Dave Lindorff has a piece at IHC
As we slog towards another vapid, largely meaningless
exercise in pretend democracy with the selection of a new
president and Congress this November, it is time to make it
clear that the current president, elected four years ago by so
many people with such inflated expectations four years ago
(myself included, as I had hoped, vainly it turned out, that
those who elected him would then press him to act in progressive
ways), is not only a betrayer of those hopes, but is a serial
violator of his oath of office. He is, in truth, a war criminal
easily the equal of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and perhaps
even of Bush’s regent, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
I'll bite my tongue about fools who said that a "Black man -- especially one who's done drugs" was what the US needed. Lindorf lists the various crimes -- and they are real crimes before concluding:
When I was
writing my book about the impeachable crimes of the Bush/Cheney
administration, there was at least a hope that Congress, then in
the hands of the Democratic Party, might actually act and
impanel an Impeachment Committee in the House. In the end, House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) nixed that idea and strong-armed
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) into never seriously investigating that
administration’s crimes, much less impaneling an impeachment
I have no
illusions that the current even more craven and spineless
Congress, even with the House in the hands of Republicans, would
seek to impeach this president. Indeed, many of the crimes
listed above involve activities that the Republicans in Congress
themselves actively support and are thus also guilty of, such as
threatening Iran with war, supporting the ongoing theft of the
nation’s wealth by the financial industry, or ignoring the
threat of climate change.
nonetheless important, I believe, to publicly announce this bill
of particulars, so that it is clear that we continue in the
United States to be led by a gang of thieves and sociopaths.
I would argue that there's even more damage done. From 2001 through 2008, many people (including me) insisted this was George W. Bush, not America. But then we got behind and cheered on Barry and he turned out to be exactly the same as Bully Boy Bush in most cases and worse in others.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Thursday, May 3, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, Nouri uses World Press Freedom Day to attack Arab news outlets,
In Iraq, the political crisis never ends. Mustafa Habib (Niqash) notes
that Nouri al-Maliki, chief thug of the occupation and prime minister,
has the backing of both the US and Iran. That's because the governments
of both enjoy dealing with thugs. From Habib's article:
regime itself would appear to agree. "Iraq's hosting the second round
of talks is an important step which supports the Iraqi government and
gives it great impetus," Abbas al-Bayati, a member of the parliamentary
committee on security and defence and an MP for the State of Law
political bloc led by al-Maliki, boasted. "Iran and the US agreed to
hold the negotiations in Baghdad because the two countries are well
aware of the fact that the political and security conditions in Iraq are
becoming more stable. And because the two countries realize that Iraq's
regional role has developed a lot after its success with the Arab
League summit in Baghdad."
has the necessary support in the Iraqi Parliament to carry on. His State
of Law bloc hasn't had any defections. In fact, it has benefited from
defections from other parties, namely almost a dozen from the Badr
organisation, a party formerly associated with al-Hakim's Islamic
Supreme Council of Iraq, as well as the Iraqiya bloc, al-Maliki's main
Article 61 of the Iraqi Constitution does give local MPs an opportunity to moot a vote of no confidence in leadership.
to do this they need at least an absolute majority in Parliament and
for that, some MPs from the mostly Shiite Muslim alliance that al-Maliki
heads would need to defect and vote against him.
leader Ayed Allawi would only need about 20 defections from al-Maliki's
alliance to start a vote of no-confidence process. But while some of
those engaged with al-Maliki's alliance may criticise some of his
policies – al-Hakim and Sadr, for example - they don't look likely to
withdraw from the coalition any time soon. Observers say this has a lot
to do with those organisations' connections to Iran, which supports
other (legal) ways of outing Nouri. But let's remember some of the
roots of the crisis first. From Marina Ottaway and Danial Kaysi's [PDF
format warning] "The State Of Iraq
" (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace):
days of the official ceremonies marking the end of the U.S. mission in
Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moved to indict Vice President
Tariq al-Hashemi on terrorism charges and sought to remove Deputy Prime
Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq from his position, triggering a major political
crisis that fully revealed Iraq as an unstable, undemocractic country
governed by raw competition for power and barely affected by
institutional arrangements. Large-scale violence immediately flared up
again, with a series of terrorist attacks against mostly Shi'i targets
reminiscent of the worst days of 2006.
But there is
more to the crisis than an escalation of violence. The tenuous
political agreement among parties and factions reached at the end of
2010 has collapsed. The government of national unity has stopped
functioning, and provinces that want to become regions with autonomous
power comparable to Kurdistan's are putting increasing pressure on the
central government. Unless a new political agreement is reached soon,
Iraq may plunge into civil war or split apart.
US backed Nouri. That's Bully Boy Bush and it's also Barack Obama. In
2006, Iraqi MPs wanted Ibrahim al-Jaafari but the Bush administration
said, 'No, you'll take Nouri. He's stupid and easy for us to control
and manipulate.' In 2010, despite the vote, despite all the crap Barack
and his administration spew about supporting democracy, they wanted
Nouri. Bush and Barack and Nouri -- talk about "entangled in embraces
that God will never see." ("The Three Of Us In The Dark," written by Carly Simon
and Mike Mainieri, first appears on her Come Upstairs
.) Ipek Yezdani (Hurriyet) reports
that Kurdistan Democratic Party spokesperson Cafer Ibrahim states that
if things can't be worked out with Nouri, Ibrahim al-Jaafari becomes
the choice for the new nominee. Amanda Paul (Today's Zaman) delves
into the crisis and concludes:
Maliki has so far proven to be the only leader "acceptable" to both the
US and Iran, his current trajectory is very dangerous. His actions are
undermining the fragile peace between the various sectarian and ethnic
groups, with violence and political instability escalating. Centralizing
power would face numerous obstacles simply because all parties have
foreign allies, and in times of great need, will call on them. The
Sunnis would look to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Kurds to their buddies
in Washington. Maliki is simply increasing instability in a region
already in deep turmoil. In order to stop this crisis spiraling further,
Maliki needs to engage his political foes and cede to some of their
demands, move back to a democratic track and back off from authoritarian
tendencies. If he does not, we may very well witness a domino effect
breaking up the country, which will impact the entire region.
pertinent question in the context is why al-Maliki should choose to
have an alliance with Tehran. It is a little puzzling because Iran,
which is besieged internationally, has nothing to offer in return to
Iraq. On the contrary, Iran will transfer to Iraq its problems such as
the sectarian and regional clashes and disputes with the West, apart
from the risk of global sanctions if Iraq makes any economic
collaboration with Tehran. The situation will return Iraq to square one
reminiscent of Iraq's woes during the Saddam regime.
In my view,
al-Maliki's drift toward Iran springs from his desire to win the next
parliamentary elections. His every move points to that direction. He
wants to amend the Iraq's constitution so that he will not have to face
any legal hurdle to be prime minister for the third time. He attempts to
undermine the authority of the independent High Electoral Commission
and to control all decision-making centers and key ministries under
him. That is why he wants the ministries of defense, security,
intelligence, finance, oil and the central bank. He has taken away
powers of all who stood against him including Vice President Tareq
al-Hashemi and Deputy Premier Saleh Al-Mutleq.
he's correct and Nouri wants to change the Constitution, Tareq
al-Hashemi is a problem. al-Hashemi is the only one who's ever stood up
to Nouri, the only with power. When Nouri's had tried to ram through
things, Tareq's used the veto power that the president and the vice
presidents of Iraq have. It only takes one of them to veto. We saw
that with the election law in 2009 when al-Hashemi didn't feel the Iraqi
refugees were being properly represented. If Nouri wants to change the
Constitution, he knows the little flunky State of Law installed as v.p.
three will do as told. He knows al-Hashemi's not afraid to tell him
On the subject of al-Hashemi, this was to
be the day of media frenzy in Baghdad. Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi
was supposed to be on trial for terrorism. The trial has been delayed.
Al Mada notes
that yesterday his defense team began insisting that international observers be present in the courtrooom. Alsumaria notes
that his attorneys have also asked that the trial be moved from
criminal court to federal court and that State of Law MP Hussein
Assadi has declared it doesn't matter because al-Hashemi will be put to
death regardless. And it's that kind of talk that guarantees al-Hashemi
can remain in Turkey as long as he wants to. As Sinem Cengiz (Sunday Zaman) reported
this week, even if Nouri filed a formal request for Turkey to hand
al-Hashemi over, the Turkish government would have to refuse: "The legal
obligations of Turkey stemming from being a signatory to the European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) prohibit it from handing any person
over to another country if the suspect will likely be executed." Al Arabiya notes
that the start of the trial has been postponed until next Thursday. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) adds
that "his lawyers filed motions to have Iraq's Supreme Court direct
parliament to set up a special tribunal for high-ranking officials. No
opening arguments or evidence were presented on Thursday, and reporters
sat in the empty courtroom for several hours before being told the case
was postponed until May 10."
trial can be delayed. Can stupidity? One-time journalist and full-time
hack Thomas E. Ricks wrote a stupid column last month insisting that it
was time to bring back the draft. Because stupid tends to attract
stupid, today Brian Norris feels the need to write the Washington Post stressing
his agreement with War Hawk Ricks' crackpot plan because for his
"upper-middle-class students, who know that neither they nor anyone they
know closely will be directly affected by the conflicts" the Iraq War
and the Afghanistan War "are abstractions.
Oh, how the stupidity hurts us all.
draft didn't end a war. The students Norris describes? They're not
going to be drafted. They weren't in Vietnam. Ask Dick Cheney and
Bully Boy Bush about how attending college got you a deferrment. The
draft was never fair and it wouldn't be fair if it came back tomorrow.
Why? Because someone wouldn't want their precious to go to war. They'd
be okay with the children of others being sent to die in foreign lands,
but their own little precious? No way. And that person who is not
okay? Donates a lot of money to one or both of the two major political
parties in the US and people start saying, "You know we owe a lot to
that money. We need to respect that money. Let's develop a waiver to
honor that money and all the races that money has allowed us to win."
Unless the return of the draft accompanies a total and complete
redistribution of the wealth in the US -- grabbing it all and dividing
it equally and making sure that it never stops being equal -- there
will always be people who game the system for themselves and their
children. We've already seen that in that environment, bit by bit, new
deferrments are created and some don't have to serve.
I'm sorry that a poli sci professor at George Washington University is so stupid.
Young adults are young adults. They're not going to make many
connections that you at your age make now. They'll grow to it but quit
acting like it's cause for alarm that they want to send someone --
anyone -- to solve world problems.
think that way because they're encouraged to by politicians -- Democrats
and Republicans -- who disrespect the US military by using it to police
the world and worse. They think that way because politicians and the
media sugar coat and lie.
C) If some of
Norris' current students went off to war tomorrow, they would bring some
different viewpoints back. If they were fortunate enough to come
back. The notion that we send people into combat to 'wise them up' goes
against the core functions of academia.
I'm real sorry that Norris finds his profession -- educating -- so far
beyond the tools and training he possesses but that honestly sounds like
a personnel problem -- not personal, personnel -- and maybe the dean
can speak to him about it.
We don't need a
return of the draft. If there had been a draft in place in 2002 -- not
starting in 2002, but already in place -- the military would have gotten
the huge numbers for Iraq that the brass said they needed. The draft
wouldn't have stopped the war. It still would have started.
draft is not an answer. It's a knee-jerk reaction and a tool of the
whiners who want to play what-if because they can't deal with reality.
And it's also a wet dream of the War Hawks.
War Hawks? Around the world, it's Night Of The Living Dead
as various War Hawks surface. Tim Shipman and Rick Dewsbury (Daily Mail) report
War Hawk Tony Blair has "a new spin doctor to put some gloss on" as the
Norma Desmond of Death readies a "comback" that will "have forgotten
the Iraq war AND how he was forced out of office." The birthday boy
turns 59 on Friday but before he blows out the candle, someone should
explain to him that it's not that easy. Sure he made millions since
losing the post of prime minister but respect's a lot harder to earn
than money. Nigel Morris (Independent of London) (re)quotes
an unidentified "source close to Mr Blair" stating to a magazine,
"[Blair] wants to re-engage in the UK. He has things to say and he
thinks it's the right time. The question is how he re-enters the UK
scene without re-entering domestic politics and interfering with the
Labour Party." That's a very good question. Blair and Gordon Brown
ensured the UK had its fill of Labour. Ed Miliband would do well to
note he is only the leader of the party out of power, not prime minister
himself. In other words, his desire to make nice may bite him in the
ass. I know Ed and can't believe he's doing something so stupid. The Guardian has an online poll
asking if the British would welcome Blair's return to British politics
and 65.7% currently say "no" while the first comment probably says it
best, "I'd welcome him to The Hauge, though."
The other zombie that refuses to die is Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State and Liar to the United Nations. Tony Capaccio and Roxana Tiron (Bloomberg News) report
that in his upcoming book, Collie writes of his lies to the United
Nations, "Yes, a blot, a failure will always be attached to me and my UN
presentation. I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the
problem. My instincts failed me."
He's still trying to perform that tired song?
says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However,
you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've
said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case
for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for
the rest of your life?"
Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who
presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the
world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.
Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?
Such as when Powell informs Walters that the fault lies with the
intelligence community -- with those who knew but didn't come forward.
Unfortunately for Powell, FAIR's advisory steered everyone to a Los Angeles Times' article from July 15, 2004:
before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for
war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found
dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new
documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures
released last week.
Two memos included with the Senate report listed
objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed
successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims
considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking
debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately
presented contained material that was in dispute among State
nearly seven years later, he's still attempting to soften his lie by
calling it a "blot" and still insisting he didn't lie and that he was
misled and on and on he goes.
On And On He Goes should have been the title of his book. Instead he's calling the book It Worked For Me.
Well it sure did. Lying led him to a very cushy post-government life.
Lying held no consequences for him at all. Except, of course, that he
has to live with himself and don't think for a moment that's not eating
him up. Again, Ava and I from 2005:
mea culpa is not only unconvincing, it's illogical. He's glad Saddam
Hussein's gone. So why's he concerned with his "blot?" He's completely
unconcerned that we're in a war that's based on lies. "I'm glad" he
says. Sure he admits that he lied (by proxy -- it's others faults, you
understand, nameless people in the intel community), but there's no
moral concern. He's only worried about the slug line that now
accompanies his name. The "blot." The tag 'liar, liar.'
Powell lied to the United Nations. Not by proxy, he lied. His
testimony. A testimony he made the decision to give. Despite objections
from people in the department he headed. His accountability pose is
hollow and unconvincing. Shrugs? "What are you going to do?" shrugs?
That and the shiftiness during the exchange (he can't sit still during
the exchange) back up his words. This isn't any big deal to him, that he
lied and we went to war. He's just concerned that he's a known liar.
For the rest of his life.
This is how he wants to be remembered:
"A good public servant somebody who truly believes in his country. . . . Somebody who cared, somebody who served."
well, Nixon wanted to be remembered a certain way as well. Liar's the
way many remember him now. Liar's the way many will remember Colin
He's a liar. He's a known
liar. He has no one to blame but himself. So, in his bid to make more
money, he revisits the moment's he'll never be able to change. This is
said to be the best 'co-written' book he's ever put his name to. Due to
the whole 'life lessons' approach. (He shares 13 life
lessons/bromides.) It's brief, each little lesson in the 300 page book,
so there's no need for Tony Koltz to pretend Collie's a man of deep
thoughts and instead reads like a piece for Parade
(not at all surprising, considering the roots of the 'book'). And
maybe this decision to table faux wisdom is why Joseph E. Persico --
Colin's 'co-writer' on 2003's My American Journey
and 1995's Soldier's Way: An Autobiography
-- elected not to write this latest tome?
the book, Collie lies and lies and lies. Insisting no Iraq War if only
they'd known there were no WMD. If only. Collie really hopes you're
too stupid. He hopes you forget a great deal or, even better, never
knew it in the first place. Like the big news of May 30, 2003. From CNN
McIntyre: Adding fuel to the controversy, remarks attributed to Deputy
U.S. Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, a largely circulated "Vanity Fair" press
release alleges Wolfowitz told the magazine that WMD was stressed for
"bureaucratic reasons" and that, in effect, weapons of mass destruction
had never been the most compelling justification for invading Iraq.
A Pentagon spokesman says "Vanity Fair" only used a portion of the
deputy secretary's quote. Their omission completely misrepresents what
he was saying according to the spokes spokesman. The Pentagon says the
full interview of the transcript, posted on its web site, makes it clear
that Wolfowitz said weapons of mass destruction was the, quote, "core
reason the U.S. went to war with Iraq."
Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman, said in an interview
that the removal of Saddam Hussein had been "essential" to secure world
oil supplies, a point he emphasized to the White House in private
conversations before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason
for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's
vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of
And we could
go on and on. We could bring in the Iraq Inquiry in London, all that
public testimony which can be boiled down into: Colin Powell is lying.
Dozier explained in her speech how she was covering Iraq for CBS News
since 2003 and, May 29, 2006, she thought they were getting some
standard stock footage, that as thinking that James Brolan and Paul
Douglas were going to get film of US Army Captain James Funkhouser
shaking hands with Iraqis.
Dozier: Just about the moment the Captain reached out his hand, the
insurgents command detonated an approximately 500 pound pound car bomb
through us. The car was a Baghdad taxi, parked in that line of
vehicles. It sent a wall of shrapnel through the whole team. I
remember smelling what smelled like a thousand matches. And landing.
Trying to figure out where Paul and James -- because they're my team --
you think, "Where's my team?" And trying to figure out what had
happened? I knew a bomb had gone off and that was about it. I started
going through this calculation in my head, "Okay, I'm in pain. But I
remember from our combat medical courses the ABCs of triage: Airway,
Breathing, Circulation . . . In the medical drills we did, you never
went to the patients who were screaming. You went to the quiet patients,
to clear their airway, restart their heart. So if I scream for help,
no one will come." After a few moments, minutes, I don't know, I was
able to lift my head. And I could see a burning car. Luckily, I
couldn't see the rest of me. I could feel burning in my legs and I
thought, "Burning car. My legs. I remember the other drill. There was
a live electrical wire and the patient was in danger of being hit by
the wire, so it was okay to go get the patient even though the patient
was consicous because the patient could have gotten hurt worse. Okay. I
can call for help." I start calling, "Help! Help!" -- thinking, this
little voice inside my head, "Oh, you sound like such a cliche." That
little voice in your head is still there even in the worst of times.
Medic [Spc] Izzy Flores was doing his first multi-combat casualty scene
He got to Captain Funkhouser and saw he'd been hit in the head. He was
maybe 12 feet from the bomb. So was Sam [Captain Funkhouser's Iraqi
translator]. Neither of them could be helped. He got to James. James
too had a massive head injury. He couldn't be helped. He got to Paul.
Paul had a traumatic amputation in one of his legs. He put a
tourniquet on him. He got to me just when I started calling out, "Help!
Help! Move me away from the car please!" And he's like, "Ah, you're
good." And he went to someone else. So thanks, Izzy. But the fact of
the matter is, I will always thank Izzy because the Iowa National
Guardsman who later tied the tourniquets on me that saved my life told
me that when he ran to the scene, his team had already secured things
helping the 4th ID. They heard the bomb they'd run in to help their
brothers in arms. So [Staff Sgt] Jeremy Coke, who kept me alive, was
able to tell me, "You were the last one who needed medical aid." So I
never had to wonder later: Did someone else die because I got helped
was seriously injured while covering the Iraq War, a war Reporters
Without Borders notes became the deadliest war for journalists
was World Press Freedom Day. The United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization's resource page for World Press
Freedom Day is here
. On this day honoring press freedom, the International Women's Media Foundation
announcedtheir Courage in Journalism Award and Lifetime Achievement Award winners:
year, the IWMF honors women journalists who have shown extraordinary
strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under
dangerous or difficult circumstances.
This year's winners are:
Reeyot Alemu, 31,
an Ethiopian columnist currently imprisoned on charges of terrorism
after writing critiques of her country's government; Asmaa al-Ghoul, 30,
a Palestinian blogger and freelance writer who has received death
threats for her commentary on the culture and politics of Gaza; Khadija
Ismayilova, 35, a radio reporter from Azerbaijan who was blackmailed and
threatened after her investigation into charges of malfeasance against
members of the Azerbaijani president's family. These are the
International Women's Media Foundation's 2012 Courage in Journalism Award winners.
am humbled to work in the same profession as these heroic women," said
Katty Kay, co-chair of the IWMF. "It is my honor to be involved with the
IWMF as it recognizes their dedication and bravery. It is journalists
like Reeyot, Asmaa and Khadija who set an example for all of us."
The IWMF's 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to Zubeida Mustafa, 70, a Pakistani journalist who has worked for three decades at Dawn, one her country's oldest and most widely circulated English-language newspapers.
Boutrous, Jr., IWMF co-chair, said, "A free and independent press is
vital to freedom and liberty. The IWMF believes that no press is truly
free if women do not share an equal voice. As the first woman to work at
Dawn, Zubeida blazed a trail for women journalists in Pakistan,
changing hiring policies and mentoring young women. She showed that
women journalists can cover serious topics such as healthcare and
The 2012 awards will be presented during ceremonies in New York on October 24 and in Los Angeles on October 29.
"The IWMF is grateful to the Bank of America, National Presenting Sponsor of the
Courage in Journalism Awards for
the seventh year and steadfast supporter of heroic women journalists
around the world," said Elisa Lees Munoz, Acting Executive Director of
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNESCO Director-General Irina
Bokova issued the following joint-statement to mark the day
of expression is one of our most precious rights. It underpins every
other freedom and provides a foundation for human dignity. Free,
pluralistic and independent media is essential for its exercise.This
is the message of World Press Freedom Day. Media freedom entails the
freedom to hold opinions and to seek, receive and impart information and
ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers, as stated in
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This freedom
is essential for healthy and vibrant socieites.Change in the
Arab world has shown the power of aspirations for rights when combined
with new and old media. Newfound media freedom is promising to
transform socieites through greater transparency and accountability. It
is opening new ways to communicate and to share information and
knowledge. Powerful new voices are rising -- especially from young
people -- where they were silent before. This is why this year's World
Press Freedom Day is centred on the theme of New Voices: Media Freedom
Helping to Transform Societies.Media freedom also faces
severe pressures across the world. Last year, UNESCO condemned the
killing of 62 journalists who died as a result of their work. These
journalists must not be forgotten and these crimes should not remain
unpunished. As media moves online, more online journalists, including
bloggers, are being harassed, attacked, and killed for their work. They
must recieve the same protection as traditional media workers.The
first UN Inter-Agency Meeting on Safety of Journalists and the Issue
of Impunity met at UNESCO on the 13 and 14 September 2011. We produced a
Plan of Action for the UN to build a more free and safe environment for
journalists and media workers everywhere. At the same time, we will
continue to strengthen the legal foundations for free, pluralistic and
independent media, especially in countries undergoing transformation or
rebuilding after conflict. At a time of information overload, we must
help young people especially to develop critical skills and greater
media literacy.World Press Freedom Day is our opportunity to
raise the flag in the fight to advance media freedom. We call on Sates,
professional media and non-governmental organisations everywhere to
join forces with the United Nations to promote online and offline
freedom of expression in accordance with internationally accepted
principles. This is a pillar of individual rights, a foundation for
healthy societies and a force for social transformation.
Iraq is among those struggling (to put it kindly) to embrace press freedom. From yesterday's snapshot
:And Alsumaria notes TV reporter Rashid Majid Hamid was injured by a sticky bombing of his car in Baghdad.
Hurriyet Daily News observes, "From Somalia
to Syria, the Philippines to Mexico, and Iraq to Pakistan, journalists
are being targeted for death in record numbers, and in brutal ways. In
fact, this year is shaping up to be the most lethal for journalists
since the International Press Institute (IPI) began keeping count 15
years ago." The attack on the journalist comes as a new report on the
attack on journalism in Iraq is released. The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory has released the report
covering the last twelve months and they've found an increase in
violence and restrictions and attempted restrictions on journalists.
They note an American journalist was arrested and helf for five days
without any legal justification while Iraqi journalists were detained in
various ways and also attacked and kidnapped by armed groups. At
least 3 journalists were killed in the 12 months and at least 31 were
beaten -- usually by military and security forces who were sometimes in
civilian clothes. 65 journalists were arrested.
It's a very bleak
picture. In addition there are various bills proposed that supposedly
'protect' journalists but actually erode the rights of journalists. The
Ministry of the Interior's spokesperson Adnan al-Asadi declared that
journalism can be "a threat to domestic security" and that journalsits
shouldn't report on any arrests or killings without the express
permission of the Ministry of the Interior. (Clearly, Retuers must agree with that policy since they abolished their daily Factbox that used to cover violence in Iraq.)
three journalists who died in the 12 months were: Hadi al-Mahdi who
was killed by a gunshot to the head while in his Baghdad home, Kameran
Salah al-Din who was killed by a sticky bomb attached to his car (in
Tikrit) and Salim Alwan who was killed by a bombing in Diwaniya.
the report states. "JFO has documented a noticeable increase in the
rate of violence against journalists/media workers and restrictions
imposed on their work."Multiple bills are being introduced by the
government, which threaten to severely limit freedom of the press,
general freedom of expression and Internet use."
The Newseum has an interactive global map you can use to call up an overview on press freedom in various countries
. This is what they note of Iraq:
House rates Iraq's news media "not free" with 69 points on a scale of 0
to 100. Higher scores signal greater restrictions on a country's news
Behind the Rating: Iraq remained one of the world's most dangerous places for journalists in 2010, according to Freedom House.
government restrictions and the use of lawsuits against media outlets
also posed significant challenges to media freedom during the year.
While Iraq's 2005 constitution guarantees freedom of the press, courts
continued to rely on a highly restrictive penal code to prosecute
reporters and media outlets on charges including libel and defamation.
also faced harassment, faring especially poorly in the run-up to the
March 7 national elections. Journalists seen as critical of the
government were denied media accreditation and various reporters were
beaten, intimidated and detained by police and rival political forces.Aswat al-Iraq notes
UNESCO's Baghdad coordinator Dhia al-Sarai said "that
Human Rights Office in Baghdad shall be partner to the UNESCO in
organizing this celebration, in addition to Iraqi parliament and some
human rights organizations and NGOs' connected with the press.
Nouri and his State of Law political slate are 'celebrating' World Press Freedom Day. Al Rafidayn notes
that they are insisting that Gulf newspapers are attempting to prevent
Iraq from reaching a better relationship with Kuwait. It's always a
conspiracy with Nouri.
Violence continued today in Iraq. Al Rafidayn reports
1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead by a snipre in Baghdad today and, in
Anbar Province, city council member Nuri al-Obeidi's home was attacked
with grenades (al-Obeidi survived the assassination attempt).