WHEN NOT RUNNING HIS DRONE WAR, KILLER BARRY O IS JUST ANOTHER ASPIRING D.C. SOCIALITE, DESPERATE TO BECOME THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST.
THIS WEEK HE INVITED 12 REPUBLICANS TO THE WHITE HOUSE TO TRY OUT HIS SOCIAL SKILLS AND HIS CLOSELY GUARDED RECIPE FOR COCONUT AND RASPBERRY FROU-FROU CUPCAKES.
WHEN THE LAMB AND LOBSTERS WERE MENTIONED BY THE PRESS BUT HIS PRIZED CUPCAKES WERE IGNORED, KILLER BARRY THROUGH A FIT, THREATENED TO SICK HIS DRONES ON THE PRESS AND SMASHED ONE OVERLY FROSTED CUPCAKE INTO THE FACE OF WHITE HOUSE PLUS-SIZE MODEL JAY CARNEY WHILE HISSING, "EAT IT, FAT BOY! YOU'RE THE ONE WHO SAID THEY NEEDED MORE ICING!"
DESPERATE TO PERFECT HIS RECIPE AND, IN HIS WORDS, "BE D.C.'S BEST LITTLE HOSTESS SINCE THE TWINKEE!," BARRY O INVITED HOUSE REP. PAUL RYAN AND THEN BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON OVER, SERVING HIS PRIZED CUPCAKES EACH TIME.
BUT THE PRESS IS STILL CALLING THIS HIS "DINNER PARTY CHARM OFFENSIVE."
"IT'S CUPCAKE!" KILLER BARRY SNARLED, SHOVING MORE OF THEM DOWN JAY CARNEY'S MOUTH. "MAKE THEM SAY CUPCAKE!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
It is Friday. Since December 21st, Friday has meant protests. The protests are over a number of issues but the final straw was Nouri targeting another Sunni and member of Iraqiya. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reported:
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.
On the torture, Jane Arraf filed a report for Al Jazeera this week which included:
Amnesty International and other groups say much of the torture stems from an almost sole reliance on confessions to obtain convictions. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent in investigative training by the United States and other countries, cases rarely rely on forensic evidence. The use of secret informers, lack of legal representation, and widespread corruption also stack the deck against those accused.
In Aref's office, stacks of hand-written statements from prisoners tell the same stories that human rights groups say is prevalent among those facing terrorism charges.
"They began using my wife and children. They threatened to rape my wife in front of me if I didn't confess," read one statement. The prisoner said even after he was sentenced to death, his wife and young children were held for five months without any charges laid.
Another prisoner titles a statement signed on May, 27 2012 "after 1,825 days of injustice". He named the police officers allegedly involved in torturing him and asked, "Is there anybody who can support me and remove this injustice from me and my people?"
Fallujah, where anti-government protests started in December against the broad anti-terrorism law many are imprisoned under, has borne much of the brunt of mass arrests. The law, known as Article 4, allows the death penalty for a wide range of offences broadly categorised as terrorism.
Article IV currently allows innocents to be arrested. If you are the relative of a suspected terrorist, you can be arrested merely for that 'crime.' This is why so many women are in Iraq prisons. Protesters are calling for Article IV to be abolished and some sympathetic members of Parliament are offering that it can be modified.
Protesters might also be bothered to be living in an oil rich country that offers no jobs. The Iraq Times notes Iraq is ranked the ninth worst country globally on unemployment and third in the Arab world.
Iraqis continue to march and rally in March. And they continue to be targeted by prime minister and thug Nouri al-Maliki. Kitabat reports Nouri's forces killed two more protesters. The two protesters killed were in Mosul with four more left injured. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) counts only one dead but the article has other counting problems we'll get to it in a moment. All Iraq News reports, "Two demonstrators were killed and three others injured" but notes a security source states the number may rise. Dar Addustour also reports two dead and they note it was the federal police -- a point that AP seems unclear on -- that did the firing. This was not local police, this was the federal police -- under Nouri's command because they're under the direct command of the Ministry of the Interior and, in a power grab, Nouri's refused to nominate anyone to be Minister of the Interior. Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch) notes of Nouri:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s response to all this has been to grab as much authority as he can, circumventing agreements that would parcel out power in a nominally fair way, that, in practice, paralyses the state machinery. The government in the Green Zone, the great fortress it inherited from the Americans, is not shy about its sectarian allegiance. Shia banners and posters of Imam Ali and Imam Hussein decorate checkpoints and block-houses in the Green Zone and much of the rest of Baghdad, including prisons and police stations.
Mr Maliki’s efforts to monopolise power – though less effective than his critics allege – have alienated powerful Shia individuals, parties and religious institutions. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the pre-eminent Shia religious leader of immense influence, whom the Americans at the height of their power found they could not defy, will no longer see the Prime Minister’s emissaries. The marji’iyyah – the small group of men at the top of the Shia religious hierarchy – have come to see the Prime Minister as a provoker of crises that discredit Shi’ism and may break up the country. Iran, the only other large Shia-controlled state, with strong but not overwhelming influence in Iraq, says privately that it is unhappy with Mr Maliki, but does not want a political explosion in the country while it is facing ever-mounting pressure over Syria, its other Arab ally, and its economy is buckling under the impact of sanctions.
The death toll increased as the day continued. National Iraqi News Agency reports that the death toll increased to 3 and the number injured is five. Protests continued after an another four were injured when Nouri's forces again fired, National Iraqi News Agency reports, but from the first attack, the death toll is now 3 and the number left injured is five. In this video, a protester shows shells from the bullets fired on the protesters as ambulances are loaded. Alsumaria notes that there were four ambulances and that the police were refusing to allow them to provide assistance and that the federal police -- Nouri's thugs -- attacked one of the paramedics who is described as having been "severely beaten."
