Tuesday, December 09, 2008

US refuses to release Ibrahim Jassam

It is really amusing to watch the US government attempt to pretend that Iraq is a sovereign country. The December 1st snapshot included:

In other news, Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam has been a prisoner in Iraq since Sept. 1, 2008 when US and Iraqi military forces drug him from his Mahmudiyah home. He has been held a prsioner since then at Camp Cropper. Reporters Without Borders and Journalistic Freedom Observatory have been calling for his release. Reuters reported yesterday that Iraq's Central Criminal Court has ordered that Ibrahim be released because "there was no evidence against" him; however, "There was no immediate response from the U.S. military to the ruling." Daryl Lang (Photo District News) adds, "Jassam's case resembles those of several other Iraqi photographers and cameramen working for Western news organizations, all of whom were eventually freed. And the decision comes as the U.S. is releasing thousands of security detainees and preparing to turn its much-maligned detainee system over to the Iraqi government."

That's pretty obvious, right? A 'sovereign' country's court orders a foreign military on their soil to release someone. It's not a 'junta,' right? Not a US junta, so the court would have the final say. But Reuters reports this morning that the US military is refusing to release Ibrahim and stating they will continue holidng "him into 2009".

US Major Neal Fisher is quoted stating that the court order means when Ibrahim is released, "he will be able to out-process without having to go through the courts as other detainees in his threat classification will have to do." Fisher sees no conflict in that and his earlier statement to Reuters that, "Though we appreciate the decision of the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in the Jassam case, their decision does not negate the intelligence information that currently lists him as a threat to Iraq security and stability." Golly Major Neil, if the US has 'evidence' and 'reason' to hold Ibrahim then surely it would be 'dangerous' to out-process him automatically at some point in 2009, right? All these oodles and oodles of info would need to be turned over to an Iraqi court, right? That is the argument for not releasing him after all: 'The Iraqi court doesn't know what we know.'

But if you make that argument (and mean it), you don't turn around and say, 'When we're done with him, we'll follow the court's order and release him quicker than other prisoners who will still need to go before a court.'

You can't have it both ways. Either the US knows information justifying Ibrahim being held or it doesn't. If it does, then surely such information would not just need to be turned over to an Iraqi court, it would also require a new trial.

The fact that Major Neal doesn't see it that way goes to how weak the US case against Ibrahim is.

David Schlesing (News Editor-in-Chief at Reuters) is quoted stating, "I am disappointed he has not been released in accordance with the court order."

Back to Blackwater, Billie e-mails to highlight this from the Dallas Morning News' editorial "Prosecuting Blackwater contractors:"

"We take no pleasure in charging individuals whose job it was to protect the men and women of our country," U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor told reporters in Washington yesterday. "But ... we are duty-bound to hold them accountable, as no one is above the law, even when our country is engaged in war."
Iraqis have waited far too long to hear these words from the U.S. government. Nevertheless, the Iraqi government should caution its people not to have high expectations. Security contractors at the time of the shooting fell under no clear legal authority. Since they were operating on foreign territory, U.S. law did not necessarily apply to them.
Proving otherwise will be among the Justice Department's biggest challenges. But it is crucial, for the sake of future U.S. relations with Iraq, and the rest of the Arab world, that the government vigorously seek justice where innocent Iraqi civilians cannot.

Billie writes, "Of all the outlets, I would have never expected the Morning News to actually grasp Iraqis are people too. Color me pleasantly surprised." Jonah has a highlight as well and notes "only this section is worth leading. James Petras disgraces himself with his non-stop Hillary Hatred. Someone needs to inform him that he's coming across mad an crazed as well as misogynist as every sentence struggles to find away to include 'demon' Hillary who must be all powerful to little Jimmy, so scared of the big, bad women." This is from Petras' "The Election of the Greatest Con-Man in Recent History" (Information Clearing House):

The entire political spectrum ranging from the ‘libertarian’ left, through the progressive editors of the Nation to the entire far right neo-con/Zionist war party and free market Berkeley/Chicago/Harvard academics, with a single voice, hailed the election of Barack Obama as a ‘historic moment’, a ‘turning point in American history and other such histrionics. For reasons completely foreign to the emotional ejaculations of his boosters, it is a historic moment: witness the abysmal gap between his ‘populist’ campaign demagoguery and his long-standing and deepening carnal relations with the most retrograde political figures, power brokers and billionaire real estate and financial backers.
What was evident from even a cursory analysis of his key campaign advisers and public commitments to Wall Street speculators, civilian militarists, zealous Zionists and corporate lawyers was hidden from the electorate, by Obama’s people friendly imagery and smooth, eloquent deliverance of a message of ‘hope’. He effectively gained the confidence, dollars and votes of tens of millions of voters by promising ‘change’ (implying higher taxes for the rich, ending the Iraq war and national health care reform) when in fact his campaign advisers (and subsequent strategic appointments) pointed to a continuation of the economic and military policies of the Bush Administration.
Within 3 weeks of his election he appointed all the political dregs who brought on the unending wars of the past two decades, the economic policy makers responsible for the financial crash and the deepening recession castigating tens of millions of Americans today and for the foreseeable future. We can affirm that the election of Obama does indeed mark a historic moment in American history: The victory of the greatest con man and his accomplices and backers in recent history.
He spoke to the workers and worked for their financial overlords.
He flashed his color to minorities while obliterating any mention of their socio-economic grievances.
He promised peace in the Middle East to the majority of young Americans and slavishly swears undying allegiance to the War Party of American Zionists serving a foreign colonial power (Israel).

It will not be noted in a snapshot. We are not interested in all the idiots who think they will make 2009 all about Hillary Hatred. Barack's your president, America, the majority chose him. You're not happy with what he's planning? Take the battle to him, stop hiding behind Hillary. You embarrass yourself.

You also prove you don't know the first thing about how to build a movement. Ralph Nader made the same mistake and it hurt his campaign. (That's not slamming Nader, whom this community supported, it is noting that an important first step of building anything is figuring out who you can reach and who you can't.) Petras is a wonderful writer, it's very sad to see him harm his own reach by turning off those like Jonah who are his natural base. And for those who don't grasp the basics, that's not "Hillary can't be criticized." It's that you cannot bash her, you cannot hurl hatred and insults at her and pretend like you've offered (a) anything new, (b) anything needed or (c) anything reflective of the world we are living in. It's as if someone spent all of 2006 slamming Condi Rice as if she, and not the occupant of the Oval Office, were running the country. When you lose all sense of perspective and foam at the mouth over a cabinet nominee as opposed to the next president of the US, you look deranged. What's really sad is this deranged quality Petras is exhibiting was on display in all the sectors he's calling out in his otherwise strong piece. It's a shame he can't make the connection.

Spelling it out, to create Barack, a big-bad had to be created. You need a hero, you need a nemesis. That's the basic of narrative. Now the obvious choice for any Democratic nemesis was Bully Boy but that wouldn't let the War Hawk Corporatist Barack beat his opponents in a Democratic Party primary. So the nemesis had to come from within.

Petras wisely grasps he's been sold a bill of goods regarding Barack. He fails to grasp that on the same level Barack's power (of goodness!) was inflated, so was Hillary's alleged power (of evil!). Without doing that, you had no narrative. Hillary is (and has been) one of fifty senators. She may or may not end up US Secretary of State next year. Regardless, this equating her with a world leader and acting as if she occupied the White House in 2002 and 2003 is more than a bit demented. Those who've broken free of their Barack illusions might attempt to break through their Hillary ones.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

ibrahim jassam
the dallas morning news
james petras