Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The messages being sent by Little Nouri et al

Iraqi Vice President and Al Iraqiya Coalition senior official Tarek Al Hashemi said he is concerned about talks held by officials from Nuri Al Maliki’s party, Iraqi National Alliance led by head of Islamic Supreme Council Ammar Al Hakim and Sadr Front leader Moqtada Al Sadr in Tehran to revive the Shiite alliance and rally a parliamentary majority in order to form the next government, Al Hashemi said.

The above is from Alsumaria TV's "Iraq VP concerned about talks to form government." And what's going on in Iraq is a major story. Sold (falsely) as a new step for "democracy" (or "Iraq-cracy" -- a watered down version -- as Gen David Petraeus tried to push it to KSL's Bruce Lindsay recently -- link has text and video), what's taking place on the ground doesn't remotely resemble democracy. It does send a message that your vote doesn't matter. Iraqis are watching and they are seeing that. They're seeing Nouri al-Maliki, thug and prime minister, refuse to accept the results, decry them publicly and insist he will overturn them. They see a rush to knock the winning slate out by removing their candidates -- either via violence or charges of "Ba'athist!" Don't pretend this is democracy and don't pretend this is reassuring to Iraqis. The way it's supposed to work is the slate with the largest number of seats in the Parliament gets first shot at building a coalition (if a coalition is needed to rule -- in this case, it will be). But now Iraqis know that Nouri went to the courts last week to overturn that policy. This is really frightening what's taking place. But the media doesn't really seem to give a damn, do they?

The Los Angeles Times editorial board asks "Who will lead Iraq?" this morning:

Nevertheless, Maliki has been challenging the election results every which way, within the elastic boundaries of the law. He has tried but so far failed to secure a recount of what international observers determined to be a sufficiently fair and transparent vote. And just before the final results were released last week, the Supreme Court concluded, at Maliki's urging, that the right to form the next government could go to alliances and super-coalitions formed after the election, if they prove to have the most seats. Maliki promptly launched negotiations with other religious Shiite and Kurdish parties.
Now the Accountability and Justice Commission, which already had banned scores of candidates with alleged ties to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party from the election, says six others slipped through the cracks, won seats and should be disqualified. Removing them would alter the outcome, because several appear to be from Allawi's Shiite-Sunni bloc (and because Allawi's coalition won by only two seats). Not incidentally, the commission's head, Ali Lami, belongs to a party that is reportedly in merger talks with Maliki.
Perhaps some of this is just postelection posturing, but to us it looks like shenanigans. What's more, not only are these dubious maneuvers potentially destabilizing in such a fragile country, but they are probably unnecessary for Maliki's bloc to come out on top.

This is a big story. Somehow NPR has time for gas baggery over a Russian bombing (another took place today), can devote a full hour to it with no knowns, but no time to really devote to this story. Quil Lawrence files a report on today's Morning Edition. He covers the extra-legal Justice and Accountability Commission's efforts to disqualify members of Allawi's slate including Muhammad Authman is being targeted and Lawrence reports that he's traveled to Baghdad to appeal and wonders why, since he headed Diyala Province for the last years, no one targeted him back then. Michael Jansen (Irish Times) reports on Chalabi who calls the shots on the Justice and Accountability Commission:

THE MOST controversial figure to secure election in Iraq’s March 7th parliamentary poll was Ahmad Chalabi, the man who convinced the Bush administration to invade his country and topple the Baath party regime. Chalabi is both survivor and creature of contradictions. Once Washington’s darling, Chalabi alienated the US by aligning himself with Iran. A secular politician, he ran on the ticket of the Shia fundamentalist Iraqi National Alliance (INA).
Born in 1944 in Baghdad into a wealthy Shia clan, Chalabi and his family left Iraq when he was 12. He was educated in Britain and the US. He took his first degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earned a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Chicago, and taught for a time at the American University of Beirut.
While in Lebanon, he married the daughter of a prominent Shia politician. In 1977, Chalabi established Petra Bank in Jordan but, a decade later, was smuggled out of the country in the boot of a car when the bank could not satisfy its creditors. The bank went bust and he was tried, convicted and sentenced in absentia to 22 years in prison for fraud.

We'll note this from Sherwood Ross' "28 Nations Helped US to Detain Suspects" (Veterans Today):

Twenty-eight nations have cooperated with the U.S. to detain in their prisons, and sometimes to interrogate and torture, suspects arrested as part of the U.S. “War on Terror.”

The complicit countries have kept suspects in prisons ranging from public interior ministry buildings to “safe house” villas in downtown urban areas to obscure prisons in forests to “black” sites to which the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) has been denied access.

According to published reports, an estimated 50 prisons have been used to hold detainees in these 28 countries. Additionally, at least 25 more prisons have been operated either by the U.S. or by the government of occupied-Afghanistan in behalf of the U.S., and 20 more prisons have been similarly operated in Iraq.

As the London-based legal rights group Reprieve estimates the U.S. has used 17 ships as floating prisons since 2001, the total number of prisons operated by the U.S. and/or its allies to house alleged terrorist suspects since 2001 exceeds 100. And this figure may well be far short of the actual number.

Countries that held prisoners in behalf of the U.S. based on published data are Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Libya, Lithuania, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Somalia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zambia. Some of the above-named countries held suspects in behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA); others held suspects in behalf the U.S. military, or both.

Francis Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, termed the detention policies used by the U.S. “Crimes against Humanity”:

“These instances of the enforced disappearances of human beings and their consequent torture, because they are both widespread and systematic, constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court, which have been ordered by the highest level officials of the United States government…”

From Zedbooks, we'll note the following:

Zed Books
Please find below some information on the most recent titles from Zed Books. You can download a Complete Stocklist of all the paperbacks we currently have available here. If you have any questions please do get in touch. Our most recent new title catalogue which features books published Winter 2009-10 is available here.
Zed Books

The Economics Anti-Textbook

The Economics Anti-Textbook
A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics
Rod Hill and Tony Myatt

'What humankind needs second most (first is a cure for global warming), is a means of defusing the lethal ideological superstitions implanted in the educated masses by Samuelson/Mankiw type economics textbooks. Hill and Myatt's "anti-textbook" goes a long way toward providing it.' - Edward Fullbrook.

Paperback ISBN:9781842779392 £19.99

Beyond The Profits System

Beyond The Profits System
Possibilities for a post-capitalist era
Harry Shutt

This book makes clear why the desperate resort of Western governments to 'extraordinary measures' to try and avert economic collapse is bound to fail. It also forcefully demonstrates why our only hope of reversing the tide is to abandon the traditional economic logic of endlessly expanding production in favour of responding to the aspirations of ordinary people. Such a transformation, argues Shutt, would make possible the allocation of resources to more socially desirable ends, including the assurance of basic economic security for all as a right of citizenship.

ISBN: 9781848134171 £12.99

Moving People

Moving People
Sustainable Development Transport
Peter Cox

'This book should be read by all interested in transport - especially politicians,local authority councillors, town planners and transportation engineers. The problem of congestion,global warming,future oil supplies and population growth are all factors requiring a rethink on transport and utilising public transport and the sustainable modes of non-motorised transport, especially mankind's greatest invention viz the bicycle.' - Louis De Waal, Chairman Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN)

ISBN: 9781848130029

Neoliberal Africa
Neoliberal Africa
The Impact of Global Social Engineering
Graham Harrison

'In this powerfully insightful book Graham Harrison demolishes the conventional wisdom to show how rather than globalisation bypassing Africa it is largely responsible for its current condition ...Vital reading for those wishing to understand the nature and evolution of neoliberal globalisation in Africa.' -Padraig Carmody, Trinity College Dublin

ISBN: 9781848133204 £17.99

The Rise of China and India in Africa
The Rise of China and India in Africa
Challenges, Opportunities and Critical Interventions
Edited by Fantu Cheru and Cyril Obi

'The emergence of China and India as key global players propelling what promises to be a new Asian era in world history is widely recognised by scholars as one of the most significant developments of our time. As can be expected, the literature that has mushroomed on the subject is replete with controversy. No where is this controversy more pronounced than with regard to the Chinese and Indian engagement with and in Africa. It is the distinct merit of this book that it eschews propaganda to offer a richly documented, balanced and nuanced analysis of different aspects of the diverse roles which China and India are assuming in Africa. Readers will find the book to be both educative and critical' - Adebayo Olukoshi, Director, African Institute for Economic Development and Planning.

ISBN: 9781848134379 £21.99

Zed Blog
Go to the Zed Blog

Zed Books

I did a copy and paste from the e-mail and many of the links may not work, if that's the case go to Zedbooks for more information.

The e-mail address for this site is