January 8, 2013. Chaos and violence continue, a dopey feature writer
tries to argue that knowing in 2002 how the Iraq War would turn out
nullifies a Congressional vote for the war, groupies of a disgraced
British doctor insist that dead Iraqis be ignored and that he be allowed
to practice medicine again, protests continue, Anbar provides aid to
the protesters, Nouri's refusal to listen to the protesters results in a
Cabinet walk-out, and more.
plan in my head for this snapshot was we would start with women and end
with women. Start with Iraqi women, end with American women. In
between we'd do our usual sight seeing tour. That changed. That
changed because we have to start with an idiot. And, the modern pattern
in America demonstrates, when we're talking about big idiots in the US
-- it's usally a man. Now maybe that's because they're more apt -- even
now -- to be elevated to status for gender -- clearly, they did not get
their on their minds.
Case in point, Esquire's
chief idiot Charles P. Pierce. Pierce drips against his y-fronts as he
moans for Chuck Hagel, the homophobic,
rape-doesn't-result-in-pregnancy, War Hawk that US President Barack
Obama has nominated to be the next Secretary of the Defense. (For those
who didn't get their trading cards of Obama's Cabinet: Lots of Men and a
Few Token Women, if confirmed by the Senate, Hagel would replace Leon
"I am going to do something I've never done before," Charles P. Pierce opens
today -- sending a good portion of the public fleeing. It's okay, he's
keeping his clothes on. He wants to quote Chuck in full in 2002 before
Chuck voted for the Iraq War. But, hold on, before we get that, we
need to stop for a cheesy Esquire profile. One Pierce did in 2007. I'm
sorry, does Pierce honestly believe that the celebrity profiles Esquire
does strikes anyone as journalism? The New York Times Sunday Magazine
does journalism -- even in their profiles. Vanity Fair sometimes does
journalism in their profiles. Esquire? As if to proove just how cheesy
Esquire is, the excerpt Charles provides starts with Tom Hagel vouching
for Chuck -- hard hitting journalism at it's finest.
it's endless monologue from Chuck. Charles seems to think that this
responds to "one of the primary arguments made from the Left against"
Chuck because he voted for the Iraq War in 2002.
Pierce needs to retire. Esquire will never improve circulation with the
very tired and very old Charles writing for it. Four decades at the
magazine? He's never been Hunter S. Thompson. He's just someone who
knows he can't get work elsewhere.
Part of the reason for that is because he's so very stupid.
tried explaining this with the idiots who promoted Barack (falsely) as
anti-war. In 2007 and 2008, as people pointed to that bad, small speech
from 2002, we pointed to Barack's record when he got to the Senate. He
voted exactly as Hillary did. In the primaries, he wanted special
credit for being against the war (no, he really wasn't, it was a fairy
tale, Bill Clinton was right) and claimed this proved sharper judgment
than his contemporaries like Hillary and John Edwards and Joe Biden.
here's the problem with that. If a five-year-old child burns their
hand on the stove, you comfort the child, you treat the burn. But if
the child's smart enough to know that touching the flames on the stove
will burn your hand and that child burns his or her hand, you're dealing
with a different issue, you're dealing with a child who knew better but
chose to ignore the knowledge.
believed the words he offered in 2002 and then goes to the Senate and
votes for the war over and over and over, that's worse than stupid
Hillary, John and Joe who apparently were too dumb to grasp what would
happen. (In fairness to Hillary and Joe, they didn't claim they voted
for one thing only for it to turn out to be something else. John did
and Elizabeth Edwards did for him in an interview with Ruth Conniff for The Progressive.)
if Hagel stood and listed all these things that could go wrong before
he voted? He looks even more empty, more craven and more like a War
Hawk. If he could picture many awful things that ended up coming true,
he has no defense for voting the war. He knew better.
go to children again. If you are 8-years-old and playing frisbee in
the front yard with your older and wiser brother Chuck and a window gets
broken by the frisbee, your parents are going to let you slide. You're
the child who wasn't old enough to know better. But Chuck? There's no
slide for him. He has to be accountable for playing frisbee by the
windows when he was old enough to know better and old enough to know
something could get broken.
I hope -- I
really, really hope -- that Charles P. Pierce just really wanted to plus
his 2007 (bad) feature article on Hagel. I really hope that Pierce
isn't so stupid that he thinks providing the over 2100 words Chuck Hagel
spoke on the Senate floor about why war with Iraq was wrong doesn't
excuse Hagel's vote and, in fact, damns Hagel because he knew better and
still voted for the war. Again, hopefully Pierce just wanted to plug
his own (universally ignored) 2007 feature. Hopefully, even Pierce
isn't stupid enough to think that speech improves Hagel's image.
Let's move from an American idiot to a British one: Derek Keilloh. Keilloh was a doctor who 'treated' Baha Mousa. From the July 13, 2009 snapshot
:Moving over to England, Matthew Weaver (Guardian) notes
that Iraqi Baha Mousa's death at the age of 26 while in British custody
in September 2003 is the subject of a public inquiry in England
which began today and that, "A central issue of the inquiry is why five
'conditioning techniques' -- hooding prisoners, putting them in stress
positions, depriving them of sleep, depriving them of food and water,
and playing white noise -- were used on Iraq detainees. The techniques,
inflicted on IRA suspects, were banned in 1972 by then prime
minister, Edward Heath." The Telegraph of London offers that
Baha "was beaten to death" while in British custody, "sustaining 93
separate injuires, including fractured ribs and a broken nose." The Telegraph also notes
that the inquiry was shown video of Corporal Donald Payne yelling and
screaming, "shouting and swearing at the Iraqis as they are force to
main painful 'stress position'."
Today, Andrew Johnson (Belfast Telegraph) reports
the latest, "A former British Army doctor has been found guilty of
attempting to cover up the death of an Iraqi civilian who was fatally
beaten by British troops in 2003, and of failing to protect other
detainees." Peter Magill (Lancashire Telegraph) notes
of the Baha Mousa inquiry, "Another detainee, Ahmed Al Matari, who had
also been seen by Dr Keilloh at the detention centre after being kicked
in the kidneys and legs, accused him of behaving like a 'criminal'
during." Press TV adds, "Britain's Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service will now decide what penalty the British doctor will face." The editorial board of Scotland's Herald weighs in,
"Army medics cannot afford to be squeamish but ignoring such brutality
amounts to a betrayal of all the servicemen and women who behave
decently and within the rules. It also acts as a recruiting sergeant for
extremism and destroys at a stroke any goodwill built up with the local
population. It is shameful that it has taken so long to uncover the
truth. Though maltreatment of detainees may not have been routine, the
fact that a number of other such inquiries are still crawling through
the system suggests this was more than the work of a 'few bad apples'."
Yesterday, Ashleigh Barbour (Press and Journal) reported Dr. Derek Keilloh had been "struck off the medical register." The Yorkshire Post adds,
"The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service announced its decision to
ban Dr Keilloh from working as a doctor yesterday after finding him
guilty of misconduct." The Herald Scotland explained,
"The MPTS recognised Dr Keilloh, now a GP at Mayford House Surgery in
Northallerton, North Yorkshire, never harmed Mr Mousa and did
everything possible to save his life, in a setting that was 'highly
charged, chaotic, tense and stressful'. But they ruled he must have seen
the injuries and, especially as a doctor, had a duty to act." Mary Gearin (Australia's ABC) quotes
MPTS Chair Brian Alderman telling Keilloh, "The panel determined that
erasure is the only appropriate sanction in this case. Given the
gravity and nature of the extent and context of your dishonesty, it
considers that your misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with
BBC News reports
today that "about 300 people" are calling for him "to be reinstanted."
They say that they know him and are his former patients and he's just
wonderful. No, he's not. If he had any kind of character worth
praising, he would have issued a statement saying, "Please stop calling
for me to be reinstated." He failed to do his job. There are serious
ethical issues here. Oh, he did a great job on your boo-boos? Well
you're British. He's not accused of enabling the mistreatment of
British citizens. It is an insult to the Iraqi people that so few have
been punished for the murder of Baha. It was murder. He was an
innocent. He is dead now.
Keilloh can do whatever he wants with the rest of his life. That option
has been forever denied to Baha. Baha Mousa had a wife, he had
children. He was a hotel clerk. He never should have been rounded up.
Once rounded up, he shouldn't have been beaten. He was and others were
as well. That's due to the fact that Keilloh didn't maintain
professional standards, didn't follow basic ethics of medicine.
Baha Mousa is dead. The Telegraph of London has a photo
of him with his wife Yasseh and each are holding a child -- their
children, their sons Hussein and Hassan. Little boys who no longer have
a father. Any suffering Keiloh may experience is not going to trump
that. Two little children lost their father. A woman lost her
husband. Not by chance, not by accident, but by the actions certain
individuals took. Keiloh's professional embarrassment/set-back doesn't
begin to compare with the world that was torn from Yasseh Hussein and
her two sons. If Keiloh had character, he'd tell the people demanding
he be re-instated to leave it alone.
From above, Baghdad seems to be a city like any other, far removed from
the violence of the past nine years. But sometimes the traces of war
have a human face. On every street corner, you glimpse black
silhouettes. These are the widows of Iraq. In a country haunted by
war, no one takes notice of these living ghosts. There are more than a
million widows in Iraq with 400,000 in Baghdad alone. Tradition dictates
that these widows be taken in by their husband's family. Um Barak and
her children live with 24 people in 50 square meters.
BAKAR: (gesturing around the small, single room): We use these
blankets as a bed. We have a gas stove to keep warm and we eat here.
In this time of conflict when people are already struggling to cope, a
widow's often a burden on her husband's family. Left to fend for
herself, Um Barak raises her children alone in this tiny room.
UM BARAK: Which is bigger, the earth or the sun?
CHILD: The sun.
UM BARAK: Okay. What about the stars? Are they bigger than the sun?
ARTE: What is it like, living here?
BARAK: What do you think? We live on top of each other. It's very
hard for us. Ask them. They have no freedom. No one here is free --
not my husband's family, not us. We're suffocating.
Power cuts and water shortages are a daily reality for Um Barak. Her
husband was kidnapped and killed six years ago. Since then, she
receives only $300 every two months. It seems there's no chance for a
better life with barely enough to give her sons an occassional treat.
[At a market.]
UM BARAK: Do you want a fruit juice?
UM BARAK: You sure?
ARTE: Is state aid enough?
BARAK: $300 isn't enough for one month. It doesn't matter who you
are. $300 wouldn't even be enough for a week even and I have to make
it last for two months.
In an attempt to find a solution to her problems, Um Barek regularly
goes to the education center for widows. Around 30 women get together
there every week. Today, this young woman from the center has handed
out a questionairre about religious tolerance.
CENTER WORKER: Don't copy. Answer the questions yourself.
ARTE: But their attention soon returns to their daily lives.
1: All of this is the government's fault. The government has no
respect for widows. What are we supposed to do with $300 every two
months or if we get nothing like this lady here. How much do members of
Parliament get? Do they think about what women have to endure in our
society when they lose their husbands? These are mothers after all. It
is up to you, humanitarian organizations, to find a solution for us
CENTER WORKER: We're not from the government. We're a humanitarian association so you can speak freely.
This center is one of the few places where these women can express
themselves. It's a much needed outlet in a society where widows are
often mistreated by their husband's families.
CENTER WORKER: Couldn't you make meat patties? Snacks? Kibobs? And sell them?
WOMAN 2: You really think I could do that? My husband's family would never allow it.
passes for life in Iraq. Iraq rakes in billions each year on oil.
Where does the money go? It doesn't go into infrastructure -- potable
water and reliable and constant electricity remain elusive dreams -- and
it doesn't go into caring for Iraq's widows and orphans. Were it not
for Moqtada al-Sadr and Iraqiya, Nouri would have ended the food-ration
card system weeks ago as he planned to. Instead, people called out
Nouri's decisions. It was noted that in poverty plagued Iraq, taking
away the food staples guaranteed to each family by that card would force
women and children further into poverty. That didn't trouble Nouri, he
was still willing to go ahead with it. Moqtada and Iraqiya not only
called out the decision but, with the support of the Iraqi people, were
able to shame Nouri into backing off.
If you're not grasping how Nouri is failing the Iraqi people, refer to this graph at Niqash
offering the government's annual budget. In 2003, it was only 6.1
billion dollars (US). Today? 118.4 billion dollars. And yet the Iraqi
people continue to do without.
Iraqi females -- women and girls -- are also at the risk of torture and rape in Iraq's prisons and detention centers. Felicity Arbuthnot (Pravda) notes
that and also notes:
the light of the fact that it transpires that twenty-seven Foreign
Office lawyers concluded unanimously that the Iraq invasion of Iraq was
illegal, I write to draw your attention to just a few of the the
chilling events currently taking place in Iraq under the US-UK's
despotic, imposed, puppet Prime Minister.
here is a list of prisons, detention facilities, interrogation centres
and numbers of those held in each, as far as can be ascertained in the
circumstances. As you will surely know, people are routinely arbitrarily
detained for weeks, months, even years, often without trial, and with
one, usually under a totally inadequate or corrupt legal system.
the 3rd of January 2013, Nuri al-Maliki carried out the death sentence
on Ahmed al-Samarrai and two other men from Mosul, on charges of his
resisting the U.S. and Iran occupation. Resisting an unlawful occupation
is, of course, a legal right. His body was not delivered to his family;
a funeral will take place in his honor, in gatherings, in Anbar and
elsewhere in Iraq. (Should you question the US occupation since they
"pulled out" last December, just see the Vatican City size US embassy
and its thousands of mercenaries, intelligence operators and nefarious
other spooks and enforcers.)
this morning (the 4th of January), al-Maliki's forces - wearing all
black clothing - entered Taji Prison and took one hundred prisoners from
the western city of Ramadi to an unidentified place. Death squads come
to mind - again.
Al-Maliki has also ordered an on sight shoot-to-kill policy toward protesters.
August 31st, there had been ninety-six executions in 2012, with
twenty-six people reportedly being executed on both the 27th and 29th of
August. Few details of those executed or their identities were
released. They are simply the disappeared in the tradition of all
despots. Iraq: "... has a huge problem with torture and unfair trials
...", Human Rights Watch, who produced the report, pointed out.
or wrongly, Nouri is seen as using the death penalty to kill Sunnis
while releasing Shi'ites who have murdered other Iraqis. He's seen as
crowding the prisons with Sunnis via the mass arrests that target them.
He's seen as hurrying to execute Sunnis out of fear that a (long
promised but never delivered) amnesty law might allow some of them to be
released. An amnesty law never makes it out of Parliament. September
and October saw serious attempts at getting it passed into law; however,
Nouri's State of Law opposed the bill.
the spokesperson for the Sadr bloc in Parliament, Mushriq Naji, is
pointing out that yesterday's assault and escape is what happens when
corruption reigns and the institutions of reform fail and he
specifically notes the faliure of the Parliament to pass the amnesty
law. All Iraq News adds that there is a demand to reform state institutions immediately. The National Alliance line comes
from one of their MPs who insists that political parlies helped with
the prison break and this is an attempt to provide pressure to pass the
amnesty law. Al Mada notes
Ahmed Chalabi is calling for MPs to propose amendments to the amnesty
law to address whatever concerns they have. This is most likely aimed
at State of Law since they've been the biggest obstacle to the passage
of an amnesty law.
Dar Addustour reports
that Thursday is supposed to see another vote on the proposed Amnesty
Law. This has gone on for years. The amnesty was being discussed while
Bully Boy Bush was still occupying the White House. You cannot end a
war without an amnesty. Violence in 2012 appears to back that up.
Meanwhile AFP reports
that Nouri's thugs and ass kissers rallied in Kut, Diwaniyah, Karbala
and Samawa -- if all are added together "thousands" were in the street
declaring their undying love for Nouri al-Maliki. If that seems like a
large number, you haven't been paying attention. Ran Alaaldin (The National) notes
that Friday saw 60,000 alone in Falluja.
The protests against Nouri continue in Iraq. All Iraq News reports
that Nouri's advisor Amer Khuzaie took to the TV to proclaim that Nouri
has responded to the protesters "legitimate" demands. They note there
were no specifics given. Alsumaria notes
that Iraqiya MP Hamid al-Mutlaq states that Nouri needs to grasp how
serious these demonstrations are and that any attempt to suppress them
would be devastating and cause a rift between the government on one
side and the citizens on the other. He also objected to the use of
the military to suppress the demonstrations and noted that these had
been peaceful demonstrations. Yesterday
at the Mosul protests, the Iraqi military showed up and attacked the protesters. Kitabat notes
that they fired guns and used batons injuring at least four and they
review the demands of the protesters which include that those arrested
who work for Minister of Finance Rafie al-Issawi be transferred to the
Anbar Province's court system (Baghdad is seen as a kangaroo court
controlled by Nouri), that Article IV be suspended (and with it the
Justice and Accountability Commission), the release of detainees,
holding security personnel accountable for rape and negligence of
prisoners and detainees, stop the executions, pass an amnesty law,
checks and balances on all the government institutions and the military,
withdraw the Iraqi army from cities and end the operations in the
governorates (reference to Tigris Operation Command which Nouri sent
into the disputed areas), ensure that the judicial bodies are neutral
from political interference, ban sectarianism from phrases and logos of
the state institutions, and end the random night raids, speed up the
professionalization of the Federal Supreme Court so that the judges do
not belong to a political party or bloc.
that in Anbar Province, the people are providing food and medical
services to the protesters on a daily basis in a show of solidarity with
those who have blocked the international highway that links Baghdad to
Jordan and Syria. There is a food pavilion (photo with the article)
that prepares food daily -- bread, rice, meat and soup -- and a tent has
been set up with doctors, nurses and pharmacists. The tribal leaders
see it as "an honor" and "a duty" to feed the protesters who have been
protesting night and day.
All Iraq News notes
that 50 MPs have signed on to question Nouri before Parliament. There
are a number of things he could be questioned on. For example, October 9th
Nouri was strutting across the world stage as he inked a $4.2 billion
weapons deal with Russia. In the time since, the deal has fallen apart
amidst accusations of corruption with Nouri's former spokesperson Ali
al-Dabbagh having left his position and the country and stating that he
is innocent but that there are attempts to blame him for the
corruption. Nouri's son is also whispered to have benefited from an
allegedly crooked deal. Last week, the Iraq Times noted
it was Nouri who finger-pointed at Ali al-Dabbagh and that Iraqiya
was stating he was attempting to obscure details and that the names of
all involved needed to be made public. Dar Addustour reports
that the Parliamentary committees investigating the deal (there are
several including defense, integrity and security) have found that there
were two prices. There was the negotiated price that the first
delegation arrived at with the Russian government and then there was a
different price when the second delegation negotiated. The difference
between the two? Over 50%. The price agreed to in the first round
somehow more than doubled. Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) speaks
with an unnamed member of the Integrity Committee who states the Committee will release their final report today.
with the reports that all three Committees are supposed to release and
the move to question Nouri before Parliament, there was talk in the last
days of a no-confidence vote in Nouri.
When there's talk of a
possible no-confidence vote on Nouri, what does State of Law do? That's
right they start saying they'll launch a no-confidence vote on Speaker
of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi. Dar Addustour reports
the latest whispered threats of that.
Through Monday, Iraq Body Count
counts 75 people killed in violence in Iraq so far. In today's reported violence, All Iraq News notes
a Mosul bombing hs claimed the life of 1 person. Alsumaria notes
the corpse of 1 soldier was discovered in Kirkuk. Alsumaria also notes
a Baquba car bombing which claimed 4 lives and left ten more people injured.