The Talk Show American

THE TALK SHOW AMERICAN: 06/17/2007 - 06/24/2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Iraq Operations Kill, Capture Scores of Terrorists

A series of anti-insurgent operations conducted across Iraq by U.S. and Iraqi troops in recent days has resulted in the killing or capture of scores of terrorists and the seizure of copious amounts of enemy ordnance, U.S. military officials reported.

Operation Commando Eagle, a joint operation geared toward curbing terrorist activity southwest of Baghdad, began today and is producing immediate results, officials said.

Commando Eagle features a mix of helicopter-borne air assaults and Humvee-mounted movements, included soldiers from several battalions of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Drum, N.Y., and the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division. The operation targeted a series of houses that local citizens indicated were being used by al Qaeda cells to intimidate them and launch attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces, officials said.

Troops of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, detained three men when their truck was found to contain documents requesting rockets as well as a spool of copper wire, commonly used to build improvised explosive devices. Iraqi soldiers found a cache containing four AK-47s, a 60 mm mortar tube with three rounds, an SKS rifle rigged with sniper optics, three bolt-action rifles, a camcorder with tapes, a roll of copper wire, 20 homemade grenades, four ski masks, 75 compact discs of propaganda, as well as instruction on how to commit kidnappings, shoot down coalition helicopters, and use IED-making materials.

Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, discovered multiple series of caches during Commando Eagle. The first cache complex contained five AK-47s with three magazines, a roll of IED wire and a shotgun. A second cache included seven AK-47s. The third complex included an anti-tank mine, an anti-personnel mine, two rocket-propelled grenade rounds, an RPG launcher and multiple pounds of TNT.

Meanwhile, Task Force 2-15 detained 16 individuals. Company A, 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, detained nine men and Troop B, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment detained four, all wanted for terrorist attacks or for possessing illegal weapons.

The caches were seized and disposed of. The individuals are being held for questioning. Commando Eagle was named after the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, known as the Commandos, and the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, called the Baghdad Eagles.

In other operations, coalition forces detained 11 suspected terrorists today and yesterday during operations targeting al Qaeda in Iraq.

Today, coalition forces raided five buildings east of Karmah, searching for an al Qaeda in Iraq emir suspected of attacks against U.S. forces and Iraqi infrastructure. The ground force captured three suspected terrorists, including an alleged subordinate of the al Qaeda emir. East of Fallujah, a raid targeting associates of al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders netted four suspected terrorists.

Also today, north of Baghdad, American troops detained two suspected terrorists for their association with a key member of the al Qaeda in Iraq network linked to several terrorist groups and vehicle-bomb attacks.

"Each operation we conduct provides additional information about the best way for us to attack al Qaeda and strike their networks," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "It's getting more difficult for them to hide."

Coalition troops also conducted two operations in Mosul yesterday that targeted al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders. Two suspects were detained for alleged involvement with a Kurdish extremist in the al Qaeda network and a terrorist emir of western Mosul.

Also today, U.S troops continue to press al Qaeda operatives as part of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, being conducted in and around Baqubah in Diyala province, officials reported.

Since Operation Arrowhead Ripper began June 19, at least 41 insurgents have been killed, five weapons caches have been discovered, 25 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed and five booby-trapped houses have been discovered and destroyed.

"Our combined forces have begun destroying al Qaeda operatives and their resources in and around Diyala province," said Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general for operations, Task Force Lightning and Multinational Division North. "The citizens of Diyala have already voiced their desires to rid this province and the country of al Qaeda and all those that wish to disrupt its progress."

Today, groups of Baqubah citizens stepped forward to provide valuable information on al Qaeda in the city. During overnight operations, Task Force Lightning engaged and killed at least 11 al Qaeda operatives while destroying three enemy safe houses with precision-guided munitions, and destroting a cache of 60 mm improvised explosive devices and six buried IEDs.

Ground forces also found a house booby-trapped with improvised explosive devices in the Khatoon neighborhood near Baqubah. The building was destroyed with a rocket from an air support helicopter. In another incident, soldiers from 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, observed four armed individuals digging on the side of the road and emplacing IEDs. Coalition-force air support engaged and killed all four terrorists.

"Our joint efforts, along with the citizens of Diyala, will continue to back these al Qaeda terrorists into a corner until they have no choice but end their attempts,"
said Bednarek. Some al Qaeda operatives have been captured or killed attempting to escape the city, as evidenced by six uninjured adult males caught attempting to evade a checkpoint in an Iraqi ambulance June 19.

Providing key support throughout the operation were helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. Aircraft from 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, have worked throughout the mission to move soldiers and equipment throughout Baqouba and the surrounding area. Providing air fire support were attack helicopters from the 1st Squadron, 82nd Air Reconnaissance Battalion.

Also today, Task Force Marne began its sixth day of offensive operations to clear extremist sanctuaries in the Arab Jabour area southeast of Baghdad. To date, Marne Torch and Iraqi Army units have detained more than five dozen suspected extremists and destroyed more than 17 boats on the Tigris River that are responsible for transporting accelerants into Baghdad.

Ground and air forces disrupted insurgent operations by capturing, seizing, and clearing caches that support instability in the area. American forces killed five insurgents, discovered and destroyed 12 improvised explosive devices, and detained 13 wanted individuals.

More than 2,500 U.S. and Iraqi military forces are participating in Marne Torch, an operation named for the historic British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II that took place in 1942. Members of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, continue to clear the area north of the Arab Jabour area and restrict movement of insurgents and bomb-making material into the area.

On June 19, a sizable enemy weapons cache was found in the Jisr Diyala area. The cache yielded 54 mortar rounds, two artillery rounds, 29 cell phones, 29 nine-volt battery connectors and more than 20 circuit boards - all commonly used in the manufacturing of improvised explosive devices. A total of 17 caches found throughout the Arab Jabour and Salman Pak area.

Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, continue to clear houses and set-up checkpoints around Arab Jabour to stop the flow of accelerants in and out of Baghdad. There have been 237 houses cleared since the start of Marne Torch.

In other Iraq news, U.S. soldiers with the 2nd Infantry Division's 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and the 1st Iraqi Army Division's 4th Brigade, recovered a weapons cache in eastern Baghdad yesterday. Responding to a tip, members of the U.S. 2nd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery, and Iraqi soldiers found five 107 mm rockets, three fuses and 23 rocket stands. Some of the rockets had been prepped for launch. The rockets were destroyed in place by an explosive ordnance disposal team.

"The find highlights the joint effort between U.S. and Iraqi forces to root out insurgents and clamp down on sectarian violence,"
said Army Maj. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the brigade.

In another Baghdad operation conducted yesterday U.S. soldiers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, positively identified two individuals placing an initiator at the end of a command wire on an IED. The U.S. soldiers opened fire, killing one insurgent and wounding another.

Later in the day, U.S. soldiers with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment discovered a 100-pound bag of homemade explosives with wires, and improvised rocket launchers.

Also yesterday, Iraqi special operations forces detained a key insurgent leader during an operation conducted in Baghdad's Sadr City sector. The detainee is allegedly responsible for coordinating and conducting kidnappings, death squad killings and improvised explosive device attacks against innocent civilians and Iraqi and coalition forces. The Iraqi forces also detained two other suspicious individuals.

In other Iraq news, coalition forces were engaging a booby-trapped house yesterday in the Khatoon area of Diyala province, when another structure was accidentally hit by an air-dropped bomb.

Soldiers from 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division were patrolling the Khatoon area when they discovered the bomb-rigged house. The soldiers cleared the area and attempted to destroy the house with a bomb. The bomb missed its intended target and struck another structure, away from the targeted house. Upon notification, the Joint Communications Center in Diyala, Iraq, immediately dispatched emergency medical services to the site of the accident. Reports indicate that 11 civilians were injured.

