Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nouri's spying on political rivals garners more attention

Today Al Mada reports that Nouri al-Maliki has been provided with sophisticated spying devices which allow him to gather information on his political rivals and, the devices were provided by the US government.  These devices are said to have been used to record the recently released 2011 conversation between Tareq al-Hashemi and Ayad Allawi.   Along with speaking to various MPs, Al Mada also spoke with security sources and they revealed that the hidden camera was found in Tareq al-Hashemi's former office and that this is one of many such devices Nouri has planted in the offices of his rivals.  (For more on the spying topic and for the al-Hasemi and Allawi taped conversation, see "Iraq's sex tape rumors.")

As early as 2008, Parliament was sounding alarms that their private discussions did not appear to be so private.  In the years since, it's only been more obvious that Nouri has been illegally spying.  From the October 31, 2011 snapshot:

Mvelase Peppetta (Memeburn) reports alarm that the government of Syria has "internaet censorship equipment." It's illegal, according to US law, for it to have this Blue Coat Systems 'filter.' How did it get it? Apparently from Iraq. The US government okayed the sale of web censorship equipment to Iraq. Did the US government bother to run that past either the Iraqi people or the American people? No. Nor did it publicize the sale.

From the November 25, 2011 snapshot:

Today Khaled Waleed (Niqash) reports on the issue:

The US government says it is investigating how the devices got to Syria and Blue Coat Systems of Sunnyvale, the California-based company responsible for manufacturing the equipment, says it is cooperating fully. If the firm deliberately violated the sanctions -- which say special permission is required to import this kind of equipment into Syria -- then it could be liable for a fine of up to US$1 million.
Although the 14 web monitoring devices were shipped to Dubai late in 2010 from where they were supposed to be sent to Iraq, Iraq itself has denied any involvement in the transaction.
Nonetheless in Iraq, the issue is also causing concern. Since 2004, when the US put into effect the Syria Accountability Act, for what the US sees as Syria's support of "terrorism, involvement in Lebanon, weapons of mass destruction programs and the destabilizing role it is playing in Iraq", goods that contain more than 10 per cent componentry that is manufactured in the US have been prohibited from being exported there. However it is quite possible that Syria has been able to obtain embargoed goods through third parties. The question now is what Iraq had to do with the 13 Blue Coat web surveillance devices.

Now the US government is worried about supplying freedom suppressing techonology?  Now that Syria has the technology and might use it to harm the people of Syria. But the US allowed despot Nouri to have the technology even though he has a long record of suppressing freedom.

In 2011, journalists and activists repeatedly spoke of how they were being spyed on.  They noted that the Iraqi government seemed to know a great deal about them.  They were threatened on their cell phones and told not to attend protests.  A huge wealth of information appeared to be available to Nouri al-Maliki.

Why the US government installed Nouri in 2006 is one question?  Why Barack insisted second-place Nouri remain prime minister in 2010 is another?

As to why they allowed a thug to have Blue Coat?  Clearly they suspected Nouri had little chance of holding onto power without being able to spy (and blackmail) political rivals.

In addition to the above, Al Mada notes the Ministry of Communication recently issued a warning that cell phones were being monitored by "international" bodies -- such as the CIA which remains in Iraq.

All Iraq News reports a police officer was shot dead in Mosul and a woman and her daughter were let wounded due to an attack on the checkpoint by unknown assailants.  In addition, Alsumaria notes the PKK has announced they killed 2 Turkish soldiers near the Iraq border. Margaret Griffis ( counts 13 people reported dead yesterday in Iraq and another seventeen reported injured.

The political stalemate continues in Iraq.  It might be something Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari would like to speak to the US Ambassador to Iraq about.  However, there is no US Ambassador to Iraq.  All Iraq News reports he met instead with Robert Beecroft who is the Charge D'Affairs.  Al Mada reports that Kurdish MP Muhammad Qasim told them the questioning of Nouri before Parliament and no-confidence vote has not been forgotten, merely delayed until after Eid al-Fitr.  Qasim notes that the Constitution allows for the questioning of the PM and that they are doing things according to the law.  Earlier, Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi also noted that the questioning had not been disgarged.  Eid al-Fitr is a holiday to mark the end of Ramadan and of fasting during that holy month.  In Iraq this year, it starts on August 19th and continues on the 20th and 21st.  It's a three day celebration.   All Iraq News notes that State of Law MP  Abdul Slam al-Maliki has issued a statement declaring that the names of the nominees for the Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior will be announced after Eid al-Fitr.

Maybe so.

The spots were supposed to have had nominees in December 2010 and the nominees were supposed to have been voted on by Parliament.

Didn't happen.  Didn't happen the following year.  It's nearly two years after Nouri's 'government' formed and the security ministries remain headless.  Ever so often, a State of Law-er will step forward and announce that nominees are about to be announced.

Thus far, there have been a lot of announcements about forthcoming nominees.  But there haven't been any announced nominees.

The e-mail address for this site is