Responses to the attack? Alsumaria reports cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is calling for an investigation into this assault on the Iraqi people. Al Mada reports that the Kurdistan Alliance is calling for an investigation and for the perpetrators to be punished. All Iraq News notes that Mosul has been placed on curfew. Ahmed al-Saddy's Facebook page carries the announcement that there will be a strike at the University of Mosul March 10th (Sunday) as a result of the attacks on the protesters. Alsumaria reports the immediate reaction also includes Ezz al-Din al-Dawla resigning as Minister of Agriculture as a result of the killing of protesters in Mosul and he stated that the voices that sent him to Baghdad are not being represented by the government. Last Friday another member of Nouri's Cabinet resigned:
Of all the protests across Iraq, Ramadi received the most attention due to a high profile speaker. Alsumaria notes Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi attended and, in his speech, resigned his office. Hamdi Alkhshali (CNN) adds, "The finance minister resigned because the government has not met the demands of the demonstrators to end the marginalization, spokesman Aysar Ali told CNN."
Zaid Sabah (Bloomberg News) quotes al-Issawi telling the protesters, "I am with you, I am your son. I will not return to this government." Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quote al-Issawi telling the crowd, "I am presenting my resignation in front of you. I do not care about a government that does not respect the Iraqi blood and its people." Sabah notes the protesters chanted back, "We are with you! We are with you!"
al-Issawi tells Reuters, "More than 70 days of demonstrations and this government hasn't fulfilled our people's demands. It doesn't honor me to be part of a sectarian government. I decided to stay with my people." Alsumaria notes that Nouri al-Maliki has declared he will not accept the resignation until a legal and financial investigation is completed.
So now there are two resignations from Nouri's Cabient. Will it make any difference? Will it force him to take accountability for what happened or even to provide answers? Not likely. He's still not answered for the January 25th massacre and this brings us back to Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) who references the massacre and the five dead. Five? Five the day of. As Human Rights Watch explained February 14th:
Iraqi authorities should complete promised investigations into the army killings of nine protesters in Fallujah on January 25, 2013, and make the results public. The authorities need to ensure that there will be independent investigations into the deaths, in addition to the promised inquiries by a parliamentary committee and the Defense Ministry, and that if there is evidence of unlawful killing, those responsible are prosecuted.'
Nouri never found answers, never pretended to. He probably thinks he'll be able to escape blame on this one as well.
And it's not like warnings have been sounded about the way the federal police behaved in Mosul. Let's drop back to Wednesday's snapshot:
NINA also notes that Nineveh Province Governor Atheel Nujaifi has "warned the security forces in Nineveh, specifically the Federal Police, which oversees the protection of Ahrar Square not to encroach upon the demonstrators." He is calling out the continued targeting of protesters by Nouri's national force and the warrantless arrests of them.
That is only the most recent example of al-Nujaifi calling on Nouri's forces to stop harassing and harming the Mosul protesters. Iraqi Spring MC notes that the people of Adahmiya faced teams of Nouri's forces who attempted to prevent them from protesting or even having Friday morning prayers. Kitabat adds that Nouri's forces have turned the city into a "huge prison" and that two mosques had to cancel the morning prayers as a result of the military siege the city is under. Kitabat also notes that Friday prayers at Baghdad's Abu Hanifa mosque were also cancelled as a result of the military being sent to encircle the area. Dar Addustour notes "hundreds of thousands" turned in Falluja and Ramadi and thousands in Kirkuk, Tikrit, Baghdad and Samarra. AP notes that Falluja and Ramadi protesters again blocked the highway between Baghdad and Jordan. Iraqi Spring MC Tweets about the security forces in Ramadi attempting to provoke the demonstrators and that Nouri's forces arrested 7 protesters in Falluja.
Bradley Manning is the US whistle blower who blew the whistle on what was actually going on in Iraq and Afghanistan behind the press spin and the carefully tested wording, he saw the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism actions and was disgusted by how Iraqis were made to suffer. In June, he is set to face a military court-martial. He should be set free but US President Barack Obama would rather punish whistle blowers. Naomi Spencer (WSWS) points out, "Organizations that orbit the Obama administration-- including the International Socialist Organization, which has published a handful of articles about the case -- have likewise avoided uttering the name of Manning’s oppressor: the Democratic administration of Barack Obama. The most recent report in the Socialist Worker, the ISO’s publication, was a reprint of a February 22 Belfast Telegraph op-ed which made no mention of Obama." Nathan Fuller (Dissident Voice) goes over some of the information Bradley had access to:
On 2 March 2010, Bradley was ordered to investigate the Iraqi Federal Police’s detention of 15 individuals for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature.” He quickly realized that “none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups.”
In fact, the literature these academics were distributing was “merely a scholarly critique” of the “corruption within the cabinet of [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki’s government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people.”
Bradley brought this to the attention of his superiors, but they told him to “drop it” and help the Iraqi police find more of these dissidents to detain.
I knew if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time—if ever.WikiLeaks has yet to publish those files.
Instead of assisting the … Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to [WikiLeaks], before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, hoping they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down on political opponents of al-Maliki.
Nouri continues to use the police to target political enemies. He has his forces follow protesters home from protests to document where they live, he has the forces videotape the protests, he intimidates and bullies because that's all he's ever had to offer and, somehow, this struck two administration -- Bush's and Barack's -- as leadership.
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