Wednesday, 23 July 2008

SHAME ON THE COLLABORATORS!

Shame on the Iraqis who accept OCCUPATION and who are prepared to sell their country for a few thousand dollars!


'Sunni leaders fears Iran is preparing to invade Iraq'
Liz Sly

July 22, 2008 6:10 PM
Chicago Tribune
(MCT)


BAGHDAD
- A prominent Sunni tribal leader allied to the American military told Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday that he fears Iran could take over Iraq and plunge the region into fresh turmoil if U.S. troops leave too soon.
Sheik Ahmad Abu Risha, who heads the Sunni Awakening movement, delivered the warning at a meeting with Obama in the desert province of Anbar, the epicenter of al-Qaida in Iraq activities until the Sunni tribes switched sides in early 2007.

''Iran is preparing to invade Iraq'' as soon as U.S. troops pull out, Abu Risha said in a telephone interview from his home.

''I told Senator Obama personally, right after you leave, Iran will reach the borders of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. We don't have the power to stop them.''

These were the strongest words of caution Obama heard on his two-day visit to Iraq regarding his troop withdrawal plan, which has received a warm reception from the Iraqi government.

U.S. military commanders haven't raised the possibility of an Iranian invasion in their assessments of the situation in Iraq. But Persian Iran and Arab Iraq share ancient rivalries and most recently fought a grueling 8-year war in the 1980s.

For Iraq's disenfranchised Sunni minority, fear of the rising influence of Shiite Iran over Iraq's Shiite-led government borders on paranoia.

Abu Risha said he is not averse to pulling out U.S. troops by 2010, as Obama has proposed, but only if the U.S. first supplies Iraq the military might to deter the Iranian threat.

''If the tanks, heavy weaponry, planes and technology of the U.S. Army are given to us, then this time will be enough,'' he said.

Obama did not offer any response to the request for military hardware, said Abu Risha, whose slain brother led the Sunni revolt that defeated al-Qaida and helped turn the tide of the war.
''Americans never reply right away,'' he said. ''They always have to review and analyze before giving you an answer.''

For his part, Obama acknowledged the concerns about Iran.
''Some of the tribal leaders, as well as the local governor in Anbar, expressed concerns about a potential precipitous drawdown of U.S. troops, which is why I haven't proposed a precipitous drawdown,'' Obama said. ''What I've proposed is a steady, deliberate drawdown over the course of 16 months. ...

''The U.S. military can't be there forever. And so it's going to be important for the parties themselves, the Iraqi people, to make sure that they are dealing with these underlying tensions and concerns.''
http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Section=WORLD&ID=565337564665741326

IRAQ: WHO RETURNS AFTER FIVE-YEAR ABSENCE

DUBAI, 23 July 2008 (IRIN) -

Doctors in Iraq have welcomed the return of World Health Organization (WHO) international staff to the country in June, after an absence of five years. Foreign WHO staff were withdrawn after the August 2003 attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad which killed 22 people, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. Over 100 others were injured.

In a recent statement, WHO said it was able to re-establish a permanent international presence following an improvement in Iraq’s security situation, and thanks to UN support for Iraq’s International Compact Initiative - launched in 2007 to help Iraq return to the international fold."Our day-to-day dealings with the government and other health partners will be vastly improved by having a permanent international presence here," WHO Representative to Iraq Naeema al-Gasseer was quoted as saying in a 17 July statement.

“Big boost”

Mohammed Abdul-Muhsin Jawad, a 38-year-old paediatrician at Baghdad's Medical City, a medical complex in central Baghdad, told IRIN on 23 July he welcomed the return of WHO’s foreign staff to Iraq: "It is a really big boost for Iraq that such an international health organisation is returning. We are in dire need of such a heavy-weight presence in our country to help us with all the pressures we are going through," he said. Since the withdrawal of its international staff from Iraq, WHO has been sending missions into the country from its office in Jordan to respond to humanitarian challenges.

According to al-Gasseer, WHO has been responding to emergencies, such as during the two Fallujah offensives, and after clashes in Najaf, Basra and Sadr City. It has also been supplying medicines and oxygen cylinders to hospitals, and advocating safety procedures for health professionals. WHO has also helped provide health services for internally displaced persons, and supported efforts to assist Iraqis forced to flee to neighbouring countries.

Call for more training assistance

Mu'taz Nadhim al-Timimi, a 41-year-old doctor at Imam Ali hospital in Baghdad's Sadr City, said: "We are highly appreciative of WHO for getting closer to the needs of the Iraqi health sector, rather than operating from an office in Amman... "I also advise the WHO to concentrate on the doctors themselves, by organising seminars or training courses on how to deal with critical cases, because we lack experienced doctors and depend greatly on graduates who don't have the necessary experience."

Lack of funding, limited access

However, WHO says it is returning to Iraq with insufficient resources.

In February, WHO appealed for US$19 million, but as yet no contributions have been made. In September 2007 a WHO appeal for $18million to help Iraqis in neighbouring countries, has so far only generated $7.4 million. Al-Gasseer told IRIN that in addition to the lack of resources “the major constraint for WHO is the level of flexibility that we have to move as freely as we would like on the ground between health facilities and the communities.”

"I think there will be obstacles in their work especially with regards to the security situation but still it is a good step forward," said paediatrician Jawad.

However, WHO’s al-Gasseer told IRIN: “I have always been optimistic and I have witnessed improvements in the security situation that have brought us to the stage where we are at today.”

ar/cb
Theme(s): (IRIN) Aid Policy, (IRIN) Health & Nutrition

KERKUK TURKMENELI, TURKMEN KALACAK


KERKUK TURKMENELI, TURKMEN KALACAK

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

KERKÜK'TE çözüm sinyali

Irak Parlamentosu, yerel seçim kanunu tasarısını Kürt İttifakı milletvekillerinin meclisi terk etmesine rağmen, oyladı ve kabul etti.Irak Parlamentosu, uzun zamandır tartışılan yerel seçimler yasa tasarısını kabul etti. Kürt İttifakı milletvekillerinin Meclis Başkanı Mahmud el Meşhedani'nin gizli oturum kararını protesto ederek meclisi terk ettiği oylamaya 140 vekil katıldı.

Tasarıya 127 vekil 'evet' oyu verdi. Yasanın yürürlüğe girmesi için Cumhurbaşkanı Celal Talabani ve iki yardımcısı tarafından onaylanması gerekiyor. Cumhurbaşkanlığı Konseyi, tasarıyı tekrar görüşülmek üzere meclise iade edebiliyor.

Tasarının görüşülmesi sırasında en büyük tartışma Kerkük konusunda yaşandı. Kürt İttifakı milletvekilleri geçtiğimiz hafta, yerel seçimlerin Kerkük'te de yapılması gerektiğini vurgulamış, alternatif girişimleri protesto ederek meclisi terk etmişti. Türkmen ve Araplar 2003 yılındaki işgalin ardından kentteki demografik yapının ciddi biçimde değiştirildiğine dikkat çekerek, oylamanın Kerküklülerin iradesini yansıtmayacağını savunuyor.

Kabul edilen yasa tasarısı Kerkük'teki Arap, Türkmen ve Kürt gruplardan her birinin yönetimde yüzde 32 oranında temsil edilmesini öngörüyor. Bu formülü birkaç ay önce Cumhurbaşkanı Celal Talabani kendisini ziyaret eden Türkmen heyetiyle görüşmesinde gündeme getirmişti.

Türkiye'nin de desteklediği bu formüle önce sarı ışık yakan Kürt yetkililer, meclisteki görüşmeler sırasında blok halinde karşı çıktı. Irak'ta yerel seçimlerin Eylül ayında yapılması planlanıyordu. Kabul edilen yasa tasarısı onaylansa bile seçimlerin en erken Aralık ayında yapılabileceği ifade ediliyor.

ihlas

VIDEO: McCain warns of 'Hard Struggle' on the 'Iraq-Pakistan Border'


Think Progress

July 21, 2008


Today on Good Morning America, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) refused to call the situation in Afghanistan "precarious and urgent," but admitted that "We have a lot of work to do." He warned of a "very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border." Watch it:


Of course, Iraq is nowhere near Pakistan. In fact, Baghdad — the capital of Iraq — is over 1,500 miles from Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad:

Before McCain repeats his claim to "know how to win wars," he should probably look at a map.

To watch the video please click on the link below:
http://www.uruknet.de/?p=m45876&s1=h1

Monday, 21 July 2008

BRITISH MERCENARIES IN IRAQ

Thousands of former UK troops now mercenaries in Iraq
IAN BRUCE,
July 21 2008


Thousands of former British soldiers have signed up as mercenaries in Iraq since 2003, lured by the prospect of a tax-free £250 a day offered by "private military companies" making billions from the booming security industry.A four-man ex-SAS team in Baghdad can command £2500 a day and live in the plushest villas in the most exclusive section of the Iraqi capital.

The UN estimates that 20,000 of the 126,000 known contractors in Iraq are hired guns. Those in most demand are ex-British, South African and American army personnel, although Russia, the Balkans, Nepal, Fiji and South America are also well-represented by experienced soldiers looking for work.

Most are paid for close protection, escorting diplomats, civil servants or oil industry officials and providing the deterrent firepower to ward off would-be criminal kidnappers or insurgent hostage-takers.

They earn up to £7000 a month tax-free - six or seven times the take-home pay in the British and US armies.

Their main value to both Britain and the US is that they perform tasks which would otherwise fall to overstretched regular military forces and they are expendable in terms of the political arithmetic of the body bag.

Soldiers arriving home in flag-draped coffins have a negative impact on voter confidence. Dead contractors - about 1000 over the past five years - are laid to rest unannounced.

Erinys, a British firm, fields an armed force of 14,000 guarding Iraq's vulnerable oil wells and pipelines. Its manpower, composed of Iraqis and "third world nationals", outnumbers the British Army outside Basra by almost four to one.

ArmorGroup, a British rival, employs 700 Gurkhas to shepherd America's primary Bechtel and KBR contractors in Iraq. Most of the Nepalese were trained by the British and served in one of the UK's regular Gurkha battalions.

Most of the ex-soldiers making a highly lucrative living as bodyguards or convoy escorts act responsibly minimising civilian casualties. As always, however, there are trigger-happy cowboys without combat experience out to make a reputation for being what the Americans call "hard-core".

The regular coalition forces have little sympathy for mercenaries, although the kidnapping of five Britons in a single incident in Baghdad last May forced the Foreign Office to intervene on the orders of Downing Street. The captors are believed to be a splinter group of the Shi'ite Mehdi Army.

The SAS, the most likely group to be called upon to find them, maintains a 60-strong detachment in Iraq known as Task Force Black. It operates from a building in Baghdad's Green Zone nicknamed The Station House.

A former special forces officer told The Herald: "The problem with mounting a rescue attempt where multiple hostages are involved is knowing where each one is being held and then timing the assault to the split-second to hit all locations simultaneously."Insurgents scatter their hostages. They may not even be in the same city, never mind the same building. Operationally, if you don't have the complete, detailed intelligence picture, you are sentencing any hostage you don't reach in the initial strike to death."As soon as their captors know the game is up then the others become liabilities rather than assets. A rescue mission is a last resort. Negotiation may take a while, but it's a lot safer than storming in at gunpoint."


www.theherald.co.uk/news/other/display.var.2403916.0.Thousands_of_former_UK_troo ps_now_mercenaries_in_Iraq.php

BARAK OBAMA IN BAGHDAD TO MEET WITH US COMMANDERS



By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer


A U.S. Embassy official said Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama arrived in Iraq on Monday where he will meet with commanders and troops in a war he has long opposed.


Obama was expected to meet Gen. David Petraeus as well as Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki while in the country, although aides provided few details, citing security concerns.

Obama arrived as part of a congressional delegation that also included Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., following stops in Kuwait and Afghanistan. The delegation met Sunday in Kuwait City with Kuwait's emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, and other senior officials, the Kuwait News Agency reported.

All three are longtime critics of the U.S. involvement in the war in Iraq. Obama has called for withdrawing American troops at the rate of one or two brigades per month, and an end to combat operations within 16 months. He has said he favors leaving a residual force in the country to provide security for U.S. personnel, train Iraqis and counter attacks by al-Qaida.


The delegation arrived amid controversy over al-Maliki's published comments in a German magazine that appeared to endorse Obama's 16-month timetable. The Iraqi leader's aides have since said his remarks were misunderstood, and he is not taking sides in the U.S. election.


Associated Press writer Fisnik Abrashi in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

HOW BRITS CONTINUE TO 'LIBERATE' IRAQIS

Over 1.236.604 IRAQI DEATHS

DUE TO US-UK INVASION/OCCUPATION OF IRAQ IN MARCH 2003

Picture: War criminal grinning behind a machine gun during his 'surprise visit' to Baghdad.


Caption: Gunning for you: Brown strapped in and wearing a flak jacket on board an RAF Puma helicopter at Baghdad Airport

Brown paying a "surprise visit" to Baghdad on 19th March 2008.

I found the photo in an article published in This is London

Article:
Brown backs Obama on 2010 Iraq troop pull-out
Last updated at 09:49am on 20.07.08


http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23518247-details/Brown+backs+Obama+on+2010+Iraq+troop+pull-out/article.do#readerComments


Gordon Brown has privately backed American presidential candidate Barack Obama’s plan for all foreign troops to be pulled out of Iraq by summer 2010.


Downing Street sources say that the UK is ‘working to the same end’ as Mr Obama, who has said that he would remove all US troops from Iraq within 16 months if he won the presidential election in November.


The disclosure came as Mr Brown paid a surprise visit to Baghdad yesterday for talks with the Iraqi government.

His meeting with Iraqi premier Nouri al-Maliki, President Jamal Talabani and General David Petraeus, the head of the American military operation, came 24 hours before Mr Obama was also expected to arrive in Baghdad.

Mr Brown and Mr Obama are due to meet in Downing Street later this week.

But any suggestion of a tacit ‘deal’ between the two men is likely to be greeted with fury by Mr Obama’s presidential rival, John McCain, who has not pledged to withdraw American troops.

The complete withdrawal of UK troops on the same timetable would come as a relief to the British Armed Forces, who have complained about the pressure of maintaining 4,000 troops in Iraq and 8,000 in Afghanistan.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

متى ينفذ الأكراد تهديدهم بالأنسحاب من البرلمان؟


أن ما حدث تحت قبة مجلس النواب العراقي في يوم 15/4/2008 عند مناقشة قضية كركوك كان واضحا جدا كاشارة لكل من يهمه مستقبل العراق وأستقراره.لقد أنسحب النواب الاكراد من القائمة الكردية ومن تحالف معهم لتشابه المصالح والأجندات لكي لايتم التصويت على هذا المقترح الذي تبناه 120 نائبا حلا لقضية كركوك وهو منح 32% للقوميات التركمانية والعربية والكردية و 4% للكلدواشور.أن العملية الديمقراطية لاتعني بأي حال الأساءة الى مستقبل البلد لاجل مصلحة اثنية ضيقة عبر عنها فؤاد معصوم بوضوح أيضا قائلا (أن هذا المقترح يعني كسر عظام الاكراد).منذ زمن يهدد الأكراد بالأنسحاب من العملية السياسية لكنهم لم ينفذوا هذا التهديد أبدا ولن ينفذوه طالما أن هذه العملية ترضخ بأرادتها لتهديداتهم وضغوطاتهم لينسحبوا وليكتشف العراقيون العملية السياسية الحقيقية.ان أنسحاب النواب الاكراد من جلسة البرلمان له علاقة مباشرة بالتصريح الذي ادلى به السيد محمود عثمان (نائب مستقل!) عن القائمة الكردية الى صحيفة كردية محلية تصدر في أربيل العراقية والذي جاء فيه (عندما يتقوى العرب ويشكلون جيشا قويا عندها سينعكس الوضع ضد الاكراد وسوف لايمنح أي شيء لهم) وأضاف (اذا ما تقوى العراق في ظل الاستخفاف الأمريكي بنا فسوف نخرج من العملية السياسية خالية اليدين).كما ساعدت الظروف التي مر بها العراق سابقا لأن تصبح أربيل التركمانية تاريخيا وتتحول الى مدينة كردية وأنشاء أقليم في الشمال خارج عن أرادة العراقيين فان الظروف بعد 2003 جعلت الأكراد يستحوذون على مكاسب عديدة غير شرعية يهددون من خلالها .وجاء تهديد رئيس مجلس محافظة كركوك (رزكار علي) القيادي في حزب الاتحاد الوطني الكردي (بايقاف تصدير النفط من حقول كركوك) في رسالة بعثها الى مجلس النواب .ان رزكار علي الذي يطالب (بأنتخابات حرة ونزيهة كالتي جرت في 2005) يعرف جيدا مدى نزاهة تلك الانتخابات, ومازالت الجبهة التركمانية العراقية تحتفظ بوثائق مصورة عن الانتهاكات وعمليات التزوير التي شهدتها تلك الانتخابات التي قامت بها الادارة الكردية للأستحواذ على كركوك.وقبل أن يهدد رزكار علي ,على مجلس النواب أن يسأله تقديم وثائق غير مزورة لأكثر من 600 الف كردي تم أستقدامهم الى كركوك ,وتوزيع أراضي الدولة حول كركوك وخاصة على طريق التون كوبري و طاووق (داقوق) اليهم.أن كان رزكار علي جادا في تهديده على مجلس النواب والحكومة أن يكونا جادين في الرد.الجبهة التركمانية العراقيةالدائرة الاعلامية



NELSON MANDELA at 90: Birthday Plea to help the Poor


Madiba’s birthday message

Nelson Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday today by calling on the wealthy to share with the less fortunate

July 18, 2008 – Mr Mandela gave this message to the world:

There are many people in South Africa who are rich and who can share those riches with those not so fortunate who have not been able to conquer poverty. Poverty has gripped our people. If you are poor, you are not likely to live long.”

Nelson Mandela celebrated his 90th birthday surrounded by his grandchildren and relatives in the rural village he calls home. Yet the man who has become a symbol for peace spoke of his concern at the state of the poor in South Africa who still face demoralising poverty.

Accompanied by his wife, Graça Machel, a smiling Mandela gave an interview to a group of journalists gathered in the home he built in Qunu, Eastern Cape Province.
Link to the Nelson Mandela Foundation:
See Desert Peace's post on the great Mandela:

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

JUSTICE FOR IRAQ CONFERENCE in LONDON

http://www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk/


A day conference
Saturday 19 July, London

Justice for Iraq is a call to action – a campaign that demands a complete policy reversal of those countries who have invaded and occupied Iraq since 2003. Ending the military occupation remains the most urgent priority. But Iraq will remain a broken nation without urgent measures aimed at delivering lasting peace and justice for its people and healing some of the wounds caused by this disastrous war.

Justice for Iraq will pressure Iraq's occupiers to:

* withdraw their troops and privatised security forces;
* restore Iraq's full economic, legal and political sovereignty;
* dismantle the Green Zone and the other occupation walls;
* clean up toxic and unexploded weapons of war;
* release and compensate detainees;
* assist refugees and displaced persons;
* help Iraq to relieve dire shortages in food, water, energy and medical supplies;
* agree to pay reparations for waging a war of aggression;
* ensure that war criminals face justice.

These demands do not represent a complete or final list. This campaign is in the process of emerging and we are reaching out to build a network of organisations and individuals who share a similar goal.
Join us on 19th July to be a part of debating, building and launching this campaign.

Speakers confirmed so far:

* Hans von Sponeck, Former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq
* Haifa Zangana, Iraqi writer and activist
* Sami Ramadani, Iraqi Democrats Against the Occupation
* Kamil Mahdi, Senior lecturer in Middle East economics at University of Exeter
* Mazin Younis, Iraqi League
* John McDonnell MP
* Ewa Jasiewicz, Hand Off Iraqi Oil
* Greg Muttitt, PLATFORM
* John Hilary, War on Want
* Jehangir Jilani, Public Interest Lawyers
* Liz Davies, Iraq Occupation Focus
* Marion Birch, Medact
* Milan Rai, Justice Not Vengeance / Peace News
* Sarah Parker, Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq

11.00-17.00, Saturday 19 July 2008
United Reformed Church
Buck Street, Camden (close to Camden Town tube) London NW1 8NJ

Entry by donation (suggested amount: £7/£5 unwaged)

http://www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk/

IRAQ INDIVISIBLE


Praying in front of the statue of Abdul-Karim Qassem, Iraq's first prime minister after the 1958 revolution


Fifty years on, the 14 July revolution still evokes among Iraqis the virtues of patriotism and unity, writes Salah Hemeid

Fifty years after the Iraqi army toppled the pro-West monarchy on 14 July 1958, Iraqis who live in their now terror- stricken nation are too preoccupied with survival to celebrate what many of them esteem as a revolution of national liberation against the colonial power of the time, Great Britain.
The episode is not forgotten, however. If there is a lesson to be drawn, especially by Iraq's new rulers, it is that winning public support and confidence cannot be substituted for dependency on foreign occupiers and their protection. On the other hand, the anniversary raises questions about how much US colonial officials know Iraq's history and the memory Iraqis still have of their former occupiers.

On that day, nationalist army officers, disgruntled by then existing corrupt and repressive regime and its blind loyalty to Britain, overthrew the Hashemite monarchy and declared Iraq a free and independent republic. It wasn't just a military coup, but rather a vast social revolt from below, supported by nationalists who were trying to build a modern state in Iraq while steering it away from Western influence.

Iraqis now may lament the fact that the 14 July revolution failed to achieve its national goals, but that does not stop them from looking at events since then through the same lens, especially the nation's current crisis, awakening them from nostalgia to deal with foreign occupation and sectarianism today that threaten to tear their nation apart.

Two of the main goals of the 14 July revolution, which had deep roots in the Iraqi people's struggle, were liberating Iraq from foreign domination and restoring sovereignty over its vast oil wealth that was plundered by British, French and US monopolies. Nothing better summed up that stance than the decision by the revolutionary government to pull out of the Baghdad Pact, a military alliance with Britain and the United States, as well as limiting energy exploitation by foreign oil companies to 0.5 per cent of the original oil concessions they received from the pre- revolution regime.

Today, history seems to be repeating itself, as if the clock in Iraq has come full circle to 50 years ago. Iraqis now have to fight for the same old goals: liberating their country and their national resources from both foreign occupiers and their divided, corrupt protégés and stooges who had carved Iraq into sectarian fiefdoms.

One of the most daunting challenges Iraqis face now is the strategic agreement that the Bush administration and Nuri Al-Maliki's government are negotiating that would allow for a long-term presence of the American forces in Iraq. Regardless of controversy over the nature and terms of the agreement, the two governments have been committed to establish an "enduring relationship" under a November 2007 US-Iraqi "Declaration of Principles" President George W Bush and Al-Maliki signed.

Indeed, one cannot miss the alarming parallel between the proposed pact between the United States and Iraq and the failed treaty that the British government tried to impose on Iraq in 1948 and that prompted a nationalist uprising in Baghdad, which many regarded as the trail run of the revolution that toppled the monarchy a decade later.

Obviously the deals that Iraq announced last month with three major American oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, to develop some of its largest fields will affirm suspicions that Iraqi oil was the point of war, especially with the disclosure that US government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting contracts. With its proven 112 billion barrel oil reserve, the second largest in the world, along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible resources, Iraq's oil seems destined -- if foreign colonial powers get their way -- to be under foreign control, some 34 years after its nationalisation.

In historical terms, the 14 July revolution suffered a setback because it failed to build a democratic state for all its citizens. Eventually Iraq stagnated and degenerated under the autocratic rule of Saddam Hussein's one party system, becoming easy prey for its new colonisers. Despite its failure, however, the revolution is of profound historical significance because it rekindled in Iraqis the twin spirits of unity and patriotism. Combined emerges a virtue that expresses itself now in the Iraqis' awakening to their present national plight, demonstrated when many Iraqis braved violence in recent years to celebrate the revolution's anniversary in Baghdad's squares.

There is nothing more important now than reviving that spirit of patriotism and freedom of the 14 July revolution by which united Iraqis can reshape their destiny in an independent, democratic, strong and modern state. If US occupiers are oblivious to these Iraqi ideals, and certainly they are, the question is why the ruling clique of local puppets is so inept at gauging the anti-occupation and anti-sectarian mood of the people.

Al-Ahram Weekly Online :

Monday, 14 July 2008

George Galloway, British MP: Telling it like it is.



British MP : George Galloway Telling It Like It Is

This Is Must Listen - Audio

George Galloway talking about the consequences of an attack on Iran

Posted 14/07/08

Please click on the link below:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20281.htm

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Kerkük Sorunu



13 Temmuz 2008.


Kerkük sorunu gündemdeki yerini korurken parlamenterler ve bakanlarında gündemini Kerkük meselesi oluşturuyor.


Planlama bakanı Ali Baban Kerkük sorununun çözümüne karşı bu şehrin Irak'ın bir parçası olduğu unutulmamalı ifadesini kullanarak Parlameto üyesi Muhammet Emin Osman ise, Kerkük sorununun siyasi tarafların anlaşmazlıklarından kaynaklandığını dile getirerek uzlaşı yollarfına başvurulmasını istedi.


Türkmeneli televizyonuna bir açıklamada bulunan planlama bakanı Ali Baban , Kerkük'ün Irakın ulusal birlik kapısı olduğunu söyledi. Baban, Kerkük meselesinin çözülmesi için her hangi bir çözüm aranırsa Kerkük'ün tüm Iraklıların olduğu gerçeği unutulmamalıdır dedi. Planlama bakanlığının Kerkük için bir çok proje hazırladığını açıklayan Baban, Kerkük şehri özel bir satatüye sahiptir'' dedi.


Tevafuk Cephesi'nden milletvekili Muhammet Emin Osman ise, Kerkük sorununa değinerek cumhurbaşkan yardımcısı Tarık El Haşimi'nin Kerkük ziyaretinden söz etti. Haşimi'nin Kerkük il meclisindeki Türkmen, Arap, Kürt, Kildan ve Süryani gruplarıya ayrı ayrı görüştüğünü ifade eden Muhammet Emin, Haşimi'nin yaptığı bu görüşmeler farklı kesimlerin sözkonusu soruna yönelik farklı görüşlere sahip olduklarını yansıttığını dile getirdi. Kerkük sorunu için endişeli olduğunu ifade eden milletvekili, Haşimi'nin Türkmen ve Arap gruplarıya yaptığı görüşmelerde Kerkük'ün 4 seçim bölgesine bölünmesi gerektiğine vurgu yapıldığını söyledi.Milletvekili Muhammet Emin Osam Kerkük sorunu için uzlaşı formülüne başvurulmasını da istedi.


Türkmeneli TV

Hamburg ve Kiel Türkmenleri yönetimlerini seçti


Federal Almanya’nın Hamburg ve Kiel şehrinde yaşıysan Türkmenler bir araya gelerek yıllardır Hamburg şehrinde faaliyet gösteren Irak Türkmenleri Derneği‘nin yeni yönetimini seçti. Genel kurultaya Irak Türkmen Cephesi Almanya Temsilcisi Sayın Ganim Authman ve Hamburg Atatürk Düşünce derneği başkanı Sayın Selçuk Han da hazır bulundu.

Ayıca Hamburg ve kilden çok sayıda Türkmen Kardeşlerimizde hazır bulundular. Kurultay Türkmen şehitlerimize saygı duruşu ile başladı ardından Irak Türkmen Cephesi Berlin Temsilcisi Sayın Ganim Authman bir konuşma yaparak , Avrupa da Türkmen sivil toplum örgütlerinin Türkmen davasına olan önemini dile getirerek, Irak Türkmenleri her zamandan daha fazla birlik ve beraberliğe ihtiyaç duyduğu bu gönlerde Avrupa da yalnız dernekçilik değil aynı zamanda lobilik yapmamızın çok önemli olduğunu ve bundan sonra Avrupa da gülcü bir toplum olarak daha fazla iş yapmamız gerekir. Toplantı Demokrasi bir çalışma sonucu Hamburg Derneğinin yeni yönetim kurulu seçildi.

Yeni Yönetim.:
Hamburg Türkmen Derneği Başkanlığına Sn. Remzi jasim (Hamburg Şerhrinden)
Başkan Yardımcısı Ali Muohsin (Kiel Şehrinden)
Sayman Sn. Sadullah Saleh (Hamburg Şerhrinden)
Sekreter Mehmet Naftci (Kiel Şehrinden)
Kemal Jamil yedek üye (Hamburg Şerhrinden)
Kadınlar kolu sorumlusu Bayan Süheyle Shafik (Kiel Şehrinden).


ITC.İnfo

France rejects Muslim woman over radical practice of Islam

A woman wearing a burqa. France has denied citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wears a burqa on the grounds of 'insufficient assimilation'. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

· Expert says Moroccan lives 'almost as a recluse' · Case reopens debate about freedom of religion
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
The Guardian,
Saturday July 12, 2008
Article history


France has denied citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wears a burqa on the grounds that her "radical" practice of Islam is incompatible with basic French values such as equality of the sexes.
The case yesterday reopened the debate about Islam in France, and how the secular republic reconciles itself with the freedom of religion guaranteed by the French constitution.

The woman, known as Faiza M, is 32, married to a French national and lives east of Paris. She has lived in France since 2000, speaks good French and has three children born in France. Social services reports said she lived in "total submission" to her husband. Her application for French nationality was rejected in 2005 on the grounds of "insufficient assimilation" into France. She appealed, invoking the French constitutional right to religious freedom and saying that she had never sought to challenge the fundamental values of France. But last month the Council of State, France's highest administrative body, upheld the ruling.

"She has adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes," it said.

"Is the burqa incompatible with French citizenship?" asked Le Monde, which broke the story. The paper said it was the first time the level of a person's personal religious practice had been used to rule on their capacity be to assimilated into France.

The legal expert who reported to the Council of State said the woman's interviews with social services revealed that "she lives almost as a recluse, isolated from French society".

The report said: "She has no idea about the secular state or the right to vote. She lives in total submission to her male relatives. She seems to find this normal and the idea of challenging it has never crossed her mind."

The woman had said she was not veiled when she lived in Morocco and had worn the burqa since arriving in France at the request of her husband. She said she wore it more from habit than conviction.

Daniele Lochak, a law professor not involved in the case, said it was bizarre to consider that excessive submission to men was a reason not to grant citizenship. "If you follow that to its logical conclusion, it means that women whose partners beat them are also not worthy of being French," he told Le Monde.

Jean-Pierre Dubois, head of France's Human Rights League, said he was "vigilant" and was seeking more information.

France is home to nearly 5 million Muslims, roughly half of whom are French citizens. Criteria taken into account for granting French citizenship includes "assimilation", which normally focuses on how well the candidate speaks French. In the past nationality was denied to Muslims who were known to have links with extremists or who had publicly advocated radicalism, but that was not the case of Faiza M.

The ruling comes weeks after a controversy prompted by a court annulment of the marriage of two Muslims because the husband said the wife was not a virgin as she had claimed to be.
France's ban on headscarves and other religious symbols in state schools in 2004 sparked a heated debate over freedom and equality within the secular republic. The French government adheres to the theory that all French citizens are equal before the republic, and religion or ethnic background are matters for the private sphere. In practice, rights groups say, society is plagued by discrimination.

The president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has stressed the importance of "integration" into French life. Part of his heightened controls on immigrants is a new law to make foreigners who want to join their families sit an exam on French language and values before leaving their countries.

This article appeared in the Guardian on Saturday July 12 2008 on p23 of the International section. It was last updated at 00:16 on July 12 2008.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Cem Özdemir, MEP: A coup d'état is not acceptable in a democracy



Turkey sends confusing signals to Europe
Friday, July 11, 2008

'It should be very clear that a coup d’etat is under no conditions acceptable in a democracy. That, however, does not mean that the activities of the government justify everything. It has to be based on the democratic rule of law and the constitution,' says Cem Özdemir
FULYA ÖZERKAN
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

When looked at from outside, Turkey presents a blurred and confusing image, given the closure case filed against the ruling party and a series of arrests of retired commanders accused of plotting attacks to overthrow the government, according to the two German politicians, underlining that the problems must be resolved within the lines of democracy and rule of law.

“Looking from outside, my feeling is that a lot of Turkish diplomats and politicians have a hard time understanding and explaining what is really going on,” Cem Özdemir, Turkish-born member of the European Parliament, told the Turkish Daily News in an interview late Wednesday.

While referring to the extensive police operation against a shadowy group dubbed “Ergenekon,” Özdemir said that it was not a new issue for people who follow the debates in Turkey. “I remember the Susurluk debate. Şemdinli could be mentioned, too. I really hope that this finally leads to results, that people find out who did what in the past and who is involved in such kinds of things that are beyond democracy and that cannot be justified,” he said.

“And it should be very clear that a coup d'etat is under no conditions acceptable in a democracy. That, however, does not mean that the activities of the government justify everything. It has to be based on democratic rule of law and the constitution.”

Özdemir and Renate Künast, both of Germany's Greens, were in Ankara Wednesday for meetings with Turkish officials. Their visit comes at a time when Turkey's domestic agenda is overburdened with a number of challenging issues.

“What I understand is that there is an old state or old power fearing the EU accession process, and on the other side there are the people who want to go on the road for democracy, rule of law and checks and balances,” Künast, member of the German Bundestag, told the TDN.

‘Turkey will lose time'

On the lingering court cases against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, she said this cannot be allowed in democracy.
“You have to hold discussions; you have to try to get the majority in Parliament to build government, but you are not allowed to close down a party… I am very sure that all member states of the European Union will ask and push Turkey to change the rules,” she said.

Asked about impacts of the AKP's closure on Turkey's EU journey, Künast said: “We, as the Greens, always say EU talks will not be suspended, but I am sure that the minimum the EU will ask you to do is to change the law to really go on the way of democracy and law.”

But she admitted that EU talks would slow down if the ruling party were banned by the court. “You will lose time. The EU is a democratic organization. We are not hitting anyone for wrong decisions but it will be much more difficult for Turkey to go on the way. You will lose a lot of time,” she said.

‘No charismatic politicians in Europe'

For his part, Özdemir said he was rather optimistic that despite all the difficulties, Turkey would eventually head toward Europe and modernization, but expressed concerns over the absence of charismatic leaders abroad that could push and encourage Ankara to remain on the EU track.

“‘Listen, you are our ally, we belong together, we trust you and we are behind you,' that should be the message. Neither Mrs. Merkel nor Mr. Sarkozy would be very convincing in this respect,” said Özdemir.

Commenting on the fate of Turkey's accession talks during the term presidency of France, whose leader is a vocal opponent of Turkish membership in the EU, Özdemir said: “Sarkozy and the ones in Turkey who are against democracy and reforms are playing giving-and-go. I am not sure if Sarkozy is aware of his new circle of friends. But Sarkozy notwithstanding, Turkey should start its engine again and move on with EU reforms.”

© 2005 Dogan Daily News Inc. www.turkishdailynews.com.tr

HOW BRITAIN WAGES WAR

Pilger describes the insidious militarising of Britain as the effects of two colonial wars and the cover-up atrocities come home.

By John Pilger
11/07/08 "ICH"

-- -- The military has created a wall of silence around its frequent resort to barbaric practices, including torture, and goes out of its way to avoid legal scrutiny.

Five photographs together break a silence.
The first is of a former Gurkha regimental sergeant major, Tul Bahadur Pun, aged 87. He sits in a wheelchair outside 10 Downing Street. He holds a board full of medals, including the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery, which he won serving in the British army.

He has been refused entry to Britain and treatment for a serious heart ailment by the National Health Service: outrages rescinded only after a public campaign. On 25 June, he came to Down ing Street to hand his Victoria Cross back to the Prime Minister, but Gordon Brown refused to see him.

The second photograph is of a 12-year-old boy, one of three children. They are Kuchis, nomads of Afghanistan. They have been hit by Nato bombs, American or British, and nurses are trying to peel away their roasted skin with tweezers. On the night of 10 June, Nato planes struck again, killing at least 30 civilians in a single village: children, women, schoolteachers, students. On 4 July, another 22 civilians died like this. All, including the roasted children, are described as "militants" or "suspected Taliban". The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, says the invasion of Afghan istan is "the noble cause of the 21st century".

The third photograph is of a computer-generated aircraft carrier not yet built, one of two of the biggest ships ever ordered for the Royal Navy. The £4bn contract is shared by BAE Systems, whose sale of 72 fighter jets to the corrupt tyranny in Saudi Arabia has made Britain the biggest arms merchant on earth, selling mostly to oppressive regimes in poor countries. At a time of economic crisis, Browne describes the carriers as "an affordable expenditure".

The fourth photograph is of a young British soldier, Gavin Williams, who was "beasted" to death by three non-commissioned officers. This "informal summary punishment", which sent his body temperature to more than 41 degrees, was intended to "humiliate, push to the limit and hurt". The torture was described in court as a fact of army life.

The final photograph is of an Iraqi man, Baha Mousa, who was tortured to death by British soldiers. Taken during his post-mortem, it shows some of the 93 horrific injuries he suffered at the hands of men of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment who beat and abused him for 36 hours, including double-hooding him with hessian sacks in stifling heat. He was a hotel receptionist. Although his murder took place almost five years ago, it was only in May this year that the Ministry of Defence responded to the courts and agreed to an independent inquiry. A judge has described this as a "wall of silence".

A court martial convicted just one soldier of Mousa's "inhumane treatment", and he has since been quietly released.

Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, representing the families of Iraqis who have died in British custody, says the evidence is clear - abuse and torture by the British army is systemic.

Shiner and his colleagues have witness statements and corroborations of prima facie crimes of an especially atrocious kind usually associated with the Americans. "The more cases I am dealing with, the worse it gets," he says. These include an "incident" near the town of Majar al-Kabir in 2004, when British soldiers executed as many as 20 Iraqi prisoners after mutilating them.

The latest is that of a 14-year-old boy who was forced to simulate anal and oral sex over a prolonged period.

"At the heart of the US and UK project," says Shiner, "is a desire to avoid accountability for what they want to do. Guantanamo Bay and extraordinary renditions are part of the same struggle to avoid accountability through jurisdiction." British soldiers, he says, use the same torture techniques as the Americans and deny that the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on Torture apply to them.

And British torture is "commonplace": so much so, that "the routine nature of this ill-treatment helps to explain why, despite the abuse of the soldiers and cries of the detainees being clearly audible, nobody, particularly in authority, took any notice".

Unbelievably, says Shiner, the Ministry of Defence under Tony Blair decided that the 1972 Heath government's ban on certain torture techniques applied only in the UK and Northern Ireland. Consequently, "many Iraqis were killed and tortured in UK detention facilities".

Shiner is working on 46 horrific cases.A wall of silence has always surrounded the British military, its arcane rituals, rites and practices and, above all, its contempt for the law and natural justice in its various imperial pursuits. For 80 years, the Ministry of Defence and compliant ministers refused to countenance posthumous pardons for terrified boys shot at dawn during the slaughter of the First World War. British soldiers used as guinea pigs during the testing of nuclear weapons in the Indian Ocean were abandoned, as were many others who suffered the toxic effects of the 1991 Gulf War.

The treatment of Gurkha Tul Bahadur Pun is typical. Having been sent back to Nepal, many of these "soldiers of the Queen" have no pension, are deeply impoverished and are refused residence or medical help in the country for which they fought and for which 43,000 of them have died or been injured. The Gurkhas have won no fewer than 26 Victoria Crosses, yet Browne's "affordable expenditure" excludes them.

An even more imposing wall of silence ensures that the British public remains largely unaware of the industrial killing of civilians in Britain's modern colonial wars. In his landmark work Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses, the historian Mark Curtis uses three main categories: direct responsibility, indirect responsibility and active inaction."The overall figure [since 1945] is between 8.6 and 13.5 million," Curtis writes. "Of these, Britain bears direct responsibility for between four million and six million deaths. This figure is, if anything, likely to be an underestimate.

Not all British interventions have been included, because of lack of data." Since his study was published, the Iraq death toll has reached, by reliable measure, a million men, women and children.

The spiralling rise of militarism within Britain is rarely acknowledged, even by those alerting the public to legislation attacking basic civil liberties, such as the recently drafted Data Com muni cations Bill, which will give the government powers to keep records of all electronic communication.

Like the plans for identity cards, this is in keeping what the Americans call "the national security state", which seeks the control of domestic dissent while pursuing military aggression abroad. The £4bn aircraft carriers are to have a "global role". For global read colonial. The Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office follow Washington's line almost to the letter, as in Browne's preposterous description of Afghanistan as a noble cause.

In reality, the US-inspired Nato invasion has had two effects: the killing and dispossession of large numbers of Afghans, and the return of the opium trade, which the Taliban had banned.

According to Hamid Karzai, the west's puppet leader, Britain's role in Helmand Province has led directly to the return of the Taliban.

The militarising of how the British state perceives and treats other societies is vividly demonstrated in Africa, where ten out of 14 of the most impoverished and conflict-ridden countries are seduced into buying British arms and military equipment with "soft loans".

Like the British royal family, the British Prime Minister simply follows the money.

Having ritually condemned a despot in Zimbabwe for "human rights abuses" - in truth, for no longer serving as the west's business agent - and having obeyed the latest US dictum on Iran and Iraq, Brown set off recently for Saudi Arabia, exporter of Wahhabi fundamentalism and wheeler of fabulous arms deals.

To complement this, the Brown government is spending £11bn of taxpayers' money on a huge, pri vatised military academy in Wales, which will train foreign soldiers and mercenaries recruited to the bogus "war on terror".

With arms companies such as Raytheon profiting, this will become Britain's "School of the Americas", a centre for counter-insurgency (terrorist) training and the design of future colonial adventures.It has had almost no publicity.

Of course, the image of militarist Britain clashes with a benign national regard formed, wrote Tolstoy, "from infancy, by every possible means - class books, church services, sermons, speeches, books, papers, songs, poetry, monuments [leading to] people stupefied in the one direction". Much has changed since he wrote that. Or has it? The shabby, destructive colonial war in Afghanistan is now reported almost entirely through the British army, with squaddies always doing their Kipling best, and with the Afghan resistance routinely dismissed as "outsiders" and "invaders".

Pictures of nomadic boys with Nato-roasted skin almost never appear in the press or on television, nor the after-effects of British thermobaric weapons, or "vacuum bombs", designed to suck the air out of human lungs.

Instead, whole pages mourn a British military intelligence agent in Afghanis tan, because she happens to have been a 26-year-old woman, the first to die in active service since the 2001 invasion.

Baha Mousa, tortured to death by British soldiers, was also 26 years old. But he was different. His father, Daoud, says that the way the Ministry of Defence has behaved over his son's death convinces him that the British government regards the lives of others as "cheap". And he is right.

www.johnpilger.com
First published at the New Statesman http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20268.htm
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Friday, 11 July 2008

FIVE UYGHURS KILLED IN RAID IN CHINA

Radio Free Asia (10.07.2008)

—Chinese police used smoke to force open a flat in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang before shooting dead five ethnic Uyghurs inside who the official media said were planning a “holy war,” a witness to the incident has said. “They threw a smoke bomb at the apartment. Then police got into the apartment and during this time one of the police was hurt by the one of the Uyghurs,” a neighbor and witness said. “After this first injury, the police began to fire their guns.

Five of the Uyghurs ended up dead. Women were also occupying the apartment at this time. All of these Uyghurs were young men and women,” the man, who asked to be identified only as Duan, said. “They were only equipped with knives,” he said of the Uyghurs. “Now the situation is pretty peaceful in our neighborhood and normal. The police told us that they were terrorists.”

On Tuesday, July 8, police in the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, raided an apartment where 15 Uyghurs—a distinct Muslim minority—were hiding, the official Xinhua news agency said. It said they had rushed out wielding knives and shouting “sacrifice for Allah.” Police opened fire, killing five and injuring two, Xinhua said. The incident comes just weeks before the opening of the Beijing Olympics under extremely tight security. “The injured were sent to hospital and the other nine people were captured,” it quoted a police officer as saying. “The suspects confessed they had all received training on the launching of a ‘holy war.’ Their aim was to kill Han people, the most populous ethnic group in China whom they took as heretics, and found their own state,” it said.

‘Terrorist actions’

A Uyghur police officer, contacted by telephone, said only that the raid was “related to terrorist actions.” He said he didn’t know where the nine Uyghurs who were arrested or the two who were wounded were being held. Another neighbor who asked to be identified as Li confirmed the five shooting deaths but downplayed its significance. “It was an ordinary robbery case. Let’s not exaggerate it,” he said, adding that he believed the use of deadly force was appropriate. Another neighbor described the area as peaceful, with Uyghurs accounting for about 30 percent of the population of the building. “The environment is pretty good,” he said, adding that he had never witnessed tensions between Han Chinese and Uyghur residents.

A police officer also reported that Xinjiang police had recently stepped up their own security. “We have even been afraid to take a siesta,” he said. Asked if they were feared retaliation, he replied, “Yes.” An officer on duty at the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau denied any knowledge of the incident. “I cannot talk about these things,” the officer said. “I don’t know anything about it.” He then hung up the phone.

Long history

Dilxat Raxit, exiled spokesman of the World Uyghur Congress, sharply criticized the shootings. “To shoot and kill has become a new method of cracking down on Uyghurs in China. We call on the United Nations to send international lawyers and give effective legal assistance to those Uyghurs in detention so that the truth can be known,” he said. Uyghurs, like Tibetans, have a long history under Beijing’s heavy-handed rule-which has at times erupted in violence. But exiled Uyghurs deny the existence of an organized terrorist campaign and say previous incidents have been fabricated or exaggerated to secure international support for a crackdown.

In March, Chinese authorities said they had broken up and arrested members of a group that were threatening to sabotage the Beijing Olympics. China has waged a campaign over the last decade against what it says are violent separatists and Islamic extremists who aim to establish an independent state in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which shares a border with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Beijing took the position that Uyghur groups were connected with al-Qaeda and that one group, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), was a “major component of the terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden.” The ETIM has denied that charge.

Original reporting by RFA’s Mandarin, Cantonese, and Uyghur services. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Cantonese service director: Shiny Li. Uyghur service director: Dolkun Kamberi. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Iraq to hold major oil conference 17-19 October 2008

BAGHDAD, July 9 (Reuters) -

Iraq will hold a major oil and gas conference in October to allow foreign oil firms to get a better understanding of the country's energy potential, the Oil Ministry said on Wednesday.

The Oct 17-19 energy conference and exhibition will be the first event of its type in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. More than 50 international oil companies would take part, Oil Ministry spokesman Asim Jihad told a news conference.

"It will be a great chance for the Oil Ministry to meet global oil companies and discuss their potential role in developing Iraq's oil sector," Jihad said.

Iraq late last month opened up its giant producing oilfields for long-term foreign development contracts.

The Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry said oil majors would attend the conference, which will be held at Baghdad's international airport.

Iraq needs major foreign investment to revive its oil sector, battered by decades of war and sanctions. Iraq has the world's third-largest proven reserves of oil.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed, editing by James Jukwey)

The FBI's Plan to 'Profile' Muslims

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20265.htm


By Juan Cole
10/07/08 "Salon"

The U.S. Justice Department is considering a change in the grounds on which the FBI can investigate citizens and legal residents of the United States. Till now, DOJ guidelines have required the FBI to have some evidence of wrongdoing before it opens an investigation. The impending new rules, which would be implemented later this summer, allow bureau agents to establish a terrorist profile or pattern of behavior and attributes and, on the basis of that profile, start investigating an individual or group. Agents would be permitted to ask “open-ended questions” concerning the activities of Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans. A person’s travel and occupation, as well as race or ethnicity, could be grounds for opening a national security investigation.

The rumored changes have provoked protests from Muslim American and Arab-American groups. The Council on American Islamic Relations, among the more effective lobbies for Muslim Americans’ civil liberties, immediately denounced the plan, as did James Zogby, the president of the Arab-American Institute. Said Zogby, “There are millions of Americans who, under the reported new parameters, could become subject to arbitrary and subjective ethnic and religious profiling.” Zogby, who noted that the Bush administration’s history with profiling is not reassuring, warned that all Americans would suffer from a weakening of civil liberties.

In fact, Zogby’s statement only begins to touch on the many problems with these proposed rules. The new guidelines would lead to many bogus prosecutions, but they would also prove counterproductive in the effort to disrupt real terror plots. And then there’s Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s rationale for revising the rules in the first place. “It’s necessary,” he explained in a June news conference, “to put in place regulations that will allow the FBI to transform itself as it is transforming itself into an intelligence-gathering organization.”

When did Congress, or we as a nation, have a debate about whether we want to authorize the establishment of a domestic intelligence agency? Indeed, late last month Congress signaled its discomfort with the concept by denying the FBI’s $11 million funding request for its data-mining center.

Establishing a profile that would aid in identifying suspects is not in and of itself illegal, though the practice generally makes civil libertarians nervous. When looking for drug couriers, Drug Enforcement Agency agents were permitted by the Supreme Court in United States v. Sokolow (1989) to use indicators such as the use of an alias, nervous or evasive behavior, cash payments for tickets, brief trips to major drug-trafficking cities, type of clothing, and the lack of checked luggage. This technique, however, specifically excluded the use of skin color or other racial features in building the profile.

In contrast, using race and ethnicity as the — or even a — primary factor in deciding whom to stop and search, despite being widespread among police forces, is illegal. Just this spring, the Maryland State Police settled out of court with the ACLU and an African-American man after having been sued for the practice of stopping black and Latino men and searching them for drugs.

New Jersey police also got into trouble over stopping people on the grounds of race.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled last year in State v. Calvin Lee that a defendant’s plausible allegation that the arrest was initiated primarily because of race would be grounds for discovery: The defense attorney could then request relevant documents from the prosecution that might show discriminatory attitudes and actions on the part of the police. Because racial profiling is most often felt by juries to be inappropriate, its use could backfire on the FBI.

Suspects charged on the basis of an investigation primarily triggered by their race could end up being acquitted as victims of government discrimination.

If the aim is to identify al-Qaida operatives or close sympathizers in the United States, racial profiling is counterproductive. Such tiny, cultlike terror organizations are multinational. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, is a Briton whose father hailed from Jamaica, and no racial profile of him would have predicted his al-Qaida ties. Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman, is from a mixed Jewish and Christian heritage and hails from suburban Orange County, Calif.

When I broached the topic of FBI profiling to some Muslim American friends on Facebook, a scientist in San Francisco replied, “Profiling Muslims or Arabs will just make al-Qaida look outside Islam for its bombers. There are many other disgruntled groups aside from those that worship Allah.”

It is a mystery why the Department of Justice has not learned the lesson that terrorists are best tracked down through good police work brought to bear on specific illegal acts, rather than by vast fishing expeditions.

After Sept. 11, the DOJ called thousands of Muslim men in the United States for what it termed voluntary interviews. Not a single terrorist was identified in this manner, though a handful of the interviewees ended up being deported for minor visa offenses. Once it became clear that the interviews might eventuate in arbitrary actions against them, the willingness of American Muslims to cooperate declined rapidly, and so the whole operation badly backfired.

The fiasco of the prosecution of the Detroit Four should also have been instructive. These four Arab men apparently had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, having moved into an apartment in southwest Detroit recently vacated by a man suspected of al-Qaida ties. The prosecution alleged that innocent vacation videotapes of places such as Disneyland found in the apartment were part of a terror plot, and that vague doodles in a notebook depicted targets abroad such as a Jordanian hospital and Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey.

The prosecution relied heavily on an Arab-American informer who might reduce his own prison sentence for various acts of criminal fraud if a conviction were obtained, and whose testimony against the four suspects evolved dramatically over time. The initial conviction of two of the men, Karim Koubriti and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi on charges of giving material support to terrorism, which was hailed as an achievement by the Bush administration, was overturned when the prosecution was discovered to have withheld key exculpatory evidence.

In a startling reversal, two members of the prosecuting team were tried for criminal misconduct, and although they were acquitted, their misconduct was not in question. A Detroit judge even apologized to a third man, who was held for three and a half years on a minor fraud charge and then deported. The entire affair raised questions about whether Muslim-Americans could hope for justice if for any reason they got accidentally caught up in the Justice Department’s frantic search for Muslim terror cells on American soil (very few have been found). The flimsy case against the four men would have had no plausibility at all had they been white upper-middle-class residents of Connecticut.

Not only has the Justice Department engaged in prosecutorial misconduct with regard to Muslims, but at least one FBI operation also appears to have involved actual entrapment. Narseal Batiste, Patrick Abraham, Burson Augustine, Rothschild Augustine, Stanley Grant Phanor, Naudimar Herrera and Lyglenson Lemorin were arrested in June 2006, and accused of being an al-Qaida cell plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago. Batiste, aka Brother Naz or Prince Manna, led a small cult in a poor neighborhood of Miami called Seas of David, which was apparently an offshoot of the Moorish Temple Science, an African-American folk religion. The cult mixed themes from Judaism, Christianity and Islam but was not identifiably Muslim. The group met in a warehouse and talked big.

The FBI put an informant among them who repeatedly offered them money and equipment for their activities, some of which he appears to have suggested. Batiste maintained in the trial that he was just stringing along the informant in hopes of extracting a promised $50,000, and that he was insincere in pledging allegiance to al-Qaida. When the Justice Department announced the arrest in 2006, the indictment went on about the belief of the group in jihad, or Muslim holy war, but it is a little unlikely that these individuals knew anything about Islam at all. Both attempts to prosecute them ended in mistrials, primarily because the FBI could produce no evidence that when they were arrested they had any weapons or explosives in their possession. They were full of crazy talk, but even some of that was suggested to them by the Department of Justice.

Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans, along with members of some other ethnic groups, are therefore understandably alarmed that the Department of Justice may soon have the tools to bring them under investigation without any proof of wrongdoing. As CAIR national legislative director Corey Saylor noted in a statement, “Any new Justice Department guidelines must preserve the presumption of innocence that is the basis of our entire legal system … Initiating criminal investigations based on racial or religious profiling is both unconstitutional and un-American.” Muslim Americans and Arab-Americans have already suffered from being profiled in a de facto sense.

Unsurprisingly, to have that injustice become policy concerns them. The protests would be even louder if so many in the community were not afraid to speak up and draw attention to themselves, as one of my Muslim American Facebook correspondents pointed out to me. Another remarked sadly that not only had George W. Bush not brought democracy to the Muslim Middle East, but he had also damaged its prospects in America itself.


Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His most recent book Napoleon’s Egypt: Invading the Middle East (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007) has just been published. He has appeared widely on television, radio and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at Salon.com. He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. His weblog on the contemporary Middle East is Informed Comment.

Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.

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Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The attack on Amerli on 7th July 2007

07-07-2008

By Mofak Salman


The attack on Amerli on the 7th July, 2007, was the worst incident of carnage in Amerli, and indeed, in Iraq’s history. A suicide bomber detonated a powerful bomb on a lorry loaded with bricks and a food truck laden with explosives in a crowded market in the Turkmeneli village of Amerli. Some 98 homes were destroyed, nearly 100 others were affected, and 20 shops and 10 vehicles were destroyed. In addition, more than 153 people were killed and 350 were wounded, among them 25 children and 40 women.


The explosion was very powerful and was among the deadliest since the war started in Iraq in 2003.The explosion occurred as families had gathered for their morning shopping. The blast levelled many homes in the small community. It looked as though an earthquake had happened in Amerli. The area that was completely destroyed was estimated at 6000 square metres.


Explosives experts said that this huge explosion and the extent of the human losses suggest that the quantity of explosive materials used was approximately 10 tons.Many of the Turkmen bodies were trapped in the wreckage; the corpses were caught under the debris of the collapsed buildings. Some of the bodies had been burnt and others had been torn apart. Residents and emergency workers continued to dig for bodies under the rubble looking for their loved ones and trying to find the living.


The explosion on the 7th July, 2007, was a big disaster for the Amerli sub-district; all of the casualties were civilians and the death toll made it the second deadliest bombing since the USA-led invasion in 2003, although, in March, a truck bomb attack had killed 152 people in the northern Turkmen town of Tal Afar.


After the explosion in Amerli, ambulances and private cars ferried dozens of corpses and wounded civilians to nearby clinics and hospitals, in which relatives waited for news of the missing. Rescuers were forced to move injured people to Tuz Khormatu, the nearest major Turkmen town, some 45 km (28 miles) away, for medical attention and some of the injured died on the way.


Others were taken on to the Turkmen town of Kirkuk, the largest city in the region, for more intensive treatment.[ ]The shrapnel from the explosion killed shoppers hundreds of metres away from the bomb. The local people in Amerli stated that they had never seen an attack like it. The whole village was shrouded in smoke and dust.[ ]


Some political analysts and military experts stated that the market bombing in Amerli could be linked to political developments in the region, where a referendum on the status of Kirkuk province is supposed to take place by the end of this year.


Kirkuk lies outside the Iraqi Kurdish region.[ ]


The attack on Amerli was clearly among the deadliest in Iraq and it reinforced suspicions that al-Qaeda extremists were moving north to less protected regions beyond the US security crackdown in Baghdad and on the capital´s northern doorstep.


In a joint statement, US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and US military commander General David Petraeus said that the attack against the Turkmen Shi’aa was ‘another sad example of the nature of the enemy and their use of indiscriminate violence to kill innocent citizens’.[ ]


During a news conference on Sunday the 8th of July, 2007, in Baghdad, Abbas al-Bayati, a Turkmen member of parliament criticised the security situation in Amerli, saying that its police force had only 30 members and that the Interior Ministry had finally responded to requests for reinforcements only two days before the attack. In the absence of enough security forces, al-Bayati said authorities should help residents ‘arm themselves’ for their own protection.[ ]


The call for civilians to take up arms in their own defence was echoed on Sunday the 8th of July 2007 by the country´s Sunni Arab vice president, Tariq al-Hashemi, who said that all Iraqis must ‘pay the price’ for terrorism. ‘People have a right to expect from the government and security agencies protection for their lives, land, honour and property,’ al-Hashemi said in a statement. ‘The people have no choice but to take up their own defence.’ He said that the government should provide communities with money, weapons and training and ‘regulate their use by rules of behaviour.’[ ]


Local police and the mayor, Mohammed Rashid, told Reuter’s news agency that Iraqi officials have blamed Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda for the attack. The Amerli bombing was a blow to a USA-backed security crackdown in Baghdad, Iraq, and underscored the ability of militants to stage large-scale attacks despite the arrival of nearly 30 000 additional US troops in the country.[ ]


Nevertheless, groups of state officials travelled to Amerli on the 9th of July, 2007, to inspect the effects of the damage that was caused by the explosion and to provide solace to the families of the Turkmen martyrs. The state officials’ delegation, which was headed by the governor of Salah al-Din, and included the Councillor of Tuz Khormatu, the chief of police and members of the Salah Al Din government, were showered and stoned with bricks, as locals showed their protest and rejection of the presence of officials or reception.[ ]


The stoning came in response to the apparent failure of the state members to help them at a time when the local population was desperate for help and support.The Turkmen locals in Amerli have accused the Superintendent of Police for the district of Solyman Beg of deliberate negligence. This led to the ousting of the governor of Salahuddin as chief of police for the district of Solyman Beg and Amerli because of the negligence, incompetence, damage, human loss and the magnitude of losses faced by Amerli that have transformed the region into a disaster region.


The refusal of citizens to receive government officials was a protest message to the government of Nuri al_Maliki because they had not moved earlier despite the magnitude of losses caused by the explosion. The citizens of Amerli were very angry about the absence of security and law, which meant that the Turkmen had become the victims of kidnappings, arrest and killing.


All this happened because of the failure of the government to provide protection in the region.


In addition, because of the Arabisation policy, the sub-district of Amerli lacked the most basic needs of life and remains unchanged today. It lacked basic medical supplies, even cotton wool and other simple necessities, needed to provide first aid to the injured after the explosion. The citizens in Amerli extracted cotton from their pillows and cushions in order to apply it on the wounds of the victims to stop the bleeding.


To rescue the injured people who were trapped under the collapsed buildings and to remove the corpses, which stayed under the remains of the destroyed buildings (the Iraqi government had completely failed to bring any machinery), the Iraqi Turkmen Front leader hired machines from local companies at his own expense. Until the 9th of July 2007, according to reports received from the Amerli, almost 30 citizens were still missing.


It should be noted that after the explosion, the injured were transferred to hospitals in Tuz Khormatu in small cars and private cars because ambulances and fire-fighters were not available in the district.[ ]


9.6 Turkey sends air ambulances to Turkmen town


Nearly 24 hours after the carnage in Iraq´s Amerli, humanitarian assistance from the Turkish Republic and other Turkmen organisations arrived in Amerli. Turkey swiftly sent two military air ambulances to Kirkuk airbase on the 8th July, 2007, in order to extend a helping hand to those wounded and to transfer the Turkmen who were seriously wounded to Ankara hospitals for treatment.The two planes, which each had the capacity to carry 14 patients, transferred about 21 injured to Turkey.


The planes returned to Ankara late on Sunday the 8th of July 2007 with those seriously wounded who could not be treated in Iraq and the planes took off from the military airport in Ankara. However, one of those injured in the explosion died during the transportation to Ankara.


A Turkish diplomat in Iraq, in charge of coordination in Iraq had revealed that the United States officials did not oppose Turkey´s proposal and accepted humanitarian aid by facilitating the procedures.


The injured were treated in a hospital in the capital Ankara. In the meantime, Turkmen Member of Parliament, Fevzi Ekrem Terzioğlu and the President of Turkey, Nejdat Sezer, separately visited the injured Turkmen in the hospital and the Turkish republic, and also called on Iraqi and US officials to provide swift help and support for the Turkmen in Amerli.

However, three days after the tragedy, no assistance had arrived.


Turkmen Fevzi Ekrem Terzioğlu visited the injured Turkmen in Ankara Gata Hospital, 9th July, 2007.


Soon after the attack, Abdullah Gül, foreign minister of Turkey, harshly condemned the attack, while expressing his deepest condolences to the Iraqi people and the government, in a statement issued on Saturday the 7th of July, 2007. In the statement, Ankara called for the establishment of national cohesion and peace in Iraq without any discrimination of religions, religious sects or ethnic identities: ‘The peace of mind of all of our brothers in Iraq is of primary importance to us and as Turkey, we will do our part for maintaining peace of mind for all in Iraq.’


In addition, the Turkish Ambassador to Iraq, Derya Kanbay, and the Consul General in Mosul, Hüseyin Avni Botsalı, contacted the Shiite Turkmen deputy, Abbas Bayati, also with a member of the Turkmen Vefa party (‘Fidelity’) Movement, Feryad Tuzlu, and related Iraqi officials in order to learn the details as soon as possible after the attack.


The deputy Iraqi minister, Mr Adel Abdelmahdi, met a delegation from the Turkmen and discussed how to provide the necessary assistance to the families of Amerli. In the meantime, the Iraqi Turkmen Front in Kirkuk and Tuz Khormatu aided the families of Amerli by sending a truck carrying food and essential material for the families affected by the explosion. In addition, representatives of the Turkmeneli Party, Ali Mahdi and the correspondents of two Turkish television channels, TRT and Channel_D Television Station, and other Turkmen politicians were the first at the scene to offer their support and condolences to the people of Amerli.


Moreover, financial support and assistance was collected outside of Iraq for those affected by the bomb in Amerli, in places such as Canada, the USA, Denmark, Holland, Germany and Turkey.


This was followed by the provision of truckloads of food and medical aid to those in the affected area. The Iraqi Turkmen Front has continued such assistance in full swing, in order to provide a helping hand to the needy people. The Iraqi Turkmen Front in Kirkuk and their members in Amerli have continued to participate in the removal of the debris from collapsed buildings left by the devastating explosion. In addition, Amerli was visited by a delegation from the Salah al-Din provinces, headed by Ali Hashim Mukhtar Oglu, who is the ITF representative in Tuz Khormatu. However, in the mid afternoon of the 10th July 2007, amid angry protests by residents against the government, Mr Abbas al_Bayati, the Secretary General of the Islamic Union for Iraqi Turkmen, arrived in Amerli accompanied by a delegation representing the party, in order to provide his support and support to the victim of the explosion and also to participate with the people in grief, promising to provide necessary assistance to the victims.[ ]


The author

Mofak Salman Kerkuklu graduated in England with a BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Oxford Brookes University and completed an MSc in Medical Electronics and Physics at London University and an MSc in Computing Science and Information Technology at South Bank University. He is also a Chartered Engineer from the Institution of Engineers of Ireland. Mr Mofak Salman is the author of Brief History of Iraqi Turkmen and Turkmen of Iraq. He is the Turkmeneli Party representative for both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. He has had a large number of articles published in various newspapers and websites.

Juan Cole's comment on 8th July 2008

http://www.juancole.com/

Juan Cole’s ‘Informed Comment’:
Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Maliki and Timetable for US Withdrawal

A White House spokesman emphasized that US-Iraqi talks on a Status of Forces Agreement do not include mention of a hard date for US withdrawal.

The disclaimer came after Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for the first time spoke of seeking a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops.

Al-Maliki is under pressure from the Sadr Movement, led by cleric Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr, to seek such a timetable. Thousands of Iraqis demonstrated Friday against the SOFA negotiations on the grounds that they surrendered too much of Iraq's sovereignty.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Sadrist aide Liwa' Sumaisim praised al-Maliki's statement as a "positive development" and said that the Sadr Movement was ready to support it.

Meanwhile, MP Jalal al-Din Saghir said that the latest proposed draft of the SOFA from the American side left a great deal to be desired.A highly placed Iraqi source told al-Hayat that a study had been completed a month ago on a US withdrawal from Iraq. He said that the American negotiators had not forbidden it, and that they were themselves aware that Barack Obama might win the presidency. Obama has pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq.

Meanwhile, Sunni Arab guerrillas launched a violent campaign in provincial Iraq. They fired mortars at the mansion of the governor in Mosul. They wounded the mayor of Kirkuk. There were also several attacks on members of the Awakening Councils formed under the auspices of the US.

Monday, 7 July 2008

BIG OIL POISED TO MAKE TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO IRAQ

TheStar.com

-Small service contracts announced last week are a step toward major development deals

July 05, 2008

Linda McQuaig

When Big Oil excutives and U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney met for secret energy talks in the spring of 2001, one subject that weighed on all their minds was the potential loss of Iraq's bountiful oil reserves.

After more than a decade of hostile U.S.-Iraqi relations, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had negotiated deals with oil companies from a range of countries, including Russia, China and India, to develop Iraq's largely undeveloped reserves.

That meant U.S. oil companies were to be denied a stake in developing one of the last oil bonanzas left on Earth. It also meant that the U.S. risked being denied access to this vast new source of petroleum – the commodity it considers essential to its continued status as an economic and military superpower.

So it wasn't surprising that Cheney's energy task force – set up with urgency within weeks of the Bush administration taking office – took great interest in a document called "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts." The document (eventually made public after a lengthy court battle with the Bush administration) included a detailed breakdown of Iraq's 97 oil fields, listing in each case the foreign company that was negotiating a development contract with Saddam, and the status of those negotiations.

But, according to the narrative presented by the White House and rarely challenged by the media, none of this mattered to Washington's strategic planners: the fact that Iraq's vast oil reserves were about to slip into the hands of America's rivals and Big Oil's competitors allegedly played no role in the administration's decision to overthrow Saddam two years later.

Of course, outside the narrow confines of the political and media establishment, most ordinary people have had little difficulty seeing through the official reasons offered up by the Bush administration to explain its insistence on invading and occupying a country that, apart from oil, consists mostly of sand.

Now there's some fresh fodder for that debate, with the announcement last week by the Iraqi government that it is signing no-bid contracts with five of the biggest multinational oil companies – the same corporate crowd that met with Cheney back in 2001 and fretted over Saddam's oil deals with "foreign suitors."

Those "foreign suitors" – including state-owned companies from oil-hungry China and India – have now been pushed aside. In their place, ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and Total have been selected for the first stage of developing six of Iraq's largest oil fields.

So, for instance, Iraq's magnificent Rumaila oil field, which had been slated to go to the Russian oil company Lukoil back in 2001, will now go to British oil giant BP.

Although these new contracts are relatively small service contracts, they are considered a crucial foot in the door for getting what the companies are really after – major development deals known as Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), where the companies invest in a project, control it and receive the lion's share of the profits.

PSAs resemble the kinds of arrangements that used to prevail in the Middle East when a handful of U.S. and British oil companies controlled the world's oil through their cartel known as the Seven Sisters.

That situation changed dramatically in the early 1970s when a wave of oil nationalism swept through the Middle East. National governments in the region took control of their own oil industries and (along with Venezuela) became dominant players on the world oil scene through their cartel OPEC.

Overturning these nationalistic policies has long been the dream of Big Oil, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq seems to have made that possibility more likely.

In the last two years, Washington has been pressuring Iraq intensely to pass a "petroleum law," which was drawn up with the help of American advisers operating under contract to U.S. consulting giant BearingPoint Inc.

The North American media describe this as an "oil-revenue-sharing" law (for dividing revenues between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds), but the law would also create a legal framework for re-establishing foreign investment in Iraq's oil sector.

There's been fierce resistance to the law inside Iraq, and the Iraqi Parliament has repeatedly refused to pass it. Even direct pressure from Cheney, whose May 2007 visit to Baghdad focused almost entirely on the urgent need to pass the oil law, failed to mobilize sufficient parliamentary support.

The service contracts are seen as a way around that legislative opposition.
Ironically, four of the companies returning to Iraq – ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Total – were the original partners in a consortium called the Iraq Petroleum Company that for decades held the exclusive rights to develop oil in Iraq. They were kicked out in 1972 when Saddam nationalized the country's oil industry.

That move proved extremely popular in Iraq. Indeed, oil nationalism and resistance to foreign control of oil has become part of the Zeitgeist of the Middle East.

The return of Big Oil to Iraq has some profound implications. If it leads, as expected, to the signing of full development contracts, hundreds of billions of dollars will be diverted outside the country into the already overflowing coffers of the multinational oil industry.

U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a candidate for the 2008 Democratic nomination, has said that would amount to "one of the biggest heists in the history of the world."

Certainly anyone who thinks the invasion of Iraq accomplished nothing probably isn't sitting inside the boardrooms of some of the most powerful companies on Earth.


Linda McQuaig is author of It's the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet.

http://www.thestar.com/printArticle/454776