Wednesday, January 23, 2013

4 dead, 4 injured in today's violence and other things the western press 'forgot'

Violence continues today in Iraq even if the western media isn't noting it so far.  Alsumaria reports a Baquba car bombing claimed 1 life and left another person injured, 1 protest organizer, Mohammed Mustafa Hadi Jumail,  was assassinated in Falluja, a Diyala Province bombing targeting a home left three family members injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 senior officer in the Ministry of the Defense, and a Baghdad bombing outside the home of 1 Sahwa left him injuredAll Iraq News notes that Mohammed Mustafa Hadi Jumail was also a Sahwa.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 256 violent deaths in Iraq this month. Alsumaria also reports that gunmen blew up towers and a gnerator at a division of Zain Telcom in eastern Mosul.

The western media also ignores the prison issues except for repeating exactly what Nouri and his cronies say.  Friday should be a surprise to many who have not been paying attention because the media has misled them.  The prison issue, the western media told us last week, was all resolved.  Unlike the Iraqi media, they've had no concerns that the Ministry of Justice cannot provide a list of names of people allegedly released.  Unlike the Iraqi media, they've had no concerns why women who were allegedly released did not return to their families.

Let's pick up on that because I was arguing about that yesterday with a friend at a wire service -- the friend's covered Iraq before but doesn't currently.  He informed that there was shame for a woman being in prison and she wouldn't return home.

Well thank you for that, I certainly would never know a damn thing about the way women were treated in Iraq.

Now if we can touch back on the planet earth, Nouri's crony stated that the ones being released first had to, in effect, post bail.  (This week they are calling it just that.  Last week, they didn't call it bail.)  Who posted bail?  Nouri's crony explained last week that the families did.

So you're an Iraqi woman tossed in a prison and your family posts bail.  Where do you go when you leave?  If your family posts bail, you might assume that they, like so many Iraqis, grasp Little Saddam's the problem, not the prisoners.  You might, therefore, assume that you could go back home.  So why didn't you?

And if you didn't go home -- and you truly were released -- where are you?

Real reporters would be asking those questions -- and Iraqi reporters are.

Real reporters would realize that a woman getting out of prison with nothing to her name (the prisoners -- male or female -- weren't bailing themselves out) would have a really difficult time seeking shelter, let alone be transported to shelter.  Where are these women?

And if these women were tortured while in prison and they've now disappeared, most would assume possibilities included: (A) the women weren't really released or (B) they were targeted by those who tortured them.

Where are these women?

If the western press really gave a damn about something other than attempting to fix each news day for Nouri al-Maliki, they would be asking these questions.

Remember before Little Saddam, there was Saddam Hussein.  And remember that after -- only after -- the Iraq War started, Eason Jordan took to the op-ed pages of the New York Times to confess to the fact that, for years, CNN had repeatedly covered up news from Iraq, refused to report it, for various reasons that all can be honestly conveyed as, "If we told the truth, Saddam would have kicked us out."  And so they do it again today -- all of them, not just CNN (and CNN actually has stronger reports today than most outlets). 

Cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr is one of the main people decrying the treatment in Iraqi prisons.  For years, the person who led on this topic was Iraq's Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi -- and you wonder why Nouri al-Maliki targeted Tareq?

Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports today that Nouri's allies are insisting only 20% of the prison population is people accused of terrorism.  (The law, Article IV, as it reads now, means those people included the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of men Nouri's suspects but couldn't capture so he went after their innocent family members.)  Moqtada's bloc in Parliament is calling for significant changes to that and they support an amnesty law but, they again note, State of Law (Nouri's political slate) continues to block that.  It needs to be pointed out that 'terrorists' who are Shi'ite have long been released from prison.  In fact, the White House got punked over one such terrorist, infamously punked.  But the Sunnis don't get released.  2012 saw Iraq become one of the leading death penalty countries.  It may have had the most executions.  We'll find out when Amnesty International finishes calculating all the countries.  But United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeatedly called for Iraq to implement a temporary moratorium on the death penalty and Nouri refused.  The feeling -- right or wrong -- expressed by people in Iraqi news reports and on Iraqi social media -- was that Nouri wasn't going to agree to any moratorium because he was too busy executing as many Sunnis as he could.  Equally true, many of the prison breaks and revolts have been triggered by the announcement that a group of prisoners are going to be transported to Baghdad for executions.

