Western Media Make One Death a Tragedy, Millions a Statistic by Finian Cunningham + US Facilitates Saudi War Crimes in Yemen

002 Rally

Image by Felton Davis via Flickr

by Finian Cunningham
Writer, Dandelion Salad
East Africa
Crossposted from Strategic Culture Foundation
October 31, 2018

The Western media coverage devoted to the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi proves the cynical adage that one person’s death is a tragedy, while millions of deaths are a mere statistic.

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Draft Dodger in Chief Might Trigger A World War by Felicity Arbuthnot + Trump Threatens to Bomb Syria Without Any Investigation into Alleged Chemical Attack

“Another war based on lies!”

Image by Alec Perkins via Flickr

by Felicity Arbuthnot
Writer, Dandelion Salad
London, England
April 12, 2018

As all becomes ever more rapidly surreal it seems that, barring a miracle, Draft Dodger in Chief, Donald Trump might trigger a world war, over an incident in Syria which is entirely evidence free.

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Patrick Cockburn on Missing Billions in Iraq and Soaring Cancer & Infant Mortality Rates in Fallujah

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

Democracy Now!
July 29, 2010

Patrick Cockburn on Missing Billions in Iraq and Soaring Cancer & Infant Mortality Rates in Fallujah

In Iraq, an official audit by the US Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction found that the Pentagon cannot account for almost $9 billion taken from Iraqi oil revenues between 2004 and 2007 for use in reconstruction. Meanwhile, a new medical study has found dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004. We speak with Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London Independent. [includes rush transcript]

via Patrick Cockburn on Missing Billions in Iraq and Soaring Cancer & Infant Mortality Rates in Fallujah

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Patrick Cockburn: Threats to Yemen Prove America Hasn’t Learned the Lesson of History

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Democracy Now!
Jan. 4, 2010

Patrick Cockburn: Threats to Yemen Prove America Hasn’t Learned the Lesson of History

The United States and Britain have closed their embassies in the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a, citing security threats from an al-Qaeda group. On Saturday, President Obama connected the foiled Christmas Day attack on the Detroit-bound flight to al-Qaeda in Yemen. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described Yemen as a “regional and global threat.” We speak with Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London Independent, and Michael Horton, a freelance journalist based in Yemen. [includes rush transcript]

(starts at 12:41 minutes in)

Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for the London Independent.

Michael Horton, freelance journalist based in Yemen.

via Patrick Cockburn: Threats to Yemen Prove America Hasn’t Learned the Lesson of History

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Afghans Riot Over Air-strike Atrocity By Patrick Cockburn

Dandelion Salad

By Patrick Cockburn
ICH
May 08 2009 “The Independent

Witnesses say deaths of 147 people in three villages came after a sustained bombardment by American aircraft.

“Herat” — Shouting “Death to America” and “Death to the Government”, thousands of Afghan villagers hurled stones at police yesterday as they vented their fury at American air strikes that local officials claim killed 147 civilians.

The riot started when people from three villages struck by US bombers in the early hours of Tuesday, brought 15 newly-discovered bodies in a truck to the house of the provincial governor. As the crowd pressed forward in Farah, police opened fire, wounding four protesters. Traders in the rest of Farah city, the capital of the province of the same name where the bombing took place, closed their shops, vowing they would not reopen them until there is an investigation.

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Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11

Dandelion Salad

By Patrick Cockburn, winner of the 2009 Orwell Prize for journalism
ICH
April 26, 2009 “The Independent

A US major reveals the inside story of military interrogation in Iraq.

The use of torture by the US has proved so counter-productive that it may have led to the death of as many US soldiers as civilians killed in 9/11, says the leader of a crack US interrogation team in Iraq.

“The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology,” says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It was the team led by Major Alexander [a named assumed for security reasons] that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learnt where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust.

[…]

via Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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CIA Torture Began In Afghanistan Eight Months before Justice Department Approval by Andy Worthington

Torture Whitewash From The Dark Side By Pepe Escobar

Who Authorized The Torture of Abu Zubaydah? by Andy Worthington

Inside Iraq: US construction fraud, with Patrick Cockburn

Dandelion Salad

AlJazeeraEnglish

The criminal investigation by US authorities into the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn allocated for the reconstruction of Iraq, could turn out to be the biggest fraud case in US history. Inside Iraq discusses this case.

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Warning to the US: beware treating Afghanistan like Iraq by Patrick Cockburn

Dandelion Salad

by Patrick Cockburn
The Independent
2.26.09

President Obama is likely to announce in the coming days that he will withdraw all US combat troops from Iraq by August 2010. Many of these soldiers will end up in Afghanistan where the Taliban is getting stronger and the US-backed government weaker by the day. How much has the US learnt from its debacle in Iraq?

One lesson not learnt in Washington is that it is a bad idea to become involved in a war in any so-called “failed state”. This patronising term suggests that if a state has failed, foreign intervention is justified and will face limited resistance. But the greatest US foreign policy disasters over the last generation have all been in places where organised government had largely collapsed.

There was Lebanon in 1983, when 242 US marines were blown up in Beirut, Somalia 10 years later, and Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The lesson, which applies to nowhere more than Afghanistan, is that societies with weak state structures devise lethally effective ways of defending themselves.

[…]

via Patrick Cockburn: Warning to the US: beware treating Afghanistan like Iraq – Commentators, Opinion – The Independent

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Kucinich on Iraq withdrawal + Paul: We Killed A Million Of Their People! + Obama Announces Iraq Troop Withdrawal

Dennis Kucinich: Can’t leave 50,000 troops in Iraq and call it a withdrawal + Pentagon Lifts Ban On Coffin Images

Iraq on Dandelion Salad

Afghanistan on Dandelion Salad

A ‘fraud’ bigger than Madoff By Patrick Cockburn

Dandelion Salad

By Patrick Cockburn in Sulaimaniyah, Northern Iraq
The Independent
Monday, 16 February 2009

Senior US soldiers investigated over missing Iraq reconstruction billions

In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn (£88bn) in a US -directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The exact sum missing may never be clear, but a report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests it may exceed $50bn, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff’s notorious Ponzi scheme.

“I believe the real looting of Iraq after the invasion was by US officials and contractors, and not by people from the slums of Baghdad,” said one US businessman active in Iraq since 2003.

In one case, auditors working for SIGIR discovered that $57.8m was sent in “pallet upon pallet of hundred-dollar bills” to the US comptroller for south-central Iraq, Robert J Stein Jr, who had himself photographed standing with the mound of money. He is among the few US officials who were in Iraq to be convicted of fraud and money-laundering.

Despite the vast sums expended on rebuilding by the US since 2003, there have been no cranes visible on the Baghdad skyline except those at work building a new US embassy and others rusting beside a half-built giant mosque that Saddam was constructing when he was overthrown. One of the few visible signs of government work on Baghdad’s infrastructure is a tireless attention to planting palm trees and flowers in the centre strip between main roads. Those are then dug up and replanted a few months later.

[…]

via A ‘fraud’ bigger than Madoff – Americas, World – The Independent

h/t: CLG

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Iraq on Dandelion Salad

Total Defeat for U.S. in Iraq By Patrick Cockburn

Dandelion Salad

By Patrick Cockburn
ICH
December 11, 2008 “Counterpunch

It’s All Spelled Out in Unpublicized Agreement

On November 27 the Iraqi parliament voted by a large majority in favor of  a security agreement with the US under which the 150,000 American  troops in Iraq will withdraw from cities, towns and villages by  June 30,  2009 and from all of Iraq by  December 31, 2011. The Iraqi government will take over military responsibility for the Green Zone in Baghdad, the heart  of American power in Iraq, in a few weeks time. Private security companies  will lose their legal immunity. US military operations and the arrest of Iraqis  will only be carried out with Iraqi consent. There will be no US military  bases left behind when the last US troops leave in three years time and  the US military is banned in the interim from carrying out attacks on other  countries from Iraq.

