November 30, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Ali al-Dabbagh swears
he's being attacked by Nouri's media office, talks between Baghdad and
Erbil are now off, the UN's Martin Kobler insults Iraqi women, 'forget's
to inform the UN of a planned conference in Baghdad (to be presided
over by Zebari) in which the Iraqi Constitution will be called out as a
tool of impearlism, the US military allows a prosecutor to present a
case that argues the families of military suicides should be filing
charges against the DoD right now in a huge class-action lawsuit, and
Today is the 921st day
Iraq War veteran Bradley Manning has spent in military custody. Today,
he again spoke in court and we start with that because the US military
has yet again demonstrated it is a culture that refuses to adapt and is
so rooted in the status quo that it is responsible -- continues to be
responsible -- for the deaths of its own.
Background, Monday April 5, 2010
, WikiLeaks released US military video
of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters
journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010
, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported
in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of
violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his
personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized
software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight
counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified
information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported
that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges
including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could
result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took
place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32
hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be
moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea
and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it. The
court-martial was supposed to begin before the election but it was
postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run
on a record of his actual actions.
appeared in military court yesterday and we'll note various details
about the case itself. But the most important detail is one that
effects all serving and veterans who have served -- as well as their
No, it did not. AP,
from time to time, exists solely to keep Dorothy Parker's adage alive:
You can lead a whore to culture but you cannot make her think.
Taking away his clothes was never about his protection. And, at Third, we noted
that as soon as those details became public and we pointed out that
there were non-cloth items he could be provided with to wear if it
really was about his safety. (And didn't the military then suddenly
discover that to be true?) It was not about his protection.
being forced to sleep in the nude -- nude and on full display -- is not
normal, it is not therapeutic and for the AP to suggest that it is is
as offensive if they started running "She asked for it" columns on rape.
the US military wasn't trying to punish Bradley (I believe they were
trying to humiliate him, my opinion), their actions do not suddenly
become 'good.' It goes to the larger issue that you have a lot of
idiots who don't know what they're doing.
Forcing anyone to be on public display is humiliating and counter-productive enough, adding nudity to it?
after he was taken into military custody, Bradley was transferred from
Iraq to Kuwait. He was not told what was taking place or if he would
stay there or be moved. Extraordinary rendention was already well known
and discussed in the press. When Jane Mayer was an actual reporter and
not the partisan hack she's since morphed into, you could read all
sorts of tales by her about what the US government was allowing to be
done in the name of 'interrogation.'
In such a
climate, a very young man, already under stress, was taken into
military custody. He had no idea what would happen to him. In Kuwait,
at one point he made a knoose. He's called it that in his testimony.
The artist rendering of what prosecutor held up is not actually a
knoose. It's a sheet with a series of knots in it.
military prosecution is attempting to assert that this knoose or
'knoose' along with another statement is why certain measures were taken
with Bradley. The AP apparently feels it is their job to make the military's case for them as opposed to being a skeptical press.
statement? Arriving at Quantico, he was admitted. When he was being
admitted into Quantico, Bradley wrote on a form, in response to a
question about suicide, "always planning and never acting."
Are you telling me that the US military didn't have a follow up?
If there was a follow up verbal question, then there was a follow up verbal response. Why isn't that noted?
Because it wouldn't back the military's assertion? Possibly.
That's disturbing. More disturbing would be that there was no verbal follow up to a statement like that on a form.
be clear, that statement is perfectly 'normal.' At different points in
their lives, many Americans will consider suicide. Maybe for a few
seconds each time they do, maybe in an elaborate fantasy that has
actually deals with something other than suicide.
statement is not 'troubling.' For a number of reasons. One, it is an
opening to discuss a serious issue and, two, it demonstrates that the
person being assessed has some comfort level discussing the issue.
Someone being admitted who was planning to kill themselves and wanting
to kill themselves once admitted to a facility, most likely would be
close-lipped about any sucidal thoughts.
narrative that the military prosecutor presented to the military court
is that Bradley arrived back in the US and wrote during the intake
assessment that he was "always planning and never acting" upon.
