Monday, April 18, 2011

Baghdad slammed with bombings

Baghdad was slammed by bombings this morning. Among the bombings were two at the entrance to the Green Zone. BBC News notes of the 2 suicide car bombings, "A BBC correspondent in Baghdad says these are the first suicide bombings in the capital this year." CNN adds, "The casualties included Iraqi security forces and civilians, according to the ministry." AFP explains, "The bombs went off as a queue of cars was waiting to enter the area - also known as the Green Zone -- where many foreign embassies and Iraqi government offices are based." Citing security spokesperson Qassim al-Moussawi, Reuters counts 5 dead and fifteen injured and adds, "In a statement, the media office of the Iraqi parliament said one of the explosions hit the motorcade of Amjad Abdul Hameed, an adviser to parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi. Hameed was not injured but one of his bodyguards was killed and three others were wounded, the statement said." Hamid Ahmed (AP) offers, "The blasts marked the start of a violent day in the Iraqi capital, where a another bombing and a jewelry heist left two more dead and 13 wounded." Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times) adds, "The explosions began around 8 a.m., when an improvised explosive device was detonated near Baghdad University, injuring two people. Sounds of gunfire erupted throughout the city and a few minutes later a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the Green Zone checkpoint. Gunfire rang out again and a few minutes later another suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at the checkpoint." In addition, AFP notes, "A separate attack involving two roadside bombs in the up-scale residential neighbourhood of Jadriyah in east Baghdad left five more people wounded, three of them security force members, the interior ministry official added." Schmidt makes a silly claim regarding violence in Baghdad and you can read Dar Addustour for only way in which Schmidt's wrong. On NPR's hourly news feed, Kelly McEvers noted the Green Zone attack, that most of the wounded are said to be Iraqi security forces, that "the bombers were waiting in line" and "the blasts set many nearby buildings on fire."

On Baghdad non-progress, let's note that Al Rafidayn reports Nouri al-Maliki has decided to cut the Baghdad curfew to three hours a day. Meanwhile Al Mada reports that attempts to renominate Iraq's current Sunni vice president Tarek al-Hashemi appear to have failed this weekend with Iraqiya failing to find the necessary support in Parliament. In addition, the National Alliance's Sami al-Askari notes the ongoing controversy regarding whether or not al-Hashemi impersonated a vice president by visiting areas as Iraq's v.p. Technically, the v.p.'s ended months ago. However, Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, with Parliament's knowledge, asked the two to stay on as vice president until Iraq could find two or three new vice presidents.

Along with no vice presidents, Al Mada notes Iraq still has no security ministers. Nouri was named prime minister-designate in November and moved to prime minister in December. To make that move, per the Constitution, the designate has to propose a Cabinet and Parliament has to sign off on each nominee. Nouri was given a pass and waived through despite not having a full Cabinet. All these months later, it's fair to call that decision a political failure. Saturday Alsumaria TV reported, "Al Iraqiya Party accused Baghdad Operations Command and Iraqi authorities of curbing protests by restraining peaceful demonstrators calling for their constitutional rights. The official spokesman of Baghdad Operations Command has pointed out to a plan aimed at curbing protests by restricting rallies in sports stadiums away from public squares, Iraqiya spokesman Maysoun Al Damlouji said."

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Gayle" went up last night. Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith speak with Malik Mujahid of the Muslim Peace Coalition about profiling, targeting and other issues; and with attorneys Joey Mogul and Andrea Ritchie about their new book Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States. And don't miss Michael Ratner and Michael Smith noting Heidi's accomplishments at the top of the show. And we'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "GITMO PROCEEDINGS WILL BE 'STALINIST SHOW TRIALS,' LEGAL AUTHORITY CHARGES" (Intel Daily):

The future trials planned for prisoners in Guantanamo Bay detention camp will be “Stalinist show trials” as their preliminary proceedings “have already proven them to be Travesties of Justice,” a distinguished international law authority warns.
“Even worse yet,” says Francis Boyle, professor at the University of Illinois, Champaign, the “fully-functioning Stalinist Gitmo Kangaroo Courts will quickly become conveyor-belts of death for alleged and already tortured terrorist suspects along the lines of the Texas execution chamber operated by George Bush Jr. when he was the 'governor' of that state and tortured to death 152 victims by means of lethal injection.”
Saying the Gitmo proceedings are grievously deficient, Boyle asserted “they constitute war crimes under the Laws of War, the Four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and even the U.S. Army's own Field Manual 27-10, the Laws of Land Warfare (1956.)”
Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, Boyle said, “executing persons detained as a result of armed conflict without a fair trial before a regularly constituted court constitutes a grave war crime” and the Stalinist-type show trials would do just that, says Boyle. He predicted the Guantanamo Bay prison will become Americas first-ever Nazi-style death camp.
Boyle, who has represented a number of military personnel who refused to participate in illegal U.S. wars in the Middle East, said the Obama administration is continuing the second Bush administration's “hideous atrocities perpetrated against human rights, international law, civil rights, civil liberties, the U.S. Constitution, and America's Bill of Rights.”

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