Sunday, May 30, 2004

Three of the terrorists who "massacred 22 civilians and took dozens of foreigners hostage, using hostages as temporary cover, escaped Saudi commandos who stormed a building in the eastern oil city of Khobar on Sunday to end a long siege."

I thought that their capture was a done deal. They were surrounded in a building with Saudi forces all over the place. How could they escape?

I can't help but point at the impact of having Mr. al-Yawar and Iyad Allawi, sitting in a picture together, on the Iraqis.

It will look like the new Iraq will be a hybrid of the Gulf States (with a Shaykh appointed as a head of state) and the Ba'ath Party (Allawi represents the thuggish branch of the Ba'ath).

A Pentagon e-mail said Vice President Dick Cheney coordinated a huge Halliburton government contract for Iraq, despite Cheney's denial of interest in the company he ran until 2000. The March 5, 2003 e-mail, from an Army Corps of Engineers official, said that top Pentagon official Douglas Feith got the job of shepherding the contract, according to the newsweekly Time that hits newsstands Monday. Feith had approved the multi-billion-dollar deal 'contingent on informing WH (the White House) tomorrow. We anticipate no issues since action has been coordinated w(ith) VP's (vice president's) office,' said the e-mail obtained by Time."

To borrow the style of the OK Senator, I am shocked by the shock about the deal than by the deal itself.

"At first we were very happy with the prospect of democracy and freedom but now look at what's come with this freedom and democracy," Hassan told CNN.

Indeed, it should be: look at what's come instead of freedom and democracy.

Instead of freedom, came more torture; and instead of democracy, Iyad Allawi and the 29 swindlers.

It seems like the same story of the "40 acres and a mule" in the American Civil War era. Indeed today's Tom Friedman article promises Iraqis some form of "potential" democracy in "nine months and 21 years" -- if they work hard for it.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Who were the candidates for Abu Ghraib ( or Abu Gooearreiaoub, as pronounced by President Bush and some U.S. Middle East "experts")?

"On December 16, 2003, at 2:00 am, on a rainy night, all the houses in Abu Siffa, about two dozen, were surrounded by U.S. troops in tanks and humvees. They surrounded the fields of the farmers by tanks and they destroyed the fences of the fields," citrus farmer, Mohammed Al-Tai explained to a delegation from Christian Peacemaker Teams visiting the village to document detainees' stories.

Soldiers from the Army's 4th Infantry Division rounded up two attorneys, 15 schoolteachers, men in their 80's, a blind man, police officers, young teens, and an elderly man so frail he had to be carried by the soldiers, Al-Tai said. In all, 83 men disappeared that night, virtually every male in the village.

Note on the "Comment" feature:

While I appreciate the freedom of speech, I do not appreciate condescending speech. I welcome hostile comments if they are intelligent and factual. If not, I have no choice but to send them where they belong.

My site is like my home. If one of my guests insults another, I have to protect the latter. There is no other way to go.

Thankfully, I only had to do this to maybe two comments so far. All other comments -- friendly and hostile -- are received with thanks and kept in place.

Irak: les nouveaux mercenaires:

"'L'Irak, actuellement, est une mine d'or. La marge bénéficiaire est incroyablement élevée, bien plus que le facteur risque', relève Duncan Bullivant, le chef de la société britannique Henderson Risks."

Et l'Irak, actuellement, est aussi une mine de mort, mais pas pour M. Bullivant bien sûr.

Your Honor! You are too drunk to drive!

The Saudis are a rotten regime. Their departure from power is long overdue. So long as their corruption and oppressiveness continues, there will be more and more unfortunate terrorist attacks and bloodshed. Of course, I have my personal reasons to dislike the Saudi government: I was tortured to near death in one of their detention camps (also highly praised by the Red Cross as a wonderful refugee camp at the time). Here is the latest from the Kingdom of oil and extremism:

"Suspected Islamic militants wearing military-style uniforms sprayed gunfire inside two office compounds in the heart of the Saudi oil production region Saturday, killing at least 10 people — including an American — before taking dozens of hostages at a luxury expatriate resort. Saudi security forces stormed the walled Oasis Residential Resorts complex and surrounded the attackers on the sixth floor of a high-rise building, a police officer told The Associated Press. Security officials said between 45 and 60 people were being held hostage, mostly Westerners including Americans and Italians."

More "isolated" incidents of abuse (or war crimes, depending on the identity of the victims), in four more prisons in Iraq, according to Court transcripts.

Meanwhile, bus loads of prisoners are being released from the prison. A former State Department official told the Arabic TV, al-Aalam, today that Arabs and Iraqis should thank the Bush administration for releasing these people and promising to punish the "abusers". He actually said this. At the time, I remembered the words of a Civil Rights leader: "You do not stick a knife 9 inches in someone's back and pull it 6 inches then say I am making progress."

So Iraqis must thank the Occupation, under George Bush, for detaining mainly inncent people, subjecting them to Nazi-style war crimes, showing photos of their naked bodies, posed in sexually repugnant positions, to the entire world, and sending them home with broken ribs and no dignity a year later.

Is this man insane to ask for thanks?!

"A confidential report in February by the International Committee of the Red Cross said that 'military intelligence officers told the I.C.R.C. that in their estimate between 70 percent and 90 percent of the persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake.'" mistake.'"

The leaked composition of the government in Iraq does not look good as far as the Shi'a are concerned.

They lost all three important ministries: Defense, Interior, and Foreign Affairs. In return, they won the post of the Prime "Monster", that was given to Iyad 'Allawi, who is a Ba'athist to the core and he until now advocates the return of his comrades, the former Ba'athists, who tormented the Shi'a for decades.

Practically, there is not an inch of progress from where things were under Saddam Hossein. There is no chance in hell that stability is going to be achieved in Iraq. Or is this the idea anyway?! If so, it is not a smart idea. The Shi'a are too strong now to be reduced again into slavery like it was done by the British in the 1920's.

Any fair distribution should, at least, have given the Shi'a one of the three ministries mentioned above. The outcome, as it looks now, shows that the Shi'a on the Governing Council worried only about securing their personal interests and forgot about the future of the ordinary Shi'a. This will have grave electoral consequences in any future elections.

My esteemed reader, Mona, e-mailed me the following comment:

I am wondering about the use of the term Shi'ite? I married into a Shia family a few years ago and they never use the form "shi'ite" and have never heard it, but are not Arabic-speakers. My family has an Arabic, but Sunni, background, and they also say just "shia" or "shi'i". I have noticed that most books written by Shia so not use the term "shi'ite", but a few do. And you use it. I also note that most international (British and other) press do not use it, but the US press does. Just a quick glance at the stories about Allawi today will demonstrate the difference - I just checked the same story in the Guardian vs. the AP report and found that the Guardian used Shia where the AP used Shi'ite.
Do you have any idea about the history of this usage pattern? I can't help having a bad feeling that the US usage has deliberately settled on a form a word that looks and sounds like a vulgar word. Please tell me I'm being over-sensitive.
Not long ago on the show Queer Eye, one of the stars said "Oh Shi'ite Muslim" in place of "Oh sh*t". Since then I am against using the word on principle.


The terms Shi'a, Shi'ite, and Shi'ism refer to different derivations in English. The word "Shi'a" refers to the group of people who make a particular branch of Islam. It is a close transliteration (not perfect) of the Arabic word. The word "shi'a" in Arabic was originally meaning the partisans of someone. The Partisans of 'Ali, the cousin of the Prophet, were called "Shi'atu 'Ali". Then the name 'Ali was taken out and the word "Shi'a" referred exclusively to the partisans of 'Ali, unless otherwise clearly indicated.
"Shi'ism" is a derivation that refers to the school of thought (like Marxism and Capitalism). The Arabic word for it is (Tashayyu') -- again, it is not perfect transliteration because of the lack of the last sound, of the Arabic word, in the English language.
The more curious word, "Shi'ite", is an adjective that refers to the person who espouses Shi'ism. It is derived in a pattern with other words that refer to companion schools -- such as Mu'tazilite (Ar. Mu'tazila), Ash'arite (Ar. Asha'ira), and so on. The Arabic word is "Shi'i" (also incomplete transliteration). In this sense "Shi'a" is the plural of "Shi'i" in the Arabic language.