The originally targeted house was later engaged with a Hellfire missile, producing a large secondary explosion confirming the house as containing a large amount of explosives. The incident is under investigation.

In other Iraq news, five Iraqis were killed and six injured June 19 when a 122 mm rocket struck a building in the Al Mansour district of Baghdad. Both Iraqi and U.S. military forces responded to the scene of the attack. U.S. officials confirmed that the rocket was fired from north of the city, about 10 miles away. The 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, was the first American unit to arrive at the attack site.

Meanwhile, Iraqi forces broke up a suspected terrorist sniper cell in the Bayji area of northern Iraq on June 19. The Iraqi troops detained five individuals for further questioning. The Iraqis confiscated a sniper rifle, three AK-47 assault rifles, a 9mm pistol, associated ammunition as well as bomb-making materials.

Also, U.S. soldiers treated a sick Iraqi child in southern Baghdad June 19. Faisal, a 2-year-old boy living in Baghdad's Rashid district, was unresponsive with labored breathing when his mother brought him to a temporary checkpoint manned by soldiers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment "Tomahawks."

Faisal was taken to Forward Operating Base Falcon, where members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division medical staff were able to treat and stabilize him for further treatment at the U.S. military Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad's International Zone.

"He was a pretty sick kid,"
said Army medic Sgt. Tracey Lyons, who helped treat Faisal, who is expected to recover.

Army Capt. Wesley Theurer, a military physician, praised military care providers for reacting so quickly.

"The team did a real good job," Theurer said. "Everyone was concerned. To see someone so young in that kind of condition was something that pulled us all together."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

'Arrowhead Ripper' Highlights Iraq Operations

The beginning of a new offensive targeting al Qaeda in the Iraqi city of Baqubah highlights recent operations reported by military officials in Iraq.

Troops began Operation Arrowhead Ripper in Baqubah today, killing 22 insurgents in a large-scale effort to eliminate al Qaeda members. The 2nd Infantry Division's 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team launched the offensive with a quick-strike night air assault early this morning. By daylight, attack helicopters and ground forces had engaged and killed the enemy fighters in and around Baqubah.

"The end state is to destroy the al Qaeda influences in this province and eliminate their threat against the people," said Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general of operations for the 25th Infantry Division. "That is the No. 1, bottom-line, up-front, in-your-face task and purpose."

About 10,000 soldiers, with a full complement of attack helicopters, close-air support, Strykers and Bradley fighting vehicles, are taking part in Arrowhead Ripper, which is still in its opening stages. Elements of the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team from Fort Hood, Texas, the 2nd Infantry Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team from Fort Lewis, Wash., and the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, also are participating in the operation.

"One of the keys as we initiate combat actions and operations here is the newly formed Diyala Operations Center," Bednarek said. "It serves as an integration center that will coordinate all activities in Diyala (including) the police, the army and coalition forces from Task Force Lightning.

In a separate operation south of Baghdad today, coalition forces raided a series of buildings targeting associates of an al Qaeda emir in the area. As ground forces approached the buildings, a man ran out of the house and rushed toward coalition forces, ignoring the soldiers' translator's instructions to stop.

Coalition forces, reacting to the perceived hostile threat, shot and killed the man. Inside the building, coalition forces detained a suspected terrorist with alleged ties to the targeted emir, military officials said.

Additionally, coalition forces captured a suspected associate of senior al Qaeda leaders in the Iraqi capital today, and detained three suspects with alleged ties to terrorist leaders. Troops also found a small weapons cache.

In Anbar province, two separate coalition operations today netted six suspected terrorists associated with senior al Qaeda leaders, officials said. Troops nabbed three individuals south of Fallujah for their alleged involvement in planting improvised explosive devices and organizing terrorist groups in the area. Forces detained three suspects with alleged ties to terrorist leaders west of Tarmiyah.

During two operations in Mosul today, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists in raids targeting individuals involved in a terrorist cell responsible for hijacking and kidnapping operations, and financing terrorist activities.

"Our continued pressure on the leaders and operatives of the al Qaeda network is denying them breathing space in Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "The crumbling network has no place in the future of Iraq."

Soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army Division killed four extremist gunmen and detained two others during two engagements in Baqubah yesterday. In a separate engagement nearby, coalition attack helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and coalition ground forces identified four extremists operating in a wooded area. Attack helicopters engaged and killed the four extremists.

Coalition forces raided a building in Baghdad yesterday and captured a suspected terrorist linked to a car bomb network. The detainee allegedly obtains supplies and components for the car bomb network.

On June 17, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers detained six suspects at an alleged IED cell site near Abu Saida. While searching the area, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, detained the men allegedly responsible for recent attacks on civilians, Iraqi security forces and coalition forces in the area, officials said.

In the village of Duraiya the same day, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, detained five suspects and seized a rifle. The unit's mission, according to the battalion's leaders, was to disrupt key insurgent networks in the battalion's area of operation.

As a part of the Multinational Division Center's Operation Marne Torch, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, soldiers have begun aggressive operations to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries southeast of Baghdad. The battalion has conducted three air assault missions in the last 12 days to eliminate or deter destabilizing influences in the region.

"When the enemy chooses not to engage us, in the areas they consider sanctuaries, it shows us that the enemy fears us. It also shows the local population that we will protect them,"
said Army 1st Lt. Josh Powers, assistant operations officer for the regiment, which is assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Fort Benning, Ga.

In other news, troops seized multiple caches June 17 near Tuwaitha as part of a coalition force effort to eliminate insurgent sanctuaries southeast of the Iraqi capital.

Soldiers from Company D, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, who are currently attached to 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, detained four individuals. Two detainees told coalition forces the locations of multiple cache sites, which contained 29 cell phones, three AK-47 assault rifles, body armor and ammunition.

Michael Yon has this: Arrowhead Ripper: Surrender or Die

Talk Show America 6/25/2007

Forces Capture Terrorists, Discover Weapons

Coalition and Iraqi forces continued security operations throughout Iraq the past few days, killing about 37 extremists, capturing more than 100, and discovering numerous weapons caches, military officials reported.

Four insurgents have been killed and 62 detained at the start of Operation Marne Torch's fourth day today in southeastern Baghdad.

Ten caches have been seized, 17 boats destroyed, and five improvised explosive devices have been found.

The operation's purpose is to clear insurgents from safe havens. Phase 1 of Marne Torch began in mid-May and focused on intelligence gathering and shaping the conditions for offensive operations.

Marne Torch is named for the historic 1942 British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II. Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division fought alongside British comrades, and gave the Allies substantial beachheads in North Africa.

Task Force Lightning continued its offensive operation in and around the capital of Diyala province today as part of a powerful crackdown on al Qaeda terrorists operating in the area.

U.S. and Iraqi combined forces engaged and killed at least 30 al Qaeda operatives, and discovered four IEDs emplaced in houses and 10 buried IEDs during the first full day of Operation Arrowhead Ripper.

"These criminals will know no safe place to hide in Diyala," said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general for operations, Task Force Lightning and Multinational Division North. "The people of Diyala are tired of the terror and violence these al Qaeda thugs have brought to their province and are cooperating with us in order to root them out."

As the soldiers moved through Baqubah and the surrounding areas, they discovered at least two weapons caches containing assault weapons, grenades, rocket launchers, large- and small-caliber ammunition and explosives. Ground forces also coordinated a precision guided munitions strike to destroy a known al Qaeda weapons cache located inside a safe house, and reported a large secondary explosion due to the munitions the terrorists stored inside.

In another incident, soldiers from Alpha Troop, 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, observed and engaged armed individuals emplacing an IED near Zaganiyah village, along the Diyala River valley.

The gunmen returned fire, but the soldiers, using direct and indirect fire, killed both of the armed IED emplacers.

About 10,000 soldiers throughout Diyala province are participating in and supporting Operation Arrowhead Ripper, which was launched by Task Force Lightning to eliminate al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists. Included in this operation are more than 1,000 Iraqi army soldiers and a comparable number of Iraqi police.

In other operations, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers discovered and destroyed an explosively-formed penetrator factory and suspected torture house in southern Baghdad yesterday. EFPs are an advanced form of IED capable of penetrating armor.

While searching abandoned buildings in the western Rashid district, soldiers of Company A, 1st Battalion 38th Infantry Regiment, found six EFPs, 24 sticks of C4 plastic explosive, a pipe bomb and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

A house nearby was also searched, and soldiers found an 105 mm artillery round with a satchel charge attached and duct tape coated with blood and hair. After inspecting the houses, soldiers found materials believed to aid in camouflaging roadside bombs.

An explosive ordnance disposal unit arrived on the scene and detonated the cache. However, the resulting explosion was larger than expected and collapsed a nearby home. Soldiers searched the rubble for any possible trapped civilians. One female civilian was found dead.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the family of the deceased," said Army Maj. Kirk Luedeke, spokesperson and public affairs officer for the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. "This unfortunate event is something we are investigating and will take precautionary measures to prevent from happening again."

Earlier in the day, coalition aircraft dropped six bombs on the palm grove along the Tigris River in the eastern portion of the Rashid district, targeting an infiltration route and possible cache storage site for al Qaeda operating in an area that has been used to conduct indirect fire attacks against the International Zone and coalition outposts.

In other developments, a suicide truck bomb detonated in Baghdad's Rusafa district yesterday, killing 35 Iraqis and wounding 65 others.

The device detonated at about 2:15 p.m. near the Al Husan Bin Ali Mosque in Rusafa's Jumhuriyah neighborhood. Reports indicate the truck was filled with propane tanks, and that the driver attempted to jump the curb near the mosque median and subsequently got stuck.

The driver then detonated the truck's explosive payload. The blast caused damage to the southeastern outer wall of the mosque.

Coalition forces were in the area and responded immediately following the blast. The more seriously wounded were transported to a local hospital for treatment; the less seriously wounded were treated by U.S. and Iraqi security forces at the scene. Iraqi firefighters arrived to battle the fire, which erupted from the blast site and had spread through the street.

Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachutist Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, along with the 118th Military Police Company and Iraqi security forces, responded to the blasts and sealed off the areas.

Coalition forces confirmed casualty figures with officials at the local hospital. The attack is under investigation.

Elsewhere, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers captured a suspected member of an alleged bomb-making cell in Sab al Bor, Iraq, yesterday.

Soldiers from Battery C, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery, attached to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, captured the suspect using information from intelligence sources. In all, the unit detained 14 suspects for questioning during the operation.

The raid was part of a large-scale, sector-wide initiative to eliminate threats to coalition and Iraqi security forces, and to curb violence in the area north of the Iraqi capital.

In an attempt to rescue severely injured Iraqi police forces, Iraqi security forces battled extremists, killing more than three and detaining 45 in Nasiriyah June 18 and yesterday.

With coalition forces present as advisors, Iraqi security forces rushed to a neighborhood in Nasiriyah to recover wounded personnel from an earlier firefight.

As they arrived to the police checkpoint, Iraqi and coalition forces received enemy fire from multiple directions. With well-aimed fire, Iraqi forces killed more than three insurgents, one of whom is a suspected highly ranked rogue militia commander.

Throughout the operation, extremists fired on Iraqi and coalition forces from a rooftop across the street. Coalition forces called for an air strike and suppressed the extremists. No local Iraqi civilians were injured during the air strike.

During the operation, Iraqi security forces received hostile fire and suffered 30 casualties.

In other developments, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted a cordon-and-search operation in the Adhamiyah district June 18, resulting in the capture of three suspects caught with materials used in the manufacture of car bombs. A fourth suspect was also detained during the operation.

"Operation Castine" was conducted by soldiers from the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, and soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division.

The operation began before sunrise, when U.S. and Iraqi forces made a tactical foot movement from Coalition Outpost Apache into the Safina neighborhood of Adhamiyah. For the next five hours, soldiers moved up and down the narrow city streets, searching hundreds of homes looking for illegal weapons and other contraband.

In other news, Iraqi national police repelled an attack on their outpost by unknown gunmen in Samarra June 18.

More than 2,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen moved into Samarra to provide additional security for its citizens following the recent attack on the Askira Mosque June 13.

Iraqi police were occupying and conducting patrols about two miles from the Askira Mosque when gunmen attacked with small-arms fire and a suicide car bomb. The police defended their outpost, returning fire from a nearby checkpoint and repelling the attack with minimal casualties.

"This demonstrates total lack of respect for the Askira Mosque in light of its recent attack," said Col. Bryan Owens, commander, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. "The policemen injured were dedicated to protecting the mosque from any future attacks."

The car bomb damaged the outside of a school and other buildings in the immediate area. There was no damage to the Askira Mosque.

Two Iraqi policemen injured in the attack were transported to a coalition forces' medical facility for treatment.

Continued Iraq Progress for Months Ahead

Iraqi and coalition forces anticipate a summer of hard fighting, but are confident there is a good prospect for continued progress in the months ahead, a senior military official said during a Baghdad news conference today.

"Hopefully this can be matched by progress in the political and economic areas in Iraq and again give us hope for the way ahead,"
said Navy Rear Adm. Mark Fox, Multinational Force Iraq communications division chief, during the first news conference held for local media since the mosque bombing in Samarra June 13.

Fox told reporters that all requested forces for the surge of five U.S. brigades are now in the area and have simultaneously conducted coordinated, corps-level offensive operations throughout Iraq.

"Coalition forces are strong and focused, and are concentrating our effort and might against the extremists,"
he said. Troops are taking the fight to the terrorists, going after them to deny sanctuary, and taking back neighborhoods to build a secure future for the Iraqi people, Fox said.

"Together with our Iraqi colleagues, we are pursuing the extremists and maintaining the initiative,"
he said.

Operation Arrowhead Ripper was launched with a quick night air assault yesterday in Baqubah by the 2nd Infantry Division's 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in an effort to pressure al Qaeda terrorists operating in northern Iraq.

Fox said nearly 10,000 soldiers, a full complement of attack helicopters and numerous Stryker and Bradley fighting vehicles are being used in conjunction with intensive close-air support throughout the ongoing operation.

Troops in central Iraq are simultaneously conducting Operation Marne Torch in a major operational offensive to prevent insurgents from entering the southern Baghdad belt. Their mission is to deny the enemy sanctuary by preventing terrorist elements from moving bomb parts and materials into Baghdad, the admiral said.

"Iraqi and coalition forces are conducting carefully planned and executed operations demonstrating their resolve to deny terrorists safe havens and will continue to pursue these terrorists wherever they go," Fox said, "not simply pushing (al Qaeda in Iraq) or the extremists into other areas, but attacking their networks and damaging their ability to wage horrific and calculated violence against the citizens of Iraq."

Fox expressed his sympathies for the victims and families of yesterday's attack of the Khillani mosque in Baghdad. A truck loaded with 50 canisters of gas and half a ton of TNT exploded outside the Shiite mosque, resulting in extensive damage to a wall of the sacred site and killing and wounding innocent Iraqi civilians.

"We know the enemy will attempt to disrupt our efforts, as evidenced by yesterday's horrific attack in Baghdad," Fox said. "We share the outrage of the Iraqi people against this despicable attack."

The admiral praised the efforts of the Iraqi government in effectively taking control of the situation following last week's attack on the twin minarets of the Samarra mosque. He said the quick reaction prevented a repeat of the sectarian violence that erupted following the February 2006 attack at the same holy site.

"From weapons caches to foiled bridge and checkpoint bombings to tips we receive from tribes and citizens, we are on the offensive to dismantle these cell and networks," he said. "This will be a tough fight and one with challenges and hurdles, but our forces are on the offensive, and we are attacking the enemy."

