By Captain Eric H. May
Currently the military analyst for The Lone Star Iconoclast,
formerly a writer for Houston Chronicle Outlook
This information compiled April 9, 2003
[Editors Note: Please also see "Captain Courageous and the Shockingly Awful Quicksand War. `First In' Honors: The Infowar of Capt. Eric H. May" by Major William B. Fox, also featured in the March 26, 2008 Lone Star Iconoclast, which provides important background on this work]
Capt. Eric H. May
Table of Contents:
Appendix A: 21 Broadcast Indicators Observed by Captain May
Appendix B: The Battle of Baghdad, April 6, 2003 by Robert Fisk (UK)
Appendix C: Russian Military Intel update: War in Iraq, April 6, 2003
Appendix D: Iraqi Resistance Report IV [Compiled from Different Arab Sources] The Free Arab Voice, April 6, 2003
Appendix E: Department of Defense Principles of Information
21 Broadcast Indicators
Observed by Captain May
Calendar for 1st two weeks of APRIL 2003:
Friday April 4th
1. Explosions outside Baghdad, circa 2130 hours (Eastern)
2. Report from Embed: shouts, explosions and automatic fire hitting the vehicle.
3. CNN military experts, including General Clark, in studio become pessimistic in their analysis.
4. Larry King shouts “Oh, my God!” in studio, as images come in. (He apparently forgot that his mike was on.) c. 2215 hours
5. Lieutenant Colonel Ferrell, the 3/7 Cavalry Commander, begins to cry in an interview with CNN reporter Walter Rodgers. Rogers apparently had intended to create the impression that all was going well at the airport and asked how were the troops? c. 2230. (Rogers is close to tears, too.)
6. CNN report “Hundreds of reinforcements” rushing to airport. c. 2245 hours
7. Fox concurrently reports reinforcements to airport.
8. 3rd Division of the U.S. Army 7th Cavalry reported as on foray into Baghdad
9. Baghdad Bob says Iraqi forces control airport, have killed 300 US troops.
Saturday April 5th
10. Tape released of a jubilant Saddam Hussein (probably taken the day before when US troops took the airport (and therefore stepped into a trap).
11. Pentagon cancels its 1230 (Eastern) briefing
12. Bush flies to Blair in England – stays Saturday and Sunday
13. CNN’s Aaron Brown says “There are things we can’t tell you now.”
14. Saturday evening CNN Christiane Amanpour, in a panel discussion, hints broadly that the Arab and American media don’t agree on the facts of ongoing events. A flunky Kuwait editor lamely suggests that Arab media should not be making reports without hearing the American side first (i.e., he doesn’t deny any of the reports).
Sunday April 6th
15. Sunday afternoon, c. 1900 (Eastern), a national conservative talk show host with Clear Channel Communications (950 AM in Texas) mocks the Egyptian newspaper figure of 200 American KIA at airport. After a commercial break he stops mocking Arab media, and begins to hint that something terrible has happened in Iraq and that we need to rally behind the President.
Monday April 7th
16. Shelling of Arab media in Baghdad (by U.S. forces).
Wednesday April 9th
17. In an interview: Aaron Brown asks: “Does the 3/7 feel safe?” Walter Rodgers answers: “Lieut. Colonel Ferrell summed it up for the men when he said that none of them would feel safe until they were home in Fort Stewart, Georgia.”
Other Broadcast Indicators
18. Wesley Clark leaves CNN, stressing his need to show himself “objective” several times.
19. Middle East media broadly impugns integrity of US media.
20. Al Jazeera English site crashes. (I still haven’t been able to pull up its archives for the weekend we took Baghdad.)
21. Multiple confirmations by international students at University of Houston Honors College of massive US losses at airport.
For a PDF version of this article, click here.
The Battle of Baghdad
by Robert Fisk,
The Independent (UK)
Sunday, April 6th, 2003
The Iraqi bodies were piled high in the pick-up truck in front of me, army boots hanging over the tailboard, a soldier with a rifle sitting beside them. Beside the highway, a squad of troops was stacking grenades as the ground beneath us vibrated with the impact of US air strikes. The area was called Qadisiya. It was Iraq’s last front line. Thus did the Battle for Baghdad enter its first hours, a conflict that promises to be both dirty and cruel.
