Thursday, September 09, 2021

Jimmy Dore, Michael Smith, Michael Ratner

First up, Jimmy Dore.

That's a video about Julian Assange and he'll come back in a second. Michael Smith has a column about the late Michael Ratner at BLACK AGENDA REPORT:

In the 35 years I knew Michael he never mentioned that he graduated first in his class at Columbia Law School. He went on to clerk for Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American woman judge in the federal courts. She wrote that he was the best clerk she ever had.
Then Michael went on to work at the Center for Constitutional Rights. The fledging organization started in 1966. It had an office near 42nd Street in the porn district, a walk-up with linoleum floors and cubicles for the attorneys and staff.
This was in September 1971. Bill Kunstler asked Michael to go up to Attica prison and interview the survivors of the recent massacre. That’s how he started off at the CCR. It then was as Alex Cockburn called it “a small band of tigerish people.“ Michael was first a staff attorney, then the Director of Litigation, and finally its President.
Of the many significant cases Michael organized or handled two stand out. After 9/11 the U.S. government began using its base in Guantánamo, Cuba as an offshore prison where the government contended neither American nor international law or the laws of war applied. They were holding Muslims anonymously and forever. It was a secret prison and Michael realized that secrecy begets torture. These men had no right to learn of the charges against them or to be brought up in front of a judge or tried.
Michael got the CCR to get behind litigation. They lost in the lower court and in the Court of Appeals but finally the Supreme Court granted them a victory. Habeas corpus, the ancient law that went back to medieval England, was finally honored. Michael organized 600 lawyers from firms across the country, large and small, left and right, to support this basic right.
Michael was truth telling whistleblower Julian Assange’s American lawyer. He worked on Julian’s case to the end of his life. Julian was a young computer genius who figured out a way for whistleblowers to disclose damning information about war crimes and other government illegality anonymously. WikiLeaks then posted it. This kind of transparency is anathema to a police state. Michael thought this was the most important free speech case of our era.
What would Michael be doing if he were alive today? He would be supporting Julian Assange of course. He would be campaigning to end the cruel and illegal American economic and commercial blockade of Cuba, he would’ve been down in Virginia for the sentencing of whistleblower Daniel Hale, and he would be supporting Ben and Jerry for their refusal to have their ice cream sold in the occupied territories of Palestine.

I used to listen to LAW & DISORDER -- used to blog bout it here. Really don't anymore. That 'squeal.' They need to put it up on YOUTUBE. They could do visuals from the studio or just put up revolving press releases from CCR and The National Lawyers Guild. But it's the audio for me. I'm at C.I.'s so I might be able to get them over the airwaves (KPFA) but at home, I doubt it. I can't take the audio on so many podcasts and radio stations these days -- YOUTUBE has spoiled me.

Anyway, Julian needs to be set free. He's being held in the UK and there's no reason for them to continue to hold him. He also does not need to be brought to the US. He needs to be set free and go where ever he wants to go.

And here's a video of CCR remembering Michael Ratner.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, September 9, 2021.  Iran bombs the Kurds, Iraq struggles to engage the electorate in next month's elections, and much more.

Chelsea Manning has been having a snit fit over Glenn Greenwald's TV appearances.  Marcia's "Chelsea and Glenn " and our "Talking post" dealt with it last week and I thought that was it but I want to respond to a whiny e-mail to the public account and hopefully this will close the discussion on Chelsea Manning.  She has publicly stated that she wishes she could give the $10,000 back to Glenn.  She can't.

Because its not just $10000.  What eh fool doesn't grasp is that standing up for her wasn't easy.  The LGBTQ community wouldn't support her enough to make her an honorary martial in a gay parade -- that sounds like something Karen would say on WILL & GRACE, but it's honestly the truth.  Over and over, she divided the gay community and this was when she was Bradley Manning.  Being imprisoned during this, she may not be aware of it.  But ask anyone who stood up for her when she was in a military jail and they'll tell you very clearly that a lot of people hated her.  A lot.  

