March 25th, 2003

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Raw video and some Iraqi expatriots you probably haven't heard about...

Reuters Raw Video kicks ass, takes numbers. While CNN is restricting video to paid users, Reuters is showing feeds from foriegn news agencies free of charge across the 'net, without all the congestion that seems to be effecting just about every other news site.

They had a particularly surprising story that I hadn't heard of before...

Returning to Iraq to Fight
Iraq's consular office in Amman, Jordan has issued 1,200 temporary passports to exiled Iraqis requesting documents so that they can return to Iraq in order to fight the US. Frankly, I wouldn't have thought that Iraqi exiles would do this, but regardless of what they think of Saddam, Iraq is still their country... Scary. There's another article on this here... Jordanian records show that 5,284 Iraqis have crossed the desert border overland into Iraq since March 16, with 3,000 temporary passports issued to exiled Iraqis in just the last three days.

Saddam made a speech a few days ago inviting others from around the world to join in Iraq's defense. Makes you wonder whether Shi'ites from Iran will be joining in too.
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coalition casualties edging up, but not promptly reported...

So, what are the confirmed coalition military casualties in the war? At least 38 killed, approximately 12 missing or prisoners of war, and apparently in excess of 100 wounded in the conflict.

Although it's not getting much attention, rumors of US casuaties are starting to be confirmed on this webpage, with 18 listed so far. Only two of the 18 listed casualties are reported as having died in the past 72 hours, however, indicating a significant delay in reporting due in part to the need to contact the next of kin. In the past 72 hours, there have been reports of numerous US military casualties that have yet to be officially reported.

Britain, however, seems to be confirming casualties in a much more prompt manner than the US, usually within a day. This could be due to their method of reporting casualties -- they may be reporting soldiers who have died, but not revealing names until the next of kin are notified. According to this article, confirmed British casualties in the war are now at 20.
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Your weekly reminder...

Tonight, we're having yet another Tuesday night gathering at my house... featuring U.S. casual teas on a weekly basis!

As always, we also welcome those of other nations to join our coalition and share in our casual teas.. or merely to tease casually. If you need directions, please reply or email me ( insomnia at livejournal dot com!)

Not sure what I will play tonight... I'm feeling a bit gothy/alternative, but I will probably mix it up a bit. I wonder whose birthday it is?! It's Richard O'Brien's, Aretha Franklin's, Nick Lowe's, and Elton John's... who died today? Claude Debussy. There are a few suggestions, I guess..

Need. More. Aretha!
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Killing the messenger?!

Some very questionable things going on the information front of the war in Iraq... The US has changed the direction of the conflict, targetting television, telecommunication, and satellite communication facilities in Iraq.

The government and Pentagon has also coerced most broadcasters to pull coverage of captured US soldiers. An independent website was also taken down for mirroring pictures of the prisoners. Fortunately, it is now back up again on another host.

Meanwhile, al Jazeera, which just released an english version of its website, has been effectively knocked off the web by extremely organized and widespread DDOS attacks, it appears.

This is unfortunate, because if there is any organization that can determine for us whether there really is an uprising in Basra, it is al Jazeera, who have a camera crew there. However, there has yet to be any independent confirmation of a revolt. If there *is* a revolt, what is taking so long to get pictures of it released? Is al Jazeera dependent on the Iraqis for uplinks that just aren't there anymore?!

**Note: Al-Jazeera reporters in Basra report that there are no signs of unrest. Unless independent confirmation is available from a neutral party, it is quite possible that this is an attempt at disinformation aimed at making the citizens of Basra think a revolt is under way. **

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, little-known Abu Dhabi TV is making quite a name for itself, providing much of the coverage from inside Baghdad. Will they remain on the air, possibly also airing tapes provided by the Iraqi government, or will they become a target too, like al Jazeera was in Afghanistan?

The obvious reason for destroying Iraqi television (and presumably the people who run it) is to prevent Iraq from telling their side of the argument on the war... however, on March 19th, Reporters Sans Frontieres called on US authorities to "avoid targeting transmitters of Iraqi radio stations and Iraqi media offices .... Media property and equipment are civil property protected under international humanitarian law."

Until we know where the truth really lies, I am very much concerned that we will not have the information necessary to decide what the truth in Iraq really is -- and unfortunately, that appears to be the intent.