Monday, August 18, 2008

Baghdad's (confusing) bombings

The plaza in front of Baghdad’s famous Abu Hanifa mosque in the Adhamiya district has lately been a place of joyous celebration and worship. On Sunday evening it was a scene of terror, as a suicide bomber struck a crowded street in front of the mosque.
The police and witnesses said the blast killed 15 people and wounded 29 others. Among the dead was Faruq Abdul Sattar, a deputy commander of Adhamiya’s Sunni Awakening council, the American-backed local force that guards the neighborhood, which is a Sunni stronghold.

The above is from Erica Goode and Ali Hameed's "Suicide Bomber Kills 15 at a Sunni Mosque in Baghdad" in this morning's New York Times (A10). Sudarsan Raghavan files a brief for the Washington Post which notes:

A suicide bomber on a bicycle attacked a checkpoint in northern Baghdad on Sunday, killing seven and wounding 13, police said. Among the dead was a well-known leader of a U.S.-backed program to protect neighborhoods.

Last night's entry included this: "They do have an article by Erica Goode and Ali Hameed ('Suicide Bomber Kills 15 at a Sunni Mosque in Baghdad') on violence that's not covered elsewhere -- violence today unless the motor cyclist they describe is the bicyclist described by McClatchy. In which case the death count has risen from 6 to 15 (with 29 more wounded)." Is it the same incident? Ned Parker and Saif Hameed's "Iraq bombing kills 15" (Los Angeles Times) attempts to clarify:

There were contradictory accounts of the incident. One police officer said the bomber was disguised as a woman and arrived on foot; another said the attacker was not disguised and arrived on a bike.

Last Wednesday, US war resister Jeremy Hinzman was informed he had to leave Canada by September 32rd. Courage to Resist alerts, "Supporters are calling on Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to intervene. Phone 613.996.4974 or email,"Iraq Veterans Against the War also encourages people to take action, "To support Jeremy, call or email Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and ask her to intervene in this case. Phone: 613.996.4974 email:" In addition to that, Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign is staging an emergency meeting this week (August 20th, Wednesday, 7:00 pm, Steelworkers Hall at 25 Cecil St.) and planning a day of action (September 13th) where "[a]ctions, demonstrations and pickets will take place in cities and towns all across Canada." Below is a video from the War Resisters Support Campaign.

Moving over to the US presidential race, Seth notes this from Team Nader:

Join Our Super Rallies for Open Debates!


Join Our Super Rallies for Open Debates! .

Click here to listen to Ralph's Saturday morning audio blog.

Good morning.

This is Ralph Nader.

As you know, Nader/Gonzalez is being blocked from the Presidential debates.

The corporate controlled, so-called Commission on Presidential Debates will not let any independent candidate in unless they show 15 percent in a series of polls in September.

That's no surprise.

What is surprising is the failure of other debates to fill the vacuum.

Part of this is due to Senator Obama's reluctance to engage his opponents.

On May 4, Obama told Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he was willing to debate with "any of my opponents about what this country means, what makes it great."

But earlier this month, Obama's campaign manager backed off, saying that Obama would debate only Senator McCain, and only in the three rigged debates sponsored by the two parties and paid for by major corporations.

Senator Obama has also refused to participate in a number of other debates -- including the Google debate in New Orleans, the Ft. Hood, Texas debate that is being organized by veterans groups, and the series of ten town hall meetings proposed by Senator McCain.

Senator Obama's refusal to participate is a mistake and is costing him in the polls.

Just yesterday, the Gallup tracking polls put McCain and Obama tied at 44 percent each.

If Obama doesn't agree to more debates, he could end up at the end of a sentence that starts with Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry.

With only McCain and Obama on the stage, there will be no debate of key issues and re-directions important to the majority of the American people.

Just go down the partial list:

Single payer Medicare for all health care -- supported by the majority of the American people, the majority of doctors and nurses, and just recently, unanimously, by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Obama says no. McCain says no.

Reversing U.S. policy in the Middle East -- Obama says no. McCain says no.

Cut the bloated, wasteful, redundant military budget -- Obama says no, McCain says no. They want a bigger military budget.

Empty the prisons of drug possessors and fill them up with corporate criminals -- Obama says no, McCain says no.

Nader/Gonzalez says yes -- to each.

The only way to change this systemic exclusion is for millions of Americans to become engaged now.

If you can, please join with us at our two Super Rallies -- on August 27th in Denver at the University of Denver's Magness Arena or September 4th in Minneapolis at Orchestra Hall.

And help us raise the banner for all to see -- Open the Debates.

If you are not able attend, please go to and donate now whatever you can -- up to the legal maximum of $4,600 -- to help fund our Open the Debates campaign.

Our goal is to raise $50,000 by Wednesday night.

Last night, we were close to $15,000 in less than three days.

But we have a ways to go.

So, join with us in Denver and Minneapolis, if you can.

We're planning to have some prominent activists and musicians with us -- stay tuned for more information on that.

And we have some surprise giant inflatable visuals that should will be a lot of fun, that will travel with us as we move from Denver to Minneapolis -- and that hopefully will bring attention to our Super Rallies from the press.

Thank you for your ongoing and considered support to our campaign.

Together we are making a difference.

Onward to November.

Ralph Nader


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