Monday, June 11, 2012

Scandals and stumbles

Imagine being put to death.  Now imagine being taken to an execution but being told you're going to see the doctor.  Only in Thug Nouri's Iraq.  Dropping back to Thursday, June 7th:

In other news of violence, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Justice announces to Alsumaria that Abed Hamid Hmoud was hanged today.  Hmoud was the former secretary of Saddam Hussein.    AP adds, "As Saddam’s presidential secretary, Hmoud controlled access to the Iraqi president and was one of the few people he is said to have trusted completely, U.S. officials said in 2003."  And, if the ghost of Hussein came back, apparently there was fear Hmoud would control access to that as well?  Whispers insist he was bad, really bad, really, really bad.  And they'd tell you about it but they're sworn to secrecy on what the court was told.  This is the democracy that trillions were spent on?  Secret trials that result in executions?  And no one can discuss what took place?

There are whispers of  'persecution of Shi'ites.'  So, in twenty or so years, we can expect those who targeted Iraq's LGBT community to be put to death as well?  That's not ever going to happen, is it?  Because it really wasn't about 'wrong doing' -- real or merely alleged -- it was about a group given power wanting to settle old scores.  Settling old scores?  That only leads to new scores in need of settling.  I don't support execution to begin with but when you're executing people you can't even claim killed someone, you're about vengence and not justice and you're on a dark path that never leads to sunlight.

Details are emerging.  Felicity Arbuthnot (Dissident Voice) reports:

“What you have not heard”, states the commentator,  “is that (Mr Hamoud) was led to his execution whilst under the impression that he was going for a medical check up. The Iraqi government didn’t even notify his family or relatives or make arrangements with them to deliver his body.”
A chilling observation on America and Britain’s “New Iraq” is that the Maliki government is “… so intent on revenge that they have waived the formalities of telling a person they were taking him to his execution.”
Deep concern is expressed for the fate of both Tareq Aziz and Sadoun Shakir in the light of this appalling act. They were sentenced at the same Court hearing.

That's who Barack and his criminal administration spent the last weeks propping up.  And though no one in the Cult of St. Barack wants to criticize Barry O right now, the Cult tends to fade when you're out of office.  When that day comes, Barack as a defender of human rights will be as much a joke as Barack as a defender of the Constitution.

Workers World notes, "Right now the collective heart of the imperialist media seems broken over repression in Syria. Before that, it was Libya. Before that, Iraq. Each outpouring of indignation was followed by a war that evidently must have fixed everything, since those tears are now gone." 

If Barack doesn't tell his puppet to lay off Tariq Aziz, global condemnation may come while in office.  Along with numerous human rights groups, you've also got the Vatican decrying the move to execute Aziz.   If I'm not mistaken, Barry's already in trouble with some Catholic voters in the US.  He's facing a re-election bid and he's going to get in trouble more?  Maybe so.  He's never been as intelligent as his cult claimed.  So if he loses conservative Catholics over reproductive issues and he loses some left wing Catholics over this execution, which make it or break it states would he be able to pull out a victory in come November?

Reuters reports this morning the OPEC is concerned that a "glut of oil" is depressing the price per barrel of crude and Iraq's Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi is noted in the report, "Luaibi said his own country, Iraq, would export 2.9 million bpd next year -- up from 2.4 million bpd now.  That implies total Iraqi output of 3.4 million bpd, which would allow it to overtake Iran as OPEc's second biggest producer.  Iraq has ambitious plans to expand production held back by decades of war and sanctions."  Nouri would also like to see Iraq in charge of OPEC.  He's very proud of securing Iran;s backing on that.  Because he's very stupid.

AND I'M THE STUPID ONE!  He is OPEC president.  My mistake, my error.  Italics added 11:45 a.m. 6-11-2012.  