Beside the highway, the Iraqi armoured vehicle was still smoldering, a cloud of blue-grey smoke rising above the plane trees under which its crew had been sheltering. Two trucks were burnt out on the other side of the road. The American Apache helicopters had left just a few minutes before I arrived. A squad of soldiers, flat on their stomachs, were setting up an anti-armour weapon on the weed-strewn pavement, aiming at the empty airport motorway for the first American tanks to come thrashing down the highway.
Then there were the Iraqi bodies, piled high in the back of a pick-up truck in front of me, army boots hanging over the tailboard, a soldier with an automatic rifle sitting beside them. Beside the highway, a squad of troops was stacking rocket propelled grenades beside a row of empty shops as the ground beneath us vibrated with the impact of American air strikes and shellfire. The area was called Qadisiya. It was Iraq’s last front line.
Thus did the Battle for Baghdad enter its first hours yesterday, a conflict that promises to be both dirty and cruel. Even the city’s police force was sent to the front, its officers parading in a fleet of squad cars through the central streets, waving their newly issued Kalashnikov rifles from the windows.
What is one to say of such frantic, impersonal – and, yes, courageous – chaos? A truck crammed with more than a hundred Iraqi troops, many in blue uniforms, all of them carrying rifles which gleamed in the morning sunlight, sped past me towards the airport. A few made victory signs in the direction of my car – I confess to touching 145km an hour on the speedometer – but of course one had to ask what their hearts were telling them. “Up the line to death” was the phrase that came to mind. Two miles away, at the Yarmouk hospital, the surgeons stood in the car park in blood-stained overalls; they had already handled their first intake of military casualties.
A few hours later, an Iraqi minister was to tell the world that the Republican Guard had just retaken the airport from the Americans, that they were under fire but had won “a great victory”. Around Qadisiya, however, it didn’t look that way. Tank crews were gunning their T-72s down the highway past the main Baghdad railway yards in a convoy of armoured personnel carriers and Jeeps and clouds of thick blue exhaust fumes. The more modern T-82s, the last of the Soviet-made fleet of battle tanks, sat hull down around Jordan Square with a clutch of BMP armoured vehicles.
The Americans were coming. The Americans were claiming to be in the inner suburbs of Baghdad – which was untrue; indeed, the story was designed, I’m sure, to provoke panic and vulnerability among the Iraqis.
True or false, the stories failed. Across vast fields of sand and dirt and palm groves, I saw batteries of Sam-6 anti-aircraft missiles and multiple Katyusha rocket launchers awaiting the American advance. The soldiers around them looked relaxed, some smoking cigarettes in the shade of the palm trees or sipping fruit juice brought to them by the residents of Qadisiya whose homes – heaven help them – were now in the firing line.
But then there was the white-painted Japanese pick-up truck that pulled out in front of my car. At first, I thought the soldiers on the back were sleeping, covered in blankets to keep them warm. Yet I had opened my car window to keep cool this early summer morning and I realised that all the soldiers – there must have been 15 of them in the little truck – were lying on top of each other, all with their heavy black military boots dangling over the tailboard. The two soldiers on the vehicles sat with their feet wedged between the corpses. So did America’s first victims of the day go to their eternal rest.
“Today, we attack,” the Minister of Information, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, was to announced an hour later, and he reeled off a list of Iraqi “victories” to sustain his country’s morale. Seven British and American tanks destroyed around Basra, four American personnel carriers and an American aircraft destroyed near Baghdad. At the airport, the Iraqis “confronted the enemy and slaughtered them”. Or so we were told.
Well, an Iraqi friend of mine who lives near the airport told me that he had seen a tank on fire, a tank with a black “V” sign painted on its armour. The “V” is the American symbol of “friendly force”, intended to warn their pilots from bombing their own soldiers by mistake. So this must have been an American tank.
But Mr Sahaf’s optimism got the better of him. Yes, he told journalists in Baghdad, Doura was safe, Qadisiya was safe. Yarmouk was safe. “Go and look for yourselves,” he challenged. Ministry of Information officials were ashen-faced. And when foreign correspondents were bussed off on this over-confident adventure, they were turned back at the Yarmouk hospital and the ministry buses firmly ordered to carry reporters back to their hotel.
But an earlier 35-minute journey around the shell-embraced suburbs proved one thing yesterday: that the Iraqis – up till dusk at least – were preparing to fight the invaders. I found their 155mm artillery around the centre of the city, close to the rail lines. One artillery piece was even hauled up Abu Nawas Street beside the Tigris by a truck whose soldiers held up their rifles and shouted their support for Saddam Hussein.
