Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oil industry






It's Friday which means protests in Iraq. The Great Iraqi Revolution has posted video of the Baghdad protest here. The protests have been going on for months now. The protesters demands include: an end to government corruption, the restoration of basic services (electricity, potable water, etc.), jobs and freedom from foreign interference (including no foreign troops on Iraqi soil).
Among the issues addresed at the Baghdad protest today? The kidnapping of Omniya Al Sammaraie "-- she is a widow and raises her children on her own -- her parents and her husband are martyrs. She is an engineer and was threatened by the security forces by internet on facebook!" The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Omniya Al Sammaraie's sister, Dr. Shems, was speaking live a few minutes ago - she said that the people who came to kidnap her were dressed in black - so it is a militia dressed in black - really this gang of hooligans in the Green Zone is all balck in the face and dressed in black!!!!!" And they add, "Dr. Shems, Omniya's sister, speaking live on air stated that she holds Maliki responsible for her safety , in addition we, too , hold Maliki responsible fro her safety. She also told the - them the goervnment and its hooligans - that they will go on fighting for Iraq's liberation as well as getting rid of Haliki and his goons!"
The Associated Press notes over 500 Iraqis protested in Baghdad. The Great Iraqi Revolution reports a Baghdad chant ("you" is Nouri), "Katthab wu Kahyyif, Menreedek Wallah Menreedek! It means you are a liar and scared and we don't want you By God we don't want you." Among those who turned out were family members of those lost in the Iraqi 'justice' system, "The screams and cries of the mothers and sisters of the detained and disappeared on LOYALTY FRIDAY IN TAHRIR BAGHDAD - ALWAFA'A FRIDAY."
And they note what's going on in Mosul currently, "People are gathering in Bab Jedeed District in Mosul - the army and security forces are surrounding them but they continue to gather." Plus, "‎1000s have come out protesting and demonstrating in Sammara'a - Interior Minsitry's Maghaweer and Army tried suppressing them but it has not worked! They have arrested some young demonstrators. United Prayers for Friday were carried out and the A'immeh from both sects called for this demonstration." And, "Our Correspondent in Ramadi, Anbar - security forces heavily deployed in and around Tahrir and have suppressed protestors as well as people attending Friday Prayers in an attempt to stop them praying! They have also arrested some 12 of our Anbar Youth. 13.5.2011 ALWAFA'A FRIDAY RAMADI"
Justin Raimondo ( observes, "In Iraq, 'Arab Spring' protests continue, as they have across the Middle East, but -- unlike the demonstrations in Egypt, the civil war in Libya, and the violently-repressed upsurge in Syria -- the Western news media has decided not to cover them. When thousands jammed the streets of Suleimaniya, the supposedly pro-occupation, pro-American capital city of the Kurdish autonomous region -- Maliki and his Kurdish equivalents sent the Iraqi army in to crush the incipient rebellion no less violently than Syria's Assad is now doing in Syria. Yet we hear nothing from the White House, nothing from the media, and nothing from the former leaders of the "antiwar" movement -- yes, I'm talking to you, Leslie Kagan, you fraud -- after they folded up their tents and went off to work for Obama's election (and re-election). "
Some more realities took place on TV. Monday through Friday at 7:00 pm EST,
Adam vs. The Man airs on RT America. "Adam" is Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh. Yesterday he spoke with US House Rep Walter Jones.
US House Rep Walter Jones: The day I walked to the floor -- it was actually a night -- on giving President Bush the authority to go into Iraq, I did not feel good about my vote. I --
Adam Kokesh: But you did vote for it.
US House Rep Walter Jones: Yeah, I did. And I've apologized many, many times. In fact, that's the reason, after I went to Sgt Michael Bitz' funeral down at Camp Lejeune, one week after we went in, sat there with his wife Janina, outdoor service and that's when I started questioning myself why didn't I vote my conscious? And that started my journey of a -- of a seeking the truth.
