Thread… 25 September 2007Posted by marisacat in Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, WAR!.
Pepe Escobar is up in Asia Times with a take on Mahmoud does NYC…
The new “Hitler”, at least for a while, has lodged in a prosaic midtown Manhattan hotel. Contrary to a plethora of demonizing myths, this Persian werewolf did not evade his abode to eat kids for breakfast in Central Park. Instead, he turned on a carefully calibrated public relations charm offensive. Whatever his polemical views, for a now-seasoned head of state like Ahmadinejad to turn astonishing US disinformation on Iran, the Middle East and US foreign policy for his own advantage ended up as a string of slam-dunks.
Articulate, evasive, manipulative, the Iranian president – even lost in translation – was especially skillful in turning US corporate media’s hysteria upside down consistently to paint those in the administration of President George W Bush as incorrigible warmongers. Both at the National Press Club, via video-conference, and live at Columbia University, Ahmadinejad even had the luxury of joking about fabled Western “freedom of information” – as so many are still “trying to prevent people from talking”.
And a reference to oft repeated myth, as well:
To put in perspective the Iranian hostage crisis in the early days of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, he said one would need to “go back to US intervention in Iran since 1953″. His hosts preferred to change the subject. Humming non-stop in the background noise was the “wipe Israel of the map” myth. No one had the intellectual decency to point out that what he really said, in Farsi, in a speech on October 2005 to an annual anti-Zionist conference in Iran, was that “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”. He was doing no more than quoting the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini – hoping that an unfair (toward Palestine) regime would be replaced by another one more equitable; he was not threatening to nuke Israel. Warmongers anyway don’t bother to check the facts.
ATimes picks up on the latest Tom Englehardt with a painful look back at Tommy Franks, Tenet, Myers and Bremer. This on Bremer is worth pulling out of the pain of reading again about thsoe horrible men, esp as Blackwater walks free in iraq, a week off for killing 11:
When it came to the freedoms of Western occupiers (or liberators, if you will), including armed mercenaries, however, Bremer achieved a true medal-snatching feat. He in essence turned that Baghdad clock back to the 19th century and made that “time” stick to this very day. On the eve of his departure, he issued a remarkable document of freedom – a declaration of foreign independence – that went by the name of “Order 17″  and that, in the US mainstream media, is still often referred to as “the law” in Iraq.
Order 17 is a document well worth reading. It in essence granted to every foreigner in the country connected to the occupation enterprise the full freedom of the land, not to be interfered with in any way by Iraqis or any Iraqi political or legal institution. Foreigners – unless, of course, they were jihadis or Iranians – were to be “immune from any form of arrest or detention other than by persons acting on behalf of their Sending States”, even though US and coalition forces were to be allowed the freedom to arrest and detain in prisons and detention camps of their own any Iraqis they designated worthy of that honor. (The present prison population of American Iraq is reputed to be at least 24,500 and rising.)
And then, of course, there was that “international zone”, now better known as the Green Zone, whose control was carefully placed in the hands of the Multinational Force or MNF (in essence, the Americans and their contractors) exactly as if it had been the international part of Shanghai, or Portuguese Macau, or British Hong Kong in the 19th century.
Above all else, Bremer freed an already powerful shadow army run out of private security outfits like Blackwater USA that, by now, has grown, according to recent reports, into a force of 20,000-50,000 or more hired guns. [I just read Scahill use the figure 180,000 for over all mercs, private contractors in Iraq --- Mcat] These private soldiers, largely in the employ of the Pentagon or the US State Department – and so operating on US taxpayer dollars – were granted the right to act as they pleased with utter impunity anywhere in the country.
More than three years later, the language of Order 17, written in high legalese, remains striking when it comes to the contractors.
Order 17 begins on private security firms with a stated need “to clarify the status of … certain international consultants, and certain contractors in respect of the government and the local courts.” But the key passage is this:
Contractors shall not be subject to Iraqi laws or regulations in matters relating to the terms and conditions of their contracts … Contractors shall be immune from Iraqi legal processes with respect to acts performed by them pursuant to the terms and conditions of a contract or any subcontract thereto … Certification by the Sending State that its contractor acted pursuant to the terms and conditions of the contract shall, in any Iraqi legal process, be conclusive evidence of the facts so certified …
a longish snip, but more at the article….