April 6th, 2003


Latest rumblings from Iraq...

- Artillery duels going on in the west near the airport. Reporters claim that they have heard Iraqi multiple rocket launchers being fired towards the airport. These MRLs are capable of firing cluster and anti-tank munitions. Iraq claims that the US forces have been retreating when attacked by artillery, only to return afterwards.

- Jets are flying overhead Baghdad, providing combat air support near the airport to the west. There are also some sounds of combat or air strikes to the east of Baghdad.

- Iraq took reporters to an area just south of Baghdad, where they saw a knocked out American tank. Reuters and several other media sources have video of this. Iraq claimed to have knocked out others which they cannot show. Robert Fisk reports that one appears to have been knocked out near the airport.

- BBC is reporting that up to a dozen people died when a US warplane bombed a convoy carrying Kurdish fighters and US special forces.

- Looks like Arabs are getting angry because video is getting out there showing humiliating treatment of Iraqis. One interviewed Iraqi said "They are forcing our women to take off their clothes at the checkpoint". Another Iraqi was thrown to the ground, had his cigarrettes confiscated, and had his hands ziptied behind his back for no reason other than he was a male in his mid-40s.

- An interview with wounded US soldiers that is really depictive about the kind of difficulties they've been facing. Somehow, I don't suspect this interview will find its way into the Western press...

- US claiming that they killed "up to 3000 Iraqis" on their tank expedition through the city -- many of those killed were reportedly civilians who fought the invasion. I find this death toll claim both unlikely and nothing to brag about, especially after reading what one marine had to say.

"If we start taking a lot of fire, we will simply level the building area, we'll destroy it with indirect fire and air and tanks. Then we'll go in with ground forces. That's when you get civilians who choose not to leave, and they're going to die in the process."

And what if they have nowhere else to go? What if their whole city is a war zone? Liberation has apparently taken on a whole new meaning.

Music software craving...

Went out last night to Diskotech Nekromantika, which was quite fun... although one of the many DJs they had during the night cranked up the levels too high and played shite.

Soon, though, I saw something that made me completely drool... ( No, not the girl in the corset/thong / stockings ensemble. )

DJ Jester Pezz had this sweet mp3 DJing setup that I want, with Traktor running on a laptop that was plugged into a touch sensitive display he got from an old cash register.

Actually having the software laid out in front of you and controllable by touch is much more powerful from a DJ perspective than actually sitting down and using it more like an application. I could see myself getting back into deejaying if I had one of these... carting around vinyl and CDs sucks, but I would love having everything run from a laptop with 100+ gigs of mp3s.

The monitor size was perhaps a bit small, though -- about 12" or so for those cash register monitors. A 15" touch sensitive monitor that is angled up properly would be better and easier to use -- it would, in effect, give me bigger buttons to push and knobs to twiddle.

So, that begs the question as to where you would find such a monitor. I don't see them on Ebay. (nevermind... found them. ) Hrm.

A major battle raging through downtown Baghdad...

Reuters' webcast from Baghdad has gotten a whole lot more interesting really quickly. They're cutting in to their normally tranquil picture of Baghdad with lots of raw video footage coming out of the downtown. Very smoky city today -- you'd almost think they had a thick fog if you didn't know that temperatures are supposed to hit the upper nineties. Ever heard the expression "fog of war"? This is it.

Apparently, US troops and tanks are around one of the central palaces, presumably with the idea that if they occupy this area, they will demoralize resistance. Occupation does not necessarily equate to control, however.

Lots of chatter from reporters talking about what they're seeing. Wish they had some sound baffling on their generator so I could hear a bit better...

(note: some of this footage now available at http://reuters.feedroom.com )