Adam Kokesh: Do you think a lot of other Republicans who voted in favor of that authorization for Bush to go into Iraq felt the same as you did?
US House Rep Walter Jones: I think some did but maybe a couple of years after I made my public announcement to leave -- to have a time -- a plan to get out of Iraq. And, uh, from that funeral, I have signed over 10,100 letters to families and extended families in this country because of my weakness to vote my conscious quite frankly.
Adam Kokesh: And what has the reaction of your constitutents been? Most of them military and military families.
US House Rep Walter Jones: Yeah. Well I think on Iraq, most are thinking now that maybe I was right but they won't admit it and I don't expect them to, I don't need people to say to me, "Well you were right and I made a mistake." I'm not looking for that. But, you know, if anybody would look for the truth, you would see that the previous administration manipulated the intelligence to sell the American people. And, to me, that is just absolutely wrong.
Adam Kokesh: So you're saying we were lied into war.
US House Rep Walter Jones: Well absolutely.
Adam Kokesh: Now members of your -- of your district obviously having a unique connection to the military have a different perspective on this. But most Americans now think that, with Obama's policies, the war in Iraq is over, it's winding down, we're just tying up the loose ends and getting out. What do you think of Obama's strategy in Iraq getting us out so far?
US House Rep Walter Jones: I think at some point and time as we continue to downsize, I think that Iraq is going to go back into a civil war situation. I don't think -- I don't really think -- Yes, did we remove an evil dictator? Probably so. But you cannot go into these Middle East countries and change their history and their culture. You just cannot do it.
Adam Kokesh: Well what about Obama's policy right now? We've still --
US House Rep Walter Jones: In Afghanistan?
Adam Kokesh: Well in Iraq. We've still got 50,000 troops or so. I don't know the exact current numbers but that's the thing: Most people have just assumed it's gone away and yet Obama's still got at least several ten-thousands troops in Iraq, he's got hundreds-of-thousands of contractors possibly.
US House Rep Walter Jones: Adam, I'm for pulling 'em all back home. I would tell you the truth, I've learned one thing. You know Ron Paul's one of my dearest friends in Congress and I'm of the firm belief that any country that wants to nation build -- all that try to build, to take their way of life around the world, eventually they collapse. You cannot go into particularly Muslim countries and make them want to be like America. You just can't do it.
Adam Kokesh: Does it bother you to see the so-called conservative Republican Party in the United States trying to promote conservative policy at home and then basically
US House Rep Walter Jones: Yeah.
Adam Kokesh: -- trying to convert other nations with the most liberal policy possible, liberal nation building?
US House Rep Walter Jones: It disappoints me. I'll be honest with you. I do not understand how a party which -- I am a Republican and I'm a social conservative for sure, I'm probably a centrist when it comes to trying to help people -- But, no, it does surprise me and disappoint me because I don't see the Republican party as -- as the party that believes in war and the party that believes in nation building. I just don't.
US House Rep Ron Paul was mentioned above and Adam Kokesh supported Ron Paul's run for the 2008 Republican Party presidential nomination. Jason Notte (The Street) reports that Ron Paul formally announced he's running for the GOP presidential nomination. The Iraq War hasn't ended, Ron Paul has repeatedly and consistently called for an end to the Iraq War. Last month, 11 US soldiers died in Iraq.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Continued protests, continued occupation"
"Oil and death"
"Iraq snapshot"
"Continued stalemate"
"Orange and Onion Salad in the Kitchen"
"2 out of 10"
"Desperate Housewives"
"Look who's talking"
"The axe"
"Little Fockers"
"The costs"
"Chuck and Fringe"
"Can we get an independent investigator?"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Can we get an independent investigator?



