Starting with Iraq . . .
The Arab Spring rose up to fight corruption, repression, inequality and austerity. The Lebanon and Iraq protests show this spirit is still very much alive. If we want a progressive future, we need to build up a global movement of and for working people.
President of the United States is an important position. It's good to know that at least one of the people running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination has noticed the protests that have taken place in recent weeks on Iraq. it's good to know that at least one of them has noticed. It's sad to realize that only one of them has noticed.
As Bernie notes this is a workers issue. The people in Iraq protested in October for many reasons including the lack of jobs and the corruption in the government.
As we noted at THIRD:
AFP reported Sunday, "Influential Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has given his supporters the green light to resume anti-government protests, after the movement was interrupted following a deadly crackdown." Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) adds:
Several of Iraq’s central and southern cities, including the capital Baghdad, were rocked by violent protests in early October, which left at least 108 dead and more than 6,000 injured.
In a long statement published on his Facebook page late on Saturday, Sadr called on his supporters and the public to return to the streets on Friday, October 25 to resume the protests.
Sadr is head of the Sayirun alliance, the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament. He is also head of the Saraya al-Salam militia, which is part of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) umbrella, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic.
“The government leaders and politicians are in a state of fear because of you, they are completely unable to fix anything within this country,” Sadr’s statement read. “Therefore, I ask everyone to start the revolution which will clean Iraq from corrupters and fools.”
Moqtada's call is for this Friday, October 25th.
Yesterday's ALBASHEER SHOW addressed the protests and the issues surrounding it.
From the broadcast, Ahmad al-Basheer explains that Iraq is a kleptocracy, "We don't have a word for that in Arabic so we call it as it is: a government of thieves in which the political elite divide the oil wealth of the country among themselves and give business contracts to their friends and positions are allocated on the basis of sect rather than merit. Each year, thousands of Iraqis graduate from universities and they're unable to find jobs. The private sector is crowded out by crony capitalism. Ordinary Iraqis see political elites living the good life while they have so little. Many Iraqis don't have clean water or electricity while the political elites spend the wealth of the country on mansions and fast cars."
Joe Biden come to mind?
Joe Biden can't stop yapping about how, when he was vice president, Barack Obama put him in charge of Iraq. What did Joe accomplish in that position? No one wants to talk about that. He overturned the 2010 election and gave thug Nouri al-Maliki a second term. That's what led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq. Way to go, Joe.
In 2008, one year before Joe Biden was put in charge of Iraq, we were talking about the lack of safe drinking water (potable water) and the lack of electricity. Eight years of Joe Biden leadership and Iraq didn't improve one bit. Way to go, Joe.
In Nouri's second term, his abuses only deepened. He attacked the peaceful protesters. He attacked the press. The number of the 'disappeared' increased as Nouri gave round up orders that included if you can't find the man you've gone to the house for, arrest his parent, his wife, his children, his brother, his sister, arrest someone. These people then disappeared into the secret prisons and detention centers. He turned the military loose on his political rivals -- elected political rivals -- sending tanks to circle their Baghdad homes, using the security forces to conduct dawn raids on their homes. When did Joe ever publicly speak out on any of that? Never. Way to go, Joe.
Nouri attacked Iraqi gays and those who appeared gay. He conflated the emo music scene with vampires. He encouraged teenagers to attack anyone who appeared gay or lesbian. He denied it. But he sent his security teams into the schools and they advised the children to attack those who were gay or appeared gay. His lies were made public because his denials stopped once AL MADA published one of the handouts Nouri's forces were giving the kids. Gay men and women -- and those who appeared to be -- were targeted and beaten and killed. Then-US House Rep Jared Polis spoke out against it. (Jared is now the Governor of Colorado.) Hillary Clinton spoke out against it. When did Joe add his voice? Never. Way to go, Joe.
None of the above was hidden from view. We covered it here, over and over, in real time. Let's pick a day at random, September 27, 2012:
When you're thug Nouri al-Maliki serving an illegitimate second term as prime minister of Iraq, you don't take a lot chances. You perceive someone as a threat? You try to destroy them. Hence the rounding up of Sunnis -- including the elderly -- in the last half of 2011 and the targetiing of Iraqiya (the political slate that came in first in the 2010 elections and that, were the Constitution followed and democracy honored, would have put forward a prime minister) by issuing an arrest warrant for Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, Sunni and a member of Iraqiya, and demanding Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq (also Sunni and Iraqiya) be stripped of his post. After Saleh pledges eternal love, you drop the process against him and you get a 'conviction' of Tareq from your kanagaoo court. But being an illegitimate leader means always quashing threats of being exposed. That's behind the September 8, 2011 murder of journalist Hamdi al-Haimid. It's also what's behind this morning's Al Mada report.
The paper reports on the concentrated efforts to arrest Facebook activists who took part in the Friday protests that swept Iraq in 2011. A lot of people don't know about those protests because the White House didn't want you to and a lot of 'news' outlets worked overtime to minimize the story (take your bow, New York Times -- you attacked the protesters -- the ones who were beaten and kidnapped by Nouri's forces, what a proud moment for the paper) or just ignore it (most major dailies not named the Washington Post, most US broadcast outlets who aren't CNN or NPR).
Nouri was the White House's . . . Well, not friend. You invite friends into your home. And Barack wouldn't leave the campaign trail this week to meet with Nouri in NYC which is why Nouri cancelled his trip and planned address to the UN on Saturday. Nouri was the White House's best bet -- according to foreign policy nitwit posing as a guru Samantha Power. And so the White House didn't just demand a second term for Nouri despite the poor showing for State of Law in the 2010 elections (defeated by the brand new Iraqiya despite Nouri and his goons refusing to allow certain Iraqiya candidates to run for election, despite the targeting and murders of some members of Iraqiya in the weeks leading up to the elections, despite Nouri's non-stop speeches telling Iraqis that Iraqiya was a band of terrorists), they went so far as to negotiate a contract, the Erbil Agreement, assuring the political blocs it was not only legal, it was legally binding. Even more importantly, they promised the Kurds and others that this US-brokered contract had the backing of the US government meaning it would be followed. The White House gave the word of the US government. And then Nouri used it to become prime minister and tossed aside all the points in the contract he agreed to for that second term (such as the creation of an independent national security commission, finally implementing Article 140 of the Constitution which was supposed to take place in 2007, etc.)/ And all the promises the US government made? Amnesia on the part of the White House as the political blocs have demanded that the Erbil Agreement be honored.
So when you're Nouri, hoping to ride it out through 2014 when, right now, you plan to run for a third term, you launch one power grab after another. In the US, for example, Barack Obama is President. Secretary of Defense is Leon Panetta. In Iraq, Nouri is prime minister. And Minister of the Defense. And Minister of the Interior so he's over the police. And Minister of National Security. He was supposed to nominate people to those positions and they were supposed to be approved by Parliament. If he wasn't able to do that in 30 days, per the Constitution, he not only didn't advance from prime minister-designate to prime minister, someone else was namded prime minister-designate and given 30 days to put together a Cabinet.
When you have the White House insisting you get a second term, pesky things like a Constitution do not matter.
Way to go, Joe.
Iraq has seen no improvement. The country was torn apart and the US government has repeatedly put a den of thieves in charge. The US government has looked the other way as the basic needs of the people were not met, as the Iraqi people were targeted by their supposed government.
Joe Biden had nothing to say for eight years as Vice President and he still has nothing to say about Iraq beyond, "Bully Boy Bush tricked me into voting for that war!"
The protests are back and have been for some time.
Steven nabil Retweeted
Between 1st- 12th of October, hundreds of unarmed protesters in Baghdad and Iraq's southern provinces were targeted by snipers. "We were unarmed. Why was that young man shot with two bullets to the head?"
Can Anderson Cooper tear himself away from the ridiculous ELLEN SHOW long enough to pay attention to the news? He was a moderator of the CNN and NEW YORK TIMES hosted debate this month and had time to build a question around Ellen but not around the Iraqi protests.