Let's also discuss the lack of gratitude.  Se was desperate for money and people were fundraising for her.  There was no "Please don't donate if in the future you might go on FOX NEWS'' or any other qualifiers.  She was desperate and people stepped up to help her.  It goes beyond bad manners for her to now attack and insult the people who stood by her.

It's not surprising, but it's appalling.  That's why we walked away from her the day she attacked Ann Wright.  Like Glenn, Ann had been tireless in her support for Chelsea.  And her thanks? To be insulted and rebuked publicly by Chelsea.

So let's get this straight, Glenn's wrong for going on FOX NEWS and Ann's wrong for what?  Retiring from the State Dept in protest of the Iraq War?  I mean, who is it that is pure enough for Chelsea now.  

That bitch needs to get her s**t straight.  We all have lives.  Around the world, people who never met her gave to her -- gave time, gave money, gave support.  And there's no gratitutde.  We've had many, many public statemetns from Chelsea.  We've never seen a thank you.

She's an ungrateful bitch and that's why she's so miserable.  By her own words, after she was sentenced, her actions were wrong.  She's not anti-war, she made clear when attacking Ann Wright.  She's so stupid and vapid that over ten years after the Iraq War started she said publicly she still didn't know where she stood on it.

Hey, that's your first sign to shut your damn mouth and figure out what's going on in your head.  You clearly haven't arrived at a point where you need to lead others.  

Life is very hard for Chelsea, we're to understand, and she suffered.  No, she really didn't.  Barack Obama let her out early.  The Iraqi people suffered.  You know, the group of people she can never talk about.  She can never issue a statement in support of them.  She can never note their pain.  

She wants to act as though she's been betrayed?  She's the biggest betrayer of all.  Maybe her next announcement can find her begging forgiveness from the Iraqi people?  Or at least acknowledging the very real harm that they suffered and continue to suffer in a war that she's largely apathetic to.

If her foes had their way back when she was on trial, she'd be in a military prison for life.  It was thanks to the work of everyone that she got released, that her story was known in the first place.  The lack of gratitude?  It's just one more bad feature making her a very ugly person.

Let's move on to a topic that matter, I AM SAMUEL.

That's the trailer for the new documentary.  After seeing the film, Kurdish activist Zhiar Ali spoke with Queer Film Festival Utrech:


Zhiar, after the movie I Am Samuel you spoke with Tessa from Shelter City Utrecht. First of all… What did you think of the movie? Were you able to see it?

The movie was wonderful. I was really touched by Samuel’s story. I think on many levels, LGBT+ people somehow relate to his story.

I myself have had a very troublesome relationship with my family because of my sexuality. It got to a point where I was kicked out of my home and received death threats from my own brother. They ended up disowning me for the simple fact that I am gay. A lot of other LGBT+ youth share the same story, and I think that being afraid to be who you are should no longer be a thing in the 21st century.

Why were you invited to this conversation? What did you talk about?

The movie was really relatable to what is currently happening in Iraq, even though it focuses on Kenya. I was invited to the QFFU by Justice and Peace Netherlands, a project by Peace Brigades International, to help raise awareness about how the same thing is also happening in other middle eastern countries.

For example, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, a lot of real estate brokers refuse housing to LGBT+ youth, who are forced into the streets when they are kicked out of their family homes. In fear of sharing the same fate, a lot of gay men end up marrying women against their will, only for the feeling of security and having a roof over their heads.

This kind of discrimination exists in the work field too: LGBT+ youth either get low paying jobs where they usually face harassment from co-workers, or don’t get any jobs at all.

Zhiar Ali Tweets:

I was honored to participate in the screening of #IAmSamuel by #QFFU. I had the opportunity to speak with them on my journey as an openly gay LGBT+ rights activist and the community’s struggle towards freedom and social equality in Iraq.

Here's Eli Lieb's "Boys Who Like Boys"

And one of the many things I like about Eli's song is that it throws the responsiblity where it belongs: What's your problem?  

Persecution of LGBTQs -- and those suspected of being one -- continues in Iraq -- even when the press moves on to whatever hot topic everyone else is chasing at the moment.

They never really addressed the Turkish government's continual bombing of Iraq or sending in foot soldiers or putting up bases.  Their laid back attitude to this breach of national sovereignty and these acts of war always meant other governments would feel emboldened.  Layal Shakir (RUDAW) reports:

Iranian warplanes and at least one suicide drone attacked bases of Kurdish opposition groups located within Iraqi borders in Erbil province on Thursday morning, a top party official said. There are no reports of casualties.

“We have recovered the remains of a drone that was used in the attack on one target and we have photos,” Kawa Bahrami, top Peshmerga commander of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) which was the target of the attack, told Rudaw English.

The attacks started at 6:00 in the morning. Iranian warplanes, drones, and artillery targeted several locations in the Sidakan and Choman areas of Erbil province where several Kurdish opposition groups have small bases.

Top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) this week ratcheted up their threats and called on civilians in the Kurdistan Region to avoid areas where these groups have their bases. 

The actions of the Turkish government made the above possible.  Boycott Turkey notes:

"There are no PKK forces in that region. These are just the fields of the villagers. They’ve hit these fields. They hit a house. There was also a place of worship in the vicinity. It got hit too. The target of this war is clearly not only the PKK."

Turkey keeps claiming that they're harming and killing terrorists but the people on the ground don't match the claims of the Turkish government.  For example, Karwan Faidhi Dri (RUDAW) notes:                                                                             

A family of three was hospitalized in northern Duhok province this week after Turkish forces bombed near their home. The family said the bomb produced a bad-smelling smoke. Authorities are investigating the cause of their health problems.

Turkey dropped six bombs in the vicinity of Hirore village in Kani Masi sub-district on Saturday. They landed nearly a kilometer from Abdullah Hassan’s house, which is located on the edge of the village.

Hassan, his wife Hadiya Mustafa, and their daughter Zhiman were hospitalized two hours after smoke from the bombs reached their house.

“A Turkish bomb brought this to me. Smoke came towards me and I said ‘go inside as this smoke stinks.’ I went into the house,” Mustafa, 66, told Rudaw.


#Turkish bombing creates fires in four villages in #Nohadra (#Duhok) in Kurdistan Region of #Iraq | #Turkey #KRI

Turkey bombs homes, hospitals and refugee camps and the world is largely silent.  It's no surprise that now the government of Iran thinks it can get away with doing the same.  

Next month, Iraq is set to hold elections.  THE WASHINGTON POST's Louisa Loveluck Tweets:

As Iraq prepares for elections, chronic mistrust in country's political class will likely result in low voter turnout. In remarks here, suggests it could be around 30%.

Mustafa Saadoun (AL-MONITOR) reports on The October Revolution:

Emerging Iraqi political movements declared their open opposition to the political system formed after 2003, calling instead for substantial reforms.

On Sept. 4, an expanded conference was held in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, by a group of forces that reportedly emerged from the October 2019 protests.

The groups declared their opposition to the country’s political system and signaled they would not be participating in the election.

The conference, titled “The Opposition Forces Gathering,” tackled the “disadvantages” of the Iraqi political system.

It announced the boycott of the elections, saying “[the elections] lack integrity, fairness and equal opportunities.”

It also called for commemorating the start of the protests on the first of next month with a “million-man” demonstration.

Contrary to some protest forces and movements, this conference did not raise the slogan of “overthrowing the regime” or finding an alternative. Rather, it indicated the need for reforms, which is what most large and small political parties in Iraq are calling for.

In a statement on Aug. 26, Bassem al-Sheikh, a spokesman for the opposition forces, said, “The opposition is working to reform the regime, and it may take bigger steps than those that were taken in the 2019 protests.”

According to the spokesman for the forces, the opposition gathering includes 40 movements and groups of movements and gatherings that emanated from the protests witnessed in Iraq over the past two years.


The following sites updated:

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, Binoy Kampmark

First off, I hope you read Marcia's "Chelsea and Glenn " and C.I.'s "Talking post" over the weekend.  

Second off, here's Jimmy Dore from BLACK POWER MEDIA.

We need more truth tellers, a lot more.  We're lucky to have the ones like Jimmy Dore but we need more.  And we're waking up to con artists.  Doubt it?  Look at the ratings for MSNBC's con artists via this Tweet from Glenn Greenwald:

Joy Reid and Chris Hayes both have now sunk to fewer than 100,000 people watching their shows in prime-time under the age of 55: the only demo that matters to advertisers. No way to over-state what a complete failure that is: with a huge corporation and cable access behind them.

No one watches their nonsense these days.

Binoy Kampmark (DISSIDENT VOICE) reports:

Australia’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, was known as one such figure.  He was praised as the great communicator and healer between the forces of labour and capital, enjoyed imbibing, his sports and varied female company.  He could also be vain and ruthless.

In June, a rather unremarkable revelation was made that Hawke had been something of an errand boy for the US imperium, a spiller of the beans and something of what Australians would call a “dobber”.  Cameron Coventry, in an article published that month, makes much of embassy and diplomatic cables covering the late Hawke between 1973 and 1979.  “During this time, he divulged information [to the US] about the Whitlam government (1972-75), the Fraser government (1975-83), Labor, and the labour movement.”  What is less than flattering for the Australian establishment is that snitching and informing on colleagues and their various circles was more than an errant pastime: it was entrenched practice.

The image of Hawke as an eager informant for US officials had already attained form in the release of US state department cables by Wikileaks.  During the turbulent times of the Labor government of Gough Whitlam, Hawke, according to embassy accounts, speaks of a party left in “bad financial shape” by their leader, one afflicted by “stupidity”.  The acrimony between Prime Minister Whitlam and Hawke also registers with some frequency.  This was of interest, given the very specific concerns from Washington that Whitlam was going wobbly on the alliance due to pressure from within his own party.  His growing weakness was particularly troubling given “his basic moderation and support of US defence facilities and other US interests”, as one embassy cable notes in August 1974.

Hawke, for his part, was happy to pile upon Whitlam in his disclosures to the embassy, often with intense colour.  An embassy official notes, in one cable in 1973, that, “Direct quotations in this report will be difficult as Hawke used short words of emphasis not suitable for family newspaper.”  Whitlam, according to Hawke, was “egocentric” though a poor judge: having sought voting and funding support from the Jewish community, he proceeded to treat Jewish elders in a “completely unsatisfactory and humiliating way”.

Two versions of Hawke emerge.  There is the Hawke who publicly believed that Australia could find much in the context of independent non-alignment.  (Even then, this would have been laughable, given the firm security cord binding Canberra to Washington.)  Hawke the US informant and snitch preferred deeper and closer integration into the American machine, wishing to expand the ANZUS alliance beyond its “purely defensive military” character.

Given that Australia had become a rather nice bit of strategic realty for the US, there was much appreciation for his efforts to take the sting out of any potential threats posed by the Left in general and the trade union movement in particular.  An important component to this was the relationship with the US Labour Attaché, a position long occupied by intelligence officers.  The occupants of the position took much interest in the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), of which Hawke would become president.  With his election, things got rosy, with US diplomats keen to push the ACTU into a sympathetic political orbit with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, September 8, 2021.  Will their be a reckoning for US politicians as the American people grasp what the war money could have been spent on, meanwhile Iraq prepares to hold elections next month.

