexual stuff, the photographs, we couldn't live with them. You guys do not begin to understand what you've done, where you have put yourself in the Arab world."

"They just shot them one by one"

There was more — rumors of atrocities around Iraq that to Hersh brought back memories of My Lai. In the evening's most emotional moment, Hersh talked about a call he had gotten from a first lieutenant in charge of a unit stationed halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. His group was bivouacking outside of town in an agricultural area, and had hired 30 or so Iraqis to guard a local granary. A few weeks passed. They got to know the men they hired, and to like them. Then orders came down from Baghdad that the village would be "cleared." Another platoon from the soldier's company came and executed the Iraqi granary guards. All of them.

"He said they just shot them one by one. And his people, and he, and the villagers of course, went nuts," Hersh said quietly. "He was hysterical, totally hysterical. He went to the company captain, who said, 'No, you don't understand, that's a kill. We got 36 insurgents. Don't you read those stories when the Americans say we had a combat maneuver and 15 insurgents were killed?'

"It's shades of Vietnam again, folks: body counts," Hersh continued. "You know what I told him? I said, 'Fella, you blamed the captain, he knows that you think he committed murder, your troops know that their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Complete your tour. Just shut up! You're going to get a bullet in the back.' And that's where we are in this war."

The story seemed to leave Hersh sincerely, deeply saddened. While his critics may call him a "muckraker" and unpatriotic, on Friday night it was obvious that Hersh takes the crumbling of America's image, very, very personally.

"My parents were immigrants," Hersh said. "They came here because America meant something…the Statue of Liberty and all that stuff, because America always was this bastion of morality and integrity and a place for a fresh start. And it's right in front of us, not hidden, that they've taken this away from us."

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"The Iraqis like wearing balaclavas," says Douglas. "It makes them look fearless, and terrifies the enemy."

It probably hinders people trying to murder them and there families too.

Insurgents like to use headscarves (kuffiya?) too, I guess both sides will just have to be terrified of each other. ghostface.gif

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Guerillas infiltrate GreenZone,3 Americans killed

Quote[/b] ]BAGHDAD, Iraq ; Insurgents penetrated Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone and set off bombs at a market and a popular cafe Thursday, killing five people, including three Americans, the U.S. military said, in a bold attack on the compound housing the U.S. and Iraqi government headquarters.

The U.S. military said the bombs appeared to have been "hand-carried" into the zone — and U.S. officials said at least may have been carried out by a suicide attacker. If so, it would be the first time insurgents have successfully infiltrated and set off bombs in the heart of the U.S.-Iraqi leadership of the country.

Tawhid and Jihad, the militant group of Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the blasts, saying they were "martyrdom" or suicide attacks.

"By the grace of God, two lions of the 'Martyrdom Brigade' affiliated with the military wing of Tawhid and Jihad were successful in entering the base of the American Embassy inside the Green Zone in the capital Baghdad," the statement said.

Also Thursday, an American soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad, the military said. As of Wednesday, 1,081 U.S. servicemen had been killed in Iraq since March 2003, according to a Defense Department count.

The Green Zone attack raised fears over security in the compound and underscored militants' ability to strike in the capital even as U.S.-Iraqi forces are carrying out a new offensive to suppress them in other parts of the country ahead of January elections.

The Green Zone is a four square-mile district of central Baghdad surrounded by barricades and checkpoints that houses the Iraqi government, the U.S. Embassy, and residences, restaurants and entertainment facilities for the hundreds of Americans working there. It is also home to some 10,000 Iraqis, who need IDs to move in and out of the area.

Insurgents have frequently fired mortar rounds at the compound, and there have been a number of deadly car bombings at its gates. But this was the first time a bomb was successfully brought in and detonated.

One bomb ripped through an outdoor bazaar that caters to Westerners, selling everything from mobile phone accessories to pornographic DVDs.

The second blast took place at the Green Zone Cafe, a popular hangout for Americans and other Westerners. Last week, an improvised bomb was found and safely defused at the same cafe.

A U.S. military statement said five people were killed in the blasts, including three Americans. Eighteen people were wounded, including two American soldiers and two American civilians.

Officials did not release the nationalities of the other dead and wounded.

Lt. Col. James Hutton, a spokesman for the 1st Cavalry Division, said Thursday's bombs "appeared to be hand-carried," but did not elaborate on how they were detonated.

15 Iraqi national guardsman killed in spectacular attack

Quote[/b] ]RAMADI, Iraq - Fifteen Iraqi national guardsmen were killed in an overnight attack in Qaim near the Syrian border, according to a police officer in the town and a message received at provincial police headquarters Thursday.

“Armed gunmen attacked a national guard post overnight, killing 15 soldiers and stealing their weapons,” read the internal message at the Ramadi headquarters for Al-Anbar province.

