Yesterday's snapshot noted Nancy A. Youssef's latest in which the US government now claims Barack refused to release the torture photos, thereby breaking his word yet again, due to Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation. As noted yesterday, Barack made the decision regardless of whom gave input or made requests. He was not tricked. He was not forced. He is a grown up and he is responsible for his actions. From Youssef's "Why'd Obama switch on detainee photos? Maliki went ballistic" (McClatchy Newspapers):
In the days leading up to a May 28 deadline to release the photos in response to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, U.S. officials, led by Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told Maliki that the administration was preparing to release photos of suspected detainee abuse taken from 2003 to 2006.
When U.S. officials told Maliki, "he went pale in the face," said a U.S. military official, who along with others requested anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity.
The official said Maliki warned that releasing the photos would lead to more violence that could delay the scheduled U.S. withdrawal from cities by June 30 and that Iraqis wouldn't make a distinction between old and new photos. The public outrage and increase in violence could lead Iraqis to demand a referendum on the security agreement and refuse to permit U.S. forces to stay until the end of 2011.
Today's New York Times ignores Iraq and reduces it to a brief. On A9 of the national edition, in "World Briefing," the following paragraph credited to Marc Santora runs:
A bomb exploed Monday at a bustling market in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora, killing 4 people and wounding 14, security officials said. It was the third time in a month that a market in the neighborhood had been bombed. May was the least violent month since the Iraqi government started compiling such statistic, with 165 Iraqis killed in violence, but the attacks in Dora led residents to question the government's ability to provide security as American forces withdraw from the city.
A paragraph . . . and on top of that insult, they can't even get their s**t straight. Let's be really clear, there's no reason for any news outlet not to keep their own damn figures. And there's no reason for the New York Times to spend the money they do in Iraq if they can't keep their own figures and if they think Iraq is worthy of a nothing but a paragraph. 165 Iraqis killed in violence? That's the claim that Santora makes. Try 226. And that's just from reports by McClatchy and Reuters primarily with DPA, the US military (press releases) and Alsumaria tossed in:
May 1st, 10 people reported dead (6 in Mosul bombing, 2 people shot dead in Tikrit, 2 in Mosul). May 2nd, 3 dead (killed in Kirkuk bombing). May 3rd, only wounded. May 4th, 14 dead (4 in Baghdad bombing, 4 in Baghdad grenade attack, 1 in Diyala bombing, 1 shot dead in Mosul, 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead, 3 corpses in Mosul). May 5th, 4 dead dead, (2 shot dead in Mosul, 1 shot dead in Baghdad, 1 corpse in Kirkuk). May 6th, 2 dead (2 dead in Mosul from roadside bombings). May 7th, 3 dead (1 12-year-old boy shot dead in Mosul as well as 2 fishermen shot dead on the day before but reported on May 7th). May 8th, only wounded. May 9 - 10th, 2 dead (1 shot dead in Basra, 1 shot dead in Mosul). May 11th, 6 dead (1 in Baghdad roadside bombing, 2 in a Kirkuk car bombing, 1 shot dead in Baghdad, 1 shot in Mosul, 1 corpse of a 5-year-old boy discovered in Baghdad). May 12th, 7 dead (6 in Kirkuk bombing, 1 corpse of a 13-year-old girl in Diyala Province). May 13th, 7 dead (1 Baghdad roadside bombing, 2 in a Mosul car bombing, 2 in a Ramadi roadside bombing, 1 shot dead in Mosul, 1 shot dead in Baghdad). May 14th, 6 dead (3 shot dead in Baquba, 3 shot dead in Kirkuk). May 15th, 1 dead (1 shot dead in Baghdad). May 16 - 17th, 20 dead (1 in Baghdad mortar attack, 4 in Baghdad roadside bombings, 1 in Mosul roadside bombing, 1 in Basra grenade attack, 3 in Baghdad roadside bombing, 1 in Mosul car bombing, 2 shot dead in Mosul, 1 shot dead in Jalawla, 1 corpse in Mosul, 1 near Samarra and 4 in Baquba). May 18th, 2 dead (1 in Kirkuk roadside bombing, 1 in Basra bombing). May 19th, 3 dead (2 dead in Taji roadside bombing, 1 killed in Mosul). May 20th, 2 dead (1 shot dead in Mosul, 1 corpse discovered in Mosul) plus 40 dead (one Baghdad bombing -- using Alsumaria's final figures) for total of 42. May 21st, 24 dead (2 dead in Baghdad bombing, 2 shot dead in Mosul, 12 dead in a Baghdad bombing, 8 dead in Kirkuk bombing). May 22nd, 4 dead (1 dead in Mosul roadside bombing and Reuters goes back to the 21st to add 1 dead in Mosul roadside bombing, 2 corpses in Mosul). May 23rd, 10 dead (2 dead in Diyala roadside bombing, 1 US citizen dead in Green Zone and we're not including that in the count, 4 dead in Mosul roadside bombing, 1 6-year-old shot dead in Mosul, 1 adult shot dead in Mosul, 2 corpses found in Salahuddin and -- not counted in our count -- 1 US civilian's corpse found in Green Zone). May 24th, 12 dead (8 dead in Mosul bombing, 3 shot dead in Mosul, 1 in Hilla). May 25th, 11 dead (6 corpses discovered in Baquba, 2 shot dead in Mosul, 2 people killed in Awisat, 1 infant killed in a grenade attack). May 26th, 5 dead (1 dead in Mosul bombing, 4 shot dead in Kirkuk). May 27th, 8 dead (4 dead in Abu Ghraib bombing, 3 shot dead in Mosul, dropping back to the 25th 1 dead in Mosul roadside bombing). May 28th, 3 dead (1 dead in Mosul roadside bombing, 1 shot dead in Diwainyah, 1 corpse discovered in Kirkuk). May 29th, 9 dead (8 dead in Baquba bombings, 1 corpse discovered in Telkeif). May 30th, 3 dead (2 in Baquba roadside bombing and 1 shot dead in Baquba). May 31st, 5 dead (1 corpse discovered in Kirkuk, Reuters drops back to the 30th to note 1 dead in Haswa bombing, 2 dead in Samarra roadside bombing and 1 dead in Iskandariya bombing). That adds up to at least 226 reported deaths.
Though the New York Times finds nothing to report, Matt Brown files this report for PM (Australia's ABC -- link has text and audio):
ABU MOHAMMED: The problem, they are in a state of: I don't know who's coming next to get me. Is it the militia? Is it the insurgents? Is it the American?
MATT BROWN: Abu Mohammed is a pseudonym for a young man I met in eastern Sydney. While the latest car bombing won't even make the news here, Abu Mohammed is watching anxiously every day. He's a member of one of Iraq's most famous Sunni tribes. His family still lives in Al-Doura, just south of central Baghdad, on the edge of an area once dubbed the triangle of death.
[. . .]
As a Sunni Muslim, Abu Mohammad fears the Shiite clerics and their political parties which now run the country. His family suffered at the hands of the Shiite militia which dominates the Government's security services when his brother was detained in 2007.
ABU MOHAMMED: They just took him from the street basically, based on his identity. For a week we didn't know what's happened and then we found out it was the militia. He ended up in a Government prison, Iraqi Government prison.
He's been subject to a lot of torture. He went there 24 years old; he came out looking, after one year and a half, as if he is 44 years old.
MATT BROWN: What's that left you feeling about the Government and who's running it?
ABU MOHAMMED: They don't care about the people, 100 per cent, you know what I mean? I think they're driven by revenge.
MATT BROWN: In the last two years those forces have been reined in. The surge in American troops which began in 2007 was also crucial to lowering levels of violence. But equally important was the American decision to turn enemies into allies.
They joined forces with local Sunni tribal leaders who were threatened by the growing power of more radical Sunnis in groups like Al Qaeda in Iraq. They formed Al-Sahwa - awakening councils. They raised militias called the Sons of Iraq. Some were former insurgents but now they were on the American payroll.
Alsumaria reports, "Al Baghdadiya reporter colleague Alaa' Abdul Al Wahab was killed in a car bomb explosion in Al Shorta District in northern Mosul. Local police official reported that Abdul Wahab who is also a journalist was killed while University professor Dr. Sultan Gerges, an anchor on another TV channel was wounded due the bomb that was planted in Abdul Wahab's car." The Committee to Protect Journalists writes of the death of Alaa Abdel-Wahab from a Mosul sticky bombing and observes:
In a similar but unrelated attack the same day, two staffers from the state-run Al-Iraqiya television station were badly wounded when a bomb attached to their car exploded in the Al-A'zamiya district in Baghdad, according to local and international news reports. One of the wounded staffers was identified as sound engineer Hameed Yousif, while the second staffer's identity has not been revealed, according to local news reports. The observatory said Yousif is in critical condition.
The assaults on the press also wasn't judged to be a 'story' for the New York Times. Reporters Without Borders also notes the death of Alaa Abdel Wahab:
"We are saddened and appalled by these two bombings," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is time the slaughter of journalists in Iraq was stopped. The Iraqi authorities created a special police unit last year to investigate murders of journalists. We urge them to investigate these two bombings very thoroughly. Only conclusive results are likely to discourage these killers and improve the safety of journalists."
A renowned print media journalist and reporter for Al-Baghdadia TV, Wahab was killed in Mosul's Al-Shurta neighbourhood by a bomb that had been placed underneath his car. A local police official said Dr Sultan Jurjis, a university academic and presenter on a rival TV station, was injured by the blast.
Monday of last week, Duane Wolfe died in a Falluja bombing. Marjorie Hernandez (Ventura County Star -- link is text and audio) reports he is to be buried today and she speaks with Cynthia Wolfe who shares this about her late husband:
"He said, 'I'm getting up in age,' and we would talk about retirement once in awhile, and I said I would support him in any decision he made," she said. "He said, 'They need my training and expertise.’ He said there are young men he sent out there who needed his help. He was a mentor for all the younger people, and he wanted to be an example by being a leader in how he lived and worked."
He is survived by three children as well, Carrie Wolfe-Smith, Evan Wolfe and Katie Wolfe, and his wife states, "We saw him as a husband and a daddy, but now we've seen the rest of the picture -- that he was such a well-regarded man. The honor that was paid to him will last in our hearts."
In other news, Noah Trister (AP) reports on the Little Rock, Arkansas shooting yesterday in which two US soldiers -- 23-year-old William Long and 18-year-old Quinton Ezeagwula -- outside a recruitment center were shot dead. Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad is alleged to have been the shooter. Meanwhile Pennsylvania's WJAC reports that Nicholas Horner's family is speaking out in support of Horner who is "accused of gunning down three people in Altoona" -- two of which died. The report notes his sister Danielle Horner:
In an interview with NBC news, Danielle talked about how her brother changed after coming home from war. She said after his second tour of duty he began getting treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. He was on medication but the army sent him back for a third tour in Iraq.
"I don't think they really understood how bad he was," said Danielle.
She said when Nick returned home a third time the situation was worse than ever. The man, who used to be a joy to others, became closed off and would often pick fights. Then came April. Police said Horner robbed a subway shop in Altoona, gunning down and killing Scott Garlick and Raymond Williams in the process. Horner claimed he doesn't remember the incident and that he blacked out.
Zach notes Chris Hedges "War Is Sin" (Information Clearing House):
The crisis faced by combat veterans returning from war is not simply a profound struggle with trauma and alienation. It is often, for those who can slice through the suffering to self-awareness, an existential crisis. War exposes the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves. It rips open the hypocrisy of our religions and secular institutions. Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. God and fate have not blessed us above others. Victory is not assured. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.
Those who return to speak this truth, such as members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, are our contemporary prophets. But like all prophets they are condemned and ignored for their courage. They struggle, in a culture awash in lies, to tell what few have the fortitude to digest. They know that what we are taught in school, in worship, by the press, through the entertainment industry and at home, that the melding of the state's rhetoric with the rhetoric of religion, is empty and false.
The words these prophets speak are painful. We, as a nation, prefer to listen to those who speak from the patriotic script. We prefer to hear ourselves exalted. If veterans speak of terrible wounds visible and invisible, of lies told to make them kill, of evil committed in our name, we fill our ears with wax. Not our boys, we say, not them, bred in our homes, endowed with goodness and decency. For if it is easy for them to murder, what about us? And so it is simpler and more comfortable not to hear. We do not listen to the angry words that cascade forth from their lips, wishing only that they would calm down, be reasonable, get some help, and go away. We, the deformed, brand our prophets as madmen. We cast them into the desert. And this is why so many veterans are estranged and enraged. This is why so many succumb to suicide or addictions.
Hedges was a guest yesterday on WBAI's Law and Disorder -- the hourly program hosted by Michael Ratner, Michael Smith, Heidi Boghosian and Dalia Hashad. This episode was delayed due to fundraising (and played elsewhere last week but on WBAI yesterday). Mike noted Hedges' appeareance last night. With Laila Al-Arian, Chris Hedges co-authored Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians and Hedges, Jeremy Scahill, Sister Dianna Ortiz, Michael Ratner, Andy Zee and others (like Laura Flanders because, as Diane Keaton notes in Love & Death, you've got have some uglies in the mix) will take part June 3rd at seven p.m. in a discussion at New York Society for Ethical Culture.
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