Iraq Update – April 3, 2006
Greetings to All:
I hope this finds everyone in good health and in good humor. This last week has been a busy one for me. I’ve been trying to clean up some interviews on my investigation that’s in the litigation stage. It seems like the target wants to cooperate but maybe not fully so it’s my job to ensure that he shoots straight. So I’ve been trying to get matters under control. It’s been really interesting with some of the people that I’ve been interviewing. Wish I could say more but due process precludes it. Maybe later.
You know it’s amazing. I’ve met more bow hunters since I’ve been here from all over the US. Most have said the same thing that I have. It sure would be nice if we had an archery range here. If I didn’t think it would get broken, I’d send for my bow and arrows. There’s enough scrap material around here to make targets. We could also shoot against the 14’ T walls as a back drop. They are made of cement and re-bar so if an arrow hits one, the shaft would just shatter. If we shot over the T wall, the arrow would just into no man’s land or into the Tigris.
I guess everyone has had the fun of dealing with the time change. I really hate it. It just throws me all off especially with my 05:30 wake up to exercise. I actually slept in late one morning until 07:30.
I’ve had some fun this week but I also had some headaches as well. I had several agents that had to travel north to Kirkuk. They were supposed to go else where but I am purposely not disclosing the location for obvious reasons. Anyway, I encouraged these two to carry long guns just in case they travel by convoy. Well, they e mail me and tell me they’ve secured this Land Cruiser in Kirkuk and that they are going to this small town alone. Of course, I hit the roof and fired back an e-mail forbidding this and asking them if they had lost their senses? (I can’t talk live with these guys because we don’t have that type of communication.) Naturally, I get a return e-mail that they were just joking. I said I didn’t think it was so funny but afterwards it was. They actually couldn’t travel to the little town because the road was considered much too hot even for a ground convoy. That’s OK, wait till they do their time reports. I’m going to tell them I forgot to turn them in.
One of the agents who resides in Las Vegas just returned from R&R. He was actually lamenting about returning and wondering if he should hang it up. While home he acquired a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle. He said he made one last call home while boarding the plane from Denver to Frankfurt. His son answered the phone and said he was just getting ready to take a ride on his new motorcycle. His son is a police officer in Southern CA. Then when he gets back to Baghdad, he gets an e mail with pictures showing both of his sons (both police officers) riding his new motorcycle and then going out dining with their mother. By then he’s saying that life isn’t very fair as the family is enjoying his motorcycle and dining out while he’s here still eating KBR food and living in a hootch.
I had another funny incident when I interviewed a witness who’s from Killeen, TX. Now this guy is a little soft spoken and had a “twang” that was unbelievable. I was catching most of what he was trying to say but then he said “he’s a walking web page.” Both I and another agent from Maine asked him to repeat what he said about six times. We could get “he’s a walking” but could not figure out “web page” to save our lives. I was putting pen and paper in front of him to have him write it out when we finally got it. We had to shake his hand and tell him we meant no disrespect but, honestly, under tense circumstances, I would not have been able to figure out what he was trying to say.
I also had occasion to meet two soldiers this week from El Salvador. They were in the Palace and were definitely lost. I asked if I could help and they showed me where they had to go. One had a military badge and the other had a temporary U.S. Embassy badge. The area where they had to go was restricted and required an escort which I am authorized to do. They were to go to a General’s secretary to obtain authorization for a badge to conduct their business in the U.S. Embassy Compound. I escorted these two gentlemen up to see the General’s secretary and introduced them to her. When she looks up, she’s got a look that says nothing but “attitude.” She asked to see the one soldiers’ orders and then rather tersely said, she wasn’t signing anything and they would have to get temporary badges even though their mission required return trips to the embassy. I looked at her as if she were nuts but she wasn’t budging. I thought what a first class B#@$% to treat these two soldiers like this. As we were walking out, I noticed that both soldiers wore medical corp insignias and one had a “one star” on his collar and the other had a “two star” on his collar. Now I know their stars were not as noticeable as on the US uniforms but I’m sure there are going to be some repercussions from this. The two star general asked for my business card and thanked me for being helpful. I actually didn’t notice their stars until afterwards but I would have treated them nice even if they were privates. If this lady gets her posterior chewed royally, she certainly deserves it. There was just no excuse for that.
The other night it just poured rain and you should have seen the lightning and heard the thunder. Some people thought it was an attack but learned quickly that it was just Mother Nature doing her thing. My hootch was dry but I had one agent who got up to go to the bathroom and once he hit the floor with his stocking feet, he learned that he had an inch of water in his hootch. He spent part of the night mopping out the water. One other agent woke up and had a wet spot by his feet on the bed. That doesn’t make for a fun evening.
Friday night we were invited over to the FBI compound. It was good to mingle with just law enforcement personnel. We had a fire using scrap wood for fuel. There’s an Assistant United States Attorney from Seattle, Washington that I had met previously and he was there. I told him that I had to get a picture of him with his weapon to show the agents back home the way the AUSA’s are outfitted here. He laughed. He’s also a former U.S. Army Ranger.
I interviewed an Iraqi young lady this week incident to the investigation who was a witness. It’s extremely refreshing to meet someone who’s working with us and appreciates what we are doing. In addition to her native tongue, this young lady speaks Russian and English. She was very articulate although she was very much afraid initially to speak with us. After speaking with us, her fears went away but you could see the apprehension in her face. Same thing when we interviewed her father. He told me that if someone in our position called you in under the Saddam regime, it meant torture and death no matter if you told the truth and were guilty or innocent. The young lady asked me if I was with the military and was ordered to come here. I said that I wasn’t and that it was voluntary. She was really amazed by that and then thanked me for helping out. You know, sometimes that’s all one needs to press on.
Well, my eyelids are getting heavy so I’m going to cut it here. Take care and I’ll stay in touch. Until the next update, all the best, Bob.