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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Oceania & Eurasia get into bed together

Although I have absolutely no wish to be sent draft papers in order to protect Iran's oil fields on behalf of the Neo-Cons, let's be under no illusions- the new President of Iran is an A1 nutter. Holocaust denial and talk of wiping Israel off the face of the earth should not be supported.

At the same time as the White House sabre rattles about Iran's nuke programme, it is quite ready to let Iran have a de facto victory in Iraq. These two reports come from Robert Dreyfuss' website.

Bush's Shiite Gang in Iraq

More and more evidence is mounting that Iran's ayatollahs have their hands deep into the Shiite-led government of Iraq. Astonishingly though, the Bush administration and its allied phalanx of neoconservatives have turned a blind eye to Iran's influence in Iraq. That's because the Iraqi Shiites, who run the regime in Baghdad, are supposed to be the 'good guys', i.e., the ones we are defending in Iraq. As I've written before, the United States has 160,000 troops in Iraq serving as the Praetorian guard for that Shiite regime. We're killing hundreds of Sunnis all over western Iraq on their behalf.

Before we get to the latest reports of more torture prisons run by the Shiites, along with death squads, consider the following items from the news.

Knight Ridder, perhaps the single best news organization covering the war in Iraq and its political fallout, carried an important exchange in which the head of the Badr Brigade, the paramilitary force backed by Iran, flatly admits that his 20,000-strong secret army, which is the arm of the ruling Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) is funded by Iran:

Badr's leader, Hadi al-Amari, has denied maintaining ties to Iran, but in a fit of anger during a recent interview with Knight Ridder he admitted as much while striking out against U.S.-backed secular Shiite politician Ayad Allawi.

"Allawi receives money from America, from the CIA, but nobody talks about that. All they talk about is our funding from Iran," he said, raising his voice. "We are funded by some (Persian) Gulf countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran. We don't hide it."

And the report, by Tom Lasseter, includes this bombshell from General Casey:

"They're putting millions of dollars into the south to influence the elections ... it's funded primarily through their charity organizations and