Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sister Megan Rice

"Elaine," an e-mail my assistant printed up and gave me on Friday noted, "You have completely forgotten Sister Megan Rice.  How many years did she receive?"

The nun is facing a sentence for her act of civil disobedience.

The judge is not friendly and is, in fact, openly hostile.

I have not forgotten her.

There's been no reported sentencing.

When she was to be sentenced, the court adjourned due to bad weather.

Apparently, Sister Megan Rice has no appeared before the court since.  (Bad weather was seen across the southwest US this past week again and the court is in Tennessee.)

I do check repeatedly for news but so far -- including today -- there has been none.

That said, I forget things all the time.  So I am not griping at the e-mailer.

If you ever think I've forgotten something, please e-mail me about it because there's a good chance you are correct and I have forgotten.

At the start of the month at Third, we did a "Roundtable" and Sister Megan Rice was raised in that:

Jim: Alright.  Elaine's "Hands off the nun! (Sister Megan Rice)" dealt with a serious issue.  Sister Megan Rice committed an act of civil disobedience. Now she's facing life in prison.  Last Tuesday, she was supposed to learn her sentence.  As Elaine noted in ""Illegal spying and Clapper," that didn't happen.  Elaine explain who she is and what's going on.

Elaine: Well she's a nun with a history of civil disobedience and it's interesting that now it's a big deal, a big move is being made to punish her.  She, Michael R. Walli and Gregory I. Boerje-Obed entered the Y-12 National Security Complex.  This was not breaking in, they didn't expect to go in but when they tried the door it was open.  Inside they spray-painted on the wall, outside they splashed blood on the walls.  That was what they did.  Nothing that can't be removed or painted over.  The three faced misdemeanor charges -- trespassing, for the most part minor and in keeping with the charges people face for civil disobedience.  But the Barack's officials decided to slap on charges under the sabotage act -- calling the nun and her two friends, in effect, terrorists.  This charge would lead to up to 20 years in prison for each of them.

Betty: Let me interrupt to voice my opinion.  A president who believes in Jesus does not try to say nuns are terrorists.  Barack's a fake and crook.  And a president who believes in the Constitution does not try to say that civil disobedience is terrorism.  Again, Barack's a fake and a crook.

Jim: And the nun was supposed to be sentenced last Tuesday.

Elaine:  Betty's birth place, Atlanta, Georgia was snowed under last week, they weren't the only ones.  Sister Megan Rice was to appear in nearby Tennessee but the Knoxville courthouse she was to be sentenced at closed down due to the snow.  To be clear, they appeared in court Tuesday, the judge began speaking and stated that they weren't contrite but no sentence was handed out because the court was quickly shut down -- the entire building -- due to the snow.

Jim: How old is the nun?

Elaine: She's either 84 or about to turn it.

C.I.: She turned 84 Friday, January 31st.

Elaine: Thank you.

Also, we did a "Roundtable" last Sunday and I'm including it to demonstrate my bad memory:

Ty: Thank you, Ruth.  Now we go to Elaine.  Omar e-mails, "I love Elaine's music writing and wish she'd do more of it.  I also feel like I know her site and her writing much better than she does.  For example, she was attacked in an e-mail for not covering TV and she responded to that attack by admitting she didn't.  She then heard from readers who pointed out that she covered Smash for two years.  She wrote a post about that.  But Elaine covered at least one other TV show which she now seems to have forgotten."  Elaine, have you?

Elaine: Yes, I have and, Omar, if you read the site, you will know more than me.  I never read anything I write unless an e-mail has quoted it or I need to quote it.  But, yes, you have stumped me.  Does Omar say what the show was?

Ty: Yes.  Alphas.

Elaine: He's right, Omar is right.  I did cover Alphas.  I loved that show but they killed it.  Sci Fy cancelled it. I really did enjoy that show.

Omar was correct.  I had forgotten completely about Alphas, I did blog about it here.  (I also really loved the show.)

So, again, if you feel I have forgotten something, there's a really good chance I have.  So just drop an e-mail to let me know.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, February 14, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri has arrest warrants and travel bans issued against his political rivals, his assault on Anbar continues and includes another bombing of a hospital, informal campaigning for the expected April 30th parliamentary elections has already kicked off,  in the US House Democrats flaunted their lack of interest/concern in/of those persecuted for their religion, and much more.

7:30, he said that he'd be here by six
It's looking dirty, I guess he's up to his old tricks
-- "Blue Limousine," written by Brenda Bennett, first appears on Apollonia 6's self-titled album

And it appears Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, is up to his old tricks.

All Iraq News reports:

The administration of Baghdad International Airport received several arrest warrants and travel ban issued against several members of the Iraqi Parliament.
A source of Baghdad International Airport reported to All Iraq News Agency (AIN) ''The list of MPs included Hayder al-Mullah, Salim al-Jabouri, Ashor Haky, Raad al-Dahlaki, Qayis Shather, Ahmed Suleiman and Hussein Dakan.''
''The former Minister of Finance, Raffia al-Essawi, was among the MPs banned of travel,'' the source added, noting that ''A copy of the names of banned MPs was delivered to the Airport security.'' 

Hayder al-Mullah is a prominent critic of Nouri al-Maliki.  He is a member of Iraqiya, the political slate that beat Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law in the 2010 parliamentary elections.  Qayis Shather, Salim al-Jabouri and  Raad al-Dahlaki are also members of Iraqiya.

Yet again, Nouri is going after members of Iraqiya.  Yet again, Nouri is going after Sunni politicians.

And where is the US government?

As always when it comes to their pride and joy, looking the other way.

Since December 21, 2012, protests have been ongoing in Iraq.  Today was no different.  Iraqi Spring MC reports protests continued in Samarra and Baiji.  Alsumaria reports those protesting in Najaf called for the cancellation of the MPs pension program.  Activist Ayed al-Kaabi tells the news outlet that they reject politicians joining their protests due to the hypocrisy factor.  Another activist, Hussam al-Yas, tells All Iraq News, "The place of the demonstration at al-Sadrain square to be close to the religious authorities to that supported the public demands and rejected the privileges granted to MPs and key officials. We will continue in our efforts to end the injustice through session and seminar."

