Saturday, August 06, 2011

Non-withdrawal, Minister of Electricity fired, and more

For the US press, the big Iraq or Iraq-related story right now is Charles Graner (see previous entry). With the exception of a prison break (we'll get to it), there's little else Iraq or Iraq-related the US press is reporting on. So nothing is happening in Iraq?

Really because Al Mada's reporting that college students who were promised grants are finding out that the money is not there. And the hold up appears to be Parliament.

Al Rafidayn reports Nouri al-Maliki spent the last hours of Saturday evening determining whether or not to dismiss the Minister of Electricity who is accused of having dozens of contracts (worth billions) in "fictitious names" (that might be termed "embezzlement" and "fraud" if the charges are correct). For those who've fogotten it was a little bit earlier this time last year that Nouri sacked the last Minister of Electricity. He then had the Minister of Oil fill both posts (without Parliament's approval).

Al Sabaah notes an Amnesty bill is supposed to go before Parliament next week. Reading their report, it is not about de-de-Ba'athification but about small crimes during the war. The quotes from the proposed bill demonstrate that reconciliation is still not a pressing issue to the government of Iraq.

What about negotiations to avoid withdrawal of US forces in Iraq? Al Sabaah reports Iraq wants far less than 20,000 'trainers' and the use of 20,000 in Iraqi media reports appears to be an effort to sell the smaller number that the US is actually going for. (As in, "Well they wanted 20,000 but Nouri sure showed them!!!!") Al Rafidayn quotes from Moqtada al-Sadr who states that if the US military remains -- "trainers" or not -- they will be seen as occupiers and must be resisted. He also said "trainers" would demonstrate just how weak the Iraqi government is. Dar Addustour notes that US forces would remain in the KRG regardless and do so "on the request of the region's president" Masoud Barzani.

Reuters notes today's violence includes 2 Mussayab bombings which left three people injured and 1 police officer shot dead in Madaen.

Meanwhile, the prison break. AFP reports late Friday there were clashes in a Hilla prison and 4 prisoners and 1 guard died (five more prisoners were injured -- and we're using the numbers reported by the medic in the article) and that up to 15 prisoners may have escaped. Al Sabaah notes a state of emergency has been called and a curfew imposed on Hilla. Dar Addustour states 20 prisoners escaped (including al Qaeda in Iraq members and members of Moqtada's Mahdi militia) and that the armed clash on Friday lasted up to an hour. Al Mada states that the escapees included 8 death row inmates.

An e-mail asks why the protest in Baghdad Friday wasn't covered? There wasn't one that I'm aware of. The youth activists are taking August off for the month of Ramadan. After that month of religious observance, they intend to resume on September 9th.

In Friday's snapshot, we quoted some from a news release about Cynthia McKinney's truth tour. I noted we didn't have room for the full release and that I'd include it in a Saturday entry so here it is:

McKinney Libya Tour now to 19 Cities

Anti-war & Black activists unite against Libya war

A continuing mobilization against the U.S. war on Libya has taken place in cities across the country. Packed, standing room only audiences at major meetings have heard former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney report on her June fact-finding trip to Libya with the Dignity delegation. In every meeting the message rings out: Stop the U.S./NATO bombing of Libya.

In the coming ten days Cynthia McKinney is scheduled to speak at meetings in Boston on Saturday, August 6, in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 7, in Vancouver on Tuesday, August 9. McKinney will speak at the Millions March in Harlem of August 13 along with Minister Farrakhan and other opponents of war and sanctions on Libya and Zimbabwe. She is scheduled to speak at 2 meeting in North Carolina on Sunday, August 14 hosted by the Black Workers for Justice in Rocky Mount and later at a historic civil rights church in Durham.


The destructive bombing attacks on Libya by the Pentagon and NATO are highly unpopular in the United States, although you wouldn’t know it from corporate media coverage.

Proof of this can be seen in a speaking tour that has now grown to 19 cities. The tour is coordinated by the International Action Center, in coordination with a broad range of other organizations. It is this unified approach of working with a whole range of other progressive political, religious and community organizations that has defined meetings in every city.

Mass meetings in St Louis MO, Pittsburgh PA, Baltimore MD, Detroit MI and Denver CO are now on the upcoming agenda.

In New York City on July 30 McKinney spoke at historic Riverside Church. An overflow crowd of more than 500 people packed a room that seated more than 400.

A link to the NYC Riverside Church meeting is available at:

The meeting was well attended by activists from various anti-war organizations. It also attracted an equal number of community organizers and leaders from nearby Harlem.

When she was in Congress, McKinney represented a largely African-American district in Georgia. She and other speakers characterized the attack on Libya as a “racist war” that is part of an imperialist strategy to recolonize Africa.

In her talk, McKinney put the war against Libya in the context of the continuing brutality in the U.S. against people of color, despite the election of a Black president. She called out the names of half a dozen innocent young Black men who have recently been gunned down by police, from San Francisco to New York.

Sharing the podium with McKinney were prominent fighters for justice in the New York metropolitan area, including Larry Hamm of the People’s Organization for Progress and Saleem Muhammad Aktar of the Muslim American Alliance and Muslim American Taskforce.

Minister Akbar Muhammed, International Representative of the Nation of Islam, who visited Libya numerous times, stressed at the New York meeting and at previous meetings, the importance of the developing alliance among African-American forces, the anti-imperialist left and Muslims in opposing U.S. aggression in Africa and the Middle East.

Ramsey Clark who spoke at several meetings, including NYC and Atlanta, stressed the responsibility of anti-war forces in the United States to stand up against the Pentagon and the corporate-military-industrial complex, especially at a time when the public treasury is being looted to pay for ever more frequent and costly aggression against poor countries.

Sara Flounders of the International Action Center the coordinator of the tour, now to 19 cities, focused in her talks on the role of corporate media and government propaganda to demonization the Libyan government and justify war crimes and massive destruction. It is an effort to create a racist Pentagon lynch mob mentality to recolonize Africa. It must be resisted.

Khalifa Elderbak, a young Libyan studying in the U.S., told the New York City and Northampton MA audiences he was astounded by the media lies about what was happening in his country. He described how, seeing on the news that the Gadhafi government of Libya had bombed his hometown, he called dozens of relatives and friends back home, only to be told that the story was totally false. But days later it was all too true that NATO jets were bombing his hometown. Khalifa Elderbak will also speak in Boston on August 6.

The New York program also featured speakers who raised issues of unemployment, hunger and homelessness, which are endemic in communities of color. High school student Dinae Anderson spoke eloquently about the hunger already gripping poor areas. She informed about a campaign in New York to restore and expand food stamps under the slogan “Feed the hungry, not the Pentagon.”

Johnnie Stevens, speaking for Workers World Party, got a warm response as he urged participation in an Aug. 13 protest in Harlem against imperialist intervention in Africa. He then recapitulated decades of deadly U.S. imperialist intervention in Africa, from the assassination of Congo’s independence leader, Patrice Lumumba, to today’s build-up of U.S. forces on the continent. He compared the “rebels” in Libya to the “rebels” in the U.S. Civil War who tried to perpetuate the enslavement of African people.

Glen Ford, of the Black Is Back Coalition, analyzed the role of President Barack Obama in carrying out the program of the financiers and warmongers. He reminded the audience that Obama, even while campaigning on the slogan of change, had said two weeks before his election that he would be a compromiser, and he certainly has kept that promise.

Teresa Gutierrez of the May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights, Rocio Silverio of the IAC and Professor Asha Samad co-chaired the rally, which opened with a welcome from the Rev. Robert B. Coleman of the Riverside Church Prison and Imam Aiyub Abdul Baqi of the Islamic Leadership Council of NY. Rocio Silverio, thanked CUNY student, Sasha Murphy of the ANSWER Coalition for her talk in support of "Libya for Libyans" and "money for education, not the bombing of Libya".

In Newark, N.J. two days earlier, McKinney had spoken to another standing-room-only meeting in Newark at Abyssinian Baptist Church organized by the Peoples Organization for Progress. At the meeting the Newark City Council gave McKinney an award for telling truth to power. Members of the Newark City Council were part of the program along with the New Black Panther Party and representatives of major African American churches in Newark.

Large crowds in Atlanta, other cities

A week earlier, McKinney had spoken before another large crowd of over 500 in Atlanta on Sunday, July 24 at the Shrine of the Black Madonna in her home state. There, too, turnout was massive from the Black community, whose youth are constantly besieged by recruiters for the armed forces — often seen as the only alternative to nonexistent jobs and education for those in the U.S. who suffer racist oppression. The Atlanta meeting was organized by a broad coalition including the World African Diaspora Union (Georgia), the Nation of Islam, All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (Georgia), the African Community Centers and the International Action Center.

The current tour began in Houston TX on July 7. It included a meeting organized by Veterans for Peace at the annual Peacestock in Hager City City WI and by Women Against Military Madness and Stop FBI Repression and others in Minneapolis MN on July 9. In Albany the Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Women Against War, Veterans for Peace organized a large meeting on July 10. A Meeting in Washington DC was organized by the American Muslim Alliance and American Muslim Taskforce. It was followed by a standing room only meeting on July 14, held at the historic Friends Meeting House in Northampton MA organized by Western Mass IAC and the Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq.

The coalition of forces sponsoring the present tour of 19 cities and earlier six meetings showed that the active anti-war movement, especially those groups affiliated with the United National Antiwar Coalition and the Answer Coalition, had recognized the imperialist, predatory character of a war that the Obama administration claimed was to “protect civilians.”

A Full listing of the current tout is listed below>

National-tour, now to 19 cities, organized by International Action Center in coordination with many antiwar and community organizations from July 7 to August 28, 2011.

July 7 Thursday- Houston, TX

July 9 Saturday - Peacestock, Hager City, WI & Minneapolis, MN

July 10, Sunday – Albany, NY,

July 11, Monday –Washington DC,

July 14, Thursday – Northampton MA,

July 24, Sunday –Atlanta, GA

July 28, Thursday – Newark, NJ,

July 30, Saturday – New York City, NY

August 6, Saturday – Boston, MA

August 7, Sunday – Los Angeles, CA

August 9, Tuesday – Vancouver BC, Canada

August 13, Saturday - NYC with Millions March in Harlem

August 14, Sunday - Rocky Mount, and Durham, NC

August 19, Friday – St Louis MO

August 21, Sunday - Pittsburg, PA

August 25, Thursday - Baltimore, MD

August 27, Saturday – Detroit, MI

August 28, Sunday – Denver CO

- - - -- - - - - - - - -


July 7, 2011, 7:00 PM

Texas Southern University,

Public Affairs Building, Auditorium 114, Houston, TX

Sponsored by the Black Justice Coalition, the National Black United Front, Houston 2011 Peace Camp, and the Harris County Green Party


Saturday, July 9, 2011 - 12 noon to 5pm

Organized by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 115

Bill Habedank, Executive Director
651-764-1866 C

Peacestock address is N2934 750th St., Hager city WI 54014


Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 7pm

Plymouth Congregational Church

1900 Nicollet Ave South Minneapolis, MN

Sponsored by: Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Twin Cities Peace Campaign and Women Against Military Madness.

FFI: 612-379-3899 or 612-827-5364.


Sunday, July 10, 3:00 - 5:00 pm

First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, Channing Hall
405 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY

Sponsored by Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Tom Paine Chapter of Veterans for Peace, Women Against War, Upper Hudson Peace Action, The Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, Guilderland Neighbors for Peace. Donation of $10 requested, $5 unemployed and students, no one turned away. 
for information: 518-439-1968


Monday, July 11 from 5:30 to 8:30pm

LIBYA: Contemplating Long-Term Consequences of the NATO Invasion

At: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,

1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW Washington, DC 20036.

Sponsored by: American Muslim Alliance, AMA Policy Forum,

National Director,AMA Foundation (AMA-F) Muhammad Salim Akhtar

Cell: 773-507-5335

Direct: 202-280-7466


Thursday, July 14th, 7:00 pm,

The historic Friends Meeting House,

43 Center Street, Suite 202, 2nd floor, Northampton, MA, 01060.

Organized by Western Mass IAC and the Northampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq. Co-sponsored by: Alliance for Peace and Justice, Pioneer Valley Code Pink and the Pioneer Valley Green/Rainbow Local Party

Contact: Nicholas Camerota, (413) 896-5219, or email:


/Sun, July 24 at 4:00 p.m.

At the historic Shrine of the Black Madonna Culture Center,

West End Neighborhood

946 Ralph David Abernathy, Atlanta, GA 30310

Donate $ at

Sponsored by: Africa Ascension, World African Diaspora Union (WADU)-ATL, The Nation of Islam, All African Peoples Revolutionary Party (AAPRP)-ATL, the Religious Heritage of the African World – Pan African Ministers, the African Community Centers, UNIA/ACL, The Georgia Green Party, International Action Center, African Association of Georgia, the New Black Panther Party, The Dignity Delegation, Sankofa United Church of Christ, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), The Shrine of the Black Madonna, First African Church, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, The Congo Coalition…

Contacts: Min. Menelik at 404-527-7756 or Bro. Sobukwe at 404-456-7962.


