Saturday, October 19, 2013

Barry explains why he's so angry






Today AFP reports the Vice President did hold a press conference and he declared, "My case is politically motivated and the charges are absolutely fabricated. Nevertheless, I now express my readiness to return to Baghdad immediately ... in (the case) the EU guarantees a fair trial."  Middle East Monitor quotes al-Hashemi also stating, "The chances of just litigation are non-existent in Iraq when Chief Justice Medhat Al-Mahmoud is clearly complicit with the Prime Minister's Office, thus distorting the image and reputation of Iraq both domestically and internationally."

Even those who believe al-Hashemi is guilty have to, if they have any self-honesty, have to admit the Baghdad courts are a joke and Tareq was denied a fair trial.

In France, where they kiss in the main street, Francois Hollande is president.  Can you picture any French court denying to allow Hollande to testify as a character witness in a trial?  No. But Iraqi President Jalal Talabani was denied by the Baghdad court when he attempted to offer testimony on behalf of Tareq.  Equally true, by 2010, it was obvious that the Baghdad courts were not independent and were ruling for Nouri and against the laws of Iraq (including the Constitution).  As Congress was repeatedly informed in the last years of the '00s, the graft and corruption in Iraq included the judicial system.

The world looked the other way when  the Baghdad judges declared him guilty in February 2012 at their press conference and while one judge was stating that he had been threatened by al-Hashemi. Excuse me, that is wrong.  They reproduce what the judges said.  They failed to note the Iraqi Constitution -- which protects Tareq or anyone in office from being tried while they hold public office and which protects all with the belief of innocent until proven guilty.

Reuters and the others couldn't be bothered with facts or the law.  They couldn't even raise the issue of a group of Bahgdad judges declaring a person guilty before a trial had even started.  They were so up the ass of Nouri that they treated this moment as normal.

It was not normal.  Tareq was tried in absentia in a kangaroo court.  For those who've forgotten, al-Hashemi also asked that the trial be moved to another area of Iraq where Nouri did not control the judiciary.  That was refused.   Today Middle East Monitor reports:

During the conference, Hashemi revealed documents and videos proving the involvement of Al-Maliki and his office in acts of torture and serious violations of human rights. He explained that: "most of the detainees are innocent while the real criminals are still free with the knowledge of the security services. The major proof is the continued collapse of security; the incidents, assassinations and sectarian displacement, all with the support of Al-Maliki's security services."

In all the bad western media coverage of 2012, one lie after another was repeated as the 'indpendent' press conveyed Nouri al-Maliki's position like good little stenographers.  The steno pad, for example, was fond of repeating Nouri's lie that an arrest warrant was issued and then Tareq fled Baghdad.  Lie.  Dropping back to December 18, 2011:

AFP reports, "Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and several of his bodyguards were escorted off a plane at Baghdad airport on Sunday because two of the guards were wanted on 'terrorism charges,' officials said, the latest step in a deepening political crisis." Also on the plane was Saleh al-Mutlaq, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister whom Nouri has asked Parliament to strip the powers of. al-Mutlaq was also forced off the plane. On today's All Things Considered (NPR), Kelly McEvers offered this take:

Kelly McEvers: Here in Kuwait, just having crossed over the border, we have all these US commanders telling us that they're leaving Iraq in a better place, that it's a thriving democracy. Yet in Baghdad it looks like you have Prime Minister Maliki -- who is a Shi'ite and whose government is Shi'ite -- going after his rivals who are Sunnis. Just yesterday, charges were announced against the Vice President who is Sunni and troops surrounded his house. The Maliki government accuses him of being involved in a terrorist plot. But Maliki's detractors say this is sectarian revenge. So you know we've got these promises from US commanders that things are going really well but this kind of national reconciliation government looks like it's unraveling.

Nizar Latif (The National) observes:

Those moves have added to a fear among the prime minister's critics that he is seeking to eliminate rivals and consolidate power.Iraqiyya warned it would pull out of the coalition government unless Mr Al Maliki agreed to seek a solution that respects "democracy and civil institutions".
"Iraq is now in a very difficult position. This is a critical time," said Eytab Al Douri, an MP with the Iraqiyya bloc. "If solutions are not found quickly, Iraq will be heading towards sectarian and ethnic divisions, and a return to civil war."

