Monday, September 19, 2011

Continued disintegration in Iraq

Reuters reports that Iraqi officials announced yesterday that last Monday's attack on a bus of Shi'ite pilgrims, 22 of which were killed, was carried out by "Arab foreigners." Reuters is apparently too kind or shy to point out that last week saw the arrests of eight Iraqis in Anbar Province for the killings, four of which were quickly released with reports on Saturday stating the other four would be released as well. Alsumaria TV notes, "Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki ordered the release of all the detainees from Al Ratba District on account of Al Nukhaib incident, Anbar Province said."

Though Nouri and his goons need little help in perverting 'justice,' if they were aided in it last week and are this week, it might be due to what many detect/suspect is the hand of Sahwa majordomo and Iraqi mafia king pin Ahmed Abu-Risha who has had his own bloody fingers in the mix since day one, first grand standing immediately after the killing with the announcement of a huge reward for the capture of the killers. Over the weekend, he began making noise that the Saudis were connected to the killings. Abu-Risha wants to make himself indispensable to Nouri because he's already made himself useless to most Sunnis and his 'concrete' business won't escape the eyes of the law forever.

Al Mada notes the release of the eight arrested resulted not from "legal procedures" but a political deal. If that's news to you, drop back to Saturday's "Government in crisis." On Sunday, Al Rafidayn reports, the Defense Ministry's secretary was announcing that four of the eight had confessed to the killings. Never take a confession in Iraq seriously, the authorities use torture to garner them. But it is worth noting to point out that the secretary is not the Minister of Defense. Iraq has no Minister of Defense.

Though required by the Constituion to nominate a full Cabinet and have it approved by Parliament to move from prime minister-designate to prime minister, as December drew to a close, Nouri al-Maliki was waived on through and US officials (with the US press echoing them) maintained it was okay because Nouri would quickly fill the posts of Minister of Interior, Minister of National Security and Minister of Defense. (How very telling about the current White House that they were not only okay with but justified the breaking of a country's constitution.) It is now almost exactly nine months into Political Stalemate II and Nouri still can't fill the posts. Putting 'acting' ministers in those spots is not filling them. 'Acting' ministers are not approved by Parliament. Without Parliament approval, they have no Parliament protection and serve at the will of Nouri so better be good puppets or expect to be fired.

Dar Addustour reports that Jawad al-Bolani is again asking to be taken off of the list of candidates for Minister of the Defense. al-Bolani was backed by Iraqiya. In his latest comment, al-Bolani offers thanks for the support but the hope that by withdrawing his own name, there might be some forward movement of selecting a Minister of Defense finally.

Al Rafidayn reports that a prison fire in Baladiyat resulted in the deaths of 3 prisoners with another thirty left injured. At present, the fire is blamed on an electrical problem.

Meanwhile Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi is in the KRG, Aswat al-Iraq reports, to meet with Barham Saleh, KRG Premier, to discuss the ongoing governmental issues -- the failure to implement the Erbil Agreement, the oil and gas bill proposed by Nouri al-Maliki. Al Mada notes that the Kurds are "fed up" with Nouri's style of governing and with being marginalized while their demands are ignored. Some do believe that it would be difficult to replace Nouri currently (a no-confidence vote in Parliament) but as this situation continues to build, who knows? Dar Addustour notes some Kurdish insiders see Nouri's window of time closing and that current demands are the last chance. Al Mada also notes Nouri's specific failure to proceed on the section of the Erbil Agreement revolving around the national council (security committee that was to be headed by Ayad Allawi) is also harming his standing. And they note that Sadrists are bothered by State of Law's militia Knights of Law. (State of Law is Nouri's political slate.)

Bonnie reminds that last night Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Plan." On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings on WBAI and around the country throughout the week and is hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights), topics explored include the medical profession's role in assisting the US military and CIA in torture (guest is Dr. Stephen Soldz) and Guantanamo and its various satellites (guest is CCR's Vince Warren). And we'll close with this from the War Resisters League:

For Immediate Release
Contact: Liz Roberts
Phone: (212) 228-0450 x 17


War Resisters League (WRL), a 98-year-old secular pacifist organization in the United States, announced today that their 2012 Peace Calendar, Organize This! A 1955-2011 Retrospective (ISBN: 0-940862-24-7), will be the final volume in a 57-year calendar series. For the first decade of its existence, the WRL peace calendar was the only progressive political calendar available.

This last edition is full-color with a foreword by Noam Chomsky. The pages of Organize This! include the covers of the 56 previous peace calendars which featured the writing and images of a wide range of renowned peacemakers and artists such as Pete Seeger, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, John Sayles, A. Philip Randolph, Ben Shahn, Ed Asner, Ruby Dee, Mary Frank, Dick Gregory, Grace Paley, Vera B. Williams, Ivan Chermayeff, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Coretta Scott King, and Howard Zinn.

“WRL builds awareness of, and organizes against, every facet of militarism, working with civilians, GI resisters, and veterans’ groups throughout the United States,” Chomsky writes in his foreword. “For the last 57 years, the WRL Peace Calendar has been a vital part of this consciousness-raising and activism.”

Liz Roberts, Organize This! editor and WRL Membership and Development Coordinator, said, “The 2012 peace calendar is not just a retrospective of previous WRL calendars. It’s a keepsake of a long-running publication focused on anti-militarist organizing and peacemaking efforts for nearly 60 years. WRL’s Peace Calendars recorded the times in prose, poetry, lyrics, recipes and art.”

“Having begun work on peace calendars 40 years ago, I must say the final volume truly represents what WRL strives to achieve: the removal of all causes of war. The 2012 calendar unites WRL’s anti-war message with its long tradition of partnering with social justice movements” said former staff member Wendy Schwartz, who wrote the calendar’s afterword.

WRL ends this long tradition with a retrospective that shows the breadth of themes and vibrant artwork of every previous volume. In addition to the 56 pages of color artwork, the calendar’s date pages note events vital to the history of the movement for peace and social justice. There is also a directory of peace and justice organizations and publications in the United States, and a list of international contacts. Spiral bound, 144 pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Organize This! A 1955-2011 Retrospective retails for $14.95. It is available directly from the War Resisters League ( and at better bookstores everywhere.

Declining sales have made the calendar increasingly less effective as a fundraiser, and the digital age has made the paper datebook obsolete for many. Still, ending WRL’s long tradition of producing the peace calendar was not an easy decision, in part because of the calendar’s popularity as a holiday gift. Thus the organization has pledged to begin offering different items suitable for gift giving in the coming years.

War Resisters League, headquartered in New York City, is affiliated with War Resisters’ International, which is based in London. WRL believes war to be a crime against humanity, and advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation.

-- Liz Roberts
Development& Membership Coordinator

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10012

(212) 228-0450 x 17

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