DAY TWENTY-TWO -UPDATE
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The size of the crowd at the Fall of the Saddam Statue -Its Pentagon's Photo-0p Most of you have already seen the jubilant crowd of Baghdad's residents taking down the bronze statue of Saddam Hussein in the downtown Baghdad. In reality this "monumental event" turned out be just as illusory as coalition's proclaimed control of the Iraqi capitol. Television networks showed jubilant Iraqis jumping on the US tank recovery vehicle apparently to thank its driver for taking down the statue. Later we observed a group of Iraqis pulling the statue’s head down the street. In the end the big picture (literally) revealed the true events that took place on the Fardus Square: the square was surrounded by the US tanks and the “jubilant crowd” turned out to be two dozen of Iraqis, some of which were recognized as Iraqi opposition members delivered to Iraq by Pentagon just days earlier. Several strategically placed cameras created an impression of a large crowd. Iraqis cheering US troops in Baghdad - just another “Potemkin village” staged by the Pentagon PR teams. The war is over. Maybe not…
American troops who suggested they uncovered evidence of an active nuclear weapons program in Iraq unwittingly may have stumbled across known stocks of low-grade uranium, officials said Thursday. They said the U.S. troops may have broken U.N. seals meant to keep control of the radioactive material.The Marines said they discovered 14 buildings at the site which emitted unusually high levels of radiation, and that a search of one building revealed "many, many drums" containing highly radioactive material.But an expert familiar with U.N. nuclear inspections told The Associated Press that it was implausible to believe that U.S. forces had uncovered anything new at the site. Instead, the official said, the Marines apparently broke U.N. seals designed to ensure the materials aren't diverted for weapons use — or end up in the wrong hands. "
A suicide bomber killed "some" American soldiers by blowing himself up at a military checkpoint in Baghdad soon after dusk on Thursday, a U.S. officer said. "Some are dead in the attack but I don't know how many," Marine officer Matt Baker told reporters in the Iraqi capital. A Marines spokesman said the man, dressed as a civilian, walked up to the checkpoint and detonated explosives strapped to his body. He said the checkpoint was north of the Palestine Hotel in central Baghdad, where many journalists covering the war in Iraq are staying.
Secret CIA and military teams in Iraq reported yesterday that nearly the entire Iraqi leadership had vanished. U.S. military commanders suspected some leaders had headed to Hussein's hometown of Tikrit for a final bloody showdown and that others had fled to Syria. Dogged fighting by Iraqi forces at Qaim, near the Syrian border, may be protecting important Iraqi leaders or family members. Covert CIA and Special Operations teams discovered that the Baath Party leaders, Republican Guard leaders, troops and high-level government officials were not at their usual posts. The information minister, who had been briefing journalists with outlandish versions of daily events, did not go to work. Even the minders for [foreign] journalists did not go to work. The most likely explanation for is that an order to disappear was given in Hussein's name, and that he is still alive.
As advancing Kurdish fighters poured into the Kirkuk in northern Iraq, neighboring Turkey dispatched military observers to the area stoking fears the two sides could blunder into a local war within the larger Iraqi conflict. A U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said American special operations forces were trying to establish an American presence in Kirkuk ''in the interest of regional stability'' an apparent reference to Turkey's concerns that Kurds might take over the hub of Iraq's No. 2 oil-producing region.
Baghdad descended into chaos with ministries ablaze and looters rampaging through the city .Five ministries were on fire in the centre of the occupied city, an AFP correspondent reported. US and Kurdish forces meanwhile seized northern Iraq (news - web sites)'s key oil city of Kirkuk, raising concerns in Turkey of an independence bid by Kurdish fighters, who later said they would leave the town Friday.
A leading Shia cleric has been assassinated in the holy city of Najaf just days after returning to Iraq following more than a decade of exile in Britain. Sayed Abdul Majid Al-Khoei, 41, was stabbed to death by an angry mob outside the shrine of Imam Ali, one of Shia Islam's most holy sites.Reports said the mob was made up of angry members of a rival religious group. They hurled verbal abuse at Mr Majid al-Khoei before rushing him and hacking him to death with knives and swords. The cleric's aide Haidar Kelidar was also murdered in the attack.He escaped to Britain in the aftermath of the rebellion before forming the Khoei Foundation and being picked out by American leaders as someone who could help form a post-Saddam government.It is thought that his close relationship with the US and Britain may have sparked the mob's attack.He was strongly criticised by other Shia leaders when he returned to Najaf in the wake of its fall to US forces last week.And when he visited a Shia stronghold in Iran several years ago, crowds chanted slogans telling Mr Majid al-Khoei to return to America.Mr Majid al-Khoei was a key ally of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani who last week urged Shia Muslims to take a neutral stance in the war against Saddam's regime
Eye-witness account of the fall of Saddam's statue10.04.2003 [20:13] :"by HsiaoHui -I watched live web video cam of the incident. Apparently, the videocam was located on the balcony of a nearby hotel overlooking the US military vehicles and the Saddam statue nearby. What happened was that several military vehicles, including Abrams Tanks & Humvees drove by and stopped outside the hotel. US soldiers came down from their vehicles and walked about the place but on vigil. The images via the webcam were very clear. Then, on the left, a group of (about 15) rowdy youngsters, some removing their shirts as they walked and swinging them round and round and cheering. They walked in a rather organised fashion, as if they had an objective in mind. The soldiers nearby the hotel didn't stop them and also didn't seem to bother. Why didn't the soldiers stop them and check to see if any of them carried arms or bombs strapped to their bodies? The group then proceeded in an almost coordinated way to the landmark where the statue was located. The videocam then trained and zoomed onto the group who started hammering and pulling at something that looked like a lamp protruding from the stand on which the statue stood. Then they climbed on top of each other and threw a rope around it. 10 or 15 minutes later, a US tank drove close to the statue. As the rope was too weak they used a chain instead. The chain was later hooked to the tank and the statue pulled down as the tank reversed. All this was done with embedded reporters at the scene filming. All I can say is that this whole thing was staged. This whole event was viewed all over the world as the webcam was LIVE.
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LATEST Communist North Korea indicated it had no intention of allowing UN inspectors back into the country as it quietly tore up the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.The Stalinist regime kicked out inspectors four months ago and served notice a month later that it was pulling out of the international arms control accord that has served as a gatekeeper to nuclear weapons proliferation for more than three decades.The withdrawal became effective Thursday without official comment from North Korea.Japan insisted that North Korea still be considered a party to the NPT.
Israeli helicopter gunships killed a senior military leader of the radical group Islamic Jihad in Gaza City, as violence also took the lives of Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank.Mohammed al-Hindi, a top Jihad political leader, named the dead man on Thursday as Mohammed al-Zatma, 50, whose car was hit and destroyed by two missiles in Al-Nasser, in the north of the city.