Monday, June 04, 2012

Baghdad slammed with bombing, 23 dead, over 60 injured

A new week, a new month and yet the news remains consistent: Baghdad slammed by bombings.  Again.   Kareem Raheem (Reuters) quotes police officer Ahmed Hassan stating, "It was a powerful explosion, dust and smoke covered the area.  At first, I couldn't see anything, but then I heard screaming women and children.  We rushed with other people to help . . . the wounded were scattered all around, and there were body parts on the main street." 

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports the morning attack was a suicide bomber who attacked "the offices of Shiite religious affairs." Yang Lina (Xinhua) explains, "The Shiite endowment office is an independent body affiliated to the government and is responsible for running the Shiite mosques and their religious properties." Radio Netherlands Worldwide adds, "The attack comes amid a dispute between Iraq's Shiite and Sunni endowments, which manage the country's religious landmarks, over a shrine north of Baghdad, and a protracted political standoff that has raised sectarian tensions in a country racked by brutal communal bloodshed from 2006 to 2008." AGI quotes the deputy director of the endowmen, Sami al-Massudi, stating, "We are not accusing anyone but we are appealing to the Iraqi people and especially to the children of our religion to move swiftly to bury the discord."  AFP notes that the Sunni Endowment headquarters were attacked shortly after by at least one bombing or mortar attack (the Ministry of the Interior states it was a roadside bombing) and the Sunnin Endowment spokesperson, Faris al-Mahdawi, is quoted stating, "We reject and condemn this criminal, cowardly, fanatical attack.  These attacks aim to create divisions between the Iraqi people. There are dirty hands that are playing sectarianism, and trying to bring the country back to the years of violence." 

 An unnamed hospital source tells Alsumaria that 16 corpses were received and 83 injured. AGI notes that the death toll has risen to 22. And it will probably continue to rise.  ITV notes it's at 23.  They also have two photos that are AP photos and you would hope AP would assemble a photo essay quickly because this was a very destructive bomb in terms of the buildings and they've got some powerful photos (Hadi Mizban is the photographer of the two AP photos ITV is featuring).  It is just leveled with debris everywhere as police and firefighters search for survivors who may be trapped.   Virgin Media has three other photos (I believe they're also by Hadi Mizban but they aren't credited to anyone).

AP reports that the injured include Baghdad Health Department's Adel Ahmed who was at work when the nearby bombing attack took palce and that the ceiling in the Health Department came loose and hit him in the head.  AP offers an slide show presenation on violence since 2003 hereAFP offers a timeline of some of the major violence in the last months.

Bonnie points out Isaiah had two comics this weekend, Saturday's "The Jobs Report" and Sunday's "The Shooting Range."  On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, Ruth Conniff drops by to discuss Wisconsin, the ACLU's Zachary Heiden discusses how various states may be in violation of Title IX as they gender segregate classrooms and Amnesty International Canada's Beatric Vaugrante discusses legislation that has resulted in Canadian students taking to the streets for three months now. 

Finally, David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "No Matter What The Result, We Will Continue To Resist" (TruthOut -- and there are a series of striking photographs at the link):

Humberto Montes de Oca is the international secretary for the Mexican Electrical Workers union. Two years ago, its 44,000 members were all fired, when the Mexican government took over generating stations by force to set the stage for privatizing electricity. Montes de Oca describes the role the union has played on the left in Mexico, its resistance to privatization, and the way fired workers are now forced to migrate to survive. With Mexico's presidenetial election just weeks away, he explains why his union, like the miners and other independent unions, are supporting Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the candidate of the Party of the Democratic Revolution. He was interviewed by David Bacon.

Our organization is the oldest democratic union in Mexico. The Mexican Electrical Workers Union [SME] was founded in 1914 when the armies of Emiliano Zapata took Mexico City. Our founders saw that the peasant insurrection would finally create the conditions for their efforts to organize could succeed. They'd already made many attempts to set up the union in underground conditions, and endured repression because of it.
In 1916 we organized Mexico's first general strike. Our leaders were imprisoned and condemned to death, but their lives were saved by huge demonstrations. In 1936 we went on strike against the Mexican Power and Light Company, which at that time had U.S., British and Canadian owners. Mexico City went without electricity for ninety days, except for emergency medical services. The strike was successful, and led to the negotiation of one of the most important labor contracts in Latin America. That strike helped set the stage for the nationalization of oil, and created the political conditions that made the expropriation possible.

The e-mail address for this site is

law and disorder radio
michael s. smith
heidi boghosian
michael ratner