And all day, the air raids continued. It gets confusing, amid the dust and smoke, all these new targets and new pockets of ruination. Was the grey-powdered rubble in Karada a building yesterday, or was it struck last week? The central telephone exchange had taken another hit. So had the communications centre in Yarmouk. And then I noticed, along the front line where the Iraqi soldiers were preparing to become heroes or “martyrs” or survivors – the last an infinitely preferable outcome to the sanest of soldiers – how small craters had been punched into the flowerbeds on the central reservations.
Ever so slowly, the suburbs of Baghdad were being turned into battlefields.
For a PDF version of this article, click here.
Russian Military Intel update:
War in Iraq, April 6, 2003
– Translation by “Necroman”]
Around Baghdad skirmishes between coalition forces and Iraqi divisions are going on. As we said before, during the next two days the coalition troops will extend the zone of blockade to the west and north-west using local strikes. Currently a part of the 1st brigade of the 3rd Mechanized Division is outflanking the city from Abu- Harraib, trying to reach the south outskirts and seize a strategic bridge across the Tigris at the north of the Tunis area (Salakh-Khasan).
Fire has not stopped near the Airport, both sides are using artillery. According to the most recent data the rush of the coalition forces toward to the southern borders of Baghdad, though expected by the Iraqi command, was tactically a surprise. Hidden in the interiors of the city, parts of the Iraqi army were unable to leave their covered positions, advance and face the enemy. There arouse confusion that led to disorganization of the Iraqi squadrons that engaged their rivals “on the move”, without proper reconnaissance and concentration of forces.
According to specified information in different conflicts and during the assault of the airport up to 400 Iraqi soldiers were killed, 25 tanks and 12 guns were lost. But the coalition command also faced serious problems. Powerful Iraqi attacks aimed at the airport immobilized most of the force breaking towards Baghdad and it turned out necessary to bring reinforcements from other sectors of the front in order to succeed. In particular, up to 2 battalions of the 101st Airborne Division located by An-Nasiriya and An-Najaf and at least 1 battalion of the 82nd Division were moved there. Americans tolls at the south and south-east of Baghdad for the last 24 hours amount to: up to 30 men killed and at least 80 wounded, 15 soldiers are known to be missing. The Americans lost at least 8 tanks and 5 APC.
Marine squadrons are still incapable of breaking down defenses by the Diyala river. Currently the vanguards are trying to outflank the city from east and seize the bridge in the New Baghdad region. There are not enough coalition forces to block such a city, and the troops blocking An-Nasiriya, An-Najaf, Al-Kut and Al- Diwaniya were given categorical orders to break down the Iraqi resistance in the next 3 days, take control of those areas and advance toward Baghdad to join the blockade.
To organize offensive against Karbala the blocking troops were enforced with one expeditionary marine squadron, and another storm started this morning. There is no information about casualties from this region yet. Analogous tasks were set before the British command at the south of Iraq near Basra.
For the past 2 days the British have tried to overcome Iraqi defenses from An- Zubair and the Manavi regions 3 times, but they still cannot break down the resistance. This morning an armored column was able to come up to a strategic cross-road near Akhavat-Rezan, but got under heavy fire and had to retreat. Yesterday and during this morning the British lost at least 3 armored units, 2 men killed and 6 wounded.
The coalition command and the foreign policy departments of Russia and USA are now making every effort to close all the information related to the Russian embassy getting fired upon near Baghdad.
Sources claim that the embassy ceased its activities in many respects because of the danger of an air strike on the embassy. The American command was utterly irritated by the presence of the Russian embassy in Baghdad and believed that some technical intelligence equipment was deployed there that provided the Iraqis with information. Moreover, some officers in the coalition HQ in Qatar openly claimed that it was on the territory of the Russian embassy that the “jammers” hampering the high-precision weapons around Baghdad were operated.
Yesterday morning the Secretary of State Colin Powell demanded of immediate evacuation of the embassy from the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov. Yesterday evening the Russian minister informed the Americans that on the 6th of April the embassy column would be leaving Baghdad heading for the Syrian border. This gave rise to dissatisfaction among the State Department officials who suggested that the column should move to Jordan.
