Sunday, February 18, 2007

Peripheral Milit_Urb 14

[Source: United States Agency for International Development(USAID)| Date: 06 Aug 2003.]


US money is 'squandered' in Iraq: "Millions of dollars in US rebuilding funds have been wasted in Iraq, US auditors say in a report which warns corruption in the country is rife."

Five charged over Iraq reconstruction scandal: "Three US Army Reserve officers and two US civilians have been charged with taking or helping funnel more than $1mn in cash, sports cars, jewellery and other items as bribes to rig bids on Iraqi reconstruction contracts, US officials said on Wednesday."

Reconstruction Teams at Premium in Iraq: " One of the cornerstones of President Bush's new Iraq strategy is to have more civilian experts working alongside the military on what are called "provincial reconstruction teams." But while President Bush said there would be more teams going to Iraq, finding civilian specialists to serve there has not been so easy. And for now, military reservists are being asked to pick up the slack."

'Reconstructing Iraq' by Jason Yossef Ben-Meir: "the United States still has the potential to finally apply in Iraq a basic lesson about how to implement successful development and reconstruction projects. Local community members in rural villages and neighborhoods need to identify and self-manage development projects that meet their priority needs. This bottom-up approach should borrow from the lessons of experience of Morocco."

One Year Later, Golden Mosque Is Still in Ruins: "It has been a year since Sunni insurgents ripped a hole in the glorious dome here of one of Iraq’s most sacred Shiite shrines, shattering its 72,000 golden tiles and unleashing a tide of national sectarian bloodletting. Not a single brick of the mosque has been moved since. There has been no rebuilding and no healing; the million annual pilgrims, and the prosperity they spread, are gone. The roads south to Baghdad and north to Tikrit are pocked with roadside bombs and fake checkpoints where travelers are abducted. The citizens of this Sunni city, who protected and took pride in the Shiite mosque for more than 1,000 years, say they want to lead the reconstruction, but Shiites will not hear of it."

Iraq’s only port gets a multi-million dollar face-lift: "The Port of Umm Qasr directly influences the economy of Iraq and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers works to help improve the services of the Iraqi berths to handle the cargo flowing in or out of the country. To provide port security and harbor defense at the port of Umm Qasr, we installed a 9.7 kilometer chain link security fence around the perimeter of Umm Qasr North Port and South Port, built 19 observation posts, two points of entry, an interior and exterior truck staging areas,” she said."

Army Engineers Help Build Potable Water Treatment Plant In Iraq :"The Umm Qasr water treatment plant, one of the six largest infrastructure projects in southern Iraq, provides potable water for Umm Qasr port facilities and the town of Umm Qasr, thanks in part to the efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."

The Iraq Migration: "Displacement creates its own problems, and they sneak up on policy after it's too late. For one thing, displacement is the counterweight of permanence and stability. Note that these are the objectives of those prosecuting the war and trying to get out of it. What tragic symmetry."

Shiite District, Flash Point in Baghdad, Rebuilds: "Just past the main checkpoint into Sadr City, children kick soccer balls at goals with new green nets, on fields where mounds of trash covered the ground last summer. A few blocks away, city workers plant palm trees by the road, while men gather at a cafe nearby to chatter and laugh. Sadr City, once infamous as a fetid slum and symbol of Shiite subjugation, is recovering, with the help of $41 million in reconstruction funds from the Shiite-led government, all of it spent since May, according to Iraqi officials, and millions more in American assistance. But as Shiite areas like Sadr City begin to thrive as self-enclosed fiefs, middle-class Sunni enclaves are withering into abandoned ghettos, starved of government services."

Unfinished power plant a symbol of Iraq's reconstruction woes: "Saddam Hussein promised the Youssifiyah power plant would serve homes across a 330-square-mile (850 square-kilometer) stretch of Iraq. Instead, the derelict compound has served as an insurgent stronghold, and is now a makeshift base for 300 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers."

