Four War on Terra stories for a Wednesday afternoon:
1. The House of Representatives just voted No on a resolution to direct the President to remove the United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan within 30 days, or by Dec 31, 2010 if a later date is safer. 65 to 356. H Conn RES 248 was sponsored by Dennish Kucinich of Ohio and had 19 co sponsors. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/201…
Patrick Kennedy (D, RI) is down as a NO vote inspite of this story on HuffPo where he yells at the MSM for not paying attention to this national debate. “We’re talking about war and peace, $3 billion, 1,000 lives and no press! No press !” WTF? No vote, dude! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
The Yes on withdrawal votes were as follows. We thank the 5 Republicans who also voted for this (marked with ••).
••Campbell, John, CA 48
••Duncan John TN- 2
Jackson Lee (TX)
••Johnson Timothy (IL- 15)
Johnson, E. B.
••Jones Walter NC -3
••Paul, Ron, TX 14
Sánchez, Linda T.
Story #2. In Iraq, Amed Chalabi Now Purging More Candidates- Post Election
Remember when people fussed about this pre election? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/… Arom Roston:
But just as important, Chalabi leveraged the one platform he had, an anti-Ba’athist committee he inherited from the days after the US invasion, to ban hundreds of political candidates for purported Ba’athist ties. It is seen as an effort to marginalize Sunni interests. He may yet, some believe, help spoil the March 7 elections in Iraq.
And Chalabi is getting noticed. General Ray Odierno, the well-respected US commander in Iraq, said Tuesday that Chalabi was actually aiding Iran with his antics. Chalabi and his sidekick on the anti-Baathist committee were “clearly influenced by Iran,” the general said.
Being Chalabi means that you’re never quite done making democracy small enough to drown it in de- baath tub.
Today’s migraine inducing quote: Chalabi: “people will eventually thank us for it. ”
Battle over Iraq candidates’ Baath links heads for courts The National (UAE) 3/10/2010
BAGHDAD // Ahmed Chalabi and Ali al Lami, the men responsible for the purge of hundreds of candidates with Baathist links from the Iraqi elections, said they are taking the country’s Independent Higher Electoral Commission to court in a bid to have votes for 55 candidates voided. (which could affect the votes for six parliamentary seats in the March 7th Iraqi election)
The pair, both affiliated with the Shiite-dominated Iraqi National Alliance coalition, have been accused of working with a sectarian agenda to marginalise Sunni candidates and take out political rivals in collaboration with Nouri al Maliki, the incumbent prime minister. Mr Chalabi defended the actions of the commission, saying that most of the barred candidates had been Shiites.
Why no, this doesn’t look suspicious, we do this all the time here in America, pull candidates off the ballot after one votes for them, right ?
Story # 3. This happened 3 days ago, but slipped under the radar. Background: In February, Lord Neubeger, the chief official in the civil justice system in Great Britain, ruled that the British spy agency MI5 had a “dubious record” in the case of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, tortured, then eventually ended up in Guantanamo until his release in 2009. B. Mohamed and others are now suing the British government for allegedly having MI5 knowing and cooperating with the other countries in his torture, while claiming innocence of wrongdoing.
Now the government and the spies are trying to hide a lot of information from the plaintiff’s lawyers with a legal move.
UK goes to court to keep Guantanamo files secret The National (UAE) 3/7/2010
For its part, the government is denying any complicity in the men’s treatment. But it wants to keep secret from the men’s lawyers much of the evidence it intends to use in its defence.
So today, at the start of an action that will probably last years and cost the British taxpayer tens of millions of pounds, government lawyers will begin to argue their case for non-disclosure before three of the country’s most senior judges, sitting in the Court of Appeal in London.
Under this procedure, which was intended for criminal cases, the government and security services’ lawyers would not have to disclose information to the claimants if they felt it would damage national security, international relations, the detection and prevention of crime, or otherwise harm the public interest.
Instead, the material would be disclosed to “special advocates” – lawyers who had undergone security vetting and clearance.
Then the “special advocates” turn around and try to convince the judge that the documents are okay to show to the regular lawyers, adding another layer of super secrecy.
In other words, the plaintiff’s lawyers would not know how the government would be conducting their defense, because it’s the government that has the full information.
The side effect would be to keep the United States Department of State happier that less information about the Blair administration’s collusion with the Bush administration about rendition and torture would be getting revealed publicly.
The article points out that the cost of having this drag out for years will cost the British taxpayer a lot more money than the plaintiffs who were allegedly tortured are going to be able to collect in damages. The Daily Telegraph estimated the bill could go to 30 million pounds.
Story # 4 –
About that guy they just put in charge of Marjah……
New Afghan Chief in Marja Has Criminal Record, NYTimes, 3/6/2010
Court records and news reports in Germany show that Abdul Zahir, who has been appointed as civilian chief in Marjah, served part of a more than four-year prison sentence for stabbing his son in 1998. An American official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, also confirmed Zahir has a criminal record in Germany.
Zahir’s criminal record is at issue because he’s tasked with convincing residents of Marjah in Helmand province that the Afghan central government can provide for them better than the Taliban. The insurgents were routed during a three-week offensive by thousands of U.S., NATO and Afghan troops, and Zahir was appointed the face of a new local government — a key test of NATO’s counterinsurgency strategy since President Barack Obama dispatched 30,000 reinforcements to the war.
A person familiar with Zahir and the 1998 court sentencing in Germany identified him Friday for the AP after viewing a pair of photographs of him taken last month. He asked that his name not be published because he feared for his life.
Zahir had lived in his current Afghan town for 4 years after spending the previous period of 15 years in Germany, then returning to Afghanistan in the year 2000, 2 years after his conviction on attempted manslaughter charges. (left there in 1985 ? hmmm ) The governor of the local Afghan province who selected Zahir for the job, was out of village and could not be reached for comment.
Bet their next elections are exciting, too.