That's the opening paragraph of Rod Nordland's "Iraqi Group Renounces Violence" (New York Times) and, despite the headline, they didn't renounce violence. Despite the first paragraph claim by Nordland, they didn't renounce violence. In the fifth paragraph, Nordland slips in "the group has not renounced fighting the Americans" and quotes their spokesperson Salam al-Maliki declaring, "We are only fighting the United States." Then, point of fact, they're fighting the puppet government.
Not just because Nouri's propped up by the presence of US service members but also because of the various security agreements between the US and Iraq -- more than just the SOFA.
So everybody needs to grasp what happened -- it's apparently beyond the New York Times and Rod Nordland. The US has recognized their installed government as a legitimate one and have entered into various contracts with it. Nouri signed off on those. And now Nouri's welocming into the process the League of Righteous who have not renounced violence against the US and who maintain they will continue violence against the US.
Nouri's getting how many US dollars? He just attempted to be feted in the US on his for-show trip. And he's bringing in a group, he's normalizing relations with a group, that's vowed violence against the US?
This is an outrage and they can try to pretty it up any way they want but pretty won't play here.
This is not a group claiming that they want to be back in the political process and who is renouncing violence. This is a group who is publicly stating they will continue to attack the US military. There's no 'past tense' to their statements.
This is an outrage.
And it's outrageous that the paper wants to mention the five British hostages and name the only one considered to possibly still be alive; however, they refuse to name the five US soldiers killed. From the June 9th snapshot:
This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."
Nordland reduces the trade noted above to a single sentence and then goes on to write of rumors of other releases. He never gets to the point.
Of the five British hostages, only Peter Moore is thought to have a chance at still being alive. I'm not in the mood to play like I'm four f**king years old here. Peter Moore's not been found. Why is there an idea that he's alive? You kidnap five people and two are known to be dead, two more are thought to be dead, why do you keep one alive? If I'm the kidnapper and I'm kiling four or four are dying on me, you better believe I'm killing five.
And I hope Petere Moore's alive. Hopefully Alec Maclachlan and Alan McMenemy are still alive as well. (The British government presumes they are dead.) And the only deaths were Jason Creswell and Jason Swindlehurst -- whose deaths are sad enough.
But it's really past time, after over two years of a kidnapping, for some reality to enter the picture. And it's a good guess that if four people who were kidnapped died, the fifth did as well. If you're the kidnapper, you're not going to hold on to just that one. What's the point? Most governments wouldn't make deals with you if they found out 4/5 of the people you kidnapped were dead. The British government screwed this up from the beginning and the families should not have been silenced, they should have been encouraged to speak out from day one, to name their loved ones who were missing. That's basic in any damn kidnapping. You want the kidnapper to not be able to divorce the victim from the world he or she lives in. You want the kidnapper to grasp that the victim has loved ones. That's why you get the families out in front of the media. It's personalizes the victim. Not for the public or the press, that's not the concern. The concern is the kidnapper(s). You want them to be confronted with a person. You want them to be confronted with a life. So they think twice about harming, in the hopes that they grasp their actions do not exist in the abstract.
Hopefully Peter and Alec and Alan are alive. But with the British government considering the Alec and Alan dead and knowing that the two Jasons are, it's very unlikely that Peter Moore is. And people need to start preparing for that. I'm not speaking of Moore's family. I haven't written anything they're not already aware of. I'm referring to press and government officials who appear to think they can defuse public outrage by stringing along the remote possibility (but still a possibility) that Peter Moore is alive.
The public should be outraged and the British government needs to answer for their actions -- especially for insisting the families stay silent which was the biggest mistake in the world. The videos made by the kidnappers? They were made to reach someone. Why else make them? Without a public and continued response to those videos, the message was being sent that 'Eh, who cares.' The British government needs to explain their 'thinking' on that because they did not go by the books, they ignored the basic MO and everything known about kidnappings.
And this 'We think Peter Moore is alive' from them (British government) plays more and more like "We screwed up big but let's keep postponing the news so we don't face any outrage."
Two are dead, two are presumed dead and the status of the fifth is unknown. And Nouri's welcoming the Leauge of Righteous into the political process?
Oliver August (Times of London) offers the British government spin of Nouri raised Peter Moore with the group. Really? Nouri's bag boy Ali al-Dabbagh tells the New York Times, the British hostages were not discussed ("We cannot negotiate with the kidnappers" -- so why have talks with them) and the Times of New York also states Nouri "said that their status had not been discussed." Nordland can leave out a great deal (and frequently does) but he's never been busted lying intentionally.
