Saturday, November 06, 2004


January 20 Counter-Inaugural
& March 19/20 Global Day of Protest
on 2nd Anniversary of the war

2) Emergency demonstration to protest a new U.S. invasion
of Fallujah
The United States has positioned 10,000 troops outside the
city of Fallujah. A bombing campaign is being carried out
in preparation of a new invasion.
There will be an emergency protest the day following
the U.S. invasion.
Powell and Market in San Francisco
Monday-Friday at 5pm
Saturday or Sunday at 12 noon

3) National Guard fighter jet strafes New Jersey school
in late-night mistake
02:03 AM EST Nov 05

4) H A I T I:
Hidden from the Headlines
with Pierre Laboissiere, founding member,
Haiti Action Committee;

5) Two Car Bombs Kill 21 in Samarra
Filed at 9:55 a.m. ET
November 6, 2004

6) All Sides Prepare for American Attack on Falluja
November 6, 2004

7) Prayers and tears in Falluja
Story from BBC NEWS:
The Iraqi city of Falluja is braced for an assault by
US forces massed on its outskirts.
The BBC News website spoke by phone to a reporter in Falluja,
who described how people left in the city live on through
siege and bombardment. He is not named for security reasons.
Published: 2004/11/05 14:48:48 GMT

8) Military hospital preparing for Fallujah battle
Marines say the toll is expected to rival those seen
in Vietnam War
Knight Ridder Tribune News
Nov. 5, 2004, 12:29AM


January 20 Counter-Inaugural
& March 19/20 Global Day of Protest
on 2nd Anniversary of the war

It is time to take a close look at what actually happened with the
election of Bush and the defeat of Kerry. We should cut through the
myths, clichés and banalities that are pumped out by the politicians
and TV punditry - the establishment propaganda machine - and then
too frequently echoed even by progressive people. It is also an
important moment to make another commitment to organize and
mobilize for the January 20 and March 19/20 mass actions against
the criminal war being waged in Iraq. That war is about to escalate
sharply as the Pentagon prepares a murderous reign of terror against
the people of Fallujah and other Iraqi cities, and all people of conscience
must take action.

It is more than ironic that Bush can openly prepare to make the streets
and alleyways of Fallujah run red with blood so Iraq can have "democratic
elections" in January.

More than 100,000 Iraqis have died since March 20, 2003, as a
consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of their country.
At least 10,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed or wounded according
to the official figures. The death toll will grow higher on both sides as
the nationalist insurgency of the Iraqi people deepens.

A Shared Vision for War and Conquest - Why the Truth Was
Never Spoken

This is not just Bush's war. The Democrats, including Kerry, complain
only that the criminal war has been badly managed. Kerry's program
was to bring in other imperialist countries, give them a share of the
contracts (also known as the loot) and share the burden of aggression
and occupation with others. There are millions of people including many
"conservative" working people in swing states who are either opposed
to, or apprehensive about, the war. Just as in the Vietnam War, millions
of people can turn actively against the war - and can even become its
most militant opponents - once they come to understand that they
have been lied to by the government. Their children and spouses and
neighbors are being sent to kill and be killed.

For people to learn the truth and accept the fact that the government
that they pledged allegiance to is really a bunch of lying criminals takes
a process. It requires people who know the truth to tell it and to speak
plainly so that there is no misunderstanding. Kerry has always known
that Iraq was not a "grave and imminent threat" to the people of the
United States. He also knows that the war was a brazen act of lawless
aggression and that every life lost in Iraq constitutes an act of homicide
by the officials who planned and ordered the war, who should all be
tried for war crimes.

Instead of stating clearly that Bush was lying, instead of telling the
people that this was a war of aggression for the power and enrichment
of Corporate America, Kerry voted for the war, agreed that he would
do it all over again, and then asked people to vote for him because he
had a "better plan" to win the war.

How could anyone think that such a confused and disingenuous position
could appeal to traditionally Republican voters who are, in fact, deeply
worried about the escalating war in Iraq? Kerry decided instead to wrap
himself in the flag, tout his war record in Vietnam, dress up in fatigues
and go duck hunting for a day. Only a rich liberal aristocrat and his
Democratic Party operatives could believe that working people are
going to find this convincing.

The Real Divide

Millions of hard-working people did everything they could to help
Kerry get elected and to fight against racist disenfranchisement.
They registered new voters, passed out literature, went door-to-door,
acted as election monitors. Many were labor activists, others were
from the antiwar movement, for many it was their first political

Now, that Kerry has been defeated by the concerted effort of the right
wing political machine, many in the Democratic Party leadership are
promoting an absolutely false reason for his defeat. They are blaming
gay marriage, and the so-called liberalism of the Party on "social and
cultural issues." The Democratic Party leadership has, in fact, proven
itself incapable of defeating the right-wing once again.

