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Apr 21, 2007

When Will The MSM Show Us Bush's Iraq Wall? ...Or Will It?

Great-Wall-Of-Adhamiya

Yesterday, I linked to Thursday's LAT article reporting on the construction of a 3-mile-long, 12-foot-high partition wall being build by the the U.S. military in a Baghdad neighborhood to separate Sunnis and Shiites.  (Yes, I said miles.)

Today, the NYT pokes at the story ("U.S. Erects Baghdad Wall to Keep Sects Apart") with their own piece about George Bush's Iraq Wall.  ...But still, no pictures.

The BAG finds it inexcusable the MSM would report on this thing -- but NOT show it.

As such, there are at least two explanations for the absence.  One, it is too difficult or dangerous to get a photographer to the spot in Adhamiya where this potentially-visually explosive structure is going up.  Two, the media is punting on the visual side of the story to avoid heat from (and therefore, colluding with, and running interference for) the Administration.

As fuel for possibility two, we know that the LAT had a photographer in Adhamiya with the U.S. military because yesterday's Times article featured his photo of American soldiers searching a house in the district.  Beyond that, even the photo caption refers to the wall.  If the reporter and photographer are embedded in the neighborhood with the U.S. military, it's the military building the wall, and the wall is the subject of the story, I'll just ask again...

Where's the picture?

---
More:  A wire story posted yesterday on YahooNews Singapore (and, as I search further, a million other places) refers to a WSJ report earlier this month on another wall started near Doura in southern Baghdad.  If that's the case, then the media has known for weeks about these barriers.

This Reuters story notes that the Adhamiya wall was begun April 10th.  The LAT story states that wall should be finished  by the end of the month.  Given the 20 day project, that means it's at least half-way done by now.

One more nugget: In a slightly different version of the original LAT piece, dated yesterday, U.S. soldiers are referring to the structure as: "The Great Wall of Adhamiya.”
--
Update 5/22.  6:47 am EST

I have it from a very reliable source that a third wall exists, this one at Al-Khadra, a Sunni area west of Baghdad.  It has reportedly been up for four weeks now.
--

Update 6:57 pm EST

Iraq-Wall1-3
(click for full size)
Iraq-Wall-2-2

With all the chatter -- both in the 'sphere and the MSM -- regarding the wall(s), the first images (of the Adhamiya wall) appeared today.  Still can't say, however, what kind of exposure they will get in the MSM.  The top image appeared in an article on the English Aljazeera site.  The second one was on the YahooNews wire.  Captions below.

(h/t Gert)

(image 1& 2: Wisam Sami/AFP.  April 21, 2007 and undated.  caption 1: A picture shows a wall made of concrete blocks, which separates Baghdad's al-Adhamiyah district from a neighbouring Shiite area in east Baghdad. Two car bomb explosions at a Baghdad police station have killed 16 people and wounded scores of others, as the US military moved to wall in the Iraqi capital's warring factions behind concrete barriers. caption 2: A concrete wall separates Baghdad's al-Adhamiyah district. Residents of the dangerous Baghdad district have accused US forces walling them in behind a five-kilometre (three-mile) security barrier of hardening the city's already bitter sectarian divisions.)
----
Update 4/23 2:15 am EST

And this morning, we have this from the NYT.  The structure is softened by boys playing soccer, the image is contextualized by the initiative for removal ("Iraqi Premier Orders Work Stopped on Wall"), but its there.

Comments

Moving on from plan F, we now have plan G. Plan F has not yet been publically announced a failure. so the beginnings of G must remain hidden. Build walls to reinforce separation of the groups within Iraq (maybe things will get quiet enough so that mission can be declared accomplished). Note that in recent news stories the US has not brought forward much, if any, new money for the training of the Iraq army. This all indicates a move toward a final deflation of the country of Iraq. A cynic would say that the deflation of the Iraqi people will occur in much the same was as the deflation of the Palastinian people. I'm sure consultations were held with Israeli wall experts for the finer points of "divide and conquer". Pehapes some of the Israeli guards from Abu Ghraib were able to help.

Shorter version-wall is too much like Palestine/Israel conflict-it cannot be shown because the parallel is too close. It is also screams of a non-peaceful, non-just, semi-permanent, non-solution of a problem that will go on and on.

This wall is a "solution" directly cribbed from Israel and Israeli advisors are responsible for drawing up the plan. This isn't even a secret.

Just sayin'.

Israel figures this has worked well for them. But as Neal suggests, it's not exactly a peace settlement for the ages, now is it?

Actually there is a picture of the wall on yahoo somewhere. I'll see if I can link to it.

so that is what the surge boys are over there doing. Top Secret. A Berlin wall.

Mr. bush. Tear that wall down!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! What does I have's to worry's bout? Jus' gimme a job pluckin' chicken feathers an I'll be's happy.

