Saturday, September 10, 2011

4 men, 2 women

As promised in my e-mail Tuesday to several of you, I'm going to try to Facebook and blog at the same time.

But first, Diane Rehm. On her bad NPR show's first hour Friday the guests were Chris Cillizza, Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Major Garrett. Hour two was Elise Labott acting a complete fool along with David Ignatius and Edward McBride.


And I just left this comment on Facebook:

I just left this comment at The Diane Rehm Show website. Don't expect an answer but I did try.
Ann just posted a comment
From the start of May until the end of August, the show featured 607 guests. Of that 607, 402 were men. http://soc.li/QMoFU4l Exactly what policy is being followed in the booking of guests? I do not feel that NPR's diversity goals are being met. That you book more women than men is obvious on almost every Friday when you have 6 guests and 4 of them are almost always men. Looking forward to your reply as we continue to track the gender of guests on this show.

I won't share every Facebook comment but I will share that one. And the messed up link above is to the Third piece Ava, C.I. and I wrote Sunday.


Cedric (my husband) is asleep. He sleeps in on Saturday. I used to. But now I'm working out. I do have diabetes in my family and, as I shared awhile back, a co-worker just had a diabetes health scare. So I'm getting off my lazy butt and working out. Cedric goes walking twice a week with Three Cool Old Guys at their retirement home and he plays basketball with the church kids twice a week. So he gets his time in.

I'm hall walking on my lunch hour at work three times a week and working out (via the phone) on Saturday morning with Mike, Wally and C.I. They're running and I'm walking. Or marching. I did some marching today as well to get more knee movement. I cannot believe they run for an hour. I'm exhausted from walking for that hour and they're running it. Wow.

Cindy Sheehan's got a new post that I just liked on Facebook. This is from her latest:

However, while looking at the picture today, I was struck by a few thoughts—first of all, I am cradling the bloody flag of Empire, which covered my son’s coffin, like it’s a baby. Secondly, when I look more closely, it looks like the flag just sucker punched me in the gut!

Solar plexus punched! That’s exactly what happened on 9/11—the day I feel sealed the fate of my son and millions of others.

I even taped a flag I cut out from my local newspaper on my front window for a few weeks—I NEVER hung a flag anywhere before. On 9/11, though, we were united. Shortly after, though, the policies of the Bush Regime deeply divided us. Instead of re-evaluating our national priorities to see how we could live more gently on this planet and more peaceably with our fellow humans around the planet, we went hog wild in the Arab-Muslim world and in the process destroyed our own.

On April 04, 2004, that bloody flag landed violently on my modest home in Vacaville, California and I was kicked in the gut and stabbed in the heart by my own country's foreign policy. When I was urged to blame the “terrorists” in Iraq, I rejected that thinking and laid the blame squarely where it really belonged—on the policies of the government that my son allegedly served. My son actually served the Robber Class, but we didn’t know it at the time.


Okay, I can blog and I can Facebook but I cannot Blog and Facebook and Text. My niece is texting me. She's going to come over in a bit thankfully. One less device to manage.

I'm trying to highlight something from everyone at Facebook.

Okay, I think I got every one. I had to turn off the phone. To stop the texting. When my niece gets here, I'm going to ask her about texting etiquette. If I hadn't turned it off I would have replied again.

But I'd said "Thank you" and she'd said "You're welcome." Do I continue if the conversation had come to a close?

I don't know. Texting's a teenagers thing. I'll have to ask her the rules of it.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, September 9, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, protest erupt in Iraq, an assassin or assassins killed yesterday but Hadi al-Medhi is not forgotten, Iraqis and human rights and journalism organizations call for his killer(s) to be brought to justice, the Sadr bloc wants to oust the Speaker of Parliament, Nouri wants to hush up the judge heading the corruption investigations, and more.
"They promised to serve the people while all they did is loot!" was one of the cries in Baghdad's Tahrir Square this morning. Alsumaria TV observes, "Massive demonstrations took place in Iraq provinces on Friday." Dar Addustour notes that protests took place in several cities as protesters demanded basic services, jobs and reforms with some activists calling for early elections as well. The paper explains that there were attempts to halt the protest in Baghdad by tightening security and blocking off roads; however, citizens turned out in the "thousands"
We'll come back to Baghdad but demonstrations took place across Iraq on what is called the Dawn of The Liberators. The Great Iraqi Revolution posts video of the protest in Ramadi where the chants included "We're coming to Baghdad, we're all soldiers to liberate Baghdad!" Aswat al-Iraq reports protests took place in Hilla as well with citizens demands ("handed to the Provincial Council") including "dissolving the council, relieving Babil governor from his post, putting to account all corrupted governmental officials, activation of industrial, trade, service, agricultural and sodial services, protection of civil freedoms and adopting talented people for building the new society." A council member responded that the governor is "on probation" and that the other issues are issues that the central government out of Baghdad (Nouri) has to address. The Great Iraqi Revolution reports that in Wasit Province's Kut, "the government refused to grant the activists the permit required. Anti riot forces armed with guns, armors and armored vehicles, ambudlances and police cars are spread in and around the city specifically Amel Square in Kut; and invidiual searches are carried out as well." And they report that "security forces in Wasit province arrested a large number of the demonstrations organizers and the number of detainees exceeded 50 people, among them the activists Sayed Jaber and Sajad Salem were arrested in the city of Kut." Aswat al-Iraq reports on the protest in Falluja where "hundreds of unemployed youths, intellectuals and triable sheiks demonstrated" and organizer Kahmess Jadan al-Lihaibi explains the demands (end to corruption, employment, basic services and a functioning judicial system) included "stopping the work in Kuwaiti Morbarak terminal and calling the UN to intervene to terminate Iranian and Turkish atrocities against Iraqi borders." The outlet reports on the protest in Diwaniya as well noting that the "hundreds" of participants included members of the Socialist Movment, NGOs, Democratic and Communist parties "and some well-known personalities" and they quote the Communist Party's Jabbar al-Shaibani stating that "the demonstration marched with 500 citizens, including women and children, who raised placards denoucning the government and demanding the central and local governments the implementation of basic services, otherwise these demonstrations shall be repeated in stronger manner." Al Jazeera notes protests also took place in Basra and Najaf.
Back to Baghdad, Alsumaria TV notes, " In Baghdad, an Iraqi army force using batons dispersed a demonstration organized by Abu Ghraib residents, western Baghdad, in protest against administrative corruption. Demonstrators staged three rallies in Al Tahrir Square, central Baghdad. The first demanded the elimination of corruption, the second called for the establishment of FAO port and the abolition of borders' demarcation with kuwait while the third objected the visit of Iraqi speaker Ousama Al Nujayfi, and Iraqi Vice President Tarek Al Hashimi to Saudi Arabia. Security Forces closed all entrances to the Green Zone and tightened security measures in anticipation to any security implications." Something's left out of that, did you catch it? Let's move over to Aswat al-Iraq which states that the demonstration in downtown Baghdad (Tahrir Square) lasted over three hours and called for "better services, early elections and termination of corruption" and that they "shouted against Mubarak terminal and the Turkish and Iranian atrocities in the north" (Turkey and Iran's armies are shelling and bombing northern Iraq). Hmm. They miss it too.
"The martyr was one of the activists in the movement against corruption and the curbing of rights and freedoms, through Facebook and through demonstrations in Tahrir Square. He was always stressing the need to reject any violation of the constitution and the law." That's WG Dunlop (AFP) quoting activist Zahir al-Jamaa. Speaking of? Journalist and activist Hadi al-Mehdi who was not at the protest today because he was assassinated yesterday.
His face was seen at today's demonstrations across Iraq as, in Baghdad and throughout, protesters carried photos of Hadi. The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "Our correspondent in Baghdad:: The government forces refused to release the body of the assassinated journalist Hady Mahdy for the public funeral arranged by protestors. The did not allow a symbolic funeral to take place either.// Hady Mahdy , what greatness! They fear you dead or alive."
Dar Addustour calls the assassination of Hadi "a deep wound in the conscience of Iraq" and Hadi "a shining star in the honored sky illuminating the path in the stuggle against tyranny." In Baghdad today, at the Tahrir protest, activist Hattem Hashem told AFP, "The voice of Hadi will not be silenced, despite his assassination with a silenced weapon." Al Jazeera quotes Hadi once telling the network, "When we speak up and raise our voices they kill us and tell lies about us." They describe his weekly radio program:
Music and humour punctuated his pointed attacks on everyone he thought was ruining Iraq.
Taxi drivers were riveted by the show and callers phoned in to complain about everything - from paying bribes to get running water to politicians who, once elected, moved to the Green Zone, the heavily guarded area where many of Baghdad's government institutions are housed.
Although his favourite targets were corrupt politicians and the Iraqi parliament, he also lashed out at armed groups considered untouchable.
Anne Gowen (Washington Post) reports on the protest in Baghdad and notes Hadi al-Mahdi, "On his radio program, 'To Whoever Listens,' Mahdi loudly criticized Iraqi politicians of every stripe, including Maliki. He had a background in theater, and it showed in his delivery. He often used humor in his attacks. Maliki's officials often had complained about Mahdi's views to the radio station that aired the thrice-weekly talk show, supporters said." Dina al-Shibeeb (Al Arabiya) reports:

Iraqis reacted to the news of Mahdi's death with condemnation and criticized a government they see as increasingly dictatorial and basically unchanged from the rule of its brutal predecessor, Saddam Hussein.
In response to Mahdi's killing, a Facebook group, "We Are All Hadi al-Mahdi," was created, and has attracted 1,700 members.
"In a cowardice operation a criminal hand killed the activist and the organizer of tomorrow's protest ... " one member wrote, while another commentator said "the path of freedom has become the path of martyrdom … the revolution has begun."
One female reader wrote "write all that comes from your souls and hearts, we are all corpses that will be buried one day," and another group member said, "death to Maliki and long live Hadi al-Mahdi."

Al Mada quotes Hanna Edwar stating, "Hadi al-Mahdi was a strong voice calling out attacks on freedom and demanding reforms in the system." Ali Hussein (Al Mada) cals out the assassination and "the silencing of voices of truth and justice" seeing similarities between the current Iraq and Iraq under Saddam Hussein's rule, how "many things have not changed." The assassination of Hadi is a cae where "a citizen loses his life with the utmost simplicity due ot the absence of law and the lack of knowledge and responsibility on the part of those who are supposed to implement the law." The assassin accomplished very little because Hadi al-Mahdi remains in the hearts of Iraqis with the same brilliant smile and childlike features. Ali Hussien writes of knowing Hadi and of Hadi's belief in the future of Iraq, of seeing him last in a Baghdad cafe one evening with friends, full of life and talking about his future and the future of Iraq and he saw Iraq as an adventure and living in Baghdad as an adventure. Ali Hussein ends the column wondering, "Who killed Hadi al-Mahdi? I think all of Iraq should be seeking that answer."
The Committee to Protect Journalists denounced the assassination and CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney declared, "Iraq remains one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work, and the Iraqi authorities' record of impunity for journalist murders is dismal. Wih this murder, a strong independent voice in Iraq has been silenced. Those who carried out this killing cannot go unpunished." Human Rights Watch issued the following:

(Beirut) -- Iraqi authorities should conduct an immediate, full, and transparent investigation into the September 8, 2011 killing of Hadi al-Mahdi, a popular radio journalist often critical of the government, at his home in Baghdad, and prosecute those responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.
"The killing of Hadi al-Mahdi sadly highlights that journalism in Iraq remains a deadly profession," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "After more than six years of democratic rule, Iraqis who publicly express their views still do so at great peril."
Witnesses at the crime scene told Human Rights Watch that they saw no evidence of a struggle or theft, suggesting that the killing was deliberate. Al-Mahdi's cell phone, laptop, and other valuables were left in the house untouched.
Al-Mahdi, a freelance journalist and theater director, had been openly critical of government corruption and social inequality in Iraq. His popular talk radio program, "To Whoever Listens," ran three times a week in Baghdad before he left the show two months ago. The program's appeal was al-Mahdi's fearless and scathing voice, laced with a sense of humor, Human Rights Watch said. Leading up to the country's "Day of Anger" mass pro-democracy and anti-corruption demonstrations on February 25, he became increasingly involved as a vocal organizer of Iraq's new protest movement in Baghdad.
Human Rights Watch spoke with al-Mahdi during the demonstration on February 25, and he stressed the importance of peaceful protest. As riot police began acting aggressively and groups of protesters started to throw hundreds of rocks, Human Rights Watch saw al-Mahdi take a leadership role with those who locked arms and made a human chain between angry crowds and riot police in an attempt to keep the peace. Many who did so were injured by rocks or by the riot police's use of force.
After the protests, security forces arrested him and three other journalists at a Baghdad restaurant. They beat and blindfolded them, and threatened them with torture during their subsequent interrogation. Al-Mahdi told Human Rights Watch after they were released the next day that interrogators had forced him, while blindfolded, to sign what he was told was a criminal confession and also a pledge to refrain from participating in future demonstrations. He showed Human Rights Watch bruises and red marks on his face, neck, and shoulders, as well as on his legs and abdomen.
Al-Mahdi continued to attend and organize many of the weekly Friday demonstrations that followed in Baghdad's Tahrir Square. He told Human Rights Watch that on March 4, an unknown man in the crowd approached him in an intimidating fashion and said that security forces were watching him, and then listed all of the people al-Mahdi had called on his phone that day. Al-Mahdi said on March 11 that in the previous week he had been threatened several times by phone or text message not to return to Tahrir Square.
Al-Mahdi was also one of the prominent organizers of a big demonstration planned for the first Friday after the end of the month-long Muslim holiday of Ramadan, on September 9. His Facebook profile picture was an announcement for the demonstration, and he posted the following message describing threats against him in the hours before his death:

Enough ... I have lived the last three days in a state of terror. There are some who call me and warn me of raids and arrests of protesters. There is someone saying that the government will do this and that. There is someone with a fake name coming on to Facebook to threaten me. I will take part in the demonstrations, for I am one of its supporters. I firmly believe that the political process embodies a national, economic, and political failure. It deserves to change, and we deserve a better government. In short, I do not represent any political party or any other side, but rather the miserable reality in which we live. ... I am sick of seeing our mothers beg in the streets and I am sick of news of politicians' gluttony and of their looting of Iraq's riches.
The killing of al-Mahdi follows years of targeted violence against journalists in Iraq. Most recently, on August 29, an assailant beat a prominent journalist, Asos Hardi, in Sulaimaniya with a pistol, requiring Hardi's hospitalization and 32 stitches.
Since the start of protests in Iraq in February over widespread corruption and lack of services, journalists have faced escalating attacks and threats, including from members of the government's security forces.
"In Iraq, we're used to journalists being attacked, but this one was close to the bone," Ammaral-Shahbander, head of the Institute for War and Peace Reportingin Iraq and a friend of al-Mahdi's, told Human Rights Watch after seeing al-Mahdi's body lying in the kitchen at his home. "This attack was different because usually journalists here have been killed in the line of duty, and you expect fatalities in war zones. But sitting in your own home and getting shot like this is too much to bear."
Emad al-Ebadi, another friend of al-Mahdi's, told Human Rights Watch that al-Mahdi confided that he was receiving daily death threats via social media and cell phones with blocked numbers: "He would come to me very upset and angry and shows me the incoming calls to support his allegations. I used to try always to calm him down and tell him to not care that much about these phone calls and advise him to be careful at the same time and stay alert."
Al-Ebadi, a television journalist who has frequently criticized parliamentary and government figures, survived an attempt on his life on November 23, 2009, when unknown assailants shot him in the neck and head.
Al-Shahbander expressed hope that al-Mahdi's killing would not deter Iraq's journalists from reporting on events in the country.
"So many journalists have been kidnapped and killed in Iraq but it doesn't matter how many are tortured, intimidated, or killed -- journalists will continue doing their jobs," he said. "This attack just shows how desperate the enemies of democracy have become."


Amnesty International notes:
The killing of a prominent radio journalist in Baghdad highlights how Iraqi authorities are failing to protect media workers from continued threats and violence, Amnesty International said today.
Hadi al-Mahdi, 44, was shot twice in the head in his flat in the Karrada district of Baghdad yesterday, ahead of a planned protest he was due to attend in the city's Tahrir Square today.
Friends have said he had feared for his life after receiving a string of threats in recent weeks.
"Journalists continue to pay a high price amid the ongoing violence in Iraq, and politically motivated attacks like this must no longer be tolerated," said Philip Luther, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
"Iraqi authorities must roundly condemn Hadi al-Mahdi's killing, carry out a full investigation to identify and bring his killers to justice, and ensure other journalists who face threats are given adequate protection if they request it."
Al-Mahdi was an outspoken political critic, and his popular Radio Demozy show "To Whoever Listens" took on a wide range of issues. No-one across the political spectrum was spared his scrutiny, and his analysis was described as irreverent and witty, drawing on his theatrical background.
Officials in President Nuri al-Maliki's government had reportedly complained to Radio Demozy about the show.
Al-Mahdi stopped broadcasting the show about two months ago, reportedly out of fear for his safety.
Earlier this week, al-Mahdi had been using social media sites to publicize a protest planned for 9 September in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, where he had been attending weekly protests in recent months.
Several hours before he was killed on the eve of the protest, al-Mahdi posted a note on Facebook saying he felt he was in danger:
"I have lived the last three days in a state of terror. There are some who call me and warn of raids and arrests of protesters. There is someone saying that the government will do this and that. There is someone with a fake name coming on to Facebook to threaten me."
Earlier this year, al-Mahdi had told Amnesty International about how a group of at least 15 soldiers detained him and three other journalists on 25 February, after they had attended a pro-reform demonstration in Tahrir Square.
The four journalists were detained overnight for interrogation at the headquarters of the army's 11th division, where al-Mahdi was beaten, given electric shocks and threatened with rape, before being released without charge.
In August, Iraq's Parliament passed a new law on legal protections for journalists, who face ongoing politically motivated threats and attacks. However, the law does not provide for their physical protection.
"Al-Mahdi's murder just a month after this new law was passed merely highlights this major loophole in the measure," said Philip Luther.
"Iraqi authorities must redouble their efforts to ensure journalists can carry out their work in safety."

Read More


One of the few US reporters, and the first, to take seriously the events immediately following the February 25th protests, was Stephanie McCrummen who filed a report the next day for the Washington Post that opened with, "Iraqi security forces detained hundreds of people, including prominent journalists, artists and intellectuals, witnesses said Saturday, a day after nationwide demonstrations brought tens of thousands of Iraqis into the streets and ended with soldiers shooting into crowds." Hadi was among those noted in her article:
Hadi al-Mahdi, a theater director and radio anchor who has been calling for reform, said he was blindfolded and beaten repeatedly with sticks, boots and fists. One soldier put a stick into Hadi's handcuffed hands and threatened to rape him with it, he said.
The soldiers accused him of being a tool of outsiders wishing to topple Maliki's government; they demanded that he confess to being a member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Hadi told them that he blamed Baathists for killing two of his brothers and that until recently he had been a member of Maliki's Dawa Party.
Hadi said he was then taken to a detention cell, his blindfold off, where he said there were at least 300 people with black hoods over their heads, many groaning in bloody shirts. Several told him they had been detained during or after the protests.
Hadi, who comes from a prominent Iraqi family, and his colleagues were released after their friends managed to make some well-placed phone calls.
"This government is sending a message to us, to everybody," he said Saturday, his forehead bruised, his left leg swollen.

