Tuesday, August 02, 2011

That frail but determined terrorist







Starting with the Libyan War. On this week's Black Agenda Radio -- hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, first airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network -- they highlight a speech former US House Rep and 2008 US presidential candidate as part of her report back from her fact finding mission to Libya. This is an excerpt of Cynthia speaking at Atlanta's Church of the Black Madonna, use the link for the speech in full.
Cynthia McKinney: As a student of the Counter Intelligence Program, I know my own government will lie. And as a student of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I know that the media will lie. And so I decided to try my best to take a delegation of alternative journalists who would go to Libya and tell the truth, let the chips fall where they may. But the only problem was there were sanctions that our president had put on making it very difficult for Americans to travel there. So that meant that I had to borrow money -- about $25,000 is what it took. And I got a friend to put this on his credit card. And the money that you have just given will help to pay that back. [Applause.] At every stop along the way, there are people who say, "I want to go to Libya." In fact, where is Derreck? Derreck is going to go if we can raise some of that money so that we can take another delegation because the truth continues to need to be told. Now I've got some very bad news in this final minute that I have left. And that is that as of yesterday, I received an e-mail from a Russian who is concerned about what is going on in Libya. 70% of the drinking water has now been contaminated by NATO bombing [. . .] the facility that supplies 70% of the people with their drinking water. Not only was NATO not content, and exactly they did the same thing in Iraq, if you will remember, this also is a War Crime. In fact, there have been many War Crimes that have been commited against the people of Libya. But not only did NATO not content itself with destroying the access to clean water, but they also bombed the manufacturing plant that makes the pipes for the Great Man-Made River. If oil is the war for the 20th century, water is the war for the 21st century. There's one more thing before I have to take my leave of this microphone that I want to report to you. And that is, how in the world are you going to have a Race War on the African continent? [Applause.] Please explain it to me! [Applause continues.] When the American guys land -- well the guys that are not supposed to be there, right? But when the Americans land and they see people who look like me, they say, "Oh! There are African mercenaries!" Well I am here to tell you that Libya is at least 50 to 60% people who look like me. [Applause.] But unfortunately, if there's anything that our government knows how to do it is how to use racism to incite people to do the unthinkable. And so now you have had what I have suspsected, well, maybe it's an identity issue, or is it Arab, or is it Black or is it African or what? But now you've got these people who have called in NATO to bomb their own fellow country people. Now they are killing people who look like me and you. And there is a very real sense of insecurity now because people who look like me have some concern about whether or not some one who looks like some of the people in this audience are going to kill them, are going to lynch them, are going to torture them, are going to murder them? But in the end, I will close with this, and that is, sadly, we are seeing the reintroduction [new imperialism] politics onto the African continent. But who is doing it? The first person to use the word "mercenary" in regards to what is happening in Libya in an official capacity was United States' United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, a woman who looks like me. This policy of bombing is being perpetrated by a president who looks like me. And so now I take this personally because I have been blessed to be able to travel all over this planet and everywhere I go, I walk with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [Applause], I walk with Malcolm X [Applause], I walk with all of the great people who have struggled in this country and provided a modicum of dignity in the face of oppression. I walk with them because people understand that Black people in the United States never go along with war. [Applause.] They understand that Black people in the United States sing the song of oppression every day. [Applause.] So now when I go around the world now I have to make excuses for Colin Powell, Condaleeza Rice, President Barack Obama and Susan Rice and [deafening Applause] and I am not going to do it any longer! [Loud cheering and Applause] -- I make no excuses [Cheering and Applause] a War Crime committed by George W. Bush is a War Crime committed by President Barack Obama.
Turning to Iraq, last night on Adam vs The Man (RT, airs at seven p.m. EST, Monday through Friday and streams online), Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh noted the latest on Iraq.
Adam Kokesh: We may be wrapping up operations in Iraq but it's good to know Obama is still kicking ass -- or at least someone is kicking ass in Iraq. Either way there's blood in the sand. In fact, Iraq may be more dangerous now than it was a year ago. Shi'ite militias continue to pose immediate threats to both troops and Iraqi officials bringing forth a constant stream of assassination attempts and rocket attacks but perhaps more pertinent to the American people 15 US troops died in June -- the highest number in two years. A review by Stuart Bowen Jr., Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, has released a new analysis stating, "Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work. . . . It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago." Now US forces are scheduled to withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year but have been vocal in their offer to Iraqi officials that 'we could keep our young men and women in harm's way beyond the deadline if they so choose.' I guess George Bush's "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" ceremony in 2003 was a little premature after all. Maybe so was Obama's announcement that we were going to be pulling out some time in the near future or during his presidency even.