Finally, it is not completely correct to think that the use of Shi'ite occurs only in the U.S.; indeed, the word was coined by European scholars and it has been used even by highly respected scholars like the French, Henri Corbin, in his excellent book, Histoire de la Philosophie Islamique(1964). He even uses "Sunnite" instead if "Sunni".

Asaf A.A. Fayzee wrote a book titled, A Shi'ite Creed (Oxford 1942). In his works, Orientalist D. M. Donaldson used the term as early as 1933, and Orientalist W. Montgomery Watt also used the same term in the 1950's and 1960s.

Finally, I recently noticed that the newly established International Journal of Shi'i Studies requires that contributors use the terms Shi'a, Tashayyu', and Shi'i.

This article is an account of a former college-mate of Iyad Allawi. (thanks SC)

Although some of the allegations were made by his ex-wife (we all know the trouble with a marriage that goes south), but some of what is there is worth considering. Dr. Azawi's description of Mr. Allawi's college years is certainly similar to that of the Ba'athists during my lifetime in Iraq (lazy and incompetent students who walk around intimidating other students and bothering girls. No professor would dare give them a failing grade). Other parts also match what we read in the memoirs of Talib Shibib, as I mentioned in another post (pp. 51ff. & 165ff. -- Arabic text).

My Recent Interview with Bitterlemons-International. For some reason, I did not post a link before:

A poverty of choices
a conversation with Abbas K. Kadhim

BI: How would you characterize the situation in Iraq today?

Kadhim: It is a situation with fewer options for the occupying force and for the occupied people. That is usual in most cases of occupation. Things are not controllable because there are so many variables. More or less, the United States is choosing its type of poison.

BI: If the decision were made tomorrow to get out, would that be the best choice?

Kadhim: Getting out of Iraq has one big virtue and that is that it guarantees that the United States will not do any more damage, which [it is propagating] now every day because of its lack of understanding of Iraqi culture, demographics and politics, to say the least.

One the other hand, if it were to leave a vacuum, to tell 25 million Iraqis to form a government on their own, it does not take a genius to figure out that the consequences would include fighting among different groups that are armed and each that feels it has a monopoly on what is good for Iraq.

By leaving, the United States would have instigated a major disaster that is blamed solely on the United States. Yes, Iraqis have been handling their affairs for over a year with no government or authority--because nobody governs on the streets in Iraq. But that situation is mitigated by the idea that there are forces that would interfere. The risk is that it would become a war of all against all.

BI: Do you think that the photographs published of American soldiers assaulting Iraqis are a turning point in Arab public opinion? Or do the photos only confirm what was already believed?

Kadhim: Having suspicions is one thing, and having pictures is another. Iraqis and Arabs, even though they have contempt for the US government and a long history of disappointment, still gave the United States more credit than the reality revealed.

I was one of those who were really shocked by the brazenness of the humiliation. For a year and a half in 1991, I was in an American detention camp in Saudi Arabia. From that experience, I never would have thought that this could go on in an American camp, although I wasn't a POW. I was just a refugee who came to them after the war was over. These pictures demystified the idea of the democratic society, when put side by side with Arabs' own rotten dictators and torturers.

But if you read what is being written about the photos [in the press] and the statements from officials, the writings are all about America and what has been done to the American reputation or US prospects in the Middle East. No one is talking about what this has done to the hearts and souls of Iraqis for generations to come.

There is also another victim here--the victimizer, if you will. We cannot just say that these are rogue soldiers and that we have no responsibility for them.

But here is Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense, splitting hairs over the technical difference between abuse and torture, or the president going on Arab television and, instead of being a statesman and apologizing about what happened under his watch as commander-in-chief, he gives a boring lecture about "what we do in America." You can just imagine the difference if these were American soldiers being tortured and humiliated and exposed.

It does not bode well for the United States to be compared to Libya or Saddam's Iraq or Egypt or Syria. This is arrogant power, and a situation where people thought that they were untouchable, and a chain of command that did not pay attention. The United States is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to polish its image abroad by opening newspapers and satellite channels, and here come 20 pictures and all that money goes down the drain. This is treason, pure and simple.

BI: You know Iraq and you know the United States--what is your prediction for the future?

Kadhim: They are talking about turning things over to an Iraqi authority in about 50 days. No one knows, including the United States, who these people will be. There is backpedaling on so many principles--de-Baathification is now becoming re-Baathification; talk of a stable Iraq has turned into [a reality where] first a few cities, then a "triangle", and now nearly every city has shooting at Americans. You have a stifling of the media, especially of those who criticize the bad situation. You have the staff of American-sponsored papers collectively resigning. There is no plan and they are listening to the wrong people. Those who are in charge are too arrogant to admit failure.

Therefore, pulling out of Iraq is not an option. The United States does not want to give the impression that it was run out, or that it lost. They will keep practicing this incomplete occupation to delay the perception that the United States lost the war.

But staying is becoming unacceptable. It is costing a lot more money; [the government] just asked for $25 billion more as a supplement. Also, the cost in lives continues to rise. The costs of staying are unacceptable politically and on the ground, but the price of leaving is failure and defeat. Right now, you do not want to be in George Bush's shoes.-Published 6/5/2004©bitterlemons-international.org

A Rumsfeld protégé asserted that "Ahmed Chalabi is like the prophet Muhammad. At first, people doubted him but they came to realize the wisdom of his ways," according to the Christian Sceince Monitor.

I do not know who this "Rumsfeld protégé" is, but I am sure like hec that he did not know who Muhammed was.

I read erverywhere that Iyad Allawi is a Shi'ite Muslim. I don't know the meaning of the word "Shi'ite" when it is attached to Iyad Allawi's name. I guess it is like calling Saddam Hossein a sunni Muslim who led a Sunni regime.

This is also exactly like the phrase "Islamic extremism." There is nothing like that, from an Islamic viewpoint. There is Islam and there is extremism; there are Shi'ites and there are the likes of Allawi; and there are Sunnis and there are the likes of Saddam.

I like to see them as dichotomies, not matching pairs.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Some friends said they could not get the text of my most recent article in the Los Angeles Times. Here it is:

Official US Reaction Compounds the Rage
by Abbas Kadhim

BERKELEY — From the first moment of the Iraq war, President Bush and his advisors have failed to recognize that there are two Iraqs — one imagined in his postwar plan, the other real. The former was shaped by flawed intelligence, hollow Orientalists, cunning Iraqi exiles and wishful thinking. The latter remains a mystery to the U.S. occupiers.

After every dreadful event in Iraq, the administration's reaction reveals its dangerous attitude: It's all about the United States. Already, we have a pile of news articles and commentary on the effects the prisoner abuse scandal will have on the future of the occupation, U.S. credibility, Bush's chances for reelection and the reputation of the Army. What's missing is anything about the scandal's effect on the hearts and souls of the Iraqis. They are the ones who will carry the scars of this sad episode for generations to come.

The U.S.' self-absorbed angst plays well at home. But where it matters, in Iraq and in the Middle East, it only adds fuel to the raging fire. Arabs have a favorite expression for such behavior: "He slapped me and cried." The U.S. reaction to the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib has reinforced the prevailing view among Arabs that the life and dignity of an Iraqi — or any Arab, for that matter — is beside the point.

Equally damaging to the U.S.' standing was the spiritless language initially used by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in trying to dilute the seriousness of the misconduct. "My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe, technically, is different from torture," he told reporters after news of the scandal broke, as if this distinction would make all the difference in Arab minds. Such a technicality might impress an Army judge. But for a proud nation shocked by photos depicting the sexual abuse of its men, it represents callousness and insensitive rationalization in the face of a moral quagmire.

Most Iraqis feel their country has been raped twice, once by the U.S. military guards at Abu Ghraib and once by the indifference of their bosses. The recently resigned, handpicked Iraqi human rights minister was quoted as saying that he notified L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, in November about possible prisoner abuse, "but there was no answer." The minister was not even allowed to visit the prisons.

The apparent incuriosity of the top military officer in the U.S., Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, equally stands out. During his damage-control appearances on Sunday news shows last weekend, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admitted that he hadn't read the Army's latest internal report on the abuses, claiming that it was working its way up to him. At the time, Rumsfeld said he'd read only a summary of the report. Yet both seemed at ease in theorizing about its contents.

U.S. officials' pretentious displays of disgust over the abuse photos have frustrated and angered Iraqis. They know that steps taken in early days of the U.S.-led occupation made it inevitable that such atrocities would occur. Most notorious was Bremer's Order No. 17, which immunized all foreign soldiers in Iraq against any local Iraqi scrutiny; practically speaking, coalition authorities recognized a complaint against a soldier only if it was filed by a fellow soldier.

On those rare occasions when an Iraqi's complaint is addressed, insult is often added to injury. According to the New York Times, one Iraqi man was given $5,000 in compensation for the accidental killing of his wife and three children by a U.S. missile. Iraqis say that a gallon of gas is more precious than a gallon of blood these days. Yes, Iraqis have not tasted freedom and have not practiced true democracy. But they are masters at detecting oppression and contempt.

Bush often patronizes Iraqis by calling them "a proud people." Yet he fails to recognize that the photos of U.S. soldiers abusing and humiliating naked Iraqis are a direct blow to the essence of their pride. There is no room for rape counseling in Iraqi culture. Cruel as it is, this is the reality of their culture, and it cannot be ignored. It is also a cruel reality that all the approximately 10,000 Iraqi detainees have been stigmatized by the shame at Abu Ghraib, no matter what these detainees claim. This helps explain why many released prisoners don't return to their neighborhoods and why many of them may join the resistance against the occupation as a means to reclaim their pride and dignity.

This cultural divide is the main contributor to the crisis in Iraq. Iraqis expect Americans to do no less than translate their democratic rhetoric into reality, to respect local culture and adhere to the rule of law. The Americans, in turn, expect Iraqis to show gratefulness for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the opportunity to build a democratic society.

But Americans and their allies must understand that Iraq is not a pragmatic society when it comes to religion, culture and sexual mores. It is never acceptable to touch a woman and then come back later to express regret or, worse, offer money. In their culture, Iraqis would accept money and a public apology for the killing of a family member. But in matters of honor — sexual assault, for example — an apology is accepted only when it comes with the head of the perpetrator. Those who are unable to pay such a price had better not commit the offense in the first place. This is why Bush's appearance on Arab TV last week was insulting and meaningless. He can never have enough money to cleanse the shame that his soldiers inflicted upon the Iraqi prisoners, and no words can do this either.

The magnitude of this scandal is increasing so rapidly because there are no statesmen in charge of the situation. Bush had a golden opportunity to come clean and apologize to the Iraqis, but he didn't. When he did offer an apology, he seemed to direct it to Jordan's King Abdullah II, not the Iraqi people.

Talking points, creative definitions and legal jargon will not heal the wounded pride of the Iraqis. The prisoner abuse crisis is too overwhelming to simply go away. Therefore, prudence cries out for doing the right thing: The administration should stop treating the scandal as a political crisis or a public relations setback.

The nightmare goes on:
It's not just the shame that makes Azzawi's hands shake with rage. What makes the counterfeit photos so searing, for her, is the fear that they might hold some truth. Among the 1,800 or so pictures taken by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib, there are others, viewed by Congress but not released to the public, of at least one Iraqi woman forced to bare her breasts. And a US military investigator, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, cited at least one case of a military police guard 'having sex with' a female prisoner.

A spokesman denies that any of the five women now in coalition custody - three at Abu Ghraib, two more at other locations - have been abused. 'All of these women being detained have been treated humanely,' says Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the general in charge of detention operations. 'None of their families need to be concerned that their dignity has been tarnished during their detention.'"

All over Arab TV stations, commentators (they have those too) are saying that what happened to Ahmed Chalabi lately was nothing but an attempt to polish his image and give him some traction on the Iraqi street. In other words, there is some belief that Chalabi and the CPA conspired to stage the raid on his home and show that he is not on good terms with the Occupation because any sense of harmony with the occupation can be the kiss of death to the popularity of any politician in Iraq these days.

I do not know what the truth is. If you whant to opine, please use the "comment" space, creatively. No conspiracy theories, please! Only creative analyses!!!!

Chalabi's friends are trying to restore the bridges between him and the U.S.

"Influential outside advisers to the Bush administration who support the Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi are pressing the White House to stop what one has called a "smear campaign" against Mr. Chalabi, whose Baghdad home and offices were ransacked last week in an American-supported raid. Last Saturday, several of these Chalabi supporters said, a small delegation of them marched into the West Wing office of Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, to complain about the administration's abrupt change of heart about Mr. Chalabi and to register their concerns about the course of the war in Iraq. The group included Richard N. Perle, the former chairman of a Pentagon advisory group, and R. James Woolsey, director of central intelligence under President Bill Clinton."

The final phase of re-Ba'athification: Iyad Allawi is the strongest candidate for the post of Iraqi Prime Minister (or Prime Monster).

For those who don't know, according to the memoir of Talib Shibib, Iyad Allawi began his political life around 1963, as an assassin. We all know that he worked closely with British intelligence until the collapse of Saddam. The search of politicians in today's Iraq seems to be nastier than going through trash cans.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Jewish Artifacts Remain in Limbo in Iraq

The article reveals a gross discrimination in the treatment of Iraq's culture.

It is good that these artifacts are treated with dignity and given the care they deserve. It is shameful, however, that no one gives a damn about other aspects of the Iraqi cultue (mainly Islamic). Damage is done until this moment and not much is done to stop it.

"There are questions about who now owns the documents, where they should be housed and whether money will be available to restore them," the writer asks.

What a ridiculous question! Of course they belong to Iraq. The fact that the U.S. bombed the place where they were kept, and they were soaked in water, should not make Iraq responsible for the damage. They shold be kept where they belong, in Iraq, and be made available for scholars and other interested parties.

This article is interesting (in a bad way).

"Colonel West wanted the Iraqi policeman, Yehiya Kadoori Hamoodi, to think 'this was going to be the end' if he did not divulge what he knew. So Colonel West presided over what he considered a time-sensitive interrogation that grew steadily more abusive until he himself fired a pistol beside Mr. Hamoodi's head."

"Ninety-five members of Congress signed a letter to the secretary of the Army supporting the colonel." So much for the abuse being non-systematic.

Back to the article:

First, it is typically lamenting the harm that was caused by abusive behavior (what war crimes are now called) to the abuser -- not to the victim.

Second, it is disturbing that such a bully is going straight from abusing prisoners to a job teaching your children, Mr. and Mrs. America.

I say that he needs years of education himself to be made a normal human being again. What do you think?

The United States will pay a heavy price for the torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former chief of US Central Command, said on Wednesday:

"We couldn't have done something more horrendous to this culture than what is reflected by these pictures. It would have been better to have shown people being executed," he said.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"Nuclear scientist Hussain al-Shahrestani, a top runner for the post of prime minister in the interim government being assembled by the UN in Iraq, has " declined the offer.

Good for him. He is too good to be a puppet. Why tarnish a good name, which he risked his life to keep clean?

There is no glory in being appointed as a straw-man and stand by while an arrogant colonialist, like John Negroponte, the new U.S. occupation officer (AKA U.S. Ambassador) actually runs the country. Mr. al-Shahrestani will earn the votes of the Iraqis when real elections are held. I certainly would vote for him.

"The White House put government agencies on notice this month that if President Bush is reelected, his budget for 2006 may include spending cuts for virtually all agencies in charge of domestic programs, including education, homeland security and others that the president backed in this campaign year."

Money is most likely to be reallocated to funding the war machine.

Amnesty condemns U.S. terror war:

"The global security agenda promoted by the U.S. administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle," Amnesty head Irene Khan said, launching its annual report.

Jim Hoagland: "Five Points of Reality That Bush Overlooked"

It was said that when Mu'awiya, the founder of the 7th century Umayyad dynasty took over, he ordered one of the followers of Imam 'Ali to curse the Imam. The man was placed between his loyalty to the Imam and the brutality of the new ruler. So he thought of a clever way out. He said:

"O People! Mu'awiya ordered me to curse Ali. I ask you to join me in cursing him, and may Allah and all the angels curse him as well."

It was impossible to be sure to whom the word "him" was refering.

I was reminded of this story by a spineless declaration (Arabic text) issued today by Abdulaziz al-Hakim's office about the atrocities in Najaf and Karbala, the most sacred places of the Shi'a.

I read the condemnation seven times to figure out who was condemned, but with no success.

The consequences of Liberation in Karbala. A picture is better than a thousand words. Saddam did the same in 1991. However, he was more truthful than Bush, he never claimed a desire to liberate the town.

Iraqis disagree with Bush on the future of the Abu Ghraib prison.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

"An Army summary of deaths and mistreatment involving prisoners in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan shows a widespread pattern of abuse involving more military units than previously known.
The cases from Iraq date back to April 15, 2003, a few days after Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled in a Baghdad square, and they extend up to last month, when a prisoner detained by Navy commandos died in a suspected case of homicide blamed on 'blunt force trauma to the torso and positional asphyxia.'"

"From Abu Garib to Abu Garob: Simplistic solutions for simpletons by the functionally illiterate Bush."

"George Bush has a simplistic, at-a-stroke solution for his many troubles - sweep them under the carpet, smile broadly and pretend they did not happen," says Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey.

Shirin, your remark about Bush's pronounciation is addressed here. But first we have to ask him to master some English before messing with Arabic, which is, by the way, a much higher language to master. It takes an intellect way beyound the one he has.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, will leave his command this summer, to be replaced by the Army's second-ranking general, senior Pentagon officials said Monday. The change is part of an overhaul of the American command structure in Iraq that will put a higher-ranking officer in charge.

The U.S. plans to demolish the Abu Ghraib prison. I agree with the proposal that it should be turned into a museum or a historic site for generations to see and contemplate. If anything, it should tell the unwise that domestic dictatorship and foreign occupation can never be different.

President Bush's speech on Iraq.

No news, except for reducing Bremers Seven Steps (remember them?) to five. He also said:

"These two visions, one of tyranny and murder the other of liberty and life clashed in Afghanistan. And thanks to brave U.S. and coalition forces and to Afghan patriots, the nightmare of the Taliban is over. And that nation is coming to life again.

These two visions have now met in Iraq and are contending for the future of that country. The failure of freedom would only mark the beginning of peril and violence. But my fellow Americans, we will not fail. We will persevere and defeat this enemy and hold this hard won ground for the realm of liberty."

If he means that, at the end of the five steps, Iraq will be like Afghanistan today, I can only say, "God help Iraq" -- and Afghanistan too, while we are at it.

Jack Reed, an obscure Democratic senator from Rhode Island, to Wolfowitz: "Sensory deprivation . . . a bag over your head for 72 hours. Do you think that's humane?"

Wolfowitz: "Let me come back to what you said, the work of this government - "

Reed: "No, no. Answer the question, Mr Secretary. Is that humane?"

Wolfowitz, looking increasingly desperate: "I don't know whether it means a bag over your head for 72 hours, senator."

Reed: "Mr Secretary, you're dissembling, non- responsive . . ."

Wolfowitz, staring uneasily at the carpet: "I believe it's not humane. It strikes me as not humane, senator."

Reed: "Thank you very much."

One more alleged murder case for the investigators of Iraqi prisoners deaths.

T"he US military claimed in the note that Dr Izmerly, a distinguished chemistry professor arrested after US tanks encircled his villa, had died of 'brainstem compression'...The family commissioned an independent Iraqi autopsy. Its conclusion was unambiguous: Dr Izmerly had died because of a 'sudden hit to the back of his head', Faik Amin Baker, the director of Baghdad hospital's forensic department, certified."

Another "isolated" incident.

The text of the new U.N. resolution o Iraq: Sovereignty through Occupation.

The transfer of power seems to be from the CPA to the U.S. Embassy. Iraqis are allowed to sit by and watch.

A Must-Read Article.

Mark Kimmitt is out-performing Dan Senor in telling everything but the truth.

"There was no evidence of a wedding: no decorations, no musical instruments found, no large quantities of food or leftover servings one would expect from a wedding celebration," Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said Saturday. "There may have been some kind of celebration. Bad people have celebrations, too."

"But video that APTN shot a day after the attack shows fragments of musical instruments, pots and pans and brightly colored beddings used for celebrations scattered around the bombed-out tent."

"Kimmitt has denied finding evidence that children died in the raid...However, an AP reporter obtained names of at least 10 children relatives said had died. Bodies of five were filmed by APTN when the survivors took them to Ramadi for burial Wednesday. Iraqi officials said at least 13 children were killed.

A vedio and tons of wittness accounts cannot be considered evidence; there must be food left-over to prove that a wedding took place. Kimmitt and his ilk are changing the sentiments against the Occupation from rejection to despise.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Deputy Prime Minister Yosef Lapid, who also holds the Justice Ministry portfolio and is a Holocaust survivor, told Israeli radio that the country risked further international condemnation if the army continued its campaign of pursuing Palestinian gunmen, demolishing homes and expelling civilians from the heart of the populous Rafah refugee camp." He "deplored on Sunday the Israel army's offensive in the Gaza Strip, saying television images reminded him of the suffering of his family during the Holocaust.

Investigations revealed that the same guys who killed some Iraqi detainees (in a number of very isolated incidents) were involved in a number of other isolated incidents in Afghanistan. The government also may decide to accuse the same six guys for the assassination of President Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald could not act alone, there must've been another shooter; or as Seinfield said: "another spitter" -- in the face of our collective intelligence.

"And now we're shocked, shocked and awed to discover that a crook is a crook and we have nobody to turn over Iraq to, and the Jordanian embezzler-turned-American puppet-turned-accused Iranian spy is trying to foment even more anger against us and the U.N. officials we've crawled back to for help, anger that "may lead to civil war.

"Sanchez visited the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade's operation, which encompassed Tier 1A at Abu Ghraib, at least three times in October, according to Brig. Gen. Janis L. Karpinski, who was in charge of U.S. detention facilities in Iraq as commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade. That month, the serious abuses documented in published photographs -- naked detainees shackled together, a guard posing with a prisoner on a dog leash -- began.

In an interview yesterday, Karpinski said the number of visits by a commanding general struck her as 'unusual,' especially because Sanchez had not visited several of the 15 other U.S. detention facilities in Iraq."

The puppet Minister of Interior in Iraq, whose job is to protect the lives and property of Iraqis from the North to the South could not keep his own car safe. It was stolen in broad day-light in one of the busiest district in Baghdad (al-Mansoor).

Luckily, the Minister was not in it; otherwise there would be no one left to protect the lives and property of Iraqis, after the theft of their precious Minister of Interior. By the way, he was appointed to replace the previous Minister (Badran) who was considered "incompetent". Don't you dare to laugh!!!! A little smile would do!

"The Iraqi interim government that will assume control of the country on June 30 will enjoy 'all sovereignty,' and any limit on its authority will be self-imposed, said Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage...Asked if the June 30 transition of power to the Iraqis would be merely symbolic, allowing the United States, in reality, to continue running the country, he said, 'I don't think they'd put up with that.'" (thanks Shirin)

Of course! Especially in light of the possibility to wake up to find troops all over their bedrooms, like what happened to archpuppet, Chalabi!

While still is strong, freedom of expression in the U.S. is suffering and we are going down the dangerous road of equating loyalty to the country to the loyalty to the President -- a strong sign of authoritarianism.

"US director Michael Moore’s critique of George W. Bush’s war on terror, Fahrenheit 9/11, won the Palme d’Or best film award at Cannes yesterday, capping a festival dominated by politics."

"Disney, the parent company of Miramax which produced the film, said it did not want to distribute the picture in an election year."

Moore "dedicated his victory to his daughter and to 'all the children in America, Iraq and around the world who have suffered as a result of our actions.'"

"British and American troops are to be granted immunity from prosecution in Iraq after the crucial 30 June handover, undermining claims that the new Iraqi government will have 'full sovereignty' over the state.
Despite widespread ill-feeling about the abuse of prisoners by American forces and allegations of mistreatment by British troops, coalition forces will be protected from any legal action," according to the Guardian (thanks Merry).

Another signal to troops to go ahead and do more "isolated" incidents of torture. The new government in Iraq must ask these troops to get the hell out of Iraq and, if necessary, bring troops that cannot claim to be "above the law". I don't think that will happen, but it is the right thing to do.

Did Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez lie to Gongress?

"There was a news report published May 23, 2004, which suggests that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of Multinational Forces-Iraq was aware of, and in some instances, present at Abu Ghraib while detainee abuse was occurring."

The U.S. military said, "This report is false." But they also denied many things and they were not telling the truth. If this report is true, one wonders who else is part of this shame.

I watched the entire hearing with Lt. Gen. Sanchez and Gen. Abizaid (his boss). I did not like their story and their body language. They appeared to be avoiding the straight answers to many questions.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Sworn Statements by Abu Ghraib Detainees

If this cannot be called torture, then what the hell can?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Ils ne savaient pas (Merci Merry)
(17 mai 2004)

"Rumsfeld ne savait pas que l'armée qu'il dirige pratiquait la torture.

Colin Powell ne savait pas que les services qu'il dirige avaient menti sur les "armes de destruction massive".

Le général Franks ne savait pas que ses troupes avaient tiré délibérément sur des civils irakiens, des ambulances et des journalistes.

Le FBI ne savait pas que ses agents lui avaient envoyé des rapports annonçant le 11 septembre.

Le vice-président Cheney ne savait pas que chaque fois que les USA installent une base militaire, c'est sa société, Brown & Root, qui empoche.

Distrait, George Bush ne savait non plus que son élection avait été financée par les multinationales du pétrole et de l'armement.

Savaient-ils que nous ne les croirions pas ? Faisons-leur savoir!"

A very strong statement by Mr. Michael Berg. His son's tragic murder is one of the un-intended consequences of this "liberation."

Why would Chalabi steal cars?

By the way, I don't buy this sudden break of relations between him and the Americans. It sound very "curious!"

This morning I saw his puppet (imagine a puppet of a puppet!), Intifadh Qanbar, speaking on the Washington Journal. He sounded like Saddam in his criticism of the Occupation and Bremer. "We will not accept to be treated like second-class citizens in our country," he said.

He wasn't funny, I thought!

Here is a link to a recent comment I made to the Associated Press:

"Abbas Kadhim, ...said any Iraqi appointed by U.S. authorities will automatically be seen as illegitimate.
'Any good person, a person with qualifications, with potential, should refuse an appointment like this if he cares for a political future in Iraq,' he said."

My good friend, Juan Cole, seems to have another view on this particular appointment. He points to a sad reality in today's Iraqi politics (not very distinct from yesterday's).

I am back, and the site is back. So much happened in the past and few days. I will try to update the site as fast as I can.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Chalabi was speaking in very strong terms today. He condemned the daily killing of Iraqis: "enough killing of our sons," he said on al-Aalam TV.

I never liked him and I believe that he is self-serving, but he is right and his statements show how much the occupation lost in Iraq. They failed to win new friends and now they are loosing even their boot-licking friends. Ignorance is man's worst enemy.

"It's all there in the cheesy grin of the US army's Specialist Charles Graner and Private Lynddie England as they beam triumphantly for the camera over the Iraqi captives lying in a tangle on the floor in front of them - the sheer joy of torture. In image after image, the weaponless American soldiers can be seen ritually dominating their terrorised prisoners in the same way a hunter poses with his dead prey. Tellingly, the hooded and naked Iraqis have no identity; they are lumps of human meat to be ordered around at will by their captors," writes Kevin Toolis.

"Who commands the private soldiers?"


Sunday, May 16, 2004

Kuwait's council of ministers approved a bill giving women the right to vote and stand for parliament.

Don't jump in glee. We've been there before and went no-where. The Parliament is very likely going to shoot it down. Nothing is personal, but who want's to run against a more intelligent and more attractive opponent?

Some of these members of Kuwaiti Parliament are just a little smarter than the chairs they sit on, or maybe not even that.

Two months before pictures of Iraqi prisoner abuse became public, the family of one accused soldier wrote to 14 members of Congress that 'something went wrong' involving 'mistreatment of POWs' at Abu Ghraib prison."

"The strongest reply any of them got was a note saying what they already knew — that the Army was investigating, according to documents released last week by Specter's office and the family of Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Ivan L. 'Chip' Frederick."

White House counsel Alberto Gonzales allegedly told the President (who needs no such advice anyway) that the war on terrorism "renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions," according to this report.

In my humble opinion, a prisoner is a prisoner. Whether he was caught burning cats' tails or in war, he must be treated in a humane way. You got a special problem with him, fine! Put him on a fair trial and sentence him. But to torture people and then release them without a comment (like what happened to some Iraqi prisoners recently) is not the way to go. If they were terrorists, why release them? And, if they are not, why detain and torture them? Is this a complicated question to ask?

I don't know if this will help or hurt Kerry (nor do I care about Kerry's political chances), but it turned out that his "Grandfather Left Judaism Behind in Europe."

Run for president, and you will find people who volunteer to find out and tell you what your grandparents (Adam and Eve) had for lunch on their wedding day.

The worst I know in the entire history of ignorance, typical of all occupiers, is the entry of horses in al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo during the French occupation of Egypt. But the admission of dogs in Muslim mosques (especially major mosques like Abu Hanifa) is beyond ignorance. If true, this is equal to General Boykin's statement that the god of Muslims "is an idle." (thanks Shirin)

Le débat sur la torture fait rage outre-Rhin (Merci, Merry!)

"La lutte contre le terrorisme peut-elle justifier la torture ? Déclenché par les photos de la prison d'Abou Ghraïb, le débat agite depuis une semaine l'Allemagne, où il a développé sa propre dynamique, diffusément nourrie par le souvenir des exactions de la Wehrmacht. Le coup d'envoi a été donné dans un débat télévisé par un professeur d'université, Michael Wolffsohn. Les sévices infligés par les Américains aux prisonniers en Irak, constate-t-il, sont «terribles». Mais il y a une distinction à faire entre guerre conventionnelle et lutte contre le terrorisme. Dans le second cas de figure, dit-il, le recours à la torture «est légitime, car le terrorisme (...) n'a plus rien à voir avec les fondements de notre ordre civilisé. Si nous essayons de le contrer avec des méthodes de gentleman, nous échouerons»."


Can someone tell us what kind of animals some lawyers are?

In a sworn statement, Specialist Sivits described seeing Specialist Graner strike a naked detainee who had an empty sandbag over his head. "Graner punched the detainee with a closed fist so hard in the temple that it knocked the detainee unconscious," Specialist Sivits said.

Mr. Womack, Specialist Graner's lawyer, said he doubted the incident took place and questioned Specialist Sivits's veracity. If it happened, he said, his client had been ordered to strike the detainee. And, in any event, a certain amount of violence was to be expected, Mr. Womack said.

"Striking doesn't mean a lot," he added. "Breaking a rib or a bone, that would be excessive."

Mr. Volzer, the lawyer for Specialist Ambuhl, said what took place at Abu Ghraib was intimidation, not torture. "I wouldn't term it abuse," he said.

In defending against the charge that Sergeant Davis stomped on a detainee's feet, his lawyer, Mr. Bergrin, said he would make the case that the prisoner was not hurt.

"He may have stepped on the hands," Mr. Bergrin said, "but there was no stomping, no broken bones."

Here is the whole article.

"Christian Missionaries Battle For Hearts and Minds in Iraq".

Saturday, May 15, 2004

"Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the expansion of a secret program that encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners to obtain intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq, The New Yorker reported Saturday...The Defense Department strongly denied the claims made in the report."

As if he is expected to say, "Yes, I confess!!!"

"Iraqis should show the world in pictures that they want the occupation force to leave, says Mark Yannone."

"Do not allow yourselves to be trapped by coercion and empty promises. Just tell the intruders to GO. Hang banners, signs, and posters bearing the word GO. Your rights and sovereignty will be acknowledged when all foreign forces are gone, not before."

I was on the Alan Colmes Radio Show. He was, as always, an easy-going guy. There was another guest (Albert Michael) who says that he is an Iraqi. He almost was saying that Iraqis should beg Bush to be their President.

He also made several absurd claims and historical falsifications. I did point every one, of course. One thing about me is that I know Iraqi history very well. Imagine when someone speaks about something I lived through, while he was in London watching corrupt BBC & CNN reports.