"Planning" should have resulted in Bradley being asked to define
"planning." Is that thinking, is that an abstract, is that an elaborate
plan? If you were to take your own life, how would you do it? A whole
string of questions were prompted by "always planning and never
Where were those questions?
someone too uncomfortable to ask? Was a medical professional not
present at intake? That seems strange considering the high-profile
nature of Bradley's case even then; however, I would assume the military
would train those working at Quantico or any other brig on suicide.
it appears is that, at best, Bradley suffered because the military is
not training those required to do supervision on issues like suicide.
Yesterday, the Defense Dept released
the US Army's suicide numbers for last month: "20 potential suicides:
five have been confirmed as suicides, and 15 remain under investigation"
which is an increase of five from September's numbers. DoD notes that
2011 resulted in 165 deaths confirmed as suicides and that 2012 has
seen 105 confirmed and 61 which are still being investigated. So if all
under investigation currently were to be ruled suicide, October will be
the month that 2012 surpassed 2011 for number of army members taking
their own lives (166 is the number of suicides if the 61 under
investigation end up determined to be suicides). With two months of
data remaining for the calendar year, it is likely 2012 will see an
increase in the number of suicides.
brig would be a natural location for potentially at-risk persons.
Those working at Quantico should have a minimum level of training. That
minimum level should have included staff providing direct supervision
-- eyes on -- of Bradley being alarmed over what public nudity might do
to the mental well being of a supposed suicide risk.
was nothing healthy about what was done to Bradley. If the military's
narrative, as presented by the prosecution, is correct, then the Defense
Dept is the cause of suicides. It's not merely failing to provide
assistance, it's creating an unhealthy environment that encourages and
assists suicides via its own ignorance and negligence.
This is not an abstract. There is a suicide crisis in the military today.
Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
This week, she proposed that the Defense Authorization Bill be expanded
so that it will "require DoD to create a comprehensive, standardized
suicide prevention program."
Patty Murray: Time and time again, we've lost servicemembers and
veterans to suicide. But while the Departments of Defense and Veterans
Affairs have taken important steps towards addressing this crisis, we
know more must be done. We know that any solution depends upon reducing
wait times and improving access to mental health care; ensuring proper
diagnosis; and achieving true coordination of care and information
between the Departments. This amendment would require a comprehensive,
standardized suicide prevention program across the DoD. It would
require the use of the best medical practices, in suicide prevention and
behavioral health programs to address serious gaps in the current
Murray's remarks appear in full in the November 28th snapshot
I strongly support Murray's proposal. Not only that, I hope attorneys
around the country start thinking class-action lawsuit against DoD. A
huge number of veterans and servicemembers have taken their own lives.
They've often done so because the help they needed was not present and
the people who should have seen the risks weren't trained to see the
If the military is going to stand by
the assertion that what Bradley experienced -- the 'diagnosis' and the
'treatment' -- was standard and humane military treatment, then it's
really time for lawyers to start filing law suits against the DoD and
the VA regarding suicides.
Today's testimony was Bradley's second day of testimony. Yesterday, Courtney Kube (NBC News) reported
Bradley testified that he was taken into military custody May 27, 2010
and then to Kuwait's Camp Arifjan where he was held in a tiny cell "with
no air conditioning" for several weeks and, "I was a mess, I totally
started to fall apart." Raf Sanchez (Telegraph of London) adds
his dress blues uniform, Pfc Manning talked quickly and often smiled
nervously as his lawyers argued that his pre-trial imprisonment was
illegal and should lead to all charges being dismissed.
testimony began with his imprisonment in Kuwait in May 2010, where was
held in a "cage-like cell" that his guards would ransack up to three
times a day in search of contraband.
"I remember thinking I'm going to die. I'm stuck here in this cage and I don't know what's going to happen," he said.