26-year-old Iraq War veteran Eric Smith explained this morning, "During my tours, I gained valuable experience in the medical field under extreme conditions. Despite my knowledge and service, I'm struggling to find a job today. And I'm not alone. Our current struggles are not unique to my circumstances. More than 200,000 Iraq-Afghanistan veterans are unemployed or undermployed in today's economy." Smith served as a Navy medic, working as a doctor's assistant in the ICU. He was speaking in DC this morning and flanked by US Senators Mark Begich, Chris Coons, Jon Tester and Patty Murray. Senator Murray is also the Chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee and Murray and the other senators are sponsoring the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 bill.

Patty Murray: Today with the help of everyone here, we are taking a huge step forward in rethinking the way we treat our men and women in uniform after they leave the military. For too long in this country we have invested billions of dollars in training our young men and women with new skills to protect our nation only to ignore that investment and them when they leave the military. For too long, at the end of their career, we pat our veterans on the back for their service and then we push them out into the job market alone. Where has that left us today? We have an unemployment rate of over 27% among young veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. That is 1 in 5 of our nation's heroes who cannot find a job to support their families, they don't have income to provide stability and they don't have work that provides them with the self-esteem and pride that is so critical to their transition home. All too often, we read about the results of veterans who come home, often with the invisible wounds of war, who can't find the dignity and security that work provides. We read about it in the sky rocketing suicide statistics, problems at home, substance abuse and even in the rising homelessness among our returning veterans. But I've also heard a lot about it first hand from the veterans that we have failed to provide better job support to. I've had veterans tell me that they no longer write on their resume that they are a veteran because they fear the stigma they believe employers attach to the invisible wounds of war. I've heard from medics who return home from treating battlefield wounds for days on end, in incredible conditions, who cannot get certification to be an EMT or even a ambuldance driver. I've talked to veteran after veteran who's said they didn't have to go through the military's jobs skills training program or that they were never taught how to use the venacular of the business world to describe the job and experience they did when they come home. These stories are heart breaking and they are frustrating. But more than anything, they are a reminder that we have to act now. The bill that we are introducing today allows our men and women in uniform to capitalize on their service while making sure that the American people capitalize on the investment that we've made in them. For the first time, it will require broad job skills training for every service members as they leave the military as part of the military's transition assistance program. Today almost a 1/3 of those leaving the army don't get that training. This bill will allow our sevice members to begin the federal employment proccess prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs in the VA or Homeland Security or many of the other federal agencies that have jobs available. The bill will also require the Dept of Labor to take a hard look at what military skills and training should be translatable into the civilian sector and will work to make it simpler to get the licenses and certifcation that they need. All of these are real, substantial steps to put our veterans to work. And all of them come at a pivotal time when our economic recovery is starting to turn around. You know, I grew up during the Vietnam war and I have dedicated much of my Senate career to helping care for the veterans that we left behind at that time. The mistakes that we made then have cost our nation and our veterans dearly and have weighed on the conscious of this nation. Today we stand on the brink of repeating those mistakes. We cannot let that happen. Our nation's veterans are disciplined, they're team players, they proved that they can deliver. It's time for us to make sure that they have a job and the security that provides them when they come home.

On the bill and the press conference, Senator Murray's office issued the following:

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee introduced major legislation to help veterans struggling to find work and to address rising unemployment among our nation's heroes. Senator Murray's bill, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, is the first of its kind to require broad job skills training for all service members returning home and comes at a time when more than one in four veterans aged 20-24 are unemployed. In addition to requiring that each separating service member attend a transition assistance program, the bill will also create new direct federal hiring authority so that more service members have jobs waiting for them the day they leave the military, and will improve veteran mentorship programs in the working world. Read more about the bill here.

The bill was introduced today by Chairman Murray (D-WA) and co-sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Max Baucus (D-MT), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Robert Casey (D-PA), Scott Brown (R-MA), and Chris Coons (D-DE).

The bill is also supported by Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

"For too long we have invested billions of dollars in training our young men and women in uniform with new skills to protect our nation, only to pat them on the back after their service and push them out into the job market alone," said Chairman Murray. "This has cost our nation and our veterans dearly. For the first time, this bill will require that our service members get the training they need to translate the skills they learned in the military into the working world. It will also provide faster pathways to private sector and federal employment so our veterans aren't left in limbo after they leave the military."

"It is tragic our men and women in uniform come back from combat and find that some
federal and private sector employers do not appreciate, or question, how veterans' skill-sets and commitment translate to the workplace. I am proud to add my name to a bill that gives veterans the skills they need to compete for jobs, an opportunity for a non-competitive appointment to the federal civil service, and enhanced vocational vocational rehabilitation if they need it. Actions speak louder than words, and I hope this bill empowers our men and women of action with the skills and the support to hear the words "You're hired,'" said Senator Murkowski, the lead Republican co-sponsor of the bill.

"For too many veterans, especially among those who have served in the Guard and Reserves, the fight does not end when they return from the battlefield and take off the uniform. For some, another ordeal is only beginning. This new struggle is for a decent-paying job that puts food on the table and a roof over the heads of these veterans and their families," said Senator Leahy. "Vermonters understand how much we owe it to those who defend us to make sure they are fully employed when they return, so I am very proud to join Senator Murray in offering this bill. I hope it passes quickly."

"We have a responsibility to support our military men and women not only by providing the resources they need to serve, but also by making sure they have the tools they need to get good-paying jobs when that service is over," said Finance Committee Chairman and author of the VETs Jobs bill, Max Baucus. "If a soldier serves our country proudly as a medic, they are more than qualified to earn a living as an EMT when that service is over. If a service member can drive sophisticated equipment protecting our country overseas, they shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get a job as a truck driver here at home. And all of our troops should have access to the job training they need, when they need it. This bill is a straightforward solution that puts common sense into practice to help our military service members get the good-paying jobs they deserve when their service is over."

"When troops return from often multiple tours of duty abroad, the least we can do is help them find a decent job and land on their feet so that they can support themselves and their families," said Senator Jay Rockefeller, who is the longest serving member on the Veterans' Affairs Committee. "It's a sad truth that too many of our young vets are unable to find jobs when they come home. This is something that we can change, and this bill does that with smart
investments in training and hiring assistance. Veterans in West Virginia and across the
country chose to put this country above all else, and they deserve our unwavering support both on and off the front lines."

"Our nation's veterans are well trained, highly skilled, experienced, and capable," said Senator Daniel K. Akaka. "The Hiring Heroes Act will provide opportunities for those completing military service to get jobs in the federal government, helping them to successfully transition to civilian life while keeping their talent for the benefit of the American public.
This is a win-win for our veterans and the country."

"This country is grateful for the courage and dedication of our veterans, which continues long after they take off the uniform. This bill provides these heroic men and women not just the job assistance they deserve but a path for success in the future," said Senator Boxer.

"The nation has a commitment to our service members and their families to help make sure their transition from military service to the civilian workforce is both timely and successful," said Senator Bernie Sanders. "Meaningful employment is the key to prevent many social and economic challenges we see some veterans facing today."

"Our veterans' service to our country does not stop when they leave the military. From leadership experience to technical and scientific skills, veterans are key to our nation's economic competitiveness. We must honor our commitment to them and empower them to lead our nation in civilian life as they did while in uniform," said Senator Sherrod Brown.

"We have a responsibility to empower America's veterans with the tools they need to find
good-paying jobs after they put their lives on the line for our freedoms," Senator Jon Tester, Montana's member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. "This legislation eases the transition between military service and the civilian workforce, setting Montana's veterans up for
success. They deserve no less."

"When our veterans are returning from war zones, far too many are having a difficult time finding a job, and that is unacceptable," said Senator Begich. "This legislation is designed to help our service members find employment, get training, and be able to transition home without the headache of a job search. They have some of the best skills any employer could ask for and we need to do more to promote their success."

"We have an obligation to take care of our men and women in uniform not only when they are fighting to keep our country safe, but also when they return home," said Senator Brown, a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. "This bipartisan legislation reflects our commitment to ensuring veterans have ample opportunities to find a job when they decide to leave the military, and I am proud to be introducing it along with my colleagues."

"As we bring more and more of our troops home from conflicts abroad to a country still recovering from this difficult recession, it is more important than ever to equip our veterans
with the resources necessary to successfully reenter civilian life," Senator Coons said. "As
they conclude their brave service to their country, we must make it a priority to connect returning soldiers with job training and job opportunities. It's not enough for us to bring
them home -- it's our duty and responsibility to give them the tools and training to be as successful in civilian life as they were while they were deployed."

"This legislation will go a long way toward meeting the transitional needs of America's heroes," said Peter Gaytan, Executive Director of the American Legion in Washington. "Many of our returning veterans have been struggling to find adequate employment at home, and passing a bill that provides them with job-training to help them back into the work force is commendable."

"A veteran's successful reintegration into society begins with employment," said Veterans of Foreign Wars U.S. Legislative Director Ray Kelley. "The VFW salutes Chairman Murray for
this legislation. It not only improves existing programs, it will allow service members to
quickly transition into civilian careers and ensures that veterans who continue to struggle to find employment are given greater access to the system that is in place to support them."

"With high unemployment rate facing veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, Chairwomen Patty Murray's legislation, 'Hiring Heroes Act of 2011,'
will greatly improve employment opportunities for these veterans, especially disabled veterans," said Dave Gorman, Executive Director of The Disabled American Veterans. "With enhancements to vocational rehabilitations programs, mandatory Transitional Assistance Programs, and enhancement of credentialing
and licensing programs, among others, this bill will great improve the transition from the military into the civilian workforce. The Disabled American Veterans supports this legislation."

"MOAA strongly supports this important legislation. In these challenging economic times,
there is no greater good than helping our Nation's warriors, who have given so much over the past decade, transition from military life to a civilian career. MOAA thanks Chairman
Murray and all the co-sponsors of the "Hiring Heroes Act of 2011' for their continuing
support of those men and women who serve and have served our Nation," said Vice Adm.
Norb Ryan, Jr., USN-Ret, President of Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).

Evan Miller

Specialty Media Director

U.S. Senator Patty Murray


From veterans stateside to Iraq . . .

Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home
I knew when we woke up
You would be leaving
You knew when you left me
It might be too long
That kiss on your shoulder
It's me looking over
Close to your heart
So you're never alone
Say a little prayer till they all get home
Say a little prayer till they all get home
-- "Till They All Get Home," written by Melanie (Safka) and first appears on Melanie's
Crazy Love.

The big news today? Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports Nouri al-Maliki declared that "he might ask thousands of U.S. troops to remain in the country next year provided that a solid majority of the main political parties back the request at a meeting this month." AGI News quotes Nouri stating, "The decision concerning the USA's withdrawal is an important national issue. For this reason, I am inviting all political leaders to establish a dialogue to clarify whether we want American soldiers to stay or not." AFP continues the quote: "Aftter that, the government will decide on keeping them, or making them leave." Xiong Tong (Xinhua) notes, "Iraqi political blocs are sharply divided over whether part of the U.S. troops will have to stay amid continuing violence in the country and the region as well, or to leave to assert independence eagerly wanted by Iraqis." Rebecca Santana and Lara Jakes (AP) add, "Equally important might be the nervousness many Iraqis feel at how the U.S. departure will affect sectarian relations. [. . .] Many Sunnis and even Shiites worry that Iraq is falling too much into Iran's orbit, something that will only increase when the U.S. military leaves."

There's talk of Nouri's position being a reversal at some outlets. In terms of staying beyond 2011? No. Nouri's been all over the map -- publicly -- in the last two years on this issue including in July of 2009. One example, Margaret Talev (McClatchy Newspapers) reported July 23, 2009, "A day after President Barack Obama said that the U.S. was on track to pull its troops out of Iraq by 2011, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki said Thursday that the timeline could change 'if the Iraqi forced required further training and support'." Anne Gearan (AP) and Al Jazeera also covered Nouri's statements in real time. So that's not a change. Did he change in allowing Parliament a say? He's expressed conflicting opinions on that as well. Earlier today Dar Addustour reported on the conflict between Ayad Allawi and Nouri and mainly emphasized Allawi's calling Nouri out for asserting that the decision to extend the presence of US forces on Iraqi soil past 2011 is his (Nouri's) decision and only his. Allawi's comments being made public may or may not have had influence. But today's comments are similar to the ones he made last week and you can refer to Tim Arango and Michael S. Schmidt's New York Times article for that. Their article also gets the reactions of Iraqi people to a possible extension and you can also refer to Arango and Schmidt's blog post at At War.

Amanda Terkel (Huffington Post) quotes Pentagon spokesperson Elizabeth Robbins stating, "[W]e are willing to entertain a request for continued assistance, consistent with our commitment to a long-term parternship with Iraq -- but the ball is in the Iraqis' court to ask." Ask? If this 'request' is anything like the selling of the SOFA in November 2008, look for various US officials to show up with promises and more to close the deal.

Some outlets express concern about Moqtada al-Sadr's feelings because Moqtada is opposed to an extension. As he was exposed to extending the UN mandate in 2006 (it was extended) and 2007 (it was extanded) and to the SOFA in 2008 (it went through). He made threats before. He did not follow up on them. As noted for weeks now, the US (and England and other governments) are convinced Moqtada is currently at his weakest. Which may be why Iran's Fars News can report today, "US special forces attacked headquarters of the Sadr Movement in Iraq's Northern Diyala province and arrested the staff. According to FNA dispatches, US forces have confiscated all the computers in the building. Eye Witnesses said that a number of staff were arrested by the US forces." UPI notes the story here.

