Tuesday, December 22, 2009

They keep saying it had nothing to do with oil . . .

Alsumaria reports, "Iraqi Foreign Minister Hosheyar Zebari affirmed that Al Fakka oil well crisis has been resolved with Iran." As usual, one idiot for a British publication can't grasp the facts. Now it can be argued that the facts are fluid regarding this item filled with you-invaded-no-we-didn't! but no one's a bigger idiot than ____ who writes like a paid lobbyist for Nouri al-Maliki. (No, I'm not referring to Patrick Cockburn. He writes out of love, not for money.) Reuters reports that Iran continues to insist the entire thing was a "misunderstanding" which may or may not be an upgrade from "it never happened!" Chicago Tribune, clipping furiously from wire services, insists that Iraq has defended and reclaimed the oil field. Of course, they also insist Shell's oil contract has to "be approved by Iraq's Cabinet" and that's not based on any law. The law is that it must be approved by Parliament. So don't take the Chicago Tribune too seriously (the whole world would be better off to follow that advice on every news item). Yee Kai Pin and Gavin Evans (Bloomberg News) note that oil has risen to $73 per barrel and that: "Prices had jumped after Iranian troops occupied an oil field in a disputed border region with Iraq. The troops withdrew from the al-Fakah well in the East Maysan field late Dec. 19 after an armed confrontation, Iraq's deputy minister of oil Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi said yesterday. Separately, Iraqi television cited government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh as saying Iranian soldiers remained in Iraqi territory. "

But the Iraq War is more than a story of oil, so much more. Let's check out the other dominant thread in the news cycle: Flow. Hustle and? Oops. No, we're back to oil. Alsumaria reports Abdul Karim Al Luaibi, Iraq's Deputy Minister of Oil, is saying the pipeline attacked Saturday will be back pumping today. Fang Yang (Xinua) explains Turkey says something different (the pipeline goes to a Turkish port), that country's Energy Ministry does not say pumping resumes today, it states that it will "resume within a week". They keep saying it had nothing to do with oil but it's all the media can report on.

Violence continues today in Iraq. Reuters reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which has left two people injured, a Kirkuk bombing which has left three police officers injured, a Falluja car bombing which wounded Abdul-Hadi al-Irsan, 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Mosul, and another shot dead in a Mosul home invasion (in which his brother was wounded). In addition, AFP reports 2 Shi'ites were shot dead outside "Baquba while leaving a mosque" and they note that the Falluja bombing which injured "the head of the town's city council" also injured police Capt Mohammed Shikhan.

Monday, Eli Lake (Washington Times) reported on a new effort by the US government in Iraq:

The U.S. is reaching out to followers of a key Shi'ite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, whose militia once battled U.S. troops and who remains a powerful leader, particularly among Iraq's urban poor.
A top Sadrist political leader in Baghdad, Qusay al-Suhail, told The Washington Times that he and his colleagues have been approached five times in the last five months by emissaries seeking to arrange meetings with senior U.S. military and civilian officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
"Yes, the Americans tried to talk to me and other Sadrists several times," Mr. al-Suhail said. "They try to talk to us as individuals, but we made it clear that there is no use to talking to us when you are an occupying power."

From Veterans For Peace, we'll note the following:

Ellen was sentenced to 18 months of probation, 75 days in jail, all but 25 suspended. This means she began serving her 25 days today. Should she be arrested within the next 18 months, or violate terms of her probation (which includes a stay away from the entire Capitol complex), she will be hauled before Judge Liebovitz who pledged to give her the other 50 days. > Read the original action story

Write to Ellen while she serves her sentence:

Ellen Barfield, DCDC #325-704
DC Jail/Correctional Treatment Facility
1901 E Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

This is Ellen's statement to Judge Liebovitz:

Good morning, your Honor.

It is a part of nonviolence training to calmly face whatever the system feels it needs to do to the nonviolent activist who has challenged injustice. Nonviolence training is an important part of being a peace and justice activist, and in my over 20 years of activism I have participated in many trainings and group discussions on how to resist violence, both in society and in oneself. I do not believe in violence of any kind, a conviction, ironically enough, I began forming when I was serving as an armed potential purveyor of violence as a soldier in the Army.

The subject of the hearing where my colleagues and I briefly spoke out was the possible diversion of just a little bit of the enormous sums being spent on killing and destruction to the human needs of the Afghan people. We doubted that would happen, and we are now saddened to hear about nothing but troop escalation and drone bombings killing Afghan and Pakistani families. Just a few days ago the director of Care International's Afghan effort decried the militarization of the small amount of humanitarian aid available, less than 10% of that spent on the military. Aid is being distributed for military counterinsurgency purposes. When soldiers and aid workers together visit a village, the aid workers are distrusted and the village becomes less safe because soldiers were seen there.

I have loved ones caught up in combat overseas right now. I must speak out in opposition to the immoral, unjust, anti-social wars our nation has been waging for so many years. I must urge my loved ones and my neighbors to refuse the command to hate and kill Afghans and Iraqis. I refuse to hate the enemies our government has designated, and I refuse to hate people with whom I disagree. But silence is the voice of complicity, and I cannot be complicit with our government's warmaking.

Yesterday's snapshot contained this: "The March 20th action is the one that A.N.S.W.E.R. and other groups are calling. Ava and I included the flier in our TV commentary this week and, as Jim noted, Ava and I intend to include it in our TV commentaries every Sunday until the march (March 20th). We're doing that to get the word out on it. Ron Jacobs and others are working to get the word out on it but it's really only if you get the word out on it that it matters. Talking about this one on one or in small groups matters much more than anything someone's going to read online. The action takes place March 20th." A few e-mails ask about Third and why just that feature? Ava and I do that feature. Jim does the note to the readers. The bulk of the other features are group efforts. The writing editions run over 12 hours (from Saturday night to late, late Sunday morning). Ava and I are pretty sure we can remember to include the flier/ad in our TV pieces each week. Asking for more than that is asking too much. By the time stuff starts going up Sunday morning (or 'morning'), people just want to go to sleep. Others can include it and may. But we are pledging that we will include it in every TV commentary we do between now and March 20th. I also don't want it pushed off on Dallas who does links and a lot more at Third. Ava and I do all our own links. Our pledge is from us. It doesn't push work off on Dallas or anyone else. Hope that explains it. And no, I'm not offended by the question, glad to have a chance to plug the event here. March 20th. Here's the flier.


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