Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nouri's forces arrest and beat 4 journalists in Baghdad

Yesterday Iraqis made their voices heard in multiple demonstrations. Wael Grace and Adam Youssef (Al Mada) report the disturbing news that after the demonstrations, four journalists who had been reporting on the protests were eating lunch when Iraqi security forces rushed into the restaurant and arrested them with eye witnesses noting that they brutal attacked the journalists inside the restaurant, cursing the journalists as they beat them with their rifle handles. One of the journalists was Hossam Serail who says that they left Tahrir Square with colleagues including journalists, writers intellectuals, filmmakers. They went into the restaurant where the Iraqi military barged in, beat and kicked them, hit them in the face and head with the handles of their rifles, cursed the press and journalists, put him the trunk of a Hummer. This is Nouri al-Maliki's Iraq -- the Iraq the US forces prop up at the command of the Barack Obama. Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) adds:

Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.
"It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."

Though he attempted to stop Friday's protests on Wednesday (after praising them on Sunday), Al Rafidayn reports that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani declared today that "serious steps" need to be taken to address the demands of the protesters. Khaled Frahan (Reuters) adds al-Sistani called for reform to be fast-tracked.

Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that protests continued today with Samarra protesters defying a "curfew to attend the funerals of two people killed during protests" on Friday and that Iraqi forces opened fire on the protesters/mourners leaving eight injured while Basra also saw a funeral for a protester killed on Friday. Hassan Abdul Zahra (AFP) reports of yesterday's protests, "While the majority of Friday's protests were generally peaceful, clashes with police left 16 demonstrators dead and more than 130 injured, according to an AFP tally based on official sources."

At the Iraqi Revolution Facebook page, the following demands are listed:

The Iraqi Revolution

For this we revolve...
The following are some of our demands:

FIRST: We demand to take our homeland back

We had been occupied by a great power without an international permission, this power had adopted excuses that its leaders’ them selves confessed that they had been deceived by them, so why are their forces still on our land then..?
It has been eight years since our country became under occupation, during that time we have lost all that our ancestors had built, and we have become living in our homeland with no homeland!.. so what are we waiting for?
Many had died from our generation in order to free this country; hundreds of thousands of our generation had been detained aggressively and unjustly, we will continue with our protests until our brothers in prisons are freed by the will of God and until we take back our homeland.

SECOND: We demand to overthrow the system

This system was imposed on us, we did not choose this system, and it was found on the basis of sectarianism and racism that serves an agenda of foreign powers and does not serve us, we do not want those basis, for it brought us scourges and because of it, parties that do not represent us had appeared on the field, parties that had never thought of our suffering not even for one day, but, they were only seeking gains that boosts their own existence and seeking what makes their members wealthier, to secure their future in isolation from our interests, us the children of the homeland, so under which right a system like this is imposed up on us? This system that we dislike and it have no place among our perception.
We want a system that is Just, which would be found on the basis of citizenship which ensures equality, justice and equal opportunity between the children of the one homeland without religious, racial and/ or sectarian discrimination.

THIRD: We demand services to be provided

We live in a wealthy country, but, we are poor! People of the land of the two rivers can not find drinkable water! The people of the land of oil complain from the lack of gas and kerosene! And the rise of the prices for both!! The numbers of our patients is by the hundreds of thousands because of the war and its woes, and we have no valid hospitals to receive them! Many of our doctors had been murdered; many of them had been displaced. Electricity is almost non-existent despite the announcement of spending 17 billion dollars in order to upgrade the power plants. The buildings in the heart of Baghdad are ruins, the public roads are rugged and in the provinces the situation is much worse and bitterer, as for the residents of the counties and districts, their living conditions became closer to the living conditions of the unknowns of Africa!.