Taliban, al Qaeda Losing Influence in Afghanistan

Afghanistan's citizens are rejecting the dark vision offered by Taliban and al Qaeda extremists and are embracing their central government, senior U.S. and Afghan military officers said today.

"The people of Afghanistan are now getting the opportunity to decide what they want,"
said Army Col. Martin P. Schweitzer, commander of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division's 4th Brigade Combat Team, which is partnering with Afghan forces in the country's southeastern region.

The Taliban, the radical Islamic group that was forced from power in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in late 2001 and early 2002, has since conducted a guerrilla war against the democratic Afghan government and its coalition partners.

Yet today, the Taliban and their al Qaeda allies are finding it increasingly difficult to coerce Afghans to support them, Schweitzer said, noting the two terror groups routinely employ threats against the Afghan population to advance their agenda.

The Afghans "are tired of the oppression, are tired of having their kids not being allowed to go to school, tired of their kids not being able to get medical treatment and tired of a way of life that is only threats,"
Schweitzer said from Afghanistan during a teleconference with Pentagon reporters.

Winning over the Afghan people is the key to victory over the terrorists, Schweitzer pointed out. And a vital component of that strategy is putting an Afghan "face" on counterinsurgency operations, the colonel said.

"We're trying to get the people of Afghanistan in the small villages and communities to no longer fall under the oppression of the Taliban and start working (with) and looking to their government for a better way of life," Schweitzer explained. "Initially, we were doing this with a heavy coalition presence."

However, in the past two years, Afghan troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Abdul Khaliq have increasingly taken the lead in anti-insurgent operations in southeastern Afghanistan and interfaced with Afghans living in remote areas, who'd previously been prime recruiting targets for the extremists. Khaliq is the commander of the 203rd Afghan Army Corps.

"Now, you're seeing the Afghan National Army down in those communities,"
Schweitzer said, noting its influence among the villagers has had a devastating effect on the Taliban's recruiting efforts.

A year ago, about 19 of the 83 districts within Schweitzer's area of operations supported the Afghan central government, the colonel said. Today, 60 of those districts support the Afghan government, he said.

Those districts that support the government and reject the extremists no longer accept recruitment of their children into the Taliban, Schweitzer pointed out.

"There's no better barometer than that, which indicates that these communities in these villages are looking toward their government now, versus the Taliban,"
the colonel said.

Schweitzer saluted Khaliq's leadership, noting the presence of Afghan soldiers has greatly assisted in diminishing the Taliban's influence among the local population.

"It is impressive that when we go into these villages they ask for the Afghan National Army and they're not asking for the coalition," the colonel said. "We think the right strategy is to have the Afghans develop the plan, apply the solution (toward) a better way of life for their communities."

And the terrorists' indiscriminate bombings that kill innocent people haven't garnered any friends among the Afghan population, Schweitzer pointed out.

"The Afghan people do not appreciate that particular (terrorist) approach," the colonel said. "They don't like it, they don't want to be a part of it, and they want more Afghan National Army forces on the ground securing their communities."

Schweitzer likened occasional reports of extremists taking over remote village centers as "grab and run" operations that quickly end when Afghan or coalition forces arrive to re-establish order.

Khaliq, who accompanied Schweitzer at the news conference, noted there are enough Afghan troops to secure his area, although he acknowledged the coalition is now providing much appreciated air strike and logistical support.

The Taliban continue to hang on, Khaliq said, because "they're not alone." The Taliban extremists, he explained, are connected to the al Qaeda terror network, and they're receiving money and other kinds of support from outside of Afghanistan.

Yet, the Afghan people don't want the Taliban's "dark policy," the general asserted.

"The people are hating (the Taliban),"
Khaliq said, adding he's confident that the Taliban and al Qaeda will eventually be defeated as Afghan security forces grow in size and capability.

Although things are looking up in Afghanistan, more work still needs to be done, Schweitzer said.

"Is it going to take time? Absolutely, it's going to take time," Schweitzer said. "We're changing 10 to 15 years of oppression and 30 years of war in the minds of the villagers and communities."

Talk Show America 6/21/2007

China Surpasses U.S. as World's Leading CO2 Emitter

China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, figures released today show.

The surprising announcement will increase anxiety about China's growing role in driving man-made global warming and will pile pressure onto world politicians to agree a new global agreement on climate change that includes the booming Chinese economy. China's emissions had not been expected to overtake those from the US, formerly the world's biggest polluter, for several years, although some reports predicted it could happen as early as next year.

But according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, soaring demand for coal to generate electricity and a surge in cement production have helped to push China's recorded emissions for 2006 beyond those from the US already. It says China produced 6,200m tonnes of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tonnes from the US. Britain produced about 600m tonnes.

The announcement comes as international negotiations to produce a new climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012 are delicately poised. The US refused to ratify Kyoto partly because it made no demands on China, and one major sticking point of the new negotiations has been finding a way to include both nations, as well as other rapidly developing economies such as India and Brazil.

Talk Show America 6/21/2007

Main Stream News Media Reporting Positive Iraq Stories ?

NBC anchor Brian Williams, on Tuesday's Daily Show, recognized that there are "tremendous local victories" in Iraq, but told Jon Stewart the constant suicide bombings killing scores of civilians leave him unable to answer the question: "How's the war going?"

Asked by Stewart about his March trip to Iraq, Williams offered a colorful
detail about pleadings from Iraqi women as he answered:
"We go to Ramadi and Iraqi women, unprompted, didn't know who I was, come up and say in Arabic to the American commander, 'please don't ever leave us. Don't leave this town.' They've gone block by block talking to the Imans, making the town safe."

CBS's Lara Logan performed a rare act:

Reporting a story of humanitarian heroism among U.S. soldiers.
Both Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's Early Show ran an extensive story on some members of the 82nd Airborne rescuing neglected Iraqi orphans.

The soldiers discovered malnourished children living in extremely unsanitary conditions. Logan then played soundbites of several U.S. soldiers describing the horrific conditions and even gave a human face to those serving their country. Captain Jim Cook noted he "got a little angry" and Logan reported the children are now being cared for at another facility.

At the end of the report, CBS even ran footage of soldiers playing with and nurturing the children.

See This Also: U.S., Iraqi Troops Rescue Malnourished Boys From Baghdad Orphanage

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

War on Terror: Giuliani and McCain Get Higher Ratings than Dem Candidates

Rudy Giuliani, Mayor of New York on 9/11, and Senator John McCain, Vietnam War hero, are both seen as more likely to do well fighting the war on terror than Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards.

These are some of the results of a Harris Poll of 2,372 adults surveyed online between June 5 and 11, 2007 by Harris Interactive(r).

Key findings in this Harris Poll include:

* President Bush's ratings on handling the war on terror are lower among younger people (77% negative among Echo Boomers - those ages 18 to 31) than among GenXers (those 31 to 42; 67% negative), Baby Boomers (those 43 to 61; 69% negative) or Matures (those 62 and older; 67% negative);

* President Bush's numbers are also worse among African Americans (88% negative) and Hispanics (80% negative) than among Whites (65% negative);

* The President's negative ratings are predictably much worse among Democrats (93%) and Independents (76%) than among Republicans (only 37%);

* Rudy Giuliani (45% positive, 35% negative) and John McCain (42% positive, 35% negative) are the only two of the leading Republican or Democratic candidates who have positive ratings over 34 percent on how they would do fighting the war on terror;

* Hillary Clinton (34% positive, 51% negative) and Barack Obama (34% positive, 42% negative) are clearly vulnerable on this issue. John Edwards (29% positive, 47% negative) is even more vulnerable;

* The two other leading Republicans, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney, are perceived very differently on this issue, although over 40 percent are not sure about either of them. Thompson's positive (28%) and negative (27%) ratings are virtually identical. Romney's are much worse (19% positive, 39% negative).

