Thursday, April 23, 2009

US military announces a death, Iraq bombings claim 60 lives today

Last night the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division–Baghdad Soldier died April 22 from combat related injuries while conducting a patrol in eastern Baghdad. The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The names of the service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense Official Website at . The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member’s primary next of kin. MND-B will not release any additional details prior to notification of next of kin and official release by the DoD. The incident is currently under investigation." The announcement brings to 4275 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.

Al Jazeera notes a Baghdad bombing today which "targeted a police patrol in the Karrada district" and claimed, at that point, 28 lives with fifty injured. Michael Christie and Jon Boyle (Reuters) note that in addition to the 28 killed in Baghdad, a Muqdadiya bombing claimed 32 lives. Reuters state that both bombings were suicide bombings.

Mike noted the death of the US soldier last night and for the drive-bys this morning fretting over the torture issue, we're interested as it applies to Iraq and, no, we didn't ignore it yesterday. The ten of you e-mailing that we didn't highlight Jonathan S. Landay's article that "everybody is highlighting" (BW) must mean we didn't highlight it in the snapshot. It was noted yesterday morning. In the snapshot, we had a Congressional hearing to cover. Elsewhere in the community, Ruth addressed some torture coverage at her site last night and Elaine noted the topic as well. Repeating, we had a Congressional hearing to cover in yesterday's snapshot. That was 23 paragraphs. For what made it into yesterday's snapshot and what didn't and possible reasons why, you can see Kat's post last night. Four of the ten complaining are also complaining because their action/even or reporting was not noted. What did it have to do with Iraq? Nothing. So I make a case-by-case decision on whether it's pertinent or of interest. There wasn't room for everything and I really don't owe it to strangers to include their every breath and sneeze. (I have many friends who are on hold with something they want noted including a friend at CBS. They have to wait. The idea that strangers can show up at the public e-mail account and demand this or that while my friends wait indicates some people have a very inflated opinion of themselves that is not universally shared.)

I know Stephen Vladeck and am including the next item for that reason. (No one requested it.)

Atlanta, Ga.: What exactly does the Constitution say about torture, if anything?

Stephen Vladeck: The Constitution bars "cruel and unusual punishment" (in the Eighth Amendment), and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment has also been understood to bar governmental conduct that "shocks the conscience" (in a Supreme Court decision called Rochin v. California).
But separate from the Constitution, federal law (specifically the anti-torture statute, 18 U.S.C. � 2340 and � 2340A) and the U.N. Convention Against Torture both make it a serious criminal offense to torture. Indeed, even the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which Congress enacted to authorize the trial of terrorism suspects in military tribunals, includes as one of its 28 specific offenses the crime of "torture."
_______________________ Harsh Tactics Readied Before Their Approval (Post, April 22)

The above is from "Harsh Interrogations: Could There Be Prosecutions? Techniques Could Backfire and Might Violate U.S. and International Law," an online chat at the Washington Post yesterday hosted by Stephen Vladeck, Constitutional Law professor at American University. Those interested in the topic can see Ben Pershing's "On Interrogation Policies, Obama Stuck Looking 'Backwards'" (Washington Post) which provides a strong snapshot of the various arguments and statements being made by various officials and former officials. We'll also note this from a report by Samira Simone (CNN):

She said she was a scapegoat. She said she was just following orders. She said she was demoted unfairly.
Now, retired Army Col. Janis Karpinski can say: I told you so.
Karpinski was one of two officers punished over the aggressive interrogations at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Pictures of detainees caused outrage around the world when they were leaked to the news media in May 2004. The photos showed naked prisoners stacked on top of each other or being threatened by dogs or hooded and wired up as if for electrocution.
Throughout the ordeal, Karpinski maintained that she and her troops were following interrogation guidelines approved by top brass. Today, Karpinski has found validation in a few Bush-era memos released last week by the Obama administration.

Iraq's Foreign Ministry notes:

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari received in his office on 21st. Apr .2009 the British Ambassador in Baghdad Mr. Christopher Prentice upon his request
During the meeting they discussed bilateral relations and the coming visit of Prime Minister Noori AL-Maliki to Britain and the participation in the investment conference to be held in London at the end of this month with more than 400 Iraqi and foreign business men presenting different sectors in addition to the official meetings to be held on the sidelines of the visit.
They also discussed the outcomes of the Arab and Foreign Officials' visit to Baghdad which indicates a significant improvement in Iraq's relations with other countries as well as the stability in the security situation and reconstruction process in Iraq.

And the Kurdistan Regional Government notes:

British Parliamentarians hail Kurdistan Region’s progress and urge closer ties with UK

» KRG High Representative to the UK Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman with the APPG delegation at Erbil International Airport
London, UK ( -- Following a week-long fact-finding visit to the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, a delegation of British parliamentarians hailed the “substantial economic and social progress” made in Kurdistan since its previous visit last year. The parliamentarians also urged closer trade, political, cultural and educational ties between the Region and the UK.

The delegation representing the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Kurdistan Region, stated in its press release after the visit, "Respect for the UK remains very high in Iraqi Kurdistan, thanks to our role in establishing the safe haven in 1991 and in what is commonly referred to as 'liberation' in 2003. English is also the second language. But we fear that opportunities for trade, investment and a host of political, cultural and educational exchanges are not being pursued as vigorously as they should for the mutual benefit of the UK and the Kurdistan Region as part of a wider Iraq. We urge the UK to play a bigger role in helping ease tensions between the Region and the federal government in Baghdad over issues such as disputed territories and the hydrocarbon law."

