May 4, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Iraqis continue to be
targeted in their own country, Nouri's suddenly declaring he's fine with
the call for a national conference, Iraqiya says the Erbil Agreement
must be implemented, Ibrahim al-Jaafari says the conference must take
place next week, Tareq al-Hashemi hold a press conference and more.
in the US with news of the latest faux left move. The Coalition to
Protest at the DNC talked a good game and got some support. We didn't
support it because they were so obviously fake. But they fooled a
number of people. Today the organization posted a statement which
begins: "It is with great enthusiasm that we announce that the Coalition
to Protest at the DNC is changing its name to the Coalition to March on
Wall Street South -- Building People's Power during the DNC. This
decision was made unanimously by the steering committee of the
coalition, made up of representatives from more than 60 organizations."
shows a real lack of integrity, I think, to let Democrats off the
hook," said Cindy Sheehan, the well-known antiwar protester whose son,
Casey, was killed in Iraq, adding that the name change was making her
rethink her plans to attend protests in Charolotte. "They are as much
the party of war as the Republicans, the party of Wall Street."
Cooper also quotes "veteran antiwar activist" John Penley who wrote "What a sellout!" online. Penely also wrote
my OWS friends if you are going to support the Democratic Party and
vote for Obama for president and encourage people not to protest at the
DNC in Charlotte and only protest the Republicans in Tampa well lets
leave as friends I still love ya but please defriend me so I can make
room for those who have not joined team Obama or the GD Republicans.
Penely fears is exactly what took place in 2008. Here's a few things
that would-be sell outs on the left should consider in the future.
A Democrat who can't speak up for what's right during the campaign out
of fear that he or she will lose the race is not one that normally ever
speaks up after the race is won. Because there's always another race and
when there's not -- say you've two-termed it out of the White House --
there's still so much corporate dollars to be made.
now in Arizona, there's a ridiculous woman running for public office.
She's a War Hawk and a number of left voters (we were in the state on
Monday and Tuesday) are kidding themselves that, because when Bully Boy
Bush was in office, when she gets into office, she'll suddenly become
Dennis Kucinich. She won't. She was in peace groups in 2003. If she
wanted to be a part of that, she still would be. She left those to
cheer on War Hawk Barack and that's where she's at now. She's not
playing voters for fools and pretending to be something she's not but a
number of voters are willingly playing the fool as they rush to convince
themselves that she's really a secret peace vote.
If you can't hold someone's feet to the fire right now at this moment,
chances are you never will. In 2007 and 2008, Tom Hayden, Laura
Flanders and others made repeated claims that they would hold Barack's
feet to the fire but not yet, you understand, he had to win the primary
first. But, buster, once he did, step back because they were going to
hold his feet to the fire.
happened. And as they look back, I would hope Tom and Laura both now
realize that they were wrong to stay silent when Barack utilized
homophobia in 2007 to solidify the primary vote in South Carolina. (If
you missed this in real time, refer to Kevin Alexander Gray and Marshall
Derks' "Obama's Big Gay and Black Problem
If a candidate who wants your vote, who needs your vote, is someone
you're not comfortable pressing on issues that matter today, that's
someone's feet you'll never hold to the fire.
Refusing to make demands and hold accountable someone running for
public office leads not to a stronger spine (for you or your candidate
of choice) but to more craven actions. Doubt that? From 2008's "Editorial: Raw emotions (Ava and C.I.)
how quickly doing her part went from not calling out a politician to
not calling out his supporters? Here's reality: Free speech is meant
to be used. It's not a snazzy little Chanel number that you hide in the
closet while you wait for just the right occasion to sport it.
Though you're an adult, always grasp that there are people just coming
of age and there are children watching. Remember that when you want to
preach silence and not accountability. And grasp that a large part of
the reason Barack is still not held accountable has to do with the
behavior you moldeled for others.
last point: for the full eight years of the Bush administration, Bush,
Cheney and scores of other political and media supporters of their
militarism who had not served in the military were routinely derided by Democrats and progressives as "chickenhawks" (an accusation, which, with some caveats and modifications, I supported).
What happened to that? Now we have a President whom Bergen hails as
"one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades"
despite having not served a day in the military, and hordes of
non-military-serving Democrats who cheer him as he does so. Similarly,
George Bush was mercilessly mocked for declaring himself
a "war President," yet here is Bergen -- writing under the headline
"Warrior in Chief" -- twice christening the non-serving Obama as our
"Warrior President." Did the concept of chickenhawkism, like so many
other ostensible political beliefs, cease to exist on January 20, 2009?
Early today, AFP's Prashant Rao Tweeted
that Tareq al-Hashemi had announced a press conference in Turkey for later in the day. When he faced the reporters, AFP reports
he declared he had "no faith in the Iraqi justice system and fears for
his life." Nouri has been calling for al-Hashemi to be tried on charges
of terrorism. Nouri al-Maliki's political slate State of Law came in
second to al-Hashemi's Iraqiya.
crisis was already in effect when December 2011 rolled around. Iraqiya
announced a boycott of the council and the Parliament, that's in the December 16th snapshot
and again in a December 17th entry
Tareq al-Hashemi is a member of Iraqiya but he's not in the news at
that point. Later, we'll learn that Nouri -- just returned from DC
where he met with Barack Obama -- has ordered tanks to surround the
homes of high ranking members of Iraqiya. Saturday, December 17th, Liz Sly (Washington Post) reported
"In recent days, the homes of top Sunni politicians in the fortified
Green Zone have been ringed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, and
rumors are flying that arrest warrants will be issued for other Sunni
leaders." December 18th
is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled
from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane.
is when the arrest warrant is issued for Tareq al-Hashemi by Nouri
al-Maliki who claims the vice president is a 'terrorist.' . With the
permission and blessing of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and KRG
President Massoud Barzani, al-Hashemi remained in the KRG. At the start
of April, he left the KRG on a diplomatic tour that took him to Qatar,
then Saudi Arabia and finally Turkey where he remains currently.
The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes
him stating today, "I booked a ticket to retun to Irbil last Tuesday
after completing my schedule in Turkey, but a colleague called in the
last minute and asked me to delay my return for a few days and wait for a
more suitable dialogue atmosphere in Iraq." This delay may have
something to do with the current push for a national conference in
Iraq. What is known is that his trial -- in absentia -- was supposed to
start yesterday in Baghdad; however, it was delayed until next
Thursday. al-Hashemi believes he can't receive a fair trial in
Baghdad. He's right.
This was demonstrated February 16th though the press wanted to play dumb. From that day's snapshot
, this is where we take the various details and demonstrate how the press could have reported it:
IRAQI VICE PRESIDENT PROVEN CORRECT
After many claims that he could not receive a fair trial, Tareq al-Hashemi's
assertions were backed up today by the Iraqi judiciary.
-- Today a nine-member Iraqi judiciary panel released results of an
investigation they conducted which found the Sunni Vice President of
Iraq was guilty of terrorism. Monday, December 19th, Iraqi Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki swore out an arrest warrant for Vice President
Tareq al-Hashemi who had arrived in the KRG the previous day. Mr.
al-Hashemi refused to return to Baghdad insisting he would not receive a
fair trial. Instead, he was the guest of Iraqi President Jalal
Talabani and KRG President Massoud Barzani.
the weeks since the arrest warrant was issued, Mr. al-Hashemi has
repeatedly attempted to get the trial moved to another venue stating
that Prime Minister al-Maliki controlled the Baghdad judiciary. Mr.
al-Maliki insisted that the vice president return and that he would get a
Today's events demonstrate
that Mr. al-Hashemi was correct and there is no chance of a fair trial
in Iraq. This was made clear by the judiciary's announcement today.
judiciary hears charges in a trial and determines guilt; however, what
the Baghdad judiciary did today was to declare Tareq al-Hashemi guilt of
the charges and to do so before a trial was held.
only do the events offer a frightening glimpse at the realities of the
Iraqi legal system, they also back up the claims Mr. al-Hashemi has long
That is not how the Iraqi
courts work, not according to the country's Constitution. Judges are
impartial. Judges do not declare guilt outside of a courtroom and no
one is guilty in Iraq until convicted in a courtroom. The fact that the
judges felt no need to follow the Constitution, the fact that they held
a press conference to announce the guilt of someone in a case they knew
wouldn't appear on their docket until May goes to the fact that they
are not impartial and that Tareq al-Hashemi would not have received a
In addition, it appears that one of his bodyguards who 'confessed' was tortured to death. March 21st
, al-Hashemi made that charge publicly. From the March 22nd snapshot:
Since December, those working for Tareq al-Hashemi have been rounded up by Nouri's forces. At the end of January, Amnesty International was calling
for the Baghdad government "to reveal the whereabouts of two women
arrested earlier this month, apparently for their connection to the
country's vice-president. Rasha Nameer Jaafer al-Hussain and Bassima
Saleem Kiryakos were arrested by security forces at their homes on 1
January. Both women work in the media team of Iraqi Vice-President
Tareq al-Hashemi, who is wanted by the Iraqi authorities on
terrorism-related charges." Yesterday, al-Hashemi noted that his
bodyguard had died and stated that it appeared he had died as a result
Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is calling for the international
community to call out the death of his bodyguard, Amer Sarbut Zeidan
al-Batawi, who died after being imprisoned for three months. al-Hashemi
has stated the man was tortured to death. The photo Alsumaria runs of
the man's legs (only the man's legs) appear to indicate he was tortured,
welts and bruises and scars.
