Author Topic: "bad things happen in wars"  (Read 1680 times)

"bad things happen in wars"
« on: May 21, 2004, 11:35:15 AM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1221658,00.html

so says the major general responsible for the bombing of a wedding party in iraq earlier this week.

the americans say they were retaliating to shots from a known hideout of insurgents.

this doesn't account for the fact that the 42 dead include: 14 children, 12 women, the bride and groom, the wedding band

in iraq they fire guns in the air to celebrate, this custom is bound to lead to trouble with trigger happy nervous soldiers.

fucking unbelievable. they don't want another scandal so in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the army says it was attacking the foreign fighters

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2004, 11:43:24 AM »
I do find it impressive in the absurd, how we can have something as brutal as war, and then proceed to set up rules about what is acceptable and unacceptable with regards to something which is essentially about getting your way using violence to achieve it.

Mister Six

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2004, 11:46:47 AM »
Maybe the insurgents were hidden in the wedding cake, like that bit in Some Like it Hot.

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2004, 01:35:43 PM »
Another day, another shitty American cock-up. Pretty soon there won't be any Iraqis to hand power over to.

Jemble Fred

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2004, 01:58:45 PM »
I know! You can't get any more reasonable than shooting guns in the air because you're a bit chuffed!

The last wedding I went to all we got was confetti.

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2004, 03:01:22 PM »
Quote from: "Ghost of Troubled Joe"
Another day, another shitty American cock-up. Pretty soon there won't be any Iraqis to hand power over to.


Well it would solve a shitload of problems.

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2004, 03:32:28 PM »
The wedding video will be well worth a glance.  And remember, we pay £250 for every clip we use.

Johnny Yesno

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2004, 04:42:27 PM »
Quote from: "Partridge's Love Child"
The wedding video will be well worth a glance.  And remember, we pay £250 for every clip we use.


 :) Now that is black humour. Fuck off Davis, PLC's here!

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2004, 06:02:06 PM »
The Yanks did something similar in Afghanistan, bombing a wedding party and killing 60+ people. Richard Littlejohn was most amused by it, I recall, writing "they should stick to confetti next time!" although I can't recall if that was the time he used the jihad-inviting headline "You're Shi'ite And You Know You Are."

If Littlejohn ever gets a Salman-Rushdie style fatwah launched against him, I'll be most annoyed if one penny of tax-payer's money is used to protect him.

And I'll be the first to download the .mpeg of him having his body cut off from his head.

Cerys

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2004, 06:12:29 PM »
Quote from: "Ghost of Troubled Joe"
Another day, another shitty American cock-up. Pretty soon there won't be any Iraqis to hand power over to.


And you think this is a coincidence...?

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2004, 01:04:14 PM »
What happened was of course a disaster.

But isn't shooting guns into the air in a militarily occupied country, especially one that seems to be occupied by boofheads with low IQs, asking for trouble?

I'm all for quaint local customs,
it's what makes "Holiday" bearable watching after the untimely death of Dando left me heartbroken for so very,very long,
But shouldn't  you curb your enthusiasm under the circumstances?

I've heard of celebration bullets falling back to earth and killing bystanders too.

Wedding day disasters are of course the staple of those funniest home video blooper tapes, so maybe the guy who did shot the wedding video could send in the tape to that fat bird off Emerdale. Remember, every clip shown wins 500 quid, I'm sure after that is coverted to Iraqi money it would pay for the coffins and you'd have enough left for cucumber sandwiches at the buffet.

I sent in the video of that Israeli wedding where all the guests fell though the floor when they were dancing. I don't think it was ever shown. I don't know why, the looks on their faces was absolutely priceless.

Vermschneid Mehearties

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2004, 03:16:05 PM »
Quote
another shitty American cock-up


To be fair, that hasn't happened to any Iraqi prisoners in the past fortnight or so.

NaN

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2004, 05:36:26 PM »
linky

s'alright though.... if bad things happen, the coalition will be protected.... boy, a democratic iraq is going to be FUN

quadraspazzed

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2004, 05:44:27 PM »
Quote from: "BBC"
Meanwhile a leaked memo suggests strong UK criticism of US tactics.


Is that Tony going "Why did you take pictures you fools?"

Edit: actually you can see what the memo says here

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2004, 06:48:03 PM »
Quote from: "Ghost of Troubled Joe"
Another day, another shitty American cock-up.


It's too generous to call it a cock-up. US policy from the beginning has been to blow the bastards to bits first, ask questions later. Actually don't bother 'cos they're all dead. When invulnerable aircraft attack a civil gathering in the middle of the desert and kill 40 people, that's a war crime, not a cock-up.

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2004, 08:51:20 PM »
Quote
New allegations of systematic abuse of Iraqis by British troops
Five new witnesses to testify against Queen's Lancashires. US military investigates eight suspected prison murders
By Severin Carrell, Francis Elliott and Andrew Buncombe
23 May 2004


Evidence that soldiers of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment carried out systematic torture of Iraqi civilians under the direction of an officer is to be put before the High Court, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Five Iraqis arrested with Baha Mousa, the Basra hotel receptionist who allegedly died in detention after three days of beatings by QLR troops, have given detailed witness statements about their ordeal. Their evidence - given exclusively to the IoS - will undermine claims that abuses of Iraqi civilians were carried out by "rogue" members of the regiment.

However, there were reports last night that British and American soldiers would be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the handover of power on 30 June.

Lawyers and Amnesty International claim the witness statements show that officers were overseeing systematic ill-treatment and abuse of detainees as an interrogation technique. Lesley Warner, the media director for Amnesty UK, said yesterday: "The beatings were reportedly conducted in the presence of officers and in some cases officers actually took part. These reports are particularly serious and underline the need for a full, independent inquiry. Those responsible must be brought to justice." The Ministry of Defence would not comment on the statements, saying the case was still under investigation.

The emergence of the testimony has come after Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces minister, admitted last week that three further allegations of unlawful killings by British forces are being investigated, including the first allegations against the Royal Air Force Regiment. The RAF police is investigating the death of Tanik S Mahmud, an Iraqi prisoner of war who died in custody in April 2003 on board a military helicopter.

Mr Ingram also disclosed that a death in March 2003, involving a man named only as Mr Zaher, was under investigation. The third inquiry involves the shooting dead of a man celebrating a wedding, Ghanim Gatteh - a case revealed by the IoS last month.

Last Friday, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, revealed he had asked the Crown Prosecution Service to review a case of alleged murder by a British soldier because the MoD admitted it could not be dealt with under military law. The Royal Military Police has already recommended that soldiers face charges over the death of Mr Mousa, and senior military officials have confirmed that charges are "imminent". But the possible involvement of the CPS is thought to have delayed a final announcement.

The fresh evidence will add to the growing scandal of abuse in Iraq and elsewhere. The Pentagon revealed yesterday that the US military is carrying out another eight investigations into suspected murders of prisoners in custody. The causes of death, which have all been classed as homicides, include multiple gunshot wounds, strangulation and "blunt-force injuries". This take to 37 the number of suspicious deaths of detainees by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002.

The worst abuses are alleged to have occurred in a detention centre run by the elite Delta Force near Baghdad airport. Senior US officials claimed some of the "most egregious violations" of the Geneva Convention took place in the facility, known simply as BIF, some miles from the already notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

The revelations come after more than 40 Iraqis at a wedding party, including children, were killed in a US air strike near the Syrian border. Military chiefs continue to insist the attack was justified by "credible intelligence", despite video footage, so far unpublished, that appears to show a devastated wedding celebration.

In a further blow to the Pentagon, a former US Marine reveals today in the IoS that soldiers in his unit routinely killed innocent civilians and desecrated corpses. Meanwhile, another member of the Iraqi Governing Council was targeted by insurgents linked to al-Qa'ida yesterday. Abdul-Jabbah Youssef al-Sheikhli, a deputy interior minister, received head and chest injuries in a suicide car-bomb attack that killed at least five.

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2004, 08:52:35 PM »
Quote
'Spray and slay': are American troops out of control in Iraq?
Fresh allegations of American abuse of prisoners continue to appal the world. But now 'The Independent on Sunday' has uncovered proof of US troops deliberately and indiscriminately shooting civilians. Here we examine new evidence that suggests the lawlessness in the American military was never confined to the prison camps and torture rooms but extended to the streets and homes of Iraq
By Raymond Whitaker in London and Justin Huggler in Baghdad
23 May 2004


Amid the welter of ugly pictures from Iraq last week were images worse than those of the humiliation and torture of detainees in Abu Ghraib prison. These show chunks of flesh and hanks of women's hair scattered across a scene of devastation. Among the few recognisable objects are musical instruments.

This is the scene of an incident that has divided Iraqis from their occupiers like few others. It has highlighted an issue more significant, yet far less discussed, than mistreatment in prisons: the degree to which indiscriminate use of American firepower has made enemies of the Iraqi population. According to independent estimates - none are available from the coalition - about 11,500 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the start of the war in March last year.

