I wanna PUKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Beheading Videos Replace Porn as Baghdad's Favorite TV
By HAMZA HENDAWI, AP
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Sept. 26) - In an outdoor food market under the fierce midday sun, a crowd of men and boys were watching video footage of a truck bomber seated behind the steering wheel, smiling and murmuring his last words before crashing into U.S. military vehicles on an overpass.
Elsewhere, the TV set in a coffee shop was offering customers the video of foreign hostages being beheaded.
In a city battered and traumatized by 17 months of violence that seems to grow worse by the day, real-life horror has become the viewing fare of choice, supplanting the explosion of pornography that filled the post-Saddam Hussein vacuum.
Baghdad wakes up each day to explosions, gunfire, ambulance sirens and the clatter of low-lying American helicopters. But the ferocity of this month's violence in the heart of the Iraqi capital is unprecedented - fierce gunbattles, car bombings that claim dozens of lives, brazen kidnappings, assassinations and barrages of mortars and rockets.
It threatens to destroy what's left of peoples' hopes for their country, which ran so high when the hated Saddam was toppled.
The horrifying videos on display or sold for as little as 30 cents apiece are all over Baghdad these days.
''Soon after the regime fell, porno discs were all the rage,'' said Attallah Zeidan, a co-owner of a second hand bookshop in Baghdad's Old City. ''Now it's beheadings.''
Before the suicide mission footage, the crowd in the Bab al-Moazam market watched footage of half buried human skeletons and a man using a stick to better display the skulls. The background music was a folk song praising the insurgents fighting the Americans in Fallujah.
''We have seen everything. What else is there?'' Imad Qassim Jaweed, 30, said despairingly as he stood in line outside a passport office in the city center, shielding his head from the sun with a sheaf of application papers.
''Rich Iraqis can leave and live abroad, but most of us want a passport just in case,'' he said.
The Arabic expression ''Khalas maleina!'' or ''enough is enough!'' is heard everywhere.
''We are paying a lot of sacrifices. We are suffering a lot in Iraq,'' Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Sunday on ABC's ''This Week.'' Still, he gave reporters an upbeat assessment two days later.
''We are winning, defeating terrorists in Iraq. Unfortunately the media have not been covering these significant gains in Iraq,'' he said.
And Iraqis aren't seeing them.
Concrete blast barriers, barbed wire, sandbags, watch towers and thousands of armed guards make Baghdad look like a city under siege.
Kidnapping for ransom is rampant. Last week a father whose 12-year-old son was kidnapped was told by a male caller to pay $13,000. ''This money will be used to buy missiles to attack the Americans. We defend the country while you're asleep,'' the voice said. The father paid and the boy was freed.
Body searches, alien to this conservative and proud people, are now routine even when visiting a hospital patient.
At U.S. military installations, signs in English and Arabic warn that ''use of deadly force is authorized.'' On the east bank of the Tigris River, across from where U.S. diplomats and Iraq's Cabinet ministers work, a ''no swimming'' sign denies Iraqis relief from the heat.
Underscoring the hair-trigger atmosphere are the guns constantly pointed at the public by American soldiers in Humvees or Westerners' bodyguards in SUVs as they navigate through the gridlock. This sense - that foreigners rule them and that death may be a heartbeat away - accentuates the average Baghdadi's sense of helplessness.
Still, the city's spirit isn't completely broken.
Ismail Ibrahim's DVD rental store in Sadr City, a Shiite district that is home to about 2 million people, skips the gory videos in favor of Egyptian romantic comedies and action movies from India and Hollywood.
''We are used to being blown up and killed,'' said Ibrahim, 30. ''There is fighting almost every night here and people rent these movies to help take their minds off the misery around them.''
Shoppers thronged outdoor food markets less than a mile away from where militiamen and U.S. forces clashed Wednesday.
In the commercial al-Rasheed and al-Motanabi streets in the Old City, people seemed oblivious to the heavy gunfire coming from Haifa street across the Tigris. Street soccer is popular in the afternoons and in the commercial Karadah area hundreds of shoppers hunt for bargains from the mountains of electrical appliances imported mostly from China and South Korea.
At Firdos Square, where Saddam's statue was toppled in April last year, a billboard depicts white doves with fluttering wings.
''Now we can take off to a brighter future,'' it says.
Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
You Know Rob
Unfortunately the British guy begging for his life is going to be next.
I would agree with you about a nuclear strike to break these barbarians wills, but the innocent loss of life troubles my conscience.
But I am leaning towards the fact these bastards need to be taught a big lesson, after all they didnt give a crap about the innocent lives they took.
I think most people fear a nuclear strike in the Mideast would be the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. But no one knows for sure.
I pray not for an easy life but that I be a strong person.
Updated: 03:07 PM EDT
British Hostage Beheaded in Iraq
By Maher Nazih, Reuters
BAGHDAD (Oct. 8) - Militants in Iraq beheaded British hostage Kenneth Bigley, three weeks after kidnapping him to press a demand for the release of women held by U.S.-led forces, a video showed on Friday.
