Sunday, June 26, 2011

And the war drags on . . .

Aswat al-Iraq reports that Iraqi writers in Karbala are calling for the national and provincial governments to provide treatment to Iraqi poet Mohammed Ali al-Khafajy who is "suffering from kidney failure in both of his kidneys." Mohammed Ali al-Khafajy first found national acclaim as a poet while still a student in 1956 and his poetry has been acclaimed for decades in Iraq and throughout the Arab region. The Iraqi writers issued a statement which includes, "Karbala Writers hope for a response to their demands to treat Khafaji, being a writers symbol for Karbala, Iraq and the Arab Homeland. His treatment at the expense of the Iraqi government shall be a real achievement reflecting its attention and care for writers and cultural symbols of Iraq."

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4466. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD still lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4466. And that number doesn't include today's deaths.

Tim Craig (Washington Post) reports
, "Two U.S. service members were killed Sunday in northern Iraq, making June the deadliest month for American combat fatalities in more than two years, officials said." 11 combat fatalities in June 2011 . . . when Barack declared an end to combat on August 31, 2010.

The war didn't end just cause his pretty little mouth said it did. Reuters notes a Mosul attack in which 1 Iraqi soldier was killed and another was injured, 1 person killed in Tal Afar by a roadside bombing which he may or may not have been planting, a Jibla car bombing claimed 1 life, a Ridyadh bicycle bombing which left four people injured, a Baghdad suicide bombing in which bomber took his own life and left twelve people injured, and, dropping back to Saturday, a Sulaiman Pek sticky bombing which claimed the life of 1 police officer. On the Baghdad suicide bombing, Aswat al-Iraq reports seventeen were injured and 2 people were killed (one police officer, one bystander).

I'm ignoring Tim Arrango's article that 15 of you have e-mailed about. If you're confused from his article, refer to Scott Horton's conversation with Patrick Cockburn on Antiwar Radio last week. I'm tired and not in the mood to perform a medley of greatest hits tonight. We've already covered it and covered it again and again.

Far more interesting is Aswat al-Iraq's story about Jalal Talabani's visit to Iran. There was Jalal kissing up like crazy, selling out Camp Ashraf, ignoring the PKK, fawning over the Iranian government and yet they brushed him aside. The paper reports that Talabani was insulted and they quote the National Coalition spokesperson Hakim al-Zamily stating: "The reception of the President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, by the Iranian Oil Minister during his recent visit to Tehran, is considered as a rejected matter. Iran should have arranged Talabani's reception by his Iranian Counterpart, not by a Minister only, because Talabani is a respectful personality, and Iran’s President must issue a justification for his position."

Talabani's such an idiot. Kurds may make up a large portion of Iran's population, but not the deciding portion and the Iranian government sees not just the PKK as enemies but also (another Kurdish group) the PJAK. Only a fool would have thought Talabani (a Kurd) would get the official embrace from the current government in Iran.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest went up earlier tonight (so it could be used at Third) but I will change the time on it so that it's at the top of the site as usual for early Monday morning readers. Pru notes this from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Brian Haw 1949-2011: peace activist and a thorn in the government’s side

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Brian Haw <span class='black'> (Pic: <a href=''>Guy Smallman</a>)</span>

Brian Haw (Pic: Guy Smallman)

by Matthew Cookson

Veteran peace activist Brian Haw, whose anti-war camp has been a fixture in Parliament Square for ten years, died last Sunday from lung cancer.

His protest began in June 2001, initially against sanctions on Iraq. The 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan soon followed.

The protest continued as the “war on terror” expanded into Iraq and threatened other states.

He was a thorn in the side of the government, and resisted attempts to remove him. Brian and his supporters’ presence embarrassed those in power with the reality of what their slaughter meant for millions.

The Labour government passed legislation in 2005 restricting the right to protest in designated areas within a kilometre of parliament in an effort to remove him. But the High Court ruled that Brian’s protest was not covered by this as it began before the law came into effect.

The Court of Appeal later ruled that Brian had to get police permission to continue his camp. This was granted but Brian continued to face attempts to reduce and remove his protest.


Tory Westminster council is launching a court bid later this year to get the camp moved off the pavement.

Brian, a committed Christian, said that the children of Iraq and other countries were “every bit as valuable and worthy of love as my precious wife and children.

“I want to go back to my own kids and look them in the face again, knowing that I’ve done all I can to try and save the children of Iraq and other countries who are dying because of my government’s unjust, amoral, fear—and money-driven policies.”

Many people visited Brian’s camp to show their support, while protests outside parliament received a warm welcome from Brian and his supporters.

It inspired artist Mark Wallinger to recreate the entire protest as an exhibition titled State Britain. This won the 2007 Turner Art Prize.

Brian also won the Channel 4 News award for Most Inspiring Political Figure of the Year in 2007, beating Tony Blair. He also spoke many times at Stop the War Coalition events.

His determination and consistent fight against our rulers will be long remembered.

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