So about that Iraqi charter election . . .
The one that Dexter Filkins trumpeted in the Times . . .
Dexy trumpeted it even when a recount was underweigh due to reports of fraud . . .
Gareth Porter's "Witnesses Describe Ballot Fraud in Nineveh" (IPS) tells you what the Times hasn't:
The accounts collected by the U.S. military in reports dated Oct. 15-19 were made available to IPS on condition that they would not be quoted directly and that the U.S. military unit forwarding them would not be identified.
The first-person accounts gathered by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Nineveh were obtained and translated by Michael Youash, executive director of the Iraq Sustainable Democracy Project in Washington. The names of the NGOs were not provided in the document given to IPS because of fears of reprisals. None of the accounts reported by the military are from Sunnis.
All of the sources quoted in those reports are either Kurds or trusted Assyrian Christians who have been advisors to the U.S. military on local developments and are generally favourable to the constitution. Thus they represent the view from those in the province least likely to have a political motive for depicting the referendum as rigged.
The reports compiled by the U.S. military include an account of the voting in Mosul by an Assyrian Christian source which observes that Kurds voted for the constitution but represent only a small percentage of the estimated 1.7 million people in the capital -- which holds roughly two-thirds the population of the province. That account contradicts both widely reported explanations for the alleged failure of the Sunnis to achieve a two-thirds majority against the constitution in Nineveh -- that the Sunnis in Mosul were divided over the constitution, and that Kurds represent a very large proportion of the population of the city. The final official vote total for Nineveh was 395,000 "no" and 323,000 "yes".
However the IECI in Nineveh had told the media on Oct. 16 and again on Oct. 17 that 327,000 people had voted for the constitution and only 90,000 against, with only 25 out of the 300 polling stations in the province remaining to be counted. Thus, between the two counts, 5,000 yes votes had apparently disappeared and 295,000 no votes had mysteriously materialised -- all from only 25 polling places.
No explanation has ever been provided by election authorities for those contradictory data. The U.S. military's informant supports the view that Kurdish and Sunni vote totals in Mosul were significantly altered.
In other news from the reality based world, we'll note Deb Riechmann's "Bush Sidesteps Questions About CIA Leak" (Associated Press):
President Bush batted away questions about the CIA leak investigation Friday, unable at an Americas summit thousands of miles from Washington to escape the controversy that has ensnared a top White House official and weakened his own popularity.
Taking questions for the first time since the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Bush declined to answer calls from Democrats and some Republicans that he apologize for any administration official's involvement in the case.
Bush also wouldn't say if staff changes were in the works. He sidestepped a question about whether Karl Rove, his top political adviser who remains under investigation in the CIA leak case, should stay on the job. And the president wouldn't comment on whether Rove told him the truth about his role in the events that led up the investigation.
We'll be noting the Inter Press Service article by Gareth Porter again this weekend. And we'll note this credit: "Gareth Porter is an independent historian and foreign policy analyst. He is the author of 'The Third Option in Iraq: A Responsible Exit Strategy' in the Fall issue of Middle East Policy. "
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