Friday, April 29, 2011






The file said officials then received a call in July 1964 from a mother distressed that her 27-year-old daughter had agreed to marry Mr Obama Sr.

The woman is presumed to be Ruth Nidesand, who became Mr Obama Sr.'s third wife and was white, like Miss Dunham.

At the time several US states still had laws banning inter-racial marriage. Miss Nidesand left the US to be with Mr Obama Sr. the following month.



Yesterday's snapshot included the following: "You pretend to know, Tim Arango, how the protests started in Iraq -- well they re-started. They were enough last year to force the Minister of the Electricy out. But you weren't covering Iraq then and are apparently unfamiliar with that aspect of the protests. " That was incorrect.
I was wrong. My apologies. Tim Arango writes to inform that he was present in Iraq when the Minister of Electricity resigned following protests last year. I stand corrected. I was wrong. Arango was present for that.
A community member found this claim by Tim Arango: "Prior to the Sadrist protest against the Americans, that issue was not a defining aspect of the protests." That was during his exchange with Dan Hind at Hind's The Return of the Public. No, that is not correct. We noted that this morning and that if he had a comment on it before the snapshot went up, it would be included. He replied to Jim's e-mail, "I don't think i have a further comment other than to say that the protests that began in february here have been about a variety of issues: services, corruption, jobs, civil liberties, Bahrain, detainees (especially in Sunni areas) -- at some of them you can hear anti-american slogans, and there have been some smaller gatherings that speak about the american military, but the overall message is that they want to perfect and improve their fledgling democracy. Of course, the Sadrists held their big protest on April 9 against the troops, and demanding that they leave on time." (Jim and everyone who works the e-mails can write back or not, that's their decision. I can't engage in private conversations via e-mail with writers covered here -- critiqued here -- because that creates a layer of conflict of interest and we can take that up tonight in "I Hate The War.)
Again, that's not correct. The protests in Iraq can be seen a series of unconnected brush fires starting at the end of January. By Februray 3rd, connective tissue is beginning to form with all people-led demonstrations.
People-led? These are demonstrations by and for the people. There are no marching orders (though Nouri will claim they are being led from outside of Iraq, and he will claim they're backed by 'terrorists' and by 'al Qaeda'). People-led, people-driven. These are very different from the Moqtada al-Sadr let-me-order-my-merry-band-of-followers. February 25th is the first day of protest where you see real connections between the movements in Baghdad and the ones in Ninevah Province or elsewhere. In addition to previous snapshots, I went over this with 2 protesters in Baghdad this morning on i.m., on the phone with a community member in Mosul and via e-mail with a protester in Falluja. February 25th was dubbed "The Day Of Rage." Protests prior to the 25th were not 'national.' Meaning there might be one in Hawija and one in Baghdad and the two weren't coordinated for a specific day. The occupation and corruption were key issues in the protests, however, even when unrelated. The Baghdad protesters were surprised that there would be a claim that they occupation was not an issue since banners were present calling for US troops to be out of Iraq. And, in fact, the whole point of attempting to storm the US-created and occupied Green Zone had to do with reclaiming that section of Iraq for Iraq. Opposition to the US occupation has always been a part of the national protests.
What's going on is Tim Arango isn't present for protests outside of Baghdad (a comment Iraqi community members make loudly in the community newsletters and one that's already up here in a Saturday entry from weeks ago) and probably the paper was not present for most in Baghdad. That's certainly explains why Stephanie McCrummen and the Washington Post were owning the story of what happened on The Day of Rage (such as here) and the New York Times missed it. The New York Times embarrassed itself as journalistic organizations -- international ones -- and human rights organizations called out what happened on Feb. 25th but the Times?
Their deference to Nouri al-Maliki is rather sad when you consider that the paper had a few outstanding reporters in Iraq (including Damien Cave) and now they're just lackeys. If Tim doesn't like that judgment call on my part, try explaining why Nouri's trashing of protesters and telling people not to participate in the Day of Rage receives more prominence than the Day of Rage actions? In the article about the Day of Rage -- or allgedly about it -- Jack Healy and Michael S. Schmidt don't open with the attack on journalists or attacks on protesters. They do one setnence and then want to rush to "high-ranking Iraqi officials." And then it's time for paragraphs on Nouri and it's paragraph seven before we actually meet a protester -- in a story about the Day of Rage. Paragraph seven of a 16 paragraph story. And for some reason, we still have to meet the US military in the story. Don't think that the last nine paragraphs are about the protesters or -- and this goes to Dan Hind's issue -- explaing what brought to protesters out in the streets. Now let's contrast that with Stephanie McCrummen's article for the Post -- which is award-worthy. Here's the opening:
