Friday, December 20, 2013

9100 violent deaths in Iraq so far this year

The end of the year looms.  Iraq Body Count notes 9100 violent deaths in Iraq so far this year with, through Thursday,  660 for the month thus far.  That's more than the violent deaths in 2009 and nearly double the violent deaths in 2010, in 2011 and in 2012.

And the violence continues as does the month, as does the year.

National Iraqi News Agency reports 1 person was shot dead outside his Baquba home, and a Falluja attack left 1 person dead and three injured (two were police officers),  All Iraq News adds that 2 Tuz Khurmatu bombings left 6 people dead and twenty-five injured.  Alsumaria explains one of the bombings -- the one that left 5 people dead -- targeted mourners in a cemetery.  Earlier this week, Alsumaria noted that placing bombs in cemeteries had become the "killing technique of the month" and  quoted Salim al-Hiyali ("security expert) stating, "Planting bombs in graves is a new phenomenon that surged in the security scene in Diyala during December after two such incidents took place: the first in a graveyard near Al Wajihiyah (25 km north-east of Baaqubah) leading to the death of about 60 civilians and the second took place near a cemetery in Abu Idris (3 km south of Baaqubah). 30 civilians were injured and died as a result."

Alsumaria reports other violence today includes a Mosul roadside bombing left Col Mohammed Ibrahim and his assistant injured, a Juachik vomving left 2 people dead, 2 people were shot dead in Tal Afar, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left another injured, 1 taxi driver was shot dead in Mosul, 1 telecom company employee was shot dead in Mosul,

Check my math, that's 15 reported dead and 31 injured so far.  On Fridays, for seven years now, violence reports trickle out slowly so those numbers may rise.

It's December 20th.  In a few days, Christians around the world will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  For the record, an e-mail came in asking why we're noting "Jesus Christ" this year?  Even those two words?  Good question.  We note all the Muslim pilgrimages and carry various details on the martyrs, etc.  It makes sense for us to do the same with the Christian holiday of Christmas.  (Many people around the world celebrate Christmas as a day to share and/or a time of Santa and do so without any religious overtones.)

As The Voice of Russia notes (link is audio and text), Prince Charles of England spoke out against the violent persecution of Christians this week:

On a visit to the Egyptian Coptic Church centre in Stevenage and the Syriac Orthodox cathedral in London, the Prince of Wales heard accounts of Christians being murdered and families forced to leave their homes in countries in the Middle East.
Violence against Christians in Syria, Egypt and Iraq is increasing. According to Britain’s Foreign Office, religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa are suffering as a result of instability linked to the Arab Spring.

Those who don't die in the violence live in fear.  Amjad Salah (Alsumaria) reported Wednesday on the findings of Patriarch Louis Ralphael Sako who declared that approximately six Christian families are now leaving Iraq each day.  Families, not individuals.  Today, Scottish Catholic Observer reports:

At a speech in Rome last Friday, the patriarch made clear he was not asking for a mobilisation ‘to protect Christians,’ but rather Western efforts to support ‘harmonious societies for all human beings,’ based on ‘a civil state in which the only criterion is citizenship grounded in full equality under the law.’
The patriarch said that at the moment, the actions of nations such as the UK and the US seem to be based purely on self-interest.
“All they do is create problems, sell weapons and take oil,” he said. “This is a sin.”

Bonnie reminds Kat's "Kat's Korner: Beyonce -- the fake ass feminist who sells violence against women"
 went up yesterday -- calling out Beyonce selling violence against women as sexy.  In other news of violence against women, late last night, Senator Patty Murray's office issued the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               CONTACT: Murray Press Office (202) 224-2834
Thursday, December 19, 2013                                                    Ayotte Press Office (202) 224-3324

MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT: Final Defense Bill Includes Murray-Ayotte Reform to Better Protect Victims

Murray-Ayotte provision would provide trained military lawyers to victims of sexual assault in all service branches

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) released the following statements after the United States Senate approved the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes their bipartisan legislation to provide victims of sexual assault in all military branches with a Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) – a trained and certified military lawyer to assist victims throughout the legal process. The defense bill, which passed the Senate by a vote of 84-15, also includes dozens of major reforms to protect and support victims of sexual assault, boost prosecutions, and hold military commanders accountable. 

Today we have taken a major, unprecedented step toward finally eliminating the plague of sexual assault in our nation’s military,” said Senator Murray. “Thanks to the voices of countless victims, the work of thousands of advocates, and the bipartisan cooperation of my colleagues, we have shone a light on an issue that for too long has left so many of our nation’s heroes in the shadows. I’d especially like to thank Senator Ayotte for her partnership as we worked to enact this reform, which truly gets at the heart of effectively addressing the tragic epidemic facing our men and women in uniform. I look forward to President Obama’s signature on this legislation and in the coming months will work closely with Secretary Hagel and the incoming Director of the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault and Prevention Office, Major General Jeffrey Snow, to ensure swift implementation of our legislation.”

“Providing sexual assault victims with their own military lawyer takes a major step toward empowering victims and making sure they get the guidance they need,” said Senator Ayotte. “The special victims’ counsel provision will help encourage victims to come forward to seek justice, and it will help ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes. I appreciated the opportunity to work with Senator Murray on this bipartisan measure, which is part of a broad package of reforms to address sexual assault in our military.”

In August, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed immediate implementation of several measures to “gain greater consistency of effort and enhance oversight, investigative quality, pretrial investigations and victim support” in cases of military sexual assault. Among other measures, the directive includes implementation of a special victims’ advocacy program to assist sexual assault victims in all branches through the legal process, similar to the legislation introduced by Senators Murray and Ayotte.

Senators Murray and Ayotte have worked for much of the year to advance legislation to prevent sexual assaults in the militaryLast month, Senators Murray and Ayotte  joined a bipartisan group of female Senators on the floor to speak out against sexual assault in the military and call on their colleagues to support some of the historic changes being made to prevent this scourge.



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