March 23rd, Human Rights Watch is calling for an investigation into the death
– Iraqi authorities should order a criminal investigation into
allegations that security forces tortured to death a bodyguard of Vice
President Tareq al-Hashemi, Human Rights Watch said today.
authorities released Amir Sarbut Zaidan al-Batawi's body to his family
on March 20, 2012, about three months after arresting him for terrorism.
His family told Human Rights Watch that his body displayed signs of
torture, including in several sensitive areas. Photographs taken by the
family and seen by Human Rights Watch show what appear to be a burn mark
and wounds on various parts of his body.
"The statements we
heard and photos we saw indicate that Iraqi security officers may have
tortured Amir Sarbut Zaidan al-Batawi to death while he was in their
custody," said Joe Stork,
deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "It's essential
for the Iraqi government to investigate his death and report publicly
what they find."
The family said that al-Batawi's death
certificate listed no cause of death. They said that before his arrest,
the 33-year-old married father of three was in excellent health.
could barely recognize him," a close relative told Human Rights Watch
on March 22. "There were horrible marks and signs of torture all over
his body. He had lost about 17 kilos [37.5 pounds] from the day they
Iraqi authorities have denied the torture
allegations. On March 22, Lt. Gen. Hassan al-Baydhani, chief of staff of
Baghdad's security command center and a judicial spokesman, said
al-Batawi died of kidney failure and other conditions after refusing
treatment. When asked by reporters about the photographic evidence that
al-Batawi had been tortured, Baydhani replied, "It is easy for
Photoshop to show anything," referring to a digital photo-editing
As the United States was pulling its last remaining
troops from Iraq in December 2011, Iraqi authorities issued an arrest
warrant for al-Hashemi on charges he was running death squads.
Al-Hashemi has taken refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan and refused to return to
Baghdad, saying he cannot receive a fair trial. Kurdistan Regional
Government authorities have so far declined to hand him over.
unknown number of other members of al- Hashemi's security and office
staff have been arrested since late December and are also in custody,
including two women. On March 22, al-Hashemi told Human Rights Watch, "I
have made repeated requests to the government to find out who else in
my staff has been arrested and where they are being held, but they have
Human Rights Watch called on the Iraqi government
to release the names of all those detained and the charges against
them, and to ensure that they have access to lawyers and medical care.
Nouri's shown no concern about any of that.
Marina Ottaway and Danial Kaysi's [PDF format warning] "The State Of Iraq
" (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) notes the events since mid-December:
days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in
Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President
Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime
Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political
crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocractic country
governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by
institutional arrangements. Large-scale violence immediately flared up
again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i targets
reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
But there is
more to the crisis than an escalation of violence. The tenuous
political agreement among parties and factions reached at the end of
2010 has collapsed. The government of national unity has stopped
functioning, and provinces that want to become regions with autonomous
power comparable to Kurdistan's are putting increasing pressure on the
central government. Unless a new political agreement is reached soon,
Iraq may plunge into civil war or split apart.
potential may -- the fear of it -- may be prompting some efforts at
action. Though, as usual, Jalal Talabani tries to wall paper over it.
Today he tells Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor)
"We Iraqis had experiences many times on the brink of civil war -- we
retreated from that and we came back to dialogue and national unity." Al Rafidayn reports
that National Alliance leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari stated today that it's
important to hold the national conference within a week and for all
political blocs to participate. Yesterday, Ipek Yezdani (Hurriyet) reported
that Kurdistan Democratic Party spokesperson Cafer Ibrahim states that
if things can't be worked out with Nouri, Ibrahim al-Jaafari becomes the
choice for the new nominee. Dar Addustour notes
that Nouri is now echoing the cry for all political blocs to participate. Al Mada notes
that Nouri released that statement after meeting with Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. Alsumaria explains
that the statement also included accusations by Nouri that unnamed others were attempting to break up the National Alliance.
