Sunday, February 07, 2010

And the war drags on . . .

March 7th, elections are supposed to take place in Iraq. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. At this point everything's up in the air except for one candidate who will not be running. That candidate is Suha Abdul Jarallah. AFP reports she was shot dead tonight outside a relative's Mosul home. Death is the ultimate 'ban' in Iraqi elections. She was a member of the National Dialogue Party -- a non-sectarian political party promoting a nationalist Iraq which has been targeted with bannings.

Wednesday an Iraqi appeals court ruled that the 500 plus candidates being banned by Iran via the extra-legal Accountability and Justice Committee would be allowed to run. This did not sit well with the thug of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki. As one of the many chicken s**t exiles who pulled the world into a war they were too cowardly to fight on their own, Nouri knows a thing or two about perception management even if Reuters doesn't. Helen Long (Reuters) plays fool or whore -- you decide in a video 'report' on 'thousands' of Shi'ite protesters 'offended' that suspected Ba'athists were running. Helen hopes you are so stupid you aren't aware that Ba'athists included Shi'ites during Saddam Hussein's reign. She's also hoping you don't realize how many Shi'ite exiles were Ba'athist. Most of all, she hopes she don't get your information from anywhere else. Especially not Germany's DPA which tells you what Helen refused to: " Thousands of supporters of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawaa Party demonstrated outside the house of parliament in Baghdad on Sunday, to call for the exclusion of 'Baathist' candidates from the March polls." Who were these 'typical' protestors? The governor of Baghdad was among them. Helen whores it and prays the whole world is stupid and doesn't catch on. Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) reports, "Tensions over the dispute flared elswhere, as thousand of protesters attended anti-Baathist rallies in Baghdad and Basra organized by Mr. Maliki's political oranization, the Dawa Party. The Baghdad rally was broadcast at length on state television, showing Mr. Maliki's aides denoucning those sympathetic to the Baath Party".

You get the idea that, given the chance, Helen Long would insist to you that the April 2003 US PSY-OPS operation in Firdos Square where the US military brought down the statue of Hussein amidst a small group of exiles just brought back into the country (by the US) (as well as marines and 'reporters') was a 'legitimate' and 'real' protest by Iraqis. Helen really hopes you're as stupid as she believes you are and that you don't notice, for example, that these 'average Iraqi protestors' are carrying handmade flags . . . Iraqi flags? No, like any 'normal' and 'average' Iraq, they're carrying home made US flags. Yeah, that's believable. (Also note that the women are covered from head to toe but the men were track suits, dress suits, pullover shirts, etc. while few sport any kind of a bear let alone one would that would demonstrate devout religious beliefs -- translation, Nouri stands for more even more suppression of women's rights.) For those who have missed the combined 'reporting' of Michael Gordon and Judith Miller, breathe easy, Helen Long is on the scene.

Following Wednesday's ruling, Nouri started huffing and puffing that the courts should decide it, that the presidency council should (on Saturday) and that the Parliament should (today). Xinhua reports of the planned Parliament session, "The session was to be held at 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) Sunday at the request of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, but the parliament decided to delay its session to Monday afternoon, speaker Ayad al- Samarrai told reporters during a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday." It was Florida 2000 all over again thanks to 'reporters' like Helen Long. In the US, the Republican Party flew outsiders into Florida to threaten violence and shut down the recounts. Nouri's staged 'protests' -- broadcast non-stop on state-TV -- had the intended effect, intimidating the appeals court. Muhanad Mohammed, Suadad al-Sahly, Ahmed Rasheed, Aseel Kami, Aref Mohammed, Michael Christie and Jack Kimball (Reuters) report they have backed down from Wednesday's decision, they've reinstated the ban. James Hider (Times of London) observed Friday, "Iraq’s elections next month are a major fork in the road of the country’s post-election development. One way leads towards increasing stability and political freedom; the other marks the route back to sectarianism and violence." But of course, you never install a thug if you really would like to see democracy take root and, of course, a bunch of exiles too cowardly to fight for their country can never really represent it -- even when installed into power by a foreign country.

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday
, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4375. Tonight it remains 4375.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Reuters notes a a home bombing of a Sahwa member which left "his wife" and their "two children injured and a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 man and left another injured.


As already noted, Suha Abdul Jarallah was shot dead in Mosul. Reuters notes assailants also "wounded her cousing" in the shooting and, dropping back to Saturday they note a Mosul armed clash left 7 people dead and two wounded, a Mosul office invasion resulted in 1 man killed and 1 Egyptian male was shot dead in Mosul.

In London, the Iraq Inquiry continues tomorrow and among the witnesses will be Jack Straw who will be providing testimony for the second time. David Brown (Times of London) reports, "Jack Straw will be asked today to explain why he prevented the Cabinet from seeing the full advice on the legality of the Iraq war before they voted to back the invasion." Meanwhile Nicholas Watt and Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian) report:

The Lib Dems have outlined a three-point charge sheet against Straw, claiming that he:

• Knowingly misled parliament on the legality of the war. On 17 March, a day before MPs voted to authorise British involvement in the war, Straw told them: "There is no question about the legality of the action that we propose to take." The inquiry has heard that the two most senior Foreign Office legal advisers, Sir Michael Wood and his deputy, Elizabeth Wilmhurst, believed the war was illegal.