Iraqi security forces detained hundreds of people, including prominent journalists, artists and intellectuals, witnesses said Saturday, a day after nationwide demonstrations brought tens of thousands of Iraqis into the streets and ended with soldiers shooting into crowds.
Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit.
"It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."
Protesters mostly stayed home Saturday, following more than a dozen demonstrations across the country Friday that killed at least 29 people, as crowds stormed provincial buildings, forced local officials to resign, freed prisoners and otherwise demanded more from a government they only recently had a chance to elect.
And that's just the opening. And, as we've noted before, the New York Times editorial board has commented on these events . . . even though the paper's reporters never filed on it. Woops. This is what has so many people outraged about the bad coverage. In fairness to the reporters for the Times, the paper wasn't interested at all in Iraq. They were Cairo-obsessed and flooding the zone on that -- pushing Iraq right out of the paper during this very key time (one that you better believe will be in the history books) -- and then they did a brief withdrawal on Cairo before setting off to Libya. Somewhere in all of that, they tried to flood the zone on the Japan tsunami but only demonstrated that they do their best tsunami work when most of the staff is on vacation (see January 2005).
Show me where the Times took serious what the Post did? Again, from Stephanie's article:
Ssairi and his three colleagues, one of whom had been on the radio speaking in support of protesters, said about a dozen soldiers stormed into a restaurant where they were eating dinner Friday afternoon and began beating them as other diners looked on in silence. They drove them to a side street and beat them again.
Then, blindfolded, they were driven to the former Ministry of Defense building, which houses an intelligence unit of the Iraqi army's 11th Division, they said. Hadi al-Mahdi, a theater director and radio anchor who has been calling for reform, said he was blindfolded and beaten repeatedly with sticks, boots and fists. One soldier put a stick into Hadi's handcuffed hands and threatened to rape him with it, he said.
Where's the paper's coverage of that?
The Times has never known what was going on -- at least not judging by what's made it into the paper. (And it's falling back into its habit of rendering Iraqi women invisible.) Tim Arango overestimates the influence of Moqtada al-Sadr in my opinion (see April 19th snapshot and, as I noted then, that's in contrast with the State Dept so I will applaud Arango for refusing to go along with the State Dept's official line -- though I do think the State Dept is right in this case). He basically elevates Moqtada to officialdom and there is no higher status for the New York Times. So unless it's a small protest ordered by Moqtada (the April 8th one), the paper's really not interested. They'll serve up a ton of quotes from all the people who weren't at the protest and try to pretend that such an article actually covered the protests. Or they'll go ga-ga for Ahmed Chalabi all over again and treat his attempts at deflecting attention from protests against the Iraqi government as genuine protests.
Real protests are led by the people. They don't have to be ordered to show up. The Iraqi people have shown up for their events. And those events aren't connected to Moqtada or Chalabi so the paper's not interested. Real violence took place on February 25th but, to read the New York Times, it was the protesters who were violent -- they knocked over two of the barricade walls to the Green Zone!!!! The kidnapping and torturing of journalists and protesters never happened to read the New York Times' report. It's amazing that the paper not only took sides but took sides against the people. The paper's done a lousy job covering the protests. Dan Hind's criticism actually was on the mark. You do not learn about the protesters from the paper of record. Instead you learn what Nouri thinks or what some lying flack for the US military thanks -- and the spokesperson quoted about what a great job the Iraqi military was doing was a lying flack.
More importantly that's the end of Feburary. Where's the paper's coverage of the ongoing assault in Mosul? Where is that? Does Moqtada need to call a protest in Mosul for it to get attention from the New York Times?
These questions go beyond Tim Arango who is a reporter and not an editor for the paper. He's pitching ideas and many who covered Iraq for the paper can share their difficulties -- and many have shared them in e-mails to this site -- in convincing someone with the paper in the US that ____ is a story in Iraq and needs to be covered.

