Thursday, May 19, 2016

What Tareq al-Hashemi reveals about the crisis in Iraq and the state of the western press

tareq al-hashemi

In a rare bit of good news, INTERPOL has dropped Tareq al-Hashemi from its red list.

He never should have been on it to begin with.

I find it interesting that the whorish press -- yes, they were whores -- were eager to trumpet his being added to that list yet I have to learn of this development -- the dropping from the list -- from a French journalist friend who phoned to ask if I'd heard the news?

Of course, I hadn't.

Who's reporting it?

As usual, if it's not something that helps whatever spin -- or lie -- the US State Dept is currently pimping, the western outlets ignore it.

Who is Tareq?

A rather important figure because he is Sunni and he represents the targeting of the Sunnis in Iraq that led to the rise of the Islmaic State.

Tareq al-Hasehmi served two terms as vice president of Iraq.  During his first term, he incurred the wrath of thug and then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a number of reasons including noting the living conditions in Iraqi prisons and the fact that those in prison either had long waits before they appeared in court or had never appeared in a court before.  And he didn't just speak out about this, he toured the prisons, inviting the press to accompany him.

He also spoke out about the torture and abuse taking place under Nouri al-Maliki.

And he noted that the Iraqi government had a financial responsibility to help neighboring countries -- Jordan, Lebanon and Syria -- who were taking in the bulk of Iraqi refugees.

Nouri's first term was followed by a political stalemate which lasted over eight months.  The 2010 elections saw Nouri's State of Law lose to Iraqiya -- which was led by Shi'ite Ayad Allawi and which Tareq was apart of (as were the al-Nujaifi brothers, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq and many more). Nouri refused to step down.  For over eight months.

And during this period, he had the nerve to accuse Tareq of acting illegally.

Tareq was carrying out plans from 2009 to visit neighboring countries.

Nouri declared these visits were illegal and that Tareq was not a vice president (which would mean Jalal Talabani wasn't president either nor was Iraq's other vice president -- we'll get to him in a moment).  Nouri made this claim as his own term was over -- expired, yes, but also over due to the election results.

The western press chose to deal with this drama by ignoring it.

Sensing a pattern?

Because it's always existed.

It was actually worse at one point.

As one point, 2006, THE NEW YORK TIMES felt they could lie about Sunni leaders and get away with it.  And they pretty much did because only we called them out when they had the Sunni leader of Parliament hiding at his home in a deep depression -- reality, he was visiting neighboring countries.

That wasn't a mistake, let's be clear.

It was psy-ops on the American people.

And we called it out.

The press also missed out on Adil Abdul-Mahdi declaring Nouri's remarks ridiculous.  Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a Shi'ite,  had served as Iraq's other vice president  since 2006 along with Tareq (Adil is a Shi'ite).  It was left to Adil to point out (without naming Nouri) that, due to the political stalemate,  the Parliament was not meeting and therefore could not name a new president or new vice presidents and that, for stability purposes, he, Tareq and Jalal would have to continue in their roles until the Parliament named successors.

Iraqiya itself spoke to the illegitimacy of Nouri's second term.

Its very existence was a reminder that the voters had not chosen Nouri. Nouri got a second term via a contract the US government brokered which was The Erbil Agreement -- it went around the voters and the Iraqi constitution to deliver Nouri a second term.  (No, Barack did not care about democracy, will of the voter or any other concept we supposedly value in the US.)

When Nouri used the contract to get his second term but refused to honor the promises he made in that same contract, Tareq was one of the first to call Nouri out and demand that contract be honored.  He was joined by Ayad Allawi, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr, KRG President Massoud Barzani, and many others.

As summer (2011) turned to fall, the demands grew louder.

December 2011, saw a drawdown where most US troops left Iraq (many -- over 15,000 -- to go to Kuwait).  The drawdown was completed December 15th and Nouri began going after his political rivals.  Two days later, December 17th, Liz Sly (Washington Post) was reporting that Iraq was "unraveling faster than had been anticipated Saturday." Adding, "In recent days, the homes of top Sunni politicians in the fortified Green Zone have been ringed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, and rumors are flying that arrest warrants will be issued for other Sunni leaders."

Tareq al-Hashemi, many outlets wrongly reported, fled Iraq and fled because he was going to be arrested.

