Friday, June 22, 2012

Iraq slammed with violence (aka US reporters look beyond Baghdad)

Iraq has again been slammed with bombings today.  AP reports there were 2 roadside bombings, one after the other.   Kareem Raheem (Reusters) quotes police officer Mudhaffar Khalaf stating, 'Fruit and vegetables have been scattered everywhere.  Some children were wounded.  We have started to eacuate the injured people."  Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quotes shoe store owner Mohammed Hussein al-Jizani stating he heard one blast, "Three minutes later there was a second explosion as people and policemen were rushing to the site of the first bomb.  The evil insurgents chose the best time to attack, because the market is usually busy on Fridays with young people gathering to sell and buy birds."  The Voice of Russia counts 14 dead and over one-hundred injured.  But that's just Baghdad.  If you visit the Iraqi press, you'll find Alsumaria is reporting a roadside bombing near Samarra Hospital which left three people injured, a Samarra suicide car bombing targeting a bus of pilgrims claimed the life of 1 of them and left nine more injured as well as one Iraqi soldier and two police officers, and the Sunni Endwoment in Samarra was also targeted with a bombing resulting in serious structural damage and injured civilians (plural -- so at least two, no actual number is given for the wounded) who were passing by.

Violence has been on the rise in Iraq for some time and this month has been particularly violent.
Haider Najm (Niqash) explained yesterday:

The past week has been a deadly one for Iraqis. A wave of coordinated attacks around the country targeted Shiite Muslim pilgrims and others observing a week of holy days. The results, according to Iraqi Body Count, an organization that analyses reports of deadly incidents in Iraq from around the world and from Iraq, saw 92 killed on the deadliest day, Wednesday June 16, and a further 121 killed over the following week. Many hundreds more were wounded with around 300 injured on Wednesday.
This was one of the deadliest weeks in Iraq following the withdrawal of US troops late last year and Iraqi Body Count estimates that 315 civilians had been killed up in Iraq up until June 19.

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) adds, "Also, in a separate incident, gunmen opened fire at a police checkpoint near an outdoor market in a southwest Baghdad neighborhood leaving three police officers dead, police said."

In other news, Phil Stewart (Reuters) has a disturbing article which suggests US officials need to speak clearly.   Ali Mussa Daqduq's reportedly responsible for the deaths of 5 US soldiers among other things (the five are Capt Brian S. Freeman, 1st Lt Jacob N. Fritz, Spc Jonahan B. Chism, Pfc Johnathon M. Millican and Pfc Shawn P. Falter).  He was cleared in a Baghdad 'court.'  This is a long story with several elements but for right now let's focus on the fact that Barack turned him over to the Iraqis which was a huge mistake.  But that's what happened.  Leon Panetta, US Secretary of Defense, is quoted by Stewart stating that they have "a committment" from Iraq that Daqduq will not be released.  Until what?  That's not specified.  And to be really clear, if Panetta doesn't mean until they deport him to the US, there's no excuse for holding Daqduq.  He's apparently cleared the appeals process.  Should he walk?  Yeah.  The US, specifically the White House, screwed up.  If what passes for a 'legal' 'justice' 'system' in Iraq cleared him, then he needs to be out of jail unless he's being held to be deported to the US.  There is no other reason to keep him and the US, as a country, cannot condemn Iraq or any other country for holding prisoners secretly or without cause if they're now working with the Iraqi quthorities to hold Daqduq for no reason -- when the Iraqi court cleared him, all reasons for holding him (except deportation) flew out the window.  That doesn't mean you have to like that.  It doesn't mean you have to dance in the streets.  It mean Barack was stupid enough to leave it up to Nouri when he should have brought the man to the US or tried him in Iraq in a US military court.  Having failed there, you can't then detain someone forever.  Doesn't matter if you think they're guilty, they were cleared, the need to walk.  If Panetta's speaking about anything other than deportation -- holding until he is deported to the US -- there's no justification for it and the US Secretary of Defense should not be engaged in those kind of conversations with a foreign government -- on the orders of the White House or not -- because they go against the principles ensrhined in the US Constitution.  (The one Leon's repeatedly taken oaths to uphold throughout his many years of government service.)

The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan, the Pacifica Evening News, Jane Fonda, On The Wilder Side,, CSPAN, the Guardian and Susan's On The Edge -- updated last night and this morning:
1 hour ago 
And Cedric's "Uniting! At last!" which isn't showing up yet this morning.  And we'll close with this from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative:


Contacts: Peter Sabonis, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative,, (212) 253-1710 x.315
Becky Dennison, Los Angeles Community Action Network,, (312) 863-1643
In conjunction with this week’s annual meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, five UN Special Rapporteurs have released a letter questioning the Los Angeles Police Department’s repeated arrests of a human rights activist participating in peaceful protest activities. These arrests subject activist Steve Richardson to intimidation and degrading treatment and appear to violate international human rights protections of freedom of speech and assembly. The UN expressed “regret” at the U.S. non-response to date, re-issued its request, and asked the U.S. to ensure an environment that assures fundamental freedoms.
The February 23 letter, released this week and addressed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gives the United States 60 days to answer Los Angeles Community Action Network’s (LA-CAN) and National Economic and Social Rights Initiative’s (NESRI) claims that the Los Angeles Police Department has repeatedly arrested Richardson to degrade and quiet him.
Factual allegations, cited in the LA-CAN/NESRI complaint and by the UN Rapporteurs, include the following arrests of Richardson:
  • A March 2008 forceful arrest while Richardson peacefully participated in a LA-CAN program monitoring the LAPD’s treatment of homeless persons on Skid Row;
  • A May 2010 arrest in the L.A. City Council chambers while Richardson and others chanted opposition to a legislative scheme to raise the rents of low-income tenants;
  • An August 2011 arrest while Richardson was drinking coffee outside of a University of Southern California building where he was attending class.
In each of the arrests cited above, the police department first brought felony charges against Richardson that were either dismissed by judges or District Attorneys but could have resulted in a life sentence. City Attorneys have brought up to 11 charges on one incident, resulting in jail time and a two-year probation sentence in one instance. The probation status now puts Richardson at higher risk for re-incarceration due to reduced rights for those on probation and parole, yet he bravely continues to speak out actively against human rights violations in his community.
Deborah Burton, a member of LA-CAN and longtime colleague of Mr. Richardson (commonly known as General Dogon), was encouraged by the letter and said, “This country has a long history of individuals like Dogon who worked for change. We must not forget that the human rights struggles of the past are linked with the struggles of today. We are pleased that the human rights abuses by LAPD and the City Attorney against Dogon have reached international attention and we expect our government to meet its obligation to resolve this situation.”
The UN letter to the U.S.was signed by Frank LaRue and Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteurs on the protection of free expression and freedom of peaceful assembly, who are testifying before the Rights Council this week. Kiai expressed regret on the lack of U.S. response to date. Additional authors include Raquel Rolnik, Margaret Sekaggya, and Juan E. Mendez, Special Rapporteurs on the right to adequate housing, situation of human rights defenders, and on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, respectively.
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative works in partnership with communities to build a broad movement for economic & social rights, including health, housing, education and work with dignity. Los Angeles Community Action Network helps people dealing with poverty create & discover opportunities, while serving as a vehicle to ensure they have voice, power & opinion in the decisions that are directly affecting them.

You have received this email from the
National Economic & Social Rights Initiative
90 John Street,
Suite 308
New York, NY 10038
United States

The e-mail address for this site is