At IN THESE TIMES, Sarah Lazare asks what if our priorities in the US had been different over the last two decades:

Twenty years into a nebulous War on Terror,” the United States is in the grips of a full-fledged climate crisis. Hurricane Ida, whose severity is a direct result of human-made climate change, flooded cities, cut off power to hundreds of thousands, killed at least 60 people, and left elderly people dying in their homes and in squalid evacuation facilities. This followed a summer of heat waves, wildfires and droughts — all forms of extreme weather that the Global South has borne the brunt of, but are now, undeniably, the new normal” in the United States.

The U.S. government has turned the whole globe into a potential battlefield, chasing some ill-defined danger out there,” when, in reality, the danger is right here — and is partially of the U.S. government’s own creation. Plotting out the connections between this open-ended war and the climate crisis is a grim exercise, but an important one. It’s critical to examine how the War on Terror not only took up all of the oxygen when we should have been engaged in all-out effort to curb emissions, but also made the climate crisis far worse, by foreclosing on other potential frameworks under which the United States could relate with the rest of the world. Such bitter lessons are not academic: There is still time to stave off the worst climate scenarios, a goal that, if attained, would likely save hundreds of millions of lives, and prevent entire countries from being swallowed into the sea.

One of the most obvious lessons is financial: We should have been putting every resource toward stopping climate disaster, rather than pouring public goods into the war effort. According to a recent report by the ​​National Priorities Project, which provides research about the federal budget, the United States has spent $21 trillion over the last 20 years on foreign and domestic militarization.” Of that amount, $16 trillion went directly to the U.S. military — including $7.2 trillion that went directly to military contracts. This figure also includes $732 billion for federal law enforcement, because counterterrorism and border security are part of their core mission, and because the militarization of police and the proliferation of mass incarceration both owe much to the activities and influences of federal law enforcement.”

Of course, big government spending can be a very good thing if it goes toward genuine social goods. The price tag of the War on Terror is especially tragic when one considers what could have been done with this money instead, note the report’s authors, Lindsay Koshgarian, Ashik Siddique and Lorah Steichen. A sum of $1.7 trillion could eliminate all student debt, $200 billion could cover 10 years of free preschool for all three and four year olds in the country. And, crucially, $4.5 trillion could cover the full cost of decarbonizing the U.S. electric grid.

But huge military budgets are not only bad when they contrast with poor domestic spending on social goods — our bloated Pentagon should, first and foremost, be opposed because of the harm it does around the world, where it has roughly 800 military bases, and almost a quarter of a million troops permanently stationed in other countries. A new report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project estimates that between 897,000 and 929,000 people have been killed directly in the violence of the U.S. post‑9/​11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.” This number could be even higher. One estimate found that the U.S. war on Iraq alone killed one million Iraqis.

Still, the financial cost of war is worth examining because it reveals something about the moral priorities of our society. Any genuine effort to curb the climate crisis will require a tremendous mobilization of resources — a public works program on a scale that, in the United States, is typically only reserved for war. Now, discussions of such expenditures can be a bit misleading, since the cost of doing nothing to curb climate change is limitless: When the entirety of our social fabric is at stake, it seems silly to debate dollars here or there. But this is exactly what proponents of climate action are forced to do in our political climate. As I reported in March 2020, presidential candidates in the 2020 Democratic primary were grilled about how they would pay for social programs, like a Green New Deal, but not about how they would pay for wars.

So much could have been done to help the world but instead that money was spent on war and destruction.  Propping up puppet governments that harmed the people we lied to ourselves that our wars were saving.  So much money wasted, so much time.  Priorities.  

And let's be clear, these were the priorities of the establishment, not of the people.  That remains the case.  Graison Dangor (FORBES) reports:


A sizable majority of Americans believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were “not worth fighting,” according to an AP-NORC poll released Tuesday, a sign of public fatigue in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan after nearly two decades and the continuing presence of 2,500 troops in Iraq.