And I'm TWICE stupid.  An administration friend just phoned to say, "You didn't need a correction.  The position is Secretary-General and Iraq has not reached that.  What the press is  reporting is that he is president of an OPEC conference.  He has not been put in charge of OPEC and won't be." So let's be clear.  The White House says the one in charge of OPEC is "Secretary General."  The White House says that Abdul Kareem Luaibi does not hold that title -- Abdalla Salem El-Badri does.  Luaibi is "president of an OPEC conference."  My bad for offering an unnecessary and confusing correction.  Added 1:51 p.m. 6-11-2012

OPEC is controlled by the Arab states who are already iffy to Nouri.  When you add in Iran, a nation they do not get along with, the thought of Iraq controlling OPEC becomes even more distasteful.  The "glut" (not noted in the article) is being blamed by Saudi Arabia and others on Iraq.  All of that makes it highly unlikely Iraq will find itself in charge of OPEC anytime soon.

In other fool's gold, Kay Johnson (AP) thinks she's discovered something: high-end, luxury spas in Baghdad!  Proof that "life [is] creeping closer to normalcy"!  No, proof that you shouldn't cover Iraq if you don't know a damn thing.  Johnson should check CNN's archives.  These high-end spas -- many of which serve booze during the luxury treatments -- existed in Baghdad when Bully Boy Bush was still in office.  They have been reported on at great length.  I recommend CNN's coverage because it was reality based, noting the guards required for such 'perks' to be possible. They're nothing news.  Throughout the Iraq War, they have existed as have private clubs that Nouri will not touch (he's closed many clubs in Baghdad) because they are attended by Iraq's rich and powerful.

In England, Dr. Derek Keilloh is in the news over the death of an Iraqi.  Dropping back to the July 13, 2009 snapshot for background:

Moving over to England, Matthew Weaver (Guardian) notes that Iraqi Baha Mousa's death at the age of 26 while in British custody in September 2003 is the subject of a public inquiry in England which began today and that, "A central issue of the inquiry is why five 'conditioning techniques' -- hooding prisoners, putting them in stress positions, depriving them of sleep, depriving them of food and water, and playing white noise -- were used on Iraq detainees.  The techniques, inflicted on IRA suspects, were banned in 1972 by then prime minister, Edward Heath."  The Telegraph of London offers that Baha "was beaten to death" while in British custody, "sustaining 93 separate injuires, including fractured ribs and a broken nose."  The Telegraph also notes that the inquiry was shown video of Corporal Donald Payne yelling and screaming, "shouting and swearing at the Iraqis as they are force to main painful 'stress position'." Julian Rush (Channel 4) offers a video report of the hearing thus far and what the inquiry is supposed to explore over the next year. 

Today, ITV reports of Dr. Keilloh:

He is then said to have failed to conduct an adequate examination of Mr Mousa's body after death and failed to notify a superior officer of the circumstances of his death. He faces similar claims relating to two other detainees he examined after Mr Mousa's death.
His account of those three examinations through witness statements given at the time, and maintained in interview under caution, at a court martial and at the public inquiry, are said to be "untrue".

Tuning to the US, you may remember a number of Senators (including Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Patty Murray as well as Senator Bill Nelson) objecting to some VSOs that they felt were wrongly representing themselves.  Kristin M. Hall (AP) reports on a veterans' 'charity' -- The Veterans Support Organization -- which is being sued by Iraq War and Afghanistan War veteran Tonzil Jones who states he was wrongly fired (he was asked to solicit in the streets and the police told him that was not allowed so he complied with the police).  TVSO insists there is no cause for litigation here.  That may end up being true.  I don't know, I wasn't there.  What I do know is when you take in $5.6 mimllion in 2010, you do not pay yourself $1.4 million as 'charity' founder Richard Van Houten did.  Your most cunning CAA agent doesn't pull in that kind of percentage.  That's ridiculous and they are not a charity.

They should be shut down immediately.

They should also be ashamed of themselves because all of that money was made putting people (mainly veterans) on street corners to beg for money.  (TVSO is too damn cheap to use telemarkters or other people.) They need to be shut down.  And this claim by Van Houten that they never took taxpayer money is meaningless.  He is paying himself 1/5 of what the 'charity' takes in.  He should be behind bars.

A friend asks that I note Spencer Ackerman's Wired piece about mis-steps and mistakes the military admits to with regards to the Iraq WarCheri Roberts (OpEdNews) weighs in on Brett McGurk's nomination for US Ambassador to Iraq, "Is this the right man to be the new Ambassador to Iraq? I think not. If a man cannot hold up the weight of his zipper, there is no way he should be given the weight of Diplomacy."  There's Brett.

ambassador to swingtown

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Ambassador to Swingtown" went up last night.  Bonnie doesn't know but Isaiah has another one going up in a bit (I'm rushing through the next entry to get it up).   On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an 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 addressed include Wisconsin recall election, the National Lawyers Guild receiving the 30th Annual Brooklyn Ethical Peace Site Award, NYPD spying, Ray McGovern on the president's kill list and attorney Nancy Hollander on activism and our freedoms.

 We'll close with this from Workers World:

When to shed tears

Published Jun 10, 2012 11:42 PM
There must be a convenient spigot somewhere that allows the capitalist media to turn on and off the tears they can shed so copiously over human rights violations. When conditions dictate it, the tears flow like the Nile. At other times, they dry up like the Sahara.
Right now the collective heart of the imperialist media seems broken over repression in Syria. Before that, it was Libya. Before that, Iraq. Each outpouring of indignation was followed by a war that evidently must have fixed everything, since those tears are now gone.
Where is the yardstick used to measure these “violations of human rights”? Like the spigot, it must be somewhere. That place seems to be known to all the editors and producers of the major “mainstream” news media. Suddenly, they all know which stories to put at the top of the hour or on the front page.
Here’s a little story that didn’t make it to the top. It seems that in Thailand, which has a royal family, there’s a crime called “lèse majesté.” It means you can go to jail if you insult the king. Thailand is a country of 69 million people that boasts of a modern infrastructure in big cities like Bangkok. Do they really put people in jail for insulting King Rama IX, the world’s longest-reigning head of state?
Yes, they do. Actually, you can even go to jail for allowing someone else to insult the king.
That’s what Chiranuch Premchaiporn found out recently. She’s the executive director of an online news portal called Prachatai, which has a message board that is popular among young people. Almost 3,000 post messages on various topics there every day.
One year after a military coup in Thailand, the Computer Crimes Act was passed in 2007, which threatens jail terms for those who allow the distribution of “prohibited” material online. Among the many posts on Prachatai’s message board were some deemed insulting to the king.
Premchaiporn faced a possible 20 years in jail because of this. On May 30, a criminal court found her guilty of failing to monitor the comments, but was “lenient” and gave her only an eight-month suspended sentence and a fine. The message was clear. It was a warning to the independent media to toe the line.
Had you seen or heard about this? Probably not, since most papers and networks here didn’t cover the case. They were obviously too busy worrying about people’s rights elsewhere, like in Iran and Syria.
Is there a connection between the U.S. and Thailand, other than the usual one of U.S. investors making money there?
The most striking connection is a military one. At the height of the Vietnam War, 80 percent of the Pentagon’s flights to drop explosive bombs, napalm and Agent Orange on that country originated from huge U.S. air bases in Thailand, of which there were seven. It was also a major destination for U.S. troops on R&R (rest and relaxation), which spawned a large sex industry.
After the U.S. lost the war but destroyed much of Vietnam, most of the bases were closed. But there are still at least 500 U.S. military personnel in Thailand, where they train soldiers of the same military that staged the coup in 2006. They pose a potential threat to other countries in the area, including China.
The Thai government is now back to being a constitutional monarchy again, sporting all the trappings of democracy like “free elections,” etc., but with all the necessary repression — like the army, the Computer Crimes Act and so on — still available if the ruling class needs them.
That’s why the World Bank and U.S. investors are quite happy with Thailand today and don’t think their media need to shed any tears for Chiranuch Premchaiporn.

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