At the same time, the pundits are announcing a "divided America,"
arguing that the people of the U.S. are split into two sectors - the
progressive, open-minded, peace-loving people, and the hateful,
ignorant, warmongering bigots. But the post-electoral pundits'
certification of this national divide misses the real divide, in the
same way that the Democratic Party and many progressive
organizations ignored the real divide in the United States during
the electoral fight.

The vast majority of people in the United States, who voted either
for Kerry or Bush, are working people, far from rich. This is the
unexposed divide. But this divide did not determine the election
because it could not, as neither candidate represented the interests
of this majority. The Bush campaign fostered a divide of fear and
bigotry. The only way to overcome this strategy would have been
to openly counter it, to tell the truth about what the real divide-
and-conquer program was, to openly support progressive issues
and undemonize the demonized by raising the curtain on the real
workings and intentions of the political and corporate establishment.
This could not happen. Kerry, and many of the progressive
organizations that supported him, accepted the belief that Kerry
had to "speak to the right" on social issues and pander to this
falsely created "moral" divide, with the quiet assurance that he
would not be as regressive on social issues as Bush is sure to be.
But once one accepts and panders to the Bush program and its
fostered social divide, how can anyone be educated or be won from it?

The Unspoken Unity

Inside of the political and economic establishment, the ones who
financed Bush's and Kerry's campaigns are not "sharply divided,"
rather they are united. Both candidates and both parties are
advocates of "winning" in Iraq, unconditional support for Israel's
war against the Palestinians, the ouster of Aristide in Haiti, the
maintenance of a half-trillion dollar annual military budget,
implementation of so-called free trade agreements and the
outsourcing of jobs that are destroying the lives of working people
everywhere, opposition to equal marriage rights. Kerry said
repeatedly that he would simply manage Bush's program better.
Both are almost identical in class representation. Not only did all
four candidates for president and vice president possess vast
personal wealth, but both candidacies were funded by the largest
big banks and financial corporations, and Bush and Kerry shared
four of the same ten largest donors. The Big Business imprint on
the election was total and complete. Think about that unity. This
is the unity of both Bush and Kerry and both of their parties, and
the unity of all the corporations and banks and media corporations,
including the newspapers, as well as the entire Military-Industrial

If they weren't completely beholden to the same big business
interests as the Republicans, Kerry could have easily captured
a section of the Republican working class base that voted against
their own interests.

Many of those who voted for Bush were opposed to the Iraq war
or had serious misgivings, and are also facing a concerted drive
by Corporate America to slash health care benefits, pensions,
cut wages and attack unions. Kerry could not make a strong,
convincing appeal to these voters because both the Democrats
and Republicans are imperialist parties and, as such, are united
in wanting to conquer Iraq and are united in their view that
working people in the U.S. should give back their hard won
economic gains. Why would a voter leaning toward Bush on some
other issue break away and vote for Kerry because of Iraq, when
Kerry announced over and over again, "we are not talking about
leaving [Iraq] we are talking about winning." Today Bush is set to
unleash new attacks in Fallujah and other cities throughout Iraq
that will kill thousands, mainly civilians. Kerry will support this
offensive even though many more will die. Young soldiers are
going to be used as faceless cogs in a racist war. The corporate
powers and the politicians don't care what happens to the Iraqi
people or to the soldiers. Nor do they wish to see a united base
of working people in the U.S. who join together for their real
shared interests.

Why the Election Shows the Strength of Opposition to the War

Given their united political position on Iraq and the political,
economic and media power that they wield it is a testament to
the strength of the antiwar mood in the country that nearly half the
population has broken from that position. Of the 54 million people
who voted against Bush, opposition to the Iraq war was a central
issue even though by voting for Kerry they were supporting
a candidate who embraces the U.S. occupation and vows to
"win not leave" Iraq.

The electoral outpouring against Bush does not indicate a continuing
trend toward the political right. The opposite is true. One need
only think back to the political climate on September 12, 2001,
or even just eighteen months ago when Bush was sporting an
approval rating of over 70% when he landed on the USS Abraham
Lincoln Aircraft carrier dressed up as a soldier and proudly standing
under the banner "Mission Accomplished." If the 2004 election had
taken place 18 months ago, Bush would have won the largest
landslide ever. With each passing day the war in Iraq becomes more
inflamed, more violent and huge parts of the country are under the
control of the Iraqi resistance. The Bush plan for Iraq and the Middle
East is politically premised on imperial arrogance and driven by the
desire for Empire. The growing hatred of the occupation force inside
of Iraq will only increase and every day more people in this country,
including many in uniform and their families, will join the ranks of
the antiwar movement.