BWT shrub, as if a few insurgents with a couple of left over mortar rounds won't blow the hell out of it, section by section, just to spite your sorry ass.

A query - which cost more, -

a 12 ft high, 3 mile wall in Bagdad or a 12 foot high, 3 mile long levee in New Orleans?

There is another painful parallel with Palestine and that is the mass exodus of Iraqis. When Arab media points out how all American policies seem to serve Israel, they are accused of anti-semitism not to mention being conspiracy theorists.

actually, Baghdad is already a maze of Blast Walls, semi-permanent concrete and makeshift barriers, as well as MidCentury Modern styled "gated communities". But without any doubt whatsoever the most fascinating and telling architectural feature of city Baghdad is the incredible U.S. Embassy.

excuse us while we all switch gears here, from McLuhan to Mumford, and morph from media critics to architecture {grin} For this hideous, swollen tipo fascista structure is just... (well let's just say this thing *IS* BushCo Neo-Concrete :)

As for the MIA photo-journalists, singing those old Don't Get Around Much, Anymore blues ~ well now The Story is really the folie à deux collective madness of The Green Zone in which they sit, n'est-ce pas? i mean...

...as we recently learned (after the bombing of the Iraqi Government Building inside the Green Zone : there are 'Green Zones' within The Green Zone; traffic within The Green Zone moves in packets of 3 vehicles ~ as if they, themselves were 'convoys' between buildings; and everyone wears body-armor ~ iow, The Green Zone is a reflection, our vision? displaced in T+N months time, perhaps ~ of what, Que Sera, Sera In Greater Baghdad.

And imagine the jolting presence of CocaCola and Pizza Hut, et al., all those U.S. BRANDS = los Logos el locos! So yeah, BAGman ~ i'm in total agreement with you on this call. Where The Hell is the Story?

YouTube => On The Street Where You Live

I have often walked down this street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I Several stories high.
Knowing I'm on the street where you live.

--beyond the pale

Ah yes, The Great Wall Of China--Hadrian's Wall-- The circumvallation Wall of Masada--The Warsaw Ghetto Wall--The Berlin Wall--(Vietnam Vets Wall)--Israel's Security Fence--Separation Fence--Fence Against Terror--Separation Barrier--Separation Wall--The Apartheid Wall--Israel's Wall of Horrors, hmm lots of choices, when we acquire a photo of *concrete delineation* in Baghdad what shall we call this latests seperating fixture ?

(A pale is an old name for a pointed stake driven into the ground to form part of a fence ...by 1400 it had taken on various figurative senses, such as a defence, a safeguard, a barrier, an enclosure, or a limit beyond which it was not permissible to go)

Did Charlie Dickens really foretell the coming of GWB, "I look upon you, sir, as a man who has placed himself beyond the pale of society, by his most audacious, disgraceful, and abominable public conduct"

I've seen several articles about this wall recently, but no pictures. Over these four years, many of the pictures out of Iraq are just like pictures we've seen (in the Middle East, at least) for years out of Palestine, and one of the Iraqis quoted in the article made that point about the wall. (That's no surprise; as Tina pointed out, the U.S. military has consulted with many Israeli advisors.) I'm surprised they're letting it be called a "wall", though, given the sensitivity of that word when used to describe Israel's wall.

I was trying to picture how it would be if someone built a 12-ft wall around my neighborhood, and we could only enter or exit through checkpoints. I assume that we'd have ID cards and have our irises scanned, like they did in Fallujah. And depending on who wrests control later, the whole neighborhood could easily be cut off even from getting food and other necessities. I'm usually not so paranoid, but in Iraq, the government has a chance to test these kinds of procedures. In the future, where else might they implement them in the name of homeland security?

Here is a picture, from Yahoo. And another.

The militants live in the damn city themselves! They're not in separate hoods with street signs with names like "jihad avenue." When you gate up the neighborhoods, you'll be gating up the terrorists and militants inside, with the people.

It will fail, as it failed before when the US military tried it, and as it failed when Israel tried it.

It's just another way to spend money and waste time.

And yes, I've thought for a long time..where are the pictures? We knew about this wall a long time ago. The fact that they aren't showcasing it is evidence in itself of their lack of confidence in it.

If ummabdulla's links do show the actual wall, I can see why they're not covering it: "Hey, look, we're putting up a wall that greatly resembles the decaying jawbone of a human skull!"

The links for the photos were from Sean, not me. (Thanks, Sean.)

In the first photo, without anything to put it into perspective, it doesn't look 12 feet high. It does look like a row of tombstones, though. But having seen the pictures, I don't think they can try to be cute and call it anything other than a concrete wall.

woah, whats with the wierd tesc theme in this thread?

