Al Jazeera notes a Baghdad bombing today which "targeted a police patrol in the Karrada district" and claimed, at that point, 28 lives with fifty injured. Michael Christie and Jon Boyle (Reuters) note that in addition to the 28 killed in Baghdad, a Muqdadiya bombing claimed 32 lives. Reuters state that both bombings were suicide bombings.
Mike noted the death of the US soldier last night and for the drive-bys this morning fretting over the torture issue, we're interested as it applies to Iraq and, no, we didn't ignore it yesterday. The ten of you e-mailing that we didn't highlight Jonathan S. Landay's article that "everybody is highlighting" (BW) must mean we didn't highlight it in the snapshot. It was noted yesterday morning. In the snapshot, we had a Congressional hearing to cover. Elsewhere in the community, Ruth addressed some torture coverage at her site last night and Elaine noted the topic as well. Repeating, we had a Congressional hearing to cover in yesterday's snapshot. That was 23 paragraphs. For what made it into yesterday's snapshot and what didn't and possible reasons why, you can see Kat's post last night. Four of the ten complaining are also complaining because their action/even or reporting was not noted. What did it have to do with Iraq? Nothing. So I make a case-by-case decision on whether it's pertinent or of interest. There wasn't room for everything and I really don't owe it to strangers to include their every breath and sneeze. (I have many friends who are on hold with something they want noted including a friend at CBS. They have to wait. The idea that strangers can show up at the public e-mail account and demand this or that while my friends wait indicates some people have a very inflated opinion of themselves that is not universally shared.)
I know Stephen Vladeck and am including the next item for that reason. (No one requested it.)
Atlanta, Ga.: What exactly does the Constitution say about torture, if anything?
Stephen Vladeck: The Constitution bars "cruel and unusual punishment" (in the Eighth Amendment), and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment has also been understood to bar governmental conduct that "shocks the conscience" (in a Supreme Court decision called Rochin v. California).
But separate from the Constitution, federal law (specifically the anti-torture statute, 18 U.S.C. � 2340 and � 2340A) and the U.N. Convention Against Torture both make it a serious criminal offense to torture. Indeed, even the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which Congress enacted to authorize the trial of terrorism suspects in military tribunals, includes as one of its 28 specific offenses the crime of "torture."
washingtonpost.com: Harsh Tactics Readied Before Their Approval (Post, April 22)
The above is from "Harsh Interrogations: Could There Be Prosecutions? Techniques Could Backfire and Might Violate U.S. and International Law," an online chat at the Washington Post yesterday hosted by Stephen Vladeck, Constitutional Law professor at American University. Those interested in the topic can see Ben Pershing's "On Interrogation Policies, Obama Stuck Looking 'Backwards'" (Washington Post) which provides a strong snapshot of the various arguments and statements being made by various officials and former officials. We'll also note this from a report by Samira Simone (CNN):
She said she was a scapegoat. She said she was just following orders. She said she was demoted unfairly.
Now, retired Army Col. Janis Karpinski can say: I told you so.
Karpinski was one of two officers punished over the aggressive interrogations at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Pictures of detainees caused outrage around the world when they were leaked to the news media in May 2004. The photos showed naked prisoners stacked on top of each other or being threatened by dogs or hooded and wired up as if for electrocution.
Throughout the ordeal, Karpinski maintained that she and her troops were following interrogation guidelines approved by top brass. Today, Karpinski has found validation in a few Bush-era memos released last week by the Obama administration.
Iraq's Foreign Ministry notes:
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari received in his office on 21st. Apr .2009 the British Ambassador in Baghdad Mr. Christopher Prentice upon his request
During the meeting they discussed bilateral relations and the coming visit of Prime Minister Noori AL-Maliki to Britain and the participation in the investment conference to be held in London at the end of this month with more than 400 Iraqi and foreign business men presenting different sectors in addition to the official meetings to be held on the sidelines of the visit.
They also discussed the outcomes of the Arab and Foreign Officials' visit to Baghdad which indicates a significant improvement in Iraq's relations with other countries as well as the stability in the security situation and reconstruction process in Iraq.
And the Kurdistan Regional Government notes:
|»||KRG High Representative to the UK Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman with the APPG delegation at Erbil International Airport|
The delegation representing the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region, stated in its press release after the visit, "Respect for the UK remains very high in Iraqi Kurdistan, thanks to our role in establishing the safe haven in 1991 and in what is commonly referred to as 'liberation' in 2003. English is also the second language. But we fear that opportunities for trade, investment and a host of political, cultural and educational exchanges are not being pursued as vigorously as they should for the mutual benefit of the UK and the Kurdistan Region as part of a wider Iraq. We urge the UK to play a bigger role in helping ease tensions between the Region and the federal government in Baghdad over issues such as disputed territories and the hydrocarbon law."
The all-party group visited the three main cities of Ebril, Dohuk and Suleimaniah, and met President Masoud Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Imad Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Adnan Mufti. They also met several ministers, provincial governors, journalists, trades union and women's rights activists, university and business leaders and the Christian Bishop of Erbil. They also visited the Christian and Yezidi communities.
Ms Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the KRG’s High Representative to the UK, accompanied the delegation. She said, "The parliamentary group was able to note areas where Kurdistan has progressed since the group's last visit in February 2008, and where more needs to be done. Their continued support for the political, social and economic development of Kurdistan and Iraq is a sign of the steadfast friendship between Kurdistan Region and Britain."
The APPG said it will next compile a detailed report on its findings and will seek meetings with key British ministers to press for "much deeper and broader political, diplomatic and commercial relations between the UK and the Kurdistan Region."
The delegation consisted of Labour MP Derek Wyatt; Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Tim Clement Jones; Mr Mark Phillips, Conservative Chief of Staff to Baroness Neville-Jones Shadow Security Minister; and Mr Gary Kent, Administrator of the APPG and Director of Labour Friends of Iraq.
Read the press release issued by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Kurdistan Region
See also Kurdistan - The other side of Iraq, by Tobias Ellwood MP
And Media Channel notes:
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