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Iraqis Protest Proposed Deal to Allow US Troops to Stay in Iraq Until 2011

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!
Oct 21, 2008

Iraqis Protest Proposed Deal to Allow US Troops to Stay in Iraq Until 2011

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Iraqis demonstrated against the proposed Status of Forces Agreement, but US military chief Michael Mullen warned today that Iraq could risk “losses of significant consequence” if the deal is not approved quickly. We speak to Patrick Cockburn and Raed Jarrar. [includes rush transcript]

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via Democracy Now! | Iraqis Protest Proposed Deal to Allow US Troops to Stay in Iraq Until 2011

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Thousands of Iraqis Protest U.S. Occupation!

Who’s Really Running Iraq? By Patrick Cockburn

Dandelion Salad

By Patrick Cockburn
ICH
08/04/08 “Counterpunch

Home Truths You’ll Never Read in the Press

American politicians and journalists have repeatedly made the same mistake in Iraq over the past five years. This is to assume that the US is far more in control of events in the country than has ever truly been the case. This was true after the fall of Saddam Hussein when President Bush and his viceroy in Baghdad Paul Bremer believed that what Iraqis thought and did could safely be ignored. Within months guerrilla war against American forces was raging across central Iraq.

The ability of America to make unilateral decisions in Iraq is diminishing by the month, but the White House was still horrified to hear the Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki appearing to endorse Barack Obama’s plan for the withdrawal of American combat troops over 16 months. This cut the ground from under the feet of  John McCain who has repeatedly declared that ‘victory’ is at last within America’s grasp because of the great achievements of ‘the Surge’, the American reinforcements sent to Iraq in 2007 to regain control of Baghdad.

The success of ‘the Surge’ is becoming almost received wisdom in the US. This is strange since, if the US strategy did win such an important victory, why do America generals need more soldiers, currently 147,000 of them, in Iraq than they did before ‘the  Surge’ started? But belief in this so-called victory is in keeping with the American tradition of seeing everything that happens in Iraq as being the result of actions by the US alone. The complex political landscape of Iraq is ignored. US commentators have never quite taken on board that there are not one but three wars being fought out in the country since 2003: the first is the war of resistance against the American occupation by insurgents from the Sunni Arab community. The second is the battle between the Sunni and Shia communities as to who should rule the Iraqi state in succession to Saddam Hussein. The third conflict is a proxy war between the US and Iran to decide who should be the predominant foreign power in Iraq. The real, though exaggerated, fall in violence in Iraq over the last year is a consequence of developments in all three of these wars, but they do not necessarily have much to do with ‘the Surge’.

The reduction in violence is in any case only in comparison to the bloodbath of 2005-7 when Baghdad and central Iraq was ravaged by a sectarian civil war. There were 554 Iraqis killed in the fighting in June 2008, which is only a third of the figure for the same month a year earlier. This is progress, but it still makes Baghdad the most dangerous city in the world. Asked on television about the security situation, Iraqis often respond that ‘things are getting better’ and so they undoubtedly are, but people usually mean that things are better than the terror of two years ago. Foreign television correspondents laud the improved security in the Iraqi capital and are pictured apparently strolling down a peaceful and busy street. What the television viewer does not see are the armed guards standing behind the cameraman, without whom the correspondents would not dare set foot outside their heavily guarded offices.