The Baghdad authorities had Tareq.  They pulled him off the plane (and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq as well), held him for a few hours and then led to proceed to the KRG.  The next day, December 19, 2011, they issued an arrest warrant.  From that day's snapshot:

CNN reported this afternoon that an arrest warrant had been issued for Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi by the Judicial Commitee with the charge of terrorism.  Omar al-Saleh (Al Jazeera) terms it a "poltical crisis" and states, "The government says this has nothing to do with the US withdrawal, that this has nothing to do with the prime minister consolidating his grip on power.  However, members of al-Iraqiya bloc, which Hashimis is a member of, say 'No, [Maliki] is trying to be a dictator."  Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) observes, "The arrest warrant puts Mr. Maliki on a possible collision course with the Kurds, who run their own semiautonomous region in the north and participate in the central government but have longstanding disputes with Baghdad over oil and land; and with Sunni Arabs in provinces like Anbar, Diyala, Nineveh and Salahuddin who have pressed in recent weeks for more autonomy from Baghdad with the backing of the Kurds."

Somehow, Nouri's the western press, aka Nouri's steno pool, turned that into "a warrant was issued for al-Hashemi who then fled."

They were so eager to serve Nouri, they didn't even bother to get the timetable correct.

So it's no surprise they also ignored Tareq al-Hashemi's conflict with Nouri.

We didn't.

Because the conflict was long standing.  Just as Nouri became prime minister in 2006, Tareq al-Hashemi became vice president the same year.

They had many conflicts.  The most recurring conflict?  Over the abuse of Iraqis held in detention centers and prisons.  When  Ned Parker (the Los Angeles Times) and Human Rights Watch would reveal the secret prisons -- supervised by Nouri -- where torture took place, everyone would play dumb.  Except al-Hashemi who always had a public statement.  While prisons were otherwise ignored in Iraq, Tareq would announce he was going into one and taking press with him.  In other countries -- and this especially pissed Nouri and his State of Law off in 2010 -- Tareq's visits would include him discussing the abuse taking place in Iraqi prisons.  This was among the reasons, during the 8 month political stalemate of 2010 (Nouri had lost the parliamentary election but refused to step down as prime minister), State of Law was publicly denouncing Tareq and insisting he was not vice president (when he was and would be named to a second term in November of 2010).

I don't doubt that Tareq al-Hashemi has proof of Nouri's crimes against the Iraqi people.  In part because Nouri's so stupid and so crooked.  But also because Tareq's always been sharper than Nouri.  In 2009, when Sunnis were being marginalized in the upcoming elections (as voters), Nouri felt he had a clean sweep at victory.  But that fall, Tareq used his Constitutional power to stop the bill Parliament had passed and to demand that Sunni refugees had the same voting rights of Shi'ite refugees and other Iraqi people.  Nouri was not pleased.

But the steno pool couldn't -- or wouldn't -- tell you that.  They'd lie and type that he was the former vice president.  They could do that.  But he was never stripped of office.  (Failure to first strip him of office is why the verdicts against him have no legal standing.)  Nouri tried.  He spent months -- a little over five -- trying to have Tareq stripped of office and Saleh al-Mutlaq stripped of office as well.  He failed in both cases.  In May of 2012, Nouri dropped his efforts to have Saleh stripped of office and, at the same time, the trial of Tareq (in absentia) also took place.  The two events were related.  Even after the Baghdad judges pronounced Tareq guilty in Februrary 2012, the trial didn't start.  Because Nouri knew he had to first get Tareq stripped of office -- and was convinced he could.  The trial only started after he faced the reality that it wasn't happening -- not for Tareq, not for Saleh.  Then, in violation of the Constitution, the trial began.

I know the press is largely stupid and rarely bother to look at the law.  But by the time Nouri was going after Tareq, even a lazy and ill-informed press should have known what's what.  In part because Nouri attempted to sue an MP only months before.  Sabah al-Saadi was the MP and his criticism of Nouri resulted in Nouri going crazy.   September 22, 2011, Nouri swore out an arrest warrant for al-Saadi. Let's drop back to the September 20, 2011 snapshot:

Meanwhile Dar Addustour reports MP Sabah al-Saadi is stating there is no arrest warrant out against him and that the claims of one stem from Nouri al-Maliki attempting to cover up his own corruption and he states Nouri has deliberately kept the three security ministries vacant and he charges Nouri is willing "to sell Iraq to maintain his hold on power."  Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) observes, "The increasing violence is likely to be taken as a further sign of political gridlock in the Iraqi government, in particular the inability of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to name permanent ministers for the key security posts 18 months after the March 2010 elections."

