Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bombings rock Baghdad, over 100 said to be dead

Remember the latest waves of Operation Happy Talk last week (Betty was confronting them just last night)? Well the press has to stop pimping US government claims and, poor babies, yet again deal with actual realities. Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports multiple bombings in Baghdad today which "have again exposed how vulnerable Iraqi institutions re to targeted bombings". And you have to wonder -- I didn't see Chulov pimp a wave of Happy Talk, so exempt him -- all the reporters rushing into print and on air the US government's claims, do they have brains? What do we know about Iraq? We know that generally speaking, violence comes right before elections. We know that has been the pattern. We know the UN has repeatedly warned of that before elections. We know Nouri started screaming about that as far back as June and we know that Iraq needs to hold elections in the near future. So where were the reporters' brains when they were doing their whole turned corner song and dance (againd doing)? A question to ponder.

Based on police sources, Al Jazeera says the death toll has reached 112 with 200 more people left injured. And they have the second bombing following the first bombing by "seconds and a third one a minute later." Their correspondent Zeina Khodr states:

We just spoke to a high raking official who said he was worried that the security forces were infiltrated. This is a blow to the security forces and prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who is running for re-election on a platform that he has improved security across the country. Attacks have become part of daily life, not only in Baghdad, but across the country. Security is not only fragile, it is deteriorating.

Details are still emerging and will probably change throughout the day. The Telegraph of London (link has text and video) offers, "Some police sources said there had been five explosions, two near judicial buildings, one near a university, another near in a central Baghdad commercial district and the earlier one in the south. Smoke billowed from at least two sites." Bryan Murphy (AP) goes with a death toll of 103 and counts the wounded at 197 while stating there were four bombings. Warren P. Strobel and Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) count five bombings and go with the generic over 100 dead.

Meanwhile the BBC reports that British MP Adam Holloway is stating that the false claim (used to lie England into war) that Saddam Hussein had the capability to launch a chemical attack on England "within 45 minutes came from a taxi driver in Iraq". Michael Evans (Times of London) explains:

Adam Holloway, a former army officer and Conservative MP for Gravesham, told The Times last night that he had been given information that the taxi driver's recollections of the conversation in the back of his taxi had helped to form part of the dossier. The controversial dossier was published in September 2002 and supported the Government's case for invading Iraq the following March.
When the information was acquired by MI6, a footnote was written on the page of an intelligence report sent to No 10 stating that the claim was "verifiably inaccurate". "But the footnote was ignored by Downing Street," Mr Holloway claimed.

Matthew Moore (Telegraph of London) also stresses the dismissals, "Intelligence officers who looked into the missile claims decided the taxi driver's information was 'demonstrably untrue', as they made clear in the footnote of a report presented to Downing Street. However it appears that their scepticism was ignored, as the claim was included in the notorious briefing document on Iraq's weapons programmes released by Alistair Campbell, the press secretary of then Prime Minister Tony Blair, in an attempt to build support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003."
The Daily Mail goes with "Bigmouth taxi driver allegedly key source in Tony Blair's Iraq dossier."

In England, the Iraq Inquiry continues. This morning witness Suma Chakrabati is receiving some attention. The Telegraph of London emphasizes, "Sir Suma Chakrabarti, who was the permanent secretary at the department (Dfid), said concerns about both the legality and the wider political legitimacy of the conflict were 'inhibiting factors'. " BBC goes with his statements that guidelines for aid workers weren't in place prior to the start of the Iraq War.

The inquiry into Baha Mousa's death (while in British military custody) continues. We haven't been noting it, there just hasn't been time. A choice had to made between that ongoing inquiry and the Iraq inquiry and since we'd heard from the witnesses and his attackers, we put all our inquiry focus on the Iraq Inquiry. Vince Soodin (Sun) reports the latest on the Baha Inquiry:

A SENIOR British Army officer today said soldiers had gone "over the top" when interrogating Iraqi prisoners.
Major Michael Peebles raised concerns after a detainee was left with a bloodied nose after being punched in the face "for no particular reason".
The Major was giving evidence at an inquiry into the death of Iraqi civilian Baha Mousa who died in the custody of British soldiers.

In the US, independent journalist David Bacon probes the effects of the state's budget cuts in

Cesar Cota was the first in his family to attend college. "Now it's hard to achieve my dream," he says, "because the state put higher fees on us, and cut services and classes." Cota, a student at LA City College, was encouraged by the internship program of the LA College Faculty Guild to describe the human cost of budget cuts in he community college system.
David Robinson, who's worked since he was 14, hoped he'd get automotive mechanic training, and a good job at the end of it. "But by cutting these programs and raising fees," he says, "you're cutting opportunity for a lot of people who need it."
Another endangered student is Tina Vinaja, a mother of three teenagers whose husband took a weekend job to help pay her tuition hikes. Monica Mejia, a single mom, wants to get out of the low-wage trap. "Without community college," she says, "I'll end up getting paid minimum wage. I can't afford the fee hikes. I can barely make ends meet now."
LA City College even suspended its sports programs for a year. The school had a legendary basketball program that gave low-income students a pathway out of poverty. JaQay Carlyle says city college basketball sent him to UC Davis and on to law school.
These students make up a small part of the picture of suffering engendered by the economic crisis in California's community college system.

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which just won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST).

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

the guardian

warren p. strobel