Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bring on the Special Prosecutor






Turning to the topic of Iraq and someone who provides unintended laughs.  Press TV  interviewed a parrot today.  The parrot was George Washington University's Nabil Mikhail who hasn't made such a fool of himself since he went on Press TV to talk about the 'film' that wasn't a film (the anti-Islamic YouTube video of last fall) and its large cast and so mcuh more.  It was a video, there was never a movie.  But gas bags fear silence and must fill all sapce with chatter.  Today Nabil Mikhail went on Press TV to utter the phrase he'd been taught for nearly a decade "counter-terrorism."  Mihail insisted, "Iraq needs a counter-terrorism strategy."  Someone give Polly her cracker and put her back in her cage.

Iraq has a counter-terrorism strategy.  As Tim Arango (New York Times) reported in September another "unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism" -- and this was done "at the request of the Iraqi government."  As we've repeatedly noted (such as here), this unit has trained Iraq's new SWAT forces.  How do we know that?  Stream any Alsumaria report on this issue and listen to the Arabic speaker say "SWAT."  SWAT is an American acronym for Special Weapons And Tactics.  Those four terms would not be used in Arabic and would not form the acronym SWAT.  After saying "SWAT," Iraqi anchors usually then begin referring to them with an Arabic phrase which translates as "rapid response teams."  SWAT not only fails the Arabic test, it's not native to Iraq.  It was introduced by outsiders.  So Nouri's recently created SWAT teams -- with the American name -- are the result of the US units counterterrorism training.

Have they done any good?

Nope.  And they won't.

The parrot knew all the phrases but lacked the ability to process.  At one point he even claimed "that there are no suicide attacks" these days and that this is due to the fact that "the terrorist know these neighborhoods well."  The 'terrorists' are Iraqis.  Of course they know the neighborhoods, but how uninformed must you be to not know that suicide attacks continue.  They're not often stressed as such -- it won't make a headline crawl at the bottom of a screen -- but they continue and have never ceased.  Just this week, there was the suicide tank bombing, to note just one example.

While most people are grasping that the violence stems from the continued repression of the Iraqi people, the parrot wants to pretend that what the country needs is more repression.

What an idiot.

The police training program the State Dept planned to oversee in Iraq failed and it failed primarily because there was no "buy-in" on the Iraqi side (as former US House Rep Gary Ackerman warned would end up happening).  There's no buy-in in Iraq of the government.

It's run by a man, Nouri al-Maliki, that Iraqis showed up in the 2010 elections to get out of office.  That's why 'sure thing' Nouri who abused his office, had many of his rivals purged from the list of candidates and tried to scare the Iraqi people into voting for him, saw his State of Law get bested by Iraqiya.  The Ayad Allawi headed political slate was where Iraq wanted to go.  Nouri was the bloody past, the divisions, the hatred and so much more that the last years had stood for.  Iraqiya was a way forward, an Iraq without sectarian warfare, where Shi'ite Allawi and Sunni Osama al-Nujaifi could be in the same political group and work together, where Iraqi women could reclaim the role the illegal US invasion and all that happened after stripped them of.  It was about forming a national identity, not having an identity thrust on them by foreign occupiers.

And as this was blossoming and taking root, US President Barack Obama (based on the crackpot advice of Samantha Power among others) didn't stand up for democracy, didn't stand up for the people or the sanctity of the ballot box.  Instead, he backed Nouri al-Maliki who refused to step down as prime minister and would refuse to do so for over eight months.  Not only did Barack back the thug -- who had already been repeatedly caught running secret prisons where torture took place --  he had US officials broker The Erbil Agreement, a contract, which went around the Iraqi Constitution and gave Nouri a second term.  (To get that second term, Nouri had to promise, in the contract, to give the political blocs various things.  Nouri never honored that contract but let's leave that aspect out of it today.)

So Iraqis are supposedly free in 2010 and able to do what they want, to express their voice and their dreams.  And there's this marvelous new gift of 'democracy' that's supposedly been given.  But in 2010, when they vote in a way that the White House doesn't like, they quickly find that their votes don't matter.  Isn't that what the US said happened under Saddam Hussein?

When a people vote out a leader and the leader remains in power, what message does that send?

Samantha Power is a deeply stupid woman.  She's one who never grasped the lessons of her own country (or how to bathe properly, hence the odors) but wants to speak as if she's an expert on Ireland and then wants to apply Ireland to Iraq.  Iraq was never Ireland and will never become Ireland (or vice versa). The traditions and cultures of each country are completely different and are often rooted in the lands themselves -- climate, proximity, etc.  But Samantha Power has never known a sweeping generalization she couldn't stretch to the breaking point and she made these ridiculous (and honestly offensive) comparisons between Ireland and Irish leaders and Iraq and Iraqi leaders.

What the White House did was trample democracy in Iraq.  It didn't have to be that way.  Gen Ray Odierno saw what was coming before the election and warned about it.  But the idiot Chris Hill, the US Ambassador to Iraq who would be fired from his job -- but fired too late, had the ear of the White House and worked to marginalize Odierno.  By the time then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could get the White House to listen to Odierno, the elections had taken place and eight month political stalemate had begun.  (To his credit, Barack did sack Chris Hill.)

If I invite you over to my home and tell you that you're going to be tasting the best cake ever and you show up and I never serve that cake, maybe toss out some dry crackers your way instead, you're going to feel cheated and wronged.  And that's exactly how the Iraqi people felt.  Go back to the press of November 2010 when the stalemate ended and Nouri became prime minister and listen to the Iraqis -- in western press because they still cover Iraq then -- telling reporters that they didn't know why they voted, telling reporters that despite their votes, things remained the same.

The White House trampled on democracy.  The Erbil Agreement spat on democracy and on the Iraqi Constitution -- the latter of which is most damning because the Constitution exists for a reason and if the US is going to go around it, why is it there?  It mandates, for example, that Nouri appear before Parliament when they want to question him.  But he's refused to do that over and over in his second term.  Why should he show respect for the Constitution when going around it got him a second term?

The damage that was done is immeasurable and that's why we called it out as it was happening, it's why the topic saddens me like few others.  The US government destroyed the country of Iraq and 'democracy' was the last promise to the Iraqi people that the US government hadn't broken.  But by overturning the results of a fair and free election, the US government broke that promise to.

So George Washington University parrots need to get it through their thick skulls that when you take away people's belief that they can change their government and that their votes actually matter, you don't leave them with a lot of processes or avenues.  That's especially true in the post-invasion Iraq where the US government rushed to overturn many of Saddam Hussein's laws but kept the ones attacking unions.  And Nouri's attacks on the unions are infamous.  So the ballot box doesn't matter, collective bargaining is attacked by the government, what is left?


When Iraqis took to the streets in 2011 -- protesting the 'disappeared' loved ones in Iraq's 'legal' system, protesting corruption, the lack of public services, the lack of jobs, the failure of Nouri al-Maliki to implement the power-sharing (Erbil Agreement), etc -- what happened?  He turned his forces on them and on the press.

Dropping back to the February 28th Iraqi snapshot:

Over the weekend, a number of journalists were detained during and after their coverage of the mass demonstrations that took place in central Baghdad's al-Tahrir Square. Simone Vecchiator (International Press Institute) notes:
["]During a news conference held on Sunday, four journalists -- Hussam Saraie of Al-Sabah Al-Jadid newspaper, Ali Abdul Sada of the Al-Mada daily, Ali al-Mussawi of Sabah newspaper and Hadi al-Mehdi of Demozee radio -- reported being handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened by security forces. They also claimed they were held in custody for nine hours and forced to sign a document, the contents of which were not revealed to them.
Aswat al Iraq news agency reported that the journalists will file a court case against the executive authority in response to the alleged violations of their civil rights.
This episode is the latest in a series of repressive measures adopted by security forces in order to stifle media reports about the current political and social


NPR's Kelly McEvers would interview Hadi for Morning Edition after he had been released and she noted he had been "beaten in the leg, eyes, and head." He explained that he was accused of attempting to "topple" Nouri al-Maliki's government -- accused by the soldiers under Nouri al-Maliki, the soldiers who beat him.  Excerpt:

Hadi al-Mahdi: I replied, I told the guy who was investigating me, I'm pretty sure that your brother is unemployed and the street in your area is unpaved and you know that this political regime is a very corrupt one.

Kelly McEvers: Mahdi was later put in a room with what he says were about 200 detainees, some of them journalists and intellectuals, many of them young protesters.

Hadi al-Mahdi: I started hearing voices of other people.  So, for instance, one guy was crying, another was saying, "Where's my brother?" And a third one was saying, "For the sake of God, help me."

Kelly McEvers: Mahdi was shown lists of names and asked to reveal people's addresses.  He was forced to sign documents while blindfolded.  Eventually he was released.  Mahdi says the experience was worse than the times he was detained under Saddam Hussein.  He says the regime that's taken Sadam's place is no improvement on the past. This, he says, should serve as a cautionary tale for other Arab countries trying to oust dictators. 

Hadi al-Mahdi: They toppled the regime, but they brought the worst -- they brought a bunch of thieves, thugs, killers and corrupt people, stealers.

Yesterday, on Air Force One, White House spokesperson Jay Carney addressed the press and declared of Iraq, "We have an important and ongoing relationship with the government of Iraq and the Iraqi people.  We engage with the government on issues all the time.  And it’s something that we continue to monitor and continue to provide advice on both with Iraq and with countries in the region.  This is a matter that I know, from having worked with him on it, the Vice President remains concerned about and focused on."

Did you?  Did you have meaningful dialogue with Nouri?  Like you had with him when he was attacking the protesters in 2011 or the Emo kids in 2011?  As he terrorized the country did you really think your 'meaningful dialogue' meant one damn thing?  Because looking at it now, all you did was humor the tyrant.  He still won't follow the Constitution.  And  Tuesday, April 23rd his federal forces massacred a sit-in in Hawija.  Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.UNICEF informed the world that 8 of the dead were children and twelve more children were left injured.  That was last month.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Only 2 away from 800 violent deaths in the month o..."
"For a second, NPR notes the Black genocide in Liby..."
"Hey, that's me in the comic strip!"
"Another slap on the wrist for big business"
"The military crime scandals never end"
"AP and NYT have more guts than CCR"
"On speaking"
"Beyonce's says hands at your sides during the lapdance"
"Body of Proof (They Hate Black People)"
"Final thoughts on Smash"
"Eric Holder"
"The big make out under the boardwalk"

No comments: