Friday, May 27, 2011

White washing Ali al-Lami

AP says of Ali al-Lami, "He was released after roughly a year in custody at a time when U.S. officials were handing over many prisoners to Iraqi officials as part of a security pact requiring that all prisoners in U.S. custody eventually be turned over to Iraqi control." It is really something to see history re-written before your eyes. Ali al-Lami was released as part of a deal that the White House authorized and, yes, oversaw. Ali al-Lami made it clear in his statements to the New York Times why he was being released. The deal was with the League of Righteous and it was supposed to mean that the five British hostages the League had were released. Four were, only one of which (Peter Moore) was released alive. When you grasp that and when you grasp the British outrage over the kidnappings and the deaths, when you grasp that the Guardian and their reporters (such as Martin Chulov) were reporting on this in 2009, it makes it all the more appalling that they can't do so today and the paper instead choose to run an AP article.

As part of that "special relationship," with England, Barack entered into negotiations with the League of Righteous to figure out what they wanted in order to release the British citizens. From the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

It is really something the way Ali al-Lami gets white washed by the press now. He leaves as part of the deal and brags he was a "supporter" of the League of Righteous and that's forgotten, it's all forgotten. It's all washed away.

He chose his life and it was one of violence. People like him either choose a life of redemption or else they get gunned down. The latter happened to him.

Shi'ites parade through the press insisting that it was the Ba'athists! No one knows who it was and Ali al-Lami made more than enough enemies among Shi'ites that it could have been one of those factions that killed him.

He's dead and his mourners can pretend he had something to offer in his nearly five decades on the planet but there's no need for the rest of the world to pretend the thug's ending was either sad or surprising.

In what some are say is a "fitting end," the rumor is the Palestine Street assassination would have been more risky for the murderers had Nouri not been taking down so many of the concrete barriers.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends