BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O PLANS TO SEND MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN BECAUSE HE IS A WAR HAWK; HOWEVER, HE'S YET TO MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT.
WHY IS THAT?
THESE REPORTERS CAN REVEAL THAT BARRY O HAS STATED HE HAS HELD OFF ON HIS ANNOUNCEMENT BECAUSE AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN HAVE NOT COMPLETED THEIR HOMEWORK.
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Today in a huge blow to freedom of the press and a boost to thug Nouri al-Maliki, a Baghdad court declared the thug a winner. Martin Chulov and Julian Borger (Guardian) report: "An Iraqi court has ordered the Guardian to pay Nouri al-Maliki damages of 100m dinar (£52,000) after supporting a complaint by the Iraqi prime minister's intelligence service that he had been defamed by a Guardian story in April describing him as increasingly autocratic. The ruling ignored testimony by three expert witnesses from the Iraqi journalists' union summoned by the court, who all said that the article was neither defamatory nor insulting and argued that no damages were warranted." Charles Tripp (Guardian) observes Nouri got a cash award despite the fact that he wasn't an injured party and goes on to sketch the rise of Thug Nouri:
Throughout 2008 he used the Iraqi armed forces to reconquer the provinces of Iraq, projecting himself as the leader whose only thought was the unity of the country. This was the image he wanted to convey in the January 2009 provincial elections. So to make sure he got a good press, he promised that thousands of journalists would be awarded grants of land for a nominal price, or for free. He was reviving a form of land patronage long used by his predecessors to cement officers, officials and now journalists to their retinue.
Some welcomed it and others were appalled. But for those who persisted in investigating awkward questions, the government had no hesitation in using the courts. More journalists found themselves fighting charges of libel or of endangering national security -- a charge levelled at foreign news media, particularly from the Arab world.
There is a pattern here, in which the wires of the "shadow state" are again being assembled, leading to the hands of one man: intelligence services run from the prime minister's office, staffed mainly by "awlad al-Hindiyya" ["the lads from Hindiyya", Maliki's home region]; dismissals, promotions and transfers in the ministries of interior and defence that insert his loyalists at the expense of others; the introduction of censorship of imported books and control of the internet; the recent closure of Mustansiriya University and its reopening under the watchful eye of the Baghdad operations command, controlled by his office.
Nouri has a long history of attacking the press. In the summer of 2006, he had a 'plan' for security -- a four-plank 'plan' -- but the press reduced it to three in much of their coverage, bypassing the third plank which dealt with journalims (aaah, Thuggy's first effort at attacking freedom of the press). It has been non-stop attacks ever since with Nouri most recently -- in an attempt to stop live transmissions -- has demanded outlets get a government license. (This is done to keep them from reporting on bombings. Within a few hours, Iraqi forces usually prevent the press from having access -- often prevent via violence -- and the licenses are an attempt to prevent any broadcasting before the forces can secure the area.) Martin Chulov (Guardian) notes the Journalists Freedom Organisation sees this as "part of a wider crackdown against media outlets designed to discourage scrutiny of public officials" (they are correct) and quotes JFO's Jabar Dharad stating, "Legal cases have flooded from all sides into publishers and media outlets throughout Iraq. This is a very effective tactic to silence dissent. A key reason for the diminishing status of private media here is that parliament hasn't passed a law to protect journalists in Iraq. They are deliberately delaying doing so." The truth telling article that so enraged Nouri is Ghaith Abdul-Ahad's "Six years after Saddam Hussein, Nouri al-Maliki tightens his grip on Iraq" (April 30, 2009).
Meanwhile Timothy Williams (New York Times) reports Nouri's flunky Ali al-Alak states they want to force the MEK, Iranian dissidents at Camp Ashraf, out of the country, "A standoff has been in place since the deaths in July, through both Iraqis and members of Camp Ashraf worry about a new round of violence if a solution is not found soon. Among other complaints, members of the camp say that the Iraqi Army intermittently blocks fuled and food from reaching them and prevents them from cmoing and going. Iraq has prohibted news organizations and most humanitarian groups from entering Camp Ashraf since the July raid, but the government allowed a reporter and photographer inside the camp last week to interview its members and their relatives." And yet another political rival of Thug Nouri has been arrested. Caesar Ahmed and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) report Sahwa leader Mustafa Kamal Shibeeb was arrested "in connection with the deaths of five known members of the group Al Qaeda in Iraq who were killed in 2007 in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, where Shibeeb commanded paramilitary fighters better known as the Awakening."
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