• Breached the ministerial code by preventing the cabinet from seeing Goldsmith's full legal advice. At paragraph 2.12 the code says: "When advice from the law officers is included in correspondence between ministers, or in papers for the cabinet or ministerial committees, the conclusions may if necessary be summarised but, if this is done, the complete text of the advice should be attached."

• Abused his powers and failed to declare a confict of interest when he vetoed a freedom of information request to release the minutes of the cabinet discussion about Iraq on 17 March 2003. The Lib Dems believe Straw gave a misleading account when, as justice secretary, he vetoed the FoI request last year. He described the cabinet as "the forum in which debates on the issues of greatest significance and complexity are conducted".

In an attempt at a distraction -- and because having the blood of Dr. David Kelly on his hands is 'fun' for him -- Alastair Campbell's returned to show his ass in public. Andrew Grice (Independent of London) reports Drama Queen Alastair went on the BBC and 'became' choked up at one point as he insisted to Andrew Marr that the BBC had an "agenda" -- "Forgive for me this, I've . . . I've been through a lot of this, Andrew. And I've been through a lot of that inquiry . . . and, er . . . Tony Blair, I think is a totally honourable man." What a load of crap from the drama queen. The hot (and possibly tastless) joke making the rounds of London's left side goes like this, "Memo to M16, if Alastair turned up dead in the woods, no one would request an inquest, no one would even ask a question. Just saying."

In the US, everybody's working for the clampdown and that includes Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) who knows better. She writes:

Asaib al Haq is a militant group that broke away from the Mahdi Army militia loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr in the middle of the last decade, and refused to observe the Mahdi Army's cease-fire declared in August 2007.

The group claimed responsibility for seizing five British hostages in 2007, and is suspected to be holding U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Ahmed Qusai Taei, an Iraqi American who reportedly was abducted in 2006.

One of the group's leaders, Qais Khazali, was recently released from U.S. custody shortly after one of the British hostages, Peter Moore, was freed. At the time, U.S. and Iraqi officials described the releases as part of a "reconciliation" effort that they hoped would see Asaib al Haq shun violence and participate in Iraq's upcoming elections.

That's the League of Righteous and what did she leave out? Let's drop back to the back to 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."

Any US reporter reporting on the League of Righteous comes off offensive -- intentionally or not -- when they ignore (a) the group's claims of responsibility for the deaths of 5 US service members and (b) the trades that were made starting last summer. The League has apparently now kidnapped 60-year-old Issa T. Salomi, an American citizen who was wroking in Baghdad as a contractor. Michele Clock (San Diego Union-Tribune) reports:

Salomi's family released a statement through the FBI’s San Diego office, asking for privacy and thanking supporters.

"We are confident that everything is being done by the most capable people here and abroad to bring Issa home safely, and we all are anxiously awaiting his safe return," the statement said.

Salomi owns La Palapa Market at Imperial Avenue and 25th Street, which he bought in 1997 and converted from a liquor store into a grocery, according to a story in The San Diego Union-Tribune at the time.

As the store bustled with customers yesterday, an employee, who would not give his name, called Salomi a good man whose kidnapping deeply distressed everyone.

New content at Third:

Isaiah's latest goes up after this. Pru notes this from Great Britian's Socialist Worker:

Blair: No regrets and I’d bomb Iran

by Siân Ruddick

“The decision I took—and frankly would take again—was if there was any possibility that he could develop weapons of mass destruction we should stop him.

“That was my view then and that is my view now.”

Those are the chilling words of mass murderer Tony Blair, giving evidence at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war on Friday last week.

He went on to say that the same logic would mean support for war on Iran. He named Iran 58 times in his testimony.

Blair refused to express any regret for the war. This was an insult to the military families sitting in the public gallery, and the unrepresented millions of Iraqis killed and injured in the war.


“This isn’t about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception,” Blair told the inquiry.

In fact, it was a lie when he said there were weapons of mass destruction. It was a conspiracy with George Bush to attack Iraq.

It was a deceit that Saddam Hussein could attack in 45 minutes and it was a deception that Iraqis would welcome the occupying forces as liberators.

So far the Iraq inquiry, chaired by Lord Chilcot, has gone over evidence in the public domain. It has cross-examined witnesses on the basis of written evidence and witness testimonies.

But the sessions with Blair will come to define the inquiry.

They were cosy chats among the establishment, not a serious examination of fact and contradiction.

Blair may still be recalled over a contradiction between his evidence and that of former attorney general Peter Goldsmith.

The biggest lies went completely unchallenged. Blair was allowed to get away with saying that it didn’t matter if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “Potential” was enough for him.

Such justifications could be used to launch wars anywhere in the world.

Blair claimed that if Saddam Hussein had not been removed he would eventually have got the weapons.

Then, “with an oil price not $25 but $100 a barrel, he would have had the intent, he would have had the means, and we would have lost our nerve.”

“We face the same problem about Iran today,” Blair concluded.

On Monday of this week it emerged that the US had moved missile defence shields to countries neighbouring Iran—Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait.

This is all part of ramping up tension against Iran and the US trying to reassert its power in the region.

The logic opens the door to more war and a spread of the “war on terror”.

Blair may no longer be in charge, but the wars he started continue to scar the Middle East.

Gordon Brown will soon give evidence to the inquiry. He will be put in a difficult position.

He will either have to say that he was sidelined by Blair, and so had little to do with the run-up to the war.

Or if he claims he was a leading figure, he will be admitting to having blood on his hands.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

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richard norton-taylor
the los angeles times
liz sly