Again, are you sensing a pattern?

Me too.

When year after year, the western press distorts the Sunnis, it's not an accident.

And if you've read Arabic social media in the last years, you know many Arabs don't see these repeated distortions and omissions as an error either.

Sunday December 18, 2011, Tareq al-Hashemi and Saleh al-Mutlaq, along with bodyguards, attempted to leave out of Baghdad International Airport for the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government -- three semi-autonomous provinces in Iraq). Nouri's forces pulled all off the plane and detained them for approximately an hour before allowing some bodyguards and al-Hashemi and al-Mutlaq to reboard.

From that day's "And the war drags on . . .:"

AFP reports, "Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and several of his bodyguards were escorted off a plane at Baghdad airport on Sunday because two of the guards were wanted on 'terrorism charges,' officials said, the latest step in a deepening political crisis." Also on the plane was Saleh al-Mutlaq, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister whom Nouri has asked Parliament to strip the powers of. al-Mutlaq was also forced off the plane. 

After being detained, the two were allowed to re-board the plane and travel to the KRG.

 The next day, December 19th, Nouri issued an arrest warrant for al-Hashemi whom he charged with 'terrorism.'  From that day's snapshot:

CNN reported this afternoon that an arrest warrant had been issued for Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi by the Judicial Commitee with the charge of terrorism.  Omar al-Saleh (Al Jazeera) terms it a "poltical crisis" and states, "The government says this has nothing to do with the US withdrawal, that this has nothing to do with the prime minister consolidating his grip on power.  However, members of al-Iraqiya bloc, which Hashimis is a member of, say 'No, [Maliki] is trying to be a dictator."  Sam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) observes, "The arrest warrant puts Mr. Maliki on a possible collision course with the Kurds, who run their own semiautonomous region in the north and participate in the central government but have longstanding disputes with Baghdad over oil and land; and with Sunni Arabs in provinces like Anbar, Diyala, Nineveh and Salahuddin who have pressed in recent weeks for more autonomy from Baghdad with the backing of the Kurds."

Tareq was already in the KRG when the arrest warrant was issued.

al-Hashemi did not 'flee' to the KRG.

It's a lie that's still 'reported' by western media outlets to this day.

What western outlet has ever bothered to correct the record?

Answer: None.

Message (as noted on Arabic social media): You can tell any lie about a Sunni that you want to and get away with it.

Tareq to the KRG on business and could have been stopped if Nouri wanted to stop him. A day after he arrived, an arrest warrant was issued and he elected to remain in the KRG. He was  the guest of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and KRG President Massoud Barzani.

Because Jalal is spineless, Talabani quickly caved and withdrew his support.  Massoud Barzani has a spine and he never caved and stated that the KRG would host Tareq and would not turn him over to Baghdad.

For reality, we'll drop back to December 24, 2011 for this:

Mustafa Habib (Al Mada) notes that Nouri al-Maliki's targeting Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with terrorism charges and calling for Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq [to be stripped of his office] have many noticing that both are members of Iraqiya and political opponents of Nouri and that while the political crisis has revealed a diminished role for the US it has underscored that the Kurds remain the heart of the country's political process. Dar Addustour reports that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi announced the postponement of the scheduled meeting yesterday of the political blocs while Nouri's spokesperson floated the notion that there are other charges waiting in the wings. Reportedly this includes charging the Minister of Finance, Rafie al-Issawi, with terrorism, specifically with killings in Falluja back in 2006. Like Tareq al-Hashemi and Saleh al-Mutlaq, Rafie al-Issawi is a member of Iraqiya. Dar Addustour also notes Hoshyar Zebari, Foreign Minister, issued a statement declaring the matter should have been resolved by the political blocs but has instead played out in the press. Al Mada adds that Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani and US Ambassador James Jeffrey spoke yesterday and are calling for a meeting among the political blocs and that State of Law was whining about the Friday meet-up, whining that Iraqiya is boycotting Parliament but they want to attend the meet-up. Aswat al-Iraq notes, "Iraqiya bloc leader Iyad Alawi described recent events in Iraq as 'liquidation of differences', warning an explosive era waiting Iraq in the coming days, according to an interview with Arabia TV late yesterday (Friday)."