Talk Show America 6/20/2007

Poll: Thompson 28% Giuliani 27%

There's change at the top in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson earning support from 28% of Likely Republican Primary Voters. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani attracts support from 27%. While Thompson's one-point edge is statistically insignificant, it is the first time all year that anybody but Giuliani has been on top in Rasmussen Reports polling. A week ago, Thompson and Giuliani were tied at 24%.

It remains an open question as to how Thompson will hold up once he actually enters the campaign and has to compete directly with other candidates. To date, he retains the allure of the new kid in town while GOP voters already know the things they don't like about the others. Still, Thompson's rise to the top provides a telling measure of how the other GOP hopefuls have failed to capture the imagination of the party they hope to lead.

Once gain this week, Arizona Senator John McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are tied for a distant third. This week, both men attract 10% support. Last week, they were both at the 11% level of support. For McCain, this is a continuation of a downward trend. For Romney, it reflects a fairly steady position. Romney is doing well in selected state polls but has been unable to gain much traction and expand his support nationwide.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kansas Senator Sam Brownback are each the top choice for 2% of the likely voters.

The combined total for five other candidates in the race is just under 3%. Those candidates are Congressman Ron Paul, Congressman Tom Tancredo, former Governor Tommy Thompson, Congressman Duncan Hunter, and former Governor Jim Gilmore. Eighteen percent (18%) say they're not sure how they will vote.

This is the first Rasmussen Reports poll to exclude former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as a candidate. Gingrich earned 7% support in last week's polling but has recently made statements indicating he is not likely to enter the 2008 race as candidate.

Giuliani remains the most well-liked candidate in either party. He is viewed favorably by 82% of Republicans nationwide and unfavorably by 15%. Thompson, not as well known, is the only other candidate with so few Republicans holding an unfavorable opinion of him. The actor turned Senator turned actor again is viewed favorably by 59% of Republicans and unfavorably by 14%.

Among Republicans, Romney and McCain both have lower favorables and higher unfavorables than the frontrunners. For Romney, those GOP numbers are 56% favorable and 28% unfavorable. McCain, among the nation's best known political figures, is viewed favorably by 55% of Republicans and unfavorably by 40%.

While Giuliani is well liked, only 21% of Republicans view him as politically conservative. Twice as many, 42%, believe that Thompson is politically conservative.

Rasmussen Reports releases updated polling data on the Republican nominating contest every Tuesday. Results for the Democrats are updated on Mondays. The current survey is based upon national telephone interviews with 618 Likely Republican Primary Voters conducted June 11-14, 2007. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. The Rasmussen Reports sample includes not only Republicans, but also independents who say they are likely to vote in a Republican Primary.

In some states, independent voters are allowed to participate in Republican primaries. In others, only Republicans can participate. Among Republicans only in the current poll, it's Thompson 29% Giuliani 24% Romney 11% and McCain 10%.

McCain's recent decline in the polls has been tied closely to his support for the unpopular immigration reform bill. A Rasmussen Reports analysis of what happened to the McCain campaign noted that the man once considered a maverick is now the candidate most closely aligned with President Bush on two hot-button issues-the War in Iraq and immigration. That linkage is problematic when just 27% of voters nationwide say the President is doing a good or excellent job handling the situation in Iraq and only 15% give him favorable reviews on the immigration issue.

Talk Show America 6/20/2007

Songwriter Donates 20,000 "American Hero" CDs to Troops.

Patriotic song of gratitude and recognition to be distributed to our troops in the field through AdoptaPlatoon organization. Songwriter now to raise funds for wounded vets.

Ocala FL – Songwriter Bonnie W. Daniels announces a donation of 20,000 patriotic CDs to American soldiers deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. The CDs contain a special song of gratitude and recognition, titled "American Hero", and will be distributed in cooperation with AdoptaPlatoon organization. This tribute, written in 2003 by Bonnie, was recently recorded by studio musicians in Nashville, Tennessee, and is prefaced by a brief introduction to the song and a “thank you” to our soldiers.

Early reaction to this "soldiers only" version of "American Hero" has been overwhelming. Most responses to hearing the intro and song are a combination of teary eyes, choked-up voices, and comments like "all of our troops need to hear this - now!"

Among their many morale-boosting programs on behalf of soldiers, AAP prepares and sends "care-packages" to troops located around the world. AAP Director, Ida Hägg, states,
"We will gladly accept and send these 20,000 CDs to our soldiers - we support over 150,000 soldiers so we will accept all you can send us". She continues, "Bonnie's beautiful song will be a blessing to every soldier who has the opportunity to listen to it".

Patriotic Americans can help! - Bonnie knows that her donation of 20,000 "American Hero" CDs is just a small part of Americans saying, "thank you." She has received a very positive response to "American Hero" and many people have asked to purchase a copy of her song. Until now Bonnie has not sold copies of "American Hero".
Now she wants to do more. Bonnie wants to use her song to spearhead a campaign to raise funds for wounded soldiers. These funds will be used to provide help to our troops as they return home and face life-altering challenges as a result of serious wounds received while serving their country. Her hope is that she can provide uplifting, inspirational, and entertaining music to the public, but - even more importantly, also raise enough funds to make a significant difference for our brave men and women. As a matter of fact, Bonnie is hoping to raise $1 million dollars to donate to this cause. She knows it will be a daunting challenge but she will try to accomplish this goal with help from patriotic Americans.
Bonnie plans a public release of a 12-song CD, titled "No Fear", by early April, 2007. The lead song on the CD will be "American Hero". It will also contain ten Gospel/Christian songs of faith and courage and a second patriotic song - all written by Bonnie. All songs on the album have been recorded and produced in Miami, Nashville, or Ocala, and feature various dynamic studio artists. Bonnie will donate a large portion of the proceeds, from the sale of each CD, to a wounded veteran support organization that will be chosen and announced soon.

The "No Fear" CD is available now for advance purchase on Shipments are scheduled to begin in early April. More information about songwriter Bonnie W. Daniels can be found at Information about AdoptaPlatoon is available at

The Coalition to Salute America's Heroes. (

Brian Hansen
Phone: 352-687-0333

Talk Show America 6/20/2007

Troops in Iraq Kill, Detain Scores of Insurgents, Find Iranian Rockets

Coalition forces killed 21 insurgents, detained 31 and wounded six others in Iraq over the past three days, military officials said. Meanwhile, troops there discovered six Iranian-made rockets.

Coalition forces killed at least 20 terrorists, wounded six others and detained a suspect during operations this morning targeting secret cells operating in the Maysan province of eastern Iraq.

The detained individual is an alleged member of the secret cell terrorist network known for transporting weapons and explosively formed penetrators -- a particularly deadly, armor-piercing form of roadside bombs -- from Iran to Iraq, military officials said. The group also is responsible for bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.

In coordination with the Iraqi government, coalition forces conducted raids in Amarah and Majjar al-Kabir, where coalition troops came under heavy small-arms fire and rocket-propelled-grenade attacks.

Ground forces retaliated with close-air support to suppress the enemy fire, killing at least 20 terrorists. Military officials said the strafing wounded six suspected terrorists. Coalition fire also destroyed a vehicle being used by the terrorists as a fighting position.

"Terrorists learned this morning that there is no safe haven in Iraq," said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Coalition forces will seek out and find terrorists anywhere and everywhere in Iraq."

Iraqi police detained four insurgents as they attempted to plant an improvised explosive device early this morning near Tikrit. U.S. surveillance helicopters from the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade engaged and wounded the four individuals after observing them carry and place materials into a hole. They are being treated for their wounds and have been detained for further questioning by local Iraqi security forces.

During operations today and yesterday to disrupt the al Qaeda car-bomb network in Baghdad, coalition forces detained 11 suspected terrorists.