The assault on Anbar Province continues.  Mustafa Habib (Niqash) is one of the few reporters who's been able to report from inside Falluja:

Six weeks have passed since the Iraqi government lost control of the city of Fallujah. The city is now surrounded by the Iraqi army and internally it appears to be under the control of Sunni Muslim and tribal militias, although it is hard to tell exactly who is in charge.

As you near the city you see what appear to be preparations for a long battle. Barriers made out of dirt effectively block all four sides of the city. Behind them there are hundreds of armed men, some with anti-helicopter weaponry, and armoured cars.

Although the winter weather is cold – as low as 3 degrees Celsius – the militias behind the barriers avoid making fires because they don’t want the Iraqi army to be able to see their exact whereabouts.  

“When the government was threatening to invade a few weeks ago, the militants started planting improvised explosive devices around the four entrances to the city,” Saeed al-Jumaili, a resident of Fallujah, tells NIQASH.

“Houses on roads leading into the city have also been mined in order to stop any attempts to enter,” al-Jumaili says. “It’s a complicated network of mines that’s only known to a few of the militants.”

So who exactly are the militants in charge inside Fallujah? Currently what is best described as a rebel military council controls the city’s security. It is composed of various Sunni Muslim factions, most of which are armed or militant. This includes the Army of Al Murabiteen, the Asadullah al-Ghalib brigades, Hamas of Iraq and a number of other Sunni Muslim brigades. Also on the military council though are local Sunni Muslim men who once served in the Iraqi army. Apparently most of the latter do not consider themselves radical and they say they are not affiliated with extremists or Al Qaeda.    

Al Qaeda is also represented on the council though and its faction goes by the now-well-known name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS – locally known as Daash. The only group that doesn’t seem to be playing a role on the council are local security forces, like the police.

The armed factions that are not affiliated with Al Qaeda have many men at their disposal but they don’t have as many arms. And while ISIS only has several hundred men in the city, they are well armed, well trained and battle hardened. Daash also has several dozen suicide bombers in the city.  

All up, the council has 15 members including community leaders, tribal elders and members of the various armed factions. It meets twice or more each week to discuss the security situation in Fallujah. It makes decisions by voting.  

National Iraqi News Agency reports, "Head of the parliamentary bloc of Iraqiyah Slate MP, Salman Jumaili urged the government to stop military shelling Fallujah and other cities of Anbar province, warning the government of harm consequences in case of continuation of the random bombardment which causing a real humanitarian disaster."  But that's never been a concern of chief thug and prime minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki.  Which is why violence continues today in Iraq as Nouri's assault on Anbar Province leaves people dead and yet again targets hospitals and residential areas.  NINA also notes, "MP, Ahmed al-Misari warned the secretary general of Homat al-Iraq Movement warned in a statment today of a humanitarian disaster because of the continued displacement of thousands of families from the cities of Anbar to neighboring provinces."  But while this displacement is becoming a growing concern to the United Nations, it means nothing to Nouri al-Maliki.

AFP notes, "Iraqi forces fought on Friday to retake part of a northern town and nearby areas seized by gunmen, the latest instance of authorities losing ground to militants, an official said."  This is success?

Yesterday, Margaret Griffis ( observed, "militants took over a northern Iraq town in Salah ad Din province. Militants have tried to take over the town as recently as last year, but considering the events in Anbar, this attempt could be more serious.  Far from Anbar province, militants have taken over Suleiman Bek, where they are still in control."

Nouri can boast and beat his puny chest all he wants, but that's not success.  It is failure, it is exposed weaknesses, it is future targets should another round start up months from now.

What his assault on Anbar has demonstrated is how weak he is, how ineffective and how quickly Iraq could splinter at any given moment.

Brute force did not keep Iraq together but it may be the way to fragment the nation into a loosely held federation -- or to fragment it into a series of independent countries.

Nouri is a failure as prime minister and that was clear before his idiotic assault on Anbar but the assault has exposed just how weak he is and how his leadership has weakened the country, not strengthened it.

Yesterday, All Iraq News reported, the government banks in central Baghdad were closed and the employees evacuated by security forces.  This is success?

There is no success in Iraq, there is no success under Nouri.

There is only violence -- continual violence.


National Iraqi News Agency reports  a Saqlawiyah suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of 7 Iraqi soldiers (four more were left injured),  police say there was a rocket attack on Alhurriyah military air base in Kirkuk, Iraqi military bombed Falluja General Teaching Hospital doing substantial damage and this is "the third bombing of the hospital during the last 24" hours, a Sahwa leader's home in Mosul was blown up, and the Iraqi military's bombing of Falluja residential neighborhoods left 3 dead (including Mufti Rafi Rifal) and eleven injured.

Iraqi Spring MC notes the military's bombing in Falluja killed Sheikh Khalil al-Qubaisi Nada as well.

  1. وفاة الشيخ خليل ندا الكبيسي متأثرا بجراحه التي اصيب بها جراء قصف قوات المالكي جامع الشيخ عبد الملك السعدي .

Iraqi Spring MC also reports a woman in Falluja had to have her leg amputated as a result of wounds from today's military bombings.


National Iraqi News Agency reports Major General Mohammed al-Dulaimi states the 12th Division killed 6 suspects in Albu Assaf, an armed clash in Falluja left 1 rebel dead,  an armed clash in Ramadi ended when rebels set fire to a police station, Iraqi security forces say they shot dead 6 suspects in eastern Ramadi, Dijlah Operations Command announced they shot dead 10 suspects,  and an armed conflict in Kirkuk left 1 police member dead (one civilian and two more police were left injured).  Iraqi Spring MC also reports Sheikh Ahmed Khaz'al was shot dead in Falluja by one of Nouri al-Maliki's snipers.  All Iraq News adds security forces shot dead 3 suspects "near Mahaweel and Musaiyb districts."
Last week,  the US House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Iraq. Appearing before the Committee was  the US State Dept's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iraq and Iran Brett McGurk.  We've covered the hearing in the February 5th Iraq snapshot, February 6th Iraq snapshotFebruary 7th Iraq snapshot and the February 13th snapshot as well as "Prashant Rao's naive and Hannah Allem's got a grudge to f**k" which details the main themes of the hearing (and how Rao was terribly naive to believe Hannah Allem's hideous Tweets which were nothing more than her working her grudge against the Ashraf community).   The issue of Iraq's expected April 30th parliamentary elections?  It was raised in the hearing.

