Monday, October 8, 2007

Maliki vs. Radhi

Two days after former Iraqi Judge Radhi al-Radhi testified in Congress about the rampant corruption within the Iraqi government, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki struck back. On Saturday, Maliki, who weeks ago forced out Radhi as Iraq's anticorruption chief, announced his government will prosecute Radhi for smuggling documents, for libeling Maliki, and for engaging in corruption himself.

This is not a new strategy for Maliki. A year ago, the Iraq government accused Radhi and the Commission on Public Integrity that he ran of corruption, but the charges went nowhere. (According to a now-confidential U.S. embassy draft report, Radhi's CPI passed an audit with flying colors.) And Radhi's work and integrity has been endorsed by a number of U.S. officials who worked with him, including Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. By the way, there is documentary evidence showing that Maliki's office has blocked dozens of Radhi's prosecution cases. (Apparently, Maliki is upset that Radhi has copies of these documents and shared them with U.S. congressional investigators.) As for the charge of personal corruption, Radhi shows no signs of having run off with any money. After being stranded in the United States by the Maliki government--which removed him from his post while he was in Washington at the invitation of the Justice Department for a training session--Radhi had to leave his hotel because he could not afford the bill. Friends of his in the United States are now trying to figure out how to raise money for him.

The question is, why is Maliki pursuing Radhi with such vengeance? Yes, Radhi has declared that Maliki's government is so corrupt it ought to be abolished and has accused Maliki of personally stopping corruption investigations targeting his associates and family. And Radhi's appearance on Capitol Hill last week did generate several news stories inconvenient for the Maliki government. But Radhi and his comments have not gotten as much attention as they deserve. From a political perspective, it might have been better for Maliki to ignore Radhi and hope the former judge (who was twice tortured during the days of Saddam Hussein) would slip off into obscurity. Instead, Maliki is pursuing Radhi, and this pursuit will raise Radhi's profile. (I see a 60 Minutes segment in all this.)

Radhi appears to have really gotten to Maliki. More important, Radhi's claims and evidence warrant more notice. As the below item shows, Iraq's government is unable--and seemingly unwilling--to achieve political reconciliation. If it is also as corrupt and dysfunctional as Radhi says--and the available evidence supports him--then there is no reason for the Bush administration to be supporting the Maliki government and asking American soldiers to die for it. With his anti-Radih crusade, Maliki is digging a deeper hole.

Posted by David Corn at October 8, 2007 10:35 AM


capt said...

George Bush smooths path for Hillary

BUSH administration officials are paving the way for a smooth transition to a possible Democratic presidency as Hillary Clinton consolidates her position as the overwhelming favourite to win her party’s nomination for the 2008 election.

Clinton has powered her way to the top of the Democratic pack, establishing a 33-point lead in one poll last week over Barack Obama, her nearest rival.

She raised $7m more than Obama in the last quarter and attracted more individual contri-butors than the Illinois senator, proving her popularity with grassroots Democrats.

With Clinton looking the near-inevitable nominee, Bush officials intend to hold her to her promise to be tough on defence and national security. Robert Gates, the defence secretary, is hoping to establish a bipartisan consensus on defence that will last beyond next year’s election.


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HRC has already won without a single vote cast in the primary. Welcome to America Inc. The new CEO has already been elected by proxy - just like in real business.

She is the corporate candidate after all.


Gerald said...

How can Hitler Bush justify the deaths of our soldiers to keep Iraqi corruption alive and well? This whole war has been a total tragedy. Now the talk swings daily toward the annihilation of Iran. Nazi American is my name and mass murder is my game.

Gerald said...

If Hillary is elected president which is a big if and she does not do the job, the time will be right for a third and possibly a fourth party in Nazi America. More PATRIOTIC AMERICANS are becoming independent. Becoming an independent for me means I want a change, a big change with leadership. Opposite wings of same bird will not do it for me.

David B. Benson said...

Glacial Acceleration --- A Sea of Troubles

and please read my comment, the eighth one.

capt said...

" It is extremely dangerous to exercise the constitutional right of free speech in a country fighting to make democracy safe in the world.....

These are the gentry who are today wrapped up in the American flag, who shout their claim from the housetops that they are the only patriots, and who have their magnifying glasses in hand, scanning the country for evidence of disloyalty, eager to apply the brand of treason to the men who dare to even whisper their opposition to Junker rule in the United Sates. No wonder Sam Johnson declared that "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." He must have had this Wall Street gentry in mind, or at least their prototypes, for in every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the people...

Every solitary one of these aristocratic conspirators and would-be murderers claims to be an arch-patriot; every one of them insists that the war is being waged to make the world safe for democracy. What humbug! What rot! What false pretense! These autocrats, these tyrants, these red- handed robbers and murderers, the
"patriots," while the men who have the courage to stand face to face with them, speak the truth, and fight for their exploited victims-they are the disloyalists and traitors. If this be true, I want to take my place side by side with the traitors in this fight.