Voting for Kerry, for most progressive people, was a way of showing
repudiation of the Bush administration and its warmongering,
anti-people program, and that was an important message to send.
But Kerry offers no hope for progressive change and his defeat does
not mean that the true progressive movement in the United States
is weak. It means simply that Kerry was not, and could never have
been, its standard bearer nor able to win people to a movement for
true historic social change he was not part of.

The Next Steps for People of Conscience

What is the perspective of the antiwar movement in the face of the
growing escalation of war in Iraq and repression at home? Are we
supposed to now just hang our heads, lament the victory of the
right, wallow in despair, and proclaim "we are too weak," in the
face of the triumph of Bush?

We do not have the luxury of taking a break for despondency and
despair. The antiwar movement must merge the struggle for peace
with a militant fightback movement at home to defend women's
rights that are on the chopping block as Bush and company try
to reverse Roe v. Wade. The antiwar movement must be part and
parcel of the workers' movement to defend our unions and to
launch a broader struggle against the merciless attacks on health
care benefits and pensions. The antiwar movement must unite with
the anti-racist movement in defense of affirmative action and civil
rights and liberties. We know full well what the Bush administration
has in mind regarding civil rights. The threatening opening salvo by
the government's IRS against the NAACP for the crime of criticizing
Bush should be understood as a harbinger.

The unrelenting assault on the Muslim and Arab American community
doesn't give that community the luxury to take a break from the
struggle for justice. The rights of the entire elderly working class
in the United States are also in the cross-hairs of Bush's Wall Street
gunslingers. They want their hands on that social security money
for the investment portfolio of the banks and corporations. The
antiwar movement must speak plainly: instead of spending $270
million a day to make Iraq safe for Halliburton and Citibank, those
tax dollars should be used to protect social security and to build
schools and provide health care. We can bet that the Democrats
will head for the hills on equal marriage rights as Bush and the
ultra-right unleash a wave of bigotry. The antiwar movement
must stand openly against all divide-and-conquer bigotry.

The past three years have been an awakening for many people in
the United States, a realization of the role and aggression of the U.S.
in world affairs and also a realization that people of the United States
have the right and obligation to fight to change the direction of the
country towards justice, equality, and in support of self-determination
for others. Many people participated in mass action, for the first time
in their lives taking to the streets, organizing educational events and
petition drives, and doing outreach in their communities to their
neighbors and co-workers. During this period of great drive and
excitement, there was a growing hope that the global antiwar
movement could bring about monumental change, and a growing
political consciousness. This hope is real, and remains.

This global movement is strengthened not by looking up to the
corporations that fund the two primary U.S. parties to raise up
a leader to offer mild reforms, but from people standing side by
side and engaging in collective action around positions of principle.
This is the true democracy, and the only source for hope for our
collective future.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition calls on all people who believe in justice
to double our commitment to building the struggle against war and
empire abroad, and for justice at home.

January 20, 2005
Counter-Inaugural Demonstration in Washington DC
initiated by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

On January 20, 2005, thousands will be lining the inaugural route
in mass protest. There will be simultaneous protests in San Francisco,
Los Angeles and other cities on January 20. We urge you sponsor,
support and organize for January 20.

Pledge now to support the January 20 demonstration against the
war. Click here to endorse and say Bring the Troops Home Now!

If you are planning to organize buses, vans or car caravans to be
in Washington DC, San Francisco or Los Angeles on January 20,
fill out the Transportation Form to help spread the word.

March 19/20, 2005
Global Day of Coordinated Actions
on the 2nd Anniversary of the "Shock and Awe" Invasion of Iraq
initiated by antiwar organizations worldwide
including the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in the United States

On March 19/20 there will be mass demonstrations in Washington
DC and in other cities. This is the second anniversary of the opening
of the criminal aggression against Iraq. The whole world will be
marking this day with mass actions. We urge you to sponsor,
support and organize for the March 19/20 protests. More information
about the March 19/20 demonstrations in Washington DC, San
Francisco, Los Angeles and elsewhere will be available soon.

We will demand:
1) US Out of Iraq Now, End the Occupation - Bring the Troops
Home Now!
2) End Colonial Domination from Palestine to Haiti, and Everywhere!
3) Health Care, Education, Housing, and a Job at a Living
Wage Must be a Right!

Please make a commitment today to fight for change. The anti-war
and social justice movement does not have the billions of dollars of
the corporate campaigns, yet its role and power in changing the
political climate in the United States and around the world is
A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
Act Now to Stop War & End Racism
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-533-0417
Los Angeles: 323-464-1636
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
For media inquiries, call 202-544-3389.