Troops netted four suspected terrorists allegedly involved with the car-bomb cell this morning in southern Baghdad, military officials said. They captured another individual with suspected ties to a smuggling ring known for bringing bomb-making materials into Iraq.

In a raid in Baghdad and Haditha yesterday, coalition forces detained six suspected terrorists whose network supports Syria-based extremists and provides suicide bombers, vehicles and explosives for the cell.

"Disrupting the bombing network in Baghdad is a high priority for us, and we will continue to target the cells' leaders and members,"
Garver said.

Yesterday, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment supporting Operation Marne Torch, detained five individuals while conducting a company-sized operation in the city of Duraiya. The purpose of the mission was to disrupt key insurgent networks from freedom of maneuver in the battalion's area of operation, military officials said.

To prevent insurgents from entering southern Baghdad, fixed-wing aircraft dropped four precision-guided bombs on targeted sites June 16, beginning the major Marne Torch offensive. The aircraft supported about 1,200 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, soldiers focused on the security belts surrounding Baghdad.
The brigade's efforts are part of the larger operation recently announced by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, Multinational Force Iraq commander.

Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers and aviation assets discovered six rockets in a schoolyard yesterday in Baghdad's Rashid district, military officials said. While aircrews from 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment investigated an area suspected as the point of origin for rocket fire against Baghdad's International Zone, they spotted suspicious looking objects in a school yard.

Soldiers from Company A, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, assigned to 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, arrived 30 minutes later and found six Iranian-made 107 mm rockets. An explosive ordnance disposal unit later disposed of the munitions.

"Great teamwork and cooperation between vigilant Army aviators and our soldiers prevented those rockets from being used against the people of Rashid and the forces securing the district,"
said U.S. Army Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, the 4th Brigade Combat Team commander.

In other news from Iraq, Soldiers from Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment on a mounted patrol in Baghdad's Adhamiyah District on June 16 received small-arms fire from a small group of ski mask-wearing insurgents on a rooftop. Soldiers returned fire, and the insurgents fled. A wild chase through the city streets followed as the soldiers attempted to cut off the insurgents' escape route, U.S. officials said.

During the ensuing 20-minute battle, coalition forces killed one insurgent and nabbed three others.

Military officials reported today that Iraqi security forces detained four suspected terrorists yesterday believed to have information regarding the June 13 Askari Mosque bombing in Samarra. Acting on previous intelligence, forces raided the target building and detained the four individuals believed to be linked to the recent bombing and other criminal activity in Samarra, officials said.

Iraqi forces also seized several propaganda documents, a compact disc showing attacks against coalition forces, several cell phones, 10 feet of detonation cord, 81 blasting caps, identification cards for access to the mosque, and photos depicting terrorist training.

Talk Show America 6/19/2007

Iraqi, Coalition Forces Detain 52 Suspects, Kill 29

In operations throughout Iraq the past several days, Iraqi and coalition forces killed 29 insurgents, detained 52 suspects, and found various bomb-making material and ammunition, military officials reported.

Coalition forces killed 10 terrorists, detained 20 suspected terrorists and uncovered enemy weapons and bomb-making materials during operations targeting the al Qaeda in Iraq network yesterday and today.

Coalition forces captured two suspected terrorists during a raid in Baghdad yesterday targeting al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders in the city. One of the detainees is allegedly a senior leader in the area who oversees al Qaeda in Iraq operations and supervised several individuals detained in successful coalition operations over the past week.

This morning, coalition forces targeted several buildings near Karmah that intelligence reports indicated were associated with a Libyan foreign fighter involved in suicide bombing operations. As coalition forces approached the first building, seven armed terrorists engaged the ground force with small-arms fire. Coalition forces, responding in self-defense, engaged the seven armed men, killing six and wounding one. The wounded terrorist fled the scene.

Coalition forces caught the wounded terrorist and two other suspected terrorists as they moved from the first building into the second. The wounded individual was taken to a military medical facility for treatment and the two suspected terrorists were detained.

During a search of the area, coalition forces found improvised explosive device-making materials, weapons, and a vehicle containing a heavy machine gun and hand grenades. Coalition forces safely destroyed the IED materials, vehicle and weapons on site and detained another seven suspected terrorists for their involvement with foreign fighters and al Qaeda in Iraq suicide bombing operations.

During another raid today in Anbar province, coalition forces targeted associates of an al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader. As the ground force arrived at the buildings near Zaydon, they awakened three men outside the building. One man drew a pistol while the other two reached for weapons. Coalition forces responded to the hostile threat and engaged the armed men with small arms fire, killing them.

Another armed man nearby moved into a tactical position against the ground force, and coalition forces, perceiving a hostile threat, engaged the armed man, killing him.

Inside the targeted buildings, coalition forces detained two suspected terrorists allegedly involved with the al Qaeda in Iraq senior leader network. The ground force also discovered a truck rigged with wires and other indications of car bombs. An explosives team safely destroyed the car bomb on site.

In Mosul today, coalition forces continued to assault the city's terrorist network, capturing a suspected smuggler and four other suspected terrorists involved in IED attacks. Intelligence reports indicate the alleged smuggler operated a taxi and transported terrorist operatives, weapons, funds and letters between Iraq and Syria. He is also suspected of involvement in the murder of a female worker at Badush prison in January.

"We are relentlessly attacking the al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and networks that seek to derail progress in the country," said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, Multinational Force Iraq spokesman. "Terrorists have no place in the future of Iraq."

Coalition forces killed four terrorists and detained 20 suspected terrorists during operations around the country to disrupt the al Qaeda in Iraq network yesterday.

Coalition forces launched an operation to capture associates of al Qaeda in Iraq senior leadership east of Fallujah. As they approached the two targeted buildings, three armed terrorists maneuvered into tactical positions against the ground force. Coalition forces, reacting to the hostile threat, engaged the terrorists, killing all three.

Within the buildings, the ground force found several military-style ammunition vests and grenades. Five suspected terrorists were detained for their alleged ties to al Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders.

In another operation in Anbar province, coalition forces detained an individual suspected of making and transporting false documentation for al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and operatives. Coalition forces also found identification-making equipment in the suspect's house.

In Mosul, coalition forces killed one terrorist and wounded another armed man during an operation targeting terrorist leaders. As the ground force approached the objective, the two armed men engaged the ground force with small-arms fire. Coalition forces, reacting in self-defense, returned fire, killing one terrorist and wounding the other. The wounded man was taken to a military medical facility for treatment. One suspected terrorist was detained on scene for his alleged ties to a newly appointed al Qaeda leader.

Two other operations in Mosul netted four detainees who allegedly finance al Qaeda operations in the area. Intelligence reports indicate three suspects are heavily involved in a network that conducts kidnappings and hijackings to raise money for terrorist activities.

In Baghdad, coalition forces detained eight suspected terrorists for their connection to al Qaeda senior leaders and the Baghdad car bomb network. On site, coalition forces also destroyed one vehicle known to transport personnel and explosives for terrorist activities.

"We continue to assault al Qaeda in Iraq leaders and their associates," Garver said. "Systematically and methodically, their network is crumbling and their manpower pool is dwindling."

Elsewhere, attack helicopters engaged and destroyed insurgents attempting to emplace an IED near Muqdadiyah yesterday.

The attack helicopters from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, observed four insurgents carry a propane tank and begin digging on the side of the road. Two additional insurgents parked a vehicle between the road and the four people digging to obscure the IED emplacement.

Attack helicopters, armed with hellfire missiles, engaged and killed all six insurgents and destroyed the vehicle. Coalition ground forces secured the area and recovered the IED.

In other developments, Iraqi security forces conducted an early morning raid June 15 and detained a suspected terrorist cell leader who is allegedly responsible for attacks against Iraqi and coalition forces in the Baji area. Working on tips from local Iraqi citizens, Iraqi forces raided the target building and detained the suspected terrorist leader without incident. One other suspected person was also detained during the operation. Iraqi forces also seized a computer, several radio and electronic components, six identification cards, two cell phones, and a portable storage device.

An Iraqi citizen tip led coalition forces to two wanted insurgent cell leaders and nine other suspected insurgents, who were captured during operations June 15, near the village of Hawijah, 40 miles southwest of the city of Kirkuk.

The two men wanted for coordinating attacks against coalition and Iraqi security forces and aiding al Qaeda in Iraq were captured by soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

In another operation, Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers confiscated several weapons caches and defeated insurgent attacks in southern Baghdad June 15 and yesterday.

Troops from the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment "Tomahawks," attached to the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, operating in East Rashid, seized several caches containing two PKC machineguns, one RPK light machinegun, 11 AK-47s, four RPG launchers, one SVD sniper rifle, 1,500 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition and other bomb-making materials. The soldiers are continuing clearing operations in Dora that began in late May.

In West Rashid, several complex attacks on U.S. forces by extremists were defeated.

Troops from the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment "Vanguards" killed five insurgents after being engaged with small-arms and RPG fire in two separate attacks June 14 and 15.

"We will continue our efforts on behalf of the Iraqi people here," said Col. Ricky D. Gibbs, commander of the 4th "Dragon" Brigade Combat Team. "Our soldiers will not be deterred in their mission to provide security and stability to the district."

Coalition forces attack helicopters, supporting Iraqi army soldiers who were engaged by insurgents, killed four insurgents and wounded three during joint operations with the Iraqi army south of Baghdad June 15.

The insurgents fired on the helicopters as they approached and continued firing as they ran into a nearby structure. One of the AH-64s fired on the structure, destroying it.

Three sniper rifles, multiple hand grenades and black masks were found by the Iraqi army outside the structure.

Talk Show America 6/19/2007

Sectarian Murders Down in Baghdad

Sectarian murders and executions in Baghdad are declining, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said today on the "Fox News Sunday" television program.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus told host Chris Wallace via satellite link from Baghdad that the U.S. troop surge has helped reduce sectarian murders and executions in Baghdad by one-third between January and April. And despite an uptick in violence in May, the levels of violence are again going down.

"The fact is, as we go on the offensive, the enemy is going to respond,"
Petraeus said.

Last week Petraeus received his full compliment of additional troops. He said surge operations are now truly just beginning, and he characterized what has been done thus far as "shaping operations." The general said the additional troops give him the combat power to launch operations in al Qaeda sanctuaries where there has been little permanent coalition force presence in the past.

Petraeus said about 30 percent of Baghdad is a major concern, because these areas have sharp fault lines between Shiia and Sunni Muslims.
"We are focusing on them quite intently," he said. "And the additional forces will enable us to conduct additional operations in those areas."

U.S. troops are also moving in greater numbers to areas just north and south of Baghdad, and have seen marked success in Anbar province.

"We're ahead of where I thought we'd be at this point in time in some areas and behind in others," he said. "Anbar province is an area, as you'll recall, that was assessed to be lost less than a year or so ago by the military intelligence folks. There has been a stunning reversal out there as tribes have said, 'Whoever opposes al Qaeda is with us.'"

These tribes want to fight al Qaeda and have asked for coalition help, he said. Petraeus said this is a major step forward, because coalition forces have linked their help through the Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense, binding tribes with the Iraqi government.

The general said he bases his success assessment on personnel observations, such as walking, driving and flying around Baghdad.
"The fact is that there are signs of normalcy throughout a good bit of Baghdad," he said. "There are tens of thousands of kids out tonight playing soccer."

He did not downplay the negative things now occurring in Iraq, like the threat al Qaeda and extremist militias pose in Baghdad. Sectarian violence is a cycle that U.S. troops must break, he said.

"Al Qaeda is the Sunni violence," he said. "Al Qeada is the face of what is happening on the extremist Sunni side. They are carrying out the bulk of the sensational attacks.

"The central front of al Qaeda's terror war is focused on Iraq," he added. "So I think it is appropriate to emphasize the role that al Qaeda in Iraq is playing, and the role that they play in provoking extremist militias on the Shiia side, as a justification for what they are doing."

Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are scheduled to give an assessment of the situation in Iraq in September. The general said the progress report would simply provide a "snapshot" of what is happening there. "It will be a forthright assessment of what we've achieved and what we haven't achieved," he said.

Petraeus said political progress has not met expectations thus far. "There certainly have not been substantial achievements in that regard so far," he said.

However, there are pieces of legislation on which Iraqi leaders are coming to grips, he added. "So it is time to see now if these important laws can go forward," he said.

The general said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' meetings in Baghdad last week with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went well.
"In fact, he (Gates) started off by complimenting the prime minister and other leaders with whom he met on their response to the Samarra mosque bombing," Petraeus said. "They were united and decisive in that effort, and we think they're response in ordering rapid steps to be taken has in fact helped hold down the level of violence."

The Shiia Golden Mosque in Samarra was first bombed in February 2006, sparking massive sectarian violence.

It is premature to speculate how long the surge will last, Petraeus said. By late summer the U.S. will be better able to determine its length, he said. "Our first focus is on doing all that we can as we truly now launch the surge," he said.

The general said the U.S. could indeed win in Iraq and leave behind a stable democratic country.

"If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here," he said. "I wouldn't be leading the finest of young American men and women who are putting their lives on the line every day."

Talk Show America 6/20/2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Haditha-Forensic Evidence-The Truth will exonerate My Son

by Darryl Sharratt

Our son, L/Cpl Justin Sharratt is not a murderer. The media refuses to report the truth about what happened in Haditha on 19 November 2005. The media has blatantly ignored the truth as to what happened in House 4 where 4 Iraqi men were killed. Our son followed his ROE, used his Marine Corps training and survived a firefight when he used lethal force in House 4.

Detailed and scientific testimony by two government witnesses, Lt. Col Elizabeth Rouse and NCIS Agent Mark Maloney, showed the forensic evidence disproves all accounts of murder in House 4. The Lt. Col testified that her forensic evidence and pathology investigation shows that the shots fired by Marines in House 4 were not at close range. The shots were fired from a distance exceeding 24 inches, 2 feet to infinity. This disproves the Iraqi fairy tale that the Marines herded the 4 Iraqi men into a room and executed them. The Iraqi relatives fabricated this story to illicit Solatia payments (blood money) for the deaths of their kin.

NCIS Agent Mark Maloney provided a total and truthful forensic reconstruction of the events in House 4 where the 4 Iraqi insurgents were killed. Agent Maloney's statement that the Marines' testimony about the events in House 4 was "not entirely truthful, nor entirely false" formed the basis of Agent Nyada Mannle's charge sheet. Agent Mannle believed the coerced testimony of the Iraqi conspirators rather than the testimony of my son, Justin Sharratt and SSgt Wuterich.

NCIS Agent Mark Maloney presented forensic evidence that showed L/Cpl Sharratt shot the first two insurgents while reacting to a hostile threat. The first insurgent was killed when he pointed an AK47 at Justin in the doorway of the bedroom. When his fully automatic SAW jammed, Justin shot the first insurgent with a 9mm service pistol. Blood stain patterns and the position of the Iraqi showed he was not executed, but died from a head wound while attempting to fire at Justin.

This evidence verified L/Cpl Justin Sharratt's account of this first encounter. The second insurgent was shot after he raked his AK 47 for firing and pointed the weapon at L/Cpl Sharratt. Justin fired his 9mm at the Iraqi, striking him in the cheek, possibly the abdomen and middle finger of his left hand. The forensic evidence verified this second encounter but was weak in the detection of the abdomen penetration. The pictures of the dead insurgent verified the head wound and finger wound but was not positive for a shot in the abdomen. Defense attorneys argued that the pool of blood located around the insurgent's chest cavity was evidence of a wound typical to an upper abdomen penetration.