US House Rep Doug Collins:  I want to turn back, it was asked a little bit earlier about the elections and really, from serving in Iraq back in '08 as my colleague has as well,  I understand the relationship between the Sunni and the Shia is something -- is, I think there's a huge mistrust, it goes back generations.  It's a multitude of issues there.  And it looks like the current government has done very little to really relate with that -- or work on that issue.  Experts in Iraq have talked about al Qaeda in Iraq, Islamic State of Iraq, and increasingly building alliances with Sunni tribal leaders and suggest to this mess, in 2013, to try to win more Sunni support. How would that translate into the next round of Iraq elections?  Can we -- can we really see a move from Shia to Sunni?  And what does that mean for the region?  And answer that and then I want to talk about Iran's possible influence as well.  Just speak to the elections at this point.

Brett McGurk:  Uh, thank you.  First, Congressman, thank you for your service.  And it's a very important question and an insightful question.  This election coming up is going to be pivotal and also extremely interesting.  The first national election, December 2005, there were really three main lists, people to vote for. There was a Shia bloc, a Sunni bloc and a Kurdish bloc.  Uhm, the 2010 elections, there was a little bit more choice: really two Shia blocs, the Sunni parties were under one main list also with some Shias -- a kind of  cross-sectarian list -- and then the Kurds.  This election, everything is really fractured so you have about four Shia lists, three Sunni lists and even the Kurds are running on four different lists.  So what's going to happen out of those results is going to be  a number of different permutations in terms of forming governments uh-uh coalitions.  So the hope is that this election will give rise to the possibility of more cross-sectarian, more issue-based politics emerging.  As difficult as that is going to be, if you look at the candidate lists and the coalitions, there is that possibility there.  But as I mentioned earlier, what al Qaeda does very effectively is targets the fault line which has existed for 1400 years -- targeting symbolic areas and trying to increase fear in particularly the Shia population which just rises the sectarian debate and discourse in the country. So on the positive side, you have an election that's shaping up with a number of different choices, a number of different lists which will allow for cross-sectarian coalitions.  On a negative side, you have extremists who are trying to incite and inflame the sectarian dimensions in the country.

As the informal campaigning heats up, so do the rumors.  Alsumaria reports Ibrahim al-Jaafari has had to issue a statement denying that he was pulling his name from the elections.  al-Jaafari was prime minister before Nouri -- in fact,  the Parliament wanted to name him prime minister (again) in 2006 but the US White House refused to allow that to happen.  They demanded instead that Nouri be named prime minister.  al-Jaafari is the head of the Shi'ite bloc the National Alliance.

The elections will not only determine who sits in Parliament, they will also determine who is president of Iraq and (if the White House can keep their big nose out of it just once) who will be prime minister.

On the topic of the presidency,  Hevidar Ahmed (Rudaw) reports, "Barham Salih has refused a proposed nomination for the Iraqi presidency by his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), saying he prefers to stay  and help repair internal problems that are tearing his party apart, sources tell Rudaw."  

The 'current' president of Iraq is  Jalal Talabani. December 2012,  Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 following Jalal's argument with Iraq's prime minister and chief thug Nouri al-Maliki (see the December 18, 2012 snapshot).  Jalal was admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remains in Germany currently.  Even if he were in good health, he couldn't run again having occupied the post twice.  The Constitution limits the president to two terms (in fact, it can be argued that clause also limits the prime minister to two terms).
Currently, it is informal campaigning -- as Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) notes -- but posters of Nouri are plastered throughout Baghdad:

Paradoxically, when you ask people with close ties to the government about the insistence that prevails in spreading Maliki’s posters everywhere, they refer you to the posters depicting religious leaders and transform your question into an accusation: “Why should Maliki be prevented from putting up his posters, while the posters of clerics fill the streets?”
The main issue revolves around the fact that the government is responsible for dealing with any illegal phenomenon. The people may implicitly pardon its inability — engendered by its limited capacities — to combat the spread of social tensions resulting from the chaotic spread of posters portraying religious leaders, despite the fact that doing so is its duty. But no one can forgive the government for participating in this festival of posters; all in the name of fair competition.


         The IHEC Spokesperson and Member of the Board of Commissioners (BoC), Mr. Safaa al Mosawi declared on 5 February that the BoC has excluded 69 candidates from running for the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections scheduled on 30 April 2014 after auditing the criminal restrictions of the candidates based on the data returned from the Ministry of the Interior.

    Mr. al Mosawi said that the decision was taken based on the legal provisions in effect.

The IHEC reserved its right to mention the names and will inform their political entities on the need to replace these names with new one within three days from the date of notification.

The     IHEC has sent the lists of names of all male and female candidates which amounted to 9,364 names to the the Accountability and Justice Commission. The IHEC has sent these names to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of High Education and Scientific Research for the purpose of auditing and ratifying them to check that they are not included with the measures taken by these Ministries as part of preparations to run the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections scheduled on 30 April 2014.

Yes, we noted the 69 many days ago.  The real question here is why the IHEC is issuing a statement on February 13th about something they publicly addressed February 5th?

Let's wind down on the topic of a religious minorities in Iraq, the Christians.  Ava Thomas (Baptist Press) reports on what some are calling a "Christian hemorrhage" in Iraq.  Thomas notes:

But sometimes what breaks Alan's heart the most, he said, is how the tragedy is lost on many Christians in the West.
"I'm afraid the Christian world has forgotten that there are hurting people in Iraq," he said. "Do we in the West have the courage and boldness to engage lostness in the midst of tragedy? My heart breaks when I read of 20, 30, 60 who have been killed. I wonder if they ever had a chance to hear the gospel."
He said he also wonders if Christians in the United States remember that they have brothers and sisters living out their faith in heavy persecution in Iraq.
"They feel forgotten, and we need to tell them they are not forgotten," Alan said.
Christians in Iraq live their lives in the shadow of blast walls like everyone else there, but they also face extra pressure because of their faith, he said. Terrorists occasionally bomb churches or open fire on worship services like several gunmen did in 2010, killing more than 50 at a Catholic church in Baghdad.