2) Emergency demonstration to protest a new U.S. invasion
of Fallujah
The United States has positioned 10,000 troops outside the
city of Fallujah. A bombing campaign is being carried out
in preparation of a new invasion.
There will be an emergency protest the day following
the U.S. invasion.
Powell and Market in San Francisco
Monday-Friday at 5pm
Saturday or Sunday at 12 noon

There will be work sessions this weekend to make signs and
banners starting at 11 am on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

Come by to help or to pick up flyers and posters to distribute.
Our office located at 2489 Mission St., #24 at 21st St.

Call the ANSWER Coalition for updates at 415-821-6545 or


3) National Guard fighter jet strafes New Jersey school
in late-night mistake
02:03 AM EST Nov 05

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. (AP) - A National Guard F-16 fighter jet on a
nighttime training mission strafed an elementary school with 25 rounds
of ammunition, authorities said Thursday. No one was injured.

The military is investigating the incident that damaged Little Egg
Harbor Intermediate School in southern New Jersey shortly after 11
p.m. Wednesday. The school is a few kilometres from a military firing
range. Police were called when a custodian - the only person in the
school - heard what sounded like someone running across the roof.

Police Chief Mark Siino said officers noticed punctures in the roof.
Ceiling tiles had fallen into classrooms and there were scratch marks
in the asphalt outside.

The pilot of the single-seat jet was supposed to fire at a ground
target on the firing range almost six kilometres from the school, said
Col. Brian Webster, commander of the 177th Fighter Wing of the New
Jersey Air National Guard, which is responsible for the range. He did
not know what led to the school getting strafed.

The plane was about 2,100 metres in the air when the shots were fired.
The gun, an M61-A1 Vulcan cannon, is located in the plane's left wing.
It fires five-centimetre-long bullets that are made of lead and do not
explode, said Webster.

"The National Guard takes this situation very seriously," said
Lt.-Col. Roberta Niedt, a spokeswoman for the state Department of
Military and Veterans Affairs. "The safety of our people and the
surrounding communities are our foremost concern."

The jet that fired the rounds was assigned to the 113th Wing of the
District of Columbia Air National Guard, based at Andrews Air Force
Base in Maryland. The plane returned there after firing the shots,
Webster said.

He would not identify the pilot or detail possible disciplinary measures.

Mike Dupuis, president of the township's board of education, said
school workers are mindful that the firing range is nearby.

"Being so close to the range, that's always in the back of our minds,"
Dupuis said. "It is very scary. I have children in that school and
relatives that work there."

Schools in New Jersey were closed Thursday because of a teachers

The 970-hectare Warren Grove range, about 50 kilometres north of
Atlantic City, has been used by the military since the end of the
Second World War, long before the surrounding area was developed.

In 2002, an Air National Guard F-16 that had been practising attacks
at the range crashed along the Garden State Parkway. The plane's pilot
ejected safely, and no one on the ground was hurt.

Errant practice bombs were blamed for forest fires that burned about
4,500 hectares of the Pine Barrens near the range in 1999 and about
650 hectares in 2002.

(c) The Canadian Press, 2004


4) H A I T I:
Hidden from the Headlines
with Pierre Laboissiere, founding member,
Haiti Action Committee;

Dave Welsh, San Francisco Labor Council delegate;

and Sasha Kramer, member, Human Rights delegation to Haiti

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004, 6:00 pm
SEIU Local 715 Hall, 2nd Floor Great Room
2302 Zanker Road, San Jose, CA 95131
Suggested donation $10 - $20
No one turned away for lack of funds!
All proceeds go to Haiti Action Committee
to support the people of Haiti

What news we hear about Haiti is biased and distorted, and most
of the time events in Haiti are completely absent from U.S. media.
Yet violence and repression in Haiti is growing at an alarming pace.
On Sept. 30th, police opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators,
and since then several hundred people have been killed, hundreds
of Lavalas activists arbitrarily arrested without warrants, and union
leaders intimidated and imprisoned.

Even in this climate of terror, the Haitian people continue to take
to the streets to demand the return of their democratically elected
president and an end to the political repression. Join us for
a discussion with three delegates recently returned from labor,
human rights, and fact-finding missions to Haiti.

Pierre Labossiere, founding member of the Haiti Action Committee.
Pierre will provide a historical perspective and share his views of
the current situation.

Dave Welsh, San Francisco Labor Council delegate, traveled to
Haiti in March on a fact finding delegation to learn how the coup
has affected labor. Dave will speak on the relationship between
labor and politics in Haiti.

Sasha Kramer, Ecology graduate student at Stanford, recently
returned from a human rights delegation to Haiti. The delegation
was able to meet with labor leaders, community organizers, political
prisoners, and elected officials who have been forced into hiding.
Sasha will show a slideshow and share the stories of the people
she met.