Niether Rouse nor Maloney could rule out this explanation but confirmation was not positive. The death of the third insurgent was the fog in the House 4 encounter. Agent Maloney testified that blood stain patterns showed the man died in a corner of the bedroom next to a closet(amoire).

Agent Maloney theorized the man was crouching in the corner when he was shot. Defense attorney Gary Meyers cleared the fog by explaining the order of events. Attorney Meyers and Agent Maloney agreed the bedroom was "rather" dark because the window curtains were closed. Gary Meyers stated that the third Iraqi was moving across Justin's line of sight while trying to retrieve a 3rd AK 47 which was hidden in the closet( amoire.) Prior testimony by the Iraqi patriach of the household provided details that he had hidden the AK 47 in the closet(amoire). A 3rd AK 47. As the third insurgent moved toward the hidden AK, L/Cpl Justin Sharrat fired 4 shots at the man. His first shot missed and penetrated the closed curtains where they overlapped in the middle and exited through the window.

NCIS Agent Mark Maloney agreed they had laser line bullet trajectory evidence tracking this first shot. NCIS had 3 points of contact to verify the path of the bullet. A second 9mm bullet missed the moving insurgent and lodged in the wall. This bullet was recovered and laser line evidence verified it was fired by Justin from his static position. The third round fired from Justin's 9 mm struck the open closet door , where the insurgent was trying to get to the 3rd AK 47. The bullet penetrated the door, inside to outside, and struck the third insurgent in the abdomen. With the closet door(amoire) fully opened, a fourth bullet struck the insurgent in the head as he slumped into the corner.

NCIS Agent Mark Maloney verified the third and fourth bullet trajectories. Agent Maloney testified his major concern in the investigation was the penetration of the closet door from inside to outside, entry and exit path. He agreed that the defense explanation of the third bullet matched a laser line path. In his sworn testimony, Agent Maloney said the pattern of events presented by the defense fully explained the encounter in the bedroom. Agent Maloney's forensic reconstruction fully
supported this chain of events.

Although the fourth insurgent was not a factor in the Sharratt case, Attorney Meyers followed through with his cross. While L/Cpl Sharratt was firing at the third insurgent, a fourth man was also trying to get to the closet. With his 9mm empty, Sharratt yelled "I'm out" and ducked behind the doorway to try to clear his SAW. SSGt Wuterich assumed Justin’s firing position and fired two rounds at the fourth insurgent while he was in the closet trying to retrieve the 3rd AK 47. Attorney Gary Meyers' rendition of the House 4 events was concise and specific. NCIS Agent Mark Maloney testified the forensic reconstruction verified this conclusion to be the most probable, likely and supportable scenario. Agent Maloney's only caveat to the testimony was that his forensic reconstruction came some four months after the event and could not be exact. Everyone in the courtroom knew the defense had presented the most accurate reconstruction as to the events in House 4. The prosecution knew it too, they had no re-direct.

This forensic evidence shows that my son, Justin Sharratt and SSgt Frank Wuterich were truthful in their account of what happened in House 4. It proves they followed the ROE, used their military training and survived a life and death encounter with four insurgents.

May God bless our Marines and keep them safe

Darryl Sharratt

Talk Show America 6/19/2007

Accused Haditha Marine passed polygraph

A lance corporal charged with murder in the shooting deaths of three Iraqi brothers in 2005 passed a polygraph examination in which he said the first man he shot was holding an AK-47 assault rifle, according to testimony heard in a base courtroom Tuesday.

The test, administered in Iraq in April 2006, showed there was no apparent deception in an account provided by Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, Naval Criminal Investigative Service Special Agent Nayda Mannle testified.

Sharratt is charged with three counts of unpremeditated murder for his role in the deaths of two dozen Iraqi civilians following a roadside bombing on the morning of Nov. 19, 2005. The 22-year-old rifleman, who is from Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, could face life in prison if ordered to trial and convicted.

Mannle eventually became the lead agent for the Haditha investigation, which resulted in homicide charges for Sharratt and two other enlisted men. Four officers have been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to investigate the incident.

Mannle also testified that while the polygraph did not indicate that Sharratt was lying, the account the Marines gave of the day they stormed four homes did not match the accounts of some family members of the slain Iraqis.

Results of polygraph tests are not usually admissible at trial but can be raised in pretrial hearings.

Talk Show America 6/19/2007

Hearing officer:Evidence Does Not Support Murder Charge in Haditha Marine Case

The officer in charge of a military hearing expressed serious doubts Friday about the government's prosecution of Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, one of three Marines charged in the November 2005 shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians in the city of Haditha. Lt. Col. Paul Ware, who will recommend whether to send Sharratt to trial, challenged the prosecution, saying the government's theory of the case does not warrant the three counts of unpremeditated murder filed against Sharratt in December.
"The account you want me to believe does not support unpremeditated murder," Ware told the lead prosecutor, Maj. Daren Erickson. "Your theories don't match the reason you say we should go to trial."
Ware's comments came as the government and defense presented him with summations of the case on the fifth and final day of a hearing that will determine if the 22-year-old rifleman from Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment will be ordered to stand trial.

Sharratt is accused of the civilian equivalent of second-degree murder for shooting three Iraqi brothers inside a home. A fourth man was shot by Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, who also faces murder charges.

Ware also suggested he is inclined to believe Sharratt, who maintains the first two men he shot were pointing AK-47 rifles at him, and that the killings were carried out in self-defense.
"To me it seems the most important issue is whether the Marines perceived a hostile threat," Ware said. "It comes down to credibility to determine if this case should go to trial."
Prosecutors filed charges against Sharratt based on interviews with relatives of the slain men, who contended they did not have any weapons and were herded into the room and shot in rapid succession. In a statement he read to Ware on Thursday, Sharratt said that story is false and that the killings stemmed from his belief his life was in danger.
"I would not change any of the decisions I made that
LCpl. Justin Sharratt-Haditha Marine

Prosecutors agreed Friday that the case centers solely on the competing version of events.

Talk Show America 6/18/2007

Majority Leader Reid: Out of Touch and Undermining Troops

Vets for Freedom, a pro-mission veterans group dedicated to communicating America's strategy in Iraq, professes both confusion and outrage over recent comments made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Senator Reid arrogantly declared General Petraeus "out of touch" with what is going on in Baghdad, all the while-from the safety of Washington, DC-proclaiming his defeatist opinions, which undermine the war effort and embolden America's enemies.

Three important facts color Senator Reid's absurd statement: 1) Senator Reid, the man who called General Petraeus "out of touch," voted to confirm him in January of 2007; 2) Senator Reid, the man who purports to be more "in touch" with events in Baghdad, hasn't been there since March of 2005; and 3) when Senator Reid came home from Iraq in March of 2005, he said ""I came away with the feeling we cannot leave Iraq. If we do, the terrorists will have won."

"It sounds to me like Senator Reid is out of touch with himself (referring to his March, 2005 comments after visiting Iraq) and in perfect synch with left-leaning activist groups who have declared defeat in Iraq," says Pete Hegseth, Vets for Freedom Executive Director.

Hegseth, an Iraq War veteran, goes on to say "While General Petraeus is busy in Baghdad doing everything possible to defeat Al Qaeda and marginalize militias in order to bring about success in Iraq, Senator Reid is hard at work doing everything he can to declare defeat and undermine American strategy. His words are the height of irresponsibility."

Senator Reid made the disparaging remarks about General Petraeus during a conference call with liberal bloggers-an arena in which he surely felt comfortable sharing his true beliefs. Long professing to "support the troops" in public, Senator Reid feels very comfortable trashing them in private. It appears that Senator Reid wants the mission-as well as the troops-to fail.

Vets for Freedom boasts an ever-growing network of veterans who believe in the need to defeat radical Islamist insurgents in Iraq.

Talk Show America 6/18/2007

Learn more about Vets for Freedom at