A police officer in Qaim, a suspected gateway for foreign fighters on their way from Syria to the rebel town of Fallujah in western Iraq, confirmed the attack and gave the same death toll, on condition of anonymity.

In a separate attack, a national guard checkpoint in Rutba, close to the Jordanian border, was attacked without casualties, as the assailants seized weapons and fled, according to Ramadi police.

Also the head of the national guard in Hit, west of Ramadi, escaped a suicide car bomb against his convoy, said police.

The attack on Colonel Fahd al-Nimrawi happened in the Baghdadi area on the outskirts of Ramadi.

Both Hit and Ramadi have been the scene of clashes between rebels and US marines in recent days.

The violence in Anbar province, which includes Fallujah, came a day after Prime Minister Iyad Allawi warned of a military operation in the rebel city if foreign fighters are not handed over to authorities.

Quote[/b] ]Separate roadside bomb attacks killed four American soldiers in Baghdad, as American troops and Iraqi soldiers stepped up pressure on Sunni insurgents before the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this week.

Last year, insurgents sharply increased their attacks against U.S. and coalition forces at the start of the holy month.

One soldier was killed in an explosion about 4:50 a.m. Wednesday in western Baghdad, the U.S. command said. The three others died in a roadside attack at about 10 p.m. Tuesday in eastern Baghdad, a separate military statement said. The names of the soldiers were withheld pending notification of their families.

It wasn't immediately clear if the soldiers were part of Tuesday's offensive, which stretched from Baghdad to the Syrian border.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there are concerns within the U.S. government about a possible rise in insurgent violence around Ramadan, because of an upswing last year _ when bombings and rocket attacks accelerated significantly in Baghdad and other areas at the beginning of the holy month.

Some militants believe they would win a special place in paradise by sacrificing their lives in a jihad, or holy war, during Ramadan, when Muslims say their sacred book the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

Clashes broke out in a string of militant strongholds from Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, northward along the Euphrates Valley to the Syrian border town of Qaim _ all major conflict areas. Some of the sharpest exchanges took place in Hit, 90 miles northwest of Baghdad.

I am nothing short of being stunned.After a sabatical of reading news concerning Iraq today I return to find out that the only progress in Iraq is made by the insurgents.They are now able to infiltrate and then strike the only ''safe zone'' in the entire country brandashed as impenetrable and mount huge scale attacks against Iraqi national guardsman showing once more their inability to stand up and fight the insurgents on their own,suffering instead enourmous casualties when US forces aren't around to babysit them and let me outline once more all this exactly one year after the war suposedly ended.Catastrophic failure,you can bet on it,you have to be nuts by now to claim this mess anything less and all this while the US deathtoll keeps raising at rapid pace with a horrific Iraqi counterpart.

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Hey don´t worry. Bush says everything is under control and democracy is flouring in Iraq. So does Rumsfeld. So can they be wrong ?

It´s just hypocrite journalists who report of dead US soldiers. In reality there are none. crazy_o.gif

It´s all safe, believe me !

We have made the world a safer place ! crazy_o.gif

Damn right, we are the U S of A and we know how to take democracy to other countries !

Yieeeha !


Idiots playing with this planet, playing with lives, playing with world stability and playing with people they give shit about. That´s what they are. And anyone who still says that the Iraq war was :

a. necessary

b. justified

c. totally ok

d. a good thing to have

e. a thing the people of the USA had to do

f. a reason to reeelect the most stupid president the US ever had

can eat my socks.

Anyway, here´s some interesting read about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The sucessor of Saddam Hussein when it comes to easy enemy plotting, the US way.

Zarqawi - Bush's man for all seasons

Quote[/b] ]Oh Allah, America came with its horses and knights to challenge Allah and his message. Oh Allah, destroy the kingdom of Bush as you destroyed the kingdom of Caesar."

- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi audio, February 2004

"You know, I hate to predict violence, but I just understand the nature of the killers. This guy, Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda associate - who was in Baghdad, by the way, prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein - is still at large in Iraq. And as you might remember, part of his operational plan was to sow violence and discord amongst the various groups in Iraq by cold- blooded killing. And we need to help find Zarqawi so that the people of Iraq can have a more bright ... future."

- President George W Bush, June 2004

"If they do not turn in al-Zarqawi and his group, we will carry out operations in Fallujah. We will not be lenient."

- Iyad Allawi, Iraqi prime minister, October 2004

Former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset turned Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, is set to give the go-ahead to what the US Army twice could not bring itself to carry out: the leveling of Fallujah. Following a purely military logic, this is the next step after the barrage of precision strikes that are killing dozens of Sunni Iraqi civilians, according to Fallujah hospital reports.