I do drive around Baghdad without armed guards and have always done so. But I sit in the back of a car with an Arabic newspaper and a jacket or shirt on a hanger masking the window next to me. I have a second car behind me in contact with us by field radios to make sure that we are not being followed. It is true that security is better, but this can be overstated. Each district iin Baghdad is sealed off by concrete walls. There are checkpoints every few hundred yards. Sunni and Shia do not visit each other areas unless they have to. The best barometer for the real state of security in Baghdad is the attitude of Iraqi refugees, particularly the 2.4 million people who fled to Jordan and Syria. Though often living in miserable conditions and with their money running out, the refugees are generally not coming home to Iraq and, when they do, they seldom return to houses from which they have been forced to flee. If they do try to do so the results are often fatal. Baghdad has few mixed areas left and today is 75-80 per cent a Shia city. The demographic balance in the capital has shifted against the Sunni and this is unlikely to change. The battle for Baghdad was won by the Shia and was ending even before ‘the Surge’ began in February 2007.

It was the outcome of the struggle for the capital that caused a large part of the anti-American resistance to make a dramatic change of sides, switching suddenly from fighting to supporting US troops. The attempt by al-Qa’ida in Iraq to take over the whole of the anti-occupation resistance in late 2006 was important in forcing other insurgent groups to ally themselves with the US as al-Sahwa or the Awakening movement. But perhaps a more important reason for the rise of al-Sahwa was that there was no point in the Sunni insurgents attacking the Americans if they were being driven from Iraq by the Shia. There are now some 90,000 former Sunni resistance fighters on the American payroll, but they happily express open hatred and contempt for the Iraqi government. Sectarian divisions in the country remain very deep. In the Fallujah area, for instance, it is very dangerous for either the Sunni chief of police or the al-Sahwa commander (they are brothers) to enter Baghdad. This is because Abu Ghraib at the entrance to the city is controlled by the much-feared and heavily-Shia al-Muthana Brigade, who might kill either of them on sight.

Another reason why violence has fallen in Iraq over the last eighteen months has little to do with ‘the Surge’, but is the consequence of the Shia militiamen of the Mehdi Army being stood down by its leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The one constant theme in his strategy, ever since he fought the US Marines in Najaf in 2004, has been to avoid direct military conflict with the US armed forces or his Shia rivals when backed by US firepower. This was true at the start of ‘the Surge’ in February 2007 and Muqtada has sought truces and ceasefires ever since. He did so after fighting with the Iraqi police in Kerbala in August 2007 and he renewed the truce six months later. In March this year the Iraqi army launched a military offensive to take Basra from the Mehdi Army, an attack which at first failed to make headway until backed by US airpower. But in Basra and later in Sadr City in Baghdad, Muqtada agreed to ceasefires which allowed his former bastions to be taken over by the Iraqi army. Muqtada did not fight because he knew his men must lose at the end of the day. For a military confrontation with the Iraqi army and the US he would need the support of Iran and this was not forthcoming.

McCain and other American politicians who believe that ‘the Surge’ has brought them close to victory, seldom understand the role Iran has played in Iraq in the last two years. Paradoxically, Iran and the US together are the two main supporters of the present Iraqi government. For Iran, Nouri al-Maliki in power in Baghdad leading a coalition of Shia religious parties allied to the Kurds is as good as it is going to get. The Iranians may vie with the US for influence over this government, but both want it to stay in power. “People fail to realise that the success of ‘the Surge’ was the result of a tacit agreement between the US and Iran,” one Iraqi leader told me. “There really is an Iranian-American condominium ruling Iraq these days,” said another.

Suppose McCain is elected US president in November and acts as if the US is the only decision maker in Iraq then he will face a renewed war. Iraqis will not accept the occupation continuing indefinitely and Iran will not allow itself to be marginalized. If McCain were to try to win a military victory in Iraq he could find the supposed achievements of ‘the Surge’ rapidly evaporating.

