Monday, March 07, 2011

Protests continue in Baghdad

Alsumaria TV reports that Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad today on the one-year-anniversary of the March 7, 2010 elections which were supposed to bring about a new government but somehow allowed Nouri to remain as prime minister and Jalal Talabani to remain as president -- no changes and, one year after the election, Nouri still hasn't formed a full Cabinet and the Ministers of Interior, Defense and National Security remain filled 'temporarily' by Nouri himself. DPA counts 200 demonstrators in Baghdad and "hundreds" in Falluja where chants included "WE WILL NOT VOTE AGAIN, THEY STOLE OUR VOICES" and 'BROTHERS, SUNNIS AND SHIITES, WE WILL NOT SELL OUR COUNTRY." Alsumaria TV also reports, "Iraqi security forces banned media from covering manifestations live on air." This continues the long pattern of attacking journalism that we saw most recently, yesterday, with the military and police forcing the Communist Party to leave their Baghad headquarters where they publish the Party's newspaper and, on Friday, the physical attack on five journalists (attacked by Iraqi security forces) who were attempting to cover a demonstration. Aswat al-Iraq notes the claims by Nouri that the government owns the building the Communist Party is in and that is why they were targeted. Sing that song, do that dance, sing that song, do that dance. We've heard it all before.

Al Sabaah notes that Nouri al-Maliki met yesterday with a delegation of tribal leaders and officials from Nineveh and that Nouri insists issues with the ration cards program are being dealt with, that the government is listening to the demands of the people and that meeting these demands are everyone's job. Of course, he's also given lip service in recent days to the need for a free press -- while cracking down on the press. And he held his meeting and made his announcement about the ration card system at the same time that, Al Mada reports, MP Mona Amiri (National Alliance) held a press conference explaining that many of the trations in Diyala Province have been allowed to sit -- instead of being distributed -- and have now one bad. Amiri stated that 124 tons of fat were discovered, 400 tons of tea and an unspecified number of tons of beans. If they'd been distributed, the items would have helped the people. Now they've gone bad. Al Sabbah notes that Nouri a session of Parliament on Thursday about "achieving" reforms. Meanwhile the Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is itemizing the demands according to the most pressing.

Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Mary Pops Back" went up yesterday. Today on Law and Disorder Radio (begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week), Michael Ratner, Heidi Boghosian and Michael S. Smith speak address Palestine with Ali Abunimah and the MidEast and North Africa with Professor Zachary Lockman. Last week, Chris Hedges was a guest on the program. We try to highlight Hedges and I would have loved to have had an excerpt of that discussion.


But we attended multiple hearings in Congress, two of which we covered. Plus, there's very little US coverage of Iraq so I've now got to read Arabic publications. Plus, a lot of things. If I don't have time for things I'd like us to note (Chris Hedges), why am I supposed to make time for things I wouldn't note?

Two excerpts from David Swanson's "Manchurian Senators" (War Is A Crime) -- and, look, you got your link:

People are doing journalism and the Washington Post is pissed. How to respond? Apparently the answer arrived at by Post editors is to just give up on any Americans who have been informing themselves and target those Americans who believe anything that super important people say. How else to explain an op-ed full of documented lies and published last Friday over the byline of two Democratic senators, Carl Levin and Jack Reed?

What the hell is that? In what way is the Post "pissed" about anyone doing journalism? Because they printed a column written by two senators? (Op-Ed refers to Opinion and Editorial pages. You really don't write an op-ed and the stupidity on this -- going far beyond Swanson is really starting to piss me off.) News flash, Carl Levin is the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Anytime he writes or co-writes a column, the Washington Post will gladly run it because their readers (of the print edition) will follow a Levin column closely (due to the implications for the defense industries). "Over the byline"? A byline is under. That may seem like splitting hairs and someone may say, "You make millions of mistakes yourself." Yes, I do. But I don't do mass e-mailings of my writing and try to get them highlighted. In fact, in the seven or so years of this site, I have never, ever asked anyone to highlight or link to anything I've written or co-written. If you're sending out your writing to get others to highlight it, presumably, you think it has something worth saying in it.

Is David just now learning that Jack Reed -- with a Democratic in the White House -- is a War Hawk? Wally covered that in "It's a bi-partisan hole (Wally)" last month. Maybe Wally should have e-mailed people asking them to highlight his report?

Back to Swanson:

The Congress and the President, the study groups and think tanks had all been setting "benchmarks" by which to measure success in Iraq since 2005. The President was expected by Congress to meet its benchmarks by January 2007. He did not meet them by that deadline, by the end of the "surge," or by the time he left office in January 2009. Nor has his replacement met them. There is no oil law to benefit the big oil corporations, no de-baathification law, and no constitutional review. In fact, there is no improvement in electricity, water, or other basic measures of recovery in Iraq. And protesters have the right to be shot. The "surge" was to advance these "benchmarks" and to create the "space" to allow political reconciliation and stability. Whether or not that is understood as code for U.S. control of Iraqi governance, even cheerleaders for the surge admit it did not achieve any political progress.

George W. Bush (unlike Swanson, I have never used the "p" word with W. Bush) was not supposed to meet any benchmarks. How stupid. He's not an Iraqi. Nor were the benchmarks supposed to be met by January 2007. How could they have been? Does Swanson get what he's written? I don't know. But this isn't a column we endorse. He did, however, get his link.
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