Monday, April 09, 2012

State of Law's good at whisper campaigns, bad at facts

In Iraq, the political crisis continues. Alsumaria reports that State of Law MP Mohammed Chihod declared today that those seeking a no-confidence vote on Prime Minister and Thug of the Occupation Nouri al-Maliki are "conspirators." He makes other charges; however, that one alone should be seen as disturbing in a country where the likes of Chihod (Nouri's goons) regularly demonize political rivals as "Ba'athists" and "terrorists." It's in that landscape that "conspirators" emerges. A vote of no confidence is not a conspiracy, it's an approved measure with a process outlined in the Constitution.

Chihod shows more ignorance of the Constitution he allegedly took an oath to when he declares the KRG is in violation of the Constitution for refusing to hand Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi over to Baghdad. There is nothing in the Constitution about that. The Constitution does cover immunity for office holders, however. Demonstrating that his ignorance is not limited to the Constitution, Chihod then accuses KRG President Massoud Barzani of visiting the US last week in order to lead on a no-confidence vote in Nouri. A no-confidence vote would take place in the Iraqi Parliament. While it's true that many MPs live outside of Iraq, they're not living in the US.

Meanwhile Al Rafidayn reports on State of Law's whisper campaign against Barzani in which they hurl everything at the wall hoping something will stick. This includes the claim that Barzani's a failure because he wanted the Arab League Summit in Erbil and it was held in Baghdad. Apparently State of Law's inability to govern resulted in a heightened sense of awareness as compensation thereby allowing them to read minds. Barzani's made no comment regarding the Arab League Summit being held in Erbil. It was scheduled for Baghdad and scheduled to be held there in 2011. It was finally held there in 2012. He has called for the national conference (to resolve the political crisis) to be held in Erbil. State of Law brings up the allegations of smuggling oil to Iran and insist these are true and that Barzani is behind the smuggling (the way they go on, we're apparently supposed to picture Massoud Barzani with a hose and gasoline can, stopping beside an oil tanker, ready to siphon the tank). Barzani's trip to the US is called a failure (no reason for that judgment call is given -- Barzani pictured below with US President Barack Obama). The whispers also include that Barzani's made a deal with Ahmad Chalabi wherein Ahmad will replace Nouri.

massoud meets b

Al Mada reports on an interview Barzani gave in DC after meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden. In it, Barzani noted that Nouri refused a meeting to put all the issues on the table. He cites Nouri as the reason the National Conference failed (it was set for last Thursday but one day prior it was announced the conference was off). He says Iraq is suffering from a real -- not manufactured -- crisis.

Nouri's State of Law came in second in the March 7, 2010 elections and Iraqiya came in first -- despite the efforts by Nouri to demonize Iraqiya and use the Justice and Accountability Committee to outlaw various Iraqiya candidates weeks prior to the election. Nouri refused to let go of the post of prime minister and, since he had the backing of Barack's White House, he was able to dig in his heels for over months (Political Stalemate I). The gridlock was only ended when all parties signed off on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement. Nouri used the agreement to get a second term as prime minister and trashed the rest of it. That is the beginning of Political Stalemate II (December 2010) which is the country's current crisis. Since last summer, the Kurds have been calling for the Erbil Agreement to be honored. Iraqiya has joined that call as has Moqtada al-Sadr.

Trend News Agency reports that KRG President Massoud Barzani appeared on Al Arabiya TV and stated Nouri is leading Iraq "to the dicatorship" and that, "If all parties fail to agree on specific changes, then the Krudish autonomy will no longer regard al-Maliki as Iraqi prime minister". Wladimir van Wilgenburg (Rudaw) adds:

After increased tensions between the Iraqi and the Kurdish governments, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani told Alhurra TV last Thursday that Baghdad is considering the use of F-16 fighter planes against the Kurds.
In the interview, Barzani says the issue with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is not personal, but it is about his dictatorial policies. "I still consider him a brother and a friend," he said. According to Barzani, division commanders in the Iraqi army are supposed to be approved by parliament, but this hasn't happened.
Barzani told Alhurra that he has confronted the Iraqi PM many times and been told by Maliki that he will act, but he hasn’t, and suggested there is talk of a “military solution” to confront the Kurds in Baghdad. Barzani said that in an official meeting with Iraqi military commanders, it was stated that they should wait for F-16s to arrive to help push back the Kurds.

Aswat al-Iraq notes
, "Shiite Sadrist leader Muqtada al-Sadr said that 'some want to build a dictatorship under the so-called new false reconciliation,' according to the Media Center of his Trend. He did not mention names."

Garibov Konstantin (Voice of Russia) offers an analysis of Iraq today which includes:

Meanwhile, the democracy imposed by the US has affected each Iraqi family, says Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies:
"Official data show the death toll from Iraqi violence standing at hundreds of thousands. But regional human rights activists insist the war has claimed more than a million lives, while nearly three million Iraqis fled to Syria and Jordan and have not been given refugee status."
The US-British invasion destroyed the Christian community in Iraq (there were many Christians in Hussein’s circle).

The Associated Press notes Pope Benedict XVI's remarks Sunday in St. Peter's Basilica:

At the end of yesterday’s Mass, Benedict moved to the basilica’s central balcony to read his Easter message “to the entire world,” as he put it, delivering a ringing appeal for peace in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, and particularly in Africa, citing coup-struck Mali and Nigeria, where Christians and Muslims alike have been hit by terrorist attacks.
Sectarian violence in Iraq, often aimed at Christians, has prompted an exodus over the last years of many from the sizeable Christian community there.

Dar Addustour notes Iraqi Christians in Baghdad celebrated Easter under tight security while Kirkuk Governor Najim al-Din Omar Karem maintains Christians in Kirkuk were able to celebrate Easter more publicly and he offered his congratulations to the Cathedral of Kirkuk. Also on Sunday, Erbil had a bombing -- Dar Addustour says it was the first sticky bombing in Erbil -- a sticky bombing is when an explosive device is attached to something, generally with adhesive -- one person was injured in the bombing.

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Ms. Troll Goes Shopping" 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 Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Supreme Court verdict on strip searches, guests Dan Berger and Naomi Jaffee discussing David Gilbert's new book Love and Struggle: My Life in SDS, the Weather Underground and Beyond and attorney Piper Hendricks discusses how the US Public Health Service used over 5,000 Guatemalans as human guinea pigs.

We'll close with this from Emma Cape's "Mark the second anniversary of Collateral Murder: help us free Bradley Manning" (Bradley Manning Org):

On April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released the Collateral Murder video, depicting the killing of civilians and Reuters journalists, and the severe wounding of two children by a U.S. apache helicopter in Iraq. The Reuters news organization had unsuccessfully filed a Freedom of Information Request after the incident to obtain the video. However, it was the WikiLeaks whistle-blower, allegedly PFC Bradley Manning, who took action to expose the horror that took place that day.

Since then, WikiLeaks has become well known worldwide, and Bradley Manning has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

To honor the second anniversary of the video’s release, we ask that you gather your friends and neighbors sometime during the week of April 15-21 to show them the video and start a discussion about why Bradley Manning deserves to be freed.

Below are links to a downloadable version of Collateral Murder and an interview with soldier Ethan McCord, seen rescuing children out of the van in the video. You can share the videos with your guests to start the discussion about advocating for Bradley.

Download Collateral Murder here.

Suggested questions:
  • How are you feeling after watching this video?
  • Have you seen the video in the news or have you heard friends talk about it? How do you think the release of the video has impacted your community?
  • In his supposed Instant Messaging conversation with Adrian Lamo, the hacker who reported Bradley to the authorities, Bradley states the information should be in the public domain because “without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” Do you agree?
Bradley Manning was arrested one month after this video was made public. The week prior to his arrest, in an online chat with hacker Adrian Lamo, Bradley said: “the reaction to the video gave me immense hope… CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed… Twitter exploded… people who saw, knew there was something wrong.”

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