Friday, December 09, 2011

The continued wounds

When you lie 'for a cause,' you cheapen not only yourself but also your cause. That's basic, it's remedial, in fact. Yet so many are so focused on short-term gains that they convince themselves they can get away with their lies. Take the Islamic Republic News Agency. Today, they insist, "EU endorses Baghdad decision for MKO expulsion." In fact, the United Nations has called this week for the deadline Nouri al-Maliki has set (December 31st) to be pushed back. The European Union has not yet officially weighed in on that, however, it is doubtful they would disagree with the UN's call. There's been no change in the EU position but the UN's call for the deadline to be pushed back has upset many outlets in Iran -- and they've in turn often refused to inform their news consumers what's actually going on at present.

In fairness to Iranian outlets, it's not just them getting it wrong. You really didn't read about Martin Kobler's testimony to the UN on Monday in US papers. Al Mada notes that the Secretary-General's special envoy to Iraq testified that approximately ten people die in Iraq each day as violence continues and that the human rights situation in Iraq remains precarious. Al Mada also explains that the report Kobler submitted stated that little progress had been made by Iraq and Kuwait's governments in normalizing relations between the two countries.

In the Los Angeles Times, David Zucchino reports on the self-mutilation that's part of the 'celebration' of Ashura: "The men, and some young boys, had sliced their heads or flayed themselves with cahins to open wounds and draw blood." But not all wounds are self-inflicted. CBS News' Richard Bonin's Arrows of the Night: Ahmad Chalabi's Long Journey to Triumph in Iraq discusses the chicken little exile Ahmed Chalabi who became the CIA's asset and helped start an illegal war -- with the only condition being he didn't have to take up arms himself because cowards let others do the fighting. Bonin spoke about the book and Chalabi on yesterday's Loenard Lopate Show (WNYC).

Still on wounds, the country's scarred, damaged and polluted. Birth defects are on the rise and that's especially true in Falluja which was exposed to various banned chemicals during the US assault in November 2004. Reuters reports:

Amir Hussain and Awfa Abdullah got married in Falluja in 2004 but their lives were turned upside by the birth of their two babies.
Their first child, a baby boy born in 2006, had brain damage and died last year.
The second, a baby girl who was born in 2007, suffers from severe skin rashes and has one leg longer than the other.
"We've decided to stop having babies. We don't want any more, because it means new suffering and a new battle against new diseases," Hussain said.

And as the US tore up and destroyed Falluja, so the Turkish military does to northern Iraq, always under the pretext of attempting to stop the PKK -- a group they've been unable to stop since 1984. Viola Gienger (Bloomberg News) reports, "Turkey expects the U.S. will approve its request for drones it can use on its own in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK, according to Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan."

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT WILL DESTROY BILL OF RIGHTS" (OpEd News):

The grim face of totalitarianism is emerging in the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA) now before Congress.
This bill is the last mile post on America’s sad, well-traveled road to the butcher shop of dictatorship. We have been headed that way for some time and, with a little help from Congress, we’ll arrive there shortly, putting an ugly end to the American experiment. The Senate December 1st passed the bill by a vote of 93-7.
In the name of “defense,” NDAA underwrites $662-billion for continued U.S. aggression in our many foreign wars while, on the domestic front, it incinerates the last surviving shreds of the Bill of Rights. According to the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU), it authorizes presidents “to order the military to pick up and imprison people, including U.S. citizens, without charging them or putting them on trial.” (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) So much for Amendment VI to our Constitution that “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.”
Just destroying your protection against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment means the bill’s authors Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and John McCain of Arizona don’t have to bother with junking anything else. Once you’re imprisoned you won’t need any other “stinkin’ rights.”
The ACLU charges the provisions of NDAA “were negotiated by a small group of members of Congress, in secret, and without proper congressional review (and), are inconsistent with fundamental American values embodied in the Constitution....(our) fundamental freedoms are on the line.”

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