41 Dead, 70 Injured in Iraq bombings; US will Not turn over Prisoners

Bombings in Tal Afar and Baghdad killed 41 persons on Thursday morning. Tal Afar is a northern city with a mostly Turkmen population and some Arabs. US military operations in Tal Afar caused the Turkmen Sunnis to leave for the most part, leading to a take-over of the city by the Shiite Turkmen. The Sunni Turkmen were allied with a minority Sunni Arab community, and both had thrown in with the secular Baath regime. After the US overthrew the Baath, many Sunnis in the region turned toward vigilante fundamentalism or “al-Qaeda,” provoking a fight between the Sunnis and the Shiites. The Shiites won, with the help of US and NATO fighter pilots, and turned Tal Afar into a Shiite place.. The angry Sunni guerrillas are the ones most likely behind the bombing on Thursday.

That is,the massive ethnic cleansings in Iraq, under the nose of the US military forces, bodes ill for Iraq.

Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declined yesterday to release from prison those prisoners who said they had been tortured. He said he would only release them if they were proven innocent, not because their human rights had been violated. Nobody, he said, seems to care about the human rights of the orphans and widows created by these murderers, just about their supposed rights. Meanwhile, the United Nations confirmed that the Iraqi government has carried out secret, unannounced executions.

As a result of the likelihood that torture will be applied to them, the US military is declining after all to turn 26,000 Iraqi prisoners in its prisons in Iraq over to the Iraqi government. (Irony alert). The Status of Forces Agreement concluded between the Iraqi parliament and the Bush administration stipulates that the US must turn the Iraqi prisoners in its custody over to the Iraqi authorities. International, regional and Arab organizations, however, beseeched the US military not to turn the prisoners over until guarantees were by Iraq that their lives would be preserved. Their family members warned that there was a danger that the prisoners would be tortured and even executed unless the Iraqi government gives clear undertakings preserving them from torture and summary execution.

Ahmad al-Mas`udi, a spokesman for the Sadr Movement, told al-Zaman (the Times of Baghdad) that he had proof that prisoners in Iraqi penitentiaries are being tortured. He said that for the past three years, the families of prisoners who died under torture have been filing lawsuits. Prisoners in the Rusafah and Kazimiya facilities have gone on a hunger strike to demand an end to the torture to which they are subjected by police.

Michael Munk writes with regard to US casualties in Iraq:

‘ US Iraq Casualties rise to 72,377

US military occupation forces in Iraq under Commander-in-Chief Obama suffered 26 combat casualties in the week ending July 7 as the official total rose to at least 72,377. The total includes 34,890 dead and wounded from what the Pentagon classifies as “hostile” causes and more than 37,487 dead and medically evacuated (last reported April 4) from “non-hostile” causes.*

The actual total is over 100,000 because the Pentagon chooses not to count as “Iraq casualties” the more than 30,000 veterans whose injuries-mainly brain trauma from explosions – were diagnosed only after they had left Iraq.**

US media divert attention from the actual cost in American life and limb by occasionally reporting only the total killed (4,325 as of July 7) but rarely mentioning the 31,430 wounded in combat. To further minimize public perception of the cost, they cover for the Pentagon by ignoring the 36,624 (as of April 4))*** military victims of accidents and illness serious enough to require medical air evacuation, although the 4,325 reported deaths include 865 (no change) who died from those same causes, including at least 18 from faulty electrical work by KBR and 177 suicides through 2008.****

* The number of wounded is updated weekly by the Pentagon at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf.

** New York Times, Jan 26, 2009

*** the number of “non combat” injured is reported irregularily by the Pentagon at http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/OIF-Total.pdf.

**** NYTimes, Jan 30, 2009′

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