Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Gesture"
Rahm Emanuel really does resemble a Banty Rooster which is why the drawing works -- or among the reasons it works.
C.I.'s been covering the Baha Mousa Inquiry in England since last month. She covers it again today. Today was a big day because they had a convicted War Criminal testifying. So a lot was going on and I thought I'd help out. I called and asked, before the snapshot was dictated, what I could cover? C.I. suggested I grab the video and its implications.
Before I get to that, William Gage presides over the inquiry which takes place in England. Baha Mousa died while in British custody in Iraq. He was working at a hotel and a raid took place to round up males. Baha was one of those rounded up. He was tortured in custody and he died in custody. Donald Payne was the big witness today. He is the War Criminal. From Wikipedia, here's background on him:
On 14 September 2003, a number of Iraqis were detained by British forces in raids on hotels in Basra. The detainees were taken to a three-room building in Basra, where they were questioned for 36 hours. Among the detainees was Baha Mousa, a 26 year old employee of the Haitham Hotel in Basra, who died as a result of the interrogation. The subsequent post-mortem found 93 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.. Detainees claimed that the British soldiers had held kicking competitions, competing to see who could kick the prisoners the furthest. Prisoners were also made to assume stress positions and were beaten and kicked if they failed to do so.
 Court Martial
On 19 July 2005, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith announced that Payne was being charged with manslaughter, perverting the course of justice and inhumane treatment of persons under the International Criminal Court Act 2001. On the same day, another ten soldiers were also charged with similar crimes, six relating to the death of Mousa and four relating to the death of another Iraqi, Ahmed Jabber Kareem Ali, on 8 May 2003.
The Court Martial was held in Bulford Camp, Wiltshire, after an investigation by the Royal Military Police. It convened in the autumn of 2006, and concluded six months later in April 2007, being the most expensive Court Martial in modern British military history 
During the court martial, Corporal Payne admitted he "enjoyed" hearing Iraqis call out during torture, describing their cries of pain as "the choir". He was cleared of manslaughter and perverting the course of justice. Six other soldiers were cleared of any charges.
After earlier pleading guilty to the offence of inhuman treatment of persons protected under the Geneva Conventions, Corporal Donald Payne was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, reduced to the ranks, and dismissed from Her Majesty's Armed Forces, on 30 April 2007. On all other charges, Cpl Payne, and the other defendants, were acquitted when the presiding judge, Mr Justice McKinnon, ruled that there was no evidence against them.
Mr Justice McKinnon suggested that he believed there had been some level of covering-up with relation to the case, when he stated during the proceedings that "None of those soldiers has been charged with any offence, simply because there is no evidence against them as a result of a more or less obvious closing of ranks."
C.I. covers various aspects of Payne's testimony but I'm just zooming in on the video. During the hearing, a video was shown. Payne was in the video. He was abusing and cursing the Iraqi detainees.
His verbal abuse included racist remarks. He was asked about prior experience in the military and whether he used racist language when dealing with people or prisoners in those countries? Payne replied that it was only in Iraq. Was he telling the truth? He might have been telling the truth. I have no idea. He has repeatedly lied to investigators. He admitted as much in his testimony today -- which was basically, 'I lied every other time but, this time, I'm telling the truth!'
Along with claiming that he didn't use racist remarks anywhere else he was stationed, he also claimed not to know the video was being filmed.
Gerald Elias pointed out that the video was clearly taken by a video camera and not by a cell phone. Payne replied that he didn't notice it. Elias then noted the spot in the video where Payne is clearly looking at the camera.
He continued to deny that he knew the filming was taking place or had taken place immediately after and that he had no idea who was doing the filming.
That seems hard to believe and a lot of what Payne stated was hard to believe.
He was able to identify the film. He stated that it was taken the same Sunday Baha was brought to the facility; however, he stated it was filmed a few hours before Baha arrived.
Able to identify all of that from the film but claims to not remember the filming?
Not buying it. My own best guess is that he didn't want to give up the name of the person who filmed it.
The film captured a presumably average day for Payne in Iraq and even he had to admit he was abusive to the prisoners in the film.
So that was the video story from the trial.
"TV: The nightly talk shows" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Conan. Jay's tanking in the ratings and Conan's not doing any better.
Why is that?
