Wednesday, June 17, 2009

House caves, Nouri lies to Le Monde

The US military announced: "Multi-National Division – North CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, TIKRIT, Iraq – A Multi-National Division – North Soldier died as a result of a non-combat related incident in the Ninewa province of northern Iraq June 16. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the website no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member’s primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings the total number of US service members killed in the Iraq War to 4314.

Last night the Democratically controlled US House of Representatives passed the War Supplemental. 226 members (221 Democrats, 5 Republicans) voted for it, 202 members (32 Democrats, 170 Republicans) voted against it. (Six members did not vote, three Dems, three Republicans.)

Perry Bacon Jr. (Washington Post) notes that Anthony Weiner caved and broke down like a do-nothing piece of trash despite claiming he wouldn't vote for it. He is quoting saying it "sucks." Yes, and this week so does Tony. Bacon notes:

The 226 to 202 vote came after Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner implored some reluctant Democrats during the day to back the bill, and after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had strongly pressed her colleagues in a closed-door meeting to vote for the bill. In the end, 221 Democrats voted yes, and 32 voted no.

Janet Hook (Los Angeles Times) also notes the pressure, "Administration officials and Democratic leaders intensely lobbied holdouts among the Democratic ranks in advance of the House vote. The result was close because only five Republicans supported the bill and 32 antiwar Democrats opposed it." Hook quotes cowardly George Miller who voted for it after it opposing it last month. The coward insists, "I'm against the war." Tell it to someone who needs your pretty lies, only pretty lies, pretty lies.

[Nod to Joni and "The Last Time I Saw Richard.']

Paul West (Baltimore Sun) notes two Reps who stood against the War Supplemental:

Conservative Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Frederick and liberal Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards of Prince Georges County--the ideological bookends of the state's congressional delegation--were the only Marylanders to vote against a $106 billion measure to insure continued military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The measure was approved relatively narrowly this evening, by a vote of 226 to 202. House leaders scrambled to persuade reluctant Democrats to support it, after Republicans defected en masse.
Edwards' "no" vote was consistent with her earlier opposition to the measure when it came before the House several weeks ago. Elected as an antiwar candidate, Edwards has been an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama's policy in Afghanistan.

David Lightman (McClatchy's Miami Herald) notes two of the strongest voices:

"I don't vote to fund the troops in these situations, ever," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., a co-chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus.
"How do we support the troops? We support them by bringing them home. That's what we should be appropriating money for, not to keep them there," added Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio.

And as Mike did last night, we'll note this from Dennis Kucinich's office:

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement against the war supplemental on the House floor:
"We are destroying our nation’s moral and fiscal integrity with this war supplemental. Instead of ending wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan now by appropriating only enough money to bring our troops home, Congress abdicates its constitutional authority, defers to the president, and asks for a report. That's right, all we are asking for is a report on when the president will end the war. "There is also money for the IMF, presumably to bail out private European banks. Billions for the IMF so they can force low and middle income nations to cut jobs, wages, health care and retirement security, just like corporate America does to our constituents.
"And there's money to incentivize the purchase of more cars, not necessarily from U.S. manufacturers because a 'Buy America' mandate was not allowed.
"Another $106 billion dollars and all we get is a lousy war. Pretty soon that is going to be about the only thing made in America -- war.

Susan Carroll (Houston Chronicle) covers Iraqi refugees here.

Meanwhile the New York Times runs no article by staff in Iraq but manages to run this AP report. Hairth al-Obeidi (also spelled Obaidi) was assasinated Friday, less than 24 hours after calling for an investigation into reports of abuse and torture in Iraqi prisons. A prison in Baghdad controlled by the Ministry of the Interior was 'toured' yesterday where prisoners are on a hunger strike. Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani, AP reports, assured that 40 'bad apples' at the prison will be fired.

Related, Amnesty International issues the following:


Public Statement

MDE 14/016/2009

Date: 16 June 2009

Iraq: Amnesty International calls for an independent investigation into the assassination of Dr Hareth al-'Ubaidi

In a letter sent to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamil al-Maliki, Amnesty International has expressed grave concern at the killing of Dr Hareth al-'Ubaidi, Vice-President of the Human Right Committee of the Iraqi parliament, and requested urgent clarification as to what steps the government has undertaken to investigate the murder. The organization has also called for an independent investigation into reports of torture of detainees in a prison in the city of al-Diwaniyah.

Dr al-'Ubaidi, who also headed the Sunni Accord Bloc in parliament, was shot dead at the end of Friday prayers on 12 June 2009 at al-Shawwaf Mosque in the Baghdad district of al-Yarmuk. After firing at Dr Hareth al-'Ubaidi with a pistol the killer is reported to have thrown a hand grenade at other prayer attendees, killing five people and injuring 12 others, before he was shot and killed by police.

A number of Iraqi parliamentarians have since denounced the killing and attributed Dr Hareth al-'Ubaidi's murder to his human rights work, especially his recent exposure of cases of torture, including rape, of detainees following a visit he undertook a few weeks ago to a women's prison in al-Kadhmiya in Baghdad. Dr al-'Ubaidi told the media that several women detained at the prison told him that they had been raped during interrogation.

Further evidence of torture of detainees is reported to have been brought to light by a human rights body affiliated to al-Diwaniyah Governorate, which has accused the security authorities of torturing detainees during interrogation in order to extract "confessions". Investigators from the Interior Ministry are reported to have identified bruising on 10 of the 170 prisoners in al-Diwaniyah Prison that may have been caused by torture or other ill-treatment.

In its letter, Amnesty International has requested prompt clarification of the steps being taken by the Iraqi authorities to investigate the attack on Dr al-'Ubaidi and other worshippers at al-Shawwaf Mosque, which it strongly condemns, and to establish whether it was perpetrated by a gunman acting alone or with the active assistance of others. Further, the organization has requested prompt clarification of the steps being taken by the Iraqi authorities to investigate the allegations of torture cited above and to bring to justice those responsible for such abuses. In accordance with Iraq's obligations under international human rights law, including the UN Torture Convention (CAT), such investigations should be independent, impartial and conducted and completed without delay. The outcome should be made public and anyone found responsible should be brought to justice through fair trial procedures and without recourse to the death penalty.

The organization has called on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that all detainees have access to regular medical care, families, lawyers of their own choosing and the right to challenge the legality of their detention. In addition, all persons in custody should either promptly charged with recognizable criminal offences and trial in accordance with international standards of fair trial, or released.

Public Document

For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 or email:

International Secretariat, Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW, UK

Le Monde offers a Q & A with Nouri al-Maliki entitled "Les Arabes doivent prendre Obama au sérieux." Some highlights.

* al-Maliki maintains US and Iraqi relations are "good" and must continue to have mutual respect and non-interference. (No, the US and Iraq relationship has never had either.)

* Claims Iraqi sovereignty is restored and, with it, civil order which allows his (puppet) government to now rule.

* Cites Iran in a manner that's alarming -- the US State Dept might want to check out the interview. I'll leave it for others to read and do their own translation. I'm referring to this section:

Je vais le voir aujourd'hui justement. C'est un grand marja (guide spirituel digne d'être "imité" dans la tradition chiite) et un sage. Cet homme a une vision vraiment pénétrante. Il n'intervient absolument pas dans les affaires de notre Etat. Il ne croit d'ailleurs pas au "gouvernement des clercs" (la velayat al-faqih, doctrine de l'ayatollah Khomeiny, le guide spirituel de la révolution islamique de 1979, décédé en 1989). Jamais il ne m'a dit, "faites ceci ou faites cela". Au contraire il me répète : "L'Etat, c'est votre affaire". Il se contente de donner son avis et, la plupart du temps, celui-ci est juste et fondé.

But it's not surprising. Nouri ran to Iran and lived there for years. And years.

On the Iranian group of rebels or terrorists (considered terrorists by Iran), the ones Saddam welcomed in Iraq and the ones the US military has protected since 2003, Nouri declares that they killed Iranians (at least 12,000) in Iran and that they killed Kurds and Shi'ites once Saddam let them into Iraq. He states that no country will take them but they must leave Iraq. They have no place in Iraq, he insists, but Iraq will not turn them over to Iran.

Claims Iraq will have a national identity and not a Shi'ite one or Kurdish one or Sunni one. On the Sahwa ("Awakening" Councils, "Sons Of Iraq"), Nouri states he was lied to.

Nouri states the United States lied to him.

Nouri states that he asked the US how many Sahwa there were and he was told only 53,000. At which point, he says, he agreed to integrate them into Iraqi forces and asked only for lists. When the lists finally arrived (he says six weeks after being requested), there weren't 53,000 names there were 107,000. He gets a snide remark about the US military officers not being very selective. He compares it to the Iraqi police of 2003-2004 which he claims were actually members of al Qaeda in Iraq or militias and argues he had to fire 30,000 such people as a result (fire from the police).

He states only 20% of Sahwa will be integrated into Iraqi forces. He states many broke the laws and those who did are going to the courts. Everyone, he maintains, cannot be integrated.

There's more to the interview and we may link to Watching America if they offer a full translation. It is a major interview and it's surprising that the New York Times and other outlets aren't noting it. Nouri lies throughout and, on the point of Sahwa, he knew it was more than 50,000. The US Congress, in April of 2008, was making a very big deal about the huge number -- approximately 100,000 -- and Nouri was following those hearings (Petraeus and Crocker) and he was also given a briefing on them by then US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker.

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