Operation Soccer Ball: "When you are told to hand out flat soccer balls, you hand out flat soccer balls. So the soldiers who served in 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment piled the flat soccer balls into their Humvees. Driving through the Sunni Triangle's war-torn towns, they tossed the deflated balls to children. [...] To focus on the air in the balls, or lack thereof, undermines the American spirit of generosity and completely misses the point of giving." (Unbelievable story, utterly ridiculous, the symbolism of the U.S. role in Iraq never ceases.)

Iraqis use internet to survive war: "Google is playing an unlikely role in the Iraq war. Its online satellite map of the world, Google Earth, is being used to help people survive sectarian violence in Baghdad."


Israelis Are Gone, but Gaza Rebuilding Is Slow
: An article from the NYT on how a group of Palestinians have lobbied the Palestinian government for a plot of land to build 300 replacement homes for those who lost their housing during repeated Israeli demolitions before the settlers were removed. Much of the abandoned settlements still remain in tact but underutilized. Greenhouse economies have been weak and incapable of funding needed to kickstart them.

Conference Focuses On Terror Potential Of Abrupt Climate Change: "Much of the attention devoted recently to global climate change has focused, understandably, on its causes and possible prevention. But a group of international experts gathered on January 24 for a conference, organized by a think tank focused on security issues, on the potential for extremists to use the effects of climate change to their own advantage."

KNOWING THE ENEMY by GEORGE PACKER: Can social scientists redefine the “war on terror”? A dialogue with David Kilcullen, expert on counterinsurgency planning.

In other stories:

°mirror, mirror: Some excerpts from Eyal Weizman’s “Seeing Through Walls: The Split Sovereign and the One-Way Mirror” (Grey Room, 24, 2006)

Planned 'Divine Strake' Bomb Test Incenses Locals: "The Pentagon has labeled it "Divine Strake," the detonation in the Nevada desert of a record-setting superbomb. The official line is that this is the test of a new bunker-busting weapon. But weighing in at 700 tons, the bomb cannot be delivered by any existing planes or missiles, experts say. [...] Insiders believe the test is actually meant to simulate the effects of a tactical nuclear weapon on underground tunnels, as a prelude for the Defense Department making a case to Congress for developing a new line of nuclear weapons to penetrate entrenched sites, such as those in North Korea and, it is believed, Iran."

Public Pushes Back Against Planned Test on Old Nuke Site: "Suspicious of government assurances that a planned desert explosion in Utah will not rekindle radioactive fallout from past events, Westerners and Native Americans want the plan halted."

Corps Aims to Shift Big Easy Levee Funds: "The Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to divert up to $1.3 billion for levee repairs from the Mississippi River's East Bank, which was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina, to the West Bank, where tens of thousands of people have resettled. [...] The West Bank was one of the only parts of the New Orleans metropolitan area spared the flooding that followed the 2005 hurricane. But the levees protecting it, and the roughly 250,000 people who live there _ are inadequate, the corps concedes."

However, with all of this talk about the Army Corps of Engineers, Alex Trevi over at the ever imaginative Pruned proposes turning it into a kind of speculative game; the past time management of your own omnipotent hydrologic intervention. That's right, it's the military landscape design of the earth's aquafarious future placed in your hands. You vs. the Apocalypse. He says, "You will have a budget of $1 trillion, of course, and have all the structures and widgets ever used in the long history of hydroengineering -- from the Garden of Eden to the Three Gorges Dam -- to choose from: groynes, seawalls, revetments, rip raps, gabions, breakers, levees, dams, canals, bridges, channels, spillways, pumping stations, marram grass, artificial reefs, imported sand, and fleets of trailing suction hopper dredgers."
Interested publishers, he's waiting for your call.

And some more....

Prez's New Top-Secret Net
Agents of the Crown
The CIA vetures into social networking recruiting
US anti-missile shield stirs up protest
Inside New York's revamped emergency HQ
Clear sailing for some through airport security
Big brother will be watching you fly
Designing crime out of the picture
In Beirut, the Show Pauses, then Goes On

[Earlier peripherals ... 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13]


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