Saturday, November 17, 2012

Barack's latest blunder

In Iraq, the violence continues and so does the public embarrassment of Barack Obama which may be why the US press looks the other way. 

The violence, not even the big story today due to other events. The Tehran Times notes a Sammara car bombing injuring and killing a number of people.  AFP explains, "The pilgrims were on their way to visit the Al-Askari shrine in Samarra, which militants bombed in February 2006 sparking a wave of sectarian violence that killed tens of thousands of people."  Alsumaria reports 7 are dead and twenty-five injured.  All Iraq News notes security forces cordon off the area and ambulances transported the victims.  Gazwan Hassan, Suadad al-Salhy and Andrew Heavens (Reuters) offer,  "Attacks against Shi'ites have often increased during Ashura, when Shi'ites commemorate the death of the Prophet's grandson Imam Hussein."  Bushra Juhi (AP) elaborates on the commemoration, "Shiites mourn the seventh-century killing of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, the Imam Hussein."

From the dead and wounded to released prisoners, yesterday's snapshot noted: " Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that the rumors Ali Musa Daqduq had been released from Iraqi custody are true (see Wednesday's snapshot).  It's a huge embarrassment for the White House.  Victoria Nuland, State Dept spokesperson, was asked about it in today's press briefing."  All Iraq News notes that US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta stated a few months back that the Iraqi government had promised him they would not release Daqduq.  Alsumaria adds that Nouri al-Maliki's office today confirmed that Daqduq had been released.  Al Mada reports that Prime Minister Nouri states there wasn't evidence against Daqduq that warranted his detention.  Iraqiya MP Nada al-Joubouri tells All Iraq News that this was an Iraqi decision and the US government has no say in it.

For any who've forgotten, Daqduq was in US custody.  The US government believed that he worked with the League of Righteous and killed, among others, five American soldiers.  Not in a fight, not in combat.  They were surprised, they were targeted, they were killed on the spot, or kidnapped and killed.  From the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

Barack made a deal with a terrorist organization that had killed American soldiers and killed British citizens.  That's when these people the US government considers guilty begin being released by the US.  Because of the deal, Barack ordered the release of the leaders of the League of Righteous.  This decision was criticized internally but it was stated that they still had Daqduq and would not release him.

Until of course they did.

Ali Moussa Daqdouq, a Lebanese militant accused of involvement in the murder of several U.S. soldiers in Iraq, was released by Iraqi authorities Friday morning, Daqdouq's lawyer, Abdulalmehdi al-Mutairi, told CNN.
Daqdouq has arrived in Lebanon, his lawyer said.
"Thank God, he arrived in Lebanon a few hours ago after he left Iraq this afternoon" al-Mutairi told CNN. "There is no legal reason for his detention. He should have been released months ago".

Despite calls for him to be tried in the US, Daqduq was handed over to the Iraqis in 2011. Despite objections from US Senators.  But the White House just knew Nouri could be trusted.  Instead, Nouri demonstrated that his word was useless.  

But Nouri's actions didn't set it all in motion.  Instead, Barack did.  Daqduq and the leaders of the League of Righteous have all been released.  Barack set that in motion.  The killers of American citizens were in US custody and Barack let them go.  He needs to answer for that.  He needs to be asked how and why and what he was thinking.  These actions were outrageous in real time and we called them out in real time.

The Iraqi legal system found him innocent.  That was it for the legal system.  The US government idiotically not only insisted that Daqduq continued to be held, they asked for a review.  The review again found Daqduq innocent.  How was that a surprise?

At what point does the White House stop getting caught with their pants down?

When they were fortunate enough to be promised a review of the verdict, they should have immediately moved for extradition so that when Daqduq was again found innocent (a possibility they should have prepared for), they would have been prepared to move on it.

They weren't prepared.  Iraq gets billions from the US -- even now -- and the White House couldn't even manage a simple extradition of someone with a group considered to be a terrorist organization by most governments around the world?  

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