It probably doesn't help that he's wearing so much obvious make up. And all those male viewers he was supposed to attract? With that hair?
Hate to break it to everyone, but stick straight hair like Conan's doesn't 'curl' on the bangs on its own. Between the make up and the curled bangs, we wondered if we were watching a male comic or Hayley Mills getting ready to do a Disney feature in the sixties?
Conan oozes and drips drag queen. It's there in his mannerisms, it's there in his poses. In fact, he actually resembles Roger the alien on American Dad. Which would explain his need to be bitchy.
Jennifer Lopez? Oh, you know Conan couldn't pass up a joke about a woman.
Did we say woman?
Several times over.
A former beauty queen? You know she got dragged through the coals over a sex tape. And what was really appalling was that it was considered normal for sidekick Andy Richter to watch the tape (and apparently get off to it) but it was considered 'immoral' for Carrie Prejean to have made it.
Conan managed to insult many women in his 'comedy' routine. Sarah Palin? Jokes that she fears pictures being taken of her will "steal her crazy." He opened by noting it was Veterans Day . . . which somehow turned into a joke about Kirstie Alley's weight. If that seemed 'fresh,' you haven't watched TV in ten years.
We'd guess that was the expiration date on his 'joke' about Bill Clinton wanting a divorce. As is always the case with Conan, the man came off better in the 'joke' than did the woman. Or as he put it at another point in the show, "You fellas know what I'm talking about."
Yes, all the 'fellas' live to scream support to a heavily made up 46-year-old man who appears to have just left rehearsals for Kiss Of The Spiderwoman.
Amen. If you're a woman and you flip through the 'comedic' monologues, you quickly grasp that the joke is you. It's really disgusting and, for those who wonder, no Johnny Carson and other pioneers did not have to rely on this sort of nonsense -- despite the fact that they did monologues in far less 'enlightened' times. It really is a characteristic trait of the time we live in now, this sexism. It really is.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, November 16, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, a War Criminal testifies in England giving contradictory answers as to why he abused Iraqis, new problems with the 'intended' elections in January, Warren P. Strobel and Sahar Issa don't seem to grasp that McClatchy signs their checks, and more.
Today the US military announced: "Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq -- A Soldier, assigned to Multi-National Division -- North, died Nov. 16 from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. Members of the Soldier's patrol immediately performed medical treatment and evacuated the Soldier to a nearby U.S. medical facility where the Soldier died of injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website [. . .]. The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the war to 4363.
AFP reports that 13 Sahwa members have been assassinated in Sadan village today. Sahwa is also known as "Awakening Council" members and "Sons Of Iraq" and were placed on the US payroll by the US military in an attempt to -- according to US Gen David Petraeus and then-US Ambassador Ryan Crocker in testimony to Congress in 2008 -- to get these Sunnis to stop killing and wounding US military service members and to get them to stop destroying US military equipment. Nouri al-Maliki was supposed to have taken over payment for the Sahwa near the close of 2008. He was also supposed to have integrated them into the Iraqi forces. Neither's happened. Despite non-stop media hype in November and at the start of this year and again in April, Nouri had still not taken up payment and the bulk were not integrated into Iraqi forces. (Nouri repeatedly stated -- as late as mid-2008 -- that he had no intention of bring Sahwa into the Iraqi forces.) Last week, Richard Sale (Washington Times) reported, "A [US] congressional staffer who spoke on condition that he not be named because he was discussing sensitive intelligence said that after the U.S. stopped paying Sunni forces directly in June, it wasn't long before payments to the tribes 'simply stopped. You got paid if you were a power in the government, and the tribal leaders were last on [Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki's list,' the staffer said." AFP reports that the 13 were killed "execution-style" by assailants wearing "Iraqi army uniforms". Among those murdered was Sahwa leader Attala Ouda al-Shuker and his three sons. Xinhua has a text and audio report here. The attack is being blamed (by Iraqi officials) on, you know this is coming, al Qaeda in Iraq. What was, according to Petraeus, a very small group and, according to the now top US commander in Iraq Gen Ray Odierno, a group that had suffered severe push back must be the most well connected group in the world if they're doing everything they're accused of. And the way they manage to get all these Iraqi military and police uniforms. Simply amazing. (Alternative explanation: It's predictable and unbelievable to blame every incident of violence on al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.) An unnamed US "intelligence official" tells Warren P. Strobel and Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) that the assassinations raise concerns about Sunni vulnerability in the near future and also the "regrouping" of al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Regrouping? To listen to Nouri al-Maliki, they organization is huge and thriving and always has been.