So Sabah al-Saadi was arrested!


As an MP, he had immunity.  The Constitution guarantees him that -- guarantees Nouri that.  Only while in office, but it exists.  And the western press never bothered to tell you that fact.  Though they were frequently able to repeatedly lie and insist that Tareq was a "former" vice president.  Tareq is Vice President he's never been stripped of office.

December 2011, Nouri showed to the world his disrespect for the Constitution and his political rivals as he abused his office to target Nouri.  A year later, he underscored that point.  From the December 21, 2012 snapshot:

In Iraq, it's seasonal tidings.  Yes, that time of the year when Nouri uncorks The Crazy.  How bad is it?  So bad that rumors attach War Criminal Henry Kissinger's name to the current crisis.   Or, with a take from a different angle,  conservative Max Boot (Commentary) proclaims, "Ho hum, another holiday season, another power grab by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."  AFP says the new crisis "threatens to reignite a long-running feud between the secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc" and Nouri and his State of Law political slate.  What the heck are we talking about?  Look at this Reuters photo (individual photographer is not credited by the news agency or we'd note him or her by name) of the thousands who turned out to protest in Falluja today demanding Nouri al-Maliki resign as prime minister.
After morning prayers, Kitabat reports, protesters gathered in Falluja to protest the arrests and Nouri al-Maliki.  They chanted down with Nouri's brutality and, in a move that won't change their minds, found themselves descended upon by Nouri's forces who violently ended the protest.  Before that, Al Mada reports, they were chanting that terrorism and Nouri are two sides of the same coin.  Kitabat also reports that demonstrations also took place in Tikrit, Samarra, Ramdia and just outside Falluja with persons from various tribes choosing to block the road connecting Anbar Province (Falluja is the capitol of Anbar) with Baghdad.  Across Iraq, there were calls for Nouri to release the bodyguards of Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi.  Alsumaria notes demonstrators in Samarra accused Nouri of attempting to start a sectarian war.
So what happened yesterday?  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports:

Iraq's Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi said Thursday that "a militia force" raided his house, headquarters and ministry in Baghdad and kidnapped 150 people, and he holds the nation's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, responsible for their safety.
 Members of the al-Essawi's staff and guards were among those kidnapped from the ministry Thursday, the finance minister said. He also said that his computers and documents were searched at his house and headquarters. He said the head of security was arrested Wednesday at a Baghdad checkpoint for unknown reasons and that now the compound has no security.

Kitabat explains that these raids took place in the Green Zone, were carried out by the Iraqi military and that Nouri, yesterday evening, was insisting he knew nothing about them.    In another report, Tawfeeq quotes al-Essawi stating, "My message to the prime minister: You are a man who does not respect partnership at all, a man who does not respect the law and the constitution, and I personally hold you fully responsible for the safety of the kidnapped people."

And those December 21, 2012 protests?  Though the western press ignores them, they continue non-stop to this day.  This was the ten month anniversary of the start of them but don't expect to discover that via AP or any other US outlet which seems to see it as a point of pride that they really don't care -- not even to report on Nouri's efforts to ensure that reporters don't cover the protests.  You don't need to read Arabic to grasp how Nouri's forces treat the press, just look at the photo to this Kitabat report.

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Iraqi Spring MC reports protests took place in Samarra (above),  Falluja, in Ramadi, in Tikrit, and in Rawah, among other places.  Other places?  How about the KRG?  Erbil found protesters blocking the road and insisting the government provide protection for the people.  Alsumaria reports that an estimated 300 protesters turned out in Erbil.   National Iraqi News Agency reports:

Sheikh Mohammed Fayyad, one of the organizers of Anbar sit-ins ,said to NINA reporter : "The citizens participated in the prayers that held in the courtyard northern Ramadi and eastern Fallujah cities , stressing that the goal of this trickle is to send one again a message to the governing in Baghdad that our demonstrations are peaceful and backed by citizens deep conviction.

Alsumaria reports that, at the Falluja protests, Younis al-Hamadani called for the government to disclose the status of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and that it is impossible to believe the Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki do not know Talabani's condition.  Last December,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17th (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20th, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.  al-Nujaifi has disclosed he attempted to meet with Talabani last spring on a trip to Germany but that Talabani's office refused to allow the meet-up to take place.

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