Negotiations are going on. Allawi's government sounds optimistic. Sheikh Khaled al-Jumeili is the key Fallujah negotiator. There seems to be a deal on the table according to which the Iraqi National Guard - including a number of Fallujah residents - will control security in the city of 300,000, and residents with relatives killed or wounded by the American offensives and precision strikes may receive compensation.

But the key point is the handover of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Al-Jumeili says there are only a few foreign jihadis in the city - a fact confirmed to Asia Times Online by sources in Baghdad close to the resistance in Fallujah. Al-Jumeili insists they are not terrorists, but plain mujahideen. One of the Baghdad sources is adamant, "What the Americans could not get the first time they are now getting through Allawi. Zarqawi is just an excuse for them to smash the spirit of the resistance."

There's another crucial point. Exactly which "Zarqawi" is everybody talking about?

The making of a legend

Before January 2003, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was little known. Very few people were even aware of the one-legged ethnic Palestinian Ahmed Fadeel al-Khalayleh, born in the dreary industrial wasteland of Zarqa in Jordan, who was basically a semi-literate, tattooed, Shi'ite-hating thug.

His goal while in Jordan was to topple King Hussein. It didn't work. He became a jihadi in Afghanistan in the late 1980s against the Soviets, and after returning to Jordan in 1992 spent seven years in jail for possession of guns. In fighting in 2002 following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan to topple the Taliban, one of his legs was severely injured - and may have been, or maybe not, amputated. He then found refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, protected by the Anglo-American enforced no-fly zone, with Ansar al-Islam, a group with a maximum of 400 fundamentalist Kurdish warriors. And he may have moved to the Sunni triangle after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003.

Zarqawi stopped being a non-entity on February 5, 2003, when he was spectacularly catapulted onto the global stage - six weeks before the start of the Iraq war - by US Secretary of State Colin Powell's weapons of mass destruction speech at the United Nations. Powell used Zarqawi to link Saddam Hussein's secular Ba'athist regime to the "Islamic terror network", and thus partly justify the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Asia Times Online confirmed in Amman, Jordan in February 2003 that practically nobody knew Zarqawi outside of Jordan - even though in 2002 he had been the target of a CIA disinformation campaign tying him to the theocratic regime in Tehran. But soon the Bush administration was to invest him with the aura of an "international man of mystery" - the world's most dangerous man after Osama bin Laden.

Move over, Osama

The US$25 million bounty on his head makes Zarqawi an equal of bin Laden on America's most-wanted list. Soon Zarqawi started being characterized simultaneously as al-Qaeda's top operative in Iraq, and the number one promoter of civil war in that country. His organization, al-Tawhid wal-Jihad (Unity and Holy War), cornered the global market of gory videos showing hostages chained, caged and beheaded. The Bush administration went into full gear, wanting the world to believe that petty criminal Zarqawi was holding the world hostage.

What had he actually done until 2004? Not much. Unlike bin Laden in 1998, he never issued a declaration of war against Jews and Crusaders. Because Zarqawi may have been in northern Iraq at the time - training Ansar al-Islam fighters - and because he may have traveled to Baghdad in May 2002 to treat his injured, or amputated leg, was evidence enough for Powell to speak of "a sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaeda terrorist network". Powell of course never mentioned two crucial facts: even if Zarqawi was really in northern Iraq, he was in a safe heaven for Iraqi Kurds; and Ansar al-Islam was a mortal enemy of Saddam's Ba'athists. Not to mention the fact that the Pentagon always refused to take out Ansar's base: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was not interested in obliterating a perfect pretext for the war. Moreover, Ansar could also be used as an ally against Saddam.

Although the full weight of the Bush administration described Zarqawi as "a very senior al-Qaeda leader", strangely enough there was no meaningful Zarqawi connection whatsoever when one sifted through the terror information in the global media between September 11 and Shock and Awe in March 2003.

Senior former CIA agents say that Vice President Dick Cheney "blew up" when a report proved no links between Saddam and Zarqawi. No wonder: it was always a propaganda stunt. Cheney and the neo-conservatives had always insisted that the Iraqi resistance to the American occupation came either from "remnants" of Saddam's regime or from al-Qaeda "foreign fighters", preferably a partnership. It was not in their interests to admit to a more widespread indigenous resistance movement.

Cheney also insisted that Zarqawi could not have had his leg treated in a Baghdad hospital without Saddam's Mukhabarat (secret service) knowing it. But the leg story is a mess. US intelligence thought that Zarqawi had lost a leg in Afghanistan in 2002. But then, last May, they concluded that he still had both legs. The Bush administration's "evidence" of an al-Qaeda-Saddam link via Zarqawi may be an intercepted phone call by Zarqawi from a Baghdad hospital in 2002, while his leg was being attended to. But then "Zarqawi" shows up in a video with both legs in the 2004 beheading of hostage Nick Berg.

