Saturday, May 05, 2012

Violence and lies about electricity

Xinhua reports a Kirkuk roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Sahwa and left another injured, a Haditha sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 person and left another injured and, laste Friday night, a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi military officer and a Baghdad drive-by killed 1 person and left four more injured.  In addition, Alsumaria reports 1 person was kidnapped in Kirkuk and 1 small child was kidnapped in Maysayn Province.  They add that the Kirkuk kidnapping was of a man who manufacture concrete and that he was on his way home when he was kidnapped.

Meanwhile Al Mada reports the Ministry of Electricity released a statement on Saturday announcing that they would be increasing elecriticy production this summer by 50%.  AFP treats the press release as gospel and writes a 'report' that repeats it and then just moves right no because that is reporting, right?  Just taking a press release and building a 'report' around it? 

Let's again note Ali Issa (Jadaliyya -- links is text and audio) interview with Hashmey Muhsin al-Saadawi who is the Electrical Workers Union in Iraq and "the first woman vice-president of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers in Basra."  But let's note what she explains about electricity:

AI: What is the situation with electricity like on the ground?

HMS: The issue of electricity has remained a daily battle. A sad thing that has become great fodder for sarcasm. It bears mentioning the gap that Saddam’s regime left—with its foolish policies and destructive wars—and the subsequent terrorist attacks that have targeted generators and grids. Most recently, there has been a gross exaggeration on much money has been spent on this sector, with no tangible results after their promises of improvement.

The Ministry of Electricity had promised a minimum of ten hours a day for ordinary people, based on what is left from State health and security needs. In reality, people get between four to six hours, with some houses getting no power for a full day, or even several days.

The Ministry of Finance estimates that twenty-seven billion public dollars have been spent on electricity since 2003. With all that, the Ministry of Electricity has failed in rebuilding this sector, complicated by the security factor which includes sabotage. This is partly due to a lack of consultation with Iraqis that know what they are doing, as well as mismanagement and widespread corruption. Now, just like every Spring, officials appear on TV and start making their brittle and hilarious promises, with some unionists joking that we might be exporting electricity to our neighbors or even Europe!

Wow.  So officials lie and Iraqis know they're lying but somehow news outlets miss that reality? 

Not all of them.

Al Mada reports Parliament's Integrity Commission states that the Ministry of Electricity is not just corrupt, it's run like the mafia.  They base that conclusion on the reports they've received from the Inspector General of the Ministry of Electricity.  Among other things, the IG documents money and materials that disappear, fake contracts that 'explain' where the money went, etc.  Al Mada also reports that the Parliament will question the Minster of Electricity -- specifically about his claims that 6000 mega wats in electricity are being supplied currently when, in fact, the actual number is 4500.

But by all means, just instead grab a press release and turn it into a 'report.'  That's helpful.  For lots of people . . . who are corrupt and living high.  It's not helping the Iraqi people, it's not helping those of us not in Iraq understand what's going on, but, sure, pretend you did some reporting. 

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh, World Can't Wait, On the wilder Side, NYT's war blog and Cindy Sheehan -- updated last night and today:

And I'm seeing that's not everyone.  Some sites aren't being read -- some like Stan posted today, others like Trina posted last night.  So this is from Wally and Cedric's list:

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