Friday, January 27, 2012

'Surrounded by the remains of the dead' bombing kills at least 32

Today in Baghdad, a funeral procession has been attacked by a suicide bomber. The thing is, when you lie, reality slaps you in the face. When you lie, when you try to spin on Iraq, you don't get away with it. US officials should have learned that by 2004. Yet there was James Jeffrey, US Ambassador to Iraq, in an interview Gulf News published spinning like there was no tomorrow as he insisted to Mayada Al Askari that the political crisis had nothing to do with the current wave of violence, "These attacks are not a result of the political crisis as they are planned months in advance; they are very carefully put together by Al Qaida." When you spin like there's no tomorrow, you might try remembering that, thus far, there has always been a tomorrow. Operation Happy Talk is just one of the many things Barack's administration has continued from the Bush administration. It was laughable during the previous administration, it's just pathetic now. Nine years of continuous lies from the government and Jeffrey is supposed to be the face of the United States in Iraq.

(If you're confused, the attack on today's funeral procession was not "planned months in advance." Nor is most of the violence.)

Adrian Blomfield (Telegraph of London) reports, "A suicide bomber killed at least 29 people on Friday by driving an explosives-laden vehicle into a Shia Muslim funeral procession in Baghdad, heightening fears that Iraq is in the grips of sectarian conflict." KUNA notes, "The car exploded on Markaz street, targeting a funeral of a man who was killed in Al-Yarmouk district on Thursday, a police source said." Kareem Raheem, Patrick Markey and Myra MacDonald (Reuters) quote an unnamed Baghdad security official stating, "The suicide car bomber failed to arrive at the Zaafaraniya police station so he blew himself up close to shops and the market."

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports, "Authorities believe Col. Norman Dakhil may have been the target of the bomber. Dahkil and his family were in the procession making their way to the hospital to collect bodies of three relatives, including his brother, when the bomb exploded, police said." Ali A. Nabhan and Munaf Ammar (Wall St. Journal) add, "The suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into the crowd, which included the pallbearers at a funeral for an Iraqi army commander's brother, who was assassinated along with three others on Thursday, according to a Ministry of Interior official." Sebastian Usher (BBC News) was on the NPR hourly news break this morning stating that many details were not clear at this time and that the funeral was for a real estate agent. Al Bawaba notes, "The funeral was held for an Iraqi man, his wife and son who were killed yesterday in the predominantly Sunni Yarmouk district of the capital." Al Rafidayn identifies the realtor as Mohammed al-Maliki (they do not give the names of his wife and son who were also buried after being killed last night "by gunmen." Salam Faraj (AFP) provides this view of the attack, "Helicopters flew overhead as a heavy security presence cordoned off the site of the explosion, while distraught witnesses screamed in anguish, surrounded by the remains of the dead, their clothes and shoes, and chunks of twisted metal." Bushra Juhi (AP) notes that the death toll has risen to 32 (per hospital officials) and quote grocer Salam Hussein describing "human flesh scattered around and several mutilated bodies in a pool of blood." Lu Hui (Xinhua) reports hospital sources state the toll might rise, "Many of the injured are in serious condition, which could make the death toll higher, said the official. "

Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times) wastes everyone's time padding out a story supposedly on the bombing with an interview he did the day prior with Adnan al-Asadi whom Nouri has put in charge of the Minster of Interior. Not noted in the article -- so probably not raised in the interview -- al-Asadi has no powers. He was not presented as a nominee to the Parliament, he was not voted into office by the Parliament. Legally, he heads no ministry and Nouri can strip him of the post (with no input from Parliament). He serves at the whim of Nouri, the puppet has a puppet. Somewhere in an article on violence, Schmidt and the New York Times should have had the guts to note that the security ministries still have no heads -- Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of National Security. But, as we've already noted this week, the paper of US-government record has always sucked up to and covered for Nouri. I'd call Schmidt the new Judy Miller but Miller was stupid enough to believe the nonsense that bore her byline. Al Mada reports that Iraq's Integrity Commission has released a list of the most corrupt ministries in Iraq. At number four: Electricity. At number three: Trade. At number one: Defense. And at number two? Interior. No, Schmidt didn't cover that in his report either. How does one interview the 'acting minister' of the ministry just ranked the second most corrupt in Iraq by the independent governmental Integrity Commission and 'forget' to inform readers of the ranking? One manages that feat only when filing for the New York Times.

The following community sites -- plus Susan's On The Edge and -- updated last night:

We'll close with the following from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

CCR Sends Letter to State Department Urging Actions to Ensure Safety of Family of Slain Activist


Parents Are Plaintiffs in Case Against Honduras Military Coup Leader

January 23, 2012, New York – Today the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) wrote to the U.S. State Department expressing concerns that David Murillo and Silvia Mencías, plaintiffs in a case against coup leader Roberto Micheletti Baín, face serious risks of harm upon their return to Honduras. They have been staying in Argentina following death threats and frequent surveillance by police and unknown entities since the killing of their 19-year-old son by the military. The letter urges U.S. officials to take all available steps to ensure the Honduran government guarantees the safety of the Murillo family and other human rights defenders.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime recently reported that Honduras currently has the highest homicide rate in the world, with journalists, political activists, union leaders, land-rights advocates and others killed daily without consequence.

In the letter, Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, describes the intensifying human rights crisis in Honduras and cites letters from members of Congress over the well-documented fact that "members of the security forces are implicated in many incidents of threats, harassment, attacks and extrajudicial executions." The letter also references reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the "disproportionate use of force to quell public demonstrations against the policies of the current government; the lack of independence of the judiciary; and the situation of human rights defenders."
The letter reads:
“Indeed, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established by the coup government, in part at the urging of the United States, also noted the involvement of state security forces or ‘people acting in [the state's] interest’ in the killing of those in opposition to the coup and coup-government. Additionally, in an expert report submitted in the Murillos' case, Human Rights Watch investigator Tamara Taraciuk details and documents the complete culture of impunity that prevails in Honduras for the coup and the human right violations that have multiplied exponentially since the coup.

“It is imperative that the Embassy publicly denounce the threats and harassment already suffered by the Murillos and publicly declare to Honduran government officials the obligation to respect and protect the human right to life and personal security of David Murillo and Sylvia Mencías, specifically, and of all human rights defenders in Honduras.”

Currently, the U.S. is providing funding to Honduran police and military forces. Given Congressional concerns, a percentage of this funding was recently conditioned on the human rights situation and requires additional State Department reporting on human rights.

To read the letter in full, click this PDF link.

For more information on the Murillo’s legal case visit:

Para el comunicado de prensa en Español, haga clic en el siguiente enlace PDF.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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