"A UN rapporteur on torture concluded Manning was subjected to cruel
and inhumane treatment at the Quantico brig." He would be move to
Quantico in Virginia. Bradley wasn't the only one offering testimony at
his pre-trial this week. RT notes
that the navy doctor who the government had charged with evaluating
Bradley testified Wednesday. Capt William Hoctor stated, "I had been a
senior medical officer for 24 years at the time, and I had never
experienced anything like this. It was clear to me they had made up
their mind on a certain cause of action, and my recommendations had no
impact." Larry Shaughnessy (CNN) adds
"But Capt. William Hocter said his regular recommendations to ease
Manning's heightened confinement status within weeks of his arrival in
Virginia were not acted upon by commanders." BBC News continues
"Pte Manning's glasses were confiscated, he had to request toilet paper
and was forced to remove his underwear at night." Hoctor felt
frustrated and stymied. John Bailey (NBC News) quotes
the doctor testifying, "It was clear to me that they had made up their
mind on a certain course of actions and my recommendations didn't
really matter." Ed Pilkington (Guardian) explains
"Three Quantico forensic psychiatrists who gave evidence to the court
this week agreed that within days of arriving at the marine base Manning
had recovered his mental health and was no longer a risk to himself.
They consistently recommended that the soldier be put on a much looser
regime. But the authorities would not listen." Again, this was not
acceptable treatment. It doesn't even qualify as acceptable
Julie Tate (Washington Post) reports
"At one point in spring 2011, Manning testified that he told his guards
he could kill himself with his underwear if he wanted to do so. He said
he was forced to sleep naked under a suicide smock for nearly two
months after the incident. On one occasion, he said, he was forced to
stand naked in front of his cell during morning attendance." Sky News adds
"David Coombs, defending, revealed on Wednesday that the chief legal
officer at Quantico at the time, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Greer,
made light of the underwear episode in an email, composing a rhyme in
the style of the popular Dr Seuss books. The message said: 'I can wear
them in a box. I can wear them with a fox. I can wear them in the day. I
can wear them so I say. But I can't wear them at night. My comments
gave the staff a fright'."
Along with verbal testimony, the pre-trial also explored digital evidence. Ray McGovern (CounterPunch) reports
"According to the e-mail evidence, the controversy over the rough
handling of Manning prompted Quantico commander, Marine Col. Daniel
Choike, to complain bitterly that not one Army officer was in the chain
of blame. Choike's lament prompted an e-mail reply from his commander,
Lt. Gen. George Flynn, offering assurances that Choike and Quantico
would not be left 'holding the bag'."
Luis Martinez (ABC News) reports
, that the judge is expected to release a decision on "a potential plea deal" in the next month. Shashank Bengali (Los Angeles Times) elaborates
military judge, Col. Denise Lind, accepted terms Thursday under which
Manning could plead guilty to a series of lesser counts of providing
classified information to WikiLeaks, including a battlefield video file,
dozens of war logs, and other classified material.
could enter the plea — which includes a maximum of 16 years in prison —
as soon as next month. It wasn't immediately clear whether prosecutors
would continue to pursue the more serious charges, which experts have
said will be harder to prove.
Let's move to Martin Kobler's testimony. As noted in yesterday's snapshot
Kobler, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy in Iraq, addressed the
UN Security Council in New York yesterday. We included a part of his
testimony yesterday with the plan being for the rest to be included
today. Won't be happening. There's not enough space. The intake issue
(Bradley's) is not a minor issue and it directly effects (and reflects)
the way Bradley was treated while going to the larger issue of the
military's mishandling of potential suicides. So we'll do some of the
testimony today and wrap up in Monday's snapshot.
Kobler: During Iraq's busy electoral calendar ahead, the stakes will
be high, not only for Iraq's political leaders competing for electoral
support, but also for the consolidation of Iraq's transition. The
elections must be conducted credibly. Working with the new Board of
Commissioners, UNAMI will continue to coordinate United Nations support
for the development of a sustainable, self-reliant and professional
Independent High Electoral Commission. UNAMI also continues to
faciliate political dialogue between representatives of all components
in the disputed areas. UNAMI is working to facilitate consensus among
the components of Kirkuk in view of the provincial council elections in
the governorate. It has established an informal forum for dialogue with
the political representatives of Kirkuk's components, with proposals in
each of the following four main areas: power-sharing, determining the
date of elections, security arrangements, and the review of the voter
registry. So far, there has been no agreement on conducting the
elections for Kirkuk provincial council which have not taken place since
2005 due to differences on the voter registry. Elections in Kirkuk
could be a stabilizing factor throughout the governorate.