We'll come back to Strobel and Issa in a moment (and it won't be pretty). For now let's move over to the other reported violence today -- reported. Because violence goes on constantly in Iraq and the bulk of it is never reported (which is how those mass graves still pop up every few months).
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi service members and left six civilians injured, a Mahmoudiyah bombing which claimed the lives of 6 Iraqi service members and left six more injured, a Falluja double bombing of two homes which reulsted in six people being injured, a Falluja triple bombing of homes which left eight people wounded and a Kirkuk car bombing which claimed 6 lives and left eight people injured.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person was shot dead in Kirkuk and two more were injured.
Hey, for 'funs' let's see how many of the above incidents were reported on by Reuters today in their 'factbox'? Okay? Five bombings and 1 shooting -- all today -- according to McClatchy. Reuters reports only 2 bombings today and no shooting in Kirkuk. Wow. I guess if you were only going to go by one outlet for your information, it wouldn't be smart to depend on Reuters to discover how many Iraqis die each day, huh?
But two do just that. And now we're back to them. Warren P. Strobel and Sahar Issa sag the jeans, flip the caps around and toss some signs while asking:
Wanna copy me and do exactly like I did -- yeah! yeah!
Try 'cid and get f**ked up worse than my life is -- huh?
My brain's dead weight
I'm tryin' to get my head straight
That's the only excuse for their writing the following: "So far, November has been the least violent month in Iraq in recent memory. According to the Web site icasualties.org, political violence has killed one U.S. soldier and, before Monday, 12 members of the Iraqi security forces and 29 civilians. The site says that the civilian casualty figures are incomplete, however, and the true numbers are undoubtedly much higher." That's two wrongs. Let's break them up.
1) ICCC says "political violence has killed one U.S. soldier" -- is that what reality is? What a stupid, idiotic thing to write. Shameful. We've already noted one death announcement from the US military released today. It has one thing in common with every other announcement this month? Do you know what that was? Strobel and Issa were too busy free stylin' to notice. Here's the key phrase in every death announcement from the US military (Iraq only) this month:
* US military announced: "The incident is currently under investigation."
*US military announced: "The incident is under investigation."
* US military announced: "The incident is under investigation."
* US military announced: "The incident is under investigation."
*US military announced: "The incident is under investigation."
Get the picture? "The incident is under investigation." So you really don't know how the person died. That includes, please note, the helicopter crash last week.
2) ICCC says X number of Iraqis have died? Who the hell cares what they say?
It is offensive for anyone to use the ICCC 'count' but especially for McClatchy. In October, I warned we would rip apart the next IDIOT who used it. ICCC is not doing a count. It is noting Reuters. They don't even include -- pay attent Strobel and Issa -- McClatchy in their 'count.' As Warren should know and Sahar damn well knows (as does Laith and Jenan and everyone else who does their daily roundup of violence), McClatchy covers a lot more violence on any given day than does Reuters. In fact, we just proved that earlier in the snapshot.
ICCC's count is 41 dead so far for the month? Well let's check. Okay?
From Third November 8th: "Sunday saw 25 Iraqis reported deaths and 97 injured. Monday saw 4 reported dead and 3 reported wounded. Tuesday saw 3 reported dead and 10 reported injured. Wednesday saw 7 reported dead and 25 reported wounded. Thursday saw 5 person reported dead and 15 reported injured. Friday saw 4 people reported dead and six people reported injured. Saturday saw 3 reported dead and 3 reported injured. Totals: 51 reported dead, 159 reported wounded -- and many more people were killed and wounded than were reported." From Third November 15th: "Sunday were reported 8 dead and 6 were reported wounded, Monday it was 2 dead and 15 wounded, Tuesday it was 4 dead and 2 wounded, Wednesday found 3 dead and 5 wounded, Thursday it was 6 dead and 10 wounded, Friday there were reported 3 dead and on Saturday the number killed was 3 and the number injured was 6. [Saturday's number may be 4 -- we are going with 3, use links and you'll see why.] For a total of 29 reported dead and 44 reported injured." Now that leaves aside yesterday and the death total is 80 and the wounded is 203.