UPI also notes the current conflict between Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi and wonders if political spats in Iraq are temporary? (Answer: Only if a politician's life proves to be "temporary.") March 2010, Iraq held elections. It should have been easy enough. But the UN refused to appoint a caretaker government and Nouri al-Maliki used his position as prime minister to delay and thwart. Nouri's political slate was State Of Law. It came in second. (Some rush to say, it was close! Elections are supposed to have winners and "I almost won it!" is meaningless after an election.) Iraqiya came in first. Even after Nouri demanded recounts. Ayad Allawi heads Iraqiya. Nouri, as prime minister, used his control of the Supreme Court to get the verdicts he needed and, with backing from the US, managed to hold on as prime minister. And since hanging on, he's done nothing for the Iraqi people and he still can't form a complete Cabinet all this time later. The security ministries are leaderless.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

They do?








Starting with veterans issues. Tomorrow morning there will be a major press conference. Senator Patty Murray's office issued the following today:

(Washington, D.C.) -- On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, will hold a press conference with co-sponsors of the bill, veterans struggling to find work, and veterans service organizations to discuss aggressive new legislation to address rising unemployment among our nation's veterans. Senator Murray's bill, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, is the first of its kind to require broad job skills training for all service members returning home and comes at a time when more than one in four veterans aged 18-24 are unemployed. In addition to providing new job skills training to all service members, the bill will also create new direct federal hiring authority so that more service members have jobs waiting for them the day they leave the military, and will improve veteran mentorship programs in the working world. For more information on the bill visit HERE.

WHO: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray

U.S. Senator Jon Tester

U.S. Senator Mark Begich

U.S. Senator Chris Coons

Eric Smith, Unemployed Iraq War Veteran, Baltimore, MD

Also represented at the event:

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)

Disabled American Veterans (DAV)

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)

WHAT: Press Conference Introducing the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011

WHEN: Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

11:00 AM EST

WHERE: Senate Swamp -- Outdoor press area located on the Senate side of the Capitol Complex across from the East stairs -- SEE MAP - HERE

Note for press -- there is power access at this site and the Capitol will be the backdrop.

Matt McAlvanah

Communications Director

U.S. Senator Patty Murray

202-224-2834 - press office

202--224-0228 - direct

News Releases | Economic Resource Center | E-Mail Updates

Moving over to Iraq and starting with labor issues, the Iraqi Freedom Congress issued the following:
Hundreds of workers walked off the job in protest, which rocked the headquarters of Southern Oil Company in Bab al-Zubayr in the southern city of Basra.
The workers have come from oil fields in Basra; from North and South Rumaila, Albirjisya, West of Qurna and Majnoon and were led by the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions.
The workers raised slogans condemning corruption, while trying to bring all corrupt officers to justice. Among the corrupt officers includes the deputy director-general's of Southern Oil Company and director of trade.
To confront the demonstrators, the management of the company called security forces. Sami Hassan (one of the organizers of the demonstration) was also imprisoned for two hours.
The demonstration was part of a series of protests sweeping the Iraqi and foreign companies operating in the southern region.
Ali Abu Iraq (Iraq Oil Report) reports, "Hundreds of workers from Iraq's southern oil hub of Basra protested outside numerous facilities Monday, claiming Oil Ministry officials have ignored repeated concerns about the use of funds, the allocation of housing, and equal pay." Reuters adds, "The demonstrators were engineers, technicians and workers at the state-run South Oil Co., which has some 18,000 employees developing some of Iraq's big oil fields. They protested for three hours at the company's headquarters in Basra and at another location near an oil field west of the city." The company's homepage notes:
South oil company one of the major fundamental formations of Iraqi national oil company (INOC), it's the first nucleus and the basic of national direct investment projects in the seventies, where the SOC was subsidiary to national company. Events and activisites have escalated steadily and rapidly rising since the beginning of the seventies where investment and development stages of the north Rumaila field were completed, in three stages lead to rate production (42) million tons per year, conincided with the expansion of works in all fields, the expansion began with drilling works, building and expanding production facilities and implementing investment projects associated with natural gas field in north and south Rumaila [. . .]
Iraq Oil Report Tweets:
iraqoilreport Iraq Oil Report
Oil workers protest in Basra: Workers threaten strike, mass May 25 protest following repeated claims to better pay.
Meanwhile Brendan Barber (Guardian) reports on efforts of the Iraqi government to destroy Iraq's unions ("Ministers appoined a government committee, packed with officials from the Sadrist movement, to take over the structures and assets of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIQ) -- the Iraqi equivalent of the TUC -- and run its upcoming elections"):
We have reports of government officials, flanked by police, attempting to take over union offices. And it is painfully sectarian. In Basra last week, the seven officials that demanded the keys to the local union office were all from the Sadrist party. These followers of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr are a small, but important, minority in the Iraqi coalition government, and won control of the labour ministry in the recent carve-up of government portfolios. In preparation for union elections, these Sadrist officials have been issuing their own union membership cards, effectively giving them the right to decide who can vote. In a similar incident last year – and a worrying sign of things to come – the polling booth for a union election was inside the Sadrist party offices. These are tactics that Hosni Mubarak would be proud of.
Back to protests, The Great Iraqi Revolution notes that the Ramadi sit-in continued yesterday and that "The Young Rebels and the Tribal Shaikhs have setup a site for a SIT-IN very close by! Haliki [Nouri al-Maliki] and his goons really can't stop the Iraqi People protesting -- this is our land and this is our country." Yesterday was day 16 of the continued sit-in. And a woman in Baghdad, Eaman, says "that they have no men left in their district because all the men have been detained by the government security forces as a result fo the 'Secret Informer' system -- she is appealing for help" and states that "the 'Secret Informer' in Fadhil District in Baghdad is called Khalid Mihsin Awwad". Protesters are being targeted in Iraq. The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "The night before last Shaikh Khalil Al Sabba'awi's home was raided in the Geyara District of Mosul but could not find him. The next morning, yesterday, they saw his son in the family car and arrested the son and hijacked the car! Shaikh Khalil was live on air and said that he will not give up the protests and that soon they will be starting Civil Disobedience in Mosul. He is the Shaikh who refused Maliki's invitation to go down to Baghdad and negotiate the demands of the Ahrar Protestors - these demands are the same as of Tahrir, Baghdad and Tahrir, Ramadi." And in Falluja, "We've just heard that Haliki has setup a checkpoint just at Fallujah's gates and is arresting young men just because they are young men! I wonder, is he so frightened???? And if he is so frightened why does he remain???? What is he going to do in a few days' time????? The citizens in Anbar now are also speaking about a Civil Disobedience Campaign...... well, let's wait and see....."
Meanwhile Aswat al-Iraq reports guests and the wedding party turned a Mosul social event into a protest as the approximately 500 began shouting for reform, an end to corruption, the release of detainees and the departure of US forces. Sticking with departure, The Great Iraqi Revolution passes on, "Dhafir Al Ani has stated that they (meaning the Iraqiya Block, I suppose) have heard from the Americans that Haliki has in principle agreed to the extension of the SOFA Agreement!!!!!!! Poor .... Poor... thing - He needs them for his protection....." Aaron C. Davis (Washington Post) quotes Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi stating, "There is no certain time or certain date to decide on the U.S. military, and we will not be in a hurry to take a decision." Davis notes, "If Iraqi leaders decide late in the year to request that some U.S. troops or equipment stay, military officials say, it would entail significantly altering or even reversing the course and could compound security concerns and costs." Ayub Nuri (Rudaw) maintains there is anxiety over a potential withdrawal throughout Iraq but especially in the oil-rich Kirkuk. Kirkuk police department has issued a statement calling for US forces to remain on the ground in Kirkuk past 2011; however, The Great Iraqi Revolution explains, "The Political Arab Council in Kirkuk has just denied the statement issued yesterday by the Kirkuk Police Department. They categorically stated that they refuse the further stay of the Occupation troops in Kirkuk. The spokesman said that this refusal is the opinion of all the parties living in Kirkuk with the exception of the 2 Kurdish Parties. He also said that the occupation troops did not deal evenhandedly with the citizens in Kirkuk. He said that they wanted Kirkuk to be the first city from which occupation troops depart from Iraq."