But a question he should be asking himself is: Where is the humanity? It took Sabrina Tavernise to bring the humanity onto the pages of the New York Times (Dexy and Burnsie appeared to see the whole thing as a video game). Others who followed her managed to keep that alive. It's gone now. And it's hard not to be reminded that this is the paper that reported on the murder (not the gang-rape) of Abeer in near real time but couldn't name her. This is the paper that when the truth came out that 14-year-old Abeer was gang-raped and murdered, that she was gang-raped as her five-year-old sister and her parents were killed in the next room, still couldn't name her. This is the paper that 'reported' on an Article 32 hearing on the crimes and the conspiracy (the murders and gang-rape were carried out by US soliders) and still couldn't name her. By contrast, Ellen Knickmeyer at the Post was reporting on Abeer from the minute the news came out that US soldiers might have been responsible for the crimes (and they were, and they either entered a plea of guilty or were convicted) and she had no problem providing a name.
Sabrina Tavernise provided Iraqi people with the dignity they deserve and gave them life on the pages of the New York Times. It's really sad that this accomplishment which Cara Buckley, Alissa J. Rubin, Damien Cave and so many others kept alive is now disappearing. That may be due to the fact that articles that do make the paper (as opposed to the ones that only show up on the paper's blog) have to be shorter and shorter and shorter. (It's always surprising when a paper comes to the conclusion that they're selling to non-readers.) But it's happening.
Happening tomorrow, according to Iraqi Revolution's al-Obeidi, "the sons of Mosul preparing for a major demonstration tomorrow". They note a sit-in took place at the Anbar University (link goes to video reports from Al Jazeera).
To the President of Iraqi Parliament
we condemns in our name and the name of all the civil society activists and Iraqi bloggers and on behalf of every Iraqi citizen who tries to exercise his the rights within Iraqi constitution, which went out to vote for under the threats of terrorism, we raise your condemnation of the ongoing attacks against demonstrators in tahreer Square and the failure of troops to secure their safety , but on the contrary troops supported
the infiltrators who tries to sabotage the demonstrations
Today one of the founding member of our site and civil society activists and free Iraqi citizen suffered brutal attack and was severely beaten in front of the eyes of army troops without your security forces try to move , is this our new and this democracy that we fight for it?
We invite you to stand and condemn and questions the security forces and to demands from the Government to implement the demands of demonstrators into a realistic, real way and to stop putting obstacles in front of them and trying to sabotage their free demonstrations , they are exercising their right to expression, and we remind you that their voices are the tools that got you
today to power ,
and it will remove of any institution Governor that can not fulfill
its duty to serve the nation,
democracy requires a national army and a Governor to serve the citizen wither they support or opposite their views ,
it is your responsibility either you fulfill it or leave it to those who can
media and the protesters and activists are part of the duty of any democratic institution plays its role effectively and freely is the responsibility and obligation your job to follow who performs them and guarantee to secure for all
For Iraq and for freedom and the Constitution
Condemn and call
Iraqi streets web site
collation of activists and bloggers from Iraq
Iraqis go up against outrageous odds and circumstances to protest and make their voices heard. Front Line notes:
Front Line expresses concern regarding the attack against Iraqi human rights defender and blogger Mr Hayder Hamzoz on 22 April as he was taking part in a regular Friday protest in Sahat Al -Tahrir, a public square in Baghdad. Hayder Hamzoz attends the protests at Al-Tahrir square every Friday and uses his mobile phone to record the events to put up on Twitter and Facebook.
On 22 April he was approached by young men who asked him about his Qalaxy mobile phone (a type of mobile that facilitates connection to social media networks) and then took the phone away. It is reported that he managed to take back his phone, but the group was then joined by more than 9 people at which point Hayder Hamzoz ran to escape the assault. The men reportedly grabbed him and beat him up using their hands and feet, causing him to bleed and almost faint. His phone was confiscated.
The security forces who were around at the time reportedly stopped protesters and friends of Hayder Hamzoz from rendering assistance to him. The attackers then made away with the phone under the watchful eye of the security forces who did not interfere. Following the attack, Hayder Hamzoz, along with human rights defender Hanaa Adwar, went to the army officer who was in charge of the surrounding area but he refused to listen to their story. Later that night the attackers called him on another number and told him not to record or post anything anymore.
Hayder Hamzoz was the only protester to be attacked by the assailants, a matter which casts doubt as to their real motives. It is suspected that the assailants are security men in plainclothes who apparently attacked him as a reprisal against his peaceful cyberactivism.
Hayder Hamzoz, aged in his early twenties, is a prominent blogger and documentalist who runs a popular blog titled Iraqi Streets 4 Change. He also organises the coverage of peaceful Iraqi protests over the internet and has set up along with others a short messaging service which does not require subscription to the internet. Along with his colleagues, he also utilises social media networks to mobilise and document peaceful mass protests to encourage the Iraqi government to expedite democratic reforms. It is believed that the attack on Hayder Hamzoz is related to his peaceful and legitimate work as a blogger.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Nouri continues planning power-grab"
"Tim Arango and 'what the hell is Daniel Dombey's p..."
"Years later . . ."
"The truth delivered"
"Diane Rehm"
"If PBS had an ombudsperson, Jim Lehrer would be apologizing"
"Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell"
"Ben Smith, take it out of your mouth"
"Trump, tornadoes"
"She really is Gross"
"Sushi, Guantanamo, TV"
"No Class In That Family"