Thursday, July 28 6:30 pm

Abyssinian Baptist Church

224 West Kinney St, Newark, NJ

Between Broad St & Irving Turner Blvd.

#5 Bus from Newark Penn Station

Organized by POP – Peoples Organization for Progress

(come prepared to contribute)

Contact Lawrence Hamm 973-801-0001


JULY 30 • SAT • 5 pm


Assembly Hall, 122nd St & Riverside Dr, NY, NY (Enter at 91 Claremont Ave entrance) Light refreshments served

NYC Program is in coordination with:

The Riverside Church Prison Ministries and Stop the War on Libya Coalition: (List in formation) AMA American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Task Force, Nation of Islam, Freedom Party, Answer Coalition, Black Is Back Coalition December 12 Movement, The Dignity Delegation, International Action Center.

With support from:

Bail Out the People Movement ,BAYAN-USA, Colia Clark, Green Party Candidate U.S. Senate 2012, December 12 Movement, FIST Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC), Haiti Liberté, Harlem Fightback Against War at Home & Abroad, Harlem Tenants Council, Honduras Resistencia USA, International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jersey City Peace Movement, Manhattan Local of the Green Party, May 1 Workers and Immigrants Rights Coalition, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, Peoples Organization for Progress, SI Solidarity Iran, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, UNAC United National Antiwar Coalition, Washington Heights Counter - Recruitment Group, Workers World Party, World Can’t Wait,




St. Katherine Drexel Church, 175 Ruggles St., Roxbury, MA

Cosponsored by International Action Center • Fanmi Lavalas Boston • Boston United National Antiwar Committee • Minister Don Mohammad, Temple 11, Nation of Islam* • Veterans for Peace, Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Brigade • Chelsea Uniting Against the War • Women’s Fightback Network • Bishop Filipe Teixeira, OFSJC, Diocese of St Francis of Assisi, CCA • Steve Gillis, VP, USW 8751 Boston School Bus Union* • Ed Childs, Chief Shop Steward, UNITE-HERE local 26* • N’COBRA (Reparations), Manchester, NH (list in formation)* for id only

For information in Boston call: 617-522-6626 or go to


SUNDAY, August 7th at 2pm

SEIU Local 721 Auditorium, 500 S Virgil Ave, (At 6th & Virgil) L.A.

Cosponsored by: All African Peoples Revolutionary Party-S, International Action Center, UNIA, BAYAN-USA, ALBA-USA, KPFK Unpaid Staff Union, Black August Organizing Committee, Southern California Immigration Coalition, Latino Caucus of SEIU Local 721,

For more information Contact: Dedon - (323) 646-4814 or IAC - (323) 306-6240


Tuesday, AUGUST 9 7pm

Vancouver Heritage Hall

3102 Main St., Vancouver, BC, Canada

Organized by Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) -

For more information 604-322-1764,

Sat. Aug 13 NYC Speaking at the Millions March in Harlem


Sunday, August 14 at 3pm

Booker T. Washington Theatre, 170 East Thomas Street, Rocky Mount, NC.

Event sponsored by Black Workers for Justice. In the Name of Humanity, International Action Center, FIST – Fight Imperialism Stand Together.

Call Shafeah M'Balia-James 252-442-8123 for more info

Durham, NC

Sunday, August 14 at 7pm at

St. Joseph's AME Church, 2521 Fayetteville St, Durham, NC

St Louis MO

Friday, August 19

(Details to follow)

Pittsburgh PA

Sunday, August 21

(Details to follow)

Baltimore, MD

Thursday, August 25

(Details to follow)


Saturday, August 27 - 4 PM to 7 PM

University of Michigan Detroit Center

Ann Arbor Conference Room, 3662 Woodward Avenue, at M.L King Blvd

Detroit, MI 48201.

Sponsored by: MECAWI - Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, , the National Conference of Black Lawyers Michigan Chapter, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Workers World Party, Green Party of Michigan, Detroit Greens, and the Pan-African News Wire.

For More info: or


Denver CO

Sunday, August 28

(Details to follow)

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