Monday, March 28, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, the New York Times finds a new way to undercount the violence (invent your own figure!!!!!) and makes a point to repeat unverified, malicious gossip about six dead women, a vice president doesn't want to continue as such, Nouri accuses everyone in Iraq of being out to get him (check his meds), Walter Rogers is an uninformed idiot, and much more.
Rawya Rageh: He might be keeping his shoes on this time around but Iraq's famous shoe thrower is still getting himself in trouble. Munthadhr Alzaydi in the middle of Iraq's recent arrest. After serving jail time for insulting former president George W. Bush, Alzaydi had to live in exile due to security concerns. When thousands across the Arab world started waiving their shoes in protest, Alzaydi knew he had to return to Baghdad. Not thrilled with that decision, Iraqi authorities detained him just one day before Iraq's first mass protest
Munthadhr Alzaydi: Before they released me, they made me sign an affidavit promising not to protest against the democratic state. I said, 'I'll sign ten of those but next Friday, I promise you, I'll be the first to take the streets."
Rawya Rageh: And that he did, flanked by supporters guarding him tightly, an unlikely hero to Iraqis rallying against poor services and corruptions. Munthadhr Alzaydi and his supporters are not just asking for better services in Iraq, they're among those who are specifically asking for the ouster of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The prime minister had described them as out-of-step with the rest of the Iraqi protesters. He says unlike the other Arab governments that were recently toppled, Iraq has a democratic process through which is government was formed.
Munthadhr Alzaydi: Maliki's democracy is one that involves abuse in prisons, botched elections and clinging on to religious figures for legitimacy. His democracy is like that of George Bush: You are either with us or against us.
Rawya Raghe: One group he's banking on in his campaign against the government the families of thousands of prisoners lingering in Iraqi prisons
Munthadhr Alzaydi: If we manage to bring change, great. If we don't? At least we had the honor of trying.
Yesterday it was raining in Baghdad. Young and old Iraqi people gathered in Tahrir square in center of Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqis demonstrate in central Baghdad under the slogan "Friday of accountability" demanding the release of detainees and the prosecution of corrupt officials. The Iraqi demonstrator has to walk for few miles to get to the square, after the Iraqi government forces closed several streets with barbed wires, one of them is an Iraqi young blogger who is a college student and work as a free lance reporter in free time to make a living, he had been beaten twice by the army in the past weeks demonstrations. He and other Iraqi bloggers and activists had received death threats via SMS messages and on their Facebook accounts. They do not know who sent these threats but they heard stories about some official personalities keeping a close eye on the activists activities on the internet. These threats did not stop them to stand under the rain raising slogans calling for reform and change the system in the face of rampant corruption circles in the state. Surrounded by the military vehicles escorted by detachments of the security force to report the news of the demonstrations is not an easy job ,the writer of this article received 2 threats from unknowns on facebook after posting an updates on the demonstrations.
After suffering which has lasted eight years, during which our lives and dignity were violated, our livelihoods and our wealth plundered, and the happiness and futures of our children stolen, in the shadow of great oppression, a period the Iraqi people dealt with great ...patience and with their known steadfastness in facing crises; the moment has come in which the Youth of Iraq has broken the silence, and has decided to choose to demonstrate , to strike at oppressors and corrupt, and to state quite bluntly that patience has its limits and that the rights of nations will not be lost; so the Great Rage Revolution was born and crowned the popular movement which has lasted for years.
This is a day which has gone down in the annals of history and whose letters have been engraved with light, that recounted the epics of the nation that rose from its north to the very tips of its south, challenging live ammunition and state repression; it offered more than 20 martyrs of its finest rebell sons; this day has become the turning point in the history of the Iraqi People…. The day we rose against our bad reality; when we attacked great injustice which affected us all, and we came out from being a great silent marginalized majority to a majority that fills the spaces with the sound of justice, that registers an impressive presence which attracts the world's interest. Based on the foregoing, we say to the free-spirited and defiant youth of Iraq, out of loyalty to the blood - shed by our martyrs and the demands of our patient people, and after lengthy examination of the previous phase, an assessment of our achievements, and taking stock of our failures, we have come out with important matters that we hope everyone will uphold, and take into consideration:
First: The media is half the battle, and is a necessity for those who have the right to promote their cause, and because the media is busy, at present, covering many events in the world, we suggest that we work, during the next phase, on intensifying the building-up for a great demonstration, as was the case before the Rage Uprising on the 25th February.
Secondly: The build -- up for the demonstration on 9.4.2011, the painful anniversary of the occupation of Iraq, which happens to be a Saturday, paying special attention to the fact that the central demonstration will be in Baghdad, the Capital, in Tahrir Square, in order to forestall any party attempting to exploit events for their own special interests, far away from the higher interests of the Iraqi People.
Third: We hope that our people will not repeat the 25th February scenes, and that this time round, they will remain in the Square for a long period of time, to dominate it and thus manufacture the event which will force those concerned to listen to our demands as well as for the media to promote the justice of our demands.
Fourth: Avoid clashing with security forces as much as possible, because as a result of our short experience in demonstrations, they do not possess any other language than brute force when dealing with any protests; and try to deal with them in such manner that assures them, which will force them to deal positively with demonstrators.
Fifth: Form committees to control the anger of the demonstrators - as much as possible, especially in the provinces in order to avoid the burning down of government offices and the destruction of public property, upholding our commitment to demonstrate peacefully, so as not to give the opportunity to those who call the revolutionaries vandals ignoring the reasons for such condemnable actions, despite our understanding of the reasons which caused some people to carry out such acts.
Sixth: We call on all Iraqi communities all over the world and in particular those communities who live in countries where international decisions are made, to move and to support us in our demands; to demonstrate in front of Iraqi Embassies in these countries constitutes pressure on the government as well as the occupation; in addition to embarrassing it internationally especially on presenting the photographs of the government's latest crimes and its suppression of the demonstrators, in order to benefit from the present international atmosphere which condemns every government that suppresses its people who demonstrate peacefully.
In conclusion, we are announcing to the corrupt Green Zone government and to all the sectarian and ethnic political parties and at their forefront, the top of the government pyramid, that we hold him legally responsible for the death of the 25th February martyrs, the coming of a summer much hotter than the one Iraqis suffer without electricity and cold water; we demand that they respond immediately to the demands of the Iraqi People and leave governance to the Iraqi People who have publicly regretted their choice, rather than continue arrogantly in the charade, and we tell them: "today, you may still have the opportunity to do the aforementioned, but no one can guarantee you what will happen tomorrow or the day after at the latest, for darkness possesses one round but right possesses rounds, and that the change that the people are seeking is inevitably coming.
Glory and Eternity to Iraq's Martyrs. Glory and Eternity to the Martyrs of the Rage Rebellion
1- The Great Iraqi Revolution 2- The 25th February Alliance 3- People's Movement to Save Kirkuk 4- Free Iraq Students and Youth Organization
Meanwhile David Ali (Al Rafidayn) reported over the weekend that the protests and the inability to function are leading some political blocs to speak of ending the partnership government. "Informed sources" (unnamed) tell Ali that the Ayad Allawi has been to Najaf to meet with Moqtada al-Sadr and that there is talk between blocs of forming a new government. Al Rafidayn reported that a meeting took place of Iraqiya leaders in Jordan, called by Saleh al-Mutlaq (one of the candidates banned in the 2010 elections by the Justice and Accountability Ministry) and other participants are said to have included Osama al-Najafi (Speaker of Parliament), Dhafer al-Ani and Jamal Karbouli. Ayad Allawi is said to have not been present for the meet up. The unnamed official detailing the meeting to the paper insists that Allawi is seen as weak and giving in to compromises when he should have fought. Iraqiya's spokesperson states that Ayad Allawi took his name out of the running for chairing the National (Security) Council due to the fact that a vote on the Council was delayed repeatedly. The spokesperson notes that Iraqiya has not nominated anyone new to the position. Today Alsumaria TV reports, "In a meeting with a group of Iraqi academics, analysts and politicians, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki said he considers calling for a no-confidence vote on his government if his political partners carry on challenging him, an informed source told Alsumaria News. Maliki believes the political process in Iraq cannot succeed under the present Constitution, the source speaking on condition of anonymity said." Everyone's out to get him! Iraqiya! The National Alliance!!! It's Nouri and Nouri only fighting for Iraq! You sort of get the feeling that the US does do get a psych consult when auditioning would-be despots; however, the crazier they are, the more the US wants in that role. And crazy is Nouri who apparently is now going to declare war on the Iraqi Constitution. Oh, that's going to be pretty. Al Mada reports that Babacar Zebari, the Iraqi Army's Chief of Staff, has declared that Iraq is ready to face any emergency internally. It's a sad statement on Iraq's 'government' that they have to boast of being able to defend themselves from internal threats (that would be their own people). It's equally true that there is still no Minister of Homeland Security.
Yesterday Iraq's Parliament finally returned from their ten day holiday. Ayas Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports that the Parliamanet plans to review 17 laws this week. Dar Addustour reports Osama al-Nujafi, Speaker of Parliament, is still attempting to spin the 10 days off. The holiday was called in solidarity with the oppressed people of Bahrain. When that didn't play well with all Iraqis, they began back pedaling including insisting last week that they were not on holiday. Al Rafidayn notes a development with regards to Iraq's still unnamed vice presidents, Iraq's current Shi'ite vice president Abdul-Mahdi has allegedly withdrawn his name from consideration. Alsumaria TV adds that he notified Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq, of his decision yesterday and "Abdul Mehdi did not want to be nominated in the first place, however, he respected the will of PresidentTalabani, the adviser added." NINA explains, "The vice presidents have not yet assumed their posts because the post of a third Vice President has not been solved yet, after having the other two vice pesidents nominated, Adel Abdul and Tariq al-Hashimi; while the third has not yet been determined because of the debate over the rejection of nominating Khdayer al-Khuza'e, where other blocs prefer the third vice president be of a Turkman nationally."
Nouri has been unable to name the Ministers of Homeland Security, Interior or Defense and Ali al-Lami is stating that some of the nominees cannot be approved. In late 2009 and early 2010, Ali al-Lami and Ahmed Chalabi used the Justice and Accountability Ministry to prevent several viable candidates from running. They hurled false accusations of "Ba'athist" repeatedly as they banned one candidate after another. One of the things Iraqiya thought they won in November (Iraqiya won the most votes of any slate in the March 7, 2010 elections) was that the false charges had been cleared when Parliament met. Apparently, that doesn't prevent al-Lami from lodging new charges. And that's despite the fact that Parliament has been exploring doing away with the Committee. Saturday, Dar Addustour reported that Ali al-Lami has declared nominee Khalid al-Obeidi cannot be the Minister of Defense because he was an officer during the former government. Which apparently will rule out all candidates with military experience. Dar Addustour notes that Khalid al-Obeidi's name has been withdrawn for Defense Minister. This follows Ali al-Lami banning al-Obeidi. Now Aswat al-Iraq notes that Nouri "has sent the names of candidates for his cabinet's security posts to the Parliament to be voted on during Monday's session, the semi-official al-Iraqiya TV Channel reported."
Meanwhile the Integrity Commission continues its work Saturday, Dar Addustour reported that they are focusing on four issues: the explosive detectors (wands on which Iraq wasted money because they did not detect bombs), a deal for a civilian airplane, a deal for a military airplane and the "10 by 10 in Sadr City." On the wands that did not work, Maj Gen Jihad al-Jabri of the Ministry of the Interior has been forbidden to leave the country until the Commission completes their investigation.
Turning to violence, John Drake (Iraq Business News) observes of last week, "Levels of violence crept up once again in Iraq last week. What is of concern is that this violence was attributed almost entirely to terrorists and militants, whereas recent weeks saw an increase in violence related to civil unrest [. . .] hostile elements, capable of inflicting far greater casualties, returned to the fore, conducting attacks in Mosul, Kirkuk, Baghdad and districts surrounding the capital in particular." Reuters notes a Baghdad goldsmith shop was attacked and 4 people were killed with nine more left wounded, a Mussayab car bombing claimed 1 life and left sixteen injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing targeted Deputy Governor Mohammed al-Shemari and left three people injured and 3 more Baghdad roadside bombings left nine people injured. Meanwhile AP notes a Mosul home invasion in which 7 people were killed (six women, one man). Aswat al-Iraq notes that a struggle at Kirkuk's Technological Institute has left at least nine college students wounded. That comes to 12 reported dead and forty-six reported injured so far today. DPA notes the goldsmith attack and raises the number injured to thirteen, a Baghad car explosion claimed 3 lives and a Hilla bombing claimed 4 lives (all Iraqi military) and when police forces reported to the area another bomb went off claiming the life of 1 police officer and leaving another wounded. Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports a Musayyaib roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left four people injured and on the Kirkuk struggle explains, "Dozens of Turkmen students had rallied at the institute to protest against corruption and bad management in Kirkuk. Some of the students, who carried flags and banners of the Turkmen party, chanted slogans that provoked Kurdish students, police said. Iraqi security forces entered the institute and brought the clashes to an end, according to Kirkuk police." Xinhua offers, "The clash occurred during a ceremony held by the Turkoman students to honor the Turkomans who were killed in the town of Elton Kubri, some 40 km north of Kirkuk City, during the Turkomans' uprising in 1991 against Saddam Hussein's regime, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity." Reuters quotes 19-year-old Turkmen Aydin Mohammed stating, "A few days ago Kurds were marking the events of Halabja, and we did nothing to stop them. Today we have a day for Turkmen martyrs, and they prevented us from observing it because they are racist." Tim Arango (New York Times) spreads rumors about the six dead women in Mosul (but not a word on the man) -- at a time when most outlets (including all the ones noted prior) have reported they were members of the same family. Police couldn't confirm a neighbors' gossip but Tim wants to smear the women. Maybe he should have focused on doing his damn job? He who wants to smear six dead women with gossip he can't back up (and gossip that would not be allowed by the Times were these six US women) also wants to flaunt his huge ignorance:
Nevertheless, overall violence in Iraq has dropped sharply, especially since the height of the sectarian civil war in 2006 and 2007, but also compared to last year.
In February, for example, 184 were killed in attacks around the country, with the exception of the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north, according to statistics from the Ministry of Interior. This was less than half of the 435 killed in the same month a year ago.
184 were killed? 184 what? Sheep? Do they not teach the basics at j-school? "184" numbers were killed? What? Not only is that poorly written, it's also ____ incorrect. Arango doesn't explain his figures. Drop back to the March 1st snapshot for the February deaths:
Security is always at risk in Iraq. And Iraq remains a violent country as a result of the illegal and ongoing war. Reuters reports today a Falluja roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier. Let's review the month. February 2nd, 5 people were reported dead and ten injured, February 3rd, 17 people were reported dead and forty-eight injured. February 4th, 10 were reported dead and twenty-seven injured. February 5th, eighteen were reported injured, February 6th, 1 person was reported dead and five injured. February 7th, 2 were reported dead and thirteen wounded. February 8th, 3 were reported dead and six injured. February 9th, 10 were reported dead and seventy-eight injured. February 10th, 1 person was reported dead and five wounded. February 12th, 38 were reported dead and seventy-four injured. February 13th, 151 were reported dead (we have always counted a mass grave discovered -- grave from 2003 and later -- in the violence count, it was 150 on this day and 1 protester died). February 14th, six people were reported injured. February 15th, 3 were reported dead and eleven injured. February 16th, 7 were reported dead and fifty-eight injured. February 17th, 9 people were reported dead and forty-seven injured. February 18th, 23 were killed and thirty-one injured. February 20th, 3 were reported dead and six injured. February 21st, 13 were reported dead and fifty-nine injured. February 22nd, five people were injured. February 23rd, 2 people were reported dead and twenty-two injured. February 24th, 18 were reported dead and thirty-eight injured. February 25th, 23 were reported dead and ninety injured. February 26th, 7 were reported dead and eighteen wounded. February 27th, 6 people were reported dead. February 28th, 1 person was reported dead and seven wounded.
For the month of February, 353 people were reported dead and 682 were reported injured. The150 corpses counted were not counted when they died. No one knew about it then. We've always counted them when they were discovered. (Which is the way most crime bases do as well in the US.) For those who insist, "It's not fair! It inflates violence!" Yes, it does. And not including in real time (when it wasn't known) made Iraq appear much less violent than it was. Those are the trade-offs. But for the whiners, if you take the 150 away you have 203. AFP tells us the Iraqi ministries ministries count 197 reported deaths. They then claim 330 people were injured. The wounded is obviously off.
It should further be noted that the numbers we are counting are probably way off because they're an under-report. McClatchy hasn't done a daily violence report since December 7th. Few bother to report violence anymore. Iraq Body Count has a total of 254 killed for this month. That's probably more accurate than either our number or the ministries. AFP notes the toll was 259 in January (according to ministries). IBC says 254, the ministries say 197. Go with IBC. And 254 is only 5 less than the ministries claims for January so you can say violence stayed more or less exactly the same in February as it was in January. Some outlets might need to correct their copy and especially their headlines.
Not only should the press be doing their own count -- working is so hard for the press these days, whining comes so much easier -- but please note Tim Arango's number? Lower then even what the Iraqi minisitries put forward. Lower. How the hell does that happen? And if Arango or anyone at the Times feels that's too harsh, I'd point out that when a friend at the paper asked for that link (they got a link), I expected to note it and move on, then I asked for it to be read to me (it was noted over the phone). Set the numbers aside for just a minute. Six Iraqi women are dead and the New York Times is attaching to them the worst slur they could receive in their country, there is nothing worse that could be said of them. "Suicide bomber" would be kinder. But the paper attaches this slur to them when it would never do so to US women. Six dead women and the paper wants to justify their deaths because of what a neighbor or two says? Did you ever think small minded neighbors might be the reason the house was invaded? Six women are dead and can't defend themselves. The New York Times decides this is the perfect time to insult the women with gossip that cannot be verified -- even the Iraqi police state they can't verify that. So how did that little tidbit make it into the article? "Local color"? It's damn insulting. If the whispers turn out to be true, it still won't change the fact that it never should have made it into the paper until it could be verified. Six women are dead. I'd say they suffered enough. I'd say they don't, on the day of their deaths, need to be called names by the New York Times.
Turning to the US and the Christian Science Monitor which, having destroyed itself as a newspaper, now seems intent upon killing itself online. Walter Rodgers (formerly with CNN) flaunts a lot of ignorance. He starts of wwith the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Noting the Libyan War, he then begins attacking the Tea Party for cuts they are proposing to other programs. Then he's off into Vietnam and a bad book he misread. Then he's off on the "Bush-Cheney White House" -- does the non-paper not have style guidelines? -- and then he wants to whine about the Tea Party "opposing President Obama's $800 billion economic stimulus package" and you're left to wonder where are today's Democrats in Rodgers bad article?
They voted for the illegal war in Iraq. Unless they're Barbara Lee, they voted for the war in Afghanistan. It's a funny kind of grown up who gets to be highly selective as he stomps his feet. The Libyan War is going to cost a lot but you can't pin that one on a Republican. The Iraq War has not ended. Didn't US House Rep Adam Smith make that clear to their editorial board not all that long ago? That's on Barack too. So is the Afghanistan War. Walter Rodgers got to throw a hissy fit, he got to lay down on the floor of the grocery store and kick his little legs and scream and curse. He did not, however, make a bit of sense and it's appalling that the increasingly irrelevant Christian Science Monitor elected to post
The guy's actually waging three wars instead of two. He's-he's increased the military, he's increased the number of troops, he's increased the military budget. It's just, it's Bush but worse. I mean, it's absolutely phenominal, this guy we hated as a Satan, the guy who's now actually enlarging his imperalis policies? We're giving him a pass or worse, we've merged our identities with him. We are now him, you know? We put his face on our cars and our houses and our children's bodies with t-shirts, you know? And the next time I see an Obama sticker and a peace sticker on the same car, I think I will have to get out and approach that person.
US House Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Humanitarian war is an oxymoron.
Cindy Sheehan: Right.
US House Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Because the minute that you begin an attack the next thing you hear is collateral damage which is an euphemism for killing innocent people. We noted in the attack on -- George Bush noted when he directed the US troops to attack Iraq -- with Congressional approval, I might add -- that Saddam Hussein was killing his own people. Then we proceeded using our extrarodinary military might to engage in an attack that has resulted, according to Joseph Stiglitz and his -- Linda Bilmes in their book called The Three Trillion Dollar War, in the deaths of perhaps as many as a million people. Where they extrapolated The Lancet report to present day. So we-we have to understand that interventions never end up the way that you think they will and that innocent people will get killed. And the decision to intervene is a dangerous decision. It's not just that we should applaud ourselves for our humanitarian instincts. We all care. The question is: "Will you do more harm than good?" That's the question that wasn't answered because there was a decision made to go to war without having a debate in Congress about it.
The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to April 8, 2011, allowing personnel more time to apply for the benefits they've earned under the program guidelines.
The deadline extension is included in the continuing resolution signed by President Obama Friday, providing funding for federal government operations through April 8, 2011.
Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay was established to compensate for the hardships military members encountered when their service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss Authority between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009. Eligible members or their beneficiaries may submit a claim to their respective military service in order to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status.
When RSLSP began on Oct. 21, 2009, the services estimated 145,000 service members, veterans and beneficiaries were eligible for this benefit. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, the services have engaged in extensive and persistent outreach efforts to reach them and remind them to apply. Outreach efforts including direct mail, engaging military and veteran service organizations, social networks and media outlets, will continue through April 8, 2011.
To apply for more information, or to gather more information on RSLSP, including submission requirements and service-specific links, go to http://www.defense.gov/stoploss.