Thursday, December 15, 2011

Continued stalemate

Dar Addustour reports that the only hope for Iraq's government is for the blocs to meet and iron out their differences. Al Sabaah notes Parliament wants Nouri to appear before them next week to answer questions regarding the status of Iraqi security forces, the withdrawal and the absence of heads for the three security ministries (Defense, Interior and National Security). (This would be the questioning that Moqtada al-Sadr called for weeks ago.) Yes, Iraq remains in Political Stalemate II -- a fact that so much Iraq coverage this week has ignored repeatedly. Remember, we're talking about a whore class that sold an illegal war. You really think that honesty is their native tongue?

Jack Healy (New York Times) did participate in one of the few honest looks at Nouri al-Maliki this week (click here for Healy, Tim Arango and Michael D. Schmidt's article on Nouri) and today he writes about the rally denouncing the US in Falluja yesterday:

Once an inner ring of Iraq's wartime inferno, Falluja is only too eager to say goodbye to nearly nine shattering years of raids, bombings and house-to-house urban combat. At least 200 American troops were killed in this city. Untold thousands of Iraqis died, civilians and insurgents who are mourned equally as martyrs.

Meanwhile Dar Addustour speaks with officials in Moqtada al-Sadr's political bloc who explain that Iraq has put special forces on the ground in civilian clothing and, in addition, they note that there are "foreign" intelligence agents in Iraq (US). And in another article they note Moqtada's words about resisting the continuation of US occupation in any manner are again being noted.

Al Mannarah reports that Saleh al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister for Service Affairs, declared on Tuesday that the Diyala provincial council's decision to move towards semi-autonomy for the province was "rushed" and would harm Iraq because, with so many US forces leaving, everyone must work together on security and stability. Dar Addustour notes that a delegation from Parliament went to Diyala to discuss the latest issue (the move towards semi-autonomy). They're also exploring the protests against the move (protests by residents in Diyala Province) and hearing from Mohammed Hassan, provincial council chief, that he had nothing to do with it, he didn't know that this was going to happen, he didn't even know that there was going to be a request forwarded for semi-autonomy. If he thinks that makes him look good, I'm at a loss as to how. He's the chief of the council. He should have had some inkling towards the feelings of the council members on this issue.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will leave Iraq to go to Turkey (Friday) where he will discuss, Dar Addustour notes, $111 million of drone equipment the US will be providing Turkey.

February 13th Stony Brook University's Office of Continuing Medical Education with the School of Medicine will host the 1st Annual Scientific Symposium on Lung Health after Deployment to Iraq & Afghanistan. We'll have more on that before February 13th but we'll also have more on it Friday or Saturday. It's a PDF attachment and it's corrupted and running together. I'm going to have to play with it to be able to look at the schedule and other information. (And we would prefer not to open any attachments -- that's Third's policy -- but I will do so with trusted senders. That's a group of five. If you're not on the five, you're not on it and can't get on it.)

So we'll close with "CCR Condemns Obama for Failure to Veto Dangerous Legislation That Strips Right to Trial:"

President Caves on NDAA

December 14, 2011, New York – As President Obama said this afternoon that he would not veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:

"President Obama made a choice with chilling consequences today when he announced he would not veto the NDAA despite the lack of change to provisions of the bill that make it even more difficult to shut down the prison at Guantanamo and make indefinite military detention without trial a permanent feature of the U.S. legal system.

"The NDAA essentially prevents President Obama from bringing men from Guantánamo to the U.S. for trial and severely curtails his ability to resettle them in third countries. More than half of the men currently detained at Guantánamo – 89 of the 171 – have been unanimously cleared by the CIA, FBI, NSC and Defense Department for transfer or release, yet they are stuck in the island prison, victims of politics.

"Guantanamo, which the president once promised to close in the first year of his administration, is a global symbol of human rights violations, and indefinite detention of citizens and non-citizens alike without charge or trial violates the most fundamental principles of the rule of law.

"Sadly, today Barak Obama has ensured that these will be the legacy of his presidency."

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last 10 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts. In addition, CCR has been working through diplomatic channels to resettle men who remain at Guantánamo because they cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and torture.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

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