Kirkuk has not had elections since 2005 is damning, no matter how
Kobler tries to dress it up or how he ignores Article 140 -- and he did
ignore Article 140, never once mentioning the article of the
Constitution specifically dealing with Kirkuk.
Kobler: Whilst relations between Baghdad and Erbil have deteriorated
in some ways during Iraq's political stalemate, as highlighted in the
Secretary-General's report, there is also some cause for optimism.
The talks in Baghdad
between Iraqi and Kurdish military commanders brokered by a three-star
American general broke down on Thursday, two days after the prime
minister announced both sides had agreed on pulling back forces in part
of the disputed areas. Officials on Friday said there were no new talks
Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani,
who has described deployment of Iraqi forces as a plot against the
Kurds, accused the Iraqi prime minister of reneging on the agreement and
vowed that Kurdish forces would deter Baghdad's "militarism."
previously mentioned Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution explained
how Kirkuk and other disputed areas would be resolved. The Kurdish
Regional Government was set up after the start of the first Gulf War and
is a semi-autonomous region of three provinces. Iraq is also made up
of the centeral-government out of Baghdad. Oil-rich Kirkuk is one of
the areas that both claim they have the right to. The 2005 Constitution
explained that the disputed regions would be resolved by a census and
It also stated that this would
be done no later than the end of 2007. Nouri al-Maliki was installed as
prime minister in the spring of 2006 (installed by the Bush White House
which objected to Parliament's choice of Ibrahim al-Jaafari). Nouri
has repeatedly refused to implement Article 140. Then, in the last
months, he has sent forces (Tigris Operation Command) into the disputed
areas. The Kurds, among others, see this as an attempt on Nouri's part
to seize these areas.
Martin Kobler: In particular, the agreement reached to resume official
oil exports from the Kurdistan region and the steps to adopt a
hydrocarbons use and management framework deserve encouragement and
support. Legislation on the management of hydrocarbons and
revenue-sharing has been blocked for a number of years. It has become a
major source of tension between the central and Kurdistan Regional
governments as well as to the overall socioeconomic progress. The
approval of such legislation would signficantly advance the resolution
of the question of the disputed internal boundaries, since a large
number of unexplored oilfields lie within these areas. It would also
contribute significantly to improving relations between Baghdad and
Erbil. UNAMI is also strengthening its efforts to support Iraq's
legislative agenda, as mandated by the Iraqi Constitution.
2007, with Democrats just put in control of both houses of the US
Congress, they were demanding that Bully Boy Bush stop insisting
'progress' was taking place in Iraq without backing it up. They wanted
metrics by which to measure progress. The Bush White House proposed --
and Nouri al-Maliki signed off on -- a series of benchmarks. Iraq would
quickly accomplish these benchmarks and that would demonstrate
progress. Failure to do so, Democrats promised (empty promises, it
turned out) would mean defunding.
One of those
benchmarks? The hydrocarbons law. It takes a lot of gall for Kobler
to speak of 'progress' on that issue when there has been none. Here is
the only defintion of progress on the hydrocarbons law: Passing a hydrocarbons law.
in his speech, wanted to talk about the Arab League Summit (a failure
he attempted to spin) and about Iraq's neighbors. But he left out
what the Iraq Times had already reported this week
: A move to host, in Baghdad, another Arab summit. Why didn't that result in a wave of Happy Talk from Kobler?
didn't mention it because the point of the meet-up would be to discuss
the constitutions of various regional countries -- including the sense
that Iraq lives under shame because it has a Constitution that was
written by Americans, the British and Iranians. Hoyshar Zebari, whom
Kobler mentions elsewhere in his speech, is set to preside over the
How will that play? A summit in
Baghdad decrying the Iraqi Constitution as a tool of occupation. Think
that might prompt Nouri to give up even the pretense of honoring it?
World observers should be nervous, to say the least, but Kobler didn't manage to include it in his presentation.
Kobler: In addition to the hydrocarbons legislation, we are continuing
to provide technical advice and assistance on the establishement of the
Federation Council, the reform of the judicial system, and the adoption
of laws on minority communities and political parties. At the regional
level, Iraq continues its re-emergence onto the international stage.
Earlier this year, Iraq demonstrated renewed commitment to meeting its
remaining obligations under Chapter VII of the Charter and to improving
its bilateral relations with Kuwait. Progress will, however, depend
upon the restoration of confidence between both sides. Over the past
few months, I stepped up my engagement with Iraq and Kuwait to see how
the United Nations could best facilitate the resolution of outstanding
issuse in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the Security
Council. And, in this context, I recently held high-level meetings in
Iraq and Kuwait in which I was encouraged by the strong commitment that
both Prime Minister al-Maliki and the Amir of Kuwait expressed by
normalizing relations between their two countries. I very much hope
that they will now be able to move quickly. They can count on the UN in
this regard. I am happy to report to the Council today that I spoke to
Foreign Minister [Hoshyard] Zaebari this morning. He informed me that,
first, his government had nominated the names for the technical team of
the border maintenance project today and, second, the government would
start immediately to update the list of farmers entitled to
compensation. A meeting with the farmers will take place as soon as
possible. I welcome those steps and call on the Government of Iraq to
initiate work on the border mainenance project without further delay. I
also appeal to the government of Iraq to continue to demonstrate the
goodwill necessary to fulfil Iraq's other outstanding obligations, in
particular with regard to missing persons and property. The commitment
of Iraq to fulfil those obliations will be conducive to the
normalization of relations between the two countries. And I equally
call on the government of Kuwait to continue to act in a spirit of
flexibility and reciprocity, as reflected earlier this year by the
important reciprocal visits of the Amir in Baghdad and the Prime
Minister in Kuwait. On a different note, I remain fully committed to
continue to work with both governments to resolve bilateral issues, at
their request. I am hopeful that the agreement between Kuwait and Iraq
for the cancelation of pending lawsuits against Iraqi Airways and on
navigational rights in the Khor Abdullah waterway will facilitate
improved relations between the two neighbors.
be honest, Kuwait's government's more than happy with what Iraq's done
thus far and regularly calls for Chapter 7 to be lifted.
Kobler: Iraq, Mr. President, is a rich country -- in both natural and
human resources. But I am concerned by the investment climate, the
impact of Iraq's red tape and the role of the public sector. Iraq's
state apparatus continues to be affected by corruption and capacity
shortfalls, which undermine governance and limit the delivery of
services. This is exacerbating discontent, in a context where natural
resources are abundant and the public's expectations for better
standards of living remain partly unfulfilled. In support of Iraq's
efforts to build its institutions to provide good governance and the
rule of law, UNAMI and its partners in the United Nations country team
intend to increase their efforts to strengthen the independence and
capacity of state institution, including the Federal Supreme Court, the
Independent High Commission for Human Rights and the Ministry of Human
Rights. UNAMI and the country team continue their efforts to
strengthen the High Commission for Human Rights, which has yet to become
fully operational, as well as the Ministry of Human Rights and civil
society organizations. Those are the key partners in monitoring the
implementation of the National Action Plan on Human Rights -- a
milestone document that represents the government's commitment to
implement recommendations from the universal periodic review process
under the auspices of the Human Rights Council.
this week, before Kobler spoke (granted he just read aloud from
prepared remarks to which he added "Mr. President" and changed "that" to
"this"), a fight broke out in the halls of Parliament between Iraqiya
and State of Law with State of Law denying women were being tortured in
Iraqi prisons. Why wasn't this noted in the report?
Kobler: To date, this year, 123 people have been executed in Iraq. 53
of them since July. The latest executions were carried out on 11
November, when 11 convicts were executed, including one Egyptian. I
continue to reiterate the Secretary-General's call in his report for the
government of Iraq to consider a moratorium on all executions, in
accordance with the relevant General Assembly resolutions. As I
indicated to the Council in my last briefing, UNAMI will continue its
close partnership with the country team, with a particular focus on
three key areas with important political, developmental and governance
implications, namely, youth, women and the environment. Youth is a
critical, but neglected, demographic in Iraq. The National Development
Plan and the current development assistance framwork highlight the
importance of investing in youth. Despite that, indicators point to
high education dropout rates, while Iraqi youths continue to suffer
from an unemployment rate of almost 20% and low levels of civic
participation and engagement. To address those worrying trends, I have
established a youth advisory group and appointed two young Iraqi youth
ambassadors to strengthen United Nations advocacy, including through
social and media outreach activities. To generate and mobilize the
government's commitment, we are also promoting youth-orientated
initiatives, including a youth parliament and a national human
development report on youth for 2012, led by the United Nations
Population Fund and the United Nations Development Programme, which has
included a consultation process with 1800 youths in all governorates.
We will also sustain our efforts to promote gender mainstreaming and the
empowerment of women. For example, we are supporting access to justice
for women, as well as training police officers to provide legal
assistance to women survivors of gender-based violence.
that was Kobler's full remarks on women. That may surprise some since
there was a time when he couldn't shut up about Iraqi women when
appearing before the Security Council. But as we pointed out then that
meeting (presided over by US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice) was all
about ignoring the attack on Iraq's LGBTs and Emo youth. For one
report, suddenly women mattered. For one report. suddenly Kobler was
talking non-stop about women.
It was only
because the alternative would require him to speak of gays and he
apparently finds that 'icky.' Fortunately for him, Susan Rice found the
topic 'icky' as well and had no statements to make during the meeting
she presided over at the press conference she held after. Even though
the targeting and the murders were being reported by all outlets --
including Rolling Stone -- it wasn't something Kobler or Rice wanted to speak of.
did have a tiny note in his written paper acknowledging that something
was taking place. What, he wasn't sure of. But he would provide
details in his next report to the Security Council.
Martin Kobler, we're still waiting for you to supply those details.
got a little talk about women in this presenation. That is new.
Previous presentations to the Security Council by the Special Envoy to
Iraq frequently left women out. But apparently, something more "gross"
and "disgusting" than women has been found by the office of Special
Envoy: Iraq's LGBTs.
It was really
disgusting to hear Kobler prattle on about violence and minorities and
never once note the attacks on Iraq's LGBT community. It was
It was disgusting that Susan Rice never bothered to raise the issue. As evidenced by this White House announcement,
the administration is aware that this is LGBT Pride Month. Somehow the
memo didn't reach Susie Rice. If the US LGBT community has any sense of
community with those LGBTs living in other countries where their lives
are threatened for who they are, US LGBTs would insist that the White
House start proving they give a damn about LGBT rights.
photo ops and press releases are bull f**king s**t if in hearing after
hearing, the administration refuses to address threats to LGBTs. Susan
Rice presided over the Security Council hearing today. She had it in
her power to set the agenda. She was happy to slam that hammer down
repeatedly announcing "So ordered" after she'd issued an edict. But she
wasn't happy or willing to use that power to address the plight of
Iraq's LGBT community. Since the start of this year, many have been
killed. This isn't a secret, it's well reported, and we've certainly
covered it here.
Martin Kobler and Susan
Rice and the United Nations and the White House enable those killings by
refusing to address the murders in what they call a hearing on the "the
situation in Iraq." There's no excuse for that. Shame on them for
their non-actions and their silence.
Kobler only wanted to talk about Iraqi women at any length when it
allowed him to avoid the hunting and killing of Iraqis thought to be
gay. With that not in the news, he was yet again happy to ignore Iraqi
That doesn't present a good image of
the United Nations to the world. While the UN's slogan is "Welcome to
the United Nations. It's your world," as Kat noted last night
, Martin Kobler presenation said, "Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world -- if you're a man."
wrap up with Kobler's presentation on Monday and hopefully get in the
Congressional hearing there was never space or time for.