And many believe the assassination Thursday of Hadi was another message from the government of Nouri al-Maliki. NPR's Kelly McEvers Tweeted yesterday:
kellymcevers Kelly McEvers
The cold-blooded killing of gov't critic Hadi al Mahdi in #Iraq says as lot about why this country's protest movement petered out.
Kelly McEvers was also one of the few US journalists to take seriously what happened immediately after the February 25th protests. She interviewed Hadi for NPR's Morning Edition (link has text and transcript).
Meanwhile there's a battle going on between Nouri and members of Parliament. Dar Addustour reports Nouri is attempting to force out Judge Rahim Ugaili as the chair of the Integrity Commission. At Nouri's request and under intense pressure, Judge Ugaili tendered his resignation and Parliament is saying not so fast. Ugaili ticked off Nouri as a result of his investigation of alleged corruption among government officials and Nouri wants Ugaili out so that he (Nouri) can go public with files on his political opponents while ensuring that members of his own Cabinet -- who do have files as well -- will not be revealed publicly. In other news of Parliament, the Sadr bloc is attempting to oust Osama al-Nujaifi as Speaker of Parliament. Dar Addustour cites the bloc's Jawad Hasnawi as stating that and tomorrow Parliament meets to review several proposals.
wdunlop87 W.G. Dunlop
#Iraq security forces on Friday found mass grave w/ 40 victims killed in the past two years, police say http://bit.ly/qHSdHr
In the last two years? No, the violence didn't vanish after 2007 despite the way some outlets attempt to spin it.
Turning to the whitewash of the murder of Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old Iraqi who was beaten and tortured to death in less than two days by the British military in 2003. The British inquiry into it has issued the laughable findings. For reality, we'll note Timothy McDonald's report for The World with Eleanor Hall (Australia's ABC -- link is audio):
Timothy McDonald: Baha Mousa was working at a hotel which British soldiers raided in search of weapons in 2003. He was detained with nine others and within forty-eight hours, he was dead. An autoposy showed that he suffered 93 injuries including fractured ribs and a broken nose. His mother wants the men responsible to be prosecuted.
Baha Mousa's mother: Of course he died as a young man. He was deprived of his youth and his children. His sons are deprived by the British soldiers. They killed him so how could the court release them? We call upon the British government to reconsider the report.
Also worth noting is a video report by Laurence Lee (Al Jazeera -- link is video).
Laurence Lee: Baha Mousa died at the hands of British soldiers who were supposed to be making Iraq a better place. Instead this innocent 26-year-old was subjected to abuse described by this inquiry as "vile and cowardly," "a grave and shameful episode for Britian. ... Here's the crux of it: The soldier being filmed [in the video] called a violent bully was the only one to be jailed even though many more are implicated. The techniques as they're called, like hooding, are illegal under the Geneva Convention. Yet Baha Mousa and nine others were subjected to two days of this. The military unit was operating in a building without doors in the open. Soldiers boasted about what they were doing. It was described as "a free for all." Even before Baha Mousa died, the detainees were described as looking like they were in a car crash. The soldiers were using the so-called five techniques: hooding, sleep deprivation, use of noise, wall standing and food deprivation. All had been banned by the British government in 1972. Yet somehow the soldiers knew all about them.
Somehow they knew these techniques. In 2003, techniques that had been banned 31 years before, before any directly involved had even been born, the soldiers knew these techniques. Was it past-life recall? More likely they knew what to do because they were told what to do. They were trained to do what they did. And the inquiry refused to go there. At the same time, the inquiry refused to blame those higher up the chain of command. If the soldiers weren't doing what they were instructed to do, then the command should have known about it. Their refusal to monitor those serving under them is dereliction of duty. The report refused to indict the chain of command in any way or form.
Laurence Lee: The report calls for better training and says soldiers may not have been clear what was allowed. Lawyers for the Iraq detainees say that's absurd.
Phil Shiner: We've seen the training materials. They've managed to lose the training materials from before the war but we've managed to see the training materials from 2005 and 2008. And they're riddled -- those materials -- they're riddled with techniques which were clearly unlawful -- harshing, get them naked and keep them naked if they won't cooperate.
Laurence Lee: This was the biggest inquiry into professional standards in the British army since the Bloody Sunday investigation into the killings of unarmed Catholics in Northern Ireland forty years ago. It tries simultaneously to say that mistreatment of Iraqis wasn't a one-off but that there was no general culture of abuse. Based on the evidence, some are likely to read it as the continuation of a historical pattern.
The final key failure was not holding those in positions of authority accountable. It is perhaps not surprising that a corporal was the only person punished. The laws of war, which the British government promotes elsewhere in the world, states that those in a position of authority who knew or should have known about a serious offence and failed to prevent it, or to hand the matter over for prosecution, are themselves guilty of crimes.
Senior officers should have been aware of the abuse Mousa was enduring. The inquiry heard that Mousa and his fellow detainees endured repeated beatings and hooding. Hooding is one of the "five techniques" that the British government said 40 years ago it would never use again and is prohibited by the Geneva conventions. Such acts are not just a few soldiers out of control, but require training and orders. In fact, given the knowledge of abuse in Iraq in 2003, the most senior officers and the politicians ultimately in charge should have been aware of the extent of the abuse that was taking place. There is precious little evidence of any steps being taken to stop it.
The editorial board of the Arab Times observes, "Predictably, the British Army response has been that this was an isolated incident. It was not as isolated as they would believe. It was not the only British military crime in Iraq. There was Ahmed Kareem, forcibly drowned in May 2003, allegedly by four British soldiers. Many will say that it was just the most recent in a long line of British military atrocities, stretching from its colonial period in India, South Africa, Kenya and elsewhere to, more recently, the troubles in Northern Ireland." In addition, Nina Lakhani (Independent of London) reports, "The Ministry of Defence is facing legal action by the families of 32 dead Iraqi civilians, who they say were killed unlawfully by British troops, unless it agrees to hold an independent inquiry into the deaths so that lessons can be learnt. Among the dead are Hanaan Salih Matrood, an eight-year-old girl, who died after being shot by a British patrol in August 2003. The MoD denies the deaths were unlawful."
As we wind down, in the US an important tenth anniversary is approaching at the end of the month:
Haymarket Books 10th Anniversary Celebration
Friday, September 30, 2011
Galapagos Art Space
Brooklyn, NY

Haymarket Books is ushering in its tenth year of independent publishing with an evening of drinks, music, and politics at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn on Friday, September 30.

We hope you will join us as we celebrate our first decade and lay the foundation for our next decade.

We will be joined by authors Dave Zirin, Chris Lehmann, Frances Fox Piven, Brian Jones, Moustafa Bayoumi, Michael Schwartz, Jose Vazquez, Jeremy Scahill, and Amy Goodman. We will also have special greetings from Arundhati Roy, Omar Barghouti, John Carlos, China Mieville, Mike Davis, Ilan Pappé, Aviva Chomsky, David Barsamian, Wallace Shawn, and other Haymarket writers.

Doors will open at 7 pm and the event will begin at 8 pm.