The coalition special operations HQ were sure that the embassy column would contain secret devices taken from military equipment captured by Iraqis. In this connection one cannot shut out the possibility of “revenge” from the coalition command. Moreover, experts claim that the purpose of this armed assault could be to damage a few cars where the Russians would have to leave some of the salvage. This is also indicated by the fact that neither the ambassador himself nor journalists in the column were among the injured. In this case we can expect that this action was committed by coalition special forces and the column was shot using Russian-made weapons to conceal the origin of the attackers to blame the Iraqis afterwards.
According to the most recent data the column got ambushed almost 30 km to the west from the city on the territory occupied by the coalition, but moving fast it escaped from fire and made a few more kilometers where it was blocked by military jeeps. On attempting to establish contact with their crews it received fire again; then the jeeps vanished.
Today at 5pm a phone conversation between president of Russia Vladimir Putin and president of the USA George W. Bush took place. Before this conversation, his assistant for National Security Affairs Condoleezza Rice, who came into Moscow today, had consulted Bush. At this time Rice is meeting Igor Ivanov, the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The details of this meeting are unknown so far, but we can suppose that very soon some “unknown squadrons” will be made responsible for the incident and the situation will be dampened to the maximum. Analysts reckon that the situation with the nuclear submarine “Kursk”, when a whole series of private contacts between top Russian officials and American representatives brought more questions than answers, is about to occur again to some extent.
For a PDF version of this article, click here.
Iraqi Resistance Report IV
[Compiled from Different Arab Sources]
The Free Arab Voice
April 6, 2003
If anyone still has any doubt that the Coalition of the Morally Bankrupt has been lying about the magnitude of its losses in this war, he or she should take a very hard look at the footage of the wreckage of destroyed Coalition invader tanks and armored vehicles that were left split open like discarded cans of sardines around the area of Saddam’s International Airport.
Such charred up and blown up tanks and armored vehicles in the vicinity of the airport were shown today on all major Arab satellite TV stations. Given the ferocity of the battle that raged around the airport, and the number of Coalition machinery (sic) left behind, it would take a very stubborn person to insist that the figure of two or three American casualties that Coalition sources reported were incurred in the battle of the airport is the correct one.
In fact, after journalists and reporters from non-Iraqi media were allowed to visit the vicinity of the airport, including a reporter of Al Manar TV of the pro-Iranian Hizbullah, it would take a very stubborn person indeed to insist that American troops are maintaining control of Saddam’s airport as the Western media continues to claim.
The truth is that an Iraqi counter-attack yesterday morning forced Coalition invader forces into an area near the airport called Abu Ghrayib, from which they have been constantly trying to bombard the airport till this moment. Other airborne landings in different parts of Baghdad yesterday were only meant to divert attention from the reinforcements Coalition invader forces were trying to deliver to their cornered troops in Abu Ghrayib. This evening, there are reports that renewed fighting has erupted between the Iraqi resistance and Coalition invader forces striving to reach the airport from another direction. In the meantime, civilian spots in the sprawling city of Baghdad keep getting hit with heavy Coalition bombardment that is leaving in its wake lots of torn up civilians in this campaign to free Iraqis from their independence as a sovereign state.
The Free Arab Voice
For a PDF version of this article, click here.
Department of Defense
Principles of Information
It is the policy of the Department of Defense to make available timely and accurate information so that the public, Congress and the news media may assess and understand the facts about national security and defense strategy.
Request for information from organizations and private citizens will be answered in a timely manner. In carrying out this policy, the following principles of information will apply:
· Information will be made fully and readily available, consistent with statutory requirements, unless its release is precluded by current and valid security classification. The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act will be supported in both letter and spirit.
· A free flow of general and military information will be made available, without censorship or propaganda, to the men and women of the Armed Forces and their family members. · Information will not be classified or otherwise withheld to protect the government from criticism or embarrassment.
· A free flow of general and military information will be made available, without censorship or propaganda, to the men and women of the Armed Forces and their family members.
· Information will not be classified or otherwise withheld to protect the government from criticism or embarrassment.
· Information will be withheld only when disclosure would adversely affect national security or threaten the safety or privacy of the men and women of the Armed Forces.
· The Department’s obligation to provide the public with information on its major programs may require detailed public affairs planning and coordination within the Department and with other government agencies. The sole purpose of such activity is to expedite the flow of information to the public: propaganda has no place in Department of Defense public affairs programs.
For a PDF version of this article, click here.
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