Dar Addustour notes US Adm Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Iraq and spoke with Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and thug of the occupation, about the US military remaining in Iraq, spoke "in detail" and al-Maliki assured Mullen that the political blocs would take up the issue today when they attended Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's meet-up. Meanwhile 2.5 million residents of Baghdad have signed a petition calling on US forces to leave Iraq at the end of this year. Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) adds, "Though many Iraqi leaders agree that U.S. forces should continue providing air defense and training for Iraqi military forces, they remain far apart on how to make the request and for how long American forces should stay -- prolonging the process much longer than American officials expected." In addition, Aswat al-Iraq notes that Mullen spoke with Talabani on Monday about the status of US forces in Iraq. Jim Garamone (American Forces Press Service) notes, "Though U.S. forces in Iraq are planning to draw down to zero in December, they are preserving capabilities in the country should the Iraqis ask for continued help, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said here today. Speaking to reporters traveling with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III said Iraqi leaders are thinking about the way ahead and are trying to figure out the direction they want to go." Phil Stewart (Reuters) reports that Mullen stated today any agreement with Iraq to extend the US military presence beyond 2011 must include immunity for US troops. Xiong Tong (Xinhua) quotes Mullen stating, "That kind of agreement, which would include privileges and immunities for our American men and women in uniform will need to go through the Council of Representatives (parliament)." Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf explains, "There's a lack of clarity so far on the issue of whether US troops should stay. Essentially what Mullen is talking about is an agreement to ask the US to start negotiations and not an agreement to ask US troops to stay."
Aswat al-Iraq adds, "Legislature Khalid al-Assady of the State of Law Coalition, led by Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has expressed confidence that the meeting of Iraq's Political Leaders, scheduled to take place at the residence of President Jalal Talabani on Tuesday 'would reach a national accord on the withdrawal of the American Forces from Iraq, by the end of the current year'." Alsumaria TV adds, "Iraq Premier Nouri Al Maliki said on Tuesday he hopes that Iraq political blocs leaders could reach during the meeting to be held today a finall decision about whether Iraq needs to keep US troops or not and called to carry on cooperating and coordinating between the two parties." AP adds that the polical blocs have met and they have given the approval for negotiations to commence. AFP covers it here. Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor and Al Jazeera) Tweeted the meet-up, including the following:
janearraf #Iraq political leaders agree US military trainers needed next year - agree to discuss in parliament - significant first step.
janearraf Spoke too soon on Sadrists - main #Sadr leader walked out of talks that resulted in resulted in #Iraq plan to discuss keeping US trainers.
Staying with politics, Aswat al-Iraq reports that Iraqiya is telling the press Nouri al-Maliki is indicating he's responsive to their desire to end Political Stalemate II and "settle all the suspended dossiers and complete the articles of Arbil Agreement, including the nomination of the National Council for Strategic Policies." Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf Tweets:
janearraf #Iraq meeting seems major reconciliation between PM Maliki and Ayad Allawi, with new promises of power. Part of deal sidelining Sadrists?
Meanwhile Ali Hussein (Al Mada) wonders about the political elites and notes that an Iraqi mother's options narrow and narrow and yet there's not even a safe place to beg, or the millions who suffer this summer in Iraq without electricity as they fast (for Ramadan) in tin houses and their needs and interests continue to be ignored. Hussein writes that Iraqi's feel powerless and see the Parliament as a body that does not look out for the people while political forces and blocs grab the power and that law has become nothing but a weapon for the ruling party. Where, Hussein wonders, is the country all Iraqis love, where is the homeland? Sacrifices have been made, a river of blood has been shed, where is the Iraq they have dreamed of?
CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq Tweets:
Mohammed Tawfeeq
mtawfeeqCNN Some of Ramadan shows on Iraqiya State TV show miserable life under Saddam, while some other TVs showing miserable life in post- Saddam Era!
Today a bombing rocks Kirkuk, one apparently targeting Iraqi Christians. Xinhua notes that "a booby-trapped car" exploded leaving a church partially damaged and at least 19 people injured. Jamal Taher Bakr (AGI) reports the church is Holy Family Church, that four children and a nun are said to be among the injured and that an additional two car bombs were discovered. AFP speaks with Father Imad Hanna who states the church had not previously been targeted and that, "Women, children and men from this neighbourhood were wounded in the explosion." Asia News reports, "This morning, Mgr Louis Sako, the archbishop of Kirkuk, visited the wounded in hospital. Many of them have already been released and gone home." The Archbishop Sako states, "We are shocked because Christians play no role in the political games." Ivana Kvesic (Christian Post) quotes police deputy Torhan Abdulrahman stating, "It was a coordinated attack to target churches at the same time." Carol Glatz (Catholic News Service) explains, "Police defused two other car bombs -- one in front of a Christian school and another in front of a Presbyterian church." AP counts 23 wounded and notes that Father Imad Hanna was among the wounded. They also quote Rev Haithem Akram stating, "The terrorists want to make us flee Iraq, but they will fail." Vatican Radio observes (link has text and audio), "This is an unusual attack for Kirkuk -- often seen as a haven of relative security for many Christians fleeing the rampant sectarian violence of Mosul and Baghdad. The Christians of the city and their leaders -- Archbishop Sako -- at the forefront -- are renowned for their work and efforts to promote inter-religious harmony and peace. [. . .] A US State Department report says Christian leaders estimate that 400,000 to 600,000 Christians remain in Iraq, down from a preward level of as high as 1.4 million by some estimates."

Iraqi Christians made up a tiny section of Iraq's internal population but they compose a large portion of the refugee population. Throughout the Iraqi War, Christians have been repeatedly targeted. The most infamous attack is the October 31, 2010 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad which was invaded and taken in the middle of a religious service. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reminds, "An October 31 attack on the Sayidat al-Nejat Cathedral, or Our Lady of Salvation Church, left 70 people dead and 75 wounded, including 51 congregants and two priests." David Kerr (CNA) notes, "The
attack comes on the day that three men were sentenced to death in Baghdad for their role in a church siege last October [. . .] A fourth man was sentenced to 20 years." Atul Aneja (The Hindu) adds, "The convicted men have one month to file an appeal."

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