For more information on the event, contact For updates on
Haiti, see
Sponsored by:

Haiti Action Committee
(510) 483-7481

SEIU Local 715 African American Caucus

South Bay Labor for Peace and Justice
(408) 476-8298

South Bay Mobilization
(408) 998-8504


5) Two Car Bombs Kill 21 in Samarra
Filed at 9:55 a.m. ET
November 6, 2004

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) -- Insurgents set off at least two car
bombs and attacked a police station Saturday in the central Iraqi
town of Samarra, killing at least 21 people and wounding 22 in
what could be an effort to take pressure off Fallujah, where U.S.
forces are gearing up for an assault. Elsewhere, 20 American
soldiers were wounded in the Sunni Triangle city of Ramadi, the
U.S. command said without elaborating.

Residents of that insurgent stronghold, located 70 miles west of
Baghdad, reported clashes and explosions throughout the day.

The attacks in Samarra, 60 miles northeast of Fallujah, occurred
in a city that U.S. and Iraqi forces reclaimed from insurgents in
September and had sought to use as a model for pacifying restive
Sunni Muslim areas of the country.

Early Saturday, however, armed militants stormed a police station,
killing 12 policemen and injuring one. In other attacks, a suicide
car bomber detonated explosives inside a stolen police car near
the mayor's office, a second car bomb exploded near a U.S. base
and a mortar fell on a crowded market.

The dead included an Iraqi National Guard commander, Abdel
Razeq Shaker al-Garmali, hospital officials said. The town's mayor
was reportedly injured in the car bombing.

Residents said U.S. forces, using loudspeakers to make the
announcement, imposed an indefinite curfew on Samarra.
American warplanes and helicopters were heard roaming

In western Baghdad, a suicide car bomber detonated an explosion
that killed an Iraqi civilian and wounded three coalition troops and
an Iraqi, the U.S. military said. The bomber was killed and another
occupant in the car was wounded. Witnesses said the blast hit about
300 yards from a security checkpoint on the road to the international

The new violence could be aimed at relieving U.S. pressure on Fallujah
as American commanders shift their forces for an anticipated
showdown there.

More than 10,000 American soldiers and Marines are massed for
an expected offensive against Fallujah, and Iraq's interim Prime
Minister Ayad Allawi warned the ``window is closing'' to avert
an attack.

As the Americans prepare for an offensive, U.S. planes dropped
five 500-pound bombs at several targets in Fallujah early Saturday,
including a factory as well as suspected weapons caches. The drone
of U.S. aircraft heading toward Fallujah could be heard over Baghdad.
The U.S. military said the main highway into Fallujah has now been
completely sealed off.

U.S. intelligence estimates there are about 3,000 insurgents dug
in behind defenses and booby traps in Fallujah, a city of about
300,000 located 40 miles west of Baghdad.

Military planners believe there are about 1,200 hardcore insurgents
in Fallujah -- at least half of them Iraqis. They are bolstered by
insurgent cells with up to 2,000 fighters in the surrounding
towns and countryside.

In Brussels, Belgium, Allawi warned that the ``window really is
closing for a peaceful settlement'' in Fallujah. Allawi must give the
final go-ahead for the offensive, part of a campaign to curb the
insurgency ahead of national elections planned for January.

Sunni clerics have threatened to boycott the election if Fallujah
is attacked, and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has warned
U.S., British and Iraqi authorities that a military campaign and
"increased insurgent violence'' could put elections at risk.

Iraqi authorities closed a border crossing point with Syria, and
U.S. troops set up checkpoints along major routes into the city.
Marines fired on a civilian vehicle that did not stop, killing an Iraqi
woman and wounding her husband, according to the U.S. military
and witnesses. The car didn't notice the checkpoint, witnesses said.

The insurgents struck back, killing one U.S. soldier and wounding
five in a rocket attack. Clashes were reported at other checkpoints
around the city and in the east and north of the city late in the day.
An AC-130 gunship fired at several targets as U.S. forces skirmished
with insurgents, the U.S. army said.

Elsewhere, U.S. Cobra attack helicopters fired Friday on insurgents
operating an illegal checkpoint south of Baghdad, killing or
wounding an ``unknown number'' of people, the military said.

Allawi, a secular Shiite Muslim with strong ties to the CIA and State
Department, has demanded that Fallujah hand over foreign extremists,
including Jordanian terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and
his followers, and allow government troops to enter the city.

Allawi faces strong opposition to a Fallujah offensive from the Sunni
minority. The Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars has
threatened to boycott the January election and mount a nationwide
civil disobedience campaign.

A public outcry over civilian casualties prompted the Bush
administration to call off a siege in April, after which Fallujah
fell under control of radical clerics.

In hopes of assuaging public outrage, Iraqi authorities have
earmarked $75 million to repair the damage in Fallujah, Marine
Maj. Jim West said. The strategy is similar to one used when
U.S. troops restored government authority in the Shiite holy city
Najaf in August after weeks of fighting with militiamen.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press


6) All Sides Prepare for American Attack on Falluja
November 6, 2004

NEAR FALLUJA, Iraq, Nov. 5 - American armored vehicles roared
through the villages surrounding Falluja, the western town at the
heart of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, on Friday as warplanes
pounded rebel positions and ground forces ratcheted up their
preparations for what appeared to be an imminent assault on
the city.

Within Falluja, insurgents who were hiding themselves by day
among a dwindling and embittered populace set up a defensive
perimeter around the city and said they would defeat the

Americans or die in a cause they called just.

Marines gathering outside the city practiced house-to-house
fighting, while some American crews fitted their armored vehicles
with front-loading shovels designed to unearth explosives buried
in the roads on the way in. Marines fired artillery rounds throughout
the day and night on positions around the city.

"We are going to rid the city of insurgents," said Lt. Col. Gary Brandl,
a battalion commander in charge of about 800 marines at a base
outside the city. "If they do fight, we will kill them."

Military intelligence officials say as many as 75 to 80 percent of
the city's 250,000 residents have fled. That estimate was consistent
with reports from inside Falluja.

As battle preparations went forward, top American commanders
in Iraq and senior Bush administration officials in Washington
were conducting final reviews of their own.

At the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., President Bush
was briefed Friday morning on the battle plans in a videoconference
with his top national security advisers to discuss Iraq.

American officials said the precise timing was being left to American
commanders in the field and to Prime Minister Ayad Allawi of Iraq.
"People here are asking, 'What about this issue?' or 'Have you thought
about that?' But otherwise, they're leaving the planning up to the
people on the ground," said a senior military officer in Washington.

Visiting European Union leaders in Brussels on Friday, Dr. Allawi
reiterated his warning that "the window is really closing" on
chances for a peaceful settlement of the standoff. Negotiators
for the two sides have not met in more than a week.

At the United Nations, Secretary General Kofi Annan confirmed
that he had formally expressed concern about the effects any
invasion of Falluja would have on stability in the country ahead
of elections scheduled for January. His concerns could cloud
prospects for a major United Nations role in Iraq in the elections
and afterward.

Dr. Allawi and American officials have insisted that they must
reassert control over Falluja quickly in order to pave the way for
the elections. Falluja lies squarely within a region of the country
dominated by Sunni Arabs, a minority group whose participation
in the elections is considered crucial if the outcome is to be accepted
as legitimate. Favored under Saddam Hussein's rule, disenfranchised
Sunnis are now leading the increasingly deadly insurgency.

Outside the city, the Americans were setting up military checkpoints
to choke off access roads. Warplanes conducted at least five major
airstrikes on Friday.

Insurgents inside the city continued their own preparations,
filtering through waning crowds of ordinary people in the markets
and on the streets.

A man who had been encountered at a fortified position on
the perimeter of the city a few days before was seen downtown
on Friday morning wearing a T-shirt and pants from a track suit.
He was driving a motorcycle and carrying a huge bag of clips for
an automatic rifle.

The man, who identified himself as Abu Muhammad, said the
fighters were more numerous and better prepared than the last
time they battled the Americans, in April. "We trust in God," he
said, explaining why he thought that the insurgents were so
strong. "We have two choices - victory or martyrdom."

Beyond those sentiments, the insurgents appear to have the
benefit of some fairly sophisticated military advice. They have
built a layered perimeter with at least one inner fortified ring
that would give them a place to retreat to should the outer
ring be breached.

American commanders in Iraq have expressed confidence they
could complete their assault in a matter of days, but a senior
officer said Friday that planners had no sure way of knowing
how long insurgents would hold out. "Right now, they're hoping
it doesn't go much longer than a week," the officer said.

Meanwhile, the insurgents continued with their deadly attacks.
An American soldier was killed and five were wounded in an
attack on a base near Falluja on Friday, the United States
military reported. The injuries were said to be "the result of
an indirect fire attack," a term the military generally reserves
for mortars or rockets.

Two marines were killed during security operations around
Ramadi, west of Falluja, on Thursday, while one soldier in the
First Infantry Division died and another was wounded in Balad,
50 miles north of Baghdad, when an improvised bomb exploded
near their vehicle.

[A group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an ally of Al Qaeda,
claimed responsibility on Saturday for a car bombing that killed
three British troops south of Baghdad on Thursday, Reuters reported.
The men were among about 850 British soldiers sent to free up
American forces for the attack on Falluja. Also on Saturday, two
car bombs exploded in the town of Samarra north of Baghdad,
killing at least 19 people and wounding at least 23, police said.]