What a 'proud' decision Anderson made going with Ellen and not Iraq. The United Nations Mission in Iraq issued the following:
Baghdad, 22 October 2019 – A special report, prepared by the Human Rights Office of UNAMI, outlines key human rights concerns regarding the demonstrations that occurred in Iraq from 1 to 9 October 2019. UNAMI’s interim findings indicate that serious human rights violations and abuses have been committed during the recent protests. The report contains a set of recommendations and urges Iraqi authorities to take concrete steps to ensure accountability, to prevent human rights violations and to enable peaceful demonstrations in the future.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said: “Iraq has come a long way, it is essential not to further undermine its many achievements. A climate of intimidation and fear is unworthy of Iraq’s potential as an open and democratic society. The UNAMI report highlights shortcomings and measures to prevent them in the future.”
Ms. Hennis-Plasschaert took note of today’s release of the Investigative Committee’s report: “This is an important step towards accountability, and I urge that further steps be taken to prosecute and punish those responsible. This is of great importance as investigations, delivering accountability for perpetrators and redress for victims, also serve as critical tools of prevention and protection.”
UNAMI’s preliminary findings include credible reports of violations of the right to life, including deliberate killings of unarmed protesters and the excessive use of force by units deployed to manage the demonstrations. The report also highlights concerns regarding the widespread use of repressive measures to limit publicly available information on the demonstrations as well as allegations of arbitrary arrests, threats and harassment. It furthermore calls on all demonstrators to exercise their right to assembly in peaceful and non-violent ways, in keeping with the law.
“The loss of life, serious injuries and harm resulting from the violence during the demonstrations was both tragic and preventable,” said Chief of UNAMI Human Rights Office, Danielle Bell. “Concrete steps to enable peaceful assemblies and protect those participating should be a priority.”
Download the report from here
For more information, please contact: Mr. Samir Ghattas, Director of Public Information/Spokesperson
United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Phone: +964 790 193 1281, Email: email@example.com
or the UNAMI Public Information Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anderson Cooper -- who the world turns to when they need fluff or updates on THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF . . .
Does the US media plan to continue to ignore the protests? The protesters injured and killed? All while patting themselves on the back and pretending that daily 'reports' about what Donald Trump just Tweeted qualifies as serious reporting?
Again, applause for Bernie Sanders, the only candidate for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination to notice the Iraq protests.
On the race for that nomination . . .
Keep in mind there’s an enormous spread for 2020 primary polls. Just in the last week, Joe Biden has been simultaneously hitting 24% and 35%. Warren between 28 and 19. This is a good reason not to overreact to any one poll in particular.
On Joe, let's note his corrupt son Hunter Biden. This is from Jonathan Turley's column:
“Say it nicer.” No words better sum up the news coverage of Hunter Biden. That instruction given from him to ABC News reporter Amy Robach came after she noted that he was “in and out of rehab” several times for dependency on drugs ranging from cocaine to crack. In fact, the media has been “saying it nicer” for weeks, telling readers and viewers there is “no finding of wrongdoing” by the son of Joe Biden while avoiding any substantive discussion of his controversial business dealings.
During the interview, Hunter Biden moved between muted apologies and indignant denials about alleged efforts to cash in on his father being vice president. The interview was galling for those critical of this common form of corruption. For three decades, I have written about the practice of giving lucrative jobs and contracts to the spouses and children of powerful politicians as a way of gaining influence in Washington.
Hunter Biden’s deals are textbook examples of how political families become rich from public service. Still, many in the media continue to repeat Joe Biden’s position that “no one has asserted my son did a single thing wrong.” That, of course, is untrue. Even if the deals did not amount to crimes, they were wrong. They have always been wrong, but both parties have always protected these deals as a dirty little secret.
Lastly, AP is reporting this morning:
US troops withdrawing from northeastern Syria to Iraq are “transiting” and will leave the country within four weeks, Iraq’s defense minister said Wednesday.
Najah al-Shammari made the remarks to The Associated Press following a meeting in Baghdad with visiting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who arrived as Iraqi leaders chafed over reports the US may want to increase the number of troops based in Iraq, at least temporarily.
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- Truest statement of the week II
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- Editorial: The protests may return
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- Tweet of the week
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