Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pilgrimage, political issues

AP notes "hundreds of thousands" are making the pilgrimage to the Kadhim shrine for Imam Moussa al-Kadhim and that some estimates put the number of visitors to the mosque at three million recently. Al Rafidayn adds that young children and all the way through the elderly are walking north of Baghdad on this annivesary of the Imam's death. He was persecuted, imprisoned and then poisoned, dying in 799 AD. The article notes that he was praying in the mosque when he was arrested (795 AD). The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Our Correspondent in Baghdad: Da'wa Party members taking advantage of the Anniversary of the death of the Imam Moussa Al Khadhim by carrying Maliki's pictures during the marches!"

Using an unnamed source(presumably someone in Parliament or in the Cabinet), Al Mada reports that talks are ongoing between political blocs and US government representatives over US forces remaining in Iraq beyond 2011. The source states that there are the talks various blocs know of and that thee are also "secret talks" but insists that any deal reached will have to be approved by Parliament. Alsumaria TV reports, "A senior official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by President Jalal Talabani stressed on Sunday the necessity for US Forces to stay in Iraq beyond the end of 2011. Iraq is still an inconsistent State, he said noting that the majority of political parties approve the extension of US troops term in Iraq." In another article, Al Mada speaks with political scientist Hussein al-Shammari who worries that conflicts between Al Iraqiya and State of Law may lead to a bloody physical conflict. If you look at all the fears, the continued stalemate or the Iraqi military's lack of readiness, you really don't see the 'success' that Bush, Barack and various others have painted the war to be. Meanwhile (more success?) Moqtada al-Sadr's having to calm his 'followers' who are eager to assault those who did not take place in the government organized faux protests on the last Fridays which attacked the real protesters in Baghdad.

Stefan Verbano (Eugene Register-Guard) reports the Eugene city council has passed a resolution calling for the money federally funded into the wars to be redirected t

At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf has an intereesting take on Barack and 'evolving' (into Dick Cheney). We'll close with this from Andy Worthington's "Judge Keeps Guantanamo Open Forever" (World Can't Wait):

Seven years ago, on June 28, 2004, the Supreme Court issued a historically important ruling in Rasul v. Bush, establishing that foreign nationals held at the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had habeas corpus rights; in other words, the right, under the “Great Writ,” first established in England in 1215, to ask an impartial judge to rule on whether there were grounds for their detention.

A bulwark against arbitrary imprisonment, habeas corpus was essential for the prisoners at Guantánamo, who, for the previous two and a half years, had been held in what Lord Steyn, a British law lord, described as a “legal black hole” in a speech in November 2003, unable to seek any redress whatsoever if, as many of them claimed, they had been seized by mistake.

With breathtaking arrogance, the Bush administration had refused to screen those it captured through Article 5 competent tribunals. Also known as battlefield tribunals, these are part of the Geneva Conventions, designed to screen prisoners who, like those in the “War on terror,” were not part of a regular army. The US military had used them since Vietnam, and in the first Gulf War, for example, had held 1196 tribunals, and, in 886 cases (74 percent), found it had detained civilians instead of combatants, and released them (PDF, p.663).

In Afghanistan, the Bush administration refused to allow the military to hold competent tribunals, and this, combined with the appalling incentives for dishonesty produced by offering substantial bounty payments for anyone who could be dressed up as al-Qaeda or the Taliban by America’s allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, meant that Guantánamo, rather than holding “the worst of the worst,” actually held a large number of what Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey, a commander of the prison in 2002, described as “Mickey Mouse” prisoners.

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