ICCC does nothing but count Reuters (click on their links). They ignore McClatchy, they ignore Los Angeles Times and everyone else. They do a "Reuters" "count." Reuters which can -- and has -- gone a whole day without publishing anything from Iraq. Reuters?
You don't use ICCC for the Iraqi death toll. ICCC does such a BAD job on the death toll of Iraqis that even the Ministries in Iraq have a higher death toll at the end of each month. It's a joke and you make yourself a joke when you use it.
If you are McClatchy Newspapers, you're an ASS for using ICCC's count of Iraqis killed. Why? Because ICCC doesn't even register you. And I happen to know what the economics at McClatchy are right now and I damn well know that promoting a count that doesn't even acknowledge McClatchy's reporting is going to be seriously frowned upon by the ownership. So get your act together. And grasp that when the bad news comes down after the holidays, you're really not going to want to be looking around and wondering, "How responsible am I for it?" Translation, you shouldn't be promoting Reuters or anyone else's count. You do a daily roundup of violence, you should be keeping track of that and have your own monthly count. It's not difficult. When Nancy A. Youssef was in charge of Baghdad, she was able to see that McClatchy kept their own count. When McClatchy has the capability right now to do their own count, they really shouldn't be promoting some other outlet's count. That's bad business. And no one can afford it in this economy.
In England there is an ongoing inquiry into Baha Mosua's death -- Baha is an Iraqi who died while in British custody. The November 9th snpashot noted that day's developments: British soldiers Gareth Aspinall and Garry Reader testified that Baha was abused repeatedly while in British custody, that he was beaten to death and that they were ordered to keep quiet about what took place. This morning, Robert Verkaik (Independent of London) reported that Donald Payne, already convicted for his role in Baha's death (and kicked out of the military) will testify today. Verkaik notes that Reader and Cooper identified Payne and Aaron Cooper as being responsible for the death of Baha -- to clarify that, they did not see him killed. They saw Payne and Cooper enter the room, they heard the cries and shreiks of Baha while the two were in the room and they saw Baha died after the two men left the room. The Daily Mail reports that Payne has testified today that he saw "every member of the unit commanded by Lt [Craig] Rogers, known by the call sign G10A, 'forcefully kick and/or punch' the group of Iraqi prisoners that included Mr Mousa." Payne also asserted that abuses covered up by him were done due to "misguided loyalty."
Under questioning from Gerald Elias, Payne stated that the purpose of the hooding was to "disorient" the prisoner. Elias then went through various documents before picking back up on this thread.
Gerald Elias: You were told, you say, about the shock of capture. What do you remember being said about the shock of capture?
Donald Payne: Keep it going.
Gerald Elias: Were you told why?
Donald Payne: No.
Gerald Elias: Your statement goes on: ". . . lack of sleep and to keep prisoners confused as much as we could."
Donald Payne: Yes.
Gerald Elias: Was anything said as to what the purpose of that was: shock of capture, lack of sleep?
Donald Payne: It was to aid the tactical questioner, or the interrogator.
Gerald Elias: How did you understand it aided the interrogator to maintain the shock of capture, lack of sleep and keep them confused?
Donald Payne: So that they were disoriented when they was questioned.
Gerald Elias: That was your understanding, was it?
Donald Payne: Yes.
Gerald Elias: You go on in this statement to say: "We were to keep this up until tactical questioning was completed."
Donald Payne: Yes.
Gerald Elias: Was that what you were told?
Donald Payne: Yes.
Gerald Elias: What did you understand then would happen when tactical questioning was completed?
Donald Payne: They could go to sleep.
Payne referred to receiving orders from a superior doing a handover but he stated he could not remember who it was or what he looked like. This was when, according to Payne, they were informed to keep the prisoners hooded and in stress positions until questioning ended. Not noted in the exchange but worth noting here is that questioning was not a few hours. For example, Baha's questioning went on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and might have continued was he not murdered Tuesday. While he was alive and in British custody, his questioning never ended. The Chair of the inquiry, the Right Honourable William Gage, asked for a clarification regarding when the stress positioning and other things ended and Payne established that it ended not when they were done questioning the prisoner but when they were done questioning everyone brought in with that prisoner.
Gerald Elias: Did you find this instruction from the TQer contrary to what you believed to be your orders for humane treatment of detainees?
Donald Payne: Yes.
Gerald Elias: Did you raise that question with anybody?
Donald Payne: No.
Gerald Elias: Why not?
Donald Payne: Never did.
Gerald Elias: Why not?
Donald Payne: Just didn't.
The "misquided loyalty" was a prepared statement he submitted to the inquiry today before questioning began. Gerald Elias asked him about that and about his admission that, despite what he stated previously (including in his court-martial), he did use "greater" force with each visit to the prisoners brought in with Baha.
Gerald Elias: Did your conduct in fact include kicking and punching --
Donald Payne: Yes.
Gerald Elias: -- routinely to detainees?
Donald Payne: Yes.
Gerald Elias: And in relation to these detainees, what I have called the Baha Mousa detainees, why did you involve yourself in kicking and punching them?
Donald Payne: No reason.
Did others do that as well? Yes, Payne stated, the whole multitude. Everyone but, under questioning, the drivers, he declared. But he could not give specifics, he stated he just knew that everyone was involved at one time or another because he saw them.
As Elias brought in Payne's past statements -- now agreed to by Elias and Payne to have been lies -- Payne yet again did a turn around. From the "misguided loyalty" excuse for his silence in the prepared statement he submitted to . . .
Gerald Elias: Can you help about this, Mr Payne: why were you lying about orders that you had received?
Donald Payne: Self-preservation.
Payne took issue with Gerald Elias suggestion that the prisoners were given "a regular beating" by the Payne and those serving with him, "I wouldn't say a regular beating, no. [. . .] They were given a beating, yes, but not constant." Under questioning from Elias, it was established that Baha and those in his group were being beaten for 48 straight hours. It might have continued after that, Payne didn't know. He stated that he left after Baha died.
Gerald Elias: From that time of assaulting the detainees on the Sunday evening through until the death of Baha Mousa, should the Inquiry understand -- tell me this is wrong if it is -- from your evidence that more or less whenever you went back to the TDF you would involve yourself in more violence of this kind?
Donald Payne: Yes.
We'll stop there. I don't believe Payne's account of his last treatment of Baha and don't see how anyone reading the transcript could believe it. It was all the more embarrassing when you grasped that Payne had already been convicted -- meaning there was no reason to continue lying, especially when he kept insisting that 'this time' he was 'finally' going to tell the truth. Stephen Bates (Guardian) observes, "Other members of the unit told the inquiry they covered up a violent assault by Payne on Mousa shortly before he died. Former private Aaron Cooper told the inquiry in a statement: 'He seemed to completely lose his self-control. He started to lash out wildly, punching and kicking Baha Mousa's ribs. Corporal Payne also certainly kicked Baha Mousa's head, which rebounded off the wall'." Michael Evans (Times of London) reports, "Colonel Daoud Musa, Mr Musa's father, who attended the hearing today, emerged tearful from the morning session."
Meanwhile news out of Iraq is the possible blocking of the election law Parliament passed last Sunday. Waleed Ibrahim, Michael Christie and Micheal Roddy (Reuters) reports Iraq's Sunni vice president, Tariq al-Hashimi, has stated the law needs to be changed to allow external Iraqi refugees to participate and to be represented. If the law is not changed (by Tuesday afternoon), he states he will veto it. (The Presidency Council is made up of Iraq's President and two vice presidents. After Parliament passes a law, it goes to the council which decides whether to implement it or not.)
On the latest Inside Iraq (Al Jazeera) which began airing Friday, host Jasim Azzawi was joined by Orhan Kettene (Turkman Front), Mundher Adhami (King's College) and Firyad Rawadnouzi (Kurdish MP) addressed the 'intended' elections.
Jasim Azzawi: So finally the Iraqi Parliament has passed this long delayed law. Many people, they called it a great achievement. Firyad Rawandouzi, this law stipulates we are going to use the open list in comparison with the closed list that was used in 2005. It is going to separate religion from politics by removing the religious symbols. So is it really a good law in comparison with the old law that belongs to the old regime?
Firyad Rawandouzi: Actually the demand of the Great Ayatollah Sistani was there. Therefore the most political blocs in the Parliament go for open list. And I think that this open list will create a little bit of change in the political map of Iraqi Parliament in the next election. But it not going to be a great change.
Jasim Azzawi: But all yardsticks, Orhan Kettene, Iraq is far from democracy. The fact that elections are day in, day out that does not make Iraq a democracy, far from it. There is, has to be, a culture before that. But since you are an activist representing the Turkmen and their interests and perhaps, people say, their plight, how do you look at this election in light of the fact that some Turkmen, they accuse the Kurdish authorities in Kirkuk, they have resettled by force hundreds and thousands of Kurdish Iraqis either from the north or even from other parts of Iraq -- from Salahuddin, for instance.
Orhan Kettene: Well we don't see it as a democracy with full meaning of the word because in 2003, when the invasion removed the old regime, the Turkmens had very high hopes that the justice, democracy, equality, equal participation will show itself finally and they will have a voice finally in Iraqi politics after being deprived from that right for over nine years. But the fact is they were surprised with a flood of Kurdish people from other parts of Iraq, especially from the north. And they filled the city. There is no space left in the city. And it was claimed that they were refugees from Kirkuk. And we know in Kirkuk where -- which areas were demolished, which people were removed. So the people were surprised by this influx. And now we are faced with doubling the number of constituents. Kirkuk used to be 369,000 in 2004 and now it's 800,000 and Turkmens regard Kirkuk as the cultural center of Turkmens in Iraq. And the whole Iraqi people know Kirkuk as a Turkmen city. But over the years, by the Ba'ahtists' racist pressure lots of Arab people were forced to be --
Jasim Azzawi: Orhan, let me give a chance to Firyad to answer that before I go to Mundher. Make it very short, Firyad.
Firyad Rawandouzi: I don't think that this accusation is right because since 2003, we hearing from various people in Kirkuk and other areas that Kurdish people fled to Kirkuk and occupied the city. And the fact is that many thousands of Kurdish people were displaced by Saddam Hussein's regime since 1997 to 2003. And those people now have opportunity to return back to this city, to their home, and get their property too. Therefore, we, everytime hearing this accusation but --
Jasim Azzawi: Except for the fact, Firyad Rawandouzi, and that is the United Nations, the envoy, has cast a great doubt about the numbers that currently live in the city, trying to find out their origin. More importantly, in 2003, in May, in the Attaakhi newspaper which is a Kurdish newspaper, mentioned in an article published at the time that the number of people expelled out of Kirkuk by Saddam Hussein exceeded 16,000 while the extra influx Orhan Kettene referred to now --
Firyad Rawandouzi: No.
Jasim Azzawi: -- runs in the
Firyad Rawandouzi: No.
Jasim Azzawi: -- hundreds of thousands. We'll come to that in just a few moments. Mundher Adhami, in 2005 a great segment of Iraqi socieity opted willingly not to vote in that controversial election and now, in 2009, most probably, all of them, they will be voting. Will they be voting willingly or will they be voting for other considerations?
Mundher Adhami: There is two level in this. One related to the political groups in the Green Zone and outside the Green Zone -- the so-called Red Zone. And the other one is in the public, in the streets. In the political groups, the United States is making huge efforts in order to cajole and invite everybody including the people who were part of the resistance or insurgency or anything to participate. And they're trying to give them guarantees. But there is a great doubt about these guarantees because a lot of the guarantees which were given before about the Constitution, about other things in the political process did not materialize. But on the street this is complication that there are people who actually participated in the 2004, 2005 and the local elections and they are very disappointed. There is an improvement gradually in the provincial elections but even then they were not happy with the -- with the manuevering of the electoral commission. On the other hand, the areas which did not vote a great deal in 2005 and not vote at all in 2004, they are thinking that they have been marginalized by not voting and they are willing to give it a go regardless because they have nothing to lose. They have been marginalized --
Jasim Azzawi: So there is a fear that they might receive the short end of the stick by not participating in the political process and, consequently, they might have a lot to lose. Orhan Kettene, why would you be worried, especially that this political deal that was struck between the various political parties that stipulates that if the results of the election in January -- especially for Kirkuk -- is exceeded by 15% than the last election there might be going back to the drawing board and finding some sort of a compromise.
