Monday, February 16, 2009

Provincial election fraud

Iraqi election officials said Sunday that some fraud was committed in virtually every province during local elections Jan. 31 but that it was not widespread enough in any of them to require a new vote.
"We have received complaints over violations in all 14 provinces, with varying degrees of seriousness, but most of them were not critical and did not change the final results," said Kareem al-Tamimi, a member of Iraq's national electoral commission. "Some of the provinces had more than others."

The above is from K.I. Ibrahim's "Fraud Committed in Iraqi Election" (Washington Post) and what's a better sign of emerging 'democracy' than widespread election fraud? (That was sarcasm.) Gulf Daily News notes, "Iraqi officials nullified election results in more than 30 polling stations due to fraud in last month's provincial balloting, but the cases were not significant enough to require a new vote in any province, the election chief said yesterday." Ibrahim says final results are announced Tuesday and take a moment to grasp all the spinning that has gone on since January 31st and that only now will the results be official. Yesterday, Leila Fadel (McClatchy's Baghdad Observer) reported, "The Independent High Electoral Commission has announced and then canceled a series of press conferences. Today they nullified 30 ballot boxes after finding fraud, most in the province of Anbar where tribal sheikhs accused the incumbent Sunni party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, of vote rigging. "

And remember what Thomas E. Ricks, new book The Gamble, told John Dickerson (Slate magazine) about the elections Friday on CBS News' Washington Unplugged (click here for just the Ricks' segment):

The elections the other day? Yeah. Remember the elections a couple of years ago, purple fingers, people coming out? Followed by a civil war. So I think there are a lot of reasons that Iraq '09 is going to be very tough and in fact harder than the last year of Bush's war. And I think there's a good chance that Obama's war in Iraq will last longer than Bush's war.

For those who are unable to stream or who would require closed caption to enjoy the stream, Ava and I include an excerpt in "TV: Blustering Boys" and we'll have a full transcript of the interview in Hilda's Mix Tuesday. Also tomorrow in the newsletter, Hilda's reviewing the White House website on accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing -- this is the new website and she's doing compare and contrast with the previous version. So be sure to check your inboxes.

Ivan Watson (CNN) reported Saturday that Jalal Talabani, the President of Iraq, has seen five members of his political party tender their resignations: "Kurdish members of the Iraqi Parliament say the resignations threaten the delicate balance of power in Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq. It has been the most stable part of the country since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion."

Thursday the Kurdistan Regional Goverment noted:

KRG hosts annual Kurd Galas in Scandinavia

Stockholm, Sweden ( – The Kurdistan Regional Government last month held its annual Kurd Galas in Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen to honour Kurdistan's friends abroad and celebrate the achievements of Kurds in Scandinavia.

At the three galas held in late January, Mr Taha Barwary, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Sports and Youth, welcomed government officials, MPs, diplomats, and Swedish and Kurdish youth associations.

Mr Barwary said, “We are proud that Kurdistan has such friends in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Your support has helped to highlight Kurdish issues and improve the lives of Kurds both at home and in the Diaspora." He added, "We are also here to honour Kurds who have shown by example how we can contribute positively as members of Swedish society.”

The ceremonies recognised individuals' and organisations' achievements in three categories: the Friend of the Kurds Honorary award, the Friend of the Kurds, and the Kurd of the Year. Kurdish and Swedish comedians, singers and performers entertained the audience.

Among the recipients of awards were:

In Sweden: Mr Thomas Hammarberg for his many years of support for the Kurds; Qandil, the Swedish NGO, for its reconstruction and water projects in Kurdistan since 1992; and Kurdish football team Dalkurd FF which has broken records in the Swedish leagues.

In Norway: Mrs Wenche Larsen, co-founder of the NGO Kurdish Solidarity; Mr Erling Folkvord, a former Red Party MP who has authored books on and supported Kurdish issues for many years; and Mr Haci Akman for helping to establish a Kurdish museum in the city of Bergen.