Tickets are available now

Info:

Buy tickets
Congratulations to Haymarket on ten years, a populace that reads is not only educated, it's (more importantly) informed. Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. We'll close with this from her office on another 10th anniversary, the 9-11 annivesary this Sunday:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Friday, September 09, 2011 (202) 224-2834
Senator Murray's Statement on 10th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement as the United States prepares to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks this Sunday.
"Ten years ago terrorists attacked our country, our financial center, our military headquarters, and our sense of security. The shocking pictures from that day are still fixed in our minds. Our collective history was changed and none of us will ever be the same. On that day, no matter our differences, where we came from in life, the region of the country, our race, religion, or political party - we were all one thing: Americans.
"This somber anniversary should serve as a reminder to everyone that there truly is more that binds us than divides us. It is our freedom: to live, to prosper, to govern ourselves, and yes – even to disagree. This makes us all Americans.
"Our great nation has withstood many challenges. We have learned and grown together as a result of the attacks of September 11th, and we will never forget that terrible day ten years ago. Our hearts will forever go out to the victims, their friends and family, the volunteers and workers, and the police and firefighters and other first responders who answered the call.
"Our nation must also pay tribute to the men and women in uniform who have answered the call to serve after that fateful day ten years ago. Since the attacks, brave American service members have stepped forward to serve our nation. Many of these service members have done more than one tour of duty abroad – sometimes serving, three, four or even more tours.
"Many who have served have come from the ranks of our National Guard and Reserves and have turned a part time commitment into a full time job protecting our nation. These men and women, who chose to join our all volunteer force, come from all walks of life and from every corner of our nation. They serve as a constant reminder of what our nation can accomplish when differences are put aside in order to move our country forward, and it is our solemn duty to care for them when they return home.
"So as we commemorate this unspeakable tragedy, as we remember the thousands lost, and as we recount the stories of the heroism and compassion, I urge all Americans to remain vigilant, to remember and to revisit the common good that still exists between us all."
###

Meghan Roh

Deputy Press Secretary

Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

@SenMurrayPress

202-224-2834

Get Updates from Senator Murray

Thursday, September 8, 2011

1 woman, 6 men

NPR's Diane Rehm Show today. The first hour guests were James Thurber, David Wessel and Laura Murphy. Second hour Tom Gjelten, Lionel Barber, Minxin Pei and Nabil Fahmy.

Are you getting now how awful Diane's record on booking female guests is?

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, September 8, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq remains unsecure, Iraq is at risk of panademic, more on the US desire to stay in Iraq beyond 2011, Tom Hayden shows up to self-embarrass yet again, journalist Hadi al-Mahdi is assassinated, and more.
In Iraq, a journalist has been murdered. In addition to being a journalist, he was also a leader of change and part of the movement to create an Iraq that was responsive to Iraqis.
Al Mada reports Iraqi journalist Hadi al-Mahdi is dead according to an Interior Ministry source who says police discovered him murdered in his Baghdad home. Along with being a journalist, Al Mada notes he was one of the chief organizers of the demonstrations demanding change and service reform that began on February 25th -- the day he was arrested by Iraqi security forces and beaten in broad daylight as he and others, after the February 25th protest, were eating in a restaurant. The New York Times didn't want to tell you about, the Washington Post did. And now the man is dead. Gee, which paper has the archives that matter to any real degree. Maybe it's time to act like a newspaper and not a "news magazine" with pithy little human interest stories? (That is not a dig at Tim Arango but at the paper's diva male 'reporter' who went on NPR to talk of an Iraqi college this week.) So while the Times missed the story (actaully, they misled on the story -- cowtowing to Nouri as usual), Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reported:

Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.
"It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."


A picture of the new democracy in Iraq, indeed. And now one of the four is dead. But back to that roundup, from the February 28th snapshot:
Over the weekend, a number of journalists were detained during and after their coverage of the mass demonstrations that took place in central Baghdad's al-Tahrir Square. Simone Vecchiator (International Press Institute) notes:

["]During a news conference held on Sunday, four journalists -- Hussam Saraie of Al-Sabah Al-Jadid newspaper, Ali Abdul Sada of the Al-Mada daily, Ali al-Mussawi of Sabah newspaper and Hadi al-Mehdi of Demozee radio -- reported being handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened by security forces. They also claimed they were held in custody for nine hours and forced to sign a document, the contents of which were not revealed to them.
Aswat al Iraq news agency reported that the journalists will file a court case against the executive authority in response to the alleged violations of their civil rights.
This episode is the latest in a series of repressive measures adopted by security forces in order to stifle media reports about the current political and social
unrest.["]
NPR's Kelly McEvers interviewed Hadi for Morning Edition after he had been released and she noted he had been "beaten in the leg, eyes, and head." He explained that he was accused of attempting to "topple" Nouri al-Maliki's government -- accused by the soldiers under Nouri al-Maliki, the soldiers who beat him. Excerpt:
Hadi al-Mahdi: I replied, I told the guy who was investigating me, I'm pretty sure that your brother is unemployed and the street in your area is unpaved and you know that this political regime is a very corrupt one.
Kelly McEvers: Mahdi was later put in a room with what he says were about 200 detainees, some of them journalists and intellectuals, many of them young protesters.
Hadi al-Mahdi: I started hearing voices of other people. So, for instance, one guy was crying, another was saying, "Where's my brother?" And a third one was saying, "For the sake of God, help me."
Kelly McEvers: Mahdi was shown lists of names and asked to reveal people's addresses. He was forced to sign documents while blindfolded. Eventually he was released. Mahdi says the experience was worse than the times he was detained under Saddam Hussein. He says the regime that's taken Sadam's place is no improvement on the past. This, he says, should serve as a cautionary tale for other Arab countries trying to oust dictators.
Hadi al-Mahdi: They toppled the regime, but they brought the worst -- they brought a bunch of thieves, thugs, killers and corrupt people, stealers.
Madhi had filed a complained with the courts against the Iraqi security forces, noting that they had now warrant and that they kidnapped him in broad daylight and that they beat him. Mohamed Tawfeeq (CNN) adds, "Hadi al-Mehdi was inside his apartment on Abu Nawas street in central Baghdad when gunmen shot him twice with silencer-equipped pistols, said the ministry official, who did not want to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to media." Mazin Yahya (AP) notes that in addition to calling for improvements in the basic services (electricity, water and sanitation), on his radio program, Hadi al-Mehdi also used Facebook to get the word out on the Friday protests in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.
Al Mada notes that Hadi has been killed on the eve of tomorrow's protest. The youth activists took the month of Ramadan off and announced that they would return to downtown Baghdad on September 9th (tomorrow). And tomorrow they'll now be minus at least one. Al Mada quotes Hadi writing shortly before he died on his Facebook page about the demonstration, noting that it would herald the emergence of real democracy in the new Iraq, an Iraq with no sectarian grudges, just hearts filled with tolerance and love, hearts saying no to corruption, looting, unemployment, hearts demaning a better Iraq and a government for the people because Iraqis deserve the best and they deserve pride and dignity. The Great Iraqi Revolution notes, "The funeral of the martyred jouranlist Hady Mahdy, who was killed earlier today will process from his Karrad home where he was assassinated to Tahrir Square. The funeral procession will commence at around 9 A.M."

Reporters Without Borders roundly condemns the well-known journalist Hadi Al-Mahdi's murder in Baghdad today, on the eve of nationwide protests that he supported. His body was found at around 7 p.m. in his home in the central district of Al-Karada. He had been shot twice in the head. There can be no doubt that his murder was politically motivated.

Offering its sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues, Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to quickly investigate this murder and to assign all the necessary resources to ensure that those responsible are identified and brought to justice. This crime cannot go unpunished.

Aged 44, a Shiite and married to a Kurd, Mahdi hosted a talk show called "To whoever listens" on Radio Demozy (104,01 FM). His irreverence, his well-observed criticism that spared no one, neither the prime minister nor his detractors, and his readiness to tackle subjects ranging from corruption to the deplorable state of the Iraqi educational system made it one of the most popular talk shows in Baghdad.

It was clear from the messages that Mahdi had sent to relatives that he knew he was in danger. He had received many warnings and had told friends two days ago that something terrible could happen (http://alalemya.com/alalemya_news/0_2011_5_/11_/11_9_1/8-9/hadi-al-mahdi.html). But he was determined to tough it out, regardless of the risks.

After covering a demonstration in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on 25 February, he and three fellow journalists were arrested, threatened and beaten.

Shortly after graduating from Baghdad's Academy of Fine Arts in 1989, Mahdi fled to Syria and then to Sweden and did not return until 2007, after nearly a decade in exile. He began hosting "To whoever listens" for Radio Demozy, an independent station, a year later. (A New York Times profile of Mahdi)

He was the seventh Iraqi journalist to be murdered since the start of 2011 and the 12th since the United States announced the withdrawal of its combat troops in August 2010.

Mahdi's murder comes exactly a month after the Iraqi parliament adopted a law on the protection of journalists on 9 August.

Nouri al-Maliki's forces beat Hadi. They are under Nouri's command. Nouri demonized the protesters all along. He has repeated the slurs in the last weeks that the September 9th protests are organized by Ba'ahtists, are out to topple him, are out to turn Iraq into a lawless state and much more. Did Little Saddam aka Nouri al-Maliki, thug of the occupation, order his forces to murder Hadi? Regardless, he certainly created the climate for the murder at the very least. At the more extreme? Little Saddam may be dreaming of becoming the next Augusto Pinochet.
Hadi had a dream that Iraq could become what so many in the US press portrayed it as being, a democracy, a place of fairness, a government that provided for the people. The youth activists will carry on the struggle, as will be evident tomorrow, but it says a great deal about the stae of Iraq, he real state of Iraq, that Hadi can be targeted and murdered for wanting what so many US gas bags and US politicians and liars wnat to insist Iraq already has and is.
Let's turn to two of the whores: Tom Hayden and Barbara Lee. Take your tongues out of Barack's asshole and come on down.
In all the years (decades) I've known Tom, I'd say he's verbal. He's not active. He's really not much of a writer, never has been. But he can give a speech. Ususally one that self-promotes. I think it was a few months before he was expelled from the Berkeley commune that I first heard him compared to J.J. Hunsecker -- an apt comparison, I used to think. But J.J. knew how to read and, increasingly, it appears Tom-Tom is illiterate.
Two days to late and still unaware, Tom Hayden shows up at The Nation to flaunt both his own uselessness and Barbara Lee's. If you're late to the party, see Tuesday and Wednesday's snapshots, my willingness to spoonfeed today is extremely limited. Tom just discovered about the story Fox News reported on -- about an option where the White House would keep 3,000 to 4,000 US troops in Iraq. Yes, let's split whores, let's go to Barbara Lee from Tom's story and then come back to Tom. Baraba doesn't read either -- illiteracy appears to be a pre-requisite for membership in the Cult of St. Barack. So when Tom called his girlfriend Barbara Lee to dish about wet dreaming of Barack and mentioned the fact that the White House is considering keeping 3,000 to 4,000 US troops in Iraq after 2011, 'anti-war' Barbara Lee insisted it was "a move in the right direction."
Oh, how the whores have fallen.
Baraba Leeis a fraud. She's a fraud and a fake. When I used to say that, people would offer defenses. These days the only defense comes from the Cult of St. Barack. They are the only ones stupid enough to defend 'brave' Barbara Lee. Everyone else long ago caught on to the reality that Little Ms. I'll End The Iraq War gave up long, long ago. I can remember so many Congressional hearings how she'd dash in when the cameras were there, spit out a few commentaries masquerading as questions, announce with disgust that she had nothing else for the witness and rush off to whever it was she rushed off to (not to floor votes, not to another hearing). She'd get her media attention, her sound byte for back home, and she'd breeze off somewhere else.
Bush was occupying the White House then. So Baraba was against the war. The same war that today she's fine with because Barack's president. She doesn't try to end the Iraq War now. She doesn't give the speeches about how we need to put pressure on the leadership. She doesn't do a damn thing. And nothing I'm saying here is news to the Out of Iraq Caucus in the House. In fact, most members cite Baraba Lee as the reason that caucus is no more. She's a liar and a hypocrite and nothing I could call her here would match what she's called by her peers in Congress whom she once stood with against the wars.
Leaving any US troops beyond 2011 should be unacceptable to her. But it's Barack so she's saying "step in the right direction." You go, 'brave' Barabra. And she'll no doubt pen a strongly worded letter to him calling for more to leave and then do nothing after he blows her off. Because standing up to Bush was fun but she's not going to call out Barack.
Moving from the fraud in Congress back to the fraud that never gets anywhere, Tom's a ___ idiot. Again, check those two snapshots. The 3,000 to 4,000 is one option -- one of several the White House is considering. We've noted several here throughout the year -- one we noted repeatedly is today an "AP Exclusive" -- but those following the actual reporting, those doing their own reading, were aware that there were several options. Tom isn't because there's no whore like an old whore.
(Tom was not the friend at The Nation that I spoke to Thursday -- mentioned in Thursday's snapshot -- but doesn't he prove my point in that snapshot that no one at The Nation actually reads? And Tom's not a friend. A friend is someone I'd invite to my home and I really don't associate with gigolos and certainly don't invite them into my home -- both due to theft concerns and infestation issues.)
3,000 is one option, it's not the only option. In fact, if you learned to read Arabic, you'd know what Nouri's media advisor said about it. But you don't know because you apparently can't read. If only you couldn't speak imagine how much better the world would be.
As usual, the faux leader of the peace movement -- who knew the peace movement had an elderly Gypsy Rose Lee in it? -- wants to call this a win. And wants to caution that people can't ask for more because, he insists, the economy is the number one issue and blah, blah, blah.
Old Pock Marks On The Soul really needs to go the way of other divorcees who cashed out big time on their wealthy exes when making a living on their own proved too difficult. He's Roxanne Pulitzer without the ability to write trash (he's just able to live it) and without a body anyone would pay to see naked.
Kevin Barone (Stars & Stripes) quotes the former top US commander in Iraq who is now the Army Chief of Staff, Ray Odierno stating today of the 3,000 proposal, "I will say, when I was leaving Iraq a year ago, I always felt we had to be careful about leaving too many people in Iraq. I'm not saying 3,000 to 5,000 is the right number, but what I would say is there comes a time, and I've said this before, where it becomes counterproductive," He goes on to also disagree with the notion of leaving a large force. Which is probably due in part to the fact that he's been among those advocating within the administration for 20,000 to 12,000 US forces to remain on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011.
Dar Addustour reports that Haitham Jubouri, who serves on the Commission on Defense and Security, was among those receiving a withdrawal time table for US forces. It's not one thing, it's several options, the paper says, and that it was stressed there is no final decision as yet. The article then notes US media reports on this issue in the last two days -- emphasizing the 3,000 to 4,000 US troops kept beyond 2011 option -- and that while the negotiations continue, there's a sense of urgency when it comes to the US supplying F-16s to Iraq. Al Mada also notes US media reports and adds that Nouri al-Maliki's media advisor Ali al-Moussawi has declared that the numbers are not ones Iraq has proposed or agreed to. Justin Fishel (Fox News) notes Odierno declared that one of the issues to be resolved in the negotiations would be where US troops would be staged after 2011 and "Odierno said it's most likely that any major U.S. base would be located outside of Baghdad."
There are many options being considered. Robert Burns and Rebecca Santana (AP) report on the option of moving US troops to Kuwait. They cite annonymous "US officials" who state that Kuwait is being considered as a staging area for the US military and that it could also be used to keep "a small U.S. combat force" that could enter Iraq swiftly should a problem arise. And they note that US military equipment could be left in Kuwai instead of sent back to America.
We've covered that option repeatedly because it's Joe Biden's option. Joe was then US Senator and not US Vice President. It was 2007 when he began to seriously speak of it. It was 2008, two months after he dropped out of the Democratic primaries, that he raised the issue for the first time seriously in public. When it became clear, during the transition period as Samantha Power insisted US troops would not leave Iraq, that post-2011 plans might need to be considered, Joe brought this idea out. Barack was responsive to it from the start and one reporter (not mentioned above but he'll know who he is) was cited as having proposed it to Barack during a 2008 interview. (Barack was giddy at the suggestion and noted that ___ had suggested it mere months ago.) Hillary Clinton was not part of the transition team. After Barack was in the White House and after he nominated her for Secretary of State and she became part of the administration, she supported this as an option to explore in at least one meeting.
Kuwait is only one option. The White House is looking at several options. Let's again note Greg Jaffe and Annie Gowen (Washington Post) observation from yesterday:
This much is clear: There will likely be some kind of U.S. military presence in Iraq after 2012.

Again, 3,000 is only one of the proposals being considered. It was the proposal discussed yesterday on On The Record (Fox News -- link has text and video) by host Greta Van Susteren and Herman Cain who is running for the GOP's presidential nomination:



VAN SUSTEREN: So I'm not going to ask you about that, so let me ask you about foreign policy since it was a little bit short on foreign policy. The big issue is whether or not the president is going to draw down to 3,000 troops in Iraq. What do you think about that idea if indeed that is the president's plan?

CAIN: I believe that's a bad idea, Greta. Once again, this president did not listen to the expanders on the ground. The commanders on the ground do not agree with that, just like the commanders on the ground didn't agree with the drawdown in Afghanistan. That's very scary in terms of foreign policy and our position in the world. So I don't agree with it. Why? Because the commanders on the ground don't agree with it. They believe it is too much, too fast. And I believe it is going to leave the 3,000 there vulnerable.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's what I don't understand. It seems to me -- I really can't believe the president isn't listening to his commanders. I'm a little suspicious there are commanders telling him 3,000 is fine. Is there any reason why you think, if it is true, that he doesn't have any commanders support him, why would he go ahead and do this, just sort of freelancing without consulting commanders?

CAIN: Two reasons, in my opinion. One, to carry out a campaign programs, and secondly to create a distraction. This president has nothing to talk about in terms of his record on the economy, zero new jobs created. They are trying to get away from that. So if he -- if next year he can say we have pulled out all of the troops out of Iraq, then that will give him something to brag about, along with the taking out of Usama bin Laden. The American people are not that stupid.
Herman Cain is for continuing the war but he is running for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. He is a Republican. In 2006, that would be obvious. In 2011, when so many Democratic office holders are fine and dandy with the illegal war continuing and a Democratic president attempts to continue it, it may need clarification that Herman Cain is not a Democrat. On the Democratic Party side, only Barack at present is running for the White House. On the Republican side, there are many. Ron Paul is the only candidate in that race invited to the debates who is promising to end the wars.
Al Rafidayn reports on a doctor's funeral Monday in Kirkuk -- Dr. Yildirim Abbas Dmarja and his brother -- in a killing that is part of a wave of targeting doctors and other professionals in Iraq. This targeting also includes kidnappings. The Director General of Health in Kirkuk is leading a call for the government to provide protection for doctors. It is estimated that over a million and a half dollars (US equivalent) have been paid by families to kidnappers of doctors. Al Sabaah notes that Wednesday also saw a sit-in at a Kirkuk hospital as doctors and medical staff demanded protection from the ongoing violence. They also demanded that those responsible be brought to justice. There's a medical issue taking place in Iraq beyond this and a friend with WHO brought it to my attention last week: the flu. Al Sabbah reports that Iraq's seen 175 cases of the flu since the start of the year with 15 people dying so far. The paper notes that 88 of the cases have been in Baghdad alone. The paper does not note that some of these have been Swine flu and some have been bird flu. In 2006, neighboring Turkey saw an outbreak of bird flu (avian flu) which resulted in the deaths of at least four children. In April 2009, a teenage girl died of bird flu in the KRG's Sulaimaniyah, hers was the first documented case bird flu in Iraq. In addition, Al Sabbah notes that Salah Din Province is dealing with viral hemorrhagic fever. Attempts to comabt it include an awareness campaign targeting everyone from children in kindergarten through adults as well as by increasing inspections of fields with livetock, of livestock and of vendors selling meat. They are warning people not to purchase meat from street vendors. The Center for Disease Control explains that humans are not the natural hosts for viral hemorrhagic fever and that the "viruses naturally reside in an animal reservoir host or antrhopod vector. They are totally dependent on their hosts for replication and overall survival. For the most part, rodents and anthropods are the main reservoirs for viruses causing VHFs. The multimammate rat, cotton rat, deer mouse, house mouse and other field rodents are examples of reservoir hosts. Arthropod ticks and mosquitoes serve as vectors for some of the illnesses. [. . .] The viruses carried in rodent reservoirs are tract with urine, fecal matter, saliva, or other body excretions from infected rodents. The viruses associated with anthropod vectors are spread most often when a vector mosquito or tick bites a human, or when a human crushes a tick. However, some of these vectors may spread virus to animals, livestock, for example. Humans then become infected when they care for or slaughter their animals." The CDC notes that once a person is infected with viral hemorrhagic fever, it is possible for the disease to jump from the infected person to another person.
Why are we noting this? Because a friend raised the issue, yes. But also because Iraqis are suffering and at risk and because Iraq doesn't need to turn into a hot zone that then quickly spreads diseases throughout the world (remember that foreigners in Iraq include people from all over the world including the United States). We note it because of tomorrow's protest.
Iraqis are calling for decent, livable public services. They don't have adequate sanitation. Children in Baghdad -- orphans on the street and just average children as well -- are confronted with garbage, sometimes play on it. Garbage piled up in the street. Not taken away. Just piled up there attracting children who will look for things to climb ecause that's what children do, they explore their surroundings and play. It will also attract bugs and rodents. The Iraqi people are very fortunate that the failure of the government has not yet resulted in a pandemic. But as long as the government refuses to address the issues of sewage and sanitation, Iraqis are at risk of a pandemic at any moment. Nouri's been prime minister since 2006. The Iraqi government takes in billions in oil dollars every year. There's no excuse for the failure to address and solve this issue. It puts Iraqis and the entire region at grave risk. Should a pandemic break out, it will not be confined to Iraq and it will not be confined to the Middle East.
While feathering his own nest with Iraqi money, Nouri is a slum lord, one of the world's biggest slum lords, who refuses to address the health and safety of the Iraqi people. The US government is not going to do a damn thing about it. All they're focused on is extending the US military presence in Iraq. Maybe the neighboring countries can pressure Nouri? Certainly if a pandemic breaks out in Iraq, then Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria will be among the first countries effected.
The protesters demands in Iraq have never been unreasonable. They're very basic. Improve the public services (water and electricity and sanitation), provide jobs, end the government corruption and stop the sinkhole that is the Iraqi prison-judicial system where families never even know if their loved one was arrested, let alone if he or she remains alive. These are very basic issues. That they're demands goes to just how corrupt the government in Iraq is, that anyone would have to demand these basic needs be met goes to just how corrupt it is. That's what the protesters have been protesting for months now.
And it's telling that the likes of Tom Hayden and Barbara Lee have shown no interest in the needs of Iraqis. They've not spoken out,t hey've not written of it. They've washed their hands and only show up on the topic of Iraq when it's time to excuse Barack's latest back-stab.
I didn't know Hadi al-Mehdi. I never met him, I never spoke to him on the phone. We did exchange e-mails when he was kind enough to correct me on an issue I had wrong (not the first time I was wrong,, not the last time I will be). And I'm no expert on himbut what came through in the four or five e-mails was just how much he believed that the better Iraq the people deserved was possible. And yet he and what he believed in is invisible in the US and ignored by so many 'voices' for 'peace' who should have been drawing attention to the protests in Iraq. Instead, they were ignored. (Antiwar.com and Antiwar Radio is the only antiwar outlet that covered them.) (Excuse me, Democracy Now! covered them badly in one segment. Congratulations, Amy Goodman.) Haid al-Mehdi's dead but there are others who share the dream he had and they'll carry on the fight for a better Iraq.
But they'll do so with less and less attention from the US 'peace' groups. Why/ Because a Democrat's in the White House. So now Democrats are as embarrssing as Republicans were when they repeatedly tried to sell "success" in Iraq. They sold it for their man Bush. Democrats now sell it for their man Barack. Hero worship never built a peace movement. Real leaders -- Ghandi, MLK, etc -- rejected hero worship. I think it was with Abeer that it became very clear that the Democratic pretense of caring about Iraqis was revealed to be pure lies. When 14-year-old Abeer was gang-raped by US soldiers while one US soldier murdered her five-year-old sister, murdered her parents and then murdered her, set her body on fire to try to destroy the evidence, when all this came out, when the Article 32 heairng was held, when the court martials were held, when Steven D. Green's trial was held in Kentucky, where was The Progressive, where was The Nation, where was In These Times, where was Democracy Now? Silent. Alexander Cockburn did write a few paragraphs about it ione column -- I'll credit his CounterPunch for that, not The Nation. After months of complaints and public shaming, feminist or 'feminist' Katha Pollitt finally found time to write about Abeer in a half-sentence.
But would she have if I hadn't made fat jokes about her here and her friends hadn't begged me to remove those jokes and I hadn't agreed to? If that had happened would Katha have ever written even that half-sententce about Abeer?
Judging by all that's gone down since, I doubt it. Pay attention, if you need to motivate Katha to 'cover' an issue,aim some fat jokes her way. It's the only thing that will get her off her, yes, fat ass.
I'm just not in the mood for the liars and the whores these days. It's not just that their whoring for Barack means that the Iraq War does not end. It's also that their whoring means that Iraqis suffer in every way imaginable including suffering in silence because exposing the realities of Iraq might harm Barack's election chances.
And aren't the dreams and desires of a vain man withe ating disorders so much more important than twenty-five to thirty Iraqi people? Isn't it more important to secure that second term for Barack to continue the wars and continue Guantanamo and destroy Social Security (and the economy) than the Iraqi people ever having any peace?
You can speak in soothing tones about how you objected to the sanctions in the 90s all you want. Until you're ready to call out the War Hawk Barack, you're just another whore promoting war and destruction.
Reuters notes a man shopping in Mosul was shot dead and a Mosul bombing injured one Iraqi soldier.
Meanwhile, northern Iraq is being bombed and shelled by the armies of two countries: Iran and Turkey. Iran is allegedly targeting the PJAK (Kurdish rebels fighting for independence with Iran) and Turkey is allegedly targeting the PKK (Kurdish rebels fighting for independence in Turkey). In the meantime, both are killing and wounding civilians and tearing up the region from which people are fleeing -- farmers and shepherds especially -- due to the non-stop bombings. Aswat al-Iraq reports that "hundreds" demonstrated in Erbil yesterday against the continued attacks from both countries and that "demonstrators raised the Kurdish flags and photos of the victims of Turkish-Iranian bombardments, that led to the killing of a complete family." Alsumaria TV reports, "Anti Iranian Kurdish party, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), said that the Iranian shelling has killed its deputy military leader and announced that its fighters killed 123 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards during clashes between the two parties this month." In protest of the bombings, Aswat al-Iraq reports, Iraq's Parliament today suspended their "session for half an hour" at the request of Parliament's Kurdish coalition.
"I remember Baha all the time," Daoud Mousa tells BCC News (link is video). "I look He's -- Baha -- in my heart. I love Baha. He's good son." His 26-year-old son was tortured and killed by the british military, receiving over 93 documented wounds in less than 48 hours. The white wash was released today and there's not space to cover it and I don't have the energy, I'm sorry. We covered it this morning here and I'll try to grab it in tomorrow's snapshot. Justice was not done and hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to note Iraqi reaction -- at present there's nothing but Al Jazeera predicting what reaction will be to the findings from the inquiry into Baha's death (a 'few bad apples' went off the reservation is the cover story).

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