Orhan Kettene: Well we don't have great faith in reviewing election results because, back in 2005, we had lots of complaints and we gave it to the High Commission. They said they reviewed it and nothing happened. And all these violations, these frauds, these horrible acts done against this people, no results came out. And now they are talking about postponing this problem without solving it -- let's do the elections and, after that, we'll form a commission and then we'll review all the issues. The experience tells us that once things are done deal in Iraq, there is no way to go back. So if we have these elections --
Jasim Azzawi: So you're extremely cynical and you don't have faith, in the words of the Iraqi politicians? How about that, Firyad Rawandouzi? And before you answer, let us just take a recent example. For instance, in the provincial elections that happened just a few months ago, when in Mosul the elections actually reversed the results of the 2005 and it gave the Arabs the majority in the governorate as well as in other parts of the city. And yet, to this day, they cannot exercise their political powers. So why should Turkmens and the Arabs in Kirkuk trust in this deal knowing full well there is no honor among the Iraqi politicians to adhere to this, the outcome?
Firyad Rawandouzi: I don't know. You might ask them. But in my point of view, they should go forward with the election because it is a good chance to exercise their rights. And I think that Kirkuk is a little bit different from other provinces and Arab, Turkmen, Kurds and Christians should exist in Kirkuk and make a compromise even in running the country. But in the general election something is different because the general election and the result of these elections will not left an impact on the future -- political future in Kirkuk. For example, we are now in the Parliament five member. We have five member representing Kirkuk and others have four. But this -- we exercise the majority but that does [not] mean that we impose any kind of a solution.
Orhan Kettaneh: Let me ask who is rulling the street? Who is holding the security? Who's touring the streets and letting the people do what they want? It's the Kurdish Asayish which is security force, it's the Kurdish militia, armed militia, called Peshmerga. They are in every street, every corner. They are the ones who command the city. So during elections, we had hundreds of examples that they took away the boxes, the ballot boxes, and they changed it. And next day, all we can see is these completely Turkmen quarters, the votes come completely in the favor of the Kurdish parties.
Firyad Rawandouzi: No, that is not right because -- this is not right because Turkmen divided among themselves and they could get -- couldn't get seats in the Parliament so they put the accusation on the others. I think that the law this time and even the voter registers are completely different and they should go forward with the election not put accusations on the other. I think it is very important for Turkemn to cooperate with Arab with other persons to make everything succeed, this election in Kirkuk. As I said this election and the results --
Orhan Kettaneh: Well it is, sorry, excuse me, the Turkmens are not divided. The Turkmens are united but they don't have chance, they don't have chance --
Firyad Rawandouzi: This is not right.
Orhan Kettaneh: No, they don't have
Firyad Rawandouzi: This is not right. There is a huge, there is a huge difference between East Turkmens and even East Turkmens and those linked to Turkey and those linked to Iran and those to others. You're saying something is not -- you can't find it on the ground
Orhan Kettaneh: No, that's not true. I find the Shi'ite Turkmens and the Sunni Turkmens are one people and they don't see any difference betwen the other. What you say about Shi'ites --
Firyad Rawandouzi: I don't say that they are the same people but they are different political parties, they --
Jasim Azzawi: Let me bring Mundher Adhami who has [loud cross-talk] Let me bring Mundher Adhami who has the following
Munher Adhami: Could I say? Could I just say?
Jasim Azzawi: Munher Adhami, hold on just a second. Let me ask you something. Somehow you cannot help but be sympathetic to the people who were bitten once and they don't want to be bitten twice. What happened in Mosul and what happens to the Constitution if you remember very well. Article 141 states that before 2007 is out, Iraqi Parliament will convene again and will review the entire Constitution and amend it according to political deal. So as we speak right now, politically and Constitutionally, Iraq is run without a Constitution, isn't it?
Munher Adhami: Yes. That's right. That's exactly right. I mean the whole process if faulty on various steps. This election is being run on a Constitution which should not be there because it should have been revised. So that's the first fault. The whole Constitution and the whole election laws so far has been done according to [former US Adminstrator of Iraq L. Paul] Bremer's laws which came after illegal occupation. So that whole process is illegal. But the problems is that Iraqis are practical people and they have to feed their children and these roadblocks which the Americans are putting in their ways, they have to go through them. They are impelled to go through them and they do the best they can. They -- I think it is to the credit of Iraqis, rather in Kirkuk oand Mosul so far, that they have refused the enticement to fight each other on ethnic grounds. I think this is to the credit of some wise people.
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warren p. strobel
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