Thursday, July 07, 2011








Yesterday on Flashpoints (KPFA, Pacifica), guest host Kevin Pina spoke with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya who has left Canada to report from Libya on the illegal war.
Kevin Pina: So give us an update, what's going on on the ground there?
Mahdi Darius Nazemoraya: Well I did look at some of the press reports being released saying that the gates of Tripoli had been reached by the rebels. That is totally untrue. That is not happening whatsoever. Nothing like that has happened whatsoever. In fact what I am hearing here is contradictory to what the press is saying in North America and Western Europe and that's the western mountains have been regained by the Libyan military -- or as they call it in their reports pro-Gaddafi forces. So there's total contradictions on the ground here and from what I'm seeing there. I also went to the Washington Post, Reuters today. They seem to be getting information from some person named 'Niz.' They all -- If you look through the wires, you're going to see 'Niz said this, Niz said that'. And most of the reports are unverified. They're just quoting Niz, but they're unverified. And I happen to notice while looking through these reports that they're saying he's been talking to them or contacting them through secure internet services. Secure internet services or secure internet lines usually mean like an embassy or something like that. So what is the press doing here? Another thing that was brought up by a Libyan I was talking to while looking at these reports was that the United States government -- especially President Obama -- is establishing shadow internet and shadow phone lines in so-called authoritarian countries as a means to remove the regime. Now if somebody did that in the United States, I think that would be seen as an act of aggression. That's unacceptable. We can't have these type of double standards. And, yes, today was -- today and actually for a while tensions have been brewing between south Sudan and north Sudan. nothing is said Barack will occupy western Sahara where they've actually built fences, you know, fences just like the Israelis have in the West Bank and nothing was said there. The ICC is out to lunch about what happened in Georgia, they still haven't come up with a verdict. But they look at Gaddafi and, in a couple of days, they come up with convictions based mostly on media reports from what I've went through looking at everything that ICC's putting together. So people here are united. They're united more than ever. And that's the feeling you get in Tripoli. It's not what the media is portraying. It's not going to fall anytime soon. There's no rebels at the gates. It's totally different on the ground from what I see here than what the press is reporting.
Kevin Pina: You're listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio and that's the voice of Mahdi Nazemoraya. Mahdi is speaking to us directly from Tripoli, Libya. Mahdi, what about news reports -- Well, explain to me first, what is this shadow phone system you're referring to.
Mahdi Darius Nazemoraya: Well reading through the press releases, the wires, there's talking about how secure alternative -- not as in alternative media but alternative internet sources that the governments of these countries can't control are being set up in these countries as a means for so-called activists or opposition groups to organize to overthrow the government. That's basically what they're doing. And this is in the press. Take me to task, listeners should take me to task and look this up. You can find this in the mainstream media where they're talking about shadow internet and shadow phone lines the government can't control. If anybody did that in my country Canada or the United States or they did it in Britain, France, Belgium -- they would end up -- It would be seen as an act of treason. You can't do that. I'm not saying the state [has] to control the internet but you can't set up a system to overthrow the government. That's a hostile act.
Kevin Pina: And you know of course that they barely averted a vote in the US Senate yesterday to support the NATO-led war effort in Libya. It looks as if they're going to try to -- the Democrats are going to try to -- push another vote later next week. And all of this is, of course, predicated upon what is being called a victory that is in sight.
Mahdi Darius Nazemoraya: I don't see a victory in sight. I think that's just talk. I think it's part of the psychological warfare against this country and it's people -- yes, against its people. I want to point out there's a war against the people of this country. When you bomb places that are food storage sites and you bomb places where money is made and when you bomb civilian structures, it's a war against the people, trying to break their spirits.
Former US House Rep Cynthia McKinney (2008 Green Party presidential candidate) was part of a fact finding mission to Libya earlier and Lucy Grider-Bradley -- who has worked with various members of the US Congress including Cynthia and US House Rep Gwen Moore and who is the former program director for Northeast Georgia Black Leadership Council -- also took part in the fact finding mission. On this week's Black Agenda Radio -- hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, first airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network -- they highlight remarks by lucy Grider-Bradley and Cynthia McKinney.
Glen Ford: We asked Lucy Grider-Bradley if what she saw felt like a war to her?
Lucy Grider-Bradley: Absolutely. I felt bombs, the effect of bombs dropping in the distance. I saw billowing clouds that came up after the horrible sound and the building that I was in shaking. Billows of white, smoke-like substance that turned black as if watching a horror movie. I saw the effects of that bomb. I saw a 30-fooot crater in the middle of a home that belonged to Muammar Gaddafi's son -- where his son was killed and 3 of his grandchildren also murdered from the effects of that bomb. I mean, how do you get a 30-foot hole in the middle of your house? Well I can tell you what I saw -- the results of a UN-US-NATO bomb. The delegation saw a lot. We saw people trying to go about their daily lives, not knowing when the next bomb was going to drop or knowing where the bomb was going to drop. But in spite of it all, they gathered ever evening at the place where the grandchildren and the son were killed to show their support for their leader. I wonder if that kind of thing was happening in the United States, if we would get out and rally behind a leader who was dropping bombs and murdering people -- Black people especially. I don't think I'd be part of that party. But the Libyans definitely support their leader and show it every night despite the fact that there might be bombs dropping. And I also want to say civilians have been murdered. Not just military folks. So the bombs aren't dropping just on what the UN calls military outposts, they're dropping in residential areas in Libya. I think it's important that that point is made over and over and over again.
Glen Ford: And when President Obama denied that he had to comply with the War Powers Act because he was not engaged in hostilities with Libya, how did you feel having just returned from there?
Lucy Grider-Bradley: Well can I just say that I don't listen to him so I didn't hear him say that so I really don't have an opinion. I think about him like I felt about President Bush: If you see his mouth moving he's probably lying.
The Cynthia McKinney excerpt is from her speech at the National Black Theatre in Harlem.
Cynthia McKinney: During the time that I was in Congress, I was asked to take positions that were absolutely not true but people wanted to use my Black face in order to put forward their own agenda. And their own agenda was anti-Black. So they wanted to use the integrity that I had, they wanted me to lease it to them for a small price. In fact, one person, a media person from New York told me that if I just took a particular stand against Sudan then I could be be in Congress for the rest of my life. But what they wanted me to say was a lie. And I did my research, as I always do my research, and I understood what they were asking me to say was not true and so therefore I declined. [Next sentence is drowned out from applause to previous sentence.] But this leasing of the Black face and oppressing people of color within black face was something that moved me and, in fact, when I filed the Articles of Impeachment against George Bush and Dick Cheney, it was important for me to include Condoleezza Rice because she knowingly chose the wrong side. And I went to an elementary school in my district as I was trying to campaign for re-election and there big as day the school, Black History Month, is celebrating who else but Condoleezza Rice. So Condoleezza Rice becomes the role model for our young people. Colin Powell, who lied to the world, becomes a role model for our young people. So this is what they want us to become but this is certainly not what I can contence. So as I am blessed to be able to travel around the world, one of the things that sticks out to me is how Black America, at one point, had moral authority no matter where you went in the world. And if you had a USA passport and your skin was Black, you were respected. You were loved. Because people around the world understood our struggle, understood our oppression and they understood our resistance to the imperial face of the United States. But not so anymore. How long do you think we're going to get a free pass? And now the ultimate insult to my integrity is that we have a Black man bombing Africa. The ultimate insult.
Jason Ditz ( reports that a vote in the House came close to cutting off approproations: "A broader bipartisan amendment from Reps. Amash (R - MI) and Kucinich (D - OH) narrowly failed, with a vote of, 199 - 229. [. . .] Still, the Cole (R - OK0 Amendment, a less ambitious version, managed to pass, which prohibits any funding for equipment, training or advice related to the Libya War in the bill." This morning, before the vote, US House Rep Dennis Kucinich's office noted, "A bipartisan agreement to support an amendment with the broadest coalition of support has been reached by 15 Members of Congress. The bipartisan amendment is cosponsored by Justin Amash (R-MI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Ron Paul (R-TX), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Dan Burton (R-IN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Pete Stark (D-CA), Tim Johnson (R-IL), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Richard Nugent (R-FL)." Alan Silverleib (CNN) notes of the Amash-Kucinich measure, "A relatively slim majority of Republicans voted in favor of the measure, while a large majority of Democrats opposed it."
One of the most interesting aspects about US coverage of the Status Of Forces Agreement being extended or replaced is how the White House keeps saying Iraq will have to ask and reporters run around DC looking for unnamed officials to comment while ignoring what's been and is being reported in the Iraqi press. You might say, "Well the US press feels it's more professional and therefore isn't interested . . ." To which the obvious rejoinder is, "The US isn't interested in Iraqi press or Iraqi reaction? That makes the US press just like the US government.

Today Al Sabaah reports that a unified statement is expected before the end of the month from Parliament. Of course, if recent reports that Nouri intends to sign off on a memorandum of understanding with the US government prove to be correct, the Parliament can say whatever it wants, they will have been bypassed (not unlike the way he bypassed them at the end of 2006 to extend the UN mandate and, again, at the end of 2007 for the same reason). Hossam Acommok (Al Mada) reports that State of Law insiders (Nouri's slate) say Moqtada al-Sadr is the stumbling block currently and that Nouri is weighing the threats Moqtada has made to reactivate the Mahdi milita. State of Law worries about the so-called 'gains' that have been made being lost if the US military leaves. Not all in the political slate are worried about Moqtada and some point out that Nouri is the leader of the Armed Forces as well as the Minister of Defense and Interior so he will have the support of most political blocs when he makes his evaluation. From outside the political slate, some are less optimistic and many point out that the decision should not be Nouri's alone (Osama al-Nujaifi, not noted in this article, has repeatedly maintained that this is a decision that must come before Parliament). Adm Mike Mullen, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, weighed in this afternoon. David Alexander (Reuters) reports that Mullen was "at a luncheon with reporters, maintained that "Iran" (presumably the government of) was supplying Shi'ite militias in Iraq with "high-tech weapons" to kill US soldiers "the forensics prove that." Any agreement to keep US troops on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011, Mullen argued, should include some provision that Iraqi forces will address this alleged supplying of weapons to Shi'ite militias. Viola Gienger (Bloomberg News) observes, "The condition for a U.S. troop extension poses a challenge to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose Shiite Muslim political party has struggled to manage Iran's political and military influence." Meanwhile Charley Keyes (CNN) puts the red across White House flunkie Jay Carney's freshly-facialed face by reporting, "Mullen confirmed that discussion are underway. 'Negotiations are ongoing,' Mullen said, adding that any final decision would be for the presidents of Iraq and the United States. He said any agreement with Iraq 'has to be done in conjunction with control of Iran'." Tuesday at the White House, Carney played dumb (you were playing, right, Jay?) and insisted about any extension that "I really don't have any more information on that possible outcome, because, again we haven't even gotten a request." If negotiations are going on, there are requests on both sides. Helen Thomas (Falls Church News-Press) explains:
As for pulling our troops out of Iraq, don't hold your breath. There are all kinds of official hints that our withdrawal from Iraq may take a longer time than the end of the year deadline.
James F. Jeffrey, the U.S envoy to Iraq, told reporters recently that the U.S would consider keeping some of the 40,000 troops in Iraq to provide security. Of course, some Iraqi officials who have played ball with the U.S. occupation would like us to remain in the country. But the car bombings and explosions have not stopped.
Obama has ordered the withdrawal of 10,000 troops from Afghanistan, the beginning of the end of the 10-year war. As for Afghanistan, we had more reason to go in (although there were neither Afghans nor Iraqis involved in 9/11).
Obama had one big chance to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan - the day after he took the oath of office. He could have saved thousands of lives and would have been called a hero by many. Instead, Obama maintained the Bush War scenario and kept the wars going.
America has to decide who we are -- and why we are trying to sell democracy with guns and bombs.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"