Thomas' report does not note a Congressional hearing.   There were reporters present, a handful, but they were present.  I don't know what happened, I can't find any reports on it.  The hearing was Tuesday.

Subcommittee Chair Christopher Smith: We are here today to focus attention on the persecution of Christians worldwide, a topic which has been neglected by our media and world leaders --  including those in the United States. Today's focus on anti-Christian persecution is not meant to minimize the suffering of other religious minorities who are imprisoned or killed for their beliefs: as the poet John Donne wrote, "Any man's death doth diminish me." We stand for human dignity and respect for life from the womb to the tomb, and this subcommittee has and will continue to highlight the suffering of religious minorities around the globe, be they Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, Ba'hai in Iran, Buddhists in occupied Tibet, Yazidis in Iraq or the Muslim Royhinga people in Burma. Christians, however, remain the most persecuted religious group the world over, and thus deserve the special attention that today's hearing will give them. As one of today's witnesses, the distinguished journalist John Allen has written, "Christians today indisputably are the most persecuted religious body on the planet, and too often their martyrs suf fer in silence."  Researchers from the Pew Center have documented incidents of harassment of religious groups worldwide --  a term defined as including "physical assaults; arrests and detentions; desecration of holy sites; and discrimination against religious groups in employment, education and housing" -- and has concluded that Christians are the single most harassed group today. In the year 2012, Pew reports, Christians were harassed in 110 countries around the world. This is particularly true in the Middle East where, as one of those we will hear from today, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, has said, "flagrant and widespread persecution of Christians rages even as we meet." Archbishop Chullikatt was the papal nuncio to Iraq, where we have seen repeated violent assaults on Christians, such as the as the October 31, 2010 assault upon Our Lady of Deliverance Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad in which 58 people were killed and another 70 wounded. Attacks such as this have led the Christian population of Iraq --  whose roots date back to the time of the Apostles-- to dwindle from 1.4 million in 1987 prior to the first Gulf War, to as little as 150,000 today, according to some estimates. Much of this exodus has occurred during a time in which our country invested heavily in blood and treasure in seeking to help Iraqis build a democracy. As we witness the black flag of al Qaeda again fly over cities such as Fallujah, which we had won at the cost of so much American blood, we wonder how it is that for Christians in Iraq, life appears to be worse now than it was under the vicious dictator Saddam Hussein?

He was speaking Tuesday morning at the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations.  The witnesses appearing before the Subcommittee were Elliott Abrams (US Commission on International Religious Freedom), John Allen (Boston Globe associate editor), Tehmina Arora (Alliance Defending Freedom-India), Benedict Rogers (Christian Solidarity Worldwide), Jorge Lee Galindo (Impulso 18), Khataza Gondwe (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) and, providing briefing but not testimony (as Chair Smith noted) Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt (Holy See Mission at the United Nations).

On the hearing, I attended for Iraq and my notes are mainly on Iraq because that's our focus here.  Christians around the world were covered in the hearing, that's beyond our scope.  Second, Elliott Abrams?  I consider him an Iran-Contra crook.  On any other topic, his remarks wouldn't even be considered worth repeating.  But as a religious representative, I would hope he even could be honest.  That's not always the case.  There's a British 'holy' man we no longer quote because over seven years ago, he was caught lying in his testimony -- lying about the Jews of Iraq, saying they were all gone when they weren't and having a fit when he found out his testimony was going to be reported on.  That was only one of his lies.  Since he is a proven liar, that 'holy' man is not quoted here, he is not noted here.

For an overview,  we'll note John L. Allen explained in his testimony that there are 2.3 billion Christians around the globe and "some two-thirds of whom live outside the West."  Elliott Abrams' opening remarks were overviews and specifics.  He did not have time to deliver all of his prepared remarks but, in that written testimony, he did break down by country.  This is Abrams on Iraq:

Over the past few years, the Iraqi government has taken positive steps to improve security for religious sites and worshippers and address some concerns of the country's smallest religious minorities, including Christians. Nevertheless, the government has failed to stem non-state actors' egregious and increasing violence against Iraqi civilians, including attacks targeting religious worshippers, sites, and leaders, as well as individuals for their actual or assumed  religious identity. The Syrian crisis has emboldened extremist groups in the country that are linked to al-Qaeda and heightened Sunni-Shi'a tensions, but the Shi'a-led Iraqi government often has exacerbated the situation by acting in a seemingly sectarian manner.
The primary victims of violence in the past year were members of the Shi'a majority, including pilgrims celebrating important holidays, but all Iraqis were at risk. Members of the smallest minority communities, including Christians, Mandaeans, and Yazidis, continue to experience violence, intimidation, and discrimination, particularly in areas disputed between the central government and the Kurdistan regional government. Although they reported fewer violent incidents than in past years, these groups continue to report that they feel a perpetual sense of fear. These ancient comm unities' numbers in recent years have been reduced due to their fleeing the country; their flight has threatened their continued viability in Iraq. 
The Christian community, once estimated to number between 800,000 and 1.4 million, is now said to stand at 500,000 or less. Christians in Iraq include Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East members, Syriac Orthodox, Armenians (Catholic and Orthodox), Protestants, and Evangelicals . The worst single attack on Iraqi Christians in recent years was the October 31, 2010 hostage siege at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Baghdad, during a mass, which left more than 50 people dead, including two priests, and more than 60 injured. 
Some Christians have hailed the Iraqi cabinet's January 2014 announcement supporting in principle the creation of three new provinces, including one in the largely Christian Nineveh Plains, as having the potential to stop the emigration of Christians, though the details of the plan and its implementation remain to be seen. Many members of the smallest minorities also have urged reforms to provisions in Article 2 of the Iraqi Constitution that give Islam a preferred status. They argue this favoritism towards Islam provides a potential justification for discrimination against non-Muslims. 
The United States government needs to encourage and help the Iraqi government be a government for all Iraqis, regardless of their religion, sect, or belief. All U.S. military or security assistance should be accompanied by training for the recipient units on universal human rights standards and how to treat civilians, particularly minorities. The U.S. government also should ensure that religious freedom and minority rights are part of the negotiations between the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) and the Iraqi government on disputed territories, and should press the KRG to address alleged abuses against minorities by Kurdish officials in these areas. U.S. programs should focus on promoting religious freedom and tolerance, fostering human rights compliance and the rule of law, and improving minorities' ability to organize and effectively convey their concerns to the government. Development assistance should prioritize areas where marginalized communities are concentrated. USCIRF currently is evaluating recent developments in advance of its 2014 determinations. The Commission recommended in 2013 that Iraq be designated a CPC.