Last week, Martin Chulov explained the Righteous League got another two of their own released from prisons. He also explained:
The group holding Peter Moore is recognised throughout the British government, as well as the Iraqi administration, as a hardline Shia Islamic body, known as the Righteous League. Over the past two years, the League has taken a lead role among the milieu of Shia militias in attacking the US military.
But late last year, the group's leaders approached the Iraqi Government seeking an active role in the post-occupation political process.
"They were told then that they cannot continue to hold hostages while wanting to be political players," a senior diplomat familiar with the negotiations said. "They said they would hand over the Britons as part of a process. They also agreed to hand over their heavy weapons."
The process the group outlined involves using the Britons as bargaining chips to trade for its members who are being held in US and Iraqi prisons. First among them is Qais al-Ghazali, who was once spokesman for the influential cleric Moqtadr al-Sadr. He was captured by the SAS north of Basra in March 2007, two months after being implicated in an ambush of an American patrol in Karbala, which killed five US soldiers.
We'll note this from Deborah Haynes' "British troops 'may not complete Iraq mission'" (Times of London):
British troops may not return to southern Iraq to finish their mission in the country, David Miliband has admitted.
In a letter to William Hague, his Tory opposite number, the Foreign Secretary remained optimistic, however, that the Iraqi parliament would ratify an agreement with Britain to allow the small but symbolic force to return and resume training the Iraqi Navy and protecting Iraq's oil platforms by the autumn.
"While there is some opposition to our agreement from a very small number of Iraqi MPs... indications we have received in recent weeks show clear majority support for our agreement," he wrote.
Which would be the smartest thing they could do. And the US should immediately withdraw from Iraq because you do not stay on the ground in a country, protecting their 'government,' when that government is legitimizing a group that publicly states it has attacked you (and claims responsibility/credit for the deaths of the 5 US soldiers) and publicly states it will continue to attack you.
The illegal war shouldn't have been started, should have already been brought to an end but Barack Obama continues it. And if he continues it after these latest incidents, he's alleged 'smartness' is not just overrated, it's non-existent.
The following community sites updated last night:
Mia notes Chris Hedges' "So Much for the Promised Land" (Information Clearing House):
LeAlan Jones, the 30-year-old Green Party candidate for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois, is as angry at injustice as he is at the African-American intellectual and political class that accommodates it. He does not buy Obama’s "post-racial" ideology or have much patience with African-American leaders who, hungry for prestige, power and money, have, in his eyes, forgotten the people they are supposed to represent. They have confused a personal ability to be heard and earn a comfortable living with justice.
"The selflessness of leaders like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Harold Washington and Medgar Evers has produced selfishness within the elite African-American leadership," Jones told me by phone from Chicago.
"This is the only thing I can do to have peace of mind," he said when I asked him why he was running for office. "I am looking at a community that is suffering because of a lack of genuine concern from their leaders. This isn’t about a contract. This isn’t about a grant. This isn’t about who gets to stand behind the political elite at a press conference. This is about who is going to stand behind the people. What these leaders talk about and what needs to happen in the community is disjointed."
Jones began his career as a boy making radio documentaries about life in Chicago's public housing projects on the South Side, including the acclaimed "Ghetto Life 101." He knows the world of which he speaks. He lives in the troubled Chicago neighborhood of Englewood, where he works as a freelance journalist and a high school football coach. He is the legal guardian of a 16-year-old nephew. And he often echoes the denunciations of black leaders by the historian Houston A. Baker Jr., who wrote "Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era."
Baker excoriates leading public intellectuals including Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Shelby Steele, Yale law professor Stephen Carter and Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter, saying they pander to the powerful. He argues they have lost touch with the reality of most African-Americans. Professor Gates' statement after his July 16 arrest that "what it made me realize was how vulnerable all black men are, how vulnerable are all poor people to capricious forces like a rogue policemen" was a stunning example of how distant from black reality many successful African-American figures like Gates have become. These elite African-American figures, Baker argues, long ago placed personal gain and career advancement over the interests of the black majority. They espouse positions that are palatable to a white audience, positions which ignore the radicalism and structural critiques of inequality by W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. And in a time when, as the poet Yusef Komunyakaa has said, "the cell block has replaced the auction block," they do not express the rage, frustration and despair of the black underclass.
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