Tuesday, April 12, 2011

War Crimes and is the UN homophobic?

For those who've forgotten, last week Nouri al-Maliki -- puppet and thug of the occupation -- issued an order, passed on to the press by his spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh -- that only a limited number of people could speak for the government. al-Dabbagh spoke yesterday and, since he's on the approved list, his words should be considered Nouri's -- per Nouri. New Sabah reports that al-Dabbagh announced that the whole 100 days promise -- 'calm down and give us 100 days and we will solve the corruption and the other problems of the government' -- well, it's just not going to work out. They're not calling it an "extension" so much as they're calling it a "booster dose." It's amazing how hollow Nouri's word has remained over the last five years and yet people still take him at his word. Pepe Escobar is one of the extreme fools. He passes off his fevered hopes as an "analysis" at Asia Times. If you can't wall off your own wants and needs, you can't do an analysis and Escobar lacks the ability to detach needed to analyze. He comes off like a baby in a crib crying for Mommy, er Moqtada. Moqtada al-Sadr's yet to save Iraq but Pepe just knows it's all different now.

Yeah, it's a sickness and it produces one of the most screwed up 'analysis' of what's taking place yet to be filed. At time his sentences don't even make logical sense from a constructive viewpoint, he's that unhinged. What does he think this sentence means: "If Washington does not honor the agreement, the US will be technically at war with Iraq - as in US soldiers illegally deployed without the consent of the US Congress."? He's an idiot. I don't have time for idiots. If the SOFA expires and no agreement replaces it, what that means legally is already known, was already covered here in 2008, and was based on the legal analysis which a Senator gave publicly. That senator? Joe Biden, now the Vice President of the United States. Instead of attempting to invent definitions and meanings, Escobar might try doing the work required to offer an informed opinion.

Pepe Escobar is convinced that Nouri must obey the will of Moqtada. He must? Really? Did Pepe sleep through the early months of 2007 when Nouri went after Sadr's strongholds? Is Pepe unaware that not only did Nouri do that, he jumped the gun on it, he overrode US military command -- according to Congressional testimony from Gen David Petraeus -- and jump-started that operation. Those are things that we call facts. You either know them or you make a fool of yourself like Escobar did. Nouri has no ties to Moqtada. Nouri sees Moqtada as a rival and always has. Eliminating Moqtada wouldn't be all that hard at this point. (I'm referring to eliminating him as a political factor but we're talking about Nouri so we should note that Nouri might decide to eliminate Moqtada in ways other than politically.) Nouri's never waivered in what he wanted and has repeatedly ignored all factors -- including Moqtada and including the Parliament -- when twice extending the UN mandate for the US occupation. To claim Nouri would never do that with the SOFA flaunts one's sheer stupidity. I don't think Pepe's sounded this crazy since 2008 when he was regularly airing his non-stop sexism and assuring the world that Barack Obama would quickly end the Iraq War.

We now know the value of Pepe's 'analysis,' don't we?

Related, Antiwar.com's Jason Ditz, intentionally or not, implies (link goes to Press TV) that Sadr staged protests for three days over the weekend across Iraq:

But a three day weekend of major protests and threats of armed resistance by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr must surely be giving officials at least some pause in their eagerness to continue the war. With his political clout, it will be difficult for the Iraqi government to overrule him in approving the continued war.

Key Iraqi cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr has continued with demonstrations against the possible continuation of the US military presence past December. Hundreds of thousands of Sadrists have marched in Baghdad alone over the weekend.

The first paragraph alone appears to link three days of protests and armed resistance and credit is given to Moqtada. The credit may only be meant for the threats of armed resistance; however, the wording of the following paragraph appears to imply otherwise: "in Baghdad alone over the weekend" and may confuse.

Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc has 40 seats in the parliamment, 40 out of 325. He does not have a national hold. Nor were Friday's protests his protests -- those were the protests of the youth of Iraq. Moqtada was not able to push three days of nationwide protests. It did not happen.

Less time worshipping Moqtada al-Sadr (referring to Escobar) might allow for more attention to War Crimes. The British press continues to carry those charges -- against the US -- and there's amazingly little pick up in the American press -- even in the so-called 'independent' press. David Waddington (England's House of Lords) writes at the Independent:

Last week Iraqi forces entered a camp in Iraq housing members of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI). Thirty three residents were killed and over 300 wounded. Were the US authorities, as it has been suggested, told of the intended attack by the Iraqi Government? If they were, then surely members of the US government were complicit in a crime against humanity. And of course it shows that the US administration is continuing to appease the regime in Tehran whose influence over the Iraq government grows and grows.

The raid which took place at 5am on Friday 8 April, involved 2,500 severely armed Iraqi forces entering the Camp in armoured vehicles and Humvees, with video footage filmed by the residents clearly showing Iraqi forces running over unarmed residents and firing indiscriminately at them. Under any parameter of international law such a massacre of unarmed civilians is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

These are serious charges and he is the second member of England's upper house of Parliament to raise these issues.

New Sabah reports that Hazim Araji, of Sadr's bloc, is bragging that the Mehdi militia is not, in fact, disbanded or unarmed and that is has continued attacks on the US military "every day."

Al Mada reports that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hoshyar Zebari, has declared holding the Arab Summitt in Baghdad (May 10th through 11th) will cost the country $450 million in US dollars. Imagine what $450 million, allocated to Iraq's infrastructure, could do for the Iraqi people. They put on the dog for the foreigners and allow most Iraqis to live below poverty and without potable water or reliable electricity. Inas Tariq (Al Mada) reports on an Iraqi bride who quickly became an Iraqi widow when her husband was killed in July 2010, leaving her alone and expecting a child. Tariq notes the continued increase in the number of women who are now heads of single-parent households and how rare it is for any of them to receive financial assistance from the government. The Committee on Labor and Social Affairs states that a great deal of corruption is taking place in programs that are supposed to be assisting these women. The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Nassar al-Rubaie, estimates that there are over 750,000 Iraqi widows. Tariq's report is troubling for a number of reasons but especially bothersome considering the United Nations silence on the targeting of gay and presumed gay men in Iraq is that the UN is stated to have predicted a list of 'misfortunes' that will plague Iraq in coming years and "homosexuality" is on the list -- a list that includes "mental illness." Is the UN being misunderstood or misquoted by Tariq? Or is that the attitude of the United Nations? Again, their past silence on the targeting makes it seem less like Tariq's mistake. Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a report on Iraq which was written March 31st. Though rather lengthy and allegedly addressing the many problems facing Iraq as a civil society, the report never noted the targeting of the LGBT community. What sort of leadership is Ban Ki-moon providing?

We'll close with this from World Can't Wait:

We are posting Andy Worthington's series on the US prison at Bagram, Afghanistan here, as it appears. Bagram is "even more of a legal black hole than Guantánamo."

Part 1: Updating the Definitive Bagram Prisoner List — 200 Review Board Decisions to Release, Transfer or Detain Added

Part 2: Broken Justice at Bagram — for Afghans, and for Foreign Prisoners Held by the US

Part 3: Voices from Bagram: Prisoners Speak in Their Detainee Review Boards

Part 4: The “Dark Side” of Bagram: An Ex-Prisoner’s Account of Two Years of Abuse

Part 5: Bagram and Beyond: New Revelations About Secret US Torture Prisons in Afghanistan

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.