Nine Circles of Hell!: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 Nine Circles of Hell!


Your bitter blind broke gap-toothed radio show host Chuck Mertz‘s blog, ‘The Nine Circles of Hell!,’ is now posted every week day, Monday through Friday, at Noon (US central). It’s all the news that give you fits in print, today’s nine reminders that ‘This is Hell!’

Click on any of the Nine Circles! in bold, or the bonus story in italics, to go directly to the original article.

The world is at war – or at least a big part of it. The New York Times reports, “At least 21 people, apparently including three American soldiers, were killed on Wednesday by a suicide bomber who attacked an American and Afghan military checkpoint in this provincial capital.” This is a day after an attack on a NATO base in southern Afghanistan … which happened the day after a gunman dressed like an Afghan cop killed a US soldier. The US war on al Qaida continues in Yemen. The Associated Press reports, “The Yemeni military’s push in the south is supported by US military advisers from a command center manned by dozens of US troops in the al-Annad air base in the southern desert, not far from the main battle zones. A senior US military official, visiting Yemen on Tuesday, assured officials of the US commitment to continue its support and cooperation in fighting al-Qaida.” The AP then quotes General James Mattis, commander of US Central Command, saying that “the United States will serve in an advisory capacity as Yemeni leadership restructures the armed forces,” and Washington will “stand by Yemen not only through military cooperation, but also in the political, economic, and humanitarian fields as Yemen proceeds with its historic transition.” That’s one thing that’s certain about US policy in the region: the US ain’t goin’ anywhere. Al Jazeera reports, “The United States is planning to extend its military presence in Kuwait. The latest report from Congress said 15,000 US troops are already stationed in the tiny Gulf country. It said more troops are needed to respond to sudden conflicts in the region.” Meanwhile, somebody’s bragging to The Washington Post about the expanding US and Israeli cyberwar against Iran. The Post reports, “The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to the officials. The effort, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military, has included the use of destructive software such as the Stuxnet virus.” They then quote a ‘former high-ranking US intelligence official’ saying that Flame and Stuxnet are “about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action. Cyber-collection against the Iranian program is way further down the road than this.” The US wars rage on in the region as Turkey bombs Iraq. You read that right. The Associated Press reports “Turkish warplanes and attack helicopters have struck Kurdish rebel targets inside Iraq after a rebel attack killed eight Turkish soldiers … The clash — one of the fiercest in several months — left at least 26 rebels dead along with the eight soldiers.” Nigeria’s own civil war is getting more deadly. Reuters reports “At least 80 people have been killed since Monday in clashes in northern Nigeria triggered by Islamists waging an insurgency against the government. The violence – some of which was sparked by church bombings over the last three Sundays – has heightened sectarian tensions in Africa’s most populous country, which is evenly split between Christians and Muslims. The riots came two days after Christian youths went on the rampage, killing 52 people in the city, itself retaliation for the bombing of three churches by suspected Islamists on Sundat that killed 19 people. Pope Benedict repeated his concerns about the sectarian killings, using his weekly general audience on Wednesday to appeal for an immediate end to ‘terrorist attacks’ against Christians and urging all sides to avoid reprisals.” There’s new deadly religion-linked fighting in Myanmar, too. The AP reports, “Officials say up to 12 people have died in new communal clashes in western Myanmar. Lawmakers say the violence broke out Tuesday in Yathetaung township between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship in Myanmar and are viewed as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Earlier violence between the two groups left at least 50 people dead and displaced tens of thousands of others.” The Muslim Brotherhood foresees “confrontation” in Egypt if the military-backed candidate is declared the next president. The Egypt Independent reports, “The Muslim Brotherhood has warned against a dangerous confrontation between the people and the army if presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq wins the presidency.” The Independent then quotes Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan saying, “Overturning the result of the vote will lead to confrontation between the people and the army.” (The AP says the Egypt vote total was supposed to be announced tomorrow, but it’s gonna be delayed.) Luckily, we’ll all get a break from the world’s deadly wars when the Olympics distract us later this summer. We’ll stare in awe at the skeptical. We’ll marvel at the physical prowess demonstrated by glorious athletes wearing jerseys made in sweatshops. The Independent has done a study and found that “Olympic-branded gear is being manufactured for Adidas in sweatshop conditions in Indonesia. The Independent has uncovered widespread violations of workers’ rights (including) female factory employees work up to 65 hours (25 hours more than the standard working week), for desperately low pay. They also endure verbal and physical abuse, they allege, are forced to work overtime, and are punished for not reaching production targets. Workers struggle to survive on pay as low as 5,000 rupiah (34p) an hour, skipping meals to save money, and sending their children away to be looked after by grandparents. Workers allege that some unions are not given bargaining rights by Adidas’s Indonesian suppliers. Even for those with jobs, conditions are poor, according to workers.” The Independent quotes a worker saying, “The management says that overtime is compulsory, And there are many times when workers are working without payment on overtime, or are not paid properly. Every day there’s a worker who passes out because they’re exhausted or unwell.”

That’s the Nine Circles of Hell! for Wednesday, June 20, 2012.

Come back tomorrow at Noon! for The Nine Circles of Hell!