And Archbishop Francis Chullikatt noted in his briefing:

One of the most graphic illustrations of ongoing brutality confronting Arab Christians is the emergence of a so-called "tradition" of bombing s of Catholic and other Christian houses of worship every Christmas Eve, which has been going on now for the past several years. Will there be no end in sight for this senseless slaughter for those whom that very night proclaim the Prince of Peace in some of the oldest Christian communities in the world?

Iraq is on fire and that's our focus and we're not always able right now to include a hearing in day of snapshot.  I bring that up because a friend congratulated me on ignoring this hearing.  It was Wednesday, the day after, and I said I wasn't ignoring it, that I'd get it in by Friday and that it was so little on Iraq, I'd need to pair it with some reports or news on the topic of religious minorities.  (The above is everything on Iraq except for an aside Abrams offered -- a half-sentence -- on sanctions in the 90s.)  But I wasn't ignoring it and I told my friend, a Democrat in Congress, that when I noted the hearing, I'd note one key detail: No Democrats on the Subcommittee were present.  On the Republican side, there were many present who don't serve on the Subcommittee (Dana Rohrabacher and Frank Wolf being just two).  So Democrats not on the Subcommittee could have attended and would have been welcomed.

However, US House Reps Karen Bass -- who is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee -- and David Cicilline and Ami Bera elected not to attend.  They had other more important things to do.  Karen Bass had plenty of time to join Russ Feingold for breakfast on the day of the hearing and, of course, she had time for the White House State Dinner that night.  She just couldn't  make time for the Subcommittee she'sserves on as the Ranking Member.

I have no idea if this is disdain for the Republican members of the Subcommittee, or for the witnesses appearing or for just the topic -- or maybe all three.  But she just got elected out of the 37th California district to Congress, she's facing her first re-election effort.  Maybe she thinks she's in her old district?  But the 37th district is highly religious -- including highly Christian -- a huge number of Catholics for example.

So when there's a hearing of the Subcommittee you're Ranking Member on and the topic is the persecution of Christians, even if means killing your social calendar, you make it to that hearing.

I'm really tired of the nonsense in the House.  They need to get their House in order.  The gold standard of both the House and the Senate is the Veterans Affairs Committees -- Committees and Subcommittees -- where people work together regardless of party.

This nonsense of a hearing on religious persecution that not one Democrat bothered to attend?

That's shameful.  And I am not a religious person.  But I will show respect for those who are and for their religions whatever they may be.  It's a darn shame that the same can't be said for Bass, Cicilline and Bera.  And it's not going to be unfair if their constituents now assume that Bass, Cicilline and Bera don't care about those who are persecuted for their religions.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Medea Benjmain basks in her uselessness

The always worthless Medea Benjamin has another piece 'about' The Drone War that fails to name Barack Obama.

Trying to call out The Drone War while refusing to name Barack is like trying to tell someone that storm showers will take place tomorrow and the next day without ever using the term "rain."

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, February 12, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, Nouri declares 'success,' Nouri also notes the damage the military shelling has done to hospitals (War Crimes), preparations take place for the planned April 30th elections, and much more.

Reporters Without Borders has released their World Press Freedom Index 2014.  We'll note Iraq in a moment, but first what the report says of the United States:

Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example, far from it. Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices. Investigative journalism often suffers as a result.
This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks. The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest.
US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak. It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a “shield law” to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level. The revival of the legislative process is little consolation for James Risen of The New York Times, who is subject to a court order to testify against a former CIA employee accused of leaking classified information. And less still for Barrett Brown, a young freelance journalist facing 105 years in prison in connection with the posting of information that hackers obtained from Statfor, a private intelligence company with close ties to the federal government. 

Ed Hightower (WSWS) reported yesterday on the administration's attack on journalist James Rosen -- an attack not noted above:

The story of this illegal spying on a journalist working for a major news outlet broke last May in the wake of a broader scandal where it was revealed that the DoJ had secretly subpoenaed phone records for 21 lines registered to the Associated Press in an effort to learn the identity of an FBI explosives expert who leaked information on the “underwear bomber” in 2012, during Obama’s reelection campaign.
The affidavit supporting the subpoena request for Rosen’s email and phone records specifically alleged that “there is probable cause to believe that the reporter [James Rosen] has committed or is committing a violation [of the law] at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator,” in part by “employing flattery and playing to Mr. Kim’s vanity and ego.”

In light of this blatant attack on the freedom of the press, attorney general Eric Holder initially tried to distance himself from the warrant affidavit. When it was later revealed that Holder in fact personally approved of the warrant application, with all its bad faith, he confessed that the media probe got “a little out of whack” in a television interview that aired early last June. In that same interview, Holder told interviewer Pete Williams that he had no intention of resigning, saying tepidly “there are some things that I want to do, some things I want to get done that I have discussed with the president and once I have finished that, I’ll sit down with him and we’ll determine when it’s time to make a transition to a new attorney general.”

Now for what the report says about Iraq:

Since 2012, Iraq has been sinking into a new cycle of violence that is an aftereffect of the chaos and civil war following the US-led intervention of 2003. Religious tension between Sunnis and Shiites is being exacerbated by the Syrian crisis and, like the constant obstructiveness of the authorities and security forces, is having a negative impact on the safety of journalists and the independence of the media. In late 2013, for example, ISIS attacked the headquarters of Salaheddin TV in the northern city of Tikrit, killing five of its journalists. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists offers "Attacks on the Press: Journalism on the Front Lines in 2013."