The truth is more straightforward. Zarqawi had no connection either with bin Laden or with Saddam. Secular Saddam hosting an Islamic radical, of all people, at a time when the American campaign against the "axis of evil" had reached a fever-pitch is a ludicrous proposition. A newspaper editor in the Sunni triangle says Zarqawi may have gone on an underground trip to Baghdad to have his leg operated on before scurrying back to Kurdistan. And sources in Peshawar confirm to Asia Times Online that Zarqawi never took the all-significant bayat (oath of allegiance) and so never struck a formal alliance with bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership.

A 'star' is born

Zarqawi suddenly had a global starring role, so he had to live up to it. Al-Tawhid wal-Jihad was organized in early 2004. It has since claimed responsibility for the beheading of Berg in May and Americans Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley in September and and Briton Ken Bigley in October. Tawhid's videos feature masked, armed militants, either with the voice over explaining how "Zarqawi" is beheading yet one more American infidel or the captions announcing the capture of yet more hostages.

This "film" career ran parallel to his emergence as a fiery ideologue. That's the thrust of the exceedingly suspect email allegedly found by the US Army in a raid of "an al-Qaeda safe house" in Baghdad in early 2004. In that email - which immediately showed up at the website of the ultra right-wing Project For a New American Century - Zarqawi allegedly writes to bin Laden asking for his help in detonating a civil war between Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq.

The email - good timing - was found exactly at a juncture when the Bush administration could not disguise any more the lack of evidence linking Saddam and al-Qaeda. There's only one problem - or several, for that matter. Al-Qaeda was actually encouraging total cooperation among all factions of the Iraqi resistance, Sunni and Shi'ite, secular Ba'athist and Islamic. The email could not possibly have been written by a mujahideen like Zarqawi. The characteristic, elaborate Islamic phraseology was not there. No mujahideen in his right mind would complain of his imminent martyrdom, as it's implied in the text. And to top it all, for the many different strands of the resistance, Allawi's administration is just a temporary nuisance in the long road of a national liberation struggle. So the plot didn't fly, and it was scrapped after a few days.

I did it my way

So, first Zarqawi was used as a justification for the Iraqi war; then he became the reason for why there was no peace. Instead, what sources close to the resistance tell Asia Times Online, is that Zarqawi is a minor player: most Iraqis, Shi'ite and Sunni alike, reject his brutal methods, and even Islamic clerics who support the resistance but criticize Zarqawi's methods are routinely denounced by Zarqawi as "collaborators".

Where is his "base"? Zarqawi may have found plenty of funds and manpower in Saudi Arabia, especially after the siege of Fallujah in April, as well as in pockets of the Sunni triangle. Tawhid does exist as a movement, it may have as many as 1,000 members. Once again, the majority of the Iraqi resistance refuse to blow up Iraqi policemen or the desperate urban youth queuing up every day to get jobs in the security services. But for Tawhid, any Iraqi collaborating with the occupation in any way is a legitimate target.

Everything imaginable, in Iraq and elsewhere, has been attributed to Zarqawi: the Casablanca and Istanbul bombings in 2003; the assassination in August 2003, in Najaf, of key Shi'ite player Ayatollah al-Hakim; bomb attacks in February 2004 where more than 100 unemployed people applying for a job with the Iraqi police were killed; the Madrid bombings in March; the beheading of Berg; a wave of attacks in June, with more than 100 dead; the beheadings of the two Americans Armstrong and Hensley and Briton Bigley in September/October. Zarqawi is connected to something like three dozen "terrorist attacks" in Iraq, not to mention countless warnings, threats or communiques. But only half a dozen attacks among roughly 3,000 against the Americans and the so-called coalition can be attributed with certainty to Zarqawi.

There's no shortage of documentation, in print and online, on how US intelligence agents operating around the world since the 1950s have created and developed their own terrorist groups; their own terrorist warnings concerning these terrorist groups; and then how they applied multibillion-dollar counterterrorism tactics - including black psy-ops - to neutralize these terrorist groups they created in the first place.

Disinformation and propaganda are key. Creating a "face" to terror is key. So these black psy-ops always include the creation of a cipher. One American psy-ops operative recently leveled with the Australian newspaper The Age: "We were basically paying up to US$10,000 a time to opportunists and criminals who passed off fiction and supposition about Zarqawi as cast-iron fact, making him out as the linchpin of just about every attack in Iraq."

Will the real Zarqawi please stand up

Zarqawi, described as "a master of disguise and bogus identification papers", has had a tendency to appear in several places at the same time, always eluding the efforts of the multibillion-dollar US intelligence machine. The Rupert Murdoch-owned The Weekly Standard, very cosy with the neo-cons, trumpeted that Zarqawi "is mounting a challenge to bin Laden's leadership of the global jihad".

