Friday, June 20, 2008


Iraqi security forces met little resistance Thursday on Day 1 of the government's crackdown in the southern city of Amarah as they sought to disarm gunmen loyal to the militant Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr.
Iraqi defense officials said there were no casualties or gun battles as military and national police units easily spread through northern Amarah, a mostly Shiite oil and agricultural city that borders Iran and for decades has served as a smuggling hub.
The Iraqi military announced the arrests Thursday of 17 suspected militants, including Rafia Abdul Jabbar, the region's acting deputy governor who is also the top city administrator in Amarah.
"The city is quiet even though the operation has started, and I haven't heard a gun-shot or the sound of a plane," said Faiq Hanoun, 55, an Amarah resident. "Life is going on in the normal fashion. Markets are open and movement in and out of the city hasn't stopped."

Hannah Allam and Ali al Basri's "New Iraqi operation against militants produces scant resistance" (McClatchy Newspapers) report a strange calm in Amara as does Ernesto Londono and Aahad Ali's "Iraq, U.S. Launch Crackdown" (Washington Post):

In a move that angered followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, Iraqi troops detained the vice governor of Maysan province, who also serves as the mayor of Amarah, the provincial capital. Sadrist leaders in Maysan have vowed to cooperate with Iraqi troops but have suggested that the government is trying to expand its presence in Sadr strongholds to weaken the movement politically before provincial elections scheduled for the fall.

[. . .]

Adnan al-Silawi, director of the Sadr office in Amarah, said Iraqi troops had detained several of the movement's leaders without cause and that a Sadr office employee who was detained two days before the operation began was released Thursday with a broken arm.

Some more disturbing details emerge in Alissa J. Rubin and Suadad Salhy's "Iraqi Troops Move Into Militia-Held City of Amara" (New York Times):

There were reports of rough treatment and especially of arrests of eminent followers of Mr. Sadr. It was unclear whether the units making the arrests had warrants, as required under Iraqi law. If so, Mr. Sadr’s followers said they would not protest the detentions.
However, Mr. Sadr’s supporters protested at least two cases in which Iraqi troops seized family members of wanted figures when they could not find the person they were seeking. Iraqi military leaders responded that they had arrested only one relative of a wanted man. The American military has used similar tactics, drawing criticism from Iraqis in and out of the government.

So the transfer of 'democracy' includes 'teaching' that is okay to arrest family members for crimes they never committed. The White House has exported their mafia techniques to Iraq where it seems as normal and fine.

Independent journalist David Bacon continues to explore the issue of immigration. And his latest is "HOW DO YOU SAY JUSTICE IN MIXTECO?" (TruthOut):

Erasto Vasquez was surprised to see a forklift appear one morning outside his trailer near the corner of East and Springfield, two small rural roads deep in the grapevines ten miles southwest of Fresno. He and his neighbors pleaded with the driver, but to no avail. The machine uprooted the fence Vasquez had built around his home, and left it smashed in the dirt. Then the forklift's metal tines lifted the side of one trailer high into the air. It groaned and tipped over, with a family's possessions still inside.
"We were scared," Vasquez remembers. "I felt it shouldn't be happening, that it showed a complete lack of respect. But who was there to speak for us?"
Eight farm worker families lived in this tiny "colonia," or settlement, on the ranch of Marjorie Bowen. Their rented trailers weren't in great shape. Cracks around the windows let in rain and constant dust, which carried with it all the fertilizer and chemicals used to kill insects on the nearby vines. Some trailers had holes in the floors. None had heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.

On Democracy Now! today, Amy Goodman provides multiple yucks. Probably her bit with Joseph Nevins is the most priceless. It's cute to hear the two 'chat' about Barack and NAFTA and never note that the truth about Barack and NAFTA was known in real time. Of course, in real time, Amy Goodman was LYING for Barack and bringing on John Nichols to spread whispers about Hillary. Remember that article? The one Nichols was promising? Never was published. Never was a story. But the point was to push back at the truth coming out on Barack and the two propagandists did just that. Today Goodman and Nevins pretend Barack's dialogue with the Canadian government never happened. They only hope you're as dumb as they are.

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