Sunday, April 05, 2015


Starting with some of today's violence. Alsumaria reports 4 "militants" were killed in a Tikrit battle with Iraqi forces, Baghdad Operations Command declared Baghdad forces killed 1 "terrorist" and left three more injured, a Tuz Khurmato attack left two people injured, 4 police officers were shot dead in eastern Baghdad with a fifth injured, a battle in eastern Falluja left 6 people dead and seven more injured, rocket attacks in Falluja left 2 women dead and thirteen more people injured, and the corpse of 1 man was discovered dumped in the Tigris RiverAP adds that a Baghdad market bombing left 4 people dead and ten more injured and a bombing in Baghdad's Suwaib area left 2 people dead and eleven more injured.  Margaret Griffis ( counts 126 violent deaths today across the country with fifty-three people left injured.

We're starting with violence because Griffis reported 18 dead on Saturday and a ton of e-mails came in insisting that couldn't be correct.

First, let's deal with the number by falling back to Saturday.  NINA reports Sinjar air raids left 18 people (dubbed "terrorists") dead, in Mosul the Iraqi forces are claiming to have killed 1 "senior commander" in the Islamic State, Iraqi forces say they killed 2 Islamic State members in between Diyala and Salah al-Din, 1 militia member was shot dead to the south of Kirkuk, a Falluja mortar attack left 1 woman dead and ten more people injured, Iraqi forces state they killed 23 Islamic State members outside Mosul, Iraqi forces state they killed 7 Islamic State members in Ramadi, an attack in Mandali left 7 people dead, a farmer was shot dead outside of Baquba, and Coalition bombings on Hawija killed 7 people with thirteen more injured (and the US government really, really hopes they were terrorists).

There were many more than 18 deaths in Iraq.

On Griffis, two things there.

She filed earlier than normal (which is fine, her time is her time).  Second, I could be wrong but I don't believe she reads Arabic.

Alsumaria reports in more detail in Arabic.

'But, C.I., you just quoted NINA."

Yes, National Iraqi News Agency is where I went to for Saturday figures.

And it's English.

But Griffis couldn't do that because she was counting on Saturday.

NINA does not publish -- any longer -- violence on the day of.  It publishes reports the next day.  So right now you can't find out about Sunday's violence but come Monday you can.

What's going on?

Al Mada's doing nothing.

It's a ghost of its former self.

In that instance, it's supposedly agreed to silence its own voice to 'help' the new government.

Many other outlets in Iraq are 'helping' or under intimidation.

I've heard about from Iraqis reporting for various outlets and kept waiting to see a major report on it from the west.  Instead, they don't even note it.

Dar Addustour has been covering in reporting and, last week, columnist As Sheikh also weighed in.  Noting the problems facing the Iraqi press, he called for a fund to be set up to support the press and the freedom it is supposed to have.

It is amazing that the press which managed to push back against thug Nouri al-Maliki is now a victim of Haider al-Abadi.

In fairness to Haider, some -- like Al Mada -- are silencing themselves.  They think it's for 'the good' of the country (two different reporters for the paper have e-mailed about that -- they do not agree with the paper's policy).

In terms of Margaret Griffis, NINA not printing reports from violence until the day after does impact her work because NINA publishes in English.  Equally true, as we pointed out last week, the western press has been obsessed with Tikrit to the point of ignoring every other city in Iraq.

Margaret does important work and I'm glad she keeps a count because I walked away from that some time ago.  I don't know how it is for her but I know that I found it not only time consuming but hugely depressing.

We have to note violence here. 

But I'm not going to immerse myself in it any longer.  For years, we covered the daily violence and we'd do our own monthly totals to prove that the official totals were undercounts.

I think we long established that as fact and I don't take the stage and sing the same song over and over so we've moved on to other things.  But it's also true that it was impossible for me to continue each day exploring all the reported violence -- from various media -- in English, in Arabic, in French -- without just wanting to throw up every day.

I applaud Margaret's work and when you think -- as many e-mailers did -- that she got the number wrong, you need to grasp that (a) you're probably correct that many more died but (b) she's working with the best resources she has available.

In terms of following Iraq, All Iraq News does an English version that is very similar to their Arabic version.  And they are an outlet that's continuing to do the same kind of coverage they were doing in 2014.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4494.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Tavis Smiley and the Guardian  -- update:

  • Actors
    17 hours ago

  • Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Deal" went up earlier today as did Kat's "Kat's Korner: What The Bedroom Tapes reveal" and "Kat's Korner: Ringo's Postcards are not be missed."

    The e-mail address for this site is