Monday, September 15, 2008

Other Items

In Iraq:
When the new Iraqi constitution was being written, the Kurds objected to the statement that read "Iraq is an Arab state and part of the Arab nation" pointing out that there are other ethnic groups that would be offended. So the statement was struck out – as if by a magic wand disregarding the other constituents of the Iraqi population. Arabs constitute 84% of the population. With whose support was this achieved?

In Kirkuk:
The Kurds insist that Kirkuk is a Kurdish province because it is populated with Kurds, and that it should be part of Kurdistan region. They have taken control of it and the Peshmerga handle the security there and they refuse to enlist or train any Arabs – or Turkmen. Kurds constitute around 40% of the population in Kirkuk, according to Iraqi lawmakers.

In Diyala:
Khanaqeen is a small city that has an ethnically mixed population, most of whom are Arab. During military operations the leaders of the insurgency flee from one town to another with the security forces hot on their trail. Khanaqeen is not a part of Kurdistan region, it never was, and yet when the Iraqi forces pursued their duties to Khanaqeen all hell broke loose. The Kurds went into red alert, and threatened to use force if the Iraqi forces didn't step down and leave the city, all on pretext of the existence of Kurds there. The Peshmerga confronted the Iraqi Army and refused to budge. The constitution says that Diyala is under the jurisdiction of the central government – but in spite of that it was the Iraqi army that stood down. They left their posts inside the city and camped around on the periphery of Khanaqeen. What is the source of this strength, this confidence with which the Kurds are making these stands?

The above is from a McClatchy Iraqi correspondent's "September 13, 2008" (Inside Iraq). Next up Caesar Ahmad and Tina Susman's "IRAQ: Bomb sites off-limits to press" (Baghdad & Beyond, Los Angeles Times):

When a thunderous blast Sunday shook a Baghdad neighborhood that is home to the Los Angeles Times and other news organizations, photographers did what photographers are supposed to do: grabbed their cameras and headed for the huge cloud of black smoke, which was clearly visible despite a dust storm and the creeping darkness of night.
It was about a three-minute walk to the scene, but if you don't see many photographs of the bomb's aftermath, which killed at least two people and wounded seven, that's because Iraqi soldiers seized photographers' camera equipment. They got their camera bodies back, but the Iraqi officials refused to give up the memory cards inside them.
The incident was an example of the twisted relationship Iraq's government has with the media, who under Saddam Hussein had virtually no freedom and who now are promised freedom but often get the opposite. Scores of journalists have been detained by Iraqi and U.S. security forces since Hussein's ouster in 2003, and according to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, at least 182 journalists or media employees ranging from drivers to technicians have been killed in Iraq. That does not include four abducted and killed Saturday in the northern city of Mosul while working on a show for independent Sharqiya TV.
Concerns about press freedom began growing in May 2007, when Iraq's government declared that photographers would be banned from bombing sites, ostensibly to prevent them from destroying evidence. Media groups suspected the real intention was to prevent images that portrayed Iraq in a negative light from getting out. Whatever the case, journalists who tried to test the ban later that month had warning shots fired their way.
On Sunday evening, the Iraqi soldiers on the scene outside the Hussan restaurant in Karada did not feel the need to cite any laws except their own as they confiscated camera gear.

And on the verbal attacks on the press, you can see "Naeema al-Gasseer: the United Nations' embarrassment in Iraq" and "The UN's embarrassment in Iraq." Meanwhile Reuters notes two Baghdad car bombings have claimed at least 12 lives and left at least thirty-four injured.

Bryan notes this from Team Nader:

Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader to Speak in Baton Rouge, Wednesday September 17

Monday, September 15, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM


News Advisory
Contact: Mike Welch, 202-471-5833, (National HQ);
Joe Alfone, 504-319-9312 (local)


On Wednesday, September 17, at 7 p.m., Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader will host a news conference in Room 105 of the LSU School of Music. Following the news conference, at 7:30 p.m., Mr. Nader will hold a rally in room 115. The LSU School of Music is located at 229 East State Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.

The theme of the rally, "Open the Debates," reflects the Nader/Gonzalez Campaign's call for inclusive, democratic Presidential debates. Right now, they are limited to the candidates from the two corporate parties. The debates are controlled by the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private corporation created by the Democratic and Republican Parties in 1987, which Walter Cronkite called an "unconscionable fraud" because the CPD format "defies meaningful discourse."

Mr. Nader's remarks will include the failure of the federal government to adequately respond to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. It is absolutely shameful that some New Orleans residents are still without homes, and that corporations are seizing the opportunity to displace former residents and gentrify disaster-vacated real estate. More than 35,000 individuals are still living in FEMA trailers. Only 11 percent of Lower 9th Ward residents have been able to return to the city. Populations made vulnerable by disaster should not be ignored or exploited for corporate profit. The Nader campaign maintains that this is yet another example of the disastrous collusion of corporations and politics.

Mr. Nader will also address these and many other critical issues the major party candidates have taken "off the table" that the Nader/Gonzalez Campaign has put on the table, including:

- a comprehensive, negotiated military and corporate withdrawal date from Iraq;
- a single-payer, private delivery, free-choice public health insurance system for all;
- a living wage and repeal of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act;
- a no-nuke, solar-based energy policy supported by renewable, sustainable, energy-efficient sources;
- a carbon tax to deter global warming;
- an end to the corporate welfare and corporate crime that has resulted in millions losing pensions, savings and jobs and squandered tax dollars; and,
- more direct democracy reflecting the preamble to our constitution which starts with "we the people," and not "we the corporations."

WHO: Ralph Nader

WHAT: Press Conference and Rally

WHEN: Wednesday, September 17, 7:00 p.m. Press Conference; 7:30 p.m. Rally

WHERE: News Conference, Room 105 (Faculty Room); Rally, Room 115 (Choral Room)

About Ralph Nader
Attorney, author, and consumer advocate Ralph Nader has been named by Time Magazine one of the "100 Most Influential Americans in the 20th Century." For more than four decades he has exposed problems and organized millions of citizens into more than 100 public interest groups advocating solutions. He led the movement to establish the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and was instrumental in enacting the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and countless other pieces of important consumer legislation. Because of Ralph Nader we drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments. Nader graduated from Princeton University and received an LL.B from Harvard Law School.

About Matt Gonzalez
Matt Gonzalez was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2000 representing San Francisco's fifth council district. From 2003 to 2005, he served as Board of Supervisors President. A former public defender, Gonzalez is managing partner of Gonzalez & Leigh, a 7-attorney practice in San Francisco that represents individuals and organizations in mediation, arbitration, and administrative proceedings before state and federal regulatory bodies. Gonzalez graduated from Columbia University and received a JD from Stanford Law School.

About the Nader/Gonzalez Campaign
The Nader/Gonzalez independent presidential candidacy will be on the ballot in 45 states, is polling at 5-6 percent nationally, and a new Time/CNN poll shows Ralph Nader polling 8 percent in New Mexico, 7 percent in Colorado, 7 percent in Pennsylvania, and 6 percent in Nevada -- all key battleground states.

For more information on the Nader/Gonzalez campaign, visit:



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