Guerrilla sources in the rebel-held city of Falluja said earlier that Bigley, who had been seized by a militant group led by alleged al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed on Thursday afternoon in Latifiya, just southwest of Baghdad.
The U.S. military says Falluja is a stronghold of the Tawhid and Jihad group headed by Zarqawi, a Jordanian who is said to be America's main foe in Iraq. A U.S. air strike on the city, 30 miles west of the capital killed 11 people on Friday.
A video seen showed the 62-year-old engineer appearing to plead for his life as six men stood behind him. One read a statement, then cut his head off with a knife.
The scenario resembled the killings of Bigley's two American colleagues, who were killed within a week of being captured.
The tape showed the unshaven Bigley wearing an orange jump suit of the type worn by detainees in U.S. prisons, including Islamist suspects at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
A flag of the Tawhid and Jihad group hung above the militants. After Bigley spoke, one of the militants read a statement saying British Prime Minister Tony Blair had failed to meet the group's demands.
Commenting on earlier reports of Bigley's death, a British Foreign Office spokesman told Reuters in London: "We cannot corroborate the reports ... We are in close touch with Mr. Bigley's family at this difficult time."
Bigley's brother Paul urged Blair to end the war in Iraq: "Mr. Blair has blood on his hands."
Having taken a doubting country to war alongside his U.S. ally, Blair's popularity has suffered following the difficulties British troops have encountered in Iraq and evidence that Saddam Hussein did not have the banned weapons that Blair said he had.
Bigley was kidnapped in Baghdad on Sept. 16 along with Americans Eugene Armstrong and Jack Hensley. Militants have launched a spate of kidnappings as part of attempts to undermine the U.S.-led coalition ahead of January elections.
The kidnappers had demanded U.S.-led forces in Iraq release women prisoners to spare Bigley's life. Washington says it holds only two women in Iraq, both top weapons scientists from the days of Saddam whom it was not about to release.
The British say they are not holding any women.
Both the U.S. and British governments have said they will not negotiate with hostage-takers.
Last week Bigley appealed to Blair, in a video tape released by his kidnappers, to meet their demands to save his life.
"Tony Blair is lying, he is lying when he said he's negotiated. He has not negotiated. My life is cheap. He doesn't care about me," Bigley said while squatting behind metal meshing and looking distraught.
Several groups and individuals have tried to negotiate Bigley's release. This week, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appealed to the kidnappers to free him.
The Muslim Council of Britain, which also sent a delegation to Iraq to try to save Bigley, said it was "appalled and profoundly saddened by (his) reported cold-blooded murder."
Some 30 foreign hostages are thought to have been killed in Iraq. Two Westerners are still being held there -- French journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot. They were seized by a different group, the Islamic Army in Iraq.
Zarqawi's group has claimed responsibility for many of the bloodiest suicide attacks in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was overthrown, and for killing several hostages.
In the latest air raid on Falluja, the U.S. military said a "precision strike" hit a house where Zarqawi associates were meeting in the northwest of the city at 1:15 a.m.
Residents and local doctors said 17 people were wounded in the attack, among them nine women and children. They said a wedding party had been held in the house on Thursday night. The bridegroom was killed and the bride was wounded in the raid.
"We were celebrating my cousin's wedding and my relatives gathered in this house for the wedding," said one wounded survivor, Suad Mohammed, 26. "The wedding ended at 10 p.m., but some people gathered outside the house and the bombing began."
Repeated U.S. air strikes on Falluja have coincided with efforts by Iraq's interim government to arrange the return of its security forces to the Sunni stronghold and other trouble spots ahead of a January deadline for nationwide elections.
The government welcomed an offer by a Shi'ite militia led by Moqtada al-Sadr to disarm, and indicated willingness to meet at least some of the fiery cleric's demands in any deal.
Sadr's top assistant Ali Smeism said on Thursday the Mehdi Army militia would disarm if the U.S. military freed Sadr aides, stopped "persecuting" the militia and paid reparations for damage caused in clashes with U.S. forces.
The U.S. military said on Friday soldiers had caught a suspected bomb maker in Baghdad and seized a truck carrying more than 1,500 155-mm artillery rounds, often used in car bombs.
Additional reporting by Mariam Karouny in Baghdad and Miral Fahmy in Dubai.
REUTERS 14:54 10-08-04
Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Avoid Run-Off?
Latest reports are that this guy did escape and was recaptured. We must keep in mind that this is for all intent and purposes just one death that is amplified by the impact of how he was killed.
Had this man had been killed with his two American companions by gunfire in their homes this would have been a very brief and short lived story.
The terrorists are achieving their goals by using these horribly detestable methods of execution to wear down the Western culture.
Government is a disease...
...masquerading as its own cure
Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV
You are right Robo
They will either wear down our resolve or force us into unleashing horrific weapons upon them. I believe it was mentioned last night in the debates that nuclear bunker busters were being issued to our field commanders.