Monday, November 07, 2011

Assassination attempt on governor of Anbar Province

Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) reports Anbar Province governor Qasim al-Fahadawi has survived an assassination attempt today. The Irish Examiner notes that this isn't the first attempt on al-Fahadawi and he lost a leg in a 2009 assassination attempt and that the "attack came as Anbar officials consider joining other provinces to create an semi-autonomous Sunni region in Iraq." DPA notes that while the governor was unharmed, three bodyguards were left injured.

CNN's Amar C. Bakshi notes he will be interviewing KRG prime minister Barham Salih early today and:

As way of very brief background, the Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group without a state. After World War I, when great powers carved up the Middle East, the Kurds, riven by internal strife at the time, did not get a seat at the table. In turn, they did not get a state on the map.
Numbering around 30 million today, the Kurds are spread between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. Their aspirations for statehood have been channeled into a remarkable experiment in oil-rich Northern Iraq, where they administer their own regional government that has proven relatively peaceful and vibrant.

The PKK is one of the Kurdish rebel groups -- one of many -- which advocates for a Kurdish homeland (among other things). They were created by the Turkish government when it refused to treat Kurds in Turkey as full and qual citizens. Owen Matthws (Daily Beast) is a text book example of someone who just doesn't get it:

The cycle of attack and retaliation has become depressingly familiar: Kurdish guerrillas kill Turkish soldiers in a hit-and-run raid. Politicians express outrage and vow vengeance as patriotic Turks fly flags of solidarity to commemorate the dead from every window and car. Fighter jets, gunships, and commandos stream over Turkey’s southern border to hit the bases of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in the mountains of northern Iraq.
In October the PKK killed 24 Turkish soldiers in a series of coordinated ambushes, and the old pattern kicked into action.

We'll come back to the rest of the second paragraph which also demonstrates gross ignorance (or else in intent to spin and lie). Note where the problem starts, according to Matthews: The PKK attacks. Really? And then he goes to October. Ignoring the non-stop bombing the Turkish military's done since August 17th, non-stop bombing of northern Iraq. Which has forced farmers and sheep herders off their land, forced villages to empty out, injured and killed Iraqis -- adults and children.

All of that is ignored by Matthews who wants to tell you that the process starts with the PKK attacking the Turks.

Stupidity like that has to hurt.

Let's go back to his second paragraph and pick up where we left off:

But this time there was an important difference -- and it wasn’t just the scale of the attacks, which marked the biggest one-day loss to the Turkish security forces since 1993. Rather, the real difference was that a historic attempt by the government to reset relations with Turkey's estimated 20 million Kurds has failed. That made these recent attacks the opening shots in a vicious new round of the country’s 35-year-old near -- civil war.

Historic attempt? A lot of words and empty promises. Pretty words in 2009. Two years later they were revealed to be hogwash. Matthews doesn't know or doesn't share that Kurds were asked to participate in recent elections and that they did only to see those they voted for jailed. It's not noted that a big-to-do was made out of the fact that it would finally not be illegal for Kurds to speak Kurdish but that in reality nothing changed even with that cosmetic step since that was on the federal level and local laws continue to prevent Kurds from speaking Kurdish 'legally' -- as the federal government damn well knew would be the case. Historic discrimination will not be ended with a few meaningless, cosmetic changes. These and other changes were supposed to take place in 2009. The two years since have demonstrated Erdogan was either not serious about equality and inclusion or he didn't get how serious the issue was.

And Matthew Owen? He gets it. He's just whoring. As you read on you finally getting to him spitting out his disgust for the PKK's beliefs -- "old-school, Moscow-trained Marxist revolutionaries" -- and people wonder why Newsweek still teeters on the verge of financial collapse? It's right there. They have to peddle their wares at The Daily Beast because Tina Brown's site has a better image and they still fail to call "opinion" opinion and instead pass it off as reporting. Matthew Owen has petty grudge to jerk off. It'll probably either make him feel good or give him a nasty burn but it won't do a damn thing to help people understand the actual issues involved.

Tariq is an Iraqi interpreter who has worked with the US. He contributes a column for the Los Angeles Times entitled "U.S. pullout leaves Iraqi interpreters out on a limb" in which he notes that last month he had to go into hiding because his job ended and he was no longer living on a US base:

My fellow interpreters and I were promised by the U.S. government that special visas would be made available for us to move to the United States if our lives were put in danger by our work for the military. Congress backed up that promise by passing a law setting aside 5,000 such "special immigrant visas" per year for Iraqis.

But the process is broken. The program is going so slowly, it is barely a program at all. In August, according to American news reports, a mere 10 visas were issued, and that is typical. We all have been told that our applications are on "administrative hold" while the U.S. runs security clearances on us (even though we already have gone through exhaustive security checks to get clearance to be on the bases). We are despairing at this point, and we worry that the U.S. government is closing the door on us. The looming pullout leaves us in extreme jeopardy as the Americans not only continue to delay issuing us visas but also expel us from the only safe places for us in Iraq.

Congress needs to get involved in this issue and stop covering for the White House. In fifteen years, when this is a scandal, no one's going to give a damn that you were 'helping' the White House. They're going to want to know why you weren't addressing the issue and if your answer is "I was playing party politics," you will likely be voted out of office. Alsumaria TV reports Ayad Allawi is calling for the UN to appoint a human rights minister in Iraq. Congress should echo that call.

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Priorities" went up last night. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- a weekly hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) -- topics explored include Occupy Wall Street, Barack and the Constitution, a report on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers efforts to get a fair wage for Florida tomato pickers and Pam Martens (CounterPunch) explains how Wall Street firms spy on protesters with tax payers footing the bill for the spying.

Lynne Stewart is a political prisoner. Someone sent to prison under Bully Boy Bush for practicing the law. Attorney Lynne broke no laws. No one can point to a law on the book that she broke. But under Bully Boy Bush that didn't matter. And as proof that the only 'change' Barack offers is NO change, she was actually re-sentenced with a harsher sentence after Barack became president. A lot of men have tried to play 'tough guy' at Lynne's expense. Her imprisonment is a stain on the nation. We should note her every week here but we don't. It usually takes, as it did this morning, a mutual friend (I know Lynne, she's no terrorist) calling and saying, "You know you haven't mentioned Lynne in awhile." We cannot forget Lynne. What was done to her will be done to others. On October 8th, Justice for Lynne Stewart posted the following letter from Lynne:

To my friends and supporters, family, comrades and dear ones;
You cannot know how happy I am to be writing this !! Not with my circumstances but because after about 6 weeks of trying to get medical relief for a painful bladder infection that seemed to affect the rest of my “Lower Plumbing” as well, I have on a new anti biotic that at first glance seems to be working.
Talk about wan and listless, just like a Jane Austen character, I have basically stayed in my bed and slept–not even reading! I am so sorry about all the letters I haven’t answered particularly those from young people who need to know if they should think about going to law school and those in the thick of the movement who want my insight (from afar!). I hope I will be regaining my energy soon. We have cancelled all visits for October to resume in November with an introductory “tryout” of Connor Dueno, my great grandson with his mama and grandmama. Odds are we’ll be keeping him!
In order that my Prison Readers shouldn’t think that I have mellowed (Ha!) I must say that if Amy is to be trusted the Wall Street occupation looks like it has some legs, whether those legs are reformist or radical, we will see. I don’t think we can look forward to parading out the Banksters and Goldman Sachs to face “Peoples Justice” just yet But …. There seems to be a spark and that gladdens my Heart.
I will be 72 on the 8th–the day of the Heroic Guerilla, the day they killed Che. I still hold strongly to my beliefs, my love of the people and that there will be redemption from the nightmare with which, we are all struggling. So I wish you all a Happy Birthday and Struggle ON!!
Love Lynne

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