"One of the objectives of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group was to provide an objective view of the situation in Iraq, free of partisan bickering and political spin."
~ The San Jose Mercury News.
~ The San Jose Mercury News.
Okay, now that the over-hyped and unimpressive Iraq study group recommendations are out, I can point out something that I've been saving for a few days. The president of the Washington Kurdish Institute, Nijmaldin Karim, had an opinion piece on the study group last Saturday in the Washington Post. It might be time to take a look at what he had to say.
Kak Nijmaldin points out the fallacy of the so-called "balanced" and "bi-partisan" nature of the group. They are all Kissingerian Arabists from the old days, and we know what the "old days" mean, don't we? This study group is unified in their undying support for every dictatorship in the Middle East. Interestingly enough, Kak Nijmaldin notes that there were Arabs in the study group, but only one of the Arabs in the group was an Iraqi Arab, and Sunni at that.
Surprised? I hope not. I mean, this is business as usual, boys and girls.
To drive home the point of the study group's extreme imbalance, Kak Nijmaldin reveals the following:
. . . the Iraq Study Group, which has made great play of visiting Iraq and talking to Iraqi officials has refused to visit the safest and most pro-American part of Iraq -- Kurdistan. Even Turkey, which has been openly unhappy with the growing importance of Iraq's Kurds, on a day-to-day basis deals with the reality that the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is a fully recognized and constitutional entity, an autonomous region with considerable powers. Russia, which backed Saddam's regime to the end, has also bowed to the inevitable and has a consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan -- not the Iraq Study Group, however, which has not set foot in Kurdistan.
The failure to visit Iraqi Kurdistan, or to consult with its democratically elected president and prime minister, or simply to see the evidence of a peaceful, thriving economy, is no oversight. The Iraq Study Group has considerable policy experience and its expert advisory groups, if expert they truly are, must know about the advances made by the Iraqi Kurds. The most casual follower of the news knows that Iraqi Kurds are massively pro-American and that Iraqi Kurdistan is the one part of Iraq where people complain that they do not see Americans enough.
Kak Nijmaldin outlines the practical experience that Kurds and Iraqi Shi'a have with the Kissingerian Arabists from the betrayal of the 1991 serhildan. He did forget to mention that the Northern No-Fly Zone was not controlled by the "coalition," but by the Turkish General Staff, who routinely bombed Başûrî villages at will after ordering the "coalition" to get the hell out of the way. The "coalition" also gave the green light for a few TSK land invasions under Operation Northern Watch.
Of course, Kak Nijmaldin is correct in saying that the Kissingerian Arabists did absolutely nothing for the Shi'a. Some have opined that the current violence in Arab Iraq is more of a power-play than sectarian strife. While I have no doubt that this opinion is true to a degree, given the history of the Middle East in general--much of which has been a response to repeated patterns of Western interference and attempts to "control" the people of the region--and Iraq in particular, it would be foolhardy to discount the sectarian element. The region is ancient and complex and so are the relationships.
It seems to me that the point of this opinion piece is that the Kissingerian Arabists would like to see another dictator in Iraq, one who would be able to rule with the requisite brutality that would effectively control all of the people for the sake of US interests in the region, thus disentangling the Americans. US interests is what it's really all about, right? Plus, another dictator would stabilize things for the neighbors. Forget that democracy propaganda.
No cooperation. Remember?
From TDN, we learn that the war against Turkey's only legal Kurdish party continues, this time with Aysel Tugluk and Hilmi Aydogdu facing five-year's of imprisonment for "praising" PKK and Serok Apo. In early September, Heval Aysel said this:
Close to 4 million people said Mr. Öcalan could be a force behind a democratic peace. This can't be ignored. We also take the PKK's declaration on a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem seriously because we believe it will serve finding a peaceful solution.
Heval Aysel, what could you possibly be thinking, you bad girl, advocating a peaceful and democratic solution like that?
Heval Hilmi is in hot water for the following:
The PKK's peace declaration, which I believe is an opportunity for Turkey, needs to be taken seriously. The demands voiced in this declaration are the same as the demands of many nongovernmental organizations and intellectuals. That's why we want all who support peace to back the declaration.
Bad, bad boy, Heval Hilmi. How can a peace declaration possibly be an opportunity for anyone? Remember who's coordinating PKK for Turkey these days.
Can you imagine how much trouble I'd be in? We should look on the bright side, though. At least they're not charged with any of that "insulting Turkishness" or "insulting the army" or "insulting Ataturk" shit. Instead, maybe they're in trouble for "insulting Lockheed Martin's Board of Directors," since LM is the one who refused the PKK Declaration and ceasefire for the US government . . . but only so LM could see it's future earnings soar to the tune of $12.9 billion.
There's something else I've been saving . . . this is from the Brilliant-Moments-In-Turkish-Legal-History file:
A blind Turkish pensioner has been sentenced to a 26-day reading and writing course at his local public library after he failed to vote on time in an election for his village cooperative, his son said on Friday.
A prosecutor in the province of Kutahya in northwest Turkey sentenced Ismail Canseven, 73, to the education course after he did not show up for the election of the cooperative's board of directors in May, Isa Canseven told Reuters.
"What am I going to do in a library? I can't see out of either of my eyes, and I can't read or write anyway," Friday's edition of the Hurriyet newspaper quoted Ismail as saying.
Isa Canseven, 42, said he would appeal against the sentence served on his father. "My father can only find the bathroom by holding on to a piece of string we've tied to the (bathroom) wall," he said.
In Turkey, people are obliged by law to vote in elections.
Boycott the Turkish elections! They can't send 20 million to the library!
FYI: If you're interested in seeing how many CIA planes were flying extraordinary renditions in and out of Turkey (or anywhere else, for that matter), check the Ghost Plane site.
There's another item filed under War on Terror® that you probably haven't heard about if you're in the US because the lapdog media here is not talking about it . . . much. Back in 2002, a Syrian-born Canadian was seized and deported to Syria by the US government when his plane stopped over in the US as he was returning home to Canada from a vacation. Prior to this, the Canadians had informed the Americans that the victim, Maher Arar, was a "person of interest" in possible "terrorist" activity. The Canadians say that they later told the Americans that they didn't have enough evidence to support their original allegation.
Paying no attention to the Canadians, the Americans shipped Arar off to Syria where he was tortured and held for one year in detention. Upon his return to Canada, he made a stink about American and Syrian hospitality, his claims of torture were found to be credible, and he has since been completely exonerated by Canadian authorities of all suspicion of "terrorism." I'll let the AP at FOX tell the rest:
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last month demanded a formal apology from the White House, saying Arar had been unfairly deported to face torture in Syria and that American officials "had not been candid and truthful" in dealing with Canadian authorities.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in October wrote a letter to the Canadian government assuring Ottawa that the United States would not unilaterally send Canadian citizens to third-party countries for questioning about terrorist activities.
There was no apology for the Arar affair in the letter, but Ottawa said it was satisfied.
In September, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said "the people who made the decisions at the time ... determined a couple of things: One, that this individual posed a threat to the United States based on the information that they had; and two, that they were able to assure themselves, they had the reasonable expectation that this individual was not going to be maltreated."
Condoleeza Rice and her boy, McCormack, are pathetic liars. The US did unilaterally send a Canadian citizen to a third-party country for alleged "terrorist" activities. Then we have the jackass McCormack braying about how the US had "reasonable expectation" that someone deported to Syria for "questioning" about alleged "terrorist" activities "was not going to be maltreated?" What the hell is that, man? What kind of drugs is McCormack on? The US knowingly sent the guy to Syria, which has an atrocious human rights record--and is a member of the Axis of Evil Club to boot--and no US official has any "reasonable expectation" that deportees to Syria will not be "maltreated?" That is one of the stupidest remarks I have ever heard.
There's a huge scandal in Canada right now over the Arar incident, with the RCMP Commissioner, Giuliano Zaccardelli, having resigned. Do a Google News search on that if you want to know more.
In the autumn of this year, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) gave its 2006 human rights award to Arar, who could not attend the ceremony in person because the US government refused to cooperate with the Canadian government in clearing Arar's name, while US Attorney General, Alberto Stupido Gonzalez, refused to respond to the IPS request to lift the ban on Arar's entry into the US. The director of IPS describes Arar's videotaped acceptance speech, which was shown at the ceremony:
The loudest gasp from the audience came when Arar recounted how a US immigration official in New York defended the decision to render him to Syria by explaining that the INS (now known as US Citizenship and Immigration Services) was not the agency that had signed the Geneva Convention against torture.
"For me, what that really meant is we will send you to torture and we don't care," Arar told the crowd.
I have a newsflash: No one in US immigration can even spell "Geneva Convention," so they should never use big words like that.
I am reminded of an old, old science fiction movie from the 1950s, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The movie is sometimes shown on the classic movie channels these days and it can seem corny unless you understand its historical context: The movie is an allegory of McCarthyism and the 1950s Red Scare. The PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, the global War on Terror®, extraordinary renditions, the imprisonment of Padilla, the deportation of Arar, the whole situation of Kurds under Turkish occupation . . . all of these and more remind me of one of the lines at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers:
Look, you fools. You're in danger. Can't you see? They're after you. They're after all of us. Our wives, our children, everyone. They're here already. You're next!
You've been warned.