Tuesday, May 01, 2012

If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation

Kareem Raheem, Aseel Kami and Angus MacSwan (Reuters) are apparently suffering from Mad Men damage and drooling over the notion of taking some late night dictation from Don Draper.  How else to explain supposed journalists rushing to be stenographers?

The threesome wants you to know that Nouri's lovely flunkies insist a total of 126 died last month from violence in Iraq.

Here's a little tip for the Reuters steno pool, when all you do is parrot an official without providing any context or check on the statements, you're not reporting.  You'd be very good at serving the Court of St. James but don't pass yourself off as press.

Let's provide the context that the stenogs sorely missed.


290 for the month of April.

That's the IBC count.  Iraq Body Count, not working for Nouri,  has no reason to lie for Nouri.

Sadly, the same can not be said for the Thomson Reuters Secretarial Pool Service.

128 versus 290?  Hmm.  Context was needed but the secretaries must have been on a coffee break when reporters were filing.

I have no use for this garbage and it's very telling that Reuters now does.  (But, hey, we warned you months ago when a non-reporter joined Retuers.)

Today is May 1st.   Noam Chomsky (Information Clearing House) explains:

People seem to know about May Day everywhere except where it began, here in the United States of America. That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning. For example, Ronald Reagan designated what he called, “Law Day”—a day of jingoist fanaticism, like an extra twist of the knife in the labor movement.
 Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution. If you’re a serious revolutionary, then you are not looking for an autocratic revolution, but a popular one which will move towards freedom and democracy. That can take place only if a mass of the population is implementing it, carrying it out, and solving problems. They’re not going to undertake that commitment, understandably, unless they have discovered for themselves that there are limits to reform. 
A sensible revolutionary will try to push reform to the limits, for two good reasons. First, because the reforms can be valuable in themselves. People should have an eight-hour day rather than a twelve-hour day. And in general, we should want to act in accord with decent ethical values.

In Iraq, the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq released the following about May Day:

May 1st, the international working class’s day of solidarity is approaching. On this day the working class worldwide will unite and extend its struggle, demands and goals in a revolutionary class bond in the face of capitalism and its rule of all shapes and titles. It is a day for the working class around the world as an international class sharing the same class future to stand up to the ruling bourgeoisie. On this day, workers come together to clearly voice their demands, “No to Capitalism”, “No to low wages”,  “No to unemployment” ”, “ No to oppression and gagging people”, “ No to exploitation”, “No to sectarian and ethnocentric wars and conflicts” and “ no to the waged-labour slavery”. On this day, the struggle to overthrow the capitalist system and the goal of building a society where freedom and equality prevail are made prominent. 
 This year the first of May comes in the aftermath of great revolutionary experiences in the Arab World and also the rising of the workers and mass movements worldwide against capitalism, its rule, exploitation, economic misery, ternary, oppression of civil, political and societal freedoms and its deceitful media. These revolutions and workers and mass movements starting with the “Occupy Wall Street” in the United States of American to massive labour movements in France, Greece, Spain and other countries, have shown that a more prospective future relies on the communist political intervention by the working class that is organized, partisan and capable.
 As May Day approaches this year, the vast majority of individuals in Iraq are objected to harsh and intolerable living conditions, conditions rarely seen in other parts of the world.
In addition to terrorism and daily massacres, wars, abject poverty, unemployment, degraded social conditions and many instigated sectarian and ethnocentric conflicts. A conflict, which is current, is the ethnocentric conflict between the Islamic movement, led by Dawa party and the Sate of Law Coalition, and the Kurdish nationalist movement, led by the Kurdistan Democratic Party. The Iraqi masses also suffer as they have a lack of freedom, no right to organise, demonstrate or hold gatherings. This in addition to the suffering caused by the absence of basic services like electricity, running water, free and advanced education and health system which meets international standards. Moreover yellow unions which belong to the Islamic and ethnocentric militia under various facades are imposed on the working class to destroy their unity and struggle against capital and its Islamic-ethnocentric government.
 Despite their conflicts and differences, the current Islamic-ethnocentric government in Baghdad is collaborating with all bourgeois movements, political blocs and parties participating in power to impose the so-called self financing policy which will leads to massive layoffs, making millions of workers unemployed and creating further deteriorations in the living conditions of the working class in Iraq. The authorities are denying those in oil and many other sectors any allowances gained from annual revenue. They are also imposing casual and daily contracts on workers in the oil, electricity and service sectors. Moreover they are denying society of any social security benefits such as unemployment benefit, a benefit which is in high demand by the masses of workers and youth due to the high levels of unemployment and poverty currently in Iraq.
 The Worker-Communist Party of Iraq calls on all labour leaders and activist, communists, trade unions and freedom loving people to join a relentless, organised and coordinated struggle to promote this special day and the status of the working class in Iraq and unite its ranks in the face of Capitalism, the current Islamic –ethnocentric government and private local and international corporations. The party calls on workers to unite their ranks, hold gatherings in all industrial, manufacturing and service sectors to raise their demands in face of the government and the managements of their working places. The local gatherings by the workers in various sectors gives  great momentum to the International Worker's Day and consolidating the political and methodical traditions of this very important day.
 The Worker-communist Party of Iraq emphasises today more than ever!  The workers of Iraq must unite their ranks and hold highly and proudly Marx's communist banner, a banner which demands the abolishment of waged labour through a workers revolution. It emphasises the necessity of turning the WPIraq into an effective instrument which they can use to advance their liberation struggle.
 It calls on the workers to join their own mass organizations, vanguard workers’ committees and circles and the WPIraq to achieve their main and immediate demands which include;
  – ending sectarian and ethnocentric conflicts and destroying their political and intellectual ground
 – the right to establish labour organisations, as this is the right of workers themselves and no authority, should under any excuse, violate this undisputed right
– freedom to strike, hold gatherings and demonstrate; full freedom of workers to organise
  –  unemployment benefit for all unemployed people, the amount of this benefit must be decided by the direct representative of the workers
 – immediate repeal of all resolutions which are against workers, including the law of self-finance as policy to impose abject poverty on a class already suffering from poverty and deprivation
  –  increasing wages proportional to inflation and the current high prices
  – employing all workers currently employed on casual and daily contracts on permanent basis
 The Worker-communist Party of Iraq is in the forefront of this relentless struggle and calls on all workers to stand beside it in an effort to end the current disastrous situation.

AFP has ten photos of May Day actions in Iraq here.

The following community sites -- plus NPR, On The Wilder Side, Adam Kokesh, Cindy Sheehan, Susan's On The Edge, Antiwar.com, CSPAN and The Diane Rehm Show --  updated last night and this morning:

FYI, title of this entry is a Mad Men quote (from "Love Among The Ruins" written by Cathryn Humphris and Matthew Weiner). Today is May Day.  Tomorrow is May 2nd and Zed Books is hosting an event in London:

You are invited to discussion on
Charles Taylor and Liberia
Zed author Colin Waugh will be in conversation with Courtney Griffiths QC (lead defence lawyer for Mr Taylor) and Sourie Turay (Lawyer)
2nd May 2012
Room 6.29, Strand Campus
King?s College London, WC2R 2LS
The event will be chaired by Dr Funmi Olonisakin (Director, CSDG & ALC)
On Thursday 26th April 2012, the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in The Hague delivered its judgement on the trial of the former President of the Republic of Liberia, Charles Taylor.
Mr Taylor was found guilty on 11 counts of aiding and abetting war crimes. The charges against Mr Taylor included crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Sierra Leone from November 30, 1996 until January 18, 2002 (the date when Sierra Leone?s civil war was officially brought to an end).
For most of that time, Mr Taylor was president of Liberia, democratically elected in an internationally supervised and accepted vote in July 1997.
This judgement by the SCSL, a hybrid court set up in early 2002 by the United Nations and the government of Sierra Leone, is an historic one and bears wide implications for Africa and the international justice system.
Mr Taylor is the first former head of state convicted by an international criminal court since the Nuremburg military tribunal of Nazis after World War II.
This event will discuss the implications of Mr Taylor?s verdict. Some of the questions we will be looking to answer are as follows:
What are the implications for the victims of Sierra Leone?s civil war - closure or tokenism? What does the verdict mean for victims of Liberia?s civil war? Have they been overlooked as victims of the wrong war?
What are the implications for future indicted sovereigns in Africa? Will this verdict serve as a deterrent on the continent and especially in the global context putting a stop to impunity? And what does this trial say about the capacity of institutional and legal structures on the African continent to handle cases like this in the future? For how long will Africa need to rely on external structures to address its criminal justice challenges?
Natural resources played a fundamental role in Charles Taylor?s activities. Following this judgment, what will be done to address the institutions that encouraged Taylor's activities and also benefitted from the exploitation of these resources?
Finally, what will Charles Taylor?s legacy be? Will he be seen as a leader with an evil purpose or a valiant cause that ran out of control and out of luck?

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