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StateSide:Media
Archive: December 2006
Website www.icasualties.org leads with accurate estimate.
By ROBERT Y. PELTON 12/31/2006 4:01 PM ET
The homespun web site icasualties.org has determined that the United States Military has reached the 3000 killed milestone. Kristin Roberts of the Reuters Washington Bureau provides more insight and background to the story behind the cold statistic.

The AP agrees with the count releasing their official number of 3000 shortly after the one many web site. "At least 820 U.S. military personnel died in Iraq in 2006, according to the AP count."

Game Show Network Releases New Game
12/30/2006 2:11 PM ET
Some may find this in bad taste; that a company has already released a videogame related to Saddam. However, some will obviously want to re-visit the hanging over and over. Thus, the Game Show Network's latest release: Saddam's Hangman, No Noose is Good Noose. "A game of hangman with a sick twist...you actually want to hang the man."

Beware of Invalid Dinars, Fake Dinars, Scam Exchange Rates
12/27/2006 3:17 PM ET
Show Me the Money -- the Valid Dinars
Show Me the Money -- the Valid Dinars

For those would-be currency speculators out there, it seems quite easy to buy Iraqi dinars, and interest seems to be peaking because the Iraqi dinar (like many foreign currencies) is strengthening as the U.S. dollar weakens.

IraqSlogger turned up some interesting spots to buy them, and some are far, far away from Iraq.

A search on eBay of "Iraqi dinars" produced 592 postings -- many of them featuring old Saddam-era dinars that are no longer valid currency.

If you're considering buying Iraqi dinars, make sure they're the new Iraqi dinars issued from October 2003. Otherwise, if the dinars have Saddam's image on them, they're worthless except as souvenirs. Also, it's prudent to deal with a trusted seller/trader because fake dinars are in wide circulation.

Today, One U.S. dollar buys roughly 1,400 new Iraqi dinars.

A seller in Cleveland, Ohio (bigcj40, in case anyone wants to bid) who claims to sell "anything under the sun", with a 99.9 percent positive feedback rating is selling ten "mint uncirculated" 50-dinar banknotes. His history: buyers saying "very nice coins, prompt communications, and shipment, great seller A+, Thanks!" and another saying "perfect in every way." Verified for authenticity, the ad claims.

A power seller who owns online shop "Panda Collectibles" is selling Irai dinars with Arabian horses on them. One could also pick up a random assortment of other currencies, not just Iraqi dinars. One could also purchase a 1990 Guinea Bissau banknote for a "Buy it Now" price of just $1.09. Not a bad price, if I had a need to remember the vacation I never had there.

For those big boys who want to really roll up their sleeves, they can buy 10 million new dinars from dinarindex.com for a "Buy it Now" price of just $10,220 -- far from a good buy when considering at a bank in Baghdad 10 million Iraqi dinars would cost you roughly $7,500.

It seems that there is no shortage of advice out there on whether to buy Iraqi dinars, but didn't someone say that advice was what what you pay for it -- Nothing?

A few interesting tidbits IraqSlogger has found:

The debate on Investors Iraq Forum includes a few choice quotes:

"My wife doesn't want to hear about it (the dinar) either, she just shakes her head and says, " yeah sure" when I tell her its on its way."

"I have seen alot of talk that foriegn governments have bought/obtained iraqi dinar. My question is which governments? How much do they have? This has been started in the Rumors section because I think that it just that....Rumors. But, with some links perhaps we can move it to it's proper place......we shall see. Anyone?"

"I wonder what George Soros is holding?????"

"Some like to promote any positive information that is posted on this forum as dealer spin. I'm not a dealer and the fact is that the dinar celebrated extraordinary value years before the destructive reign of Saddam Hussein. Wavering faith that the dinar could ever return to it's glory days has many doubting why they ever invested in the dinar. A little bit of history of the dinar will show the clear cause but also indicate that potential should not be underestimated."

For those who would like to see just how much their dinars are worth in U.S. dollars after they buy them on eBay, use Bloomberg's currency calculator.

Army Subpoenas Journalists Over Officer's Quotes
By ANNA SHEN 12/22/2006 11:30 PM ET
In a serious blow to first amendment rights, the army has subpoenaed two journalists to testify regarding an officer who refused to deploy with his unit to Iraq and criticized President Bush and the war, reports Bob Egelko, staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

The journalists, Sarah Olson, a freelance journalist and radio reporter, and Gregg Kakesako, who covers military affairs for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, were subpoenaed last week by the army to testify about quotes attributed to an officer, 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, who faces up to six years in prison if convicted.

The officer faces a court martial and as many as six years in prison if convicted.

Reporter Sarah Olson commented, saying that, "It's not a reporter's job to participate in the prosecution of her own sources. When you force a journalist to participate, you run the risk of turning the journalist into an investigative tool of the state.''

The second journalist, Gregg Kakesako, declined to comment.

Olson added that she has no legal grounds to refuse to testify, since she is only being asked to verify the truth of her reporting. Her ethical dilemma, she said, is that she would be aiding the prosecution of one of the dissidents and war critics who confide in her to tell their stories.

Watada's lawyer, Eric Seitz, said that it didn't bother him that the journalist's testify, but that the main issue was whether he had First Amendment rights or not.

The article adds that: "Subpoenas come at a time of increasing efforts by the Bush administration to pressure reporters to testify about their sources and newsgathering."

This news is in contrast to a website featured in Iraqslogger yesterday, which is an online "request" called, well, accurately Appeal for Redress, which is being sponsored by active duty service members and allows online signatures by military to urge Congress an end to the war in Iraq. So far, 1,000 people have signed. It is, however, not a petition.

Says More Troops Not the Answer
12/17/2006 10:16 PM ET
CBS News

In a frank assessment of the war in Iraq, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the U.S. is losing the war and added that sending more troops would not be the best way to change course within the country.

On this morning's "Face the Nation," Powell said he agreed with the Iraq Study Group's conclusion that the situation was "grave and deteriorating, and we're not winning; we are losing."

He said that he was "not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work." He added that U.S. Army and Marine Corps are not big enough to quell the violence and that Baghdad needs a police force, not American troops.

Powell gave his prescription for action in Iraq:

"I think that what we should do is to work with the Iraqi government, press them on the political peace, do everything we can to provide equipment, advisers, and whatever the Iraqi armed forces need to become more competent, and to train their leaders so that those leaders realize their responsibility to the government."

He added: "I think we are a little less safe, in the sense that we don't have the same force structure available for other problems," Powell said. "I think we have been somewhat constrained in our ability to influence events elsewhere."

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