Friday, February 05, 2010

The election confusion continues in Iraq

Yesterday, the planned March 7th elections in Iraq became even more confusion and in doubt when the appeals court ruling that would allow the over 500 banned candidates was attacked by Nouri al-Maliki -- US installed thug of the occupation. In launching the attacks, Little Nouri not only threatened the scheduled elections, he also exposed non-reporters. Again, reporting what happens is reporting. Declaring that the future holds this or that? Not really reporting. How about reporters -- as opposed to columnists -- learn to stick to the facts and not try to 'see' the future?

Leila Fadel and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) report that the ruling -- which didn't clear the 500-plus candidates of charges, only stated the charges would be evaluated after the election -- is questioned by the electoral commission, will result in Little Nouri meeting with "the Presidency Council, the parliamentary speaker and the top judge on the supreme court" and, if needed, with Parliament Sunday. As Nada Bakri (New York Times) points out, already the conflicting back and forth means that election campaigning is now scheduled to start February 12th (for March 7th elections, remember that)and Bakri observes:

The latest escalation in the dispute over who is permitted to run in the elections has unsettled the political landscape. Iraqi law remains untested and perhaps bereft of mechanisms to reach a solution just a month before the vote.
"I know what is happening today, but no one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow," said Omar al-Mashhadani, a spokesman for Parliament's speaker, Ayad al-Samarrai.

Anne Barker (Australia's ABC) covers the issue here. Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports that the potential Parliament meeting on Sunday is "an extra-ordinary session" Little Nouri is calling and that, meanwhile, other avenues are being stopped such as yesterday when "the seven-judge appeals panel postponed the review of the demands submitted by some of the banned politicians to check their charges till after the March 7 elections, giving a green light to the banned politicians to run in the elections." Should Little Nouri succeed with the supreme court or the Saturday meeting of the Sunday meeting, the banned candidates will once again have to scramble in an attempt to run for office via appeals -- appeals which have currently been stopped. Pakistan's The News reports Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi stated in DC yesterday, "The decision taken by the appeal committee should be espected by all parties. Hopefully, it will be debated in the parliament but at the end of the day I think nobody (has) the right to block the decision taken by the committee." The New York Times editorial board offers the suggestion that Iraq 'get on' with the March 7th election:

Right now, Mr. Maliki and the Parliament should get on with the campaign. Instead of trying to keep competitors off the ballot, Iraq's leaders should be debating their country's many serious problems and telling voters how they will fix them. For Iraq to be stable and to thrive -- and for American troops to safely go home -- the candidate list, and the next Iraqi government, must represent all of Iraq's people.

Alsumaria TV breaks the news
that Nouri's decrying the decision as foreign interference and "State of Law Coalition political committee held on Thursday an urgent meeting attended by head of Party Nuri Al Maliki. The meeting discussed the appeals panel decision and political pressure and interference in this regard."

Turning to Australia where Paul Toohey (Herald Sun) reports on PTSD among Australian troops:

ANGUS Sim draws deep breaths. He warns, as he tells his story, that he is becoming worked up.
He looks like most modern young warriors, built strongly and emblazoned with heavy ink. He shifts between tears and rage.
For Sim, the quiet streets of Sunbury, in Melbourne's northern outskirts, may as well be filled with hidden home-made bombs, snipers and trucks being prepared for suicide bomb missions.
Sim, 24, returned from Iraq in June 2005 after serving with the Brisbane-based infantry battalion, 6RAR.

In the US, NPR's Ina Jaffee (Morning Edition, link has audio and text) tells the stories of veterans like Julianne Sohn who was a ramine until she was kicked out under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and she says, "Serving my country was a huge honor, and I was willing to sacrifice my personal life to go into the Marine Corps. [. . .] I was out to some of my close friends . . . these are lieutenants and captains . . . but a lot of them didn't care. All that really matters is getting the job done." WHile some are being kicked out of the military, other service members are being shipped to Iraq. Clint Confehr (Marshall County Tribune) reports:

More than 3,000 Tennessee National Guardsmen, including about 50 who left Lewisburg a few days after Christmas, are being deployed to Iraq today, according to Gov. Phil Bredesen.
They include: Marshall County Commissioner Larry McKnight's son, Sgt. Maj. Jared McKnight; their family friend, Sgt. Maj. Tracy McDow of Culleoka; and a Lewisburg father of three who's been celebrating a daughter's third birthday with his wife in a motel near Camp Shelby at Hattiesburg, Miss.
Those parents of three young children preferred to remain anonymous, but the soldier's wife is like many other relatives of guardsmen in the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment who were, according to a guard spokesman, permitted to see their loved ones march in a military parade today, perhaps the last time they'll see each other for nearly a year.

The following community sites updated last night:

Meanwhile Caro (MakeThemAccountable) says hands off Social Security. And Make Wars History notes:

Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.
The United States is not a party to the Rome Statute. Nevertheless the Accused have ordered and been responsible for the commission of I.C.C. statutory crimes within the respective territories of many I.C.C. member states, including several in Europe. Consequently, the I.C.C. has jurisdiction to prosecute the Accused for their I.C.C.. statutory crimes under Rome Statute article 12(2)(a) that affords the I.C..C. jurisdiction to prosecute for I.C.C. statutory crimes committed in I.C.C. member states.
The Complaint requests (1) that the I.C..C. Prosecutor open an investigation of the Accused on his own accord under Rome Statute article 15(1); and (2) that the I.C.C. Prosecutor also formally “submit to the [I.C.C.] Pre-Trial Chamber a request for authorization of an investigation” of the Accused under Rome Statute article 15(3).
For similar reasons, the Highest Level Officials of the Obama administration risk the filing of a follow-up Complaint with the I.C.C. if they do not immediately terminate the Accused's criminal policy and practice of "extraordinary rendition," which the Obama administration has continued to implement.
The Complaint concludes with a request that the I.C.C. Prosecutor obtain International Arrest Warrants for the Accused from the I.C.C. in accordance with Rome Statute articles 58(1)(a), 58(1)(b)(i), 58(1)(b)(ii), and 58(1)(b)(iii).

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oh boy it never ends