Iraq’s Black Monday
While on 15 April the whole world was focused on the Boston marathon blasts, at least 79 people were killed, and over three hundred others injured – mostly civilians – in a series of bombings and armed attacks across Iraq. Twenty-six car bombs were involved, as well as sixteen IED’s and four other armed attacks, all in separate incidents. Eight car bombs exploded in different areas across Baghdad. Another car bomb targeted the Baghdad International Airport before it was shelled by mortars.
Three more car bombs exploded in Kirkuk. Armed clashes broke out in downtown Samarra, along with a car bomb and mortar shelling. A car bomb and two IED’s struck Baquba. An IED exploded in Fallujah. The district of TuzKhormatu (northeast of Tikrit) experienced some of the worst violence, with the detonation of five car bombs and three IED’s.
Government forces launched a series of searches and raids in Karbala, Maysan, and Ninawa, detaining twenty-six people from Karbala, twenty-one from Maysan, and twelve from Ninawa. The arrests were arbitrary, with flimsy charges against the suspects.
Arsonists in the Fire Department?
The two men, accused of the Boston Marathon bombings are TamerlanTsarnaev, who was killed,and his younger brother Dzhokhar, who is being treated with shot wounds.
End of story? Not really.There are a number of questions that need to be answered. A police official source in Makhachkala, Dagestan, told NBC News on Sunday that the Russian internal security service reached out to the FBI last November with some questions about Tamerlan, and handed over a copy of case file on him.The FBI never responded.
In his Global Research article: “Contractors” at Boston Marathon Stood Near Bomb, Left Before Detonation, Tony Cartalucci wrote on 19 April:
“What appear to be private contractors, wearing unmarked, matching uniforms and operating an unmarked SUV affixed with communication equipment near the finish line of the Boston Marathon shortly after the bomb blasts – can be seen beforehand, standing and waiting just meters away from where the first bomb was detonated.
The contractor-types had moved away from the bomb’s location before it detonated, and could be seen just across the street using communication equipment and waiting for similar dressed and equipped individuals to show up after the blasts.”
On Thursday night 18 Aprila bomb exploded in a popular coffee shop in the Al AmiriyaDistrict in Western Baghdad, killing at least 27 people and wounding 51 others.The bomb washidden in a plastic bag and then put in the coffee house, where it detonated around 10 p.m. The device contained about two kilograms of highly explosive material.The explosion ripped through the three-story building, which also includes an ice cream parlor on the first floor and medical offices on the second floor. The coffee shop was on the third floor.Most of those killed and hurt were young men, though four children were among the dead.
The BRussells Tribunal received a series of photos of the victims, accompanied by the following message:
Urgent! Urgent! Urgent!
We’ve just received revealing information from an eyewitness who was inside the same café a few minutes before the explosion.He said that armed forces entered the café’ and searched it and then went outa few minutes before it exploded. The eyewitness explained that the same forces prevented the ambulances to enter the explosion area. One of those soldiers told the ambulance driver: ”don’t help them, they are Sunni”.
There’s more to these so-called terrorist attacks than meets the eye, from Boston to Baghdad.
“The checkered, frightening history (see: FBI’s History of Handing “Terror Suspects” Live Explosives) of the FBI’s involvement in fomenting false terror attacks, and even presiding over attacks that succeeded in maiming and killing innocent people, should call into question their presence or involvement at any public event, especially when seen associating with unidentified, semi-clandestine organizations that appear to be private contractors.
Private contractors as well do not answer or work for the public, but rather the highest bidder. Private contractors, most notably Blackwater and its various incarnations have operated both domestically and abroad, committing obscene crimes and atrocities with seemingly absolute impunity. The term “defense contractor” is in fact a euphemism for mercenary, and has no place in a civilized, democratic world, no matter what their alleged mission statement may claim.
That both of these nefarious entities were present and cooperating in the direct vicinity of the Boston bombings, with at least two contractors standing just meters away from where the bomb actually went off, raises a number of possibilities and concerns.”
“The CIA is expected to maintain a large clandestine presence in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the departure of conventional U.S. troops as part of a plan by the Obama administration to rely on a combination of spies and Special Operations forces to protect U.S. interests in the two longtime war zones”, The Washington Post reported on 8 February 2012.So it is normal to expect this kind of “incidents” in Iraq as part of a continuing clandestine counterinsurgency war.
False flag operations
At least 15 candidates, all members of the minority Sunni community, have been assassinated, according to Iraqi security officials and the United Nations. Many others have been wounded or kidnapped or have received menacing text messages or phone calls demanding that they withdraw.
Who is responsible for all the bombs, the killings and harassment?
Nouri Al Maliki and the international press guild accuse Al Qaeda for the recent attacks.
A majority of the Iraqi people is convinced that the current government is behind these strings of attacks and bombings. A former Iraqi diplomat told me: “Whenever there is a political crisis in Iraq, there is an increase of bomb attacks. After that, Maliki can close the ranks again… until the next crisis”.
This is how the New York Times reports it:
“By going after members of their own sect, radical Sunnis aligned with Al Qaeda are effectively seeking to destabilize the Shiite-led government, making a community already angry and alienated, fearful to participate in national governance. At the same time, it appears intra-Sunni rivalries are inadvertently aiding the radical cause, as Sunni’s kill political adversaries in their quest for power.”
Oh well, there it is again: Al Qaeda ! When asked about these allegations, a well-known Iraqi participant of the Doha conference in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, told me: “Which Qaeda? American Qaeda? Iranian Qaeda? Saudi Qaeda? All the militias, Security Forces and ISOF (Iraqi Special Operation Forces) are involved in the chaos in Iraq today. Believe me: these are all false flag operations, concocted by Maliki, in cooperation with Iran and the United States. Ask yourself the question: who benefits from all this? Maliki is forcing the Iraqi people into a daily struggle for survival. He is keeping them busy finding food, kerosene and other basic needs, and he’s keeping the people scared by planting bombs everywhere, to prevent them from protesting. Why do you think there’s still no electricity?”
“Killing candidates means instilling fear,” said Hameed Fadhil, a political-science professor at Baghdad University. “And that is why I think it will affect voter participation, because I don’t think that people will want to risk their lives again.”
Maliki’s threats against opponents
Al Monitor reported on 18 April: For the fifth time in less than a year, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has threatened his political opponents with “dangerous revelations against them.” In an interview with the government-funded Al-Iraqiya Channel, he explained his refusal to respond to demands for a parliamentary hearing regarding recent security violations
He said, “If I attend the hearing, I will turn things upside down. I will reveal the files and names of the members of Parliament who were implicated in terrorist acts. I will point fingers at each and every one of them for this bombing and that.”
These statements have stirred a large wave of reactions in the past few days, asking Maliki to unveil his files or keep silent about them. The most significant criticism came from the Sadrist leader Muqtada al-Sadr and the leaders of the Iraqi National List, in addition to the Kurdish leaders.
The problem with such statements is that they are issued by the head of the executive authority in Iraq, who is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the official in charge of defense, internal affairs, national security and intelligence, in the absence of real ministers. With such absolute privileges, he cannot possibly hint at the implication of Iraqi politicians in acts of violence without providing evidence and proof.
When asked about the reason behind his reluctance to presenting these files to the judiciary, he answered, “I am concerned about the collapse of the political process if I do that.”
In light of this, a question arises: If the prime minister confirms his possession of legal files and refuses to submit them to the judiciary, what, then, will be left of respect for the law?
Maliki lies like a conjurer. He accuses his opponents and rewards his gangs of killers.Nineveh governor, Atheel al-Nujaifideclaredon 1 April that Nouri al-Maliki, commander in chief of the armed forces, has honored an officer accused of killing his nephew in Mosul a few weeks ago.
Atheel al-Nujaifisaid that Colonel HadiSaheed al-Kanani, the regional commander of the regiment accused of murdering a child named Abdul Rahman Khalid al-Nujaifi, was honored by al-Maliki as a commander in chief of the armed forces” despite the issuing of a warrant against him”.
Iraq’s impunity rate is the worst in the world.
What is Maliki’s answer to all this violence: well, instead of seriously investigating the targeted assassinations, random killings, bomb attacks and other “incidents”, his security forces arrest some Sunni men or Shiites opposed to Maliki’s rule, they lock them up in one of the regime’s many secret prisons, extract false confessions after severe torture and then they are sentenced to death.
All this is well documented.
“Iraq’s impunity rate – or the degree to which perpetrators have escaped prosecution for murdering the journalists – is the worst in the world. It is 100 percent. Even today, as Iraq has moved beyond conflict, authorities have shown no interest in investigating these murders,” The Committee to Protect Journalists said.
The same observation can be made about other Iraqi professionals: academics, lawyers, judges, doctors, engineers, Inspectors of the Commission of Integrity etc…
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights NaviPillay on Friday 19 April condemned the execution of 21 individuals in Iraq earlier in the week, which brought the total to 33 in the past month, and said she was appalled by reports that the Ministry of Justice has announced that a further 150 people may be executed in the coming days.
She stressed that the justice system in the country was “too seriously flawed to warrant even a limited application of the death penalty, let alone dozens of executions at a time.”
“Executing people in batches like this is obscene,” Pillay said. “It is like processing animals in a slaughterhouse. The criminal justice system in Iraq is still not functioning adequately, with numerous convictions based on confessions obtained under torture and ill-treatment, a weak judiciary and trial proceedings that fall short of international standards. The application of the death penalty in these circumstances is unconscionable, as any miscarriage of justice as a result of capital punishment cannot be undone.”
A total of 1,400 people are believed to be currently on death row in Iraq, and 129 people were executed in 2012 alone.
Iraqis voted on Saturday in the country’s first polls since US troops departed, but the credibility of the provincial elections has come into question, with attacks oncandidates leaving 15 dead and a third of Iraq’s provinces – all of them mainly Sunni Arab or Kurdish – not even voting. Political gatherings have been targeted and two schools in Hilla, that were to serve as polling sites were blown up by homemade bombe on “black Monday”.
The election is seen as a gauge of the popularity of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government ahead of a general election next year, but major issues affecting voters such as poor public services and rampant corruption have largely been ignored during the campaign.
How can fair and transparent elections be held in these circumstances?
More than 250 returning displaced people from their home in Diyala areas protested on Saturday morning for not including them in the public vote, holding with the Independent Higher Electoral Commission of not adding their names in the voters’ registrations papers.
Many people fear the return of violence back to the days of sectarian strife once peaked in 2006-2007 and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, especially in Diyala and other provinces.
And here is part of an email received from a University Professor in Iraq last week:
“The situation in Iraq is very very bad. Demonstrations against the government and the parliament are everywhere: Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar, Kirkuk, Salah al Din, Basrah, Najaf, Diala,…. People are demanding the government and the parliament to go, to free thousands of innocent prisoners locked up for many years without trials, to provide electricity and other basic services, raise the salary roof for the retired people which are now living under the poverty line, stopping violence and violations of human rights which are very worrying, especially for the minority and majority, approving the budget of 2013, stopping the denominations which is shredding the Iraqi people into warlike pieces, militias are everywhere assassinating people, car bombs, no safety and kidnapping. It is worse than during the period 2003-2007. We are staying at home, just going to work and return back. People are afraid that this, if not resolved, could lead to divide Iraq into regions and territories and ending with a civil war. May God save this country”.
Iraqi protests continue
The massive and peaceful demonstrations against the government continued across Iraq’s provinces without diminishing…they have been going on for over a hundred days now, and the numbers have reached the millions.
In crackdown against the demonstrations, government security forces launched a series of searches and raids in many provinces, arresting and detaining thousands of people without any charges against them.The arrests are arbitrary, and carried out against innocent people on a sectarian basis.Many are taken to undisclosed locations.
In an assassination attempt contracted by the government, one of the lead activists of the demonstrations in Ramadi, Mahmoud UbeidJamilFaraji, was injured by a bomb attached to his car.
The Human Rights Department of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (HEYET) published its January monthly statistical report on continued unjust campaigns targeting Iraqi civilians by the sectarian government security forces where 378 campaigns were carried out in all 14 Iraqi Provinces resulting in arrest of 1788 innocent Iraqis.
In December, 220 campaigns resulting in arrest of 1726 innocent civilians including dozens of women. According to the HEYET department, attacks were carried out in 14 provinces.
These statistics of attacks and arrests solely depend on official announcement of the defense and interior ministries. Arrests and violations perpetrated by the so-called national security ministry, Anti-terror Units, Awakening Council, Kurdish Peshmerga forces and other militias are not included, because no reliable figures are available. However,these militias are also committing mass human rights abuses and violations.
Hawija protesters under attack
Maliki’s forces intensify the repression against the peaceful demonstrations. Today we received an urgent appeal:
SAVE THE 4000 PEACEFUL PROTESTORS IN HAWIJA NOW!
URGENT ………. URGENT
4,000 Peaceful Protestors in Hawija are now surrounded by government army troops and are about to be attacked.
They have been surrounded by these troops for the past 3 days without water, food and medical aid.
FRIDAY Protestors were attacked, one killed and 4 injured. Medical treatment was with-held.
SATURDAY, government troops stormed the field of protest and destroyed all the kitchen facilities as well as medical facilities.
Roads leading to field were cut off.
SAVE THE PEACEFUL IRAQI REVOLUTION – SAVE THE 4,000 MEN AND CHILDREN IN HAWIJA.
PLEASE PUT AN END TO THE MASSACRE.
Yes, please, put an end to this and other massacres, committed under the auspices of the US government. Support the Iraqi peaceful demonstrators, break the media silence that surrounds the Iraqi non-sectarian protest movement, which is the only genuine expression of the will of the Iraqi people, the only hope for real independence and sovereignty.
Maliki has to go, and with him the remnants of the American occupation.
Dirk Adriaensens is coordinator of SOS Iraq and member of the executive committee of the BRussells Tribunal. Between 1992 and 2003 he led several delegations to Iraq to observe the devastating effects of UN imposed sanctions. He was a member of the International Organizing Committee of the World Tribunal on Iraq (2003-2005). He is also co-coordinator of the Global Campaign Against the Assassination of Iraqi Academics. He is co-author of Rendez-Vous in Baghdad, EPO (1994), Cultural Cleansing in Iraq, Pluto Press, London (2010), Beyond Educide, Academia Press, Ghent (2012), and is a frequent contributor to Global Research, Truthout, The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies and other media.