Tuesday, October 20, 2009

NYT's latest unsourced claim and that unpassed election law

In this morning's New York Times, Timothy Williams and Riyadh Mohammed tell quite a tale in "Iraqi Campus Is Under Gang's Sway." Their spun gold flakes off; however, when one grasps that they never reported the closing of Mustansiriya University until now and that, unlike other outlets which did report the closure, it's spun in Nouri's favor -- a hallmark of the New York Times.

It's amazing how charges are presented but none are verified. Are we not supposed to notice that? Here's what I notice: The paper that didn't give a ____ damn about the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer (not when it happened, not during the Article 32 hearing, not during all of the military trials and not until after a verdict was reached in Steven D. Green's civilian trial) wants to act alarmed by the issue of rape. Nearly seven years into the illegal war and the New York Times finally discovers rape in Iraq? And we're not supposed to raise an eyebrow?

We're told that Abdullah al-Bayati, a college professor, was beaten. Where's the backup for that claim? If it's true (and it may be), there should be no problem backing it up. And, no, telling us that, wounds a-gushing, he dashed off to see Nouri is not "proof."

Tell me what college professor in the US could claim to have been beat some time ago, offer no proof and get such fawning press?

It's a fanciful tale and it may even be a true one. But nothing in what the paper considers 'reporting' backs up any of the claims -- claims which are presented as facts. And, honestly, this late in the game, they don't really believe readers think they roam Baghdad freely, do they? Times reporters in the Green Zone are a lot like veal.

Yesterday the Iraqi Parliament decided to put off voting on the election law. Anthony Shadid and Nada Bakri (Washington Post) explain, "Lawmakers resumed negotiations into the evening, as U.N. officials and representatives of the American Embassy lingered on the sidelines. As each hour passed, confidence receded that any quick compromise would cut through a Gordian knot of issues as arcane as the number of seats in a new parliament and the way an election would be organized in Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq contested by Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens." Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) adds:

At issue is the question of whether all the current residents of Kirkuk should be eligible to vote. In recent years, thousands of Kurds have moved into the area from Kurdistan, supposedly to reverse the Arabization policies of Saddam Hussein, who expelled Kurds and settled Arabs there.
But Arabs and Turkomans say the Kurdish influx has far exceeded the expulsion of Kurds during the Hussein era and that special measures needed to be taken to avoid the Kurds having an unfair advantage in Kirkuk.
Various proposals have been mooted, including one suggested by the U.N. that would pre-assign the province's 13 seats to Kurdish, Arab and Turkoman candidates. Another proposal suggests dividing Kirkuk into regions in such a way as to guarantee representation to Turkomans and Arabs as well as Kurds.

Oliver August (Times of London) observes, "The Iraqi parliament has failed repeatedly to pass a new election law because of arguments over whether ballot papers should give the names of candidates, or of parties only. MPs are now talking about delaying the election, planned for January 16." Meanwhile, the Telegraph of London quotes the top US commander Gen Ray Odierno on the developments:

"It's clear that al-Qaeda and other groups do not want the elections to occur," he said. "What I think they will try to do is discourage people from voting by undermining the authority of the government of Iraq with attacks, so that people lose faith in the democratic process.
"If the parliament doesn't pass the election law and they delay the elections, that violates their own constitution, which says they have to have elections in January."

Like Kat, I've been asked to note the following:

An Evening with Janis Ian

Thursday, October 22, 2009

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Click Graphic to Purchase Tickets

Back to Calendar
An Evening with Janis Ian
Thursday, October 22, 2009
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Click Graphic to Purchase Tickets

Janis Ian live is a great concert. She really delivers a show. If you've never seen her in concert, you're missing out. The concert is this Thursday.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

timothy williams
the new york times

liz sly