Eugene V. Debs - The Canton, Ohio, Anti-War Speech. June 16, 1918

Many people today don't want honest answers insofar as honest means unpleasant or disturbing, They want a soft answer that turneth away anxiety." Louis Kronenberger - (1904-1980)

"For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.": Niccolo Machiavelli - (1469-1527) Italian Statesman and Political Philosopher - Source: Discourses, 1513-1517


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Derailing a deal

NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it.

The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush administration, which even has stated that it isn't subject to Article 6.

On July 27, Washington entered into an agreement with India that guts the central part of the NPT, though there remains substantial opposition in both countries. India, like Israel and Pakistan (but unlike Iran), is not an NPT signatory, and has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty. With this new agreement, the Bush administration effectively endorses and facilitates this outlaw behaviour. The agreement violates US law, and bypasses the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the 45 nations that have established strict rules to lessen the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, observes that the agreement doesn't bar further Indian nuclear testing and, "incredibly, ... commits Washington to help New Delhi secure fuel supplies from other countries even if India resumes testing." It also permits India to "free up its limited domestic supplies for bomb production." All these steps are in direct violation of international nonproliferation agreements.

The Indo-US agreement is likely to prompt others to break the rules as well. Pakistan is reported to be building a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons, apparently beginning a more advanced phase of weapons design. Israel, the regional nuclear superpower, has been lobbying Congress for privileges similar to India's, and has approached the Nuclear Suppliers Group with requests for exemption from its rules. Now France, Russia and Australia have moved to pursue nuclear deals with India, as China has with Pakistan — hardly a surprise, once the global superpower has opened the door.

The Indo-US deal mixes military and commercial motives. Nuclear weapons specialist Gary Milhollin noted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's testimony to Congress that the agreement was "crafted with the private sector firmly in mind," particularly aircraft and reactors and, Milhollin stresses, military aircraft. By undermining the barriers against nuclear war, he adds, the agreement not only increases regional tensions but also "may hasten the day when a nuclear explosion destroys an American city." Washington's message is that "export controls are less important to the United States than money" — that is, profits for US corporations — whatever the potential threat. Kimball points out that the United States is granting India "terms of nuclear trade more favourable than those for states that have assumed all the obligations and responsibilities" of the NPT. In most of the world, few can fail to see the cynicism. Washington rewards allies and clients that ignore the NPT rules entirely, while threatening war against Iran, which is not known to have violated the NPT, despite extreme provocation: The United States has occupied two of Iran's neighbours and openly sought to overthrow the Iranian regime since it broke free of US control in 1979.

Over the past few years, India and Pakistan have made strides towards easing the tensions between the two countries. People-to-people contacts have increased and the governments are in discussion over the many outstanding issues that divide the two states. Those promising developments may well be reversed by the Indo-US nuclear deal. One of the means to build confidence throughout the region was the creation of a natural gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan into India. The "peace pipeline" would have tied the region together and opened the possibilities for further peaceful integration.

The pipeline, and the hope it offers, might become a casualty of the Indo-US agreement, which Washington sees as a measure to isolate its Iranian enemy by offering India nuclear power in exchange for Iranian gas — though in fact India would gain only a fraction of what Iran could provide.

The Indo-US deal continues the pattern of Washington's taking every measure to isolate Iran. In 2006, the US Congress passed the Hyde Act, which specifically demanded that the US government "secure India's full and active participation in United States efforts to dissuade, isolate, and if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

It is noteworthy that the great majority of Americans — and Iranians — favour converting the entire region to a nuclear-weapons free zone, including Iran and Israel. One may also recall that UN Security Council Resolution 687 of April 3, 1991, to which Washington regularly appealed when seeking justification for its invasion of Iraq, calls for "establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery."

Clearly, ways to mitigate current crises aren't lacking.

This Indo-US agreement richly deserves to be derailed. The threat of nuclear war is extremely serious, and growing, and part of the reason is that the nuclear states — led by the United States — simply refuse to live up to their obligations or are significantly violating them, this latest effort being another step toward disaster.

The US Congress gets a chance to weigh in on this deal after the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group vet it. Perhaps Congress, reflecting a citizenry fed up with nuclear gamesmanship, can reject the agreement. A better way to go forward is to pursue the need for global nuclear disarmament, recognising that the very survival of the species is at stake.

Noam Chomsky's most recent book is Interventions, a collection of his commentary pieces distributed by The New York Times Syndicate. Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.


capt said...

Clinton aide works for Blackwater

Top campaign advisor also helped mercenaries

Senator Hillary Clinton’s top consultant in her campaign for President is also head of the giant public relations company that helped Blackwater USA CEO Erik Prince prepare his lies-filled testimony to Congress this week.

Mark Penn, in addition to advising Clinton in her bid to become President, is the President and CEO of Burson-Marsteller, the giant worldwide public relations firm that helps companies in trouble with the law. Burson-Marsteller worked for Prince in preparing rationalizations for the murder of 17 Iraqi civilians by Blackwater mercenaries in a massacre in Iraq.

Prince’s testimony before Congress this week has been largely discredited by reports prepared for both Congress and the Pentagon.

Clinton rival John Edwards calls Penn’s involvement with Blackwater just the kind of “cronyism” that has marked the scandal-plagued Presidency of George W. Bush.