The footage of flesh, hair and musical instruments was filmed by a video crew that reached the location of what local people say was a wedding party attacked without warning by the Americans, killing women and children. The instruments belonged to the band of Hussein Ali, one of Iraq's most famous wedding singers, whose relatives buried him in Baghdad last week.

Despite this evidence - and earlier pictures filmed by al-Arabiya television, showing two dead babies wrapped side by side in a blanket, and a headless child lying next to the body of his or her mother - American commanders continue to insist that their strike, on a remote village in the desert close to the Syrian border, was against foreign fighters crossing into Iraq.

"These were more than two dozen military-age males," scoffed Maj-Gen James Mattis, commander of the US 1st Marine Division. "Let's not be naive." What about the video footage? Maj-Gen Mattis said he had not seen it, but added: "Bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologise for the conduct of my men." Although an investigation has been promised, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers, said in Washington: "We feel at this point very confident that this was a legitimate target, probably foreign fighters."

Not only that: the Americans are now also dropping hints that the "foreign fighters" could be linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an Islamist militant leader and ally of Osama bin Laden who is in Iraq, and who is accused of personally beheading the American hostage Nick Berg. Although such a connection was "still to be determined", said General Myers, it was "not out of the question".

More telling, however, was the reaction of the occupation authorities to the damaging video footage. US officials demanded al-Arabiya give them the name of the cameraman who shot the pictures. Al-Arabiya refused.

As the Abu Ghraib scandal has proved, shocking images can lead to investigations not only in Iraq but in Afghan-istan, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere, and cause trouble not only for the military but for the CIA and the White House as well. Until they saw the pictures, Americans were unaware of what was happening to Iraqis in custody; they remain ignorant of the reasons for the mounting toll of civilian deaths, both during and since the invasion last year, despite the evidence of those few Americans who have witnessed them, such as Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey, reported opposite.

Ever since the occupation began, there have been regular stories of American soldiers who were attacked by insurgents on the streets of Iraqi cities and reacted by spraying the entire area with wild, indiscriminate gunfire, killing and maiming innocent Iraqi bystanders. Other accounts, however, are even more sinister.

Before he was jailed for a year last week for failing to return from leave, another soldier who served in Iraq, Sergeant Camilo Mejia, said a friend of his, a sniper, had shot a child about 10 years old who was carrying an automatic weapon. "He realised it was a kid," said Sergeant Mejia. "The kid tried to get up. He shot him again." The child died.

Few images exist of such incidents, not least because journalists seeking to record them have ended up dead themselves. Thanks to the persistence of one or two news organisations that have lost employees in Iraq, these deaths are among the few to have been independently investigated. After an award-winning cameraman, Mazen Dana, became the second Reuters employee to be killed, the agency hired a security company and carried out an exhaustive inquiry which found few differences of fact with the military investigation, but which differed radically on the conclusions.

The soldier who shot Mr Dana claimed he had made "sudden movements" which made him think the cameraman was about to fire a rocket-propelled grenade, that he was blinded by the sun at the time, and that he could not distinguish at a distance of 75 metres between an RPG and a television camera.

Despite pages of evidence proving the sun was not in the position claimed, and photographs demonstrating the visible difference at 75 metres between a camera and a large weapon, the US military is sticking to its finding that the journalist's death was "justified based on the information available ... at the time".

If an organisation with the international clout of Reuters cannot get the Pentagon to admit an error might have been made, the survivors of last week's slaughtered wedding party have even less chance that their version of events will prevail. But the incident illustrates several of the concerns expressed about the operations undertaken by US forces in Iraq, including their ignorance of Iraqi culture, their isolation from local people and their over-dependence on firepower.

"How many people go to the middle of the desert 10 miles from the Syrian border to hold a wedding?" demanded Maj-Gen Mattis.

The answer is plenty, if you come from a clan of livestock herders and that is where you have lived all your life. The clan straddles the Syrian border; even distant relatives would be expected to turn up from there, as well as the far corners of Iraq.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the US military spokesman in Iraq, said US forces found guns, Syrian passports and a satellite phone at the scene of the fighting. None of that was surprising, either: even in the cities, every house has a weapon. In a village 75 miles from the nearest town they are even more necessary, both to protect against bandits and to shield flocks from wild animals. With no telephone lines and no mobile coverage, it is not unusual for such places to have a satellite phone as well.

"The British military tends to have far more open dealings with the local population than the Americans," said Christopher Bellamy, professor of military science at Cranfield University. "While the British rely more on local intelligence to warn them of trouble in advance, US forces have a 'stand-off' posture, which means trouble tends to erupt without warning. As a result they need to deliver enormous amounts of firepower to overcome it."

Eleanor Goldsworthy, UK forces specialist at the Royal United Services Institute, said the approach taken by British forces in Iraq was: "If we behave, we earn their goodwill." The American attitude, by contrast, was: "If they behave, they earn our goodwill." And if they don't, others might add, US forces will punish them - the policy that appeared to be adopted when the Marines moved on Fallujah last month in the wake of the deaths of four American private security men.

The insistence of the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, on a "war lite" policy, said Professor Bellamy, meant that "American forces have to make up in firepower what they lack in manpower". Because US soldiers specialised early in their careers, and received less overall training than their British counterparts, the majority were not effective combat troops, and had to be protected by those with the appropriate training.

"The philosophy is almost that of the wagon train, and tends to lead to the 'spray and slay' behaviour we have seen," said the analyst.

"It is hard to over-estimate the lack of awareness of most American soldiers in Iraq," said a military source. "Many, perhaps most, have never been abroad before. They see their mission as giving democracy to the Iraqis and enforcing stability, and find it very difficult to understand why the Iraqis aren't grateful. They have no idea that they are seen as arrogant and aggressive."

In the view of British forces, the source added, such attitudes had led to a succession of "fundamental mistakes", and had made senior officers extremely hostile to being put under American command. This is one of the options reported to be under consideration by Downing Street this weekend as the deployment of more British forces is weighed.

The US wants Britain to take over from the departed Spanish contingent in the Shia holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, where American firepower is being deployed against militias loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric declared an outlaw by Washington.

"Seeking to adopt normal low-profile British tactics in the wake of American aggressiveness would be difficult enough," said the military source, "but to have to go in under US operational command would be a disaster."

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2004, 08:54:46 PM »
Quote
Five new witnesses come forward to accuse QLR soldiers of violent abuse
The statements of men who say they were tortured for three days are at the centre of a High Court action by human rights groups
By Severin Carrell
23 May 2004


The Iraqi hotel workers say they were given a very simple choice: reveal the whereabouts of a suspected Iraqi insurgent, or face further violent abuse.

According to witness statements given by the five men, they were brought in front of a British officer in turn, but none of them knew where the suspect was. The hoods were shoved back over their heads and they were dragged away for another bout of beatings at the hands of soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment (QLR), they allege.

The men's graphic accounts ­ revealed in detailed statements given to The Independent on Sunday ­ include allegations of being punched, kicked, strangled, soaked with freezing water and hit with iron bars over three days.

The five were among eight men arrested during a raid by QLR troops on the Ibn al-Haytham hotel in Basra in September, following reports that the hotel was a base for Iraqi insurgents. Up to six QLR soldiers may face prosecution following the death of the hotel's receptionist, an Iraqi police colonel's son called Baha Mousa, after his arrest. The Ministry of Defence says it is rigorously investigating the allegations.

The claims of the five new witnesses will deepen the controversy surrounding the QLR which erupted this month over hoax Daily Mirror pictures that purported to show its members torturing Iraqi prisoners.

The latest allegations are potentially more serious, because the men say interrogations were overseen by an unnamed British officer at the Army's Basra headquarters. Rather than a few rogue soldiers being to blame, this implies more systematic abuse.

One of the men, Bahaa' Hashim Mohammed, 26, a labourer, said the officer "threatened me with severe torture if I did not talk". They said their injuries included damaged kidneys, broken ribs, a hernia, long-term breathing problems and scarring.

Baha Mousa's death ­ revealed by Robert Fisk in the IoS in January ­ has emerged as the most serious of nearly 40 cases of allegedly unlawful killings of Iraqi civilians and prisoners by British forces since the invasion.

These cases also involve the Royal Air Force Regiment, ministers admitted last week. RAF police are investigating the death of an Iraqi prisoner of war, who died in April last year as he was being transported in an RAF helicopter. In another case, soldiers face possible prosecution following the intervention last week of the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith.

Mr Mousa's death, from heart failure and asphyxia, has been at the centre of protests to the Government from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Amnesty International about alleged abuses by coalition forces.

It will now be the subject of a July High Court hearing over demands by lawyers and civil rights campaigners for a full, independent inquiry into the behaviour of British troops during the Iraq occupation. Nearly two weeks ago, a High Court judge said there was an "arguable case" that British forces in Iraq were bound by the Human Rights Act and that these cases "could give rise to criminal proceedings".

The new witness statements, which will be submitted as part of the High Court action by Phil Shiner, the human rights lawyer involved, follow existing allegations from a seventh man arrested at the hotel, Kifah Taha, that the beatings were systematic.

Their testimony suggests the QLR raid on the hotel descended into chaos. One of the Army's chief suspects, the hotel's co-owner, Haitham Vaha, escaped through a side door. As soldiers searched the building, several were seen by hotel staff taking 4.5 million Iraqi dinars from the hotel safe. According to one witness, Radif Tahir Muslim, a 29-year-old labourer working for the hotel, the soldiers were "punched" by an officer and forced to hand back the money.

The new witnesses link their abuse directly to the QLR's attempts to find Mr Vaha. In all five cases, they say, the first day of beatings culminated in questioning by an officer who interrogated them about Mr Vaha's whereabouts.

Mr Muslim describes taking soldiers to Mr Vaha's home. Even so, he says, he was taken back to the Army's headquarters at Al-Hakimia in a hood, beaten with an iron bar, verbally abused and pinched "very hard". Several witnesses say they knew they were being taken before an officer because as each of them was taken in and out of the cell, soldiers saluted the man carrying out their interrogations.

One of the five, Ahmad Taha Mousa al-Mutairi, was the brother of Kifah Taha, the hotel's co-owner, who was also arrested and was later hospitalised with kidney failure. Mr al-Mutairi was called to the hotel to hand over the safe keys and was arrested. He says that after a day of being punched and kicked, he was taken before an officer who promised he would be released if he revealed Mr Vaha's location.

After telling them he did not know the man's whereabouts, he says, "the hood was put back on my head and I was tortured for three days with no sleep or food. I was beaten on my genitals which resulted in a hernia that I am still suffering from. I have also sustained broken ribs and concussions [sic] in my chest, legs and all over my body."

Bahaa' Hashim Mohammed, a labourer, claimed "soldiers took it in turns beating us non-stop with their hands and boots as well as an iron bar." When he fell to the ground in exhaustion, they "would strangle me with their hands".

After being unable to reveal anything about Mr Vaha's location, he says he was hooded and assaulted. "They continued torturing me until I collapsed. When I woke up, I found a bottle with a bit of water that I drank, then I urinated in that bottle. A soldier came and emptied it in my mouth."

Another hotel worker, Jawad Kadhim Chamil, 45, said the abuse worsened after he was questioned by the officer. "One soldier punched me and broke three of my teeth. Another punched me in my eye and affected my eyesight. They used to sit me cross-legged and five soldiers would sit on top of me. I sustained a split in my anus which I am still suffering from."

Like every other witness involved, the oldest man, Sattar Shukri Abdulla, 51, says he recalls hearing Baha Mousa's beating and cries before he died. "On the second day they took Baha Mousa to the bathroom. I used to hear him screaming. The last thing I heard from him was: 'I am dying, blood'. I learnt of his death in Um Qasar detention [camp]," said Mr Abdullah. "I was released 55 days later. Some of my ribs were broken during torture."

The Ministry of Defence would not comment on the new witness statements. All six men are now expected to sue the MoD for damages for the injuries they allegedly suffered.

Sattar Shukri Abdulla: 'My ribs were broken during torture and I am still suffering pain in the chest'

Jawad Kadhim Chamil: 'One soldier punched me in the mouth and broke three teeth. Another hit me in the eye'

Bahaa' Hashim: 'Soldiers took it in turns beating us non-stop with their hands, boots and an iron bar'

Radif Tahir Muslim: says hotel staff were punched by an officer and forced to hand over cash from the safe

Ahmad Taha Mousa: 'I was beaten on my genitals which resulted in a hernia that I am still suffering from'

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2004, 09:01:29 PM »
Were this lot 'asking for it' and all?
If I was going to another country on holiday I would respect their customs. In a muslim country I would keep covered up as much as was deemed 'respectable' without donning a burkha. If these troops are in a culture where shooting into the air is a tradition in celebration - perhaps the troops should have been warned of that? :-\

Black humour is all very well, flippancy - not so much. Your troops are fucking up boys. Badly.

"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2004, 09:45:07 AM »
Quote

Bad people have celebrations too. Bad people have parties too.


U.S. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt explains why Arabic television has broadcast images from a wedding video which seems to contain images of people subsequently found dead in the rubble after the US attack.

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=015D2N4YXNUYICRBAEKSFFA?type=topNews&storyID=516238§ion=news]Classy reply

Jemble Fred

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"bad things happen in wars"
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2004, 12:31:55 PM »
One quote I recall from news this morning, probably from that self-same yank:

Mark Kermit went:
Quote
You know, bad people can have celebrations, too!


Insert stunned smiley face here.