Americans were asked their opinions on the wars in mid-August—as the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital and supplanted the central government—as part of a wide-ranging poll on national security and the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 62% of respondents told pollsters that the war in Afghanistan had not been worth it, while 63% said the same of the war in Iraq.

That reality goes a long way towards explaining the whoring Andrea Mitchell and others have done over the airwaves with their pretending to care about the Afghans.  They didn't care, they were just trying to push back against public opinion.  Well paid whores have to earn those checks, after all.

Iraq is set to hold elections next month.  Arkan Ali (RUDAW) reports:

As parliamentary elections approach, Iraq’s new electoral law is having an impact on how women are represented in politics.

According to the Iraqi constitution women are guaranteed at least 25 percent of the seats in parliament. Based on the law passed last year, a seat is reserved for a female candidate in each of the country’s newly divided 83 constituencies. 

In Sulaimani city centre, the Gorran Movement has nominated one woman from its seven candidates.

Based on an agreement with Gorran, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has not nominated a woman in the constituency.

“It’s a dream of every woman in Kurdistan, Iraq and the world that someday women win votes without a quota,” Rezan Ahmed Hardi, a Gorran Movement candidate in the Sulaimani city centre. “The quota law is very good, in my opinion. My goal will be to gain enough votes that even without a quota I would gain a seat in the Iraqi parliament.”

Elections are supposed to take place next month.  Halgurd Sherwani (KURDISTAN 24) reports some ugly realities regarding women candidates:

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and civil society groups have received reports of politically motivated gender-based violence and hate speech against women running in Iraq's elections, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for UNAMI said on Tuesday.

In a press conference held in Baghdad, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert outlined steps UNAMI will take to ensure that the upcoming Iraqi elections, scheduled to take place on October 10, are free and fair. 

Female candidates face increasing levels of hate speech, violence, and blackmail intended to force them to withdraw their candidacy. 

"We are working with civil society organizations to monitor and report political gender-based violence and hate speech against female candidates," Hennis-Plasschaert said.

UNAMI?  They're so proud of this Tweet that they've Tweeted it multiple times in Arabic and English:

بلاسخارت للشعب العراقي: "الأمم المتحدة معكم. هدفكم هو هدفنا. لرؤية #العراق ينهض ... كبلد يكون فيه لكافة المواطنين الفرصة ليكون صوتهم مسموع ويُكللوا بالنجاح. الخطوة الأولى على الطريق الطويل جداً لتحقيق هذا الأمر هو الإدلاء بصوتكم".

. to the Iraqi people: "The UN is with you. Your goal is our goal. To see #Iraq emerge... as a country in which all of its citizens have the chance to be heard and to succeed. The very first step, on the very long road to achieving that, is to cast your ballot."


Multiple times?  They've Tweeted it four times in a row.  They Tweeted other things yesterday but you'll note that their Twitter thread never mentions female candidates.  

. just now: "Democracy is always a work in progress... It’s not easy to balance interests and opinions. But if people feel included – if they feel they can help shape their own futures – then the compromises and investments are more than worth it."

UN Special Representative tells Iraqi media: "In the interest of #Iraq’s young democracy, it is crucial to deliver an electoral process that will be recognized as credible." #Vote4Iraq Ballot box with ballot

Hmm.  In 2010, I don't think it was the Iraqi voters who overturned their own votes.  I think it was The Erbil Agreement that then-Vice President Joe Biden was the point-man on that overturned the results.  Maybe don't lecture Iraqis about what they need to do when they all remember that they voted Nouri al-Maliki out but the US government overturned their votes and gave him a second term . . . leading to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.

If you're thinking that they cover the issue of threats against female candidates at their FACEBOOK page, no, they don't.

Meanwhile, as we noted last week, the US government bribed Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to come out publicly in favor of elections.  This was US tax dollars.  Was it spent wisely?  No, not at all.  Halkawt Aziz  (RUDAW) reports:

In Sadr City, people are disheartened after nearly two decades of empty promises from politicians. 