As preparations for the battle of Falluja sped forward, there were
warnings that it could have devastating consequences far from
the small piece of turf at issue.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Secretary General
Annan of the United Nations had sent a letter to the governments
of Britain, Iraq and the United States expressing concern that
continued military attacks on the rebel-held city would alienate
people and disrupt elections. The United Nations did not release
the text of the letter and, in a corridor conversation with reporters,
Mr. Annan confirmed its existence but declined to discuss it.

Asked about United Nations worries about the effect on the
elections of the American-led military assault on Falluja, Kieran
Prendergast, the under secretary for political affairs, said, "It is
important to understand that elections are not a stand-alone
event, that the context in which they are held is very important
if they are to have the effect of promoting stability in Iraq."

American military officials said the exact timing of any attack
on Falluja hinged on a range of factors. Officials in Washington
said Dr. Allawi wanted more time to discuss with his cabinet, as
well as religious and tribal leaders, the political and military
ramifications of an American-led offensive. Some Sunni leaders
have appealed to the interim government to call off any attack.

Military officials said the remaining residents in Falluja needed
a last warning to leave the city before any assault began.

The chief Marine intelligence officer in Iraq, Col. Ronald S. Makuta,
gave this description in an e-mail message from his headquarters
at Camp Falluja, three miles east of the city: "Those remaining
fall under the categories of not having enough money to move
out or simply do not want to leave their homes and possessions
for fear that these will be gutted and or robbed by the foreign
fighters, local insurgents, and criminals. Insurgents continue to
wage a brutal campaign of murder, assassination, terror, kidnapping,
coercion, and intimidation. The criminal content has also taken
advantage of the lawlessness in the city, and are pursuing similar

The operation is shaping up to be the largest since the American
invasion of the country 20 months ago. A senior military officer
said that roughly 25,000 American and Iraqi troops were surrounding
Falluja and Ramadi and the corridor between the two cities. Another
senior military official said that from 10,000 to 15,000 of those
troops were immediately around Falluja. They face an Iraqi insurgent
force in the city that Colonel Brandl estimated at a few thousand

It is all intended to set right the disastrous events of April, when
a large force of marines attacked the city after the killing and
mutilation of four American contractors there. Though the Americans
were making steady progress in the city center, they were forced to
halt their attacks when Iraqi leaders became unnerved over reports,
largely unconfirmed, that hundreds of civilians had been killed there.

That time, the fighting in Falluja helped fuel armed uprisings in
other parts of the country against the American presence here.

Iraqi leaders and American commanders say they are worried about
similar risings now, particularly in volatile cities like Mosul, but they
say that circumstances have shifted markedly since then. This time,
with the American occupation formally over, Iraqi leaders are in
charge and willing to take some of the political heat for the operations.

American soldiers preparing to move into the city say they expect
to find homemade bombs along roads and fortified positions
around the city's perimeter. The Americans said they were
preparing for close-quarters urban fighting.

Thousands of Iraqi troops have moved into position with their
American counterparts and are expected to take part. In the pattern
set in similar operations in Najaf and Samarra, American soldiers are
to do most of the fighting on the way in, clearing the way for the Iraqi
security forces to take control once the insurgents are defeated. With
this method, Iraqi and American leaders hope for the best of both
worlds: American muscle and an Iraqi face.

The performance of the Iraqi security forces is viewed as crucial to
the success or failure of the mission in Falluja. In April, entire units
of the Iraqi police and national guard disintegrated before uprisings
in Falluja and southern Iraq.

Now, American commanders say they have higher hopes, particularly
because of the intensive training that Iraqi units have received.

Dexter Filkins reported from near Falluja for this article, and James
Glanz from Baghdad. Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from
Washington, an Iraqi employee of The New York Times from Falluja,
and Warren Hoge from the United Nations.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times


7) Prayers and tears in Falluja
Story from BBC NEWS:
The Iraqi city of Falluja is braced for an assault by
US forces massed on its outskirts.
The BBC News website spoke by phone to a reporter in Falluja,
who described how people left in the city live on through
siege and bombardment. He is not named for security reasons.
Published: 2004/11/05 14:48:48 GMT

When I hear bombs falling around my neighborhood, I keep thinking
- any moment now, I could be killed.

It is worst during the night, when the bombardment is most intense.

If a big bomb lands somewhere nearby, you often hear crying and
wailing afterwards.

It is a very strange feeling because in between the screaming, there
is the sound of more missiles flying.

That is when I think - I could be next.

Another sound you hear during the bombing is that of prayers.
People pray loudly because they are so scared.

Sometimes, you hear people say quite unusual things - they
improvise, making up their own prayers.

