Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baquba bombing claims at least 8 lives

Violence never stops in Iraq. DPA (via the Hindu) reports that a Baquba car bombing has claimed 8 lives and left twenty-two people wounded while a Kirkuk bombing injured three police officers. Tang Danlu (Xinhua) adds, "The powerful blast destroyed three houses in the Shiite Turkman neighborhood, the source said. A one-year-and-a-half child was among the dead and a woman was among the wounded, the source added." In other violence, fighting continues on Iraq's northern border. Steve Bryant and Benjamin Harvey (Bloomberg News) report continued fighting between the PKK and Turkish military has resulted in the deaths of "at least six Turkish soldiers" and that the fighting continues. The PKK is a Kurdish group -- labeled a terrorist organization by many governments including Turkey, Iraq and the US -- which seeks an autonomous Kurdish homeland among other things. Press TV adds, "The PKK has intensified its militant attacks against Turkey since May 31, when they stormed a Turkish naval base in the port city of Iskenderun, killing six Turkish soldiers." Seyhmus Cakan, Pinar Aydinli and Daren Butler (Reuters) explain, "Most of the PKK's estimated 4,000 fighters are based in the mountains of neighbouring northern Iraq, from where they launch attacks on military targets in southeast Turkey."

Meanwhile Becky Lee Katz (Los Angeles Times) reports on 15-year-old Kurdish Berivan Sayaca who is in a Turkish prison:

According to news reports, Turkish authorities charged that Sayaca stopped at a demonstration organized by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, known by the acronym PKK, and threw stones at police. Her advocates deny that she attended the protest and say she simply passed through the crowd. They say the rally was coordinated not by the PKK but by the recently banned Kurdish political party Peace and Democracy, or BDP.
In densely populated and economically suffering southeast Turkey, pro-Kurdish protests are commonplace. On some occasions, youths have thrown stones and gasoline bombs at police, who respond with tear gas and water cannons, the BBC reported.
Amnesty International says that an anti-terror law passed by the current Turkish government in 2006 states that minors can be convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Authorities argue that the Kurdish protests are coordinated by the PKK because the law presumes all Kurdish protests as PKK protests, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the BBC report. Anyone at the protests is considered a member of the PKK, authorities say, and the courts therefore rule that protesters are terrorists.

Turning to the US, yesterday's snapshot noted, "[. . .] KSBW reports that Iraq War veteran Tremayne Wilson created some form of disturbance today in Sacremento and was in "a standoff with police." If he's a struggling veteran (he may or may not be -- he might have just had a bad day), it's one more indication that the VA leadership needs to get serious about helping veterans." First, to three e-mailing, I don't know Tremanyne Wilson therefore I'm certainly not going to attempt to diagnose him via a news story, nor am I qualified to diagnose him (Elaine would be, but I'm not). I don't know that he has PTSD or anyone else that doesn't reveal it or whose family doesn't reveal it. Having a bad day? Not impossible. PTSD is not the only issue veterans face. They -- like everyone else in the US -- face unemployment (though veterans appear to be harder hit by that than many other groups). They face -- with or without PTSD -- readjustment issues. They face memories of the war. And like everyone else -- including myself -- they face bad days. I don't know Wilson and he was not presented in the early reports as someone with PTSD except by one outlet which we did not link to because it relied on conjecture. Karen Massie (News 10) reported last night that his family is calling for a medical evaluation and quotes Cathy McCaster (his mother) stating, "It just wasn't Tremayne. He was walking around in a shell all the time like he was on alert." Nick James (CBS 13) quotes Cathy McCaster stating, ""He saw a lot in Iraq in three years over there. Now he needs help. Hopefully he can get help because... he served his country he did a good job. He got awards. He got commendations. They need to accommodate him now." You can click here for News 10 video of the standoff.

Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox) notes that the Veterans for Peace's Chapter 136 has voted to impeach Barack Obama and she applauds them for it (and endorses the call) but has doubts that the national VFP will join in. (She's probably right.) This is the resolution:

Whereas Barack H. Obama is Commander In Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and the head of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government; and,

Whereas the illegal U.S. invasion, bombing and occupation of Iraq initiated by the Bush administration continues under the Obama administration; and,

Whereas the U.S. government is currently engaged in illegal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and Obama has pledged to increase the number of military personnel and the amount of tax dollars spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and,

Whereas the U.S. military has used and continues to use depleted uranium munitions, cluster bombs and white phosphorous in densely populated areas in violation of U.S. and international laws and treaties prohibiting the indiscriminate killing of civilians; and,

Whereas the Geneva Conventions specifically prohibit the use of especially injurious weapons and materials that cause unnecessary harm by remaining active and deadly after a battle and over large areas of land; and,

Whereas a large number of babies born in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from illness and deformity like Down’s syndrome, weak hearts, severe disfigurement and brain damage that doctors believe are caused by the U.S. military’s massive and widespread use of toxic and radioactive materials; and,

Whereas millions upon millions of Iraqi, Afghani and Pakistani civilians have been killed, maimed, poisoned and displaced from their homes as a direct result of the U.S.’s ongoing, illegal acts of war; and,

Whereas illegal, immoral and counterproductive detainee torture and brutalization at the hands of the U.S. military’s Immediate Reaction Force continue at Guantanamo under the Obama administration; and,

Whereas Obama is an accessory after the fact for obstructing justice by not initiating an investigation into numerous and blatant U.S. war crimes committed by the Bush administration for which it is manifestly accountable under the rule of law; and,

Whereas Veterans For Peace supported the impeachment of Bush/Cheney for the same war crimes that are now being committed by Obama in violation of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. federal laws, the United Nations Charter, the Hague Convention, the Geneva Conventions, The United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Nuremberg Tribunal Charter; and,

Whereas Veterans For Peace is committed to its stated mission to restrain our government from intervening, overtly or covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations, to seek justice for veterans and victims of war, to increase public awareness of the costs of war, and to abolish war as an instrument of national policy; and, therefore be it

Resolved that Veterans For Peace calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Barack H. Obama for failure to uphold his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies foreign and domestic, and for his commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, obstruction of justice and the violation of numerous national and international laws, treaties and conventions.

I would add one thing to the call. Barack regularly campaigned on how overstretched the military was. It is overstretched. So there's no excuse for his escalation in Afghanistan or the use of the National Guard (stretched in the wars) to now be sent to the borders. Point, observations made while a candidate become obligations when you are commander-in-chief of the military. Once he was sworn in, his duty was to address those observations immediately.

The following community sites updated last night and this morning (and we'll include a few non-community sites to share some links):

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