Dar Addustour reports that Human Rights Commission of the Basra Governorate Council has been refused access to the Basra prison by the federal government. They also note that Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq is calling for the Baghdad Operations Command to be dissolved because of the continued use of secret prisons.

Refusing to report these realities strips the ongoing protests of their major thrust -- maybe that's intentional?  Alsumaria notes that MP Bahaa al-Araji (with Moqtada's bloc) declared yesterday that the failure to meet the demands of the protesters is aggravating the political crisis in Iraq.  The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq is Martin Kobler.  The United Nations this week began meeting with the protesters.  Alsumaira notes that Kobler held a press conference in Kirkuk yesterday where he stated that the government needs to meet the demands of the protesters and that the UN doesn't see a resolve on the part of the Iraqi government currently to meet the protesters' demands.  Kobler called for serious dialogue.

We'll close with Chris Fry's "Opposition grows to Iraqi regime" (Workers World):

As part of the decade-long NATO war and occupation in Iraq, led by the U.S., the imperialists conducted a campaign to promote foreign control by sowing and deepening religious and cultural divisions. The Iraqi people have paid a terrible price. More than a million lives have been lost, many from the shootings and bombings instigated by the NATO occupiers that continue to this day.
But since Dec. 25, daily demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have filled the streets to demand an end to all this. Opposing the NATO-backed al-Maliki regime, which Iraqis have called the “second face” of the occupation, these demonstrations have drawn support from all sectors of Iraq — from Sunnis to Kurds and Shia organizations and leaders. () Starting in the city of Ramadi, in cities and towns throughout the country, huge crowds have demanded the removal of the Maliki government.
The protesters are justly demanding:
1. The immediate release of detained protesters and dissident prisoners.
2 . An end to the death penalty.
3. The approval of an amnesty law for innocent detainees.
4. The abolition of anti-terrorism laws (especially Clause 4 used to target them).
5. The repeal of unfair rulings against dissidents.
6. Fair opportunities for work based on professionalism.
7. The end of the use of all military command based on geographic areas.
8. The provision of essential services to all areas in Iraq neglected by the, Jan. 17state.
9. The holding of all … governmental officials, army or security units who have committed crimes against dissidents accountable, especially those who have violated the honor of women in prisons.
10. A U.N.-sponsored population count.
11. An end to marginalization, a stop to agitating divisions between ethnic and religious groups, and a stop to the house raids without legal warrant based on the information of secret informers.
12. A stop to financial, administrative and legal corruption.
13. The combating of sectarianism in all its forms by returning religious buildings and all religious properties to their rightful owners, and the abolishment of law No. 19 of 2005.
The Maliki regime has used brutal repression to maintain its grip on power. The Baghdad government has admitted that it is holding 6,500 prisoners whom it accuses of “terrorism,” including 97 women, along with 15,000 prisoners for “civil” crimes, including 500 women. On Jan. 18, Baghdad TV announced that 97,000 people were arrested last November alone in Anbar, Diyalah and Salah-Adedeen provinces. (“Friday No Deception. Protesters to Maliki: Stop Cheating and Go Away,” Eman A. Khamas, Brussell’s Tribunal,  Jan. 18)
Iraq government corruption is virtually unmatched. The international organization Transparency International has labeled it among the most corrupt in the world. At the same time, while Iraq contains vast oil wealth, the infrastructure is crumbling and social services, particularly for health, are declining for the Iraqi people.
The U.S. government, which spent $1 trillion  and 4,500 soldier’s lives to wage war against and occupy Iraq, has supplied $11 billion in weapons to the Maliki regime, not including billions more for training to the same “security” forces” that have been used against the opposition. (“Sectarian Tensions Are Pushing Iraq to the Brink,” Wadah Khanfar,, Jan. 17)
In heavily militarized Baghdad, government forces have prevented demonstrators from massing in the center of the city. But the people have been able to assemble and march in many locations throughout the city.
Of course, it was not the huge banks and giant corporations that bore the cost of the Iraqi war, the occupation and the continued repression in Iraq. Along with the Iraqi people, working people from all of the NATO countries have paid the trillions it cost. And the European and U.S. “austerity” campaigns that have devastated workers from Greece to Portugal to Detroit stem from this global system of imperialist domination and control through war, whose benefits go only to the infamous 1%.
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