"Le secrétaire américain à la défense, avec son orgueilleux 'unamerican' pour mettre à distance le scandale des tortures, désespère les meilleurs amis de l'Amérique. Nous nous sentions tous Américains au lendemain du 11 septembre 2001. Donald Rumsfeld nous rendrait tous non-Américains. Il est aujourd'hui le meilleur agent de l'anti-américanisme primaire, l'un des responsables de la propagation de sa plus grande vague jamais suscitée dans le reste du monde...La guerre au nom des 'valeurs' démocratiques. Il s'agissait de libérer un pays d'un tyran monstrueux et d'y installer un régime décent qui ferait tache d'huile dans la région. Le monstre était bien à Bagdad, en effet. Mais c'est à l'aune des valeurs que l'Amérique doit être jugée en Irak ; et, pour reprendre l'expression d'une éditorialiste de Time Magazine, 'cela voulait dire, au minimum, qu'on allait s'assurer qu'Abou Ghraib cesserait d'être une chambre de torture,'" writes Jean-Marie Colombani.

Friday, May 14, 2004

During a "clash of stupidities", the Shrine of Imam Ali was damaged.

"The Imam Ali shrine, the most sacred site in the Shia religion, was damaged yesterday after a day of vicious fighting between US forces and fighters loyal to the radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in the holy city of Najaf."

The "Valley of Peace" is now the Valley of War, where even the dead have not managed to stay away from the crossfire.

Among other infamous tyrants and idiots who damaged the sacred shrine we remember al-Mutawakkil (9th Century A.D.), the Wahhabis who attacked Iraq and tried to demolish all shrines over a century ago, and, of course, Saddam Hossein in 1991.

Every time you think that the Occupation is going to end its reckless behaviour, there seems to be more.

Mr. Berg's death is one of the tragedies of the "liberation" of Iraq. Equally tragic is that we may never know what really happened to him before he was kidnapped.

"[Q]uestions about Berg's stay in Iraq persist, including the time and place of his abduction. U.S. and Iraqi officials have offered varying accounts of their contacts with the self-employed telecommunications businessman from West Chester, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb.

U.S. officials said Wednesday that Iraqi police arrested Berg in Mosul on March 24 because they believed he may have been involved in 'suspicious activities.'
U.S. spokesman Dan Senor would not explain, but insisted that Berg was held by Iraqi - and not American - authorities. He said, however, that the FBI visited Berg three times before he was released April 6."

I must say that Dan Senor has made it impossible to trust anything he says, because of his addiction to spin and calling a spade a banana.

"In Mosul, police chief Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair al-Barhawi insisted his department had never arrested Berg and said he had no knowledge of the case.

'The Iraqi police never arrested the slain American,' al-Barhawi told reporters. 'Take it from me ... that such reports are baseless.'"

For the record, I do not believe that there is a conspiracy here. It is only a matter of chaos, anarchy and "liberation".

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The fruits of the Rumsfeld technical language in Iraq:

"In the poll, 80 percent of Iraqis surveyed reported a lack of confidence in the Coalition Provisional Authority, and 82 percent said they disapprove of the United States and allied militaries in Iraq," according to the Seattle Times.

"Only one-tenth of 1 percent said that the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council should name the government, which is supposed to run Iraq until elections are held next year. None said the occupation authority should."

Why is Bremer still in Iraq? What legitimacy can he ever have? Has he no shame, speaking on behalf of the Iraqis?

"Indicating a general skepticism of foreign involvement in their political future, 83 percent of those polled said that only Iraqis should be involved in supervising the 2005 elections."

"Thanks," the Iraqis say. "No U.S., no U.N., and No E.U. !!! We are not orphans!"

If Bush and Rummy are right, then 83% of Iraqis are freedom-haters!

Rashid Khalidi: U.S. "Policy Born of Ignorance!"

Quote of the month

MAUREEN DOWD: "The administration's demented quest to conquer Arab hearts and minds has dissolved in a torrent of pornography denigrating other parts of the Arab anatomy."

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The U.S. wants to give back the sovereignty to the Iraqis by June 30, but it is pushing as hard as hell to get a U.N. resolution that appoints a U.S. general to lead the thousands of foreign soldiers that will remain to terrorize the "sovereign" Iraqis, another U.S. general to lead the Iraqi army and yet another to lead the Iraqi police; and YES, a U.S. man (or a woman) to run the Iraqi OIL INDUSTRY.

Certainly Bush does not give up, does he?

It has been a while since I posted some good news.

The Iraqi soccer team is going to Athens. Today, they won their game with Saudi Arabia 3-1. The tie between Kuwait and Oman helped them, but they won with distinction and deserve to represent Iraq and the Arabs in Athens.

They played all games outside Iraq and without the advantage of their home-field. They also have Bremer to thank for making their training facility a military base, thus depriving them of the basics any team needs to compete, let alone to win. They had a strong set of adversaries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman) with everything they need, from world-class couches to five-star facilities. I'd say that this guy, Adnan Hamad, is a miracle maker.

You've got to love American politics and American voters, of course. Senator Kerry won the sympathy of so many voters by saying over and over that he re-financed his home to keep his campaign going. Well.. it turned out that his wife had "earned more than $5 million last year."

Next you will probably hear that Mrs. Laura Bush had sold her ear-rings to help "W" get re-elected.

A new poem by Sa'di Yousuf (Arabic text).

Naked, we'll go to Allah
Our garmets are from our blood
and the teeth of wolf-like dogs are our camphor

The cell was automatically closed
It was opened, and the female-soldier suddenly apeared...

The New Iraq:

"The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners — 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong — were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened. The Iraqi police, who operate under American control and are eventually supposed to help replace the occupation forces, are even worse — sending those who won't pay bribes to prison camps, and beating and burning prisoners, according to the report."

Also in the article: "Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who offered the astounding comment that he was 'more outraged by the outrage' than by the treatment of prisoners. After all, he said, they were probably guilty of something." I do not know how he made this conclusion, in light of the above statement by the Red Cross. And how many officials think like Senator Inhofe, one wonders!

Something, indeed many things, have changed forever in my country of origin (Iraq). I did not watch the tape of the murder of Mr. Berg. Not out of indifference, but I am not sure I can go through it. I was in battle and saw death when I fought against the soldiers of Saddam in Kufa. But this is different -- it must be different.

I have no words that can sufficiently condemn this type of barbarism. But I can say this: it is anti-Islamic and anti-human. Those who committed this cowardly cold-blooded murder deserve no less than what they inflicted upon Mr. Berg. Islam does not allow for self-appointed executioners. Muslims and Iraqis, in this case, must not hide or assist these murderers and terrorists.

Iraqi streets used to be among the safest in the world. The good people of Iraq must not allow this plague to penetrate deep in their midst. Terrorists have no religion other than terrorism and they are not friends for anyone.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

In case you have not seen some of the worst of war supporters' rhetoric, here is an example:

"Now, looking ahead, we face another irony. To earn their own freedom, the Iraqis need a victory. And since it is too late for the Iraqis to have a victory over Saddam, it is imperative that they have a victory over us. If the future textbooks of a free Iraq get written, the toppling of Saddam will be vaguely mentioned in one clause in one sentence. But the heroic Iraqi resistance against the American occupation will be lavishly described, page after page. For us to succeed in Iraq, we have to lose."

I thought that the original plan was a "win-win" !!!

Compare this madness with the views of economist PAUL KRUGMAN's take and you see the difference:

"Just trust us, Paul Bremer said, as he took over in Iraq. What is the legal basis for Mr. Bremer's authority? You may imagine that the Coalition Provisional Authority is an arm of the government, subject to U.S. law. But it turns out that no law or presidential directive has ever established the authority's status. Mr. Bremer, as far as we can tell, answers to nobody except Mr. Bush, which makes Iraq a sort of personal fief. In that fief, there has been nothing that Americans would recognize as the rule of law. For example, Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's erstwhile favorite, was allowed to gain control of Saddam's files — the better to blackmail his potential rivals."

Monday, May 10, 2004

The Iranian Legislature has voted in favor of a law to give women equal portion of the inheritance as men.

This is a good example of progressive reading of the Islamic code in response to the changes of societal circumstances. The state ought to have the right, with the advice of the scholars of religion, to revisit the laws and make some changes to fit the concerns of the time.

I will be on KFI in about ten minutes. If you don't catch it, I will try to post a text of the interview later.

"Coalition military intelli-gence officers believed 70-90 per cent of Iraqi detainees were 'arrested by mistake', according to a leaked Red Cross report on prisoner abuse, further details of which were disclosed yesterday," according to the Financial Times.