Maybe telling the truth about Tareq and the persecution of the Sunnis would mean that the world would have to stop blaming the current mess that is Iraq solely on Bully Boy Bush?

He's a war criminal and responsible for the Iraq War starting.

He's rap sheet is lengthy.

But the rise of the Islamic State and so much else effecting Iraq today goes to Barack and his decision to install Nouri al-Maliki in a second term after voters rejected Nouri.

During Nouri's second term, Barack was repeatedly silent.

He refused to call out what was going on in Iraq.

Thursday, February 16th 2012, an incredible act of judicial abuse took place as the 'independent' Supreme Court in Baghdad issued a finding of guilt against Tareq al-Hashemi. Was a trial held? Because Article 19 of Iraq's Constitution is very clear that the accused will not be guilty until convicted in a court of law. No. There was no trial held. But members of the judiciary -- who should damn well know the Constitution -- took it upon themselves not only to form an investigative panel -- extra-judicial -- but also to hold a press conference and issue their findings. At the press conference, a judge who is a well known Sunni hater, one with prominent family members who have demonized all Sunnis as Ba'athists, one who was then demanding that a member of Iraqiya in Parliament be stripped of his immunity so that the judge can sue him, felt the need to go to the microphone and insist he was receiving threats and this was because of Tareq al-Hashemi, that al-Hashemi was a threat to his family.

Having already demonstrated that they will NOT obey the Constitution, the judiciary then indicated -- via the judge's statement -- a personal dislike of Tareq al-Hashemi. What they did that Thursday was demonstrate that Tareq al-Hashemi had always been correct in his fear that he would not receive a fair trial in Baghdad.

Nouri's regime kidnapped Tareq al-Hashemi  bodyguards as well as at least two other employees.  In February 2012, Tareq noted that his bodyguards had been tortured  and that he was in possession of photos demonstrating the torture. Al Jazeera quoted him stating, "We have pictures of bruises on their faces and bodies." AFP quoted him in full, "All the arrested people from my bodyguards and the employees of my office are being held in secret prisons over which the ministry of justice has no authority, and confessions are being taken from them through torture. We have pictures and evidence proving that the bodyguards were tortured, physically and psychologically." CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq reported:

Al-Hashimi criticized the investigation, saying, "How come they finished investigating 150 cases against me and my bodyguards within a few days?
"Where did my bodyguards plan for these 150 attacks? On the surface of the moon?" he asked.

Only AFP noted that employees of Tareq al-Hashemi, besides bodyguards, are also being held. January 30th, Amnesty International issued a call for "Iraqi authorities to reveal the whereabouts of two women arrested earlier this month, apparently for their connection to the country's vice-president. Rasha Nameer Jaafer al-Hussain and Bassima Saleem Kiryakos were arrested by security forces at their homes on 1 January. Both women work in the media team of Iraqi Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi" and quoted Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, declaring, "The Iraqi authorities must immediately disclose the whereabouts of Rasha al-Hussain and Bassima Kiryakos. At the very minimum they should have immediate access to their family and a lawyer." The alert noted that, in the middle of the month, Bassima Saleem Kiryakos phoned her husband to say she was being released, but she was not heard from again and that, in December, she was also taken by Iraqi security forces and beaten.

Moving on to the March 22, 2012 snapshot:

Since December, those working for Tareq al-Hashemi have been rounded up by Nouri's forces.  At the end of January, Amnesty International was calling for the Baghdad government "to reveal the whereabouts of two women arrested earlier this month, apparently for their connection to the country's vice-president.  Rasha Nameer Jaafer al-Hussain and Bassima Saleem Kiryakos were arrested by security forces at their homes on 1 January.  Both women work in the media team of Iraqi Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi, who is wanted by the Iraqi authorities on terrorism-related charges."  Yesterday, al-Hashemi noted that his bodyguard had died and stated that it appeared he had died as a result of torture.
 Alsumaria notes Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is calling for the international community to call out the death of his bodyguard, Amer Sarbut Zeidan al-Batawi, who died after being imprisoned for three months. al-Hashemi has stated the man was tortured to death. The photo Alsumaria runs of the man's legs (only the man's legs) appear to indicate he was tortured, welts and bruises and scars.  They also report that the Baghdad Operations Command issued a statement today insisting that they had not tortured al-Batawi and that he died of chronic renal.  They also insist that he was taken to the hospital for medical treamtent on March 7th and died March 15th. Renal failure would be kidney failure.  And that's supposed to prove it wasn't torture?
If you work for an outlet that just spits out what you are told and didn't actually learn a profession, yes.  Anyone with half a brain, however, apparently that's half more than the average journalist possess today knows to go to science.  The Oxford Journal is scientific. This is from the Abstract for GH Malik, AR Reshi, MS Najar, A Ahmad and T Masood's "Further observations on acute renal failure following physical torture" from 1994:
Thirty-four males aged 16–40 (mean 25) years in the period from August 1991 to February 1993 presented in acute renal failure (ARF), 3–14 (mean 5) days after they had been apprehended and allegedly tortured in Police interrogation centres in Kashmir. All were beaten involving muscles of the body, in addition 13 were beaten on soles, 11 were trampled over and 10 had received repeated electric shocks.
Out of that group? 29 did live. Five died.  I don't think the Baghdad Command Operations created any space between them and the charge with their announcement of renal failure as the cause of death.  But, hey, I went to college and studied real topics -- like the law and political science and sociology and philosophy -- and got real degrees not glorified versions of a general studies degree with the word "journalism" slapped on it.  So what do I know?

Tareq never should have been tried.  Any trial was illegal.  Until 2014, he remained one of Iraq's vice presidents.  Nouri tried to get the Parliament to strip him of his role but they refused.  He could not legally been put on trial while in office unless he was stripped of his office per the Iraqi Constitution. He was tried in absentia.  His attorneys request that Jalal Talabani testify (and Talabani agreed to testify) was refused by the prejudiced judiciary which had already announced his guilt months before the trial began.

There is so much more to the Tareq story that we could go into.

But just the above should convey the targeting that took place -- just some of it.

And convince you that Barack continuing to supply weapons and moneys to Iraq blindly and without conditions, his silence in the face of the persecution of the Sunnis gave Nouri al-Maliki the green light to persecute the Sunnis.

And the persecution grew and grew.

Until finally, in the summer of 2014, even Barack had to back off from supporting Nouri.

In August of 2014, Barack insisted upon Haider al-Abadi.

This was sold as "change."

Is Nancy A. Youssef a whore or just stupid?

We'll come back to that.

How could it be change?

Haider, a Shi'ite, was a member of Nouri al-Maliki's political party (Dawa) and a member of the political coalition Nouri created to go around Dawa (State of Law).

He was also a friend of Nouri's.

(And even Nouri's well known desire to topple Haider so he can return as prime minister hasn't stopped Haider from seeking Nouri's approval.)

This week, Nancy A. Youssef filed a ridiculous report -- strong in parts but ridiculous for the claim that Haider's done anything to try to ease the persecution of the Sunnis.

We may go into this at length in the next snapshot.

For now, we'll just note that the statement isn't just idiotic, it's offensive.

Haider's done nothing to address this issue.

It's why the Islamic State got a powerhold in Iraq.

So it must be addressed if you want to defeat the Islamic State.

Though Haider had nothing to do with Tareq's name being removed from the list, if he had any smarts (probably not), he'd be noting the news himself.

He'd be trumpeting it as an act of healing, an act of getting Iraq on track to being a united country that welcomes all Iraqis.

As it is, Haider's done nothing.

Two years later and he's done nothing.

I keep seeing one 'analysis' after another about how Iraqis are bothered by corruption and blah, blah, blah.

It's strange that this wasn't noticed when Sunnis took to the streets for over a year of protests.

It's as though, in the western media, nothing happens in Iraq unless it happens to a Shi'ite.

The media has repeatedly reported from one side, on behalf of one side.

We see constant distortions with regards to Sunnis, we see constant silences with regards to Sunni Arabs.  Over and over.

And the same press that spent a week and a half 'reporting' on Tareq being added to the INTERPOL list (and getting event hat wrong) has yet to note that he's been removed from the list.

Western journalists are very, very lucky that the bulk of western news consumers do not read Arabic.  If they did, they'd be aware of just how distorted coverage has been.

Western journalists are very unlucky that some of us do -- and that we won't be silent.

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