But not a single source, anywhere, claims to have actually seen "Zarqawi" since late 2001 in Afghanistan. Ask the Pentagon. Ask the CIA. Ask the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No one, on the record, is able to independently verify that "Zarqawi" actually exists. There are no photos - only that same CIA-owned black and white. The CIA doesn't even know how tall or how fat "Zarqawi" is. All the literature on "Zarqawi" since late 2001 springs from dubious "confessions" by prisoners and "statements" by all sorts of people claiming to be "Zarqawi".

Even more extraordinary is that everybody and his neighbor is after Zarqawi: the Pentagon; the CIA; the Mukhabarat-lite intelligence services of Allawi; the Mehdi Army of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr; the bombed residents of Fallujah, where he apparently is hiding; not to mention millions of Iraqis who would bless the heavens above for a shot at laying their hands on a $25 million bounty. Just like bin Laden, nobody can find Zarqawi. Why?

Zarqawi as evil personified is a non-starter: this role has already been attributed to bin Laden hiding in his cave along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The truth may be that the real one-legged, squat, tattooed thug Zarqawi is dead, but a composite Zarqawi lives. He may have been created by a faction, or factions of the Iraqi resistance as a mobilizing factor, a dashing neo-Saladin rousing the masses against the infidel occupiers.

Or better yet, he may have been created by US military intelligence. This American "Zarqawi" is definitely a Hollywood improvement on the original: tall, urbane, highly articulate, and with agile legs. But then something went badly wrong with the plot. A rogue group, composed of Iraqis or foreign fighters or both, kidnapped the American Zarqawi identikit and inoculated its own virus: thus the savage, multiple beheadings.

Zarqawi exists in audio, but not in video. Unlike bin Laden, he has never performed unmasked. In both the Berg and South Korean Kim Sun-il execution videos, the Zarqawi voice is the same - and the Zarqawi character as well (although he certainly doesn't look like the "original" Zarqawi). Both videos look the same - with the same people, the same orange jumpsuits, and the same execution where mysteriously little blood flows. Audio and video are not in synch, and that suggests heavy editing.

Zarqawi was extremely useful to defuse attention from the Abu Ghraib scandal: the Berg video showed up at the height of Abu Ghraib. The "Zarqawi" in the video does not speak Arabic with a Jordanian accent. His legs seem pretty normal. And crucially, he wears a golden ring, which for an authentic jihadi would be the ultimate affront.

On the same day, June 22, of the release of the Kim video, "Zarqawi" also released a statement - but with a different voice, saying he was determined to "ignite a civil war between Sunnis and Shi'ites". Curiously enough, that's exactly what US intelligence wants, a rehashing of the same old British maxim of "divide and rule".

Tawhid is also venturing into more elaborate productions. One of its recruiting videos features plenty of interviews and statements from Saudi, Algerian, Libyan and Jordanian jihadis. "Zarqawi's" voice can be heard for a few seconds - but the audio was taken from another tape released after Abu Ghraib when he was threatening Allawi's government.

This cat has nine lives

"Zarqawi" is much like a movie. Fake leg or not, return of the living dead or not, he is everywhere. American corporate media do not even bother to examine all the holes in the story. Who cares? Without Zarqawi, the Bush administration would have to painfully admit that the Iraqi resistance is a national liberation struggle. With Zarqawi, the administration can parrot to oblivion the line that Iraq is in the frontline of the "war on terror".

If multi-purpose "Zarqawi" did not exist, he would have to be invented. The "Zarqawi" myth straddles pre-invasion and post-invasion, so the neo-cons can use it to justify just about anything. Cheney and Rumsfeld may keep exhuming Iraq's "long established ties with al-Qaeda" and may justify the de facto occupation because "Zarqawi", "linked to al-Qaeda", is still there, so Iraq is turning into al-Qaeda's base for more attacks against the US. It doesn't matter that German intelligence has consistently pointed out that Zarqawi would be a fierce rival to bin Laden as the leader of global jihad.

If Bush loses the presidential election in November, the neo-cons who control his administration will be totally roasted and cannibalized by traditional Republicans. But if Bush is re-elected, he will have two months to launch and complete the all-out subjugation of Fallujah already announced by the US military and Allawi - the logical sequence of the current, devastating precision strikes.

This poses a problem. Zarqawi would have to be smoked out. But what for? The neo-cons would lose a formidable asset: after all they now insist Zarqawi is sponsored by Tehran. Yet another measure of the neo-cons' ignorance of the Muslim world is how they put all cats - Wahhabi al-Qaeda, secular Iraqi Ba'athists and Iranian Shi'ite mullahs - in the same bag.

So the world should expect more "Zarqawi" merchandise - emails, threats, communiques, grisly videos. "Zarqawi" lives. What a legend. He's unstoppable. And he votes Bush.

