Sunday, April 01, 2012


Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has left the KRG and, in fact, Iraq. al-Hashemi, pay attention Reuters since you refuse to get this correct, went to the KRG before an arrest warrant was issued for him by Nouri al-Maliki. Nouri charged him with terrorism. Feeling the heat for taking the political crisis to a boiling point, Nouri began insisting he hadn't wanted to but that the court would have ordered him arrested if he hadn't issued the warrant. Though that claim was huge news in Iraq, Reuters and other English language outlets never bothered to report on it because they try so very hard to slant the news Nouri's way. Aseel Kami (Reuters -- and Kami never gets the timeline right and obviously Reuters doesn't care since it keeps happening) states al-Hashemi is in Qatar for a few days. Kami does crappy coverage. AP is only slightly better but still misses the big known angle. (We'll discuss other angles in a second.) Then it gets worse again as Jack Healy and Duraid Adnan insist at the New York Times website: "Mr. Hashimi fled to the semiautonomous Kurdish region in late December after the government issued an arrest warrant . . ." No.

If you don't want to be seen as liar or stupid, get your damn facts right. You can't screw with the facts and still claim to have offered an accurate report.

Unlike the New York Times, we paid attention as this was going on. So you can check the archives and you'll see that the announced boycott in the December 16th snapshot and again in a December 17th entry and December 18th is when al-Hashemi and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq are pulled from a Baghdad flight to the KRG but then allowed to reboard the plane. December 19th is when the arrest warrant is issued.

On my calendar, on every known calendar, the 19th comes after the 18th. Now maybe there's a new Mayan calendar that's going to pick up where the known one leaves off and, in that calendar, the 18th will come after the 19th? I have no idea. But until such a document emerges, I think we can all agree that the 18th will always come before the 19th in any month. Therefore, if Tareq al-Hashemi left for the KRG on December 18th and the arrest warrant was issued on the 19th, it is INCORRECT, it is DEMONSTRABLY FALSE, to state -- as Kami and and Healy and Adnan do -- that al-Hashemi fled to the KRG after an arrest warrant was issued.

It is false, it is pejorative, it's many things but don't mistake it for journalism.

Let's talk reality because I'm so sick of reporters and their nonsense these days. We'll come back to the incompetence of the above reports in just a moment but let's deal with reality first. The State Dept is thrilled but a little nervous. As one friend told me over the phone tonight, "This really helps us."

The State Dept has been urging Ayad Allawi and Massoud Barzani to convey to al-Hashemi that he should leave the country. Now I think it's great he left the country. That's because of the Baghdad judges. Nouri refused to move the trial to another city and Tareq al-Hashemi maintained he could not receive a fair trial in Baghdad. He was proven correct. When he was proven correct, outlets bent over backwards to ignore that fact. In the February 16th snapshot, we took that day's 'judicial' events and demonstrated how the press should have reported it:

After many claims that he could not receive a fair trial, Tareq al-Hashemi's
assertions were backed up today by the Iraqi judiciary.
BAGHDAD -- Today a nine-member Iraqi judiciary panel released results of an investigation they conducted which found the Sunni Vice President of Iraq was guilty of terrorism. Monday, December 19th, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki swore out an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi who had arrived in the KRG the previous day. Mr. al-Hashemi refused to return to Baghdad insisting he would not receive a fair trial. Instead, he was the guest of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and KRG President Massoud Barzani.
During the weeks since the arrest warrant was issued, Mr. al-Hashemi has repeatedly attempted to get the trial moved to another venue stating that Prime Minister al-Maliki controlled the Baghdad judiciary. Mr. al-Maliki insisted that the vice president return and that he would get a fair trial.
Today's events demonstrate that Mr. al-Hashemi was correct and there is no chance of a fair trial in Iraq. This was made clear by the judiciary's announcement today.
A judiciary hears charges in a trial and determines guilt; however, what the Baghdad judiciary did today was to declare Tareq al-Hashemi guilt of the charges and to do so before a trial was held.
Not only do the events offer a frightening glimpse at the realities of the Iraqi legal system, they also back up the claims Mr. al-Hashemi has long made.

The State Dept knew al-Hashemi could not get a fair trial. Diplomatic attempts to reason with Nouri were failures. So what you could have is al-Hashemi being tried in Baghdad in an obviously unfair trial, with international outcry and with internal violence as a result. The State Dept felt that even if al-Hashemi got a fair trial, internally Iraq would be plauged with violence as a result and that many of the Arab states would condemn the trial.

They also felt Nouri would remain a stonewall on the issue of Tareq al-Hashemi in any and all attempts at negotiations. So they are thrilled today that he is out of the country.

However, they are fearful he may come back. (His office states he will visit a number of countries before returning to the KRG.) You can be sure US diplomatic officials will attempt to meet with him to persuade him to stay out of the country (as they did with another Iraqi who left recently). In terms of asylum, he's been offered refuge in Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar. While Nouri and his spokesperson whine about international authorities.

They really don't understand the law. Nouri doesn't respect it but does he realize how stupid he looks on the international stage?

There are no "international authorities" that are going to round up Tareq al-Hashemi. The current government out of Baghdad doesn't even have any real extradition treaties it can point to. If al-Hashemi were to decide to go to Europe, for example, treaty or not, the fact that he could face death would be enough to lead to questioning a treaty.

Nouri doesn't respect the law and doesn't respect sovereignty. He has no grasp of anything and is probably the most ill-educated leader of any nation. It is at this moment that his ignorance shines on the world stage. (Though I'm sure the apologists for the thug are already working out their essays explaining how Nouri is right . . . if you ignore the law . . . and if you ignore reality . . . and if you click your heels three times . . .)

Is al-Hashemi planning on returning as his office says?

If he's out of Iraq for good, the State Dept insists that problems can be addressed. If he returns, they expect the political crisis to continue.

Now let's get back to that whorish press and what they all miss. Al Jazeera notes, "Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi has arrived in Qatar on what the Gulf nation's state news agency called an 'official visit'."


If an Iraqi leader went to Qatar when he wasn't supposed to leave the country, I think I'd be asking, "Did the government of Qatar do anything recently? Is there something here I can tie into my story?"

Dropping back to Friday's snapshot:

There are 22 countries in the Arab League. Hamza Hendawi and Lara Jakes (AP) put the number of Arab League leaders who attended at 10 and they pointed out that Qatar, Saudi Arabi, Morocco and Jordan were among those who sent lower-level officials to the summit. Patrick Martin (Globe & Mail) explains that Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani (Prime Minister of Qatar) declared on television that Qatar's "low level of representation" was meant to send "a 'message' to Iraq' majority Shiites to stop what he called the marginalization of its minority Sunnis."

Isn't it cute the way the outlets cited above on the al-Hashemi story all 'missed' including the comments of the Prime Minister of Qatar?

Apparently all the editors are too busy with extra-marital affairs and nursing that developing alcoholism along to actually examine what their reporters are turning in.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

Last Sunday, the number of US military people killed in the Iraq War since the start of the illegal war was 4488. Tonight? PDF format warning, DoD lists the the number of Americans killed serving in Iraq at 4488.

New content at Third:

No Isaiah tonight, sorry. Third went on forever and told him to take the night off. (Forever. 18 hours and twenty-two minutes according to Ava.) If he wants to do one later in the week, that's fine but everyone was tired. Kat's "Kat's Korner: Falling in (and out of) love with M. Ward" went up this morning.

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