Friday, January 16, 2009

Shoe action and Muntader's status


Throw-A-Shoe at Bush! To Obama: No war!
Join Us. Shoes provided or BYOS! Prizes, Music & Fun!

  • Sat., Jan. 17, Noon - 3 pm, Justin Herman Plaza (Embarcadero BART), SF
  • Sun., Jan. 18, Noon - 3 pm, Justin Herman Plaza (Embarcadero BART), SF
  • Tues., Jan. 20, 7 am - Noon, United Nations Plaza (Civic Center BART), SF.
    Near the public Obama inauguration simulcast event at Civic Center Plaza

Iraqi Journalist Muntader al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush while saying, "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq." We symbolically join him as Bush leaves office. We also throw shoes for the widows, families, and US service men and women killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We throw shoes for those who are hurting while billions are wasted for war instead of bailing out those of us lacking food, housing, healthcare, and education.

backWe take Obama seriously when on election night he said, "This victory alone is not the change we seek; it is only the chance for us to make that change." Will you join us in publicly committing that "we the people" will organize ourselves and take action to make those changes? We agree with Obama's statement, "I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mindset that got us into war in the first place."

Here are 5 key changes that will begin to do this.

Including "non-combat" troops, private contractors (i.e. Blackwater), and close all US military bases in Iraq.

Give reparations for the human and structural damages Iraq has suffered, and stop the corporate pillaging of Iraq so that their people can control their own lives and future.

* No escalation of war in Afghanistan; troops should be withdrawn.
* Stop attacks inside Pakistan. Don't attack Iran.
* Cut military aid to governments that violate human rights or international law, such as Israel in what Amnesty International calls an "unlawful attack on Gaza."
* Close Guantanamo and all secret prisons

* Close all 800 foreign US military bases.
* Reduce military budget and troops; Stop wasting hundreds of billions needed for healthcare, housing, education, and green energy/jobs.

* Amnesty for all GI resisters who refuse illegal war.
* Full benefits, adequate healthcare (including mental health), and other supports for returning servicemen and women.

Co-sponsored by:
Direct Action to Stop the War -
Courage to Resist -

First, the above sponsors are Act Against War and Courage to Resist (I don't think they're clickable above, so I'm putting the links in -- and Courage to Resist is also on our permalinks to the left). Those actions begin tomorrow.

Muntader al-Zaidi is the journalist who hurled the shoes at the Bully Boy.

Bully Boy and Puppet

One minute Bully Boy and puppet Nouri al-Maliki were grinning, the next minute shoes were flying. Bully boy had just got off this lie, "The war is not yet over -- but with the conclusion of these agreements and the courage of the Iraqi people and the Iraqi troops and American troops and civilian personnel, it is decisively on its way to being won." And the shoes were flying.

Muntader al-Zaidi threw both of his shoes, one after the other, while declaring, "This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is the farewell kiss, you dog" and "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." And that was December 14. Over a month later and what's happened?

Timothy Williams's "Family and Lawyer Fear for Reporter Who Threw His Shoes at Bush" (New York Times) reports that his family and attorneys aren't allowed to see him (the December 21st visit -- hailed in the press at the time as the first visit -- remains the only visit), do not know where he is held and do not know if or when Muntader will see justice but his family fears never and fears for his life. Attorney Dhiyaa al-Saadi explains that there is documentation of the torture Muntader has experienced while imprisoned ("two medical reports conducted by government physicians within a week of Mr. Zaidi's arrest described brusing that coverd the reporter's face and body, but was especially sever on his legs and arms; a missing tooth; a gash on the bridge of his nose; and what appeared to be a burn mark on his ear").

al-Maliki's legal adviser Fadhil Mohammed Jawad tells Williams (apparently for the laugh factor) that, "Judicially, Iraq is just and the law will handle this case with justice." Yeah, that is funny. (For a recent look at Iraqi 'justice,' see this article by Ned Parker.) The family is refused visitation and even the New York Times can't figure out where Muntader is being held despite High Judicial Council spokesperson Adbudl Satta al-Biriqday telling the paper that Muntader was at a specific prison "in the Green Zone, operated by the Baghdad Brigade, a military unit that answeres to the prime minister's office." Attempts to visit as al-Biriqday said was possible?

But during a recent visit to the complex, an Iraqi Army guard told a reporter who requested a visit to leave immediately. The guard also said it was "dangerous" to seek to meet Mr. Zaidi.
The soldier who did not identify himself, said he did not know whether Mr. Zaidi was being held there.
On Thursday, an e-mail message sent to Mr. Maliki requesting a visit with Mr. Zaidi received no reply.

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the new york times

the los angeles times
ned parker