Applause !


Take Bush out of office if you want to survive the next 10 years. If Bush stays at the wheel, or better say, is wired to the wheel, every US citizen will have to be ready to be asked why they gave him a second term of bull. It´s not that they don´t know better. It looks like they are following a guy who has no idea of what he´s doing to his country AND the rest of the world with his warmongering preemptive brainfarts.

Oneday the US people will be held accountable for supporting this guy. The same way as we were held accountable for Hitler. Welcome to reality. You are what you elect. If you elect a guy who has no problem to kill over 20.000 civillians for little reason, you will find out oneday that this guy will not prevent any evil-doers from doing this to the US population. Welcome to reality.

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Quote[/b] ]can eat my socks.

I love eating socks in the morning....

Quote[/b] ]Oneday the US people will be held accountable for supporting this guy. The same way as we were held accountable for Hitler. Welcome to reality. You are what you elect. If you elect a guy who has no problem to kill over 20.000 civillians for little reason, you will find out oneday that this guy will not prevent any evil-doers from doing this to the US population. Welcome to reality.

hmmm...not in the mood to trash this....

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Quote[/b] ]hmmm...not in the mood to trash this....

So why do you post at all if you got nothing to say ?

Don´t waste our time.  mad_o.gif

Quote[/b] ]I love eating socks in the morning....

Well maybe the pretzel effect can be transported to socks also. I´m pressing my thumbs.

Billybob, seriously you´re just butting in, haven´t even read the article I quoted but feel the need to comment with your stupid "...." sentences.

Either you can form a complete sentence or you stay out of debating. We don´t need no smart commentary man here who doesn´t even read what the others wrote.

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Quote[/b] ]So why do you post at all if you got nothing to say ?

Don´t waste our time.

Ok let me trash then...hmmm..... Let see, you claim that America will held "accountable" for Iraq... Name something that America has been held "accountable" before....

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Could you...maybe..ummm...stop...typing like...this? It gets really...really annoying....

Balschoiw put it perhaps a tad strongly, but you have to face facts.

The majority of the world does not like you anymore. A large part did like you before before Bush (well, maybe tolerate is a better word wink_o.gif ). I'd say it is bad to piss off the majority of the world (including most of your most important allies) if you're the president of the USA, one of the most influential people in the world?

Maybe in fact something is actually bad about this whole Iraq business?

(yeah you abused ...., I abused italics a bit, hehe ^^; )

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Quote[/b] ]Billybob, seriously you´re just butting in, haven´t even read the article I quoted but feel the need to comment with your stupid "...." sentences.

Either you can form a complete sentence or you stay out of debating. We don´t need no smart commentary man here who doesn´t even read what the others wrote.

Quote[/b] ]He became a jihadi in Afghanistan in the late 1980s against the Soviets

Wrong. He wrote for a Islamic newspaper in Afghanistan during the late 80s. Furthermore, by the time he got there, the Soviets were leaving.

Quote[/b] ]returning to Jordan in 1992 spent seven years in jail for possession of guns.

Wrong. He spent seven years in for possession of assault rifles and bombs. Also, in 1992, he "fell" in to Bayaat al Imam. ( )]http://www.nytimes.com/2004....])

Wrong. Ansar al-Islam fought Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party a few times. ( http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/mena/ansarbk020503.htm )



Wrong check previous links. He was not "safe".

Every heard of going under the radar screen? Also, you forgot these photos...http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/zarqawi.htm

Laurence Foley?

failed overthow of the monarchy?

failed Radisson SAS hotel bombing?




Quote[/b] ]

Oh Allah, America came with its horses and knights to challenge Allah and his message. Oh Allah, destroy the kingdom of Bush as you destroyed the kingdom of Caesar."

- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi audio, February 2004

"You know, I hate to predict violence, but I just understand the nature of the killers. This guy, Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda associate - who was in Baghdad, by the way, prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein - is still at large in Iraq. And as you might remember, part of his operational plan was to sow violence and discord amongst the various groups in Iraq by cold- blooded killing. And we need to help find Zarqawi so that the people of Iraq can have a more bright ... future."

- President George W Bush, June 2004

"If they do not turn in al-Zarqawi and his group, we will carry out operations in Fallujah. We will not be lenient."

- Iyad Allawi, Iraqi prime minister, October 2004


(NYT link)

Quote[/b] ]His firmness was his attraction, fellow inmates said, his remoteness his power. By 1998, when a prison doctor, Basil Abu Sabha, met him, Mr. Zarqawi was clearly in charge.

"He could order his followers to do things just by moving his eyes," Dr. Abu Sabha said.

His religious views became increasingly severe. They had been marinating in a stew of militant beliefs served up by the imams and sheiks in the iron bunks next to him. He lashed out at cellmates if they read anything but the Koran.

Mr. Abu Doma said he got a threatening note for reading "Crime and Punishment."

"He spelled Dostoyevsky 'Doseefski,' Mr. Abu Doma said, laughing. "The note was full of bad Arabic, like a child wrote it."

Fellow inmates said that around that time, 1998, just as Al Qaeda was emerging as a serious threat blamed for the two bombings of United States Embassies in Africa, Mr. Zarqawi started talking about killing Americans.

That story is written with a tin fold cap on.

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We don´t need no smart commentary [...]
Quote[/b] ]eat my socks.
Quote[/b] ]smart commentary
Quote[/b] ]eat my socks.
Quote[/b] ]smart commentary
Quote[/b] ]eat my socks.
Quote[/b] ]smart commentary
Quote[/b] ]eat my socks.

This is my commentary, and as you can see, its not very smart, so I posted it because its not smart and it is the kind of commenatry that is needed here.  unclesam.gif

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Is this going to be the great billybob nitpicking contest ?

You may want to read more literally maybe. The CIA indeed never had any coloured photos of him. They were provided by other services including the BND.

As I don´t want to go on that stupid word - nitpicking path you chose I will restrain from posting anything more about it.

It´s an article Mr. Billybob. An article that I haven´t written, so if you have any nitpicking subjects pls contact the author and spare my time.

In fact you didn´t argue any logical conclusions of the article. You only nitpick on things you only can countercheck on another media sources. Does this make this initial claims untrue ?

Please show me why.

Oh, but one last one:

Quote[/b] ]The German government notes that an independent Al Tawhid cell was formed in Germany by September 200l

Call it rabbit from the hat, but it has never been confirmed by BND. They made the claim, but have revised it later on.

Quote[/b] ]That story is written with a tin fold cap on.

And your´s are ? rock.gif

Billybob, one thing. I will be leaving germany on sunday to fulfill my part in the so called "war on terror". But right now, if people like you who are in permanent denial of reality, pop up like mushrooms and still see no flaw in the current situation mainly caused and enabled by the US panic foreign policy, or better say not-policy, I feel kind of cheated. You should be the ones fighting the war. You are so eager and motivated and you know everything as it seems. I´d gladly hand you over my gun and push you out of the helo I will be dropped of next week thursday after I´ve arrived in Kabul on Monday.

Then again, I only think you´re an uninformed , reality denying teen and I will keep it as that.

You may be lucky. Maybe I won´t come back this time. Maybe you have some smart words for that also. Maybe some "....erm" or other intellectual highlights you are so generous to share with us here.

You´re a guy who still has a lot to learn. And I do hope that you will have to learn it the hard way. It seems to be the most promising way for me to get reality into your isolated head.

I´m thankful to fight in your name over there. NOT. mad_o.gif

You show no understanding, no realism, no perspective, no common sense and are happily defending YOUR thruth, that obviously doesn´t match the reality truth.

That´s it for me with you billybob. Nothing more to say.

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Quote[/b] ]An article that I haven´t written, so if you have any nitpicking subjects pls contact the author and spare my time.

So, trying to find the truth=nitpicking.

Quote[/b] ]And your´s are ?

CIA conspiracy?

Quote[/b] ]I´m thankful to fight in your name over there. NOT.

You asked you to rock.gif Seriously, Billybob2002 does not wish death on you....

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Quote[/b] ]So, trying to find the truth=nitpicking.

You´d better waste your time on finding WMD´s.

The truth ? You ? Hahaha ! Best joke ever.

Quote[/b] ]CIA conspiracy?

No, different media outlets neither more or less credible than mine.

I don´t you think you have acess to CIA papers billybob...

Quote[/b] ]You asked you to

As a matter of fact, yes.

Quote[/b] ]Seriously, Billybob2002 does not wish death on you....

Do you really think I´d care ? tounge_o.gif

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Iraq nuke sites stripped methodically-diplomats

Quote[/b] ]VIENNA (Reuters) - The mysterious removal of Iraq's mothballed nuclear facilities continued long

after the U.S.-led invasion and was carried out by people with access to heavy machinery and

demolition equipment, diplomats say.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog told the Security Council this week that equipment and

materials that could be used to make atomic weapons had been vanishing from Iraq without either

Baghdad or Washington noticing.

"This process carried on at least through 2003 ... and probably into 2004, at least in early

2004," said a Western diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitored

Iraq's nuclear sites before last year's war.

That contrasted with statements by Western and Iraqi officials, who have played down the

disappearance of the equipment. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Tuesday he believed most of the

removals took place in the chaos shortly after the March 2003 invasion.

The United States and Britain said they invaded to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Both

countries now admit toppled ruler Saddam Hussein had no such weapons.

Several diplomats close to the IAEA said the disappearance of the nuclear items was not the result

of haphazard looting.