Nouri's former spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh is back in the news. Today All Iraq News reports
that he's accusing Nouri's Media Affairs Office Ali al-Moussawi of a
media lynching as Nouri attempts to weasel out of the corruption charges
regarding the $4.2 billion weapons deal with Russia on al-Dabbagh. In a
written statement to the news outlet, al-Dabbagh alludes to information
about Nouri's inner circle that he could reveal. al-Dabbagh has twice
publicly denied any involvement in the arms deal. Al Mada notes
that in his written statement, he cited his six years of being a
spokesperson for the Iraqi government as proof of his integrity. Kitabat quotes
it in full and that includes insisting that his image is being
distorted and that his reputation is unfairly maligned. As a result, he
insists, he can no longer do his job. That might have carried more
weight had he issued it when he was still in Iraq and before he
reportedly fled the country.
with much fanfare, Nouri signed a $4.2 billion dollar weapons deal with
Russia. After taking his bows on the world stage and with Parliament
and others raising objections, Nouri quickly announced the deal was
off. The scandal, however, refuses to go away. The Iraq Times states
Nouri's offering up Ali al-Dabbagh and others to protect the truly corrupt. Meanwhile, All Iraq News notes
National Alliance member and one-time MP Wael Abdul Latif is calling
for Nouri to quickly bring charges against those involved in the
corruption. (The arms deal is now treated by the Iraqi press as corrupt
and not allegedly corrupt, FYI.) Latif remains a major player in the
National Alliance and the National Alliance has backed Nouri during his
second term. With his current hold on power reportedly tenous and
having already lost the support of Moqtada al-Sadr, Nouri really can't
afford to tick off the National Alliance as well. Kitabat reports
MP Maha al-Douri, of Moqtada's bloc in Parliament, is saying Nouri's on
a list of officials bribed by Russia for the deal. The outlet also
notes rumors that al-Dabbagh is leaving the UAE for Bulgaria.
From yesterday's snapshot
Adding to the view of Nouri as an incompetent on the world stage are the issues emerging over another big contract. Dar Addustour reports
that Rotana Arabia, a cell phone company, signed a contract with Iraq
woth as much as $30 million. The contract was brokered by Saadoun
al-Dulaimi who is the Minister of Culture. Nouri's calling for the
contract to be cancelled, citing corruption. He wants the Ministry to
cancel the contract. Not the Minister. He can't ask Minister of
Culture Saadoun al-Dulaimi to do anything because no one can find him
and he's reportedly fled the country.
Today All Iraq News reports
that the Ministry of Culture is insisting there is no final contract with the cell phone service provider.
Yesterday, violence broke out across Iraq . . . including in the halls of Parliament:
All Iraq News reports
an "altercation" took place in Parliament today between several
deputies and led Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi to immediately
adjourn the session and postpone the next session until Saturday.
Thrown fists have not been uncommon in the Iraqi Parliament in the last
seven years but it has been some time since there were any reports of
physical violence among MPs. Whatever happened, All Iraq News notes it
took place in the hallway. Alsumaria also terms
it an "altercation" and notes that prior to that, the Parliament had
read six bills and was discussing the allegations of torture in Iraqi
prisons and detention centers.
Al Mada reports
today that the fight was between State of Law (Nouri al-Maliki's
political slate) and Iraqiya (led by Ayad Allawi) and that it was over
the issue of what is happening to Iraqi women in prisons and detention
centers as well as an allegation that State of Law had attempted to bury
the report and refusing to allow Parliament's Committee on Women to
issue the report on the International Day for the Elimination of
Violence Against Women (November 25th). Dar Addustour notes
that the Committee report is said to have found that women are being
arrested without judicial warrants and that, while in prison, women are
being tortured to force confessions against their husbands. The
Ministry of the Interior denies the charges. Who's in charge of that
Ministry? That's right Nouri al-Maliki. Because he refused to
nominate anyone to head it.
As Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed
in July, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a
lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet
positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national
security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."
The Iraq Times notes
that Parliament's Commission on Human Rights has declared that Nouri's
government is responsible for any torture of detainees or prisoners.