Friday, February 17, 2012

Journalistic malpractice

As I read over the garbage passed off as reporting regarding Tareq al-Hashemi what becomes clear the most quickly is that the further you get from the US, the better the quality of reporting. Among the disappointing is ____ of __. (I'll be kind on this only once.) Since she's summarizing others, nothing prevented her from offering an opinion. But she can't even get facts rights. As we've noted before it is not only factually incorrect to state that Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi "fled" to the KRG, it's pejorative. It shouldn't have required Iraqis in Baghdad stating that they might feel differently but since he "fled" to make outlets realize they needed to be careful in their word choice. Sunday December 18th, there was no arrest warrant for al-Hashemi. That's when he left Baghdad for the KRG. Before he did, he and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq and their bodyguards were pulled off the plane by Nouri's forces at Baghdad International. Tareq al-Hashemi was then allowed to reboard the plane and to leave Baghdad. That's not "fleeing." They were going to the KRG for previously scheduled meetings. The next day, Monday December 19th, Nouri issued an arrest warrant for al-Hashemi who was already in the KRG. al-Hashemi elected to stay in the KRG. Some have used "holed up in the KRG." Pejorative, but factually correct. It is incorrect to state he fled.

But it's incorrect to offer the crap they're offering.

Nine judges with the Iraqi Supreme Court issued a finding that Tareq al-Hashemi is guilty. There has been no trial. He can't receive a fair trial in Baghdad and probably not in Iraq -- outside of the KRG. Once the Supreme Court declared his guilt publicly, they made a ruling.

It is the Supreme Court because they used the Supreme Court spokersperson (Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar) for their press conference and because, as the BBC notes, the nine-member review was "set up by the Supreme Judicial Council."

Tareq al-Hashemi is an Iraqi citizen and, as such, the Constitution (Article 19) guarantees he is innocent unless convicted in a court of law. There has been no trial. The judiciary has not just overstepped their bounds, they have also violated the Constitution.

Lower courts hearing the case in Iraq now will know the feeling of the Supreme Court (which can overrule them) and that could influence a verdict. So, no, he cannot receive a fair trial now.

The press is either ignorant of the Constitution or they just don't give a damn. When you report but you ignore the law, that's journalistic malpractice.

So is white washing a publicity whore.

I'm remembering when Jane Fonda came back into the US from Canada in the early seventies. (I'm not calling Jane a publicity whore.) It was when she was on the White House enemies list and she was stopped due to Tricky Dick's list. So she's being detained in customs and waiting and waiting and waiting. And she's also getting her period and needs to go to the bathroom but they keep telling her that she's going to have to wait for a police matron (who doesn't show). So finally, she heads for the ladies room on her own and an altercation of some sort takes place between her and the police officer. (This is the 'drug' bust where there were no drugs, by the way.) So the government's going to go after Jane. And the thing about corrupt governments is they always give themselves away. Their greed and their hatred always do them in eventually. In the case of the assault on Jane's freedoms, the police officer (off-duty) decided he could get a little fame and make a lot of money by claiming he was injured by Jane. So he filed a civil suit.

That's when the US government ran from their own case. Discovery attached via the civil suit and the US government was not about to admit that there was an enemies list of American citizens to be stopped and detained each time they came through customs so they immediately dropped their case.

(These days, they'd just call it a 'watch list' and get away with it, how democracy has decayed in this country.)

How does this relate to Tareq al-Hashemi?

Saad al-Lami's the publicity whore. The judge can't keep his damn mouth shut, can he?

Al Mada notes he can't stop whining about alleged threats against him from Tareq al-Hashemi's supporters and how al-Hashemi publicly named him. And whine on. He did this at the press conference. Is he a judge or not? That's not the behavior of someone reserving judgment. That's the behavior of someone with a conflict of interest.

And though the press won't tell you, he has many conflicts of interests including being known as very anti-Sunni (al-Hashemi is a Sunni). He was in the news not all that long ago. AFP reported he was demanding that Iraqiya MP Haidar al-Mullah lose his immunity so he (the judge) could sue him:

Abdelsattar Birakdar, spokesman of the Higher Judicial Council, said Mullah was accused of having offended Judge Saad al-Lami in a late November interview.
Lami filed a complaint, after which a court "studied the case and then issued an arrest warrant against him and sent a request to parliament to lift his immunity in order to prosecute him," Birakdar said.
Mullah said Lami was "influenced by Maliki."

(If that link doesn't work, click here for the AFP article.)

'Judge' Saad al-Lami is a disgrace. He's a joke and his presence on the 'independent' body after his well known hatred for Sunnis and his more recent attempt to go after an Iraqiya MP was more than enough to require that he excuse himself from all things having to do with these issues. But he didn't. Because he's too corrupt and they always give themselves away. Always.

I don't see detachment on the part of the press in the bulk of the reports, I see an inability to provide major details that go to the heart of the story.

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