TUESDAY KILLER AND DRONE COWARD BARRY O INSISTED THAT IT WAS TIME TO FIX IMMIGRATION IN THIS COUNTRY, NOW WAS THE TIME, IT WAS NOW.
SINCE HE'S GOING INTO HIS FIFTH YEAR OF OCCUPYING THE WHITE HOUSE, THE URGENCY BARRY O SUDDENLY FELT WAS RATHER SURPRISING.
UNLESS . . .
YOU GRASP THAT UNCLE DRUNKARD ONYANGO OBAMA GOT HIS DEPORTATION HEARING DATE YESTERDAY: DECEMBER THE 3RD.
FOR THE RECORD, NO OTHER DRUNKARD WHO ALMOST HIT A POLICE SQUAD CAR BECAUSE HE WAS SO DRUNK AND WAS THEN DISCOVERED TO HAVE ENTERED THE COUNTRY THROUGH BACKDOOR CHANNELS WOULD STILL BE IN THE COUNTRY TODAY.
IF UNCLE DRUNKARD ONYANGO WERE ANYONE ELSE'S UNCLE, HE WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN DEPORTED TWO YEARS AGO.
UNCLE DRUNKARD TOLD THESE REPORTERS HE MUST STAY IN AMERICA "BECAUSE I FINALLY FOUND MY CALLING. IN MY HOLDING CELL AFTER THE POLICE PINCHED ME, I MET A KEYBOARD PLAYER AND I'VE ALWAYS LOVED 80S POP SO WE'RE STARTING OUR OWN 80S COVER BAND CALLED ONYANGO BONYANGO. GET IT?"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Starting in England where two sides continue pleading their case before two judges -- one side insisting allegations of abuse of Iraqis can be handled internally, the other side insisting a public hearing is necessary. Laurence Lee (Al Jazeera -- link is video) reports:
Laurence Lee: The tenth anniversary of the Iraq War is fast approaching. It seems this may be the place and time when the most serious allegations against the British army may come out. It had already been officially recognized by the establishment here that sections of the army operating around Basra in southern Iraq were engaged in abuse in practices banned under international law. That all came to a head in the inquiry a couple of years ago into the death of Baha Mousa -- an innocent young hotel worker wrongly suspected by British troops of collusion with insurgents. They beat him to death. The Ministry of Defense, accused of a corporate failure to ensure standards of conduct. They're about to be accused of a lot more because lawyers now have testimonies from 180 Iraqis who say they were abused as well. The Ministry of Defense here has always insisted that abuse that did take place by British soldiers was disgraceful but that it was isolated, it wasn't systemic. Lawyers for the Iraqis have always said that they didn't believe that. Now they say, they've got the evidence to prove it. The Baha Mousa Inquiry found that soldiers were using the so-called five techniques: hooding, sleep deprivation, use of noise, wall standing and food deprivation. They'd all been banned by the British government in 1972 but somehow the soldiers knew all about them. Now lawyers acting for the Iraqi civilians want an open, public inquiry into a much wider allegations of abuse issues and the extent to which soldiers were trained in torture. A particular focus will be the treatment of long-term prisoners Claims for example of forced nudity and sexual and religious humiliation, of inmates being routinely assaulted.
Kevin Laue (human rights activist): After all this country is often critical of abuses committed abroad, rightly so. But it's hypocritical if the UK doesn't itself uphold these standards.
Laurence Lee: The establishment here portrays the armed forces as a self-less group of people prepared to commit the ultimate sacrifice in the name of protecting the weak. The Ministry of the Defense continues to insist it would rather investigate itself than have these embarrassing allegations exposed to public scrutiny. Laurence Lee, Al Jazeera, London.
Omar Karmi (The National Newspaper) adds, "According to Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, the firm representing the Iraqis, another 871 Iraqis are waiting to come forward and there are 'tens of thousands of allegations.' They range from accusations of unlawful killing, sexual abuse, food, water and sleep deprivation to mock executions, religious abuse and abuse by dogs." Press Trust of India quotes Shiner discussing how a grandmother "is led away alive . . . Seen by her husband and her son alive, then found a few hours later in a British body bag very much dead, with signs of torture. I could go on and on." RT notes, "MOD lawyers have assured the High Court that comprehensive steps are being taken to ensure that lessons are learned from the mistakes made in Iraq. However, the MOD seems intent on glossing over its past failings: in December, the ministry paid over $22 million (£14 million) in compensation to hundreds of Iraqi citizens who claimed to have been illegally detained and abused by British forces posted in the country. "
Meanwhile in Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki is stripping political rivals of their protection according to charges made to Alsumaria. Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, a leader in the Sahwa forces, told the network that he had lost his bodyguards and when he asked why he was told it was on the orders of Nouri al-Maliki. What seems to be happening is this: government forces providing protection to various politicians throughout Iraq are being ordered by Nouri to return to Baghdad out of some fear -- real or imagined -- on the part of Nouri that he's about to be overthrown.