“Let me tell you frankly, I will not vote. Four elections have been held [since 2003]. We’ve not seen any good come out of them. Each time they give us empty promises,” said Sadr City resident Dakhil Jabir. 

Some parties have withdrawn from the election, though Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who leads the largest bloc in the current parliament, reversed his decision late last month.

Others parties are urging people to vote, saying the ballot box is the way to bring about change.

“People have every right to be hopeless because they see nothing has been done for them. They’re afraid that the very same faces will dominate the political sphere again. I can assure you all that change can be made with your participation. I agree that there could be a degree of vote-rigging, but this time voter fraud is going to be very difficult and it will not be like previous elections,” said Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi, head of the Reform and Change Council.

That's Sadr City.  That's Moqtada's strong hold.  Or was.  Doesn't appear he's got a very strong hold on it right now.  If only the residents of Sadr City could be as stupid as the western media outlets, then the residents could be zombies who follow blindly -- that is how the media presents them.  On the other hand, here, we've noted this growing disenchantment.  And the thanks?  Nasty e-mails from REUTERS correspondents who now e-mail to say that their nasty e-mails has gotten the outlet banned from this site.  No, you're not banned.  It's just your Iraqi correspondents aren't filing anything of note.  Their 'big' story this week?  It's been on the water issue.  Yeah, we covered that last week.  Maybe if REUTERS hadn't been too busy trying to sell Mustafa al-Kahdimi as a great leader, they could've dealt with that topic when AP and so many other outlets were covering it instead of playing catch up a week later?  Priorities, right?

Many groups have stated that they will not vote in the elections.  This includes some members (and some leaders) of The October Revolution.  Sura Ali (RUDAW) reports:

A group of about 40 fledgling parties born out of Iraq's October 2019 (Tishreen) protest movement announced on Saturday the formation of a political bloc, the Iraqi Opposition Forces, ahead of next month's elections, hoping to create a united front of protest parties who aim to bring radical change to Iraqi politics.
They called for "providing justice among all the political forces competing in the elections, pressuring the government to be serious in creating a fair electoral environment under the supervision of the United Nations, holding the killers of the October demonstrators accountable, revealing the fate of the disappeared and unjustly detained, as well as limiting weapons to the hands of the government," according to a statement from spokesperson Basim al-Sheikh.
Nearly two years ago, large angry protests broke out in central and southern Iraq, permeating most of the Shiite-dominated provinces. The demonstrations lasted several months and were met with violence and repression from state forces and militias backed by Iran that left at least 600 dead and thousands wounded.
The protests forced the resignation of the prime minister, reforms to the electoral law, and the early elections that are taking place a year ahead of schedule. Tishreen youth also began organizing themselves into political parties to contest the elections and compete with political Islam parties that have dominated Iraqi politics for more than 17 years.
  [. . .]

The new parties say their goal is to change the political reality in Iraq, ending the power of undemocratic parties that have distorted the system by using their influence to achieve financial and political gains. But there are very few Tishreen parties participating in the elections. One is Imtidad, led by Alaa al-Rikabi, a protest leader from Nasiriyah.

Others plan to achieve their goals through means other than the ballot box.
A member of the National House, Muhtada Abu al-Joud, told Rudaw English on Sunday that his party had announced its complete boycott of the elections and had begun work on a project to form a national opposition front.
"The opposition front does not mean that we will be part of the parliament. We do not intend to enter the political arena, but we will form a front to pressure the government through various tools, including political, legal, and international [means]," Joud said.


Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Experts are predicting low turnout in October due to distrust of the country’s electoral system and believe that it will not deliver the much needed changes they were promised since 2003.

“The new generation of youth, who are less part of the social basis of political parties, don't really see the point in voting,” Mr Mansour said.

“They don’t believe those political parties represent their interests or basic needs,” he said.

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