I happened to see one of yesterday's evening news shows (I'm not sure which one, because I saw it on a satellite station that runs programs from all three of the major networks' news divisions - but I think it was NBC), and they did show the wall.

Excuse my ignorance, Peter, but what does "wierd tesc theme" mean?

ITV news in UK showed the wall in a fillum clip with a journo to emphasise height on Saturday night. I'm juust waiting for the decorators to move in .."yanqi's go home" ?

ummabdulla,

Gonzo has a quote from a (one of my) professors at the evergreen state college behind his US Embassy link. Geoduck is not only a evergreen grad but has named himself after our mascot. Twice was just a little freaky, considering tesc isnt exactly huge.

ummabdulla,

Gonzo has a quote from a (one of my) professors at the evergreen state college behind his US Embassy link. Geoduck is not only a evergreen grad but has named himself after our mascot. Twice was just a little freaky, considering tesc isnt exactly huge.

I had to air my surprise.

Sean's image #1 : looks like one of those American freeway sound barriers ~ you know, they erect them between some Interstate-N and Suburban Tract Development @ EXIT 24B to suppress noise, highly toxic tire and brake dust, and hot exhaust fumes...

...it's too linear = benign looking to really drive the point home, imho; needs an ummabdulla GATE or CHECKPOINT, something to give it that flavour of either kontroll or containment.


Sean's image #2 : is cool because it's green and blurry ~ iow nightmarish. doncha like the hovering crane, the universality of the unknown, blurred soldiers: it could be Berlin, or Warsaw, or Gaza Ghetto. It's freakish, yes ~ but not horrible enough...

...you need to show the humiliation of some women, just going to market; of men, trying to get to work, with some shred of dignity intact; that shakedown of children, trying to smuggle food past some guys with guns, laughing as the dates and beans tumble out of their pockets.


i guess The Story (as image) is not so much The Wall, after all ~ but the portal that The Wall forces upon them... and us.


(soon enough, there will be graffiti all over The Wall; that will be telling ;-)

In a way I have to give this walled-community plan its props. I think it merits some admiration as to it goes to the resourcefulness of American imagination, creativity, and savoir faire. Obviously, in addition to risking their last full measure of devotion, our troops are offering Iraqi Sunnis and Shia every last bit of Americana they can think of. But the biggest and overwhelming flaw, of course, is not where the rubber hits the road. It is not in the tactical inventiveness where we fail, but at the strategic-conceptual level. It's the concept of an unwelcome invader, destroyer and occupier resolving Iraqi problems.

Kudos to The Bag for being ahead of a 'breaking story' once again. I swear I think the forces of the universe are spying on us. No sooner does this post show up than photos of the wall began to appear everywhere. Not only that, there are apparently many walls. Saturday night, I heard on BBC that Maliki has said that the wall must go! Apparently this wall has been under construction for some time, but one would not know it reading the domestic MSM. Hmmm...

right you are, Cactus; whatsay let's start a LIST !

WHERE ARE THE PICTURES ?

=> 2,252 victims of violence buried in ’mass graves’ in Karbala

too terrified for their families to claim them; the Iraqi morgues now overwhelmed by their number ~ the dead of IRAQ ~ that's right, the Occupation now has no choice (and makes no secret) of the disposal of all those bodies in Mass Graves.

remember those images of bulldozers...?

3,000+ dead each month ~ WTH did you think they were doing with all those bodies?!!


next up : for every dead body reported by the now daily mind-numbing WireService line item, there are what, 8~10 wounded Iraqis? Forget the peeling paint down at the Veterans Administration, baby! ever wondered, WHAT DO IRAQI HOSPITALS LOOK LIKE??


next up : show trials. The Iraqi government has just issued orders to execute "deserters" who fail to show up for patrols, other duties whenever mustered by Occupation Forces.

BBC: “Many of those given death sentences appeared on an Iraqi television show (!) Terrorism in the Grip of Justice, which was taken off the air in late 2005 after the government ruled that televising confessions was illegal.

Many of those appearing on the show bore signs of torture, the report said, and other defendants have alleged that they were tortured before making the confessions.


You want to "win" the occupation of IRAQ? o.k., then show them The Occupation!


Yeah, you were ahead of the pack on this one, Michael. As soon as photos of the wall started appearing, there was an uproar, and supposedly they're going to stop work on it. (They did make it difficult to get pictures - at least of the actual work - though, since they did it at night.)

And what we saw wasn't the whole thing, either. They were supposed to put barbed wire at the top, like this. I guess that's because this wall is not as tall as the Israeli one.

Th Wall does nothing. The killing will
continue until the U.S. decides it's to
costly to occupy Iraq.

There seems to be some connection between totalitarian-style governments and walls.

MonsieurGonzo is right.......most people I know are busy and only catch what news they can on the TV while fixing dinner or such. They don't take the time to surf the web for info. As The Bag points out in his post on 4/24/07, TV news is aimed at keeping us all in a state of fear. The teaser all night will be something like "new disease with no cure, details at 11" or "rapist at large, details at 11." Then at 11, you find out the disease is for cats and the rapist is in a city 1000 miles away. What do you think would happen if they REALLY started covering the news, say, about what was discovered in a hearing in congress today, or what Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi REALLY said and why, instead of a 5-word sound bite followed by right-wing spin? Would people be getting angrier than they are now? And at whom?

I am fairly confident that if I walked into my acting or tai chi class and said "How about that wall, eh?" I would get a lot of blank stares. But in the end, it's us.....we settle for the tripe on TV and don't ask any more questions or make any more demands than the WH 'news' reporters ask of Dana dingbat.

First off, have any of you been there and stood by one of those walls? Do you REALLY know what they are designed for? Until you do your research - and I don't mean looking through the news wires to find out what they are saying - actually invesitgate how the US Military uses "T-barriers" and why - quit spouting the anti-war rehtoric. It's silly and beneath you all.

I've been there and stood behind/in front of barriers similar to these. I've been glad they were there when mortar rounds were flying over my head.

If you look closely at the picture, you can't really tell what's on the other side of them. Maybe it is a community (I hope that it is something worth protecting, at least). But you can see what's on this side. It's a road and it looks like a 4 lane road, at that. In other words, a great place to set an IED in the hopes a US convoy comes by. Since our convoys get hit pretty reqular with IED attacks, we can at least, hopefully, prevent some collateral damage to neighboring communities on the roads we use.

Nothing horrible about the second picture, either. It was taken with night vision lenses either on the camera or through the glasses of an individual. I'm guessing the latter because of the poor picture quality.

I know I'm opening myself for major attacks here. Go head, that's why I joined the military - to protect and serve the nation I love and am willing to die for.

First off, have any of you been there and stood by one of those walls? Do you REALLY know what they are designed for? Until you do your research - and I don't mean looking through the news wires to find out what they are saying - actually invesitgate how the US Military uses "T-barriers" and why - quit spouting the anti-war rehtoric. It's silly and beneath you all.

I've been there and stood behind/in front of barriers similar to these. I've been glad they were there when mortar rounds were flying over my head.

If you look closely at the picture, you can't really tell what's on the other side of them. Maybe it is a community (I hope that it is something worth protecting, at least). But you can see what's on this side. It's a road and it looks like a 4 lane road, at that. In other words, a great place to set an IED in the hopes a US convoy comes by. Since our convoys get hit pretty reqular with IED attacks, we can at least, hopefully, prevent some collateral damage to neighboring communities on the roads we use.

Nothing horrible about the second picture, either. It was taken with night vision lenses either on the camera or through the glasses of an individual. I'm guessing the latter because of the poor picture quality.

I know I'm opening myself for major attacks here. Go head, that's why I joined the military - to protect and serve the nation I love and am willing to die for.

Bryan, even the U.S. occupation authorities didn't claim that the wall was being built to protect the citizens of Adhamiya from possible collateral damage when a US convoy gets hit while driving past their neighborhood on that main road. They said that it would completely surround the neighborhood on all sides, with only one way in and out for civilians (and a few more for military).

I certainly haven't stood near that wall, but you don't even seem to know where it is or whether or not there's a community on the other side of it.

I think it's very noble that you want to "protect and serve the nation you love and are willing to die for". Maybe you can help us understand how the U.S. military is doing that by what they're doing in Iraq.

I don't need to know where that particular wall is. What I do know is that the media "says" that wall surrounds a community. Didn't your mother ever use the phrase "if your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it, too." Same thing here, if the "media" says its true, then "Oh my god, it must be true!!!" BS in my book. Regan said "Trust, but verify", and I agree completely. And if you can't verify, then don't believe it until you can.

"I think it's very noble that you want to "protect and serve the nation you love and are willing to die for". Maybe you can help us understand how the U.S. military is doing that by what they're doing in Iraq."

- It doesn't matter what I say about the military, you will always hate it and see it as evil. Until you pull your head out of your back end and look at the world around you, listen with your own ears, and smell the roses and garbage, and chew your own food (as oppossed to regurgitating the liberal talking points), nothing I say will make you see differently.

Just for sake of argument, the military is fighting the terrorists in Iraq instead of fighting them here. It doesn't matter whether they were there before 911 or not, the point is they are there NOW and not in my home town where my wife and kids are.

Just so you know, if I were an Iraqi living in Baghdad, I would ensure I lived in a "gated" community. It's no different then living in a gated community here in the states except for a few minor differences - the military guards the entrance, they are all poor by our standards, and it's a concrete wall designed to keep blasts and terrorists out.

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