Friday, June 03, 2011

Protesting in Iraq

adam kokesh

Reminder, Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh holds the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Dance Party tomorrow at noon. He will be in DC at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and solidarity events are taking place around the world -- click here for more.

That's the US. In Baghdad, protests are taking place right now.


Youth activists and others (including The Great Iraqi Revolution community) are gathered in Tahrir Square to honor the detainees lost in the so-called 'justice' system in Iraq. People whose families have no idea where they are or if they are still alive. And, specifically, to show solidarity with the four arrested last Friday. Last Friday was "False Promises Friday." The Great Iraqi Revolution noted the four arrested: "THE 4 YOUNG ACTIVISTS WHO WERE ARRESTED TODAY BY QASSIM ATTA AND TAKEN TO A PLACE UNKNOWN - 27.5.2011 - THEIR NAMES ARE: JIHAD JALEEL, ALI ABDUL KHALIQ, MOUAYED AL TAYEB AND AHMED AL BAGHDADI. We pray God to have them released very soon."

They also noted of Friday's Baghdad protest -- or in response to it, a smear campaign is being launched on TV, "In the serial of attempting to bad mouth and blacken the Tahrir Square protestors and demonstrators, Qassim Atta and the Iraqiya air photos of one of the detained activists in the Protests and accuse him of several crimes, they then proceed to air a film of a crime whose perpetrators are known to all and sundry, and in the same film some hooded men are heard to accuse that the activist is the person who committed the crime!" And the assault on protesters continued Saturday. Aswat al-Iraq reported:

An eye witness said that a military force raided an NGO, known as Where is My Right, and arrested 11 persons, including its secretary general, in suspicion for their relationship with the organizers of Tahreer Square demonstrations.
"Four Hummer military vehicles and two 4-wheel drive cars surrounded the organization premises in Maidan Square, in the center of Baghdad, where they searched it and destroyed its computers," the source told Aswat al-Iraq.
On the other hand, an activist said on the Facebook page for the Tahreer Square demonstrations, that the organization is an NGO that participated in organizing the demonstrations.
The arrested persons were meeting to discuss how to release the four activists who were arrested last Friday.

Yesterday Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both issued statements decrying the government crackdown on protest and free speech in Iraq.

On the four arrrested last Friday, Raheem Salman and Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) speak with the families of the activists:

"I know about Ahmed that he loves his country, he loves freedom," said Alaa, the father of a detainee who uses the pseudonym Ahmed Baghdadi. The father, who asked that his last name not be used, expressed frustration at the lack of information about the detentions.
"I don't know where to go, whom to ask," he said. "Are our sons really criminals? .... Even if they have fake identities, why can't we see them? This is not a threat to the state's security."

Meanwhile Jack Healy and Michael S. Schmidt (New York Times) note, "Rights groups said the people detained had been denied access to lawyers and visits with their families, and criticized the arrests as a ploy to stifle any dissent in the streets, even if it was peaceful and relatively low-key."

Finally, Eli Lake (Washington Times) reports on an emerging scandal involving the US State Dept and your right to know:

The State Department is blocking inspectors from the U.S. government’s independent auditor for Iraqi reconstruction from conducting an assessment of the department’s multibillion-dollar effort to train Iraq's police.

Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, discussed the standoff with the State Department in an interview this week.

“We have a long history of auditing the police training in Iraq,” Mr. Bowen said. “It is simply a misapprehension to conclude that our jurisdiction only applies to bricks-and-mortar reconstruction. To the contrary, Congress has charged us with overseeing the expenditure of funds in Iraq.”

That's it, the laptop battery is about to die, sorry.

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