National Alliance is a Shi'ite grouping which includes Nouri's State of
Law, Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc, ISCI and others. Iraqiya, the political
slate that came in first in the March 2010 elections, is a mixed sect
political slate led by Shi'ite Ayad Allawi. Other prominent members
include Sunnis Osama al-Nujaifi, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq. Alsumaria reports
announced today that they will not attend the national conference
unless it is agreed that the Erbil Agreement will be implemented. Saturday
Allawi, KRG President Massoud Barzani, Osama al-Nujaifi, Moqtada
al-Sadr and others met in Erbil and one of the things they all agreed to
was that the Erbil Agreement would be re-instated.
states that if Nouri is serious about resolving the political crisis,
he will implement the Erbil Agreement. Their spokesperson Haider Mulla
further notes that they are used to Nouri's promises but they are
frustrated by his inability to follow words with actions.
Meanwhile Ammar al-Hakim has released a statement. Al Mada notes
that he states that Iraq needs a strategic vision that all can agree
to, that they need to commit to implementing agreementts , that there
needs to be successful soltions that serve the citizens; and that there
needs to be transparency.
How serious is Nouri? He's
given 'support' before. For example, at the end of February 2011, he
gave lip service to the protests and the Iraqi people being important
and, give him 100 days, and he'd clean up corruption and meet the
protesters demands. He was given 100 days and did nothing. He's now
been given over 400 days and still done nothing. Ali Issa (Jadaliyya -- links is text and audio) interviews
Hashmey Muhsin al-Saadawi who is the Electrical Workers Union in Iraq
and "the first woman vice-president of the General Federation of Iraqi
Workers in Basra." (IVAW's Executive Director Jose Vasquez noted the interview
What is your opinion of the Arab uprising-style movement in Iraq that
started 25 February 2011, and has been called by some " the forgotten uprising
?" Did unions participate in the mobilizations? Since recently they
have been smaller in number do you think they will come back? Finally,
do you have any explanation for the lack of media coverage, even in the
Arabic-language media?HMS: Iraq
has seen successive waves of sit-ins, demonstrations, and protest
activities. They have been the result of the continued hardships in
daily life and lack of services for people, as well as the deterioration
of security since April 2003 that I described. On top of all that, are
the efforts to limit civil liberties and silence people, while cementing
the hated ethno-sectarian-quota system; we consider all this an open
and direct violation of the constitution. Many sectors of society have
participated in these protests: youth, women, civil society groups,
unions, and the newer pro-democracy formations.
The right of citizens
to demonstrate, express opinions and take positions is a constitutional
right, and the government and its apparatuses should provide the
necessary amount of security to whoever is exercising it. It should also
listen closely to people's legal demands and seek to satisfy them. As
well as pay attention to their calls for reform of the political
process, and correct its course on the path to building a civil,
democratic state, based on the text of the constitution that citizens
voted for in October 2005.
It should be obvious that our Iraq is not
isolated from what is happening, in the countries of the region, though
it might differ in its internal dynamics and specifics. The storms of
change around us have also energized our people to break the wall of
silence and take the streets. The role of the youth in this movement has
been especially key, with them taking advantage of new social media
But the way the Iraqi government and its apparatuses have
treated the protest movements is a serious violation of the
constitutional right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest, and
an attempt to stifle the citizens' practicing of that right. That is
when the people understood that the first and last concern of
influential ruling political blocs is to look after their own interests,
struggle with each other over power, and divide the pie among
themselves, without any regard for ordinary people living under cruel
conditions in a country whose yearly budget exceeds 100 billion dollars.
protest actions of 25 February 2011 were a great success, as were the
actions preceding and following, in expressing the clear and just
demands of the people, despite being exposed to attempts to distort the
depth of the movement and its goals. Then there has been the intrusion
of the Prime Minister's cabinet, with all its influence, to try to stop
it, the attempts of the government as a whole to abort it, and all the
surveillance and incarceration that followed. Whether
to expect the return of the protests depends on the reasons that lead
to them breaking out. To this day, none of the protesters' demands have
been met, so if the government continues on its present path,
disregarding people's rights, it is very likely the protests will
As for media coverage, there had been coverage from several
TV stations, but the government put pressure on them, and shut down some
of their offices. In addition, a good number of journalists were beaten
by infiltrators at the protests—thugs--while others were arrested and
detained. And of course there have been assassinations of journalists –
those brave, honorable people– including the writer and poet, Hadi
Hadi al-Mahdi is among the targeted in Iraq. The journalist was assassinated in his home September 7, 2011
. He was shot in the head in his home. No sign of a break in. And the killer has still not been found. Earlier this week, The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory released the report
covering the last twelve months and they've found an increase in
violence and restrictions and attempted restrictions on journalists.