Of course, this only makes the scandal look worse. But even if they were bad people, which remains to be seen, it is still not civil or legal to treat them this way. The cop and the thief are not supposed to act in the same way. Civil people must use courts and prosecution not dark cells and persecution.

Also, in a recent Reuters article: "The Red Cross saw U.S. troops keeping Iraqi prisoners naked for days in darkness at the Abu Ghraib jail in October, and was told by the intelligence officer in charge it was 'part of the process', a leaked report reveals." Bush and his aids still insist that this is not systematic.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Not to "cut and run", when violated, will be "let's go home!" (thanks Peter)


Here is the link to my article in today's Los Angeles Times:

"From the first moment of the Iraq war, President Bush and his advisors have failed to recognize that there are two Iraqs — one imagined in his postwar plan, the other real. The former was shaped by flawed intelligence, hollow Orientalists, cunning Iraqi exiles and wishful thinking. The latter remains a mystery to the U.S. occupiers."

"Occupation officials have begun shifting more than $300 million earmarked for reconstruction projects to administrative and security expenses."

Saturday, May 08, 2004

I am in Los Angeles. I am trying to update the site from the MAC of my friend, Ahmed. I am learning MAC as we speak.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

"The media are fearful that these images will go down badly in the Arab world because 'they show Muslim men being humiliated by American women'. Again the not-so-subtle reduction of the Arab world to an entity that reacts only to religious prodding. Actually the photographs have confirmed people's belief that the US and Britain are not in Iraq as an act of goodwill. They have strengthened the feeling that there is a deep racism underlying the occupiers' attitudes to Arabs, Muslims and the third world generally," wrote Ahdaf Soueif. (thanks Roya)

"Looking at the front pages in Cairo this morning, President Bush might be forgiven for feeling he might as well not have bothered going on television to try to woo Arab opinion. The problem for the Americans is that no-one in the Arab world believes these are isolated incidents; everyone expects far worse yet to come," writes Paul Wood.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Quote of the day:

Thomas Friedman: "I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today."

"When the definitive history of the current Iraq war is finally written, wealthy exile Ahmed Chalabi will be among those judged most responsible for the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein. More than a decade ago Chalabi teamed up with American neoconservatives to sell the war as the cornerstone of an energetic new policy to bring democracy to the Middle East -- and after 9/11, as the crucial antidote to global terrorism. It was Chalabi who provided crucial intelligence on Iraqi weaponry to justify the invasion, almost all of which turned out to be false, and laid out a rosy scenario about the country's readiness for an American strike against Saddam that led the nation's leaders to predict -- and apparently even believe -- that they would be greeted as liberators. Chalabi also promised his neoconservative patrons that as leader of Iraq he would make peace with Israel, an issue of vital importance to them. A year ago, Chalabi was riding high, after Saddam Hussein fell with even less trouble than expected," writes John Dizard (thanks Peter)

Jalal Talabani, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leader and a member of the puppet Council in Iraq is more Royal than Bremer: (thanks Paulo)

"They should be punished. There is no excuse for them. But it is not also a matter to be so much exaggerated as if what happened is something very cruel, something ... to make a change in policy...The United States of America came and liberated our country and gave us this chance of democracy and human rights, and this prosperity we have is thanks to the Americans," he said.

He certainly has prospered, but it is absurd to claim that Iraqis have.

"But we believe that the incident would not have caused this kind of international public outrage had Washington strictly punished the soldiers involved and offered an apology to the Iraqi people and international communities when it became aware of the abuses. Now Washington is under suspicion of not having taken appropriate measures and having tried to conceal the case.
Abuse against prisoners of war is a violation of the Geneva Convention and a crime against humanity. The United States and the United Kingdom should thoroughly investigate the cases, punish the soldiers involved and offer apologies. They will also have to make clear explanations about the suspicion that the cruelty was planned and that intelligence agencies were involved. Only by doing so can Washington show that the barbarism of some soldiers does not represent the entire American society," wrote a Korean editor.

He does not know much about the arrogance of Bush and his aids who never apologize about anything, even war crimes. They'd rather let the world think whatever it wants than say, "We are sorry, we failed to do the right thing." This is common in all false prophets, like Bush.

"Mr. Rumsfeld instituted a system of holding detainees from Afghanistan not only incommunicado, without charge, and without legal process, but without any meaningful oversight mechanism at all. Brushing off his violation of the Geneva Conventions, Mr. Rumsfeld maintained that the system was necessary to extract important intelligence. But it was also an invitation to abuses -- and reports of those abuses have been appearing since at least December 2002, when a Post story reported on harsh "stress and duress" interrogation techniques bordering on physical torture. Other reports by journalists and such groups as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented the lawless detention and criminal treatment of detainees, including the deaths of at least two prisoners at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan that were ruled homicides by military investigators. Yesterday the Army revealed that two Iraqi prisoners were killed by U.S. prison guards last year and that 20 other detainee deaths and assaults are still being investigated in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one has been criminally charged in any of these deaths."

Quotes of the day

Senator Edward Kennedy said after an army briefing of the armed services committee: "I think the important point that I took from this hearing is that this does not appear to be an isolated incident and that there are additional reports in Iraq, and also Afghanistan...And I think we also have to find out [about] the conduct of personnel down in Guantanamo as well."

Donald Rumsfeld: "The system works."

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

More revelations:

"Army officials said the military had investigated the deaths of 25 prisoners held by American forces in Iraq
and Afghanistan and determined that an Army soldier and a CIA contractor murdered two prisoners. Most of the deaths occurred in Iraq."

"US general: Abu Ghraib abuse coverup," writes Tom Regan inthe Christian Science Monitor.

"The scandal over the treatment of Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib prison continues to grow. The Guardian newspaper reported Monday that US prison guards and interrogators attempted to hide the systematic abuse of Iraqi inmates from the International Red Cross.
The allegation by Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the former head of US military prisons in Iraq, is the first hint that the 'patterns of abuse' (as she described it) could go farther than originally expected. Brigadier General Karpinski was relieved of her command earlier this year during the investigation into abuse at the prison."

"The New Yorker reports that a military investigation carried out by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, uncovered evidence of 'war crimes' against the inmates, including: breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick. A report last November by Maj. Gen. Donald J. Ryder, the Army's top law-enforcement officer, concluded that military intelligence did not order US military police to "put pressure on Iraqi prisoners" to prepare them for interrogations."

"Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation and said the abuse of detainees was isolated, and not representative of the US military prisons elsewhere in Iraq. 'It's important to realize that it was American soldiers that turned these people in, and that as soon as we found out about it, we took very quick action to investigate that situation.'

Karpinski, however, says she warned her superiors about problems at the prison, but they just ignored her because 'they wanted it to go away.'"

The Shame of Abu Ghraib: Voices of Revulsion.

Bush does not read newspapers. His despicable aids and secretaries read but don't care. The American people read and forget 5 minutes later.

Egyptian Judiciary rejects unanimously a request of a film-maker to establish an "Israeli-Egyptian friendship organization".

"The Egyptian and Arab society has no need for this fake friendship," the court said.

The film-maker, a tasteless guy (I might add), was kicked out of Association of Cinema in Egypt. If he wants to be friends with the Zionists, he should go a head. But it makes no sense to go to the court to force this so-called friendship on the good people of Egypt. Can you imagine taking someone to court because he or she does not want to enter in what is believed to be a fake friendship? Whatever happened to common sense?

"The effort to produce a convincing explanation of what happened at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib prison comes as the State Department prepares to release its annual report accounting for how the United States supports human rights and democracy around the world. The report is due out Wednesday."

What do you think? Should the report mention the war crimes in Abu Ghraib prison?

If not, why not?

hint: all contries accused of abuses say "tourture is unacceptable," and they often pretend to punish some torturers. Indeed, their punishments are much more severe than the "time-out" the U.S. just gave to some officers recently.

Dr. Khalid al-Sultani's excellent article on the cooking of the Iraqi flag. (Arabic text)

Monday, May 03, 2004

Even puppets have a limit for enduring humiliation: (thanks Shirin)

Editor-in-chief of U.S.-funded Iraqi newspaper quits, complaining of American control. On a front-page editorial of the Al-Sabah newspaper, editor-in-chief Ismail Zayer said he and his staff were 'celebrating the end of a nightmare we have suffered from for months ... We want independence. They (the Americans) refuse.'
Al-Sabah was set up by U.S. officials with funding from the Pentagon soon after the fall of Saddam Hussein last year. Since its first issue in July, many Iraqis have considered it the mouthpiece of the U.S.-led coalition, along with the U.S.-funded television station Al-Iraqiya.
Zayer said almost the entire staff left the paper along with him and that they were launching a new paper called Al-Sabah Al-Jedid ('The New Morning'), which would begin publishing Tuesday."

You would expect the Occupation to respond by giving them more freedom. Indeed, here is the response:
"Hausman said Al-Sabah would continue publishing on Tuesday with a new staff." Typical 1920's U.S. labor rules!!

In Iraq, they say, "The fish begins to rot and stink from the head."

Former Iraqi human rights minister Abdel Basset Turki said on Monday that United States overseer Paul Bremer knew in November about Iraqi prisoners being abused in US detention centres.

"In November I talked to Mr Bremer about human rights violations in general and in jails in particular. He listened but there was no answer. At the first meeting, I asked to be allowed to visit the security prisoners, but I failed," Mr Turki told AFP."

This "former" puppet deserves credit for the resignation, but he stinks like all others for keeping his bloody mouth shut all this time, while his fellow Iraqis are being treated like sub-human by these war criminals and their despicable bosses.

"The US-led military coalition had cited human rights as a motivating factor in the invasion to oust Saddam Hussein," of course, after the collapse of the charade of the WMD's and links to al-Qa'eda.

And here is how fast things are moving in Iraq:

"Mr Bremer had initiated a process in January, along with Mr Turki, of opening a human rights office at Abu Gharib to provide detainees with information about visits and to serve as a liaison with friends. The office is expected to open next week."

May I remind you also thar back home, General Myers admitted that he is yet to read the report about abuses that was sent to him in February. "It is working its way to me," he said.

"Terrorists like Osama bin Laden have always intended to use their violence to prod the United States and its allies into demonstrating that their worst anti-American propaganda was true. Abu Ghraib was an enormous victory for them, and it is unlikely that any response by the Bush administration will wipe its stain from the minds of Arabs. The invasion of Iraq, which has already begun to seem like a bad dream in so many ways, cannot get much more nightmarish than this."

Bias Against Muslims Up 70%

"Muslims in the United States experienced more than 1,000 incidents of alleged harassment, violence and discriminatory treatment in 2003, a jump of 70 percent over the previous year, according to a report to be released today by a major Islamic advocacy group."

The outrage in America over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners

"I'm a little disappointed," said Dixie Long, an office manager at Allegany College, as she strolled through downtown on Sunday. "We were going over there to rid the bad leaders. It upsets me a little bit that some of our people would go over there and act just as bad."

As if they don't have enough enemies in Iraq:

"Dhia al-Shweiri spent several stints in Baghdad's notorious Abu Ghraib prison, twice under Saddam Hussein's rule and once under American. He prefers Saddam's torture to the humiliation of being stripped naked by his American guards, he said Sunday in an interview with The Associated Press...When al-Shweiri left American detention, he said his hatred for Saddam was replaced with one for America and two months ago he joined the al-Mahdi Army of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr."

Recently, a British officer said the US troops saw the Iraqis as 'untermenschen', a term Hitler used to describe Jews, gypsies and other 'racially inferior' groups," according to this article.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

US-Militär fürchtet Rache der Iraker

"Irakische Gefangene mussten sich zum Striptease ausziehen, US-Soldaten sprangen auf nackten Häftlingen herum: Nach den schockierenden Folterbildern will das amerikanische Militär die Täter hart bestrafen. Die Alliierten fürchten Racheaktionen der Iraker."

"Das ist das absolute Ende. Diese Bilder werden den Amerikanern das Genick brechen", sagte der Chefredakteur der in London erscheinenden arabischen Zeitung "al-Quds al-Arabi", Abdelbari Atwan, der BBC. Fotos von sexueller Misshandlung seien in der muslimischen Welt das "Schlimmste, was es überhaupt gibt".

And if you REALLY want to see how clueless the Bush administration is, here is their sorry idea of damage control:

"In Baghdad, U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the commander of the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, was being sent to Iraq to take over the coalition detention facilities."

As if Guantanamo Bay stands for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

"Shame on America. How can they convince us now that it is the bastion of democracy, freedoms and human rights? Why do we blame our dictators then?" asked Mustafa Saad, who was reading morning papers in a downtown Cairo cafe.

This man has not been watching al-Hurrah, the multi-million propaganda TV with the task of polishing the image of the U.S. in the Middle East.

Another Arab also seems to be deprived of the chance to watch al-Hurrah:

"America justified its invasion of Iraq by saying the country was under a dictatorship. Unfortunately, Americans are now torturing the Iraqi people in the same place Saddam tortured them," he said.

"The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Washington should investigate the superiors of soldiers accused of abuse.
'The brazenness with which these soldiers conducted themselves ... suggests they felt they had nothing to hide from their superiors,' said Kenneth Roth, executive director of the organisation.
'Their superiors should be closely scrutinised to see whether they created an atmosphere of impunity that fostered this abuse,' he said.
The release of the photographs was similar to the broadcast of amateur videos of Canadian soldiers in Somalia.
After the videos were broadcast in 1995, Canada disbanded its elite Airborne Regiment after its members tortured and beat to death a Somali teenager in 1993 when they were part of a UN peacekeeping mission there."

"Jamal Khashoggi, media adviser to Saudi Arabia's ambassador in London, said US officials responsible for policy in Iraq should be held responsible for such acts, which he said reflected 'deep contempt' for Arabs.

'It is a big failure. It is going to make people say 'what was wrong with Saddam?', he said."

Despite the shameful revelations of Nazi-like rapes and sexual assaults on Iraqi men and women, President Bush insisted in his weekly "radio spin" that the lives of Iraqis are better and better.

I believe that Bush owes the Iraqis an apology and a withdrawal from Iraq. He also owes the American people an apology for allowing the worst in this society to go unchecked under his nose. He is the commander-in-Chief of soldiers who sexually assault not only Iraqis, but their own female colleagues as well, as the several branches of the military admit.

But don't count on it!

The Daily Mirror published today some photos showing the "High Standards" one of the British generals spoke about. We already saw the standards held by some U.S. female soldiers.

Quote of the day

George W Bush (5/1/2003): "Mission Accomplished."

At the White House, Bush said the mistreatment of prisoners "does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America. I didn't like it one bit.''

Yes, it is done only in Iraq and where the U.S. Constitution does not apply. I believe you, Mr. President!

And the British were also doing a great job in "winning the hearts and minds" of Iraqis, Western style!

The prisoner - thought to have been a thief - had his jaw broken and his teeth smashed during an eight-hour ordeal after being arrested near the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
Bleeding and vomiting, he was eventually driven away from the army camp, still hooded, and thrown off the back of a moving vehicle. He was not charged with an offence and it is not known whether he lived or died.
The photographs were given to the Mirror newspaper by soldiers who said the horrific treatment of prisoners was widespread and was one of the main reasons why coalition forces faced such fierce opposition in Iraq."

So it is not the support for Saddam that causes this problem, as Rumsfeld keeps saying, day and night.

And here is something for you to laugh at:

"Last night the chief of general staff, General Sir Michael Jackson, condemned the incident.
Sir Michael said: "I am aware of the allegations which have been made today of the abuse of prisoners by British soldiers in Iraq. If proven, not only is such appalling conduct clearly unlawful, but it also contravenes the British Army's high standards."

"IF proven"? You have pictures, moron! What else do you want? And just what are those "high standards" you are talking about? The British army has a stinking history of war crimes as long as the history of Britain itself. Since when did you set these standards?!

Operation Iraq Freedom.

From the journal of an American soldier:

"Back around Nov an OGA prisoner was brought to 1A. They stressed him out so bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a body bag and packed him in ice for approximately 24 hours in the shower in the 1B. The next day the medics came in and put his body on a stretcher, placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away. This OGA was never processed and therefore never had a number."

January 22, 2004 (e-mail)

"Dear Mimi,

I am feeling so bad at how the army has come down on me. They always said that shit rolls downhill and guess who is at the bottom? I have asked for help and warned of this and nobody would listen. I told the battalion commander that I didn't like the way it was going and his reply was 'Don't worry about it. I give you permission to do it'."

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