"Bush has been a perfect example of cronyism because Blackwater has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans and to President Bush," Edwards says. "I also saw this morning that Sen. Clinton's primary adviser, Mark Penn, who is like her Karl Rove -- his firm is representing Blackwater."

Senator Clinton appears to be following in the footsteps of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, who often used advisors with strong ties to corporate interests while claiming independence from special interest groups.

Neither Clinton nor Penn would return phone calls seeking comment but Burson Marsteller spokesman Paul Cordasco issued a prepared statement admitting Burson "helped Blackwater prepare for their recent hearing before Congress” but added “With the hearing over, BKSH's temporary engagement has ended."

Congressional sources, however, say Burson has long worked for Blackwater and the company is still registered in Washington as a lobbyist for the firm.

Edwards says Clinton’s use of corporate flaks like Penn proves she is no different than Bush.

“We don't want to replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats. I think it is important for caucus-goers to see this choice," he says.


capt said...

Democratic Concessions Are Expected on Wiretapping

Two months after vowing to roll back broad new wiretapping powers won by the Bush administration, Congressional Democrats appear ready to make concessions that could extend some of the key powers granted to the National Security Agency.

Bush administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened wiretapping authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess, and some Democratic officials admit that they may not come up with the votes to rein in the administration.

As the debate over the N.S.A.’s wiretapping powers begins anew this week, the emerging legislation reflects the political reality confronting the Democrats. While they are willing to oppose the White House on the conduct of the war in Iraq, they remain nervous that they will be labeled as soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on intelligence gathering.

A Democratic bill to be proposed Tuesday in the House would maintain for several years the type of broad, blanket authority for N.S.A. wiretapping that the administration secured in August for just six months. But in an acknowledgment of civil liberties concerns, the measure would also require a more active role by the special foreign intelligence court that oversees the N.S.A.’s interception of foreign-based communications.

A competing proposal in the Senate, still being drafted, may be even closer in line with the administration’s demands, with the possibility of including retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that took part in the N.S.A.’s once-secret program to wiretap without court warrants.


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This is what a Democratic majority does for us? UGH!


capt said...

The funniest thing I have heard in a long time this morning on "The Young Turks" -

An email being read on the air: (paraphrased)

Quit asking questions of Hillary - just wait until she wins the nomination THEN quiz her on what she will do"


Is it just me or does that sound haunting familiar?


capt said...

Backing Away From Bush

That tinkle you hear these days is the sound of scales falling from the eyes of right-wing Washington pundits as they are oh-so-dismayed to discover that somehow, while they weren't watching, the country fell into the hands of a systematically lawless, reckless, corrupt, and authoritarian circle of false conservatives. But to keep their aplomb, they have to pretend that they weren't wearing blinders in the first place. What these leading spokesmen (and they are men, for the most part) of the conservative movement are not so eager to notice is that the power circle in question is one that, not so long ago, they celebrated as a triumphant expression of conservative ideas and values. The euphemistic way to put this is that we are well into the season of conservative distancing. The buck stops nowhere.

You can appreciate the conservative dilemma. They have to wash their hands of the Bush catastrophe without taking any responsibility for it. They have to try salvaging the notion of a vital, intelligent conservatism that was somehow, behind their backs, hijacked, sabotaged, and betrayed by an errant leader—the Bush who, unaccountably, squandered the luminous promise of Bush.

But Bush was not an accidental leader of the Republicans. He was, and remains, their quintessence—their true representative, their embodiment. His partisans celebrated him precisely as that. In his contempt for reason, his wild foreign policy, his militarism, his love of plutocrats, and his disdain for democratic values and civil rights and liberties, he personifies most of the conservative movement. He was what they wanted. And they couldn't believe their good fortune when he showed up to carry their standard. Even if he embarrassed them on occasion, they celebrated his shortcomings as a refreshing change from Bill Clinton.

No wonder his erstwhile cheerleaders are not willing to face their embarrassment. They are not particularly interested in asking: Did he change between the time they heralded him as a conservative hero and the time they threw up their hands deploring his errors? Was his stupendous malfeasance a sign, perhaps, that they missed something essential in his nature way back in the glory days when they welcomed him unquestioningly into their hearts? Does this not tell us all we need to know about their acuity?


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The Reich-wing nut pundits are jumping ship while the Democratic leadership[sic] look to give Bunnypants MORE cover? WTF?


capt said...

Springsteen: Silence Is Unpatriotic

It's hard to picture, but Bruce Springsteen turned 58 last month. His breakout hit, "Born to Run," is 32 years old. While rock stars his age are content to tour with their greatest hits, Springsteen launched, last week, what may become his most controversial work as a songwriter.

Even now, Springsteen is an artist in progress, having moved from stories about girls and cars to populist ballads that echo the dust bowl days of Woody Guthrie. Springsteen has put all that together now in his first tour with the E Street Band in four years. As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, he has returned to full-throated rock and roll, and a message that's sharper than ever, damning the war in Iraq, and questioning whether America has lost its way at home.


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A very good piece/interview.


capt said...

New Thread