Friday, September 4, 2020. The UN announces a public dialogue with Iraq over the issue of the disappeared and we look at the candidates for US president.
Sunday was the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances (see "The number of the disappeared only increases"). The disappeared are victims around the globe. People disappear, they are disappeared, and who stands up for them, who calls for their release and return (if they're still alive)? The US-led war and ongoing occupation of Iraq continues and it has created and aided in the numbers of the disappeared. In fact, it's helped turn Iraq into a land of widows and orphans. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued the following yesterday:
Enforced disappearances: UN Committee to hold special online dialogue with Iraq
GENEVA (3 September 2020) - The UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) will hold a special public dialogue with Iraq during its upcoming online session to discuss what the country is doing to address the issue of enforced disappearances.
Iraq ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2010. Its initial report was examined by the Committee in 2015. The dialogue, due to be held on 14 and 15 September at 3:30 pm Geneva time, will focus on selected issues related to the measures adopted by the State to implement its obligations under the Convention. This will include the evolution of State’s strategies to prevent enforced disappearances, and to search for disappeared persons and investigate alleged enforced disappearances.
The overall CED session begins on 7 September at 4pm Geneva time, with a victim from Gambia addressing the opening. The session will last for three weeks until 25 September.
Among its activities, the Committee will also co-host a public webinar with the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances on the search and investigation of enforced disappearances. The year 2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the Working Group, and the 10th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention. The Committee and the Working Group will work together to strengthen advocacy and to support all those who are seeking the truth about the fate and whereabouts of disappeared persons.
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The Committee is made up of 10 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty.
As we have noted this week, Sunday's day of the disappeared was ignored by US outlets, completely ignored. Will the session be covered? Or do the privileged in the US just feel that the disappeared should remain disappeared and ignored?
Iraq is supposed to hold elections next June. These early elections have been announced and they are in response to the non-responsive government that fails to meet the needs of the Iraqi people. This failure has been true of every administration since 2003. Each administration has vowed to rid Iraq of corruption and to improve the lives of the average Iraqi. Each administration has, thus far failed. Some really didn't try. Graft and corruption was so 'normal' under the two terms of thug Nouri al-Maliki (installed in 2006 by Bully Boy Bush based upon the CIA assessment that Nouri's paranoia was so great he would be easy to control and then re-installed by Barack Obama and Joe Biden in late 2010 after the Iraqi people voted him out of office in the March 2010 elections), it was so normal under Nouri that even the lazy and do-nothing US Congress had to hold hearings on the corruption.
They didn't do anything other than hold hearings.
Nouri got rich, his idiot son got rich, his whole family got rich.
The Iraqi people?
They lost out. They lost basic needs, the items available through their ration cards were greatly reduced, the employment sector didn't really exist, basic needs like potable water and electricity were iffy throughout Iraq.
May 7th, Iraq's latest prime minister was installed, Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Weeks later, GREAT GAME INDIA noted:
Former Iraqi intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi was installed as the prime minister of Iraq as a result of a secret US Iran deal. The deal was that Iranians would back Kadhimi and in return US would unfreeze Iran’s assets targeted by US sanctions. Kadhimi has a history of working as an agent of the US intelligence services who provided false reports about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. The US’s withdrawal of Patriot missiles from Saudi Arabia last week was also part of the secret US Iran deal.
As per the deal, the US will not change its policy of exerting “maximum pressure” on Iran but agreed to de-escalate militarily in the Gulf. Americans also agreed to look the other way if any European country would release Iranian money frozen by US sanctions. The details of the deal were revealed by senior Iraqi political sources to Middle East Eye.
Ahead of planned elections, questions are being asked. Omar al-Nidawi (MIDDLE EAST MONITOR ONLINE) reports:
On 4 August, Iraqi activist Ridha Al-Igaili’s home in Amara, the capital of Maysan province, was attacked by militiamen who fired a rocket-propelled grenade and sprayed the building with bullets. This was the second attempt on his life this year. Luckily for Al-Igaili, a pharmacology student and member of the Maysan Students’ Union, no one was injured. News of the attack reverberated quickly on social media. Barely two weeks later, fellow activists Reham Yacoub and Tahseen Osama were assassinated.
These cold-blooded attacks were the latest in a wave of targeted violence and kidnappings by shadowy gunmen seeking to silence advocates of free speech and those speaking against Iraq’s corrupt, militia-dominated system of ethno-sectarian power sharing. They dampen any optimism for reform resulting from Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s announcement of early elections next June.
I have spoken recently with Iraqi activists who have been part of the pro-reform protest movement in Iraq since last October about their views on the election. Uniformly, these courageous young protesters were less concerned with the election date and much more interested in the conditions under which candidates and voters would campaign and go to the polls.
Their concern is justifiable. Within the first four months of the protests, government forces and gunmen believed to be affiliated with party militias killed at least 600 protesters, injured thousands and subjected scores to forced disappearances and torture. To outsiders, these are grim statistics, but to many Iraqi protesters, the victims of government violence such as Safaa Al-Sarray, or Hussein Adil and Sara, are friends-turned-martyrs. The memory of these icons of the “October revolution” inspires Iraq’s young protesters to keep struggling, peacefully, for reforms, and fair elections are their gateway.
Holding elections next June before the term of the current parliament expires will be a challenge. The government needs to address the conditions set by Iraq’s electoral commission (IHEC); finalise annexes to the new election law to define the contested borders and number of electoral districts; find $300 million from the country’s depleted purse to organise the polls; and take legislative action to rectify the legal status of Iraq’s top court (in questionable condition following an arguably illegal 2019 appointment of a court member) so that it can ratify the results. An even harder challenge will be to persuade sitting MPs to dissolve Parliament before June 2021 and forego months’ worth of pay, perks and power. Even if Kadhimi overcomes these obstacles, it will be even harder to create conditions for genuinely free and fair elections for all Iraqis.
Elections are scheduled for November in the US. The GOP candidate will be incumbent President Donald Trump. Many are hoping to defeat him. The Democrats are offering up Joe Biden Joe turns 78 in November. His task is to attempt to convince American voters that he can process and that his senility has not progressed as far as it has. Hidin' With Biden is the campaign strategy. They broke it to have him meet with the family of a victim of police violence. The victim doesn't have to defend himself in terms of the violence. If he was attacked unfairly, there's no excuse for that. However, it's also true that he has charges against him for assaulting a woman.
Not really sure that's the photo-op for Joe who has groped and sniffed women, creeped everyone out, and who has credible charges of assault made against him by Tara Reade.
There are plenty of victims of police violence who aren't facing trial for rape. It's a shame Joe refused to meet with the families of any of those victims.
Just as there are many, many victims of police violence not accused of rape, there are candidates for president in this race not accused of rape. Gloria La Riva, for example. She is the nominee from the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Gloria is, of course, bilingual. So she wouldn't need an interpreter when meeting with foreign leaders who spoke Spanish. Nor does she need a written script of an encounter before she can appear before the cameras -- as so many have accused Joe Biden of needing.
Her campaign issued the following statement:
Three massive wildfires are currently raging in northern California surrounding the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area on all sides with a total of 700 fires burning throughout the state. Two of these Bay Area megafires are the second and third largest in California history. The largest in history occurred just 2 years ago north of the Bay Area in Mendocino County. Every year, wildfires are becoming more frequent, larger and more destructive, yet the state has done little to prepare and protect the population in advance.
The current fires were sparked by over 11,000 dry lightning strikes within 72 hours that were triggered by a tropical cyclone off the coast colliding with onshore extreme temperatures from an extended statewide heatwave. This rare weather anomaly created an unstable atmosphere and the barrage of lightning during a drought year when vegetation was prime to ignite.
Cal Fire crews were sorely stretched thin for the first week of the fires. This is partly due to the immense number of fires occurring within a few days — 367 fires were sparked just from the storm — in addition to lack of support from fire crews from other western states due to fires throughout the region. Cal Fire annually relies on hundreds of inmates to supplement firefighting efforts, but many of these inmates have received early release due to COVID-19 risks in prisons and are now unavailable to assist. This points to a cruel contradiction within the system. While these formerly incarcerated men and women have extensive training and experience in fighting California wildfires, and are desperately needed, they are unable to get jobs on fire crews post-release due to their record of felony convictions.
Cal Fire in recent years has increased efforts to clear vegetation in advance of fire season, but with climate change, aging electrical infrastructure and extreme weather events like the one that caused the current fires, those efforts fall short. Until the 1800s when colonizers banned the practice, the indigenous people of California annually held controlled burns to clear vegetation and reduce the spread of wildfires. Controlled burns are now again being utilized by the state, but in order to expand and improve these efforts, partnerships with California tribes could increase the number of annual controlled burns and bridge indigenous knowledge with fire science.
As of Aug. 25, 136,000 people had been evacuated and over 800,000 acres have burned in the three largest Bay Area fires — that’s an area twice the size of Los Angeles. Evacuation centers are distancing people but there is still a high risk of COVID spread by being indoors with others for an extended period of time. Some are seeking refuge in discounted hotels rooms to avoid possible COVID exposure, but many cannot afford this option, demonstrating the class divide surrounding climate change impacts.
As the climate crisis unfolds, it is imperative to address land use policies. More and more areas on the edge of fire-prone forested areas are being developed for housing, putting populations at great risk. Developers are only concerned with profits and the state has done nothing to address land use despite the evidence that wildfires are becoming more severe, causing more loss of life and driving many into complete destitution when they lose their homes.
Immigrant farmworkers throughout the state are being forced to work through, not only extreme temperatures, but also in wildfire smoke. Despite air quality regulators urging everyone to stay indoors to protect themselves from smoke, these super exploited workers face eviction and starvation if they don’t go to work.
Under a socialist program, the priority of the government would be to mitigate the effects of climate change and do everything possible to prepare for catastrophe, protect all sectors of the population from smoke and fire, and rehouse all those who lose their homes.
The La Riva/Freeman campaign demands:
- Funds for expanded wildfire prevention efforts
- Partner with California tribes on controlled burns
- Increase the number of permanent CAL FIRE crews and allow formerly-incarcerated fire crews to be employed
- Provide free hotel rooms for evacuees during the pandemic so families can safety distance
- Real relief for residents who lose homes and can’t afford to rebuild — seize vacant units and investor-owned properties and house the houseless!
- Reform land use policy — relocate people from high-risk areas and end wildland development
- Make Big Tech pay! Tax the corporations to pay for climate change mitigation and wildfire prevention!
Last month, Gloria Tweeted:
I saw the genocide committed against the Iraqi people, due to George H. W. Bush's bombing war in 1991, Bill Clinton's sanctions that killed over a million Iraqi people and Madeleine Albright's despicable claim that it was worth those 500,000 dead children by total blockade.
Joseph Kishore is running on the Socialist Equality Party's ticket. He Tweeted:
"The Russians are stoking divisions in the US" line by the Democratic Party is the most obvious intelligence misinformation operation since "Weapons of Mass Destruction."
Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's candidate. Like Joe and Gloria, Jo is not accused of rape. Her campaign's most recent press release is this:
GREENVILLE, S.C.— Libertarian vice-presidential hopeful Jeremy “Spike” Cohen will visit the east bay on Thursday, to share the Jorgensen–Cohen ticket’s plan to protect civil liberties by reducing the size and scope of the federal government. This includes ending both the racist war on drugs and qualified immunity for police officers.
Their platform also calls for bringing U.S. troops home from overseas, creating a truly free market in health care, and removing governmental barriers to competition in the energy industry, allowing for innovation in clean energy solutions, such as nuclear.
“Having challenged injustice, corruption, and prejudice in our government institutions, I’m excited about our 2020 ticket,” said Nickolas Wildstar, a 2018 Libertarian Party (LP) candidate for governor who plans to run again, should the ongoing petitioning effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom succeed. “Mr. Cohen ignites the American spirit of revolt against tyrannical leaders, and Dr. Jorgensen has the experience and principles to guide our nation to become greater—freer—than ever.” Wildstar added that together, the pair offers real solutions to racially biased policies, economic instability, and imperialism.
Wildstar will join Cohen, along with James Just, the Libertarian candidate for State Assembly (Dist. 7), as featured speakers at the campaign rally, which will kick off at 5:30 P.M. at Empowerment Park. LP Alameda Secretary Terry Floyd will emcee.
The Jorgensen–Cohen ticket is on track to appear on the ballots of all 50 states plus D.C.
Cohen’s events will feature selected officials and down-ticket candidates, include media availability, and are scheduled as follows (subject to change; times shown in local time zone):
Thursday, September 3
12 – 3 P.M.: Supporter luncheon (private ticketed event); Castro Valley
3 – 4:15 P.M.: Media availability (by appointment)
4:30 – 8 P.M.: Campaign rally at Empowerment Park, 462 Bellevue Ave., Oakland
For a full list of the candidates’ upcoming campaign events, visit Jo20.com/events.
Media advisory: Rain or shine! The candidate will have media availability at most tour stops. A mult box will be available at the rallies, although no risers. Personal distancing protocols will be followed; hand sanitizer and masks will be provided.
For questions or to schedule interviews during these campaign stops, contact:
- Thurs., Sept. 3: Elizabeth Stump, Jorgensen–Cohen 2020 media coordinator, via e-mail at CA@Jo20.com, or by phone at (510) 828-2281
And here is her campaign's most recent ad.
Howie Hawkins is also not accused of rape and he's also running for president. Howie's the nominee from the Green Party.
His campaign issued the following yesterday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2020
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Kevin Zeese, KZeese@HowieHawkins.us 301-996-6582
Robert Smith, Robert@HowieHawkins.us 304-707-2824
Howie Hawkins Files Suit Against Election Commission In Wisconsin Supreme Court For Ballot Access
Today, the Green Party campaign of Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker filed suit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The suit filed by the Milwaukee law firm of von Briesen & Roper, s.c., asks the court to place Hawkins and Walker on the ballot for the November 3, 2020 general election.
Howie Hawkins said, “Thousands of voters in Wisconsin signed petitions to put the Green Party on the ballot. These voters want more choices than the Democratic and Republican Party. Our campaign stands with the majority of voters and calls for Medicare for all, a Green New Deal, taxes on the wealthy and an end to ongoing wars, and neither President Trump or former Vice President Biden supports those issues.”
Two thousand signatures are required to place candidates on the ballot. The Commission agreed that Hawkins/Walker submitted 1,789 valid signatures. In dispute were 1,834 more signatures where the staff of the Commission certified that they were qualified Wisconsin voters. The Commission voted 3-3 failing to sustain a challenge to the validity of those signatures. Under the law, those signatures should be presumed valid because the complaint filed by Allen Arnstein did not provide clear and convincing evidence that the petitions were invalid.
The issue in the case is around the address of Angela Walker, who said, “Throughout this process I lived in Florence, SC. My address in Florence changed, and the Commission has my current address.” The Hawkins/Walker campaign contacted the Commission for advice on how to proceed regarding Walker’s address and followed the Commission’s advice, submitting a statement of candidacy with the signatures with her current address.
“We hope the court will uphold the right of voters to vote for the Green Party since we submitted far more than enough valid signatures,” Hawkins said.
The suit asks for expedited action because the deadline for finalizing the ballot is rapidly approaching.
- Merida affidavit and exhibits
- Curtis affidavit and exhibits
- Cover letter to Clerk filing emergency petition
Howie, Jo, Joseph and Gloria, four candidates for US president and four who have not been accused of rape.
The following sites updated: