Saturday, June 09, 2007

NYT: That crazy Nouri al-Maliki

A quandry, how do you point out an obvious problem with the New York Times without contributing to the nonsense? A celebrity is on the front page. We won't name her. We will note that she's not front page news or even breaking news unless you are a tabloid. Today, the New York Times feels the need to join the ranks.

Which leaves John F. Burns' "Wife and Son of Police Chief Are Among 50 Killed in Iraq" on A5. Maybe it belongs there due to the writing/reporting? I'm counting 63 announced dead (corpses included). It's also hard not to note that the police chief in the headline is so unimportant in the text that he doesn't even get named until paragraph ten.

Equally true is that this is at least two stories, the rundown of yesterday's violence (including the home invasion) and another story.

Headline should read "Al-Maliki, Losing His Political Grip, Attacks" and this portion includes a quote by the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, that (at best) is his attempt at bad poetry or (at worst) a sign that he's gone bonkers. Describing his enemies whom he knows are all out there waiting ("Paranoia will destroy ya'" as the Kinks once sang), al-Maliki declares they are all "a black ant on a black rock on a dark night." They do have mental health care providers in Baghdad, just FYI, and al-Maliki should see one promptly. He goes on to trash the London-based, CIA trained Ayad Allawi (which indicates he still has some grip on sanity) and Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's Sunni vice president. Burns forgets to tell readers why al-Hashemi might get trashed. He offers generics but forgets what al-Hashemi said this week. From yesteday's snapshot: "'Actually alarming' is the phrase China's Xinhua reports Iraq's Sunni vice-president Tareq al-Hsahimi used to describe his country while visiting Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak Wednesday." Again, these are two individual stories but apparently they have to be lumped together in order to make room on the front page for Celebrity Justice!

And that's it for Iraq and the Times. AP reports:

Turkish artillery shelled suspected positions of Kurdish rebels based across the border in northern Iraq on Friday, according to reports.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Turkey that it risked expanding regional tensions with any "robust" move of troops into Iraq.

Reuters notes six dead from two Baghdad car bombings, six dead (50 wounded) from a mortar attack on the Camp Bucca prison (run by the US), a police officer dead from a Mosul roadside bombing, and the US military killed six suspect 'insurgents' (five in Falluja, one in Baghdad).

Miguel was the first this week to note Margaret Kimberley's "John Conyers and the Bush Dictatorship" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):

According to an old saying, many a truth is often said in jest. Not enough people took notice on December 18, 2000 when George W. Bush said those awful words. On that date the president-elect went to Capital Hill for a get acquainted session with Congressional leaders. He emerged from that meeting with his well known smirk, and gave Congress and the American people the finger. No one should be shocked when a man who tells jokes about dictatorship turns into a dictator.
Without fanfare, or announcement of any kind, the president recently signed a directive which states that in case of a "catastrophic emergency" the "President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government." What is a catastrophic emergency? Well, it is anything that Bush says it is.
"The president can usurp the constitutionally guaranteed powers of Congress and the judiciary because of an attack on Iran or a surge of casualties in Iraq."
The document,
National Continuity Policy, was signed by the president on May 9, 2007 and unceremoniously posted on the White House website. It defines catastrophic emergency as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function."
That language describes hurricanes, earthquakes, black outs, flu epidemics, terror attacks, or mass demonstrations. If location doesn't matter, the president can usurp the constitutionally guaranteed powers of Congress and the judiciary because of an attack on Iran or a surge of casualties in Iraq. L'etat c'est Bush.
The president announced that he is crowning himself king and thereby making his sick wishes come true. What should be a headline in every major newspaper in the nation has been covered only by the
Boston Globe. None of the television networks have said a word nor has a peep been heard from Congress.
This announcement is consistent with other Bush administration actions. In 2006 the federal government awarded a contract to KBR, a subsidiary of Cheney's Halliburton, to build
"detention centers" in case of a national immigration emergency. Homeland Security has already established an immigrant detention facility in Texas, the T. Don Hutto center, that has incarcerated entire families, including children. When U.N. human rights investigator Jorge Bustamante showed up for a pre-arranged visit he was refused entry and turned away.

The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
and Trina's Trina's Kitchen

This was noted in the public account, from Carl Bloice's "Lebanon: A Media Cover-Up?" (The Black Commentator):

On the morning of May 22, 2007, CNN International (not to be confused with the network’s often horrid domestic service), carried what could only be called a sensational report. While Lebanese Army forces were bombarding the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli, the station interviewed veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, who sketched a quite different background to the fighting than that being offered by most of the major media. It seems that Fatah al-Islam, the group that touched off the conflict, is not primarily a Palestinian organization. Its existence has been known for some time and it has been able to function freely because officials of Lebanon minority government welcomed it as a weapon against the popular Lebanese group, Hezbollah.
After viewing the Hersh interview, I phoned a friend to tell him about it, and his response was, "Well, if the major papers pick up this report it could really become interesting."
They didn't.
The information in the Hersh interview was cited frequently on the internet and in foreign media. A few days after the CNN International appearance, Hearst was interviewed on the radio show
Democracy Now. But the major media? Not a mumbling word.
The New York Times totally ignored the Hersh revelations - which actually were not new but had been contained in a February article in the New Yorker. In it, he writes that under the sponsorship of Vice-President Dick Cheney, an arrangement was worked out to create conflict between militant Sunni groups and Shiite Hezbollah.
Actually, the Times editors didn't need Hersh to give an accurate picture of Fatah al-Islam. On Mar. 16, the paper ran a report by four of its own reporters about the group, which included an interview with its leader Shaker al-Absi. In it, he is described as "a fugitive Palestinian" who “has set up operations in a refugee camp, here, where he trains fighters and spreads the ideology of Al Qaeda.”
Now get this: a man who had been sentenced to death in absentia in Jordan for the murder of a U.S. diplomat, Laurence Foley, and has arrest warrants out for him in three countries, is able to set up shop in Tripoli with a band of 150 fighters "and an arsenal of explosives, rockets and even an antiaircraft gun"? Not only that, intelligence officials in Beirut told the Times reporters "he has also exploited another source of manpower: they estimate he has 50 militants from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries fresh from fighting with the insurgency in Iraq."
Where was the CIA?

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