Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Violence continues in Iraq

Violence continues in Iraq. Reuters notes a Baghdad plastic bag bombing claimed 1 life and left three people injured, a Kirkuk roadside bombings left two people injured and, dropping back to yesterday for all that follows, a Mosul armed clash claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier, a Mosul roadside bombing left one person wounded, a Tikrit bombing claimed 2 lives, a second Tikrit bombing wounded two police officers and a Kirkuk bombing outside a police officer's home resulted in one person being injured. Yesterday's snapshot noted: "[. . .] a Ramadi suicide car bombing which claimed the life of the bomber and the lives of 3 other people (with seven police officers injured), [. . .]" Anne Tang (Xinhua) reports the death toll rose to five (plus the suicide bomber).

Andrew Sparrow (Guardian) reports on the Iraq Inquiry announcement that Gordon Brown will testify March 5th:

He is scheduled to take questions for around four and a half hours about his involvement in Iraq policy both as chancellor and as prime minister.
Sir John Chilcot and his team originally said that they did not want to call Brown before the general election because they did not want his evidence to be exploited for party political purposes.
But Chilcot changed his mind after the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, suggested that Brown had something to hide. Chilcot decided that it would be unfair to Brown not to let him give evidence before polling day.

Other outlets reporting on the news include The Sun, Big Pond News, BBC News, and TwoCircles.net. Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) notes and critiques the Daily Mail's coverage.

Turning to Iraq and the topic of the targeting of Chrisitans, AINA reports:

"Mosul has become a graveyard for Christians; it's terrible," the priest said.
The murders occurred in broad daylight: on February 14, Rayan Salem Elias, 43, a Chaldean store owner, was killed. The next day, Mounir Fatoukhi, another shop owner, 40, was stopped by unknown persons while he was in his car and shot dead. On February 16, two Christian Assyrians who were cousins - Ziya Toma, 21, and Ramsen Shmael, 22, both students, were hit in the centre of the city by bursts of gunfire. The first died instantly and the other is seriously injured, with little hope of survival. On February 17, Wissam George, a 20-year-old Christian, was shot to death in the neighborhood south of the city. "It's a trail of blood that knows no limits, and the murders take place with impunity. We are helpless victims. One reads the terror in the eyes of Christian families who are wondering: Who is going to be next?" our source said.

The priest's name wasn't given, FYI. Catholic News Agency reports that "the Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar of Baghdad, Bishop Shelmon Warduni issued a dramatic call to halt the massacre of Christians in the country. 'Help us continue to not only bear witness to the Gospel as we have done for centuries, but also to continue being what we are: Iraqis!'The Iraqi Christian community must not die...We, Christians, are innocent victims. We never hurt anybody, we just want to live in peace in our country. If someone doesn't want us here, if someone wants to uproot us from our land, tell us, otherwise leave us in peace." Fides quotes the Syrian Archbishop of Mosul Georges Casmoussa stating, "The authorities must take full responsibility in order to preserve the Christian presence in Mosul. We need international intervention to push the central and local government to act immediately."

Meanwhile the Los Angeles Times notes that ProPublica's T. Christian Miller has been awarded the $35,000 Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting as a result of the articles he and the paper collaborated on about civilian workers in Iraq:

Miller's articles are available at latimes.com/con-tractors and propubli-ca.org/contractors.

Terry Gross (NPR's Fresh Air) spoke with T. Chrisitan Miller January 11, 2010 and link has audio and text (including transcript).

We'll note this from Peace Grannies (and stay tuned for my comment after) on action in NYC they're doing this evening:

CONTACT: Joan Wile - 917-441-0651
According to icasualties.com, the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan has reached 1,000 as of today, Feb. 22.
Therefore, Grandmothers Against the War will go ahead with its commemorative vigil tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at its regular weekly Rockefeller Center vigil site -- specifically, the west side of 5th Ave. between 49th and 50th Sts.
Other peace groups participating will be the Granny Peace Brigade, Veterans for Peace, the Raging Grannies, Peace Action NYS (PANIX), The World Can't Wait, Code Pink, Gray Panthers, West Side Peace Action, and others. A large turnout is anticipated.
In a candlelight ceremony, names of U.S. military and Afghan citizens who have died in war-related incidents will be read, to the somber beat of a drum. Invited political and celebrity speakers, including actor/author Malachy McCourt, actress Kathleen Chalfant, State Sen. Bill Perkins, civil liberties attorney, Norman Siegel, and others will make brief remarks. At 6:30 p.m., the vigil group will walk to the Times Square recruiting center for more comments, and name readings and songs.
It is the hope of the grannies that this public occasion will send a strong message to the war-makers that it is time to bring the hostilities to an end and replace missiles with missions.... destruction with diplomacy.
"It's the same sad story," said Barbara Walker, associate director of Grandmothers Against the War. "Our bombs increase anti-Americanism, cause death and untold damage to all, and achieve nothing positive. As in Iraq, our "surge" in Afghanistan has caused a dramatic increase of casualties to our American kids valiantly fighting there, for no apparent recognizable goal achieved. We must bring our troops home and rethink our foreign policy."
DATE: Tuesday, Feb. 22
TIME: 5:30 P.M.
PLACE: in front of Rockefeller Plaza, on the west side of 5th Ave. between 49 & 50 Sts. (across from Saks)
TIME: 6:30 P.M.
PLACE: group will walk down 5th Ave,, turn right on W. 44th St., walk to recruiting center at Broadway & 44th St

It's good that the Peace Grannies are being vocal against the Afghanistan War but let's hope they find a loud voice against the Iraq War. After all, they promoted Barack Obama as the end of the Iraq War and, of course, the Iraq War has not ended.

Lastly, a number of community members are e-mailing about problems with this website. A few think I've reduced it to three entries being displayed, I haven't. Others of you have gone into the archives and see the same problems: You access a week and only get the last three entries of that week. I didn't do anything on my end. I'll flip over to a new template (same colors) today and try to see if that does anything different. (This is the same template since 2004. And it's outmoded, as Blogger/Blogspot reminds.) In flipping, I will have to redo the permalinks. If something you enjoy ends up missing, e-mail because I'll have to add every one of those individually and it will take forever. When I add them individually, sites that are now dead will not be re-added. (Dead doesn't mean it just has old stuff, dead means you get an error message. So, for example, Ehren Watada's website -- which has been dead for over two years -- will not be transferred. The War Comes Home is now a BBQ site -- way to go Pacifica! -- and I won't transferring that either.) For those attempting to locate older entries, remember the mirror site has the calendar function that allows you to pull up by a single day.

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