FOURTH: We demand Job opportunities

We are lost between the clutches of leadership of the poles of the political process!! All are after achieving their own goals at the expense of the youth, which had been puzzled over the previous period, not knowing what to do!! We have the ability to develop the country, and we have academic degrees, we have competencies, but, we have no job opportunities, we are living a bitter unemployment situation, some of our youth had started to hang them selves, others burn them selves due to despair and frustration. The highest positions are monopolized by the parties leaderships’ and their relatives even if they had no academic degrees that qualifies them for the position, other job opportunities are reserved for the members and loyalists of the parties even if they were unqualified, as for the Iraqi people they have no hope in getting any jobs, if the parties petty the Iraqi people they give them what is left of the crumbs, which would only happen after bribing them or giving up a salary of a whole year and putting it between their hands as a form of gift!!
Any citizen that lives under a government has the right to have a roof over his head, and doesn’t have to live with their families due to poverty – as the situation is now – people live in the open fields with no homes or in tin houses or in cemeteries! The right to have an appropriate income in order to live comfortably without the need to extend their hand for anyone begging for food or clothing for their children, The right to live in a sense of security that protects them, their property and honor of their family, so the night visitors and the organized crime gangs can not assault them. The right to have a secured future for their children so they won’t be lost in the streets or get conscripted by the various shapes of gangs, The right to have a health system that protects them and their families, so their child won’t die between their hands because of the lack of medicine or their wife dies giving birth to a child because of the non-existence of medical care. The right to have the freedom that ensures the right of safe movement, travel, trade, freedom of speech, gathering with groups and other activities under a Just law. The right of education that meets the needs, capabilities and job opportunities that stands on the basis of the concept (the right man in the right position), so that a citizen will not be prevented from an opportunity because of their religion, doctrine, race, political views, or because they can not afford a bribery in order to get a job!!.
All our demands were not present under those corrupt governments, despite the fact that our country floats on a sea of petroleum, and God has given it wealth that no other country has.
We demand job opportunities and who ever is incapable of meeting our demands shall leave.

FIFTH: We demand to end the corruption and trial the corrupt individuals

Corruption has reached a limit that makes the noses sneeze, under the consecutive governments since the beginning of the occupation to our land, approximately 400 billion dollars were spent on Iraq, it is an amount of funds that is enough to rebuild Iraq twice to make it the best model and bring wealth to all its citizens young and old without exception, but, where did all this money go?? It went to the pockets of the corrupt. And who are the corrupt?? They are the main staff of the government, from ministers and parties’ leaderships, gang members and militias that the prime minister refuses to open their corruption files to look in to them or to investigate.
In all countries, corruption is practiced secretly, but, in Iraq it is practiced in public! And the latest corruption deal was the disappearance of 45 billion dollars from the development funds, the answer that is heard from officials regarding the question (Where did the money go?) Is with all simplicity: We do not know!!
The corruption files must be revealed, the corrupt individuals must be trialed, and the people must get their stolen funds back, and we will not stop our protests until we see corruption seized from existence in our facilities and corrupt sitting in the depths of prisons.


- We are fed up with political bids, we are fed up with honeyed promises, we are fed up with prosthetic decisions that some officials use to throw dust in the eyes of the people.

- Empty promises will not satisfy the hungry, and the cheap bids will not put clothes on the naked, and the shinny slogans will not quench the thirst of liver behooves.

- Silence is no longer a choice for any of us, so we will no be silenced after today…

-So how long will the Iraqis be divided into two classes, one that eats the beef, and the other eats the leaf!!

- And how long will a group of people receive multiple salaries, each salary covers a whole tribe, and the other people can’t get a single penny from the wealth of their homeland!!

- And how long will a group will receive warmth from the fire caused by the process of burning the public funds while others are dying because of the cold at the night of winter!!

- And how long will some enjoy the iced water in the heat of summer time while the others quench their thirst with the sewage water!!


Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reports that Iraq's largest refinery, in the city of Baiji, was attacked today by unknown assailants leaving 1 engineer and 4 security guards dead. Alana Semuels (Los Angeles Times) adds that it is one of three refineries in Iraq and that assailants utilized a bomb. Jack Healy (New York Times) notes that they set off bombs after storming the refinery and that, "Oil Ministry officials were just beginning to investigate the extent of the damage on Saturday, and the acting manager of the refinery said he feared it would take months to repair the pipelines, cables, furnaces and other equipment damaged by the explosions and fires." AP explains, "The refinery processes about 150,000 barrels of oil per day." Dar Addustour reports the assailants used guns with silencers and that an official says 4 engineers were killed and three guards were wounded.

Reuters notes security forces killed 1 protester in Sulaimaniya and left eleven others injured today, a college lecturer was shot dead in Baghdad and a Baghdad roadside bombing injured two Iraqi service members.

In the US, David DeGraw of Amped Status has a new report on the economic crisis focusing on efforts of those responsible to escape/elude accountability.

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