Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Corruption, counting and more

The Iraqi Tourism Ministry accused the Israeli Mossad, Israel’s Security Agency, of involvement in the theft and of ancient Iraqi manuscripts that were illegally transported out of Iraq and sold in Israel.
The manuscripts are part of the Jewish archive at a number of museums in Iraq. They were stolen by thieves and ended up in Israel, Iraqi sources reported.

The above is from Saed Bannoura's "Iraq Accuses Israel Of Stealing Ancient Manuscripts" (IMEMC). And we can start with theft and stay with it because Joel Millman (Wall St. Journal) reports retired Col Kevin A. Davis (retired as of 2005) will be pleading guilty to charges of being on the take with over $50,000 in bribes lining his own pockets. There's more to the article but we're not interested, for example, in someone who 'might' enter a plea arrangement in a month or so. In that time, an agreement can fall apart. I'm not doubting Millman's sources, I'm just not interested. Jason Koutsoukis (Sydney Morning Herald) reports that corruption and threats continue to plague Iraq's judiciary:

In an interview with the Herald last week the Chief Judge of the Supreme Criminal Court, Adnan Al-Bederi, admitted that political interference was still a fact of the judicial process.
"While Judge Bederi believed that in most cases Iraqi judges made their decisions according to the law, "there are sometimes political pressures".
"The Iraqi judiciary system is facing some interference from different sides, but not like the same way under the old regime," he said. "I think that the Iraqi judiciary system is much healthier; we can say 70 per cent of it is OK.
"If the judge always keeps himself away from the political interferences and works professionally, we could always have a system with integrity."

Theft and corruption did allow us to open with something other than 'still counting.' And they are still counting the ballots in Iraq. Alsumaria TV offers these projections: "After counting 95% of polling centers, State of Law Coalition is expected to occupy 92 seats followed by Al Iraqiya with 89 seats. Iraqi National Alliance is expected to occupy 64 seats and Kurdistan Alliance 42 seats while Accordance List is expected to occupy six sears and Iraq's Unity Coalition three seats." Those are projections, they are not official results. Catholic News Agency reports that Kirkuk's Archbishop Louis Sako declares himself to be "very optimistic" regarding the vote: "The elections were carried out very well. During the campaign period, the political parties debated their programs in a very civilized way. The last election in 2005 was much more sectarian. Now people have chosen more secular parties, not like last time. Whatever happens, it will be a good result. I am very optimistic about that."

In England, Colin Brazier (Daily Mail) remembers reporting on Iraq:

I was sitting in an American Humvee in excruciating pain.
Our convoy was the most advanced part of the US invasion of Iraq and alarm bells were, quite literally, ringing.
On the horizon, smoke was rising from an ammunition dump blown up by
This was long before it became clear that Saddam had no WMDs.
All of us -- soldiers and journalists alike -- wore nuclear, biological and chemical protection suits. And it looked as if we needed them.
When the hazard sensors at our makeshift camp near Najaf went doolally, everyone began dementedly plucking at the sacks strapped to their legs, which contained their potentially life-saving gas-masks.

Brazier ended up with cancer and wonders whether it was from exposure to depleted uranium. Meanwhile the Boston Globe's editorial board wonders where officials from the Bush administration will speak to the Iraq Inquiry which has made overtures requesting testimony.

We'll close with this from Debra Sweet's "Scenes from the streets" (World Can't Wait):

There were thousands marching in DC yesterday. Read AP report. Watch the AP video. Watch the local video coverage:

Flickr Gallery

You can read my speech here. After the march, several protesters were arrested in front of the White House, including Cindy Sheehan, Elaine Brower, and Matthis Chiroux. They are sitting in jail tonight and we are told they won't be arraigned until Tuesday.

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