Yesterday a Kirkuk truck bombing led to massive deaths. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports the death toll has now risen to 80 with two-hundred-and-eleven people injured. (Reuters goes with 73.) Yaseen Taha and Mike Tharp (McClatchy Newspapers) report, "Most of the casualties were Shia Turkoman, a large minority in Kirkuk Province where most people are Kurds. The prospect of control from Baghdad following the withdrawal of U.S. forces is deeply dismaying to many in Kirkuk who regard it as part of Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in the north of the country. Moreover, Kirkuk, a city of 848,000, sits atop some of Iraq's richest oil fields." In today's New York Times, Steven Lee Myers adds:
The force of the blast gouged a crater in the ground and badly damaged dozens of homes, burying victims in the rubble, people and officials at the scene said, expressing fear that the death toll would rise even more.
The area is populated largely by the Turkmen, the third largest ethnic group in Iraq after Arabs and Kurds, who have their own territorial claims in the region.
The bombing took place only hours after Mr. Maliki spoke before a daylong conference of Turkmen political leaders at the Babel Hotel in Baghdad to discuss territorial disputes in Kirkuk and other issues ahead of national elections scheduled for January.
It is the worst attack in Iraq this year (based on the death toll) and outlets are having to drop back to 2008 (specifically February 2008) to find an attack with a larger death toll. This in allegedly 'improved' and 'safe' Iraq -- where multiple police officers died today.
They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)
Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4312 and tonight? 4314. And that count does not include Father Timothy Vakoc. Chao Xiong (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) explains the priest passed away Saturday night from wounds received in Iraq. Father Tim was a US military chaplain who was gravely wounded in a May 29, 2004 roradside bombing: "The blast cost him an eye and severely damaged his brain." The Catholic Spirit notes that he "received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. "
In some of today's reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad cafe bombing which claimed 2 lives and left thirteen people injured and a Mosul roadside bombing which claimed 1 life, left four people injured and, dropping back to Saturday, a Mosul bombing that wounded two police officers.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack at a Baghdad checkpoint in which 2 police officers were killed, 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul and, dropping back to Saturday, 1 police officer and his mother shot dead in Mosul.
Now we're going to note Pru's highlight because it provides background for the next topic. This is "Iraq war inquiry to be kept secret" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):
Anti-war campaigners protested on Monday as Gordon Brown announced that the government’s inquiry into the Iraq war will be held in secret.
Its appointed committee of “the great and the good” does not inspire confidence. Sir John Chilcot, its chair, was part of the last Iraq whitewash, the Butler inquiry.
Another committee member, Sir Lawrence Freedman, wrote Tony Blair’s 1999 Chicago speech setting out the idea of “humanitarian” war.
Their hearings will be held in private, and the report will be published with the “most sensitive information” held back. Brown said it will not appear for a year – in other words, after the next election.
The Stop the War Coalition called for a public inquiry, not only of the war itself, but into how George Bush and Blair took us into it.
Rose Gentle, whose son was killed while serving in Iraq, reacted angrily to news that the inquiry would be secret.
“We have fought and fought for this,” she said. “But it could all be for nothing if it’s held behind closed doors. We will be lobbying parliament to make sure that this is all transparent.”
Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition, which called the emergency protest outside parliament to coincide with Brown’s statement, said the inquiry will be a “complete whitewash, just like the Butler inquiry was a few years ago.”
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That was published last Tuesday. Gordo's been on the ropes ever since. Nigel Morris (Independent of London) reports:
Gordon Brown is to promise that much of the Iraq inquiry will be held in the open in an attempt to avert a damaging Commons defeat for the Government this Wednesday.
Amid fury on the Labour back benches over Mr Brown's initial decision to stage the inquiry in private, ministers now expect much of the evidence to be given publicly after a change of heart was forced on the Prime Minister.
The Labour rebels' anger was intensified by the disclosure yesterday that Tony Blair, likely to be the key witness, had consulted with the Cabinet Secretary on the form of the inquiry. They want him to give evidence under oath.
Tony Blair's rather worried as news this weekend pointed out.
Today Jamie Doward, Gaby Hinsliff and Mark Townsend (The Observer) report on a January 31, 2003 memo ("almost two months before the invasion") which is a "record of a meeting between President Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution". The two War Hawks were admitting that WMD might not be found and that they needed other ways to force the war with Iraq. WMDs might not exist and they needed other ways to force the war with Iraq?
But WMDs was the lie that justified the illegal war. It was the lie that insisted war must take place.
Yet two months before the start of the Iraq War, Bush and Blair were preparing ways to ram through the illegal war without the WMD excuse.
Sam Coates (Times of London) explains: "Mr Bush told Mr Blair that they had developed plans to draw Iraq into combat by flying "U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover". If Saddam Hussein fired at the planes, it would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions.In public at this time, Mr Blair was justifying plans for an invasion on the grounds that Iraq might have weapons of mass destruction."
That's from Third's editorial. New content at Third:
Truest statement of the week
A note to our readers
Editorial: It's not over
Hey there! Marilyn Monroe is using Twitter.
Clooney's Dark Secrets
The Dumb Ass Hour every Saturday morning
The wedding day
The literary ranter
Isaiah may do a "World Today Just Nuts" comic later in the week. We are highlighting an illustration he did for Third after this goes up.
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and the war drags on
the new york times
steven lee myers
the socialist worker
the world today just nuts
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