In a 2006 book, the late New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid summed up the future of Iraq as ghamidh, meaning “unclear” or “ambiguous” in Arabic. Seven years later, uncertainty continued to exacerbate the threats that journalists faced. Newspaper offices were attacked by unknown assailants, and journalists were threatened, assaulted, and detained. At least 10 journalists were killed in 2013, but the assailants and their motives were frequently unclear. For all the uncertainty and ambiguity, one truth remained clear: Central government officials and Kurdish regional authorities repeatedly attempted to silence critical voices through a combination of detentions, the denial of credentials, the suspension of television licenses, and raids of stations. Iraqi journalists continued to call for revisions to the Journalist Protection Law, which CPJ criticized for its ambiguous and restrictive provisions. In a sign of hope, the Iraqi parliament withdrew a draft Information Crimes bill that would have restricted online journalism. Still, with so much uncertainty and so little security, journalists continue to flee into exile, amid fears that Iraq could slide back into the dark days of civil war.

CPJ also notes, "With not a single conviction in the 100 journalist murders of the past decade, Iraq remains the worst country in the world for impunity."

Let's move over to twisted and sick people.

That lunatic is trusted with children?  (She's the Director of Coptic Orphans.)  She's not only crazy, she's stupid beyond belief.  If 'God' is responsible for that bombing, 'God' is also responsible for all the others including the bombings that kill people she might like.  Is 'God' being funny and showing "a great sense of humor" then too?

Or, Nermien Riad, are you just a stupid asshole that wants to find glee in death so you'll couch your blood thirst on someone else?

Twitter, more and more, appears to exist solely so people can show just how damn stupid they are.

Back to the crazy train.

  • You shouldn't be laughing at it, but you can't help it?

    Could you have maybe helped yourself by not Tweeting about it.  Or is really important for someone with such an ugly face wearing such ridiculous clothes to draw attention to himself?

    There are sadly many more.  Glee in the face of death is tacky enough.  As we've noted Monday and Tuesday, even worse is this notion that, because the Iraqi government says something, it must be true.  All that is known is a number of people died in bombing.  That's nothing to be gleeful about -- not even if you believe the unverified assertion that the dead are 'terrorists.'  And to bring 'God' into it?  I'm sorry, I don't know the religion that has a higher power commanding you take delight in the deaths of others.

    The prayer offered below?  I think that prayer and sentiment is recognizable to many religions.
  • O Allah Make It Easy On The Peopleof Iraq Syria Libya Egypt Sudan Yemen Lebanon Pakistan Palestine Afghanistan

  • One of the few journalists showing any sense is David Kenner:

    That's basic common sense.  Kenner has it, his peers should acquire it.

    Yesterday, the Council on Foreign Relations had an event with Gen Ray Odierno moderated by CNN's James Sciutto.  Odierno was the top-US commander in Iraq

    SCIUTTO: If I can, not surprisingly, would like to start tonight on the topic of Iraq. It's been a bad couple of weeks, couple of months there. You have the Al Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq, ISIS, taking over Fallujah. A thousand killed last month, 9,000 in 2013. I just want to ask your view, in light of your time there, do you think Iraq at this stage is recoverable? And do you think a U.S. force presence there, had the administration and Iraqi leadership managed to reach agreement, would have made a measurable difference?

    ODIERNO: Well, first, I don't know if it's -- I mean, it's recoverable, but how long it would take to recover, I don't know. 2010, '11, we really bought time and space for the Iraqi people and the government to move forward. Security and violence was at, you know, really significant lows. But we always knew in the end, following the 2010 election, which was a very close election in Iraq, where, really, Maliki's party, who was the one that was in power, actually came in a very close second.
    And so as they went through the process of the parliamentary system of building the government to take over, there was hope that there'd be great cooperation, but we realized then, as it took six to eight months to form the government, that there was going to be problems in forming the government.
    So what happened is, although they had the time and space to continue -- because security was good -- to build the economy, to increase oil flow -- really, they were never able to reconcile between the different groups. And so what you saw is a continuing mistrust of the political entities within Iraq.
    And as that mistrust grew, you saw other factions begin over time -- after about a two-year period -- to start to take advantage of that governmental mistrust and exploit the situation, which then created more violence. And some say Maliki came down too hard on the Sunnis, had to move more towards Iran. All of those are potential possibilities, but the bottom line is that the government in place was not able to come together in order to represent all of the Iraqi people. And when that didn't happen, they then started to revert back to violence.
    And so what it's going to take is the politicians to come back together. They have an election coming up this year. And how that turns out will really probably dictate how well they move forward in Iraq.
    We do know that the oil is -- that oil exports have increased significantly, so economically, actually, they're doing very well. But the violence now is driving them to separate each other. So for us, it's disappointing, because we believe we had them in a place where they could move forward.
    And I believe Iraq is in such a strategic place in the Middle East -- just look at where it is on a map. It's right in the center. It's -- you know, it borders Iran, it borders Kuwait, it borders Jordan, it borders Turkey, it borders Syria. It's in such a key place in the Middle East, I thought it was very important that we would have them move forward as a stable government that is friendly to the United States. They're still friendly towards the United States, but right now, the instability in the country is very concerning to all of us as we move forward.

    SCIUTTO: It sounds like you say the key is political agreement. How much of a difference would it make if there was a modest force left for...

    ODIERNO: Well, I mean, I think -- the bottom line is, I think it depends on how long you were willing to leave that force there. The security forces were capable and able to do what they needed to do. Again, with political disagreement, I'm not sure how much it would matter, how much -- unless we had a significant amount of U.S. force, which was not going to happen, it was time for the Iraqis to take control of their own fate. It was time for them to provide the security. We had built a security force that had the capability to do that.

    So in my mind, I'm not sure it would have made much difference if we had a small force on the ground. What it would provide is confidence. Maybe it would have allowed us to put a bit more pressure on the political entities in order for them to maybe reconcile a bit more than they did. Maybe that would have made a difference, but it's hard to say.