The all-party group visited the three main cities of Ebril, Dohuk and Suleimaniah, and met President Masoud Barzani, Deputy Prime Minister Imad Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Adnan Mufti. They also met several ministers, provincial governors, journalists, trades union and women's rights activists, university and business leaders and the Christian Bishop of Erbil. They also visited the Christian and Yezidi communities.

Ms Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the KRG’s High Representative to the UK, accompanied the delegation. She said, "The parliamentary group was able to note areas where Kurdistan has progressed since the group's last visit in February 2008, and where more needs to be done. Their continued support for the political, social and economic development of Kurdistan and Iraq is a sign of the steadfast friendship between Kurdistan Region and Britain."

The APPG said it will next compile a detailed report on its findings and will seek meetings with key British ministers to press for "much deeper and broader political, diplomatic and commercial relations between the UK and the Kurdistan Region."

The delegation consisted of Labour MP Derek Wyatt; Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Tim Clement Jones; Mr Mark Phillips, Conservative Chief of Staff to Baroness Neville-Jones Shadow Security Minister; and Mr Gary Kent, Administrator of the APPG and Director of Labour Friends of Iraq.

Read the press release issued by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Kurdistan Region

See also Kurdistan - The other side of Iraq, by Tobias Ellwood MP

And Media Channel notes:

Happy 10th Birthday!

It's MediaChannel's 10th year online serving as your media watchdog!

We are writing to all of our readers, friends, associates, and affiliates to mark our first decade as an online media issues network. Our survival alone is a cause for celebration - a decade of growth and impact is impressive in "Internet years."

At the same time, given the financial crisis, and the lack of funding that has already claimed some of our independent media colleagues, it is clear that if we are to survive, and sustain work that has been hailed worldwide, we have to reach out to the people who know our work best to become more active in their support on a regular basis.

We hope you share our belief that MediaChannel matters.

Please join us in celebrating our 10th year by giving us a much needed tax-deductible Happy Birthday donation!

Will you join our 10-Years-$10-Challenge by donating monthly to help MediChannel survive?

Click here to donate $10 per month, or click here to make a one-time Happy 10th Birthday donation of your choosing.


The Good News: Thanks to your support we have been "in action" for nearly a decade, serving as a high quality Internet destination and a source of information about the way media impacts, and sometimes undermines, our democracy.

Unique among websites, holds the rest of the media accountable with the best of the world's media criticism and analysis -- offering news, diverse global perspectives, and commentaries tracking international news flows. We cover breaking controversies, showcase change-makers, trends and cutting edge issues that you need to know about - produced by journalists for journalists and citizens.

We have many readers and friends the world over. Our content is republished widely. Everyday, we receive submissions from readers and media experts worldwide. Organizations honor us with invitations to forums and events, and bestowing awards such as the recent James Aronson Award for our contribution to social justice media.

Over the past 10 years, we have survived financial crises and organized hack attacks. We have managed to remain relevant and on the cutting edge in a quickly evolving online landscape when many other sites and organizations have come… and gone.

We are still going, and in fact, developing new features that will make our work more interactive and open to your input. We are about to launch MediaChannel 2.0 with the latest social networking tools. We will empower you to create your own blog, profile and presence on -- among other concerned citizens who understand the value of holding the media accountable. We are almost ready to launch, with more financial support we can get there within the next few weeks.

If you would like to participate in this upcoming social networking and community effort, please email

*That's the good news.*

The Bad News: The global financial crisis -- which is bringing down major companies and markets -- (and a crisis, incidentally, which we foresaw and focused on before most of the media we cover) is unfortunately affecting us too.

It is harder than ever to pay for independent media work, harder than ever to find grants, and to generate support from readers. Like many independent media outlets, our survival is at risk unless you, our readers, once again come to the rescue and make sustaining MediaChannel one of your priorities.

We know that MediaChannel is valued and appreciated. We know its mission is needed now more than ever. We know we have the expertise and passion to make MediaChannel more meaningful and sustainable.

Unless you take it upon yourself to respond, however, we also know that we will have to close our doors. Sadly, there is no stimulus package for stimulating content, no bailout for people like us who want to make change - not restore an unfair and dysfunctional economy. Will you join our 10-years-$10-challenge by donating $10 a month to help MediaChannel survive?

And so, we turn to you, to turn your support into donations that can keep us alive.

You are our only shot. We do not have a big university behind us or billionaire donors. We don't have big PR firms flacking for us, or investors looking for a pay day. We are proudly not-for-profit with a tax exempt organization, the Global Center, providing fiscal sponsorship.

Your contributions to the Global Center keep us going.

You can donate online here or mail a check made out to The Global Center at this address:

575 8th Ave, Suite 2200
New York, New York, 10018

(Please write for MediaChannel in the memo section of your check.)

It's been ten years, probably 70 in "internet years" where trends come and go. We are committed to making media a tool to strengthen our democracy. We are committed to continue to serve.

Will you reciprocate and show us that you care?

Thank you,

Danny Schechter
Rory O'Connor
David DeGraw
Cherie Welch

The e-mail address for this site is