Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jalal gets caught in a lie and probably a doorway as well

The Great Iraqi Revolution announces, "On the occasion of the 91st Annivesary of the 1920 Rebellion, that was called The Great, and whose annivesary comes up on Thursday, it has been decided to call the coming Friday, GRANDCHILDREN OF THE 1920 REBELS FRIDAY." Yesterday's protests were Firm Roots Friday. Among those who turn out in Baghdad (and elsewhere in Iraq) at the protests are women whose sons, husbands, fathers or brothers have gone missing in the Iraqi 'justice' system. The Great Iraqi Revolution reports of yesterday's protest in Baghdad, "One of Iraq's Free Matrons recounting what Qassim Atta told her when she met him to ask about her 'disappeared' sons. He told her: 'Consider them dead and if you want any money, we will give you money..'!!!!" Qassim Atta is the Baghdad Operations Command spokesperson.

Meanwhile Al Mada reports that Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq, just finished presiding over a terrorism conference. At the conference -- the paper says it's the first calling for a boycott on terrorism in the entire world -- Jalal insisted that, "We in Iraq have suffered the most terorrism." Apparently, Talabani's never heard of Gaza, Pinochet's Chile or assorted other examples. He spoke of the People's Mujahedeen Organization (Iranian dissidents in Iraq at Camp Ashraf) and stupidly claimed they were trying to destabilize Iraq. Even the Iranian government hasn't made that ridiculous claim. But it's part of Talabani's efforts to close the camp. Apparently Talabani's looking for an internal enemy to blame for Iraq's problems in an attempt to divert the Iraqi people? If so, Camp Ashraf is closely guarded and the approximately 3,000 residents are confined to that area.

How seriously a conference on terrorism will be taken around the world is further thrown into doubt when the conference takes place in Iran. It's cute too that the PKK didn't come up in Jala's speech. The PKK is a group that advocates -- with violence -- for a Kurdish state. Some say the Kurds are said to be the only people in the world without their own homeland. (Again, have these people never heard of the Palestinians?) They regularly attack Turkey from the northern mountains of Iraq where they set up bases -- and have allowed many reporters to tour and report on those bases -- from which to launch their attacks. Northern Iraq is the KRG -- Kurdish Regional Government. Jalal Talabani is a Kurd. Possibly calling out a Kurdish group labeled as a "terrorist" group by not just Turkey and the US but also by the Iraqi govenrment is too much? Along with being a hypocrite or a coward (or both), Jalal's been exposed as a liar. Bloomberg News reports:

Talabani's e-mailed statement said the International Committee of the Red Cross was part of a "tripartite committee" with Iran and Iraq that agreed to close the camp. Red Cross spokeswoman Claire Kaplun said her organization Iraq declined to participate in the committee when approached by Iraq.
"We will not take part in this committee," she said by telephone from Baghdad.

Al Sabaah adds that his flowery speech included talk of fighting terrorism "in all its forms: economic, social, political, religious and intellectual." You know the people of Iraq would probably be pleased just to see Jalal and the rulers focus on reducing physical violence.

And, for the record, I have nothing for or against the PKK. I'm not calling for them to be imprisoned. But if Jalal Talabani wants to stand up at a terrorism conference and accuse less than 3,000 people who are unarmed (the US military disarmed them early on in the war) and confined to Camp Ashraf, surrounded by Iraqi troops, then he's a damn hypocrite if he doesn't mention the PKK which is labeled a terrorist group by the government of the country he is president of. The PKK has bases throughout northern Iraq and they're no secret. In fact, Nouri al-Maliki had a fit when the Times of London was visiting the bases. Not a fit about the bases being there, but a fit about tours being given to the press and photographs taken and publicity of the bases. That's when he issued his decree that no reporters would be allowed in Iraq if they visited the PKK bases. Though Iran and Iraq can't point to one attack that Camp Ashraf residents have been responsible for in the last 8 years, the Turkish government can provide a lenghty list of their dead and fallen who were killed by PKK fighters based in Iraq.

In other news, Al Sabaah reports Iraq's Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi has declared that there will be no extension of the Status Of Forces Agreement due to the fact that there is "a national consensus" opposed to renewing it. But for those that might throw their hats in the air and exclaim, don't go all Mary Tyler Moore just yet. Instead, al-Hashemi supposedly said, there will be a memorandum of understanding that they will ratify and will allow for US forces to remain to continue to arm and train Iraqi forces.

al-Hashemi also notes that Talabani has not accepted Adel Abdul al-Mahdi's resignation (he is one of Iraq's three vice presidents).

Okay, here's what's going on. There were a ton of paragraphs that followed the above -- all on one article. One bad New York Times article. I've critiqued the Times repeatedly and am really not interested in doing so here for the reason that I'm not interested in doing repeats. I am aware that a number of people miss the critiques of the Times. I'm also aware they generate great interest online (within the paper and outside of it). But I've done it. For years, here, we took on the Times every morning. You move forward or you fall back into the past. We're trying to move forward here. That's not to say we don't slam the Times still. It's just we have de-emphasized our focus on it. (And we've always had praise for the Times when it deserved it.)

But as the bad article required more and more comments from me, it became obvious it needed to be its own entry. So all of you community members and visitors who feel that something is lost by not daily taking on the paper of (mis)record can rejoice over the next entry that will go up shortly.

We'll close with the latest at Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, a transcript of her interview with the Foreign Vice Minister of Venezuela, Temir Porra (for those who would like to listen to the interview, click here).

CS: The reason I wanted to have you on the show and on the documentary (book) is to really expose the differences of the foreign policies of the empire, which is the United States of course, and Venezuela. My first question to you will be very easy, How many wars of aggression is Venezuela currently in, in the Middle East?

TP: None!

CS: Okay, and how many wars of aggression is Venezuela currently in anywhere?

TP: None!

CS: And how many wars is Venezuela currently in?

TP: Zero.

CS: Zero. Okay, that was very easy.

TP: Well, probably one.

CS: One?

TP: The war of aggression on poverty.

CS: Well, we don’t like to call that a war In the United States because that is something that never ends and the resources are just privatized, like the war on drugs which is a similar case down here in South America. Especially that, I know you are not the Charge for South America but there is border skirmishes along the Columbian border are there not?

TP: No, well we don’t have skirmishes between the Venezuelan Army and the Colombian Army. What we have is a very large border, which is about 2,000 kilometers long, and as you know in the United States, Colombia has gone through an internal war for about 60 years. War between the Government, the Guerilla movement and the Paramilitary who have been struggling in an internal conflict for 60 years, and of course Venezuela is a neighboring country has been suffering of the consequences of that war.

The e-mail address for this site is