Friday, April 30, 2010

Post-election madness (and silence from one side)

Greg Miller (Washington Post) reports on CIA deployment (overseas) and notes, "Altering that arrangement creates logistical challenges as well as security risks, particularly as the agency ramps up the rotation of analysts in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan." Would Barack like to tell us when CIA forces might be 'withdrawing' from Iraq?

Didn't think so. Meanwhile this Jane Arraf story has some community members complaining. Brad is among them. While this Jane Arraf story has some community members praising. Kayla is among them. What's the big difference? I believe (and Kayla and Brad agree with this -- they're the only ones who've responded back this morning -- to the e-mails I sent out this morning) that it's the headline. The first link is the Christian Science Monitor ("New twist in Iraq election crisis: Maliki's enemies latch onto torture allegations") and the second link is McClatchy Newspapers ("As Iraqi election recount about to launch, Maliki faces other troubles"). What's the biggest problem with the Christian Science Monitor headline?

Is Ned Parker one of "Maliki's enemies"? Is Human Rights Watch? In the real world, the answer is no but those who follow the media -- especially the Arab media which does enjoy covering all of Nouri's meltdowns (something the US press apparently has a distaste for with few exceptions) -- are aware that Nouri put this off on his enemies. Ned Parker broke the secret prison story for the Los Angeles Times ("Secret prison for Sunnis revealed in Baghdad"). Human Rights Watch issued a report on the secret prison ("Iraq: Detainees Describe Torture in Secret Jail "). And Nouri's been laughably insisting it's all lies, made up by his enemies, and, so what, look what the Americans did at Abu Ghraib!

It's amazing how the western press has downplayed or ignored Nouri's Abu Ghraib 'defense.'

I don't consider the details "allegations." Along with Parker and Human Right Watch, Trudy Lieberman's also covered this. The two reporters covered it independently, they were not working together. But "allegation" has to be used because Nouri loves to sue. (And because many chicken s**t outlets -- including every, EVERY, US newspaper was too cowardly to stand with the Guardian when Nouri sued them.)

Joan e-mailed to note that something was missing from yesterday's snapshot:

Speaking Tuesday to John Hockenberry on The Takeaway, BBC News' Gabriel Gatehouse also felt that the counting would take longer than some estimates, "That could take several weeks. Then the votes have to be certified." In addition to noting that lengthy process, Gatehouse is apparently the only reporter aware of wh General Odierno is the overall in charge of US forces here, has promised to make an assessment -- another assessment of that withdrawal time table two months after the election so we're looking at about a week from now. So I think we'll wait to see what he says in about a week's time."

"In addition to noting that lengthy process, Gatehouse is apparently the only reporter aware of wh General Odierno is the overall in charge of US forces here, has promised to make an assessment --" I think that's my error. A lot of the links are put in by me at lunch time and I dictate around them when I dictate the snapshot. I believe there was a link to an article (New York Times) that had no clue about a report b Odierno being done. I must not have done the link properly (didn't close the tag, most likely) and it screwed it up. So that was my fault. And it lets us note again that Odierno has a report due. "General Odierno" begins Gatehouse's quote, by the way.

On the post-election madness, Heather Robinson (Huffington Post) notes:

Iraqi liberal Mithal al-Alusi, who raised concerns about fraud against himself and fellow liberals after he lost his seat in Parliament in the March 7 elections, is now raising concerns about a potential lack of oversight of the Baghdad recount that he says could lead to a repeat of the fraud that prompted the recount in the first place.

"It will be a disaster if the same people who did the first counting will do the second counting," Alusi told me in a phone interview from Baghdad.

Alusi is no stranger to controversy. Iraqi-born and bred, in the 1970's he protested Saddam Hussein's human rights abuses, and was forced to flee the middle east for his life. He returned to Iraq with his two grown sons following the U.S. invasion and took a position as culture director of the de-Baathification commission in the Iraqi interim government.

In 2004, he traveled to Israel to participate in a counter-terrorism conference. In response to breaking the taboo in Iraqi society against visiting the Jewish state, terrorists killed his two sons. Refusing to be intimidated, Alusi stayed in Iraq, got his political party, the Iraqi Nation Party, onto the ballot, and won a seat in the December, 2005 elections.

The Kagan family helped sell the illegal war and cheer led it like crazy. They would disagree with that assessment (as disclosed before, I know Robert Kagan) but most observers, even in the MSM, would more than agree with that assessment. Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan have a column in the Washington Post calling on the US to do something:

Washington should strongly support Iraqi leaders such as Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi and Allawi, who have strongly opposed the AJC's illegal effort to manipulate the results. The United States must encourage Iraq's Presidency Council to adhere to the electoral laws and reject the AJC's manipulation. The United States must also ensure that legal processes and court decisions about the elections are not unduly influenced by political or violent intimidation. Above all, the United States must oppose any effort to exclude votes properly cast and counted.
U.S. officials must state clearly that Iraq's government should be formed by Iraqis in Iraq and encourage Iraqis to form a government that ensures real power-sharing and continued political accommodation -- rather than cobbling together a government without any genuine political settlement.

What can the US do? What, if anything, should the US do? As usual, the right-wing is engaging in the topic and the left? They're still slobbering over the homophobe's eco-conference. Way to stay focused. And way to yet again throw the LGBT community under the bus. Those of us old enough to remember Vietnam in real time? We can remember the overwhelming amount of Americans being against it at the end. And yet revisionary history more than changed that, didn't it? Made it appear that it was a 50-50 split. How did that happen? As Jane Fonda has pointed out, the right keeps going back and going back. And on the left, we resist that urge. Thereby surrendering the argument.

On the left, outlets aren't even exploring whether the US should do anything. On the right? They're already making recommendations.

Salah Hemeid (Al-Ahram Weekly) offers a look at post-election Iraq including the following:

There are many reports in Iraq's media of carnage, explosions, funerals, grieving victims and relatives, and their loathing of new politicians who are only interested in playing political games in order for the chaotic state of affairs to continue. The result is the tragic deaths of hundreds of innocents across the country. In Iraq today, and especially in the capital, there is no cheerful news in the midst of this dangerous and stressful reality.
The only positive event was Iraq's second Blossom Parade sponsored by Baghdad's local government, which took place despite continued deaths and complications. The timid three-day event was soon over, giving way once again to the echo of missiles and explosives and hundreds of victims.
For more than seven years, this miserable state of affairs has been the norm, and continues to be so. Many sources believe that for many reasons Iraq is heading towards more violence caused by political rivalries, power grabs and politicians not able to agree on forming a new government after the Iraqi people did their part and went to the polls on 7 March, despite the bombings, to elect their representatives, who have so far failed the democracy test.
"We cast our ballots and did our part," stated an Iraqi restaurant employee near the Green Zone. "Iyad Allawi and Nuri Al-Maliki won but they failed the people, especially Al-Maliki who refuses to share power. One way or another he will have to give it up because the US does not want him and nor do the people. While he stays in power, anything is possible. The recent explosions in Baghdad are a result of the political struggle and impede the people. Everyone knows that."
The developments taking place behind the scenes are cause for concern in light of a stagnant political process and quarrels over recounting the ballots in several governorates. They are most likely the reason why Mowafaq Al-Rabei, a leader in the coalition government, visited the Shia leader Ali Al-Sistani and informed him of the dangers caused by Al-Maliki's refusal to step down as prime minister. Al-Rabei insisted that holding new elections would be a catastrophe which would lead the country to a civil war. He further warned that the terrorists are manipulating the constitutional vacuum caused by the inability of the various factions to form a government by targeting civilians. In fact, civilians are the targets not only for terrorist groups, but also armed groups of various political dispositions which are active in Iraq.

TV notes, Washington Week begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (and throughout the weekend, check local listings) and joining Gwen around the table this week are Naftali Bendavid (Wall St. Journal), Eamon Javers (Politico), Margaret Kriz Hobson (National Journal) and Karen Tumulty (Washington Post). And Gwen's column this week is "Washington Rhetoric: The Decoder." Remember that the show podcasts in video and audio format -- and a number of people sign up for each (audio is thought to be so popular due to the fact that it downloads so much quicker). If you podcast the show, remember there is the Web Extra where Gwen and the guests weigh in on topics viewers e-mail about. And also remember that usually by Monday afternoon you can go to the show's website and stream it there (including Web Extra) as well as read the transcripts and more. Meanwhile Bonnie Erbe will sit down with Melinda Henneberger, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Genevieve Wood. on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And at the website each week, there's an extra just for the web from the previous week's show and this week's it's immigration reform. For the broadcast program, check local listings, on many stations, it begins airing tonight. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes:

The All American Canal
The most dangerous body of water in the U.S. is a deep canal on the Mexican border with California where over 550 people - mostly illegal immigrants - have drowned. Scott Pelley reports. | Watch Video

Chef Jose Andres
Pioneering Chef Jose Andres takes Anderson Cooper's taste buds on a savory tour of his culinary laboratory, featuring his avant-garde cooking technique, molecular gastronomy. | Watch Video

Late-night television comedian Conan O'Brien appears in his first interview since having to give back his spot on the "Tonight Show" to Jay Leno. Steve Kroft reports.

60 Minutes, Sunday, May 2, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Radio. Today on The Diane Rehm Show (airs on most NPR stations and streams live online beginning at 10:00 am EST), Diane is joined the first hour (domestic news roundup) Susan Page (USA Today), Jerry Seib (Wall St. Journal) and Chris Cillizza. Cillizza is with the Washington Post and part of the newly rolled out which this morning headlines Howard Kurtz' article on how the Obama administration is targeting journalists including James Risen of the New York Times. For the second hour (international news roundup), Diane is joined by Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers), Daniel Dombey (Financial Times of London) and Moises Naim. Naim announced this week that he was stepping down as editor of Foreign Policy. Susan Glasser, another frequent guest on Diane's show, will be his successor at Foreign Policy. And today on To The Point, Warren Olney explores the use of drones.

In the US, the Senate Democratic Policy Committee continues to highlight the economy and finances in a number of videos this week. Click here to be taken to the DPC video page. We'll highlight Senator Blanche Lincoln.


As both the Republican and Democratic political parties are locked into a national security state that is perpetually at war, Americans urgently need to create a third political party, a law school dean writes.
“It will take a third party to allow us to shed the national-security state…which the two major parties are locked into, which they maintain regardless of the votes of the populace, and which will destroy us as surely as it has destroyed previous empires,” writes Lawrence Velvel in his book “An Enemy of the People”(Doukathsan).
As has been shown by the second Gulf War, both parties are “incapable of doing the right thing. They are too beholden to big money---money is virtually all that our politicians care about,” writes Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. The political parties “have gotten too used to the ethically crooked, morally criminal ways of our system, (and) cannot even envision serious change in the political and electoral system.”
Both parties, he charges, cling to policies which do not work, such as the country’s “traditional ready resort to war” that has been “practically an addiction since 1950” and that “has created disasters at home and abroad.” “If we do not cure ourselves of the American addiction to violence,” Velvel continued, “it is only a matter of time until much of the world gangs up on us, with results that nobody can foresee. Such has been the fate of all empires…”

The e-mail address for this site is

mcclatchy newspapers
the los angeles times
ned parker

the diane rehm show