They said the removal of the dual-use equipment -- which before the war was tagged and closely

monitored by the IAEA to ensure it was not being used in a weapons programme -- was planned and

executed by people who knew what they were doing.

"We're talking about dozens of sites being dismantled," a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

"Large numbers of buildings taken down, warehouses were emptied and removed. This would require heavy

machinery, demolition equipment. This is not something that you'd do overnight."


Diplomats in Vienna say the IAEA is worried that these facilities, which belonged to Saddam's

pre-1991 covert nuclear weapons programme, could have been packed up and sold to a country or

militants interested in nuclear weapons.

The diplomats said that among the sites that had been stripped were a precision manufacturing site

at Umm Al Marik, a site connected with Iraq's nuclear weapons activities at Al Qa Qaa and an

engineering facility at Badr.

One diplomat said there were "dozens of others" that gradually disappeared from satellite photos

analysed by IAEA experts at its headquarters in Vienna.

Independent expert Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest, said Iraqi nuclear and

weapons-related material that was monitored by the U.N. before the invasion had since been found in

Europe. Raw "yellowcake" uranium, apparently from Iraq, was found in Rotterdam last December, he said.

"It seems extremely negligent for the authorities in Iraq to allow this quantity of material to

have been exported from the country," Standish said.

In 1991, the IAEA detected Saddam's clandestine nuclear weapons programme and spent the next seven

years investigating and dismantling it. By the time U.N. inspectors left the country in December 1998,

Iraq's covert atom bomb programme was gone.


US: Where has the money gone?

Quote[/b] ]Washington - United States and Iraqi officials doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in oil proceeds and other moneys for Iraqi projects earlier this year, but there was little effort to monitor or justify the expenditures, according to an audit released on Thursday.

Files that could explain many of the payments are missing or non-existent, and contracting rules were ignored, according to auditors working for an agency created by the United Nations.

"We found one case where a payment ($2m) was authorised by the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) senior adviser to the Ministry of Oil," the report said. "We were unable to obtain an underlying contract" or even "evidence of services being rendered."

How where billions spent?

In a programme to allow US military commanders to pay for small reconstruction projects, auditors questioned 128 projects totalling $31.6m. They could find no evidence of bidding for the projects or, alternatively, explanations of why they were awarded without competition.

The report was released by Representative Henry Waxman of California, ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee and a leading critic of reconstruction spending to rebuild Iraq.

"The Bush Administration cannot account for how billions of dollars of Iraqi oil proceeds were spent," Waxman said. "The mismanagement, lack of transparency, and potential corruption will seriously undermine our efforts in Iraq. A thorough congressional investigation is urgently needed."

The audit was performed by the accounting firm KMPG for the International Advisory and Monitoring Board, created by the United Nations to monitor the stewardship of Iraqi funds.

The report monitored spending by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the US-run governing agency which went out of existence in June; Iraqi ministries; the Kurdish Regional Government and Iraqi provisional governments.

Reconciliating accounts

It covered the period from January to June this year.

In the CPA programmes, "We found 37 cases where contracting files could not be located," the auditors said. The cost of the contracts: $185m. In another 52 cases, there was no record of the goods received for $87.9m in expenditures.

In a military commanders' programme to buy back weapons, $1.4m was spent from a fund that specifically prohibited such expenditures, auditors said.

Iraq's Ministry of Finance maintained two sets of accounting records, one manual and one computerised.

"A reconciliation between these two sets of accounting records was not prepared and the difference was significant," the report said.

US agrees to audit no-bid Iraq oil contracts

Quote[/b] ]UNITED NATIONS - The United States has agreed to an audit of the no-bid Iraq contracts given to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company and paid for with Iraqi oil money, international monitors said.

The International Advisory and Monitoring Board had previously complained about the contracts awarded to Halliburton without competitive bidding, which have drawn sharp criticism in the United States and abroad.

The IAMB was set up by the UN Security Council to oversee US handling of Iraq's oil resources after Washington toppled Saddam Hussein's regime last year and before sovereignty was handed to Iraqis in June.

It said a special audit would be commissioned by the United States to determine the extent of no-bid contracts funded by Iraqi oil revenue, summarise US government audits, and determine if any contracts had not yet been audited.

The results would be made public, the IAMB said. Cheney headed Halliburton before his election as vice president in 2000.

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Quote[/b] ]I will be leaving germany on sunday to fulfill my part in the so called "war on terror".

Take care and break a leg!

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Quote[/b] ]Take care and break a leg!

I will and hopefully not  biggrin_o.gif

Thx mate.

Yes, good luck mate and stay safe. Will you have net access when your over there?

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Quote[/b] ]Will you have net access when your over there?

The first 3 days, yes. The following months, no.

Thx for the good wishes


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