Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A year later, the assassination of Hadi al-Mahdi still unsolved

Dropping back to the September 8, 2011 snapshot:

In Iraq, a journalist has been murdered.  In addition to being a journalist, he was also a leader of change and part of the movement to create an Iraq that was responsive to Iraqis. 
Al Mada reports Iraqi journalist Hadi al-Mahdi is dead according to an Interior Ministry source who says police discovered him murdered in his Baghdad home.  Along with being a journalist, Al Mada notes he was one of the chief organizers of the demonstrations demanding change and service reform that began on February 25th -- the day he was arrested by Iraqi security forces and beaten in broad daylight as he and others, after the February 25th protest, were eating in a restaurant. The New York Times didn't want to tell you about, the Washington Post did.  And now the man is dead. Gee, which paper has the archives that matter to any real degree.  Maybe it's time to act like a newspaper and not a "news magazine" with pithy little human interest stories?  (That is not a dig at Tim Arango but at the paper's diva male 'reporter' who went on NPR to talk of an Iraqi college this week.)  So while the Times missed the story (actaully, they misled on the story -- cowtowing to Nouri as usual),  Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reported:

Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.
"It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."

A picture of the new democracy in Iraq, indeed.

Today Prashant Rao (AFP) notes, a year later, despite claims that they weren't responsible and that they would get to the bottom of it, the government has still not solved the assassination (or, I'd argue, even really investigated).  Rao notes:

Mehdi's friends and supporters insist he has not been forgotten, with the radio station he worked at planning a special day of programming, and journalists and activists organising events and demonstrations in his memory this week.
"Hadi would say what people wanted to say but couldn't -- they didn't have his courage," said Karnas Ali, technical director at the Demozy radio station where Mehdi broadcast three 90-minute shows a week.
"His programme was the kind of work that makes enemies," Ali said.
"Whenever I read his comments, I would tell him he was writing a suicide note."
Mehdi's radio show, Ya Sameen al-Saut ("You, Who Can Hear This Voice"), was known for its sharp criticisms of official incompetence and corruption.
 Credit to Prashant Rao and AFP for covering the assassination a year later.

Possibly,  the security forces find nothing about the assassination because they're so busy with other things.  Alsumaria reports that amred forces in police uniforms attacked various social clubs in Baghdad yesterday, beating various people and firing guns in the air.  They swarmed clubs and refused to allow anyone to leave but did make time to beat people with the butss of their rifles and pistols, they then destroyed the clubs.

In other news, Dar Addustour reports that US Vice President Joe Biden will present a plan ("roadmap") to Nouri in the coming days on how to resolve the ongoing political stalemate.  Biden was supposed to have already visited Iraq, the outlet reports, but has been waiting for President Jalal Talabani to return. 

While Joe Biden's arrival is delayed, three US Senators are in Iraq.  Senator John McCain Tweeted this morning:

McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are all in Iraq.  When McCain calls it "the final tour of the three amigos," he's referring to the fact that Senator Joe Lieberman's term is expiring and he chose not to seek re-election.

AP notes that the three have called out what they say are flights of weapons to Syria by the Iranian government with Iran using Iraqi air space for the flights.  Nouri is saying he wants proof from the US first.  Silly Nouri.  Has he forgotten what happened to Afghanistan when they asked for proof of Osama bin Laden's connection to the 9-11?  Colin Powell declared they'd get the proof after they handed bin Laden over and then the US began bombing Afghanistan.  AFP adds, "Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham told reporters in Baghdad that while Tehran had told Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki the planes were carrying humanitarian aid, the US believed they had military equipment on board."

In the US Jill Stein has the Green Party's presidential nomination and her campaign notes:

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