Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Iraq's sex tape rumors

 July 22nd, the Islamic State of Iraq released an audio recording announcing a new campaign of violence entitled Breaking The Walls which would include prison breaks and killing "judges and investigators and their guards." The last weeks have demonstrated that ISI is serious about pursuing those goals.  Their determination is also clear with an attack on a government prosecutor this morning.

KUNA reports unknown assailants invaded a Baiji home (Salahuddin Province) and killed 8 members of one family.  Kitabat adds that a government prosecutor lived in the house and that one of the sons was also an attorney.  In addition, they note that the attack took place at five in the morning and that there was some effort to burn the corpses after.  Alsumaria quotes a police source stating that the assailants stormed the home, firing automatic weapons as they did, killing the government prosecutor, his father, his sisters and brothers and a family member that hasn't been identified so far.  Xinhua identifies the prosecutor as Adnan Khayrallah and they note, "The attackers shot dead Adana, his father, three women, two children along with a guest, the source said without giving further details."   The Hong Kong Standard spells the name of the prosecutor as "Khayrallah Shati" and says he and his wife, their five sons and an unidentified 8th relative were killed.  AP offers no spelling because they provide no name, they don't identify the man as a prosecutor, just as a "laywer" and they say it was him, his spouse, their five children and an unidentified 8th relative. 

In addition, Alsumaria reports a senior officer in the Ministry of Defense was shot dead by unknown assailants in Baghdad and that robbers stole 53 million dinars from a Kirkuk banking center (ASE Banking).  (53 million dinars is about 46,000 in US dollars.)

But the big story in Iraq today is a fear of political violence.  Both Kitabat and Al Mada are reporting  the big rumor swirling around Baghdad:  Nouri plans to destroy political rivals via "sex tapes."  Spy equipment and technology have been used in the homes and offices of rivals -- Nouri's bugged them.  There has been talk of blackmail tapes being used as signatures were gathered for a withdrawal of confidence vote in Parliament.  The rumors tended to glom on Iraqi President Jalal Talabani -- that Nouri had persuaded him to switch sides via a meeting where he showed Jalal the fruits of his spying.  There are said to be sound and video recordings.  MP Haider Mullah states that this would be "cheap" and "undignified" if it has taken place.  The articles note an AKnews report on a female MP being taped having sex with her husband.  The rumors -- which have swirled since the end of May -- probably gathered heat as a result of an event earlier this week. Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:

All Iraq News notes that someone has released a fuzzy (audio and video) taped meeting from last year between Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi following Allawi's meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.  Iraqiya is calling for an investigation into where the tape originated and who released it.

As the rumors swirl, Alsumaria notes, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujafi has declared that the move towards questioning Nouri before Parliament has now come to a halt. 

Al Mada's report notes the CIA has taped many Iraqi politicians and that may remind some of when the US was spying on the United Nations in 2003.  Martin Bright, Ed Vulliamy and Peter Beaumont (Observer) reported:

The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.
Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.
The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input.
The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.

A year later, Ewen MacAskill (Guardian) reported:

The United Nations spying row widened on Friday when former weapons inspector Hans Blix revealed he suspected his UN office and his home in New York were bugged in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Dr Blix said he expected to be bugged by the Iraqis, but to be spied on by the US was a different matter. He described such behaviour as disgusting, adding: "It feels like an intrusion into your integrity in a situation when you are actually on the same side."
He said he went to extraordinary lengths to protect his office and home, having a UN counter-surveillance team sweep both for bugs. "If you had something sensitive to talk about, you would go out into the restaurant or out into the streets," he said.
Dr Blix's fears were reinforced when he was shown photographs by a senior member of the Bush Administration that, he insists, could only have been obtained through underhand means.
His accusations came after former British cabinet minster, Clare Short said US-British intelligence bugged the office of the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Probably not a good idea for the US to be without a US Ambassador to Iraq currently.  Would the US tape Iraqi politicians and turn the goods over to their pet Nouri to allow him to blackmail other politicians?

Absolutely.  The White House pissed on Iraqis back in March 2010 when they ignored their votes and their opinions and said, "F**k you, we want Nouri to have a second term."  So why wouldn't they continue to do everything to make sure the US-installed Nouri stays in his petting zoo?

So the world's dealing with a rumor that's likely and plausible.

And the US has no chief diplomat on the ground -- during a very tense political time -- to deny the rumor.  That Nouri might be trashy enough to do what the rumors are saying won't surprise Iraq.  Attaching the US to those rumors will ensure that the relations between the two countries is further poisoned.

As we said earlier, Barack should have already had someone in Iraq as the Ambassador.  In fact, he should have appointed one person back in 2009 who was prepared to serve for four years as opposed to all these idiots who get to Baghdad, screw everything up and then leave. 

Isaiah's latest comic goes up after this.
The e-mail address for this site is