Saturday, April 14, 2012

Even Moqtada al-Sadr is calling Nouri out

It's not as if Iraq wasn't already in the midst of ongoing political crisis. Now Nouri al-Maliki's really bringing things to a boiling point. Mohamad Ali Harissi (AFP) reports, "Key political factions accused the premier of moving towards a dictatorship with the arrest of Iraq's electoral commission chief, a charge the prime minister denied on Saturday." As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Tuesday found the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy Martin Kobler praising the Independent High Electoral Commission and discussing how important it was to the upcoming provincial elections next year and then the parliamentary elections scheduled for the year after. So news that Nouri's had two members of that commission arrested on Thursday, as reported in real time by Raheem Salman (ioL news), was startling and alarming. The two arrested Karim al-Tamimi and the head of the commission Faraj al-Haidari.

Al Mada reports
that Moqtada al-Sadr declared on Saturday that the arrests were indications that Nouri al-Maliki might be attempting to delay the elections or call them off all together. He makes it clear that the the arrest needs to be based on eveidence and not on some whim of Nouri's and that it shouldn't be done because Nouri desires to "postpone or call of the election." Al Rafidayn explains Nouri al-Maliki released a statement today decrying those who doubted the arrests were sound. The Baghdad court that Nouri controls made no attempt to even pretend to be impartial or about justice. This system is a nightmare and needs to be called out. It's very distressing that the Western press has refused to do so. The Supreme Judicial Council announced yesterday that Faraj al-Haidari had used UNHCR money to purchase plots of land and that he will face a seven year prison term for those actions.

That is not a judiciary. Again, it is past damn time that the Western media loudly condemned the Iraqi judiciary.

A judiciary hears evidence at a trial and makes a conclusion. A judiciary never declares before a trial has been held that someone is guilty and will be going to prison. If you've made that determination before a trial, there's no need for one. That's not justice and it's not reflective of the Iraqi Constitution -- that every one of those dumb asses on the Baghdad courts took an oath to uphold -- which insists that all are innocent until proven guilty.

Though the Western press looks the other way, this is not a minor detail.

If there is not an impartial judiciary in place willing to hear evidence, arguments and counter-arguments and then form a conclusion based upon the facts presented, there's no judiciary at all. It's a Kangaroo Court that merely rubber stamps the whims of Nouri al-Maliki.

The Western press didn't call it out when the same judiciary held a press conference -- with nine judges speaking -- to declare Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi guilty of terrorism. The Western press refused to note that the press conference proved al-Hashemi was correct that he would not get a fair trial. A judiciary cannot announce guilt before a trial's ever been held and be seen as functioning or fair.

Not only should the Western press be condemning these petty tyrants serving as judges, the Iraqi Parliament should be bringing them up on charges of impeachment and evicting them from office. They clearly refuse to follow the Constitution. If they can't follow the Constitution on something so basic as every Iraqi is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. These 'justices' should be paraded before the Parliament and asked what is so damn confusing to them about the Constitution's Article 19 whose fifth clause reads: "The accused is innocent until proven guilty in a fair legal trial. The accused may not be tried on the same crimefora second time after acquittal unless new evidence is produced."

They should be asked: "Do you not understand what that means?" If they claim they do understand it, they should then be asked why they don't follow it?

Judges do not hold press conferences in most countries. They certainly don't hold a press conference ahead of a trial to announce that the accused is guilty. Not even the most repressive regimes do that. Even they have enough brains to know how bad that looks.

But the ignorance and stupidity of the Baghdad judiciary shines through, revealing to the entire world that they are corrupt, refuse to follow their own Constitution and are unable to do anything other than what Nouri al-Maliki tells them.

If Iraq's so fond of executions, maybe it's time to line up 'judges' who don't follow the Constitution. Surely, if executions are the way to deal with the Iraqi people, they should be the way to deal with Iraqi officials who break their oaths to the Constitution.

(I do not support the death penalty. I am pointing out that the Iraqi people suffer a barbaric penalty that the higher ups don't.)

But expecting the Western press to pipe up is like expecting the spineless to stand. Doubt it? W.G. Dunlop (AFP) quotes Iraqiya MP Haidar al-Mullah stating, "When the head of the independent electoral commission is being targeted, it means it is a message from the one who is targeting him that he is above the law and above the political process. The one who is standing behind this is the head of the State of Law coalition (Maliki), because he wants to send a message that either the elections should be fraudulent, or he will use the authorities to get revenge on the commission. This arrest is an indication that the judiciary has become an obedient tool in the hands of Mr Nuri al-Maliki," he said. Today, we skipped the phase when dictatorship is born, and now we moved to the phase when dictatorship is growing in the hands of the prime minister." What did Dunlop do wrong?

Not a thing. But he's with AFP, as is Mohamad Ali Harissi. Why are they the ones all over the story? Where's the rest of the Western media?

This should remind you of how when Nouri al-Maliki swore out an arrest warrant on Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and demanded that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post. the US broadcast TV networks ignored it. How they were still pimping the 'glorious' exit of US troops from Iraq and weren't going to spoil the wet dream by letting a little thing like reality interfere. (If you're late to the party, you can start with "How do you spell 'lie'? ABC, CBS and NBC" to get up to speed.)

Al Mada reports UNAMI states they're watching the situation closely. Maybe they can Western news outlets how to do the same?

On the topic of Tareq al-Hashemi, AP notes that he has met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Reuters notes a Baiji sticky bombing which claimed 1 life and left fourteen other people injured. AP adds a Khaldiyah (Anbar Province) roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi police officers.

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