US election

We followed the US elections very closely from Falluja.

It was a matter of life and death. Many people were hoping John
Kerry would win because they felt he would not have allowed our
city to be attacked like this.

Of course, we also know that the US policy in Iraq at large is not
going to change. We do not forget that George Bush and John
Kerry are two sides of the same coin.

Still, as far as our city is concerned right now, a Kerry victory
would have brought some hope.

Roads blocked

I left my old house in the north of the city a month ago, when
the Americans began bombing that area all the time.

Now I live with a small group of friends near the centre of Falluja.

We are just men here. All our wives and children have left the
city - some we sent to Baghdad, others to quieter areas closer by.

We cook and eat together and spend most of our time in the

If you want to leave the house, the safest time to do so is between
seven in the morning and one in the afternoon, when the Americans
take a break from the bombing.

The souk [market] in the centre of Falluja is open from morning
to midday and, fortunately, it has not run out of food so far.

But I can't see how long the supplies will last - two days ago, the
government said it was cutting off the roads from Falluja to Baghdad
and Ramadi.

I don't know what we will eat then.

I guess we might still be able to grab hold of some meat - I've seen
a lot of goats in the city.

There is only one road out of the city that is still open now -
but it runs through a checkpoint manned by US soldiers.

We think they're going to cut this route off quite soon as well.


A lot of people have left Falluja. Mostly only men remain.

This used to be a city of 500,000 people.

Now, my guess is there are about 100,000 still here.

Some people who tried to leave earlier on found they had to
come back because there was no way of surviving away from
their homes.

Iraq is a difficult place to live at the moment. There are not
many opportunities.

The hospitals I have seen are full of people but empty of supplies
and medicine. The erratic electricity also makes operating difficult.

Ten to 18 new cases are brought in every day.

The injured know they won't get much treatment. They come
just to be near the doctor, to hear the doctor talk to them.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/11/05 14:48:48 GMT



8) Military hospital preparing for Fallujah battle
Marines say the toll is expected to rival those seen
in Vietnam War
Knight Ridder Tribune News
Nov. 5, 2004, 12:29AM

and wounded from the expected battle to retake insurgent-controlled
Fallujah probably will reach levels not seen since Vietnam, a senior
surgeon at the Marine camp outside Fallujah said Thursday.

Navy Cmdr. Lach Noyes said the camp's hospital is preparing to handle
25 severely injured soldiers a day, not counting walking wounded
and the dead.

The hospital has added two operating rooms, doubled its supplies,
added a mortuary and stocked up on blood reserves. Doctors have set
up a system of ambulance vehicles that will rush to the camp's gate to
receive the dead and wounded so units can return to battle quickly.

The plans underscore the ferocity of the fight the U.S. military expects
in Fallujah, a Sunni Muslim city about 35 miles west of Baghdad, which
has been under insurgent control since April.

On Thursday, U.S. troops pounded Fallujah with airstrikes and artillery
fire, softening up militants ahead of the expected assault.

Loudspeakers at Fallujah mosques blared out Quranic verses and
shouts of "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," during the assault,
residents said.

American aircraft blasted militant positions in northeastern and
southeastern parts of the city, the military said. U.S. batteries later
fired two to three dozen heavy artillery shells at insurgent positions,
the military said.

U.S. forces have been building up outside Fallujah for weeks in
preparation for taking the city back.

Military officials say they expect U.S. troops to encounter not just
fighters wielding AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades,
but also heavy concentrations of mines, roadside bombs and possibly
car bombs.

"We'll probably just see those in a lot better concentration in the city,"
said Maj. Jim West, an intelligence officer with 1st Marine
Expeditionary Force.

West said he thinks there are some 4,000 to 5,000 fighters between
Fallujah and nearby Ramadi, and they may try to draw troops into
cramped urban areas in Fallujah that have been booby-trapped.

More than 1,120 U.S. soldiers and Marines have died in Iraq since
the war began.

The deadliest month was April, when fierce fighting killed 126 U.S.
troops, largely at Fallujah and Ramadi, before a cease-fire virtually
turned Fallujah over to the insurgents.

Even then, the death toll was far below the worst month of Vietnam,
April 1969, when the U.S. death toll was 543 at the height of American
involvement there.

The toll in human suffering has already been grave.

Staff Sgt. Jason Benedict was on a convoy heading to the Fallujah camp
Saturday when a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into the truck
Benedict and his platoon mates were traveling in.

A few minutes later, mortars and rifle fire rained down on the

As he rolled toward the safety of a ditch, Benedict saw one of his
friends crawling on all fours, with blood pouring from his face.

"You've got to expect casualties," said Benedict, 28. The fight for
Fallujah, he said, "is overdue." -- |
Section: World
This article is:

No comments: