Friday, April 24, 2009

The US military announces another death, at least 60 Iraqis killed in Baghdad bombing today

Today the US military announced: "TIKRIT, Iraq -- A Multi-National Division - North Soldier died in a non-combat related incident in Salah ad Din province April 24. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings to 4277 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. This is the third death of a US service member announced this week and the 14th for the month thus far -- already putting April's death toll ahead of March's.

[On Friday, at least 55 more people were killed, and 125 were injured, in back-to-back suicide bombings outside the most important Shiite shrine in the capital, the Associated Press reported. Bombers detonated explosive belts within minutes of each other near the gates of the tomb of the prominent Shiite saint Imam Mousa al-Kazim.]
Insurgent groups, which controlled vast areas of Iraq in 2006 and 2007, had lost considerable support, mobility and financial backing over the past two years. The most recent bombings follow a series of attacks that began last month after the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organization that includes the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, announced that it would carry out a wave of violence code-named "The Good Harvest."
The violent campaign coincides with plans for a U.S. pullback. The first deadline in a phased American withdrawal agreed upon by Iraq and the United States comes this summer, when combat troops are supposed to move out of urban areas. Top U.S. commanders have recently said the Iraqi government may ask them to keep American forces in cities in northern Iraq -- where the insurgency remains entrenched -- beyond the summer deadline. In Baghdad, the military has closed some inner-city bases and small outposts, but appears intent on keeping American soldiers at urban facilities shared with Iraqi troops well beyond the summer.

The above is from Ernesto Londono and Aziz Alwan's "Blasts Kill More Than 135 in Two Days in Iraq" (Washington Post). Yes, another day with two major bombings in Iraq. Steven Lee Myers and Timothy Williams have already filed "Two Suicide Bombers Kill at Least 60 in Baghdad" online at the New York Times:

Friday's bombings occurred near the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, one of the twelve imams of Shiite Islam, in the Kadhimiya neighborhood of Baghdad. Like the previous bombings, the attacks appeared to target Shiites in particular.
An interior ministry official said that most of those killed appeared to be Iranians making pilgrimages to the shrine. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up as they mingled with crowds gathered in front of checkpoints at the main entrance to the shrine, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to speak publicly. In addition to those killed, at least 125 others were wounded.

Please note that the Times article also has audio by Steven Lee Myers. February saw an increase in violence, March saw an increase in violence and it appears April's final figures will also show an increase. Yesterday's bombings may have claimed as many as 90 lives [see Jomana Karadsheh and Cal Perry's "Bombings kill nearly 90 in Iraq" (CNN), for example]. Aws Qusay, Zahra Hosseinian, Michael Christie and Louise Ireland (Reuters) observe: "The attack was the deadliest single incident in Iraq since 63 people died in a truck bomb blast in Baghdad on June 17 last year, and came amid growing concerns that a recent drop in violence might turn out to have been just a temporary lull."

From Paul Krugman's "Reclaiming Ameirca's Soul" (New York Times) arguing for a government investigation into the torture:

Others, I suspect, would rather not revisit those years because they don't want to be reminded of their own sins of omission.
For the fact is that officials in the Bush administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract "confessions" that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way.

This section bracketed with "***" is added after the entry originally posted. Krugman's column's worth reading in full; however, that section especially goes to the link between the illegal war and torture.


Turning to public television NOW on PBS examines rape in "Justice Delayed:"

A terrible statistic: one in six women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. But an even more shocking reality: A backlog in processing rape kits--crucial evidence in arresting violent predators--is delaying and sometimes denying justice for tens of thousands of American women.
NOW travels to Los Angeles County to investigate why it has the largest known rape kit backlog in the country--over 12,000 kits are sitting untested in police storage facilities. An internal audit found that more than 50 of these cases have exceeded the 10-year statute of limitations on rape.
"The evidence that we're talking about represents human lives," Los Angeles Controller Laura Chick tells NOW. "Those are lives stacked up on the shelves waiting for justice."
NOW talks with courageous rape survivors and law enforcement experts for insight and answers in this disturbing but important report. Are these women being victimized twice?
Related Links and Resources

RAINN: What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?, advice from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network on what to do immediately after an attack.
NOW: In Your State: Rape Counseling Resources
Human Rights Watch: Testing Justice, a report on the rape kit backlog in Los Angeles city and county.
An Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence Aid and Resource Collection, offers extensive information, legal advice, and FAQ's on domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment. Anti-violence Resources, offers support for women, resource contact information, and opportunities for activism in anti-violence campaigns.
Office for Victims of Crime Resource Center, research, statistics, and information from U.S. Department of Justice.
Peace Over Violence, an organization dedicated to "building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence."
Propublica: As Rape Victims Wait, Money for DNA Testing Goes Unused
Witness Justice, provides support and advocacy for victims of trauma by helping victims find safety, counseling, and ways to gain legal rights.

NOW on PBS begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (check local listings) as does PBS' Washington Week which finds Gwen sitting around the table with Dan Balz (Washington Post), Joan Biskupic (USA Today), Jeanne Cummings (Rona Barrett's DC) and Mark Mazetti (New York Times). Meanwhile, also airing tonight on many PBS stations, Bill Moyers Journal tells you "You Should Know This Man." What man? Does it matter? It's always men with Bill Moyers and tonight he serves up another show with all male guests. Did they really almost call Bill's latest series For Those Who Dreamed Of Spying On Bill In The Locker Room? By the way, FAIR -- as Extra!, CounterSpin or Fair -- the allged media watchdog will never call out Bill Moyers Journal. Remember they lecture about standards except when it comes to their pets like Bill, David Schuster, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann. The only real media watchdog working today -- no, not Danny Schechter who has just become sad -- is Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler. Bob Somerby noted yesterday:

To all appearances, her network--the historically gruesome MSNBC—has stopped making her transcripts available.
Shorter MS: Please stop talking?
As we type on Thursday morning, none of the transcripts from Maddow’s shows have been posted on Nexis this week. Every Countdown transcript has been posted—in timely, next-morning fashion. Ditto every Hardball program, every Ed Show broadcast.
Transcripts from all Fox programs are there. So too with CNN.
On MSNBC's own site, transcripts are being posted--very, very slowly. The network loftily tells viewers this: "Transcripts will be available within 24 hours of airing, except for Friday shows" (just click here). But only Monday’s night's transcripts are currently posted, as we approach Thursday noon. We're not sure when these transcripts were posted, but they hadn’t been posted as of last night. (There is some indication that they were posted a short time ago, late on Thursday morning.)
On Nexis, everything is there--except Maddow. It’s hard to avoid a certain thought: Maddow has received some criticism in the past two weeks, even in the New York Times. Her network has responded by making it harder to report the things she says.

If so, it would echo a stunt pulled repeatedly at Air America Radio even when they flipped over to 'subscriptions' and 'subscribers' were supposed to have access to the archives but somehow, when Rachel flubbed on air big time, her shows never showed up for the archives.

Also on PBS (and starts airing tonight on many PBS stations, check local listings), Bonnie Erbe sits down with Kim Gandy, Amanda Carpenter and Avis Jones-DeWeever to discuss this week's news on To The Contrary. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

Vice President Biden
In this profile of Joe Biden, Lesley Stahl spends three days with the vice president and also interviews his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and his boss, President Barack Obama. | Watch Video
Powered By Coal
Coal is America's most abundant and cheap fossil fuel, but burning it happens to be the biggest contributor to global warming. Scott Pelley reports. | Watch Video
The Orphanage
Ivory is selling for nearly $1,000 a tusk, causing more elephants to be slaughtered and more orphaned babies in need of special care provided by an elephant orphanage in Kenya. Bob Simon reports. | Watch Video

On today's Diane Rehm Show (begins broadcasting at 10:00 am EST, streaming archived audio is up 15 minutes after the program ends), 4 men and 2 women join Diane to discuss the week's news. For the first hour Slate and CBS News' John Dickerson, Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal) and Karen Tumulty (Time magazine); for the second hour, Karen DeYoung (Washington Post), Daniel Dombey (Finanical Times of London) and Yochi Dreazen (Wall St. Journal). The second hour is when Iraq is supposed to be addressed, FYI.

Also on NPR today, Michael and Kevin Bacon, the Bacon Brothers, perform live:

Live Friday: The Bacon Brothers In Concert

Listen Online At Noon ET

The Bacon Brothers 300
courtesy of the artist

The Bacon Brothers.

WXPN, April 23, 2009 - Long before Kevin Bacon became a movie star and pop-culture phenomenon, and before his older brother Michael became a sought-after film and TV composer, the Philadelphia-based duo was collaborating under the name The Bacon Brothers. Return to this space at noon ET Friday to hear the pair perform live in concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

The Bacons have been writing music as a team since childhood, but didn't begin working together formally until 1995. After Michael Bacon established his music career with Columbia Records in the '60s -- and released several solo albums on CBS Records in the '70s -- he turned to collaborating with Kevin. Their chemistry has long been evident in their rootsy rock 'n' roll songs, with their strong elements of alt-country, folk, blues and Americana. The duo just released its sixth full-length album, New Year's Day, on which the Bacons incorporate jazzy blues and reggae into their sound.

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