Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tikrit bombing claims at least 60 lives

Following a three-day weekend which saw the deaths of 4 US soldiers (and a fifth left injured), Tikrit is slammed with a bombing in the latest news from the ongoing Iraq War. AFP calls it the worst bombing in Iraq since October 31st. Xiong Tong (Xinhau) reports police recruits were queued up when a suicide bomber in their midst detonated. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) counts 50 dead and one hundred and fifty injured and notes, "Local television reports have urged people to donate blood for victims." Tang Danlu (Xinhua) notes the death toll has now climbed to 60 and reports:

A doctor named Mustafa in Tikrit hospital told Xinhua that dozens of patients were taken to the hospital and there were very dangerous situations.
"We tried best to save lives of those wounded people," he said.

Moving from one Mustafa to another, Meanwhile Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Yahya Barzanji (AP) report on Abdul-Rahman Mustafa, Governor of Tamim Province, and his decision to stop supplying Baghdad with electricity while his capital (Kirkuk) makes do with less than four hours of electricity each day.

This Friday, former prime minister, forever poodle and eternal War Hawk Tony Blair is set to reappear before the Iraq Inquiry to offer additional testimony after his testimony last year just didn't appear to add up. AP notes that Peter Goldsmith, Blair's then Attorney General, rejects the claims Blair made to the Inquiry about his legal advice. Blair groupie Glen Oglaza (Sky News) words it this way: "Lord Goldsmith, former Attorney General, has made an astonishing claim in written evidence to the Inquiry: That on January 14th 2003, he advised the Prime Minister that invading Iraq would be illegal without a second UN resolution, but the very next day, January 15th, Mr. Blair stood up in the House of Commons and told MPs that such an invasion would be LEGAL under the existing UN Resolution 1441. Asked if that was compatible with his advice, Lord Goldsmith wrote: 'No', and went on to say he felt 'uncomfortable' watching the Prime Minister's performance."


Stop the War UK is organizing protests against War Criminal Tony Blair.

Reasons to protest when Tony Blair is recalled to give evidence to the Iraq Inquiry on 21 January:

QEII Conference Centre 8am-2pm
London SW1P 3EE

(Tube Westminster or St James's

Please publicise as widely as you can

We'll close with this from Jeff Kaye's "Psychologist Organization Protests to Secretary Gates on Bradley Manning’s Solitary Confinement" (World Can't Wait):

Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), a non-profit organization of psychologists committed to social change and social justice, has written a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, protesting “the needless brutality of the conditions to which 23-year-old PFC Bradley Manning is being subjected” at the Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia. He has been accused of unauthorized access to classified material, some of which he allegedly downloaded to his computer, as well as other computer and security-related charges.

It is widely speculated that these charges relate to materials turned over to the Wikileaks website, including a video of an Apache helicopter attack civilians in Baghdad, the Iraq War logs, and thousands of State Department diplomatic cables. The military charge sheet accuses Manning of “wrongfully introducing more than 50 classified United States Department of State cables onto his personal computer, a non-secure information system.” It also alleges he downloaded a Powerpoint presentation, and “a classified video of a military operation filmed at or near Baghdad, Iraq, on or about 12 July 2007.”

Manning was held for approximately three weeks at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait before being transferred to Quantico, where he has remained in solitary confinement since late last July. In an article last month, I reported on PFC Manning’s current psychological state, as best as I could determine from speaking to David House, who had just visited him, and on the deleterious effects of solitary confinement in general. PsySR’s letter speaks at length also about the harsh conditions of solitary, and notes “no such putative risk can justify keeping someone not convicted of a crime in conditions likely to cause serious harm to his mental health.”

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