    File Odierno's comment ("But we always knew in the end, following the 2010 election, which was a very close election in Iraq, where, really, Maliki's party, who was the one that was in power, actually came in a very close second.") under understatement of the year.  And note that Odierno, ahead of the March 2010 elections, tried to get the White House to focus on what happens if Nouri loses the election but refuses to step down -- exactly what happened.  Odierno's very modest but he deserves credit for seeing what could happen when idiots like then-US Ambassador Chris Stevens could see in front of him, let alone possibilities. We'll come back to the topic of elections.

    As the assault on Anbar province continues,  Sheldon Richman (MWC) offers this take, "Violence is flaring in Iraq, as Sunni Muslims, fed up with the oppressive, corrupt, U.S.-installed and Iran-leaning Shi’a government, have mounted new resistance."  Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) offers:

    Last month, however, a completely different hypothesis was proven. The Iraqi government seemed to be in dire need of support from figures within the Sunni sit-in movements to disperse battles and impose the prestige of the state, which had disappeared from the cities of Anbar in various forms. They also needed these figures to expel ISIS, which had gained unexpected strength in Anbar.
    Since the first day of the crisis, the government resorted to elders and figures participating in the sit-ins to settle the crisis. Chief among these was Ahmed al-Dulaimi, the governor of Anbar and one of the former leaders of the sit-ins; Ahmed Abu Risha, a Sahwa forces commander of Sahwa who was isolated months ago; and Albu Fahd Rafi Abd al-Karim, a tribal leader. Many of these names and leaders of other clans have declared their willingness to fight for the liberation of Anbar from ISIS, and they formed new Sahwa forces for this purpose. However, they failed to put an end to the crisis. The truth of the matter is that the many tribal leaders in Fallujah, including the tribe of al-Dalim Ali Hatem, among other well-known leaders supported by a wide population, have come to realize after weeks of fighting that the Sahwa will not succeed this time, as was the case in 2006, when the forces were recruited by the US forces under the command of Gen. David Petraeus.
    Back then, the objective conditions were different from today, even the form of the crisis is now quite different. Demonstrations were back then an indication of an unsettled political conflict.

    Another take this week was offered by Ross Caputi in an open letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry (Global Research):

    Fallujah is currently under siege once again. You have stated that US troops will not be sent back to Iraq to assist in the current siege, but you have agreed that the US should send weapons to the Iraqi government. I am writing to implore that you do everything within your ability to stop shipments of US weapons to Iraq, whether they are sold, gifted, or loaned. Arming an oppressive regime so that they may better crush a popular uprising is not in the best interest of Americans or Iraqis.
    During that 2nd siege of Fallujah we killed thousands of civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands, destroyed nearly the entire city, and brought immeasurable loss and hardship upon those poor people. Since then I have devoted my life to raising awareness about the suffering I helped create in Fallujah, and to assisting Fallujans in their struggle with a public health disaster and ongoing repression.
    I feel a moral obligation to do whatever is within my power to help these people who I once hurt. But I was not a lone actor in Iraq. I had the support of a nation behind me and I was taking orders from the world’s most powerful military. The 2nd siege of Fallujah was not exceptional; rather it was symbolic of our military’s conduct in Iraq and the way that our mission impacted the lives of Iraqis. Our war and occupation took so much from them. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions displaced, permanent environmental contamination, and a new repressive regime that most Iraqis regard as begin more brutal than that of Saddam Hussein. This is the legacy of America’s involvement in Iraq. The least that we can do at this point is to end our complicity in their suffering.
    The current violence in Fallujah has been misrepresented in the media. The Iraqi Ministry of Interior asserted earlier in the month that al Qaeda had taken over half of Fallujah and the media parroted this assertion. However, journalists who have done serious investigations into this assertion found it to be false. The uprising in Fallujah is a popular uprising, not one lead by an international jihadist group. The Iraqi government has not been attacking al Qaeda in Fallujah. Their assault has been indiscriminate, killing dozens of civilians and wounding even more. Many of these deaths have been documented by human rights organizations within Fallujah.

    On the assault,  Wael Grace (Al Mada) reports MPs are expressing surprise at prime minister and chief thug of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki announcing victory in Anbar -- despite the fact that after six weeks of fighting, Nouri's assault continues.  MP Hamid al-Mutlaq calls out the claims that the military operations have ended in Ramadi and notes that clashes continue.

    Meanwhile Alsumaria reports Nouri is declaring that the government will inventory all the damage his assault did to private and public property and pursue reconstruction.  Property, he notes, includes bridges, hospitals . . .  Did you catch that because the American press won't.  Nouri's acknowledging -- publicly -- that his forces attacked hospitals.

    In the last few weeks, we've noted here that they attacked Falluja General Hospital and Falluja Educational Hospital.  We've also noted these are War Crimes.  The western press wasn't interested.

    Now that Nouri's spoken publicly about it, will they suddenly show interest now?

    NINA notes Iraqiya MP Leaq Wardi stated, "The continuation of indiscriminate shelling and concentrated, the past few days, on the health institutions, especially the Falluja General Hospital, confirms the existence of a deliberate intention not to resolve the crisis, despite the announcement of continuous initiatives to solve the crisis."  National Iraqi News Agency reports that Sheikh Ali Hatem al-Suleiman states Nouri should withdraw the military within 72 hours in order to end the Anbar crisis.

    Instead the violence continues in Anbar and elsewhere.  Iraq Body Count counts 313  violent deaths for the month so far through yesterday.


    National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 Baghdad car bombings and 1 roadside bombing left either people injured,   2 Jorfi-ssakhar roadside bombing left 6 Iraqi soldiers dead, an al-Qosat bombing left three police memebers injured,  military shelling in Falluja left 3 civilians dead and seven more injured,  Alsumaria reports a Tuz Khurmato roadside bombing left 4 people dead and nine injured, and a Sab'Qsoor roadside bombing (northeast of Baghdad) killed 1 child.  All Iraq News adds a Tikrit bombing left two Sahwa and one civilian injured.  Iraq Times reports that military shelling in Ramadi left 1 elderly woman dead and eight other people injured. Xinhua notes "a civilian was killed when a mortar round crashed on his house in the same area of Jurf al-Sakhar, the source said."


    National Iraqi News Agency reports  1 person was shot dead in southwest Baghdad (Saidiya area),  security forces killed 6 suspects (including one man from Saudi Arabia) to the "east of Ramadi," and "a security force killed a gunman and blew up two oil tankers in al-Qayyarah south of Mosul, and killed their drivers."

    Changing topics, Asharq al-Awsat reports on Ayad Allawi:

    Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, head of the Iraqi National Accord party, has confirmed he has no intention to retire from politics, saying he will lead the new Wataniya bloc in the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on April 30, 2014.
    [. . .]

    Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat from Baghdad on Tuesday, Allawi said: “We came into politics to serve our people, not in search of personal gains. The course of the elections must be corrected and the elections and parties law must be ratified. We insist that the next elections must be transparent and fair in order to allow the Iraqi people to have their say through the ballot box.”

    Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya won the 2010 elections.  He was prevented from becoming prime minister as a result of the US-brokered Erbil Agrement which went around the Iraq Constitution, the voters and democracy.  Iraqi.

    If the US government does not try to fix the results, the April 30th elections would be the first parliamentary elections where Iraqis decided who their prime minister would be.  Following the December 2005 parliamentary elections, the Iraqi Parliament thought they'd have Ibrahim al-Jufaari as the prime minister.  The White House overruled them and insisted on Nouri al-Maliki.  And in 2010, the White House overruled Ayad Allawi, demanding that Nouri get a second term.  From Bush to Barack, there has been a refusal to allow the Iraqi people to chart their own course.  From Bush to Barack, the Iraqis have had a prime minister imposed on them.

    Now Nouri wants a third term -- despite the fact that he promised in early 2011 that he wouldn't seek a third term.  Nouri's a liar, he's a crook.  Iraq cannot move forward with Nouri as prime minister.  This was proven in his first term and proven in his second.  To award him a third term would be to doom Iraq.

    The Oman Tribune editorial board observes, "Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki must be hoping for that the elections will put Iraq back on the road to peace. Nursing such hopes is a big mistake and shows that the prime minister is out of touch with reality. The increasing flow of American arms and other steps will not help. On the other hand they will only create more mayhem.  And it is strange that Maliki has not realised that the key to peace and stability lies in one of his pockets. A number of people have said the same thing. So, before it’s late, Maliki must heed the advice of those saying that he must reach out to sections of Iraqis alienated by his high-handed behaviour of the recent past. Or else, the violence will spread and more parts of Iraq could fall into the hands of the militants. "

    National Iraqi News Agency reports: "Speaker Osama Nujaifi, emphasized the need to take measures to accomplish the exact timing for the upcoming elections and making plans for elections in Anbar province, to get real results."  Alsumaria notes that al-Nujaif met today with a delegation of the Independent High Electoral Commission.  Al-Shorfa notes that electronic cards will be used in the planned April 30th elections and quotes IHEC's Chair Sarbast Mustafa stating,  "Electronic cards will contain the data of each Iraqi citizen older than 18 years of age who is eligible to vote in the next general parliamentary election in the country."  Earlier this month, the IHEC issued the following:


    The IHEC Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Mr. Mukdad al Sharify confirmed on 28 January that the IHEC will begin a considerable media campaign to urge and educate voters to take over their electronic cards which will be used in the voting process in the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections (IPE) scheduled on 30 April 2014.

    Mr. al Sharify said that the IHEC will start this media campaign to educate voters on the importance of the e-cards and measures of work adopted during the next few days. The campaign will be conducted in several stages until polling day on 30 April. He added that the media campaigns to be implemented by the IHEC would vary between urging voters to participate in the upcoming electoral process and how to take over their cards by reviewing the voter registration centers (VRCs) opened out across the country. The media campaign also included a detailed explanation on the available data saved in these e-cards, in addition to the security features that prevent manipulations or re-using the card more than one time in the polling day. 

    Mr. al Sharify indicated that the IHEC will reveal important information to motivate the voters to receive their e-cards and it has contracted with many media outlets and TV channels to publish and broadcast the media campaign of the e-cards in order to reach to all categories of Iraqi society. Mr. al Sharify called on again the partners of electoral process, civil society organization, religious scholars and media to support the IHEC' campaign by urging voters to visit the VRCs to take over their cards to cast their ballots in upcoming IPE. He stressed that the e-cards would consider as an important document and there will be impossible for voters to vote in the polling day without this card.   

    On the IHEC, Harith Hasan (Al-Monitor) explains:

    The IHEC was founded to be an independent and impartial commission with the credibility to manage electoral processes. The United Nations supported the IHEC, and an international expert was a member of the first Board of Commissioners that was established under the authority of the Coalition Provincial Authority. However, the role of the UN dwindled after the commission developed its capacities and skills, expanded its institutions and gained electoral experience. Meanwhile, the Iraqi parliament assigned new commissioners by following the new habit of sectarian, ethnic and factional apportionment, just like most public positions.
    Gradually, the Board of Commissioners, which today includes nine members, became more factional, and some observers, independent politicians and small parties complain that its members are affiliated with the major parties. Still, this did not undermine the commission’s credibility. An expert who worked with the international team supporting the commission confirmed to Al-Monitor that the current council enjoys good degree of professionalism and experience. The impartiality of the commission was prioritized over the independence of its members, and this impartiality was guaranteed by the quasi-partisan representation in the commission. However, this arrangement was to the detriment of the small parties that were not represented and, as a result, cannot exert direct pressure on the commission’s members, when needed.
    The Council of Commissioners issued, in February 2014, a statement in which it announced its decision to ban Shams Network from monitoring the elections. Shams is a major network that was founded to ensure the safety and impartiality of the electoral process. It has worked in the past alongside the commission. The commission announced that its decision came after the said network breached the code of conduct. The commission specifically referred to the statements of the head of the network, Hoger Jato, regarding the electronic voter cards system that the commission intends to implement in the upcoming elections.

    mushreq abbas