Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does Iraq have vice presidents?

Al Rafiayn reports that women are being targeted in Mosul an the targeting includes everything from so-called 'honor' killings, to accusations of collaboration with secrity services, to accusations that they walk the wrong way. Remember Monday's snapshot when we called out Tim Arango (New York Times) for repeating unverified (an malicious) gossip in his 'report' about the six women who were killed in Mosul (one man was also killed but Arango apparently had no gossip on him)? Al Rafidayn explains the six women lived with their grandfather and that an Iraqi military officer has been arrested (not convicte, arrested, he was in a relationship with one of the six women killed). The paper explains that the six women were "the grandmother, her daughter and the daughter of her daughter and the other three were sisters."

Yesterday Tareq al-Hashimi, Iraq's Sunni vice president, was explaining how he and Shi'ite vice president Adel Abdul Mahdi remain the vice presidents of Iraq having promised Iraqi President Jalal Talabani they would stay in their positions (on December 26th)until new vice presidents were secured. At that time, it was expected that the two would be picked and that a third person would join them, possibly a fourth. The idea of a fourth was shot down and now the idea of a third seems iffy as well. Today Ali Hussein (Al Mada) offers a piece calling al-Hashimi out (insisting al-Hashimi either believes Iraqis are crazy or al-Hashimi himself is crazy, plagued with hallucinations and delusions while he plays in the political arena like a buffoon in a comedy). Hussein begins winding down his essay stating that it is ridiculous for al-Hashemi to claim that the survival of Iraq and its stability depends upon al-Hashemi remaining vice president. Another Al Mada piece argues that the "conterversial" issue of vice presidents (said to be "controversial" to Parliament) needs to be addressed and notes an editorial expressing shock that al-Hashemi is traveling to foreign countries and presenting himself as a vice president of Iraq. It's called "impersonation" and the Constitution and various laws are noted which require anyone guilty of impersonation be imprisoned (for no more than ten years). At the heart of the conflict is al-Hashemi and Adel Abdul Mahdi's 'arrangement' with Talabani which is not thought to be legal meaning Iraq has no vice presidents currently (if you agree that the deal is not legal, I haven't read the laws cited -- according to the Iraqi Constitution only, which I have read, there's nothing in it that allows Talabani or any president to extend the terms of vice presidents).

Dar Addustour reports that in Baghdad's Freedom Square yesterday "hundreds" of employees of the Ministry of Industry and Minerals protested. Mike Shuster (NPR's Morning Edition) has a report on Kirkuk -- we'll note it in the snapshot later today, he starts by explaining the peshmerga's actions last month.

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. We'll close with this from Bacon's "Fired For The Crime of Working" (In These Times):

The words "Mexico" and "Mexican" can hardly be found on the website of the country's largest chain of Mexican fast food restaurants, Chipotle. Yet almost everyone working in almost every location is Mexican, or at least Latino.
Mexican workers are often an invisible but indispensable workforce. They clean office buildings at night, pick fruit and vegetables miles from most urban Americans, and cut up cows and pigs in giant anonymous factories hidden away in Midwest small towns. But Chipotle's effort to make its workers invisible is deliberate, not an accident of time or geography.
Three months ago the chain that made its fortune selling Mexican food made by Mexican workers fired hundreds of them throughout Minnesota. Their crime was that they worked, but had no immigration papers. That put them in the crosshairs of the Obama administration's key immigration enforcement program.
One was Alejandro Juarez, who spent five years at the Calhoun Lake Chipotle in Minneapolis. Juarez came here nine years ago, leaving two daughters and a wife at home in Mexico. Once he arrived, he could never risk going back, not even once, to see them grow up. Crossing back over the border to return to work would have cost more than $2500, a prohibitive expense for a fast food worker. Over the years Juarez learned how to fix stoves, grills, refrigerators and hot tables, for which he was paid $9.42/hour. He worked hard, sent money home, put his girls through school, and knew their voices only from the telephone.
In the restaurant, he says, you couldn't think about that because the company had a rule that you had to smile all the time. "People would come to work leaving sick kids at home, not able to get enough hours to pay the rent, and then had to smile for fear of losing their job," he recalls. "It was humiliating."
Last December he and coworkers all over the state were called in by managers. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security, had audited the company records, they said, and told Chipotle to fire them. So managers told them not to come back the following day.
Firings hundreds, even thousands of workers is the administration's primary strategy for enforcing immigration law in the workplace. Since 1986, federal law has required employers to verify the immigration status of workers. Job applicants fill out an I-9 form and provide identification showing they are citizens or are immigrants authorized to work in the U.S. In effect, this provision of the law, called employer sanctions, makes it a federal crime for an undocumented immigrant to hold a job.

The e-mail address for this site is