In Denmark: Mr Holger K. Nielsen, former Leader of the Socialist Party in Denmark (SF), for his dedication to the Kurdish question; Mr Klaus Slavensky of the Danish Institute for Human Rights for helping to improve Kurdish people's lives; and Mr Kameran Brahimi, founder of the TV channel Kurdantv in Copenhagen.

Photos of the Swedish gala

Photos of the Danish gala

Click here to read more about the Kurd Galas.

While Iraq's Foreign Ministry announced:

Iraq Participates in Multi-Cultural Festival Held in Canberra
Iraq participated in a multi-cultural festival held in the Australian capital, Canberra for the period from 6-17/2/2009, through a series of art activities that reflect the history of Iraq and all of its sects and religions and civilizations.
The organizing committee of the festival specified a special day for Arab countries, and provided each with a pavilion. The Iraqi pavilion attracted a great deal of Australian citizens who wish to be familiar with Iraq's history and heritage. The Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Canberra provided a brochure for this event.

Next month an action takes place and we've been noting it and trying to include all organizations that are participating. So we've noted that Iraq Veterans Against the War and A.N.S.W.E.R. and Pentagon March are participating. World Can't Wait is as well and the following is their press release on the March action:

Sign the "Letter to the Anti-War Movement"

U.S. Out of Iraq & Afghanistan!

No Wars on Iran,Pakistan,Gaza!

The world can't wait!
Come OUT to the first national protest of the wars under President Obama
THURSDAY March 19 leave work & school to PROTEST the 6th anniversary of the Iraq War.
SATURDAY March 21 at the Pentagon.

Barack Obama says he will:
  • leave 80,000 troops, thousands of private contractors, and 17 permanent bases in Iraq ;
  • send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan , leading to more killings of civilians;
  • keep sending robot drones over Pakistan , killing more civilians;
  • deploy nuclear carriers with enough firepower to annihilate any country in the Mid East;
  • support the Israeli siege on Gaza ;
  • keep the “secret rendition” program which Bush used to torture detainees;
  • keep the government spying on citizens and continue Bush’s “state secrets” justification;
  • increase the U.S. militaryby 92,000 troops, sending more to die for empire;
  • refuse to investigate & prosecute the war & torture crimes of the Bush regime.
The election of the first Black president is effectively re-branding preemptive and illegal wars of aggression to make us feel good about them, enlisting us to “serve and sacrifice” for horrors we have no good reason to support.
The U.S. war on Afghanistan is an unjust war of aggression—the supreme war crime,waged not to bring democracy and liberation to the Afghan people, but to control Afghanistan with the goal of permanent domination of the Middle East.
But, we don’t have to go along! It’s immoral to “wait and see” or hope for the best from Obama.
If you care about humanity, get in the streets to send a message to the world that there are millions of us who don’t want these crimes carried out.
It’s time now to take action & make our demands visible everywhere.
Find actions or organize one at (Veterans speaking at high schools to resist military recruiting)
The World Can't Wait 866 973 4463 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more, you can click here for the text of pamphlet they are distributing to promote the event and you can visit World Can't Wait at any time for reality based commentary as opposed to the nonsense found at so many other left and 'left' sites.

Meanwhile Xinhau reports, "Iraq discovered two mass graves containing a total of 15 decomposed bodies in areas north and northeast of Baghdad, security sources said Sunday. he remains of about 10 bodies, believed to date back about two years ago, were found on Saturday in the area of Taji, some 30 km north of Baghdad, army spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari said in a statement released on Sunday." And the Japan Times reports, "Japan's five-year-long operation to aid in the reconstruction of Iraq came to a formal conclusion Sunday with a ceremony commemorating the return of personnel from Kuwait to the Air Self-Defense Force base in Aichi Prefecture."

Bonnie reminds that Kat's review of Schuyler Fisk's debut album, "Kat's Korner: Download The Good Stuff," went up yesterday as did Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Rose Ceremony."

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