Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Nouri said to be having an affair with prisoner

The Iraq Times reports MP Sabah al-Saadi (who has been a thorn in Nouri al-Maliki's side for many years) has publicly charged that prime minister and chief thug of the continued occupation Nouri al-Maliki has taken a woman out of prison (a prostitute) and promised her rewards for taking part in a 'secret marriage.'

Is it true, is it false?

It really doesn't matter.

Nouri can deny it and insist that it's false.  If it is false and he denies it, he's just made it worse for himself.

The problem with the US press coverage of Iraq is it is, at best, sporadic.  But even if it was around the clock, past history demonstrates that they repeatedly (possibly intentionally) fail to get it.

When it comes to the ongoing protests in Iraq (which are building, not vanishing and which get a massive influx in sixteen days), the US press and much of the Western press see it as a Fianance Minister's staff got arrested.  Yes, that did happen and it might even have the 'straw that broke the camel's back.'  But the point of that sayng is that many other things came before.  A straw, by itself, is not going to break a camel's back.  A straw, according to the saying, can be piledd atop other things (other grievances) and, combined with what came before, have the power to break a camel's back.  (To be clear, no camel's backs were broken during the writing of this entry.)

The arrests were seen as an outrage but they were seen as part of an ongoing outrage.  In any real protest, there will be a class that is considered not just wronged but horribly wronged and that's why the charge al-Saadi is making is highly damaging and boxes Nouri into a corner.  For these protests, there was outrage over the lack of power sharing, there was outrage over the years, under Nouri, of mass arrests, there was outrage for the power grabs but the thing that caused the most trouble for Nouri was the allegations that Iraqi women were being tortured and raped in prisons.  This was outrageous on its own but it also came to represent the Saddam Hussein past and the corrupt current under Nouri in a way that few things could.

If you read the coverage in Arabic, you will find protesters talking about what happened to the Iraqi women in prison in one sentence and then, immediately after, going into the rape of the girl by Nouri's forces in Mosul and how Nouri refused to surrender the soldier to the province despite the arrest warrant.

Anything to do with women right now is  a touchy subject for Nouri.  His inability to assist widows and orphans playes into the image he has of someone who would oversee the torture and rape of Iraqi women and girls.  Rumors that he's gotten a woman out of prison for sex (he is married) will play into his existing reputation.  There are some who will hear "prostitute" and think, "Of course, he would go for a prostitute."  There are others who will hear the term and think he turned the woman into that -- the woman who may not even exist in this world.

But she exists in the minds of many Iraqis.

A protest is like a war in that a motivating factor has to exist.  Governments will lie to instill one to get a citizens on their side ("yellowcake uranium," WMD, etc.).  Protests are against government by their very nature, against a status quo.  When they actually take root, it's because they've touched a nerve deep in the population, to the point that it pulls from and also feeds into the collective unconscious.

Abu Ghraib is just to the west of Baghdad but is sometimes billed as part of the city of Baghdad.  The confusion is aided by the fact that the infamous Abu Ghraib prison is known as Baghdad Central Prison today.  (It is in Baghdad Province.)   In 2004,  60 Minutes II broadcast the story of Abu Ghraib Prison and the abuses taking place there.  Iraqis were being abused by Americans.  It was part of terrorizing them and breaking them to use them in the future -- that was the purpose of the photographic evidence that 'intelligence' had guards taking. 

The Bahrain News Agency notes, "US defense contractor whose subsidiary was accused of conspiring to torture Abu Ghraib prisoners has settled with former inmates for $5m (£3m, the BCC reported." The defense contractor is Engility Holdings.   AFP elaborates that there were 72 plantiffs and they will split the $5.28 million (minus lawyers fees).  AP says contractor CACI has yet to settle and that case is set to be tried over the summer.

The following community sites -- plus Chocolate City, Susan's On the Edge, CSPAN, Pacifica Even News and Jody Watley -- updated last night and this morning:

International labor journalist, David Bacon, author most recently of the book  Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award, is known for text and for photographs.  He continues to use both talents to tell the stories that are a lot more important to society than the multitude of celebrity profiles (that's political celebs as well as entertainment ones) that take up the bulk of the press today.   One example of that can be found in his "Making A Life, But Not A Living" (TruthOut):

Lucrecia Camacho comes from Oaxaca, and speaks Mixteco, one of the indigenous languages and cultures of Mexico that were hundreds of years old before the arrival of the Spaniards. Today she lives in Oxnard, California. Because of her age and bad health, she no longer works as a farm worker, but she spent her life in Oxnard's strawberry fields, and before that, in the cotton fields of northern Mexico. She told her story to David Bacon.

I was born in a little town called San Francisco Higos, Oaxaca. I've worked all of my life. I started to work in Baja California when I was a little girl. I've worked in the fields all of my life, because I don't know how to read or write. I never had an opportunity to go to school. I didn't even know what my own name was until I needed my birth certificate for the immigration amnesty paperwork after I'd come to the U.S.
When I was seven, my mother, stepfather and I hitchhiked from Oaxaca to Mexicali, and I lived there for two years. I spent my childhood in Mexicali during the bracero years. I would see the braceros pass through on their way to Calexico, on the U.S. side. I would beg in the streets of Calexico and they would throw me bread and canned beans on their way back home. I also begged in Tijuana. I'm not ashamed to share that because that is how I grew up.
I began working when I was nine years old. In Culiacan I picked cotton, then I went to work in Ciudad Obregon, Hermosillo and Baja California. I would get three pesos a day. From that time on, I have spent my entire life working.

The e-mail address for this site is

david bacon

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