If you're thinking, "This seems familiar," it's because it has happened before. Like a bad meal, Nouri always repeats. In March of last year, Toby Dodge explained at Open Democracy:
In order to secure his position, al-Maliki focused his energies on gaining complete control of the security services. He set about subverting the formal chain of command, tying senior army commanders, paramilitary units and the intelligence services to him personally. In doing so he ‘coup proofed’ the security forces but also politicised and personalised its chain of command. He created the Office of the Commander in Chief in 2007 and used this platform to appoint and promote senior officers who were personally loyal. As responsibility for security in each province was handed from the United States military to Iraqi control, the Prime Minister set up a number of operational commands to bring both the army and the police force together under one regional organisation. These operational commands were run by a single commanding officer who managed all the security services operating in his province. These officers are appointed and managed from a central office in Baghdad under the control of al-Maliki. The appointment of these powerful generals reflected the Prime Minister’s personal preferences. Through the use of these joint operational commands al-Maliki bypassed his security Ministers and their senior commanders and parliamentary oversight, locating control of Iraq’s armed forces in his private office.
Furthermore, in April 2007, as control of Iraq’s Special Forces was handed from the US to the Iraqi government, a Counter-Terrorism Bureau was set up to manage them at ministerial level. This effectively removed control of Iraqi Special Forces, with 6,000 men in its ranks, from the Ministries of Defence and Interior and placed them under the direct control of the Prime Minister, well away from legislative control or parliamentary oversight. This force is considered to be the best trained in the Middle East. It operates its own detention centres, intelligence gathering and has surveillance cells in every governorate across central and southern Iraq. It now forms al-Maliki’s Praetorian Guard. Since the force was removed from the formal chain of command and from legal oversight, it has become known as the Fedayeen al-Maliki, a reference to their reputation as the Prime Minster’s tool for covert action against his rivals as well as an ironic reference to Saddam’s own highly unpopular militia.
Finally, al-Maliki moved to bring Iraq’s intelligence services under his direct control. This became apparent when Mohammed al-Shahwani, the head of the National Intelligence Service, came into an increasingly public conflict with Sherwan al-Waeli, appointed by al-Mailki in 2006 to be the Minister of State for National Security Affairs. The National Intelligence Service was established by America’s Central Intelligence Agency and al-Shahwani enjoyed a long and close working relationship with Washington over many years. Al-Waeli, conversely, was considered to be al-Maliki’s man. Things came to a head in August 2009 after a series of major bombs in the centre of Baghdad. Al-Shahwani argued in the Iraqi press that there was clear evidence linking the attacks to Iran. In the subsequent fallout surrounding the incident al-Shahwani was forced to resign and delivered Iraq’s security services into al-Maliki’s grasp.
The use of Iraq’s security services to personally protect Nuri al-Maliki reached its peak at the end of March 2008. Al-Maliki believed at that time he faced a coordinated plot to unseat him. An upsurge in militia violence in the southern port city of Basra would be used as a pretext to push a vote of no confidence through the parliament in Baghdad and unseat al-Maliki as Prime Minister. To outflank this plot al-Maliki sent four divisions of the Iraqi army into Basra to seize control of the city back from the militias that were threatening his rule. The resulting military campaign almost ended in disaster and defeat. This was only avoided by the extended intervention of US troops and air support. However, al-Maliki used this eventual victory to stamp his authority on the Iraqi government and the armed forces and to reshape his political image country-wide as an Iraqi nationalist and the saviour of the country.
Toby Doge's new book is Iraq: From War To A New Authoritarianism which was released two weeks ago. From the security forces Nouri controls to the prisons and detention centers, Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports that an MP sitting on Parliament's Security and Defense Committee is charging that Nouri is operating secret prisons including one in the Green Zone. The Green Zone prison is said to be part of the intelligence Kitabt notes that MP Hamid Mutlaalak states that the secret prisons are under Nouri's command, that they are unconstitutional and that Iraqis are being intimidated and tortured in these secret prisons and detention centers.
Today CNN's Arwa Damon
Note to all media colleagues working in
#iraq...you need permission to shoot garbage dumps...
Dropping back to yesterday's snapshot:
As we noted this morning, Nadir Dendoune, who holds dual Algerian and Australian citizenship was covering Iraq for the fabled French newspaper Le Monde's monthly magazine. His assignment was to document Iraq 10 years after the start of the Iraq War. Alsumaria explains the journalist was grabbed by authorities in Baghdad last week for the 'crime' of taking pictures. (Nouri has imposed a required permit, issued by his government, to 'report' in Iraq.) All Iraq News adds the journalist has been imprisoned for over a week now without charges.
This afternoon, the Committee to Protect Journalists finally issued a statement on the matter:
"The arbitrary jailing of a journalist is a vestige of the Saddam Hussein regime that is completely out of place in Iraq's democracy today," said CPJ's Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Sherif Mansour. "Nadir Dendoune should be released immediately."
The Iraqi Syndicate for Journalists condemned Dendoune's detention, calling it a violation of Iraqi law and the constitution and saying that it distorted the country's image in front of the international community.
- For more data and analysis on Iraq, visit CPJ's Iraq page here.
Protests continue in Iraq. And a new one emerges as college students make their voices heard at Diyala University. Alsumaria explains students are threatening an ongoing sit-in over what they are calling the abuse of religious symbols by a professor. Iraqiya is calling on the Ministry of Education to step in and mediate the dispute. Iraqiya is a political slate made up of various sects. Ayad Allawi heads the slate and they came in first in the March 2010 parliamentary elections. Those were the most recent elections and provincial elections are supposed to take place in April. Alsumaria notes the president of the university has identified the professor in question as a law professor and states the teacher has been stopped from teaching classes while the university investigates the situation. If you click here, you can see a photo of the protesters.
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