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Two's in
15th Aug 2006, 22:29
No idea why the following news item made me think of this quote from George Orwell:

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

...but 1984 is an absolutely cracking read right now.


U.S. Military Retracts Gas Explosion Claim

By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 15, 2006; 1:54 PM

BAGHDAD, Aug. 15 -- The U.S. military said Tuesday that a series of four vehicle bombs killed 63 Iraqis and wounded another 140 Sunday night, reversing its earlier assessment that the deaths were the result of an accidental gas explosion in an apartment building.

The attacks in Baghdad's predominately Shiite neighborhood of Zafraniya was one of the deadliest attacks in recent weeks, arriving at a time when U.S. forces are attempting to quell the sectarian violence gripping the capital.

On Monday, U.S. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell told reporters that the U.S. explosive experts at the scene found "no evidence" of bombs or rockets, as police and witnesses described Sunday night. But senior Iraqi officials insisted that the attacks were premeditated and related to the ongoing sectarian strife. On Tuesday, the U.S. military corrected its conclusion.

"Major Gen. Caldwell was speaking in good faith, but had incomplete information," Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the American military, wrote in an e-mail message.

In a statement Tuesday, the U.S. military said two vehicle bombs exploded near the apartment building, triggering a gas explosion in the nearby Hawra market.

Caldwell had seen the initial report that concluded that the "unusually destructive nature of the blast" to a gas explosion, but the report did not identify what caused the blasts, said Johnson.

"We recognize that this has caused a good deal of confusion and reinforces why we are normally so cautious to gather all the facts before releasing parts of what we know," Johnson said. "He was simply trying to be forthright with what he knew."

In total, there were four vehicle bombs that exploded within a half-hour, all within a little more than a mile of each other, the U.S. military said, adding that four buildings and several shops were destroyed.

Police and witnesses on Sunday night said the attacks began with a flurry of rockets that bombarded several buildings after a night-time curfew. Then, a roadside bomb exploded, followed minutes later by another bomb strapped to a motorcycle.

matt_hooks
15th Aug 2006, 22:31
Ministry of (dis)information???

Also reiterates the Groucho Marx quote, "isn't military intelligence a contradiction in terms"