Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Other Items (Robert Knight's commentary)

In today's Knight Report, the Senate stands firm on a soft bill on the war in Iraq which faces a Bush veto if and when it's ever passed. I'm Robert Knight in New York. The Senate deliberated late into the evening to resolve a difference in the Iraq war spending bill, S695, with Friday's House version, HR 1591. The House version of the appropriations measure would extend the war until September 1, 2008 and allow the Bush administration to retainin Iraq more than half of the 150,000 US troops already there through the technical artifice of declaring them "non-combat."
Just moments ago in a preliminary skirmish, Senators voted 50 to 48 along party lines, with the exception of neo-Republican Democrat Joseph Lieberman, to retain that would suggest but not require a US troop redeployment from Iraq by April 1, 2008.
The language of the pending Senate bill being pushed by Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid is even weaker than the House bill since it only expresses the unenforceable goal, but not requirement, that most troops leave Iraq by March 31, 2008.
As with the House's war preservation bill, the Senate version would enable an unknown number of US troops to remain in Iraq beyond April 2008 for counter-insurgency training and security operations.
As of deadline the Senate continued deliberations over the 122 billion dollar appropriation which
remains to be resolved with the House measure.
The final legislation will almost certainly be met with a veto from President Bush.
Referring to Iraq's militarily occupied puppet regime and absentee parliament, the White House
declared late today that, "This and other provisions would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk, embolden our enemies and undercut the administration's plan to develop the Iraqi economy."
Passage of the non-binding Senate measure and it's subsequent veto would require Congress to reconvene and override or to re-legislate at the 122 billion dollar military and pork-barrel appropriation is ever to become public law and provide funds to continue the interminable wars
in Iraq, Afghanistan and other venues of the so-called war on terror.
Meanwhile in Iraq, more than 80 died in various attacks today as Shia death squads and Sunni nationalists continued their lethal operations. More than five dozen died after US and Iraqi troops were ambushed by a truck laden with bombs and bakery goods in Tal Afar. That's the town that President Bush described exactly a year and a week ago as "a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq."
And on the political front, puppet prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, under the urging of US pro-counsel Zalmay Khalilzad, made an in substantive promise this week, to consider easement on the ban on former Baathists in Iraqi public life. But the proposal contained no significant details or procedures and is being viewed in the Arab world as a public relations sop to the upcoming Arab League summit whose member states have been demanding an end to Shia death squads and the abolition of the so-called de-Baathification Commission headed by United States intelligence asset Ahmed Chalabi whose serial prevarications enabled the Bush administration initial excuses for launching the war in Iraq.
And finally, the BBC is reporting today that on the basis of freedom of information documents, government scientists inside the Blair regime disagree with the challenge made by the British prime minister and Islamic scholar against a recent report by the medical journal Lancet which found that 655,000 Iraqis have been killed as a result of the Anglo-American invasion of 2003. The study was conducted by Johns Hopkins University in Maryland and the Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. It was immediately condemned by the Bush and Blair administrations but, according to the BBC, science officials say the study properly used, "a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."
Moreover, the chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, Roy Anderson, said the methods used were "robust and close to best practice."
The Lancet study estimated that 600,000 of the two-thirds of a million Iraqi deaths were due to violence. An that's some of the news of this Tuesday, March 27, 2007. From exile in New York, I'm Robert Knight for Flashpoints.

The above is Knight's Knight Report, in full, from yesterday's Knight Report. If this looks familiar, Kyle e-mailed that the links were wrong yesterday. My apologies. So we'll repeat from yesterday. The Knight Report airs at the start of Flashpoints (minus technical difficulties or illness) Mondays through Thursdays (I believe Fridays were also included when Knight was recently in the Bay Area). The Knight Report is the headlines for the hour long program hosted by Dennis Bernstein and Nora Barrows-Friedman. On Fridays, the last fifteen minutes of the hourly program offers news in Spanish. The program airs live online via Flashpoints and KPFA and also over the airwaves in the Bay Area, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Archived broadcasts can be found at Flashpoints and in the KPFA archives. We'll quote from Robert Knight in the snapshot today and note in that the links to Flashpoints were wrong yesterday. Thanks to Kyle for pointing that out. And Lisa wants it noted is availble on KFCF (airwaves and online) as well.

Kirk Semple and Alissa J. Rubin's "Sweeps in Iraq Cram Two Jails With Detainees" (New York Times) does note the murders of "two Chaldean Christian nuns in Kirkuk" and offer this:

In Kirkuk, residents walked in shocked silence behind a funeral procession for two nuns, who were sisters and longtime residents of the city. They were killed early Tuesday.
Sister Margaret Saour, 80, and Sister Fadhila Saour, 71, were known in their neighborhood for their devotion to the church and to charitable works. On Monday, they attended evening prayers at the Chaldean cathedral, said one of the cathedral's priests, Saoor Shamel.
Their last minutes were filled with terror. After midnight, gunmen entered the nuns' house, which is near the Kirkuk government building. They shot Margaret, who was blind, and then turned to Fadhila. Terrified, she tried to flee, but before she could cross the yard, the attackers stabbed her to death, according to Col. Taha Salah, the Qouriya neighbhood.

The reporters address (possibly as much as can be in in a daily newspaper, let alone the Times) the attacks on religious minorities, they completely sidestep the issue of gender. This was a gender-based attack and it needs to be noted as such. But that won't be touched.

Other reports note that the women were both stabbed, other reports note different ages. But, after refusing to note the gender basis to the attack, the most troubling aspect of this article is that they have information -- a stringer provides it, the two sisters were known. This is a chance for the paper to actually write about victims.

The majority of the daily victims are never known. It's unindentified corpses -- some of whom go unclaimed at morgues and are buried in mass graves. With the two nuns, they were known in the community. With so little coverage of the Iraqi dead, this was an opportunity to really cover two of the dead and the Times failed. They're more interested in the nonsense of Ahmed Chalabi (you read that right) which is the thrust of the bulk of the [insert pejorative] article: a monitoring group of prisoners swept up in the crackdown.

The 'inspections' are done by lawyers "working under a government committee run by Shiite politician Ahmad Chalabi." Chalabi brags that, "The idea is to fix the system, not to shame them and expose them." Not to shame or expose them certainly would be the goal of someone convicted of bank fraud in Jordan. And the 'inspections' and the monitoring group have nothing to brag about. They're denied entrance to a prison in the Kadhimiya section of Baghdad, they really do nothing but serve as another effort for Chalabi to attempt to rehabilitate his increasingly tarred image.

Finally, MSNBC News reports:

Off-duty Shiite policemen enraged by massive bombings in the northern town of Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents there on Wednesday, killing at least 45 men, police and hospital officials said.
The policemen began roaming the town's Sunni neighborhoods on foot early in the morning, shooting at Sunni residents and homes.
A senior hospital official in Tal Afar said at least 45 men ages 15 to 60 were killed and four others were wounded.

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