Patrick Cockburn is the Ihe author of “Muqtada: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq.” A version of this piece appeared in The National (http://www.thenational.ae), published in Abu Dhabi.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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The Ticking Iraqi Clock By John Bruhns

Civilians in Warfare (music video with artwork)

The Stealing Of America – The Unethics Of America’s New Undemocracy

Defeated in Iraq? By Mike Whitney

Baghdad: City of walls + Death, destruction & fear + Shabby, tired & scared

Iraq

U.S. Military Hoped for Virtually Unlimited Freedom of Action in Iraq

Dandelion Salad

06/20/08 “ICH
www.nsarchive.org

Posted – June 13, 2008
For more information contact:
Joyce Battle – (202) 994-7145

Drafting of U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement Began Nearly Five Years Ago

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 252

Washington D.C., June 13, 2008

Recently declassified documents show that the U.S. military has long sought an agreement with Baghdad that gives American forces virtually unfettered freedom of action, casting into doubt the Bush administration’s current claims that their demands are more limited in scope.  News reports have indicated that the Bush administration is exerting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to accept a U.S.-Iraq security plan by the end of July 2008.  According to these accounts, the plan would give the U.S. more than 50 military bases in Iraq, provide complete freedom of action to conduct military operations, allow complete freedom to arrest and detain Iraqis, and grant U.S. forces and contractors total immunity from Iraqi law.  Growing awareness of the implications of the pact have fueled opposition by the Iraqi public – to the extent that Prime Minister al-Maliki announced today that discussions had deadlocked.

Documents obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the U.S. started drafting the agreement in November 2003.  While information available in the heavily redacted copies that were provided does not specifically address such hot-button, present-day issues as the number and location of bases, or control of airspace, these preliminary planning documents show that from the outset U.S. aspirations for conducting military operations based in Iraq were essentially without limit.

The Bush administration had initially hoped to see the security pact accepted by an interim Iraqi Governing Council that it itself had appointed.  The documents outline a number of “red lines” that the Defense Department and the Central Command considered crucial during the early planning, including unlimited authority to conduct military operations; the “absolute” prerogative to detain, interrogate and intern Iraqis; the right to establish its own rules of engagement; complete freedom of movement entering, departing, and within Iraq; full immunity for U.S. forces and contractors; immunity from international tribunals; and exemption from inspections, taxes, and duties.

“When it developed its initial plans for a security pact, the U.S. wanted virtually unlimited freedom of action for its forces – including private contractors,” said Archive analyst Joyce Battle.  “In addition to freedom to wage military operations as it saw fit – and to arrest, detain, and interrogate Iraqis at will – U.S. demands even extended to priority use of public utilities.  This was after the invasion had led to the collapse of Iraq’s already fragile infrastructure and Iraqi civilians – old and young, healthy, sick, and disabled – were getting by with a few hours of electricity a day – if they were lucky.”

Looks Like San Remo All Over Again – The U.S. Status of Force Agreement for Iraq, 2008

Recently declassified documents show that the U.S. military has long sought an agreement with Baghdad that gives American forces virtually unfettered freedom of action in – and possibly around – Iraq. This new information appears to run counter to Bush administration claims that U.S. intentions have been more limited in scope.

According to recent news accounts, the Bush administration is exerting pressure on Iraq to accede to a military agreement – before a U.N. resolution authorizing the U.S. occupation lapses, and before the end of President Bush’s tenure – on terms highly favorable to the United States.  Information reported by Patrick Cockburn of the Independent indicates that the deal under discussion calls for:

  • Indefinite perpetuation of the U.S. military occupation of Iraq, whether a Republican or a Democrat is in the White House
  • More than 50 permanent U.S. bases in Iraq
  • U.S. carte blanche to conduct military operations and to arrest Iraqis and anyone else in Iraq without consulting the Iraqi government
  • Immunity from Iraqi law for U.S. forces and private contractors
  • Control of Iraq’s airspace below 29,000 feet
  • Unlimited freedom to pursue the “war on terror” through operations in Iraq. (Note 1)

…continued

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Patrick Cockburn: Who is Muqtada al-Sadr? (videos)

Dandelion Salad

operationmongoose

Patrick Cockburn describes his experiences in Iraq over nearly 30 years and describes the spiritual and militia leader, Sayyid Muqtada.

I apologize for the glitches in Segment 1, my miniDV cam is crap. Segments 2-6 should be fine.

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Cockburn talks about US holding Iraqi money hostage