They note an American journalist was arrested and held for five days
without any legal justification while Iraqi journalists were detained in
various ways and also attacked and kidnapped by armed groups. At
least 3 journalists were killed in the 12 months and at least 31 were
beaten -- usually by military and security forces who were sometimes in
civilian clothes. 65 journalists were arrested.
Moral Police have targeted the 'phenomenon', releasing a statement on
the interior ministry's website declaring their intent to 'eliminate'
the trend. This has resulted in over 100 young people being stoned to
death, simply for their appearance and the music they listen to. In
Iraq, he 'emo phenomenon' is being linked to devil worshipping,
homosexuality, even being a vampire. In a country that is overwhelmingly
Muslim, wearing 'strange, tight clothes with skulls on' and having nose
and tongue piercings is being viewed as a danger to society, and signs
After being granted approval
by the Ministry of Education, Iraq's Moral Police entered schools in
Baghdad and pinpointed students with 'emo' appearances, according to the
interior ministry's statement.
armed men dressed in civilian clothing led dozens of teenagers to
secluded areas…stoned them to death, and then disposed their bodies on
garbage dumpsters…' is what activists told the Cairo-based al-Akhbar
website. These armed men are said to be 'one of the most extremist
religious groups' in Iraq.
The organizations say they want to help 30 Iraqis 'marked for death' because they are 'perceived to be gay'.
In Stockholm, according to my memorandas, you answered on a question
from me: "I promise you, if the USA left Iraq, the Iranians and their
militias in the police and the army will directly do the same!" Now,
when the United States of America nearly has left Iraq, and Iran's
influens in Iraq augments day after day, will your promise hold?
I still hold to my promise, but I said "If the United States of America
left Iraq", and in truth it has not left. Should the collapse that
happened to America in Vietnam happen to America in Iraq, all its allies
and agents would have collapsed with it, and at their forefront, Iran.
the situation in Iraq differs for USA. When the troops sensed the
dangers of its situation, words from Bush was leaked, expressing the
size of their fears:
promoted claims of victory in order to capture the spirit of fears of
defeat in the hearts of our soldiers, and when Bush realized that the
end in Iraq may be the same as that in Vietnam, he proceeded to withdraw
from Iraq in a novel manner, a quiet, slow and unannounced withdrawal."
The withdrawal of most of its troops has taken nearly two years.
order to avoid the bitterness of defeat to split the American psyche,
America came up with the so called Strategic Framework Agreement with
its client authority, that enables it to maintain a concentrated and
to confirmed information available to us, there are now 6 American
bases with air and missile forces; armed security companies made up of
nearly 50,000 personnel, and a giant embassy and consulates with no less
than 13,000 officials and security. In addition there is the
government's police and security services that are still subject to the
will and orders of the Occupier through the latter's domination of Iraqi
senior officers and officials who receive orders directly from the
this comes the presence of the allied Iranian influence and queues of
its agents, spies and traitors, gangs and militias.
New York Times mentioned that the special extended period for the
presence of the American Army in Iraq will be prolonged onwards into the
unknown, pointing to the existence of a secret agreement between the
government of PM Nourie Maliki and American officials for the presence
of American Forces beyond the specified time limit.
the way, in spite of America's concern to convince world public opinion
of its withdrawal, as well as its strict observance of secrecy
concerning its soldier`s and security companie`s activities, some
accidents and incidents took place that exposed their activities and
embarrassed the Americans.
example, the forced emergency landing of an American army helicopter
near the Tigris River in Baghdad on 26.1.2012, and the positioning of
several checkpoints by the Americans on 18. 1. 2012, carrying out
questioning of ordinary citizens in the Shomali District, south of Babil
Province, as well as the Drones (the unmanned spying aircraft) that
roam Iraqi airspace all the time. All this has been written about by the
American press such as The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New
York Times, after the supposed withdrawal. They also reported about
American military aircraft that inspected and secured Iraq's air space
during the Arab Summit Meeting in Baghdad on 29.4.2012.
coming days will reveal even more in this respect, because of
observer`s preliminary estimations concerning the size of remaining
American troops. They will point to the fact that there is no less than a
quarter of their original size before the announcement for their
so ever states that the American Occupation has gone is very much
mistaken, and the Association of Muslim Scholars in the person of its
Secretary General had warned the Iraqi People in an open letter, after
Obama's announcement of the withdrawal, that the Americans are
untruthful and that they have not completely withdrawn and that they
continue to occupy Iraq.