Saturday, September 05, 2009

Chalabi's secretary connected to League of Rightous

U.S. authorities detained a top aide to former Iraqi exile leader and Bush administration ally Ahmad Chalabi last year and accused him of helping Iranian-backed militants kidnap and kill American and British soldiers and contractors.
The aide, Ali Feisal al Lami, said he was quizzed about Iranian agents, senior Shiite Muslim politicians and deadly bombings. Then, Lami said, he asked his American interrogator: Have you ever been to the White House?
"He said, 'No,' " Lami told McClatchy. "I told him, 'Well, I have.' "
Lami said he'd visited the White House with Chalabi in November 2005 and met with a senior administration Mideast expert. By August 2008, however, when Lami was arrested at the Baghdad airport, the U.S. command considered him a dangerous man with links to Shiite terrorist groups and the Iranian intelligence apparatus.

The above is the opening to Hannah Allem's "Chalabi aide: I went from White House to secret U.S. prisoner" (McClatchy Newspapers) and in the article it states the League of Rightous (that's the group Lami was connected to and Eli Like reported on that last week) is suspected of kiling 5 US soldiers and kidnapping 5 British citizens. The League of Rightous has claimed credit/responsiblity for those actions. It's a little late in the game, years late, to suddenly toss around 'suspect.'

Reading the article with both feet on planet earth should convey why the US never should have installed exiles into the government. Ba'athists 'bad' and Lami heads a committee to keep them out. But the League of Rightous? Lami is convinced they can be brought into the process.

Allem sketches out the splinter group (League of Rightous) from Moqtada al-Sadr's actions and Lami's bragging that his connections to al-Sadr allowed him to work to free two kidnapped journalists held by one of al-Sadr's many groups apparently.

Which two journalists? That would be worth knowing.

Lami's imprisonment was noted by Eli Lake two weeks ago. This article just allows Lami to play drama queen. Best example, those mean, mean Americans tricked him by telling him Chalabi was dead. He cried, he says, for three days. Is he your boss or your lover? Three days is a bit excessive. He's hooded when he's transported. Other than that, his allegations do not rise to the level of torture. He mentions no physical abuse and, except for some lying, no mental tricks were used (and nothing resembling mental abuse is alleged by him in the article). A different article at McClatchy is a recounting of his imprisonment and it offers this:

He was filthy and couldn't wash himself in the ablutions necessary before Muslims pray. Without a toothbrush for so long, Lami said, his lower gums gradually separated from his teeth and he often woke up with blood in his mouth.

That's mistreatment. It could be abuse. Especially if he was denied medical treatment. However, he claims psychological abuse and there's not any in either article.

We've covered here many times that if someone says, "I wish you were dead," that's not a threat. Unless they're rubbing Aladin's lamp, it's not a threat. By the same token, when they displayed photos of Lami's family and asked him which one would die first at the hands of Ba'athists he'd wronged since he was in prison and not outside to protect them?

That's not them threatening.

And Ba'athists do have a reason to loathe Lami.

We do learn that, while in prison, he and Qais Khazali slobbered one another with kisses. Qais is the leader of the League of Rightous. After their kiss-kiss greeting, Lami relates:

"I asked him, 'So, Sheikh Qais, which is better: your military way or my political way?"
"He said, 'It's all the same. We're both in prison,' " Lami said. "He was right and I was wrong."

Eli Lake's "EXCLUSIVE: Iraqi official's top aide linked to Shi'ite terrorists" (Washington Times) opened:

The U.S. military authorized the arrest and interrogation last year of a top aide to Ahmed Chalabi on suspicion that the aide served as a liaison to a Shi'ite group thought responsible for the 2007 execution-style slayings of five U.S. Marines and other violence against foreigners and Iraqis, U.S. officials and the aide say.
The group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or the League of the Righteous, also has been implicated in the kidnappings and slayings of four British contractors in 2007. The British government is negotiating for the release of a fifth abductee, Peter Moore.

The paper's Barbara Slavin spoke of that article on the August 28th broadcast of NPR's The Diane Rehm Show:

Yeah, well, the twists and turns involving Ahmed Chalabi are just incredible. This is the guy, to remind people, who led Iraqi exiles after the Gulf War, who lobbied so hard to overthrow Saddam Hussein, who presented information to the media about alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction that didn't turn out to actually exist in Iraq once the US got there and he also, throughout this time, had maintained good relations with Iran -- which makes sense if you're an Iraqi Shia, since Iran is the neighbor and the biggest Shi'ite country. And what we have now is more evidence that his connection with the Iranians are closer perhaps than we even thought. The Washington Times has a front page story today about the arrest of a top aide to Chalabi on charges that he was a liason to an Iraqi Shi'ite militant group called the League of the Righteous which, among other things, is believed responsible for the execution-style murder of five US marines in 2007. And Chalabi, of course, denies it, the aide denise it, but, uh, senior US military officials say that, indeed, Chalabi's links and the links to this group are-are documented and that Chalabi has been playing both sides of the fence.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad sticky bombing which injured one person, a second one which wounded five people (two Iraqi soliders), a Baquba roadside bombing which left one woman wounded, a Baquba sticky bombing which claimed 1 life (the driver), and, dropping back to Friday, Turkish military bombed Erbil "without causing any casualties." Reuters drops back to Friday to note a Mosul roadside bombing which wounded two people and a second one which claimed 3 lives and left three people injured.

Reuters notes 1 person shot dead Friday in Mosul.

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "When Will Obama See Afghanistan's Daughters As His Own?" (YubaNet):

The war in Afghanistan today hangs like some cloud of poison gas over Washington that won't blow away. It sickens everything as it spreads. It continues to suck precious tax dollars out of the Treasury, money this country cannot afford to squander, especially as millions of Americans are sinking into poverty and joblessness exceeds ten percent. Writing in USA Today last March 10th, Susan Page reported, "In one year, 24 million slide from 'thriving' to 'struggling' and "Some fear that the American dream may be in peril as well." Worse, the U.S. is turning poverty-plagued Afghanistan, a long-suffering nation of 25 million souls into another Iraq, perhaps even another Viet Nam. Afghanistan has already been under U.S. assault for eight years and President Obama's top military advisers are telling him it will take many more years to achieve "victory," a term having utterly no meaning for skyrocketing numbers of dead and dismembered civilians.
U.S. troops dispatched to "build long-term stability" in Afghanistan (the phrase was uttered by Obama accomplice British Prime Minister Gordon Brown) went from 5,200 in 2002 to 62,000 currently while the cost has shot up from $21 billion to $60 billion a year in that period for a grand total of $228 billion---dollars that could have been far better spent in America, on Americans, for Americans. And dispatching more troops means dispatching more targets. "Deaths from bombings soaring," the Miami Herald reported last August 12th. IED explosions soared to 828 in July, more than twice as many as in the previous July and the highest level since the war began. U.S. casualties are at record highs. This is the road to "victory"?
Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, calls the Afghan crisis "serious and deteriorating" as U.S. casualties hit new highs. The Pentagon throws crack Marine fighters at the Taliban in southern Helmand province yet they are not enough. General Stanley McChrystal may shortly have to ask to increase his forces by nearly half. Worse, President Obama has escalated the fighting into Pakistan, where the Pakistani Taliban control areas close to the capital of Islamabad, and where the fighting has created two million refugees. Congratulations to the White House and Congress: America is now at war in three Middle Eastern nations, on behalf of governments in all three that are weak, unpopular, and corrupt. Who would have thunk it? And even though McChrystal says "the most important thing is to not hurt the Afghan people", Obama is escalating, not withdrawing, and children just like his own daughters are being carted to the cemeteries.
Even conservative columnist Pat Buchanan asks, "What is so vital to us in that wilderness land worth another eight years of fighting, bleeding and dying, other than averting the humiliation of another American defeat?" Buchanan rightly adds, "And if Obama yet believes this is a war of necessity we cannot lose, and he must soldier on, his decision will sunder his party and country, and put at risk his presidency." George Will, another conservative columnist, wants to continue the war but by doing "only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters." He wants land forces out. Apart from the smug arrogance with which Will dismisses Afghanistan as a no-account nation (!), this theep dinker's strategy of bombarding from untouchable bases at sea will only inspire fresh hatred against the U.S. Afghani rage is white hot because the Pentagon attacks with unmanned drones and Afghanis regard this method of warfare as "unfair" and unmanly. Reuters reported that in Farah province the district leader lamented an air attack in Bala Boluk that killed 108 civilians. Does Obama really believe he is doing the Afghans a favor?
Americans need to recognize that violence only begets violence, that attacks only beget more attacks, and that each round of reprisals gets ever deadlier. Also, there would be no war today if U.S. meddling hadn’t jump-started Osama bin Laden. "(President) Clinton's bombing of Sudan and Afghanistan in 1998 effectively created Al Qaeda, both as a known entity in the intelligence world and also in the Muslim world," philosopher Noam Chomsky is quoted as saying in "Imperial Ambitions"(Metropolitan Books) by David Barsamian. "In fact, the bombings created Osama bin Laden as a major symbol, led to a very sharp increase in recruitment and financing for Al Qaeda-style networks, and tightened relations between bin Laden and the Taliban, which previously had been quite hostile to him." The U.S. is by no means innocent in bringing war and misery to this country.

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