At Iraq Dispatches, Dahr Jamail has a new post entitled "Sketchy Details:"
Yesterday Iraq's Minister of Defense, Sadoun al-Dulaimi, announced that starting Saturday 40,000 Iraqi troops will seal Baghdad and begin to "hunt down insurgents and their weapons." Baghdad will be divided into two main sections, east and west, and within each section there will be smaller areas of control.
There will be at least 675 checkpoints and al-Dulaimi said this is the first phase of a security crackdown that will eventually cover all of Iraq.
Keep in mind that most of Iraq has remained in a "state of emergency" since the beginning of the siege of Fallujah, on November 8th.
"We will also impose a concrete blockade around Baghdad, like a bracelet around an arm, God willing, and God be with us in our crackdown on the terrorists' infrastructure."
Also at the press conference was Bayan Jabor, the Minister of Interior who added, "These operations will aim at turning the government's role from defensive to offensive."
This is really, really bad news.
To find out why, continue reading Dahr Jamail's post.
From London's The Guardian, Marcia e-mails Audrey Gillan's "Habeas corpus sought for Briton in Iraq:"
Lawyers acting for a Briton detained in Iraq for eight months on suspicion of terrorism are to take the government to court and demand he be returned to the UK.
The man was named for the first time as Hilal Abdul-Razzaq Ali al-Jedda, though little more is known about him except that he is married with four children.
The human rights lawyer Phil Shiner has written to government lawyers demanding his release, and will ask for a writ of habeas corpus in the courts this week, arguing that the man should be returned to face any charges in the UK.
Pru e-mails Roger Hardy's "Analysis: Surge in Iraq violence" from the BBC:
Since the beginning of the month, more than 550 people have been killed in Iraq. Experts are left struggling to explain the escalation of violence.
The latest attacks by insurgents have been largely in the centre and north of the country. There have been attacks in different parts of Baghdad, in Tikrit about 175km (110 miles) to the north, and, further north, in the town of Hawija, near Kirkuk.
There has also been fierce fighting between US forces and suspected Islamic militants in what is often called Iraq's "wild west", near the Syrian border.
A big US operation is under way against a suspected network of the radical Jordanian Islamist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The violence has shattered the lull which followed the Iraqi election at the end of January.
April saw a sharp increase in attacks, especially suicide bombings, and this month there has so far been no let-up.
Lloyd e-mails Media Matters' "Major newspapers largely ignored White House rejection of senators' call for consultation on judicial nominees:"
A Media Matters for America review of major newspaper coverage of the past two days has found that, with the exception of The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Reuters news service and the San Francisco Chronicle, the print media have largely ignored the White House's rejection of a bipartisan call for greater consultation on federal judicial nominees.
The bipartisan group of 14 senators announced their compromise the evening of May 23. Aside from the portion of the agreement that preserved the filibuster, the agreement also called for President Bush to "return to the early practices" of consulting with senators before making judicial nominations:
We believe that, under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution, the word "Advice" speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President's power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.
Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate.
Sally e-mails in the latest from Bartcop. We love Bartcop here but note that it is not a work safe environment site. (Meaning, if you have a job where the company or boss would write you up for going to a site with curse words or -- I swear I remember this -- a topless photo of Dr. Laura -- I swear I'd love to forget it -- you could get in trouble.) But Sally notes that she sees nothing that could get anyone in trouble. We're also in down time (most members have e-mailed that they'll be on vacation this week -- there will be posts here) so we can take a minute to highlight a great voice that we often don't get the time for. Bartcop is writing about a recent trip and there are some great photos. I agree with Sally about not seeing anything in this entry that could get anyone in trouble but (as always with links) you click at your own expense.
Before you click the link, it goes to the main page. Meaning if it's updated while Bartcop is on vacation, you'll get something else. As this is typed, if you're someone working the Memorial Day Weekend you should be fine currently but I can't promise that if it's updated.
Here's Bartcop detailing the lead up to the trip:
What an opening day we had. Since the trip was given to us, we didn't make our own travel arrangements. On the way to Tulsa International Airport, it was raining cats and dogs and at one point I thought I ran over a poodle. That's an old joke, but I wanted to get Tony Blair in this report somewhere.
So it's raining so hard we can't see - and of course we're running late - and Mrs. Bart double checks out itinerary and it says "Northwest Airlines." That threw us into a panic, because we're supposed to be flying Continental.
So after a couple of calls, they tell us that Continental doesn't really service Tulsa, so they use Northwest's facilities, instead. That makes sense - this is Oklahoma. So we get to the Tulsa airport and it's dark. Dark as in "no lights."
That figures. Our once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii - to be cancelled by a closed airport?
We asked the dudes in charge what was goin on and they said the airport generators failed, and with no power they can't screen the bags so obviously no planes were taking off until cousin IT figured out how to fix it.
(For new members and visitors, our policy is to be work place safe. That's why we use "f**k," for instance. As long term members know, because we've addressed this many times, I have a friend who was written up for visiting a site with foul language. The site, by the way, was the Washington Post. It was the article on Dick Cheney use of the f-word. Due to that, we've always tried to be a site that's work place safe. A number of our members visit while on the clock and I'd hate to ever have something up here that could lead to them getting into trouble. With all links, you're on your own. And as members know from private e-mails, I swear all the time myself. This isn't a "shame on you" policy or judgement on anyone else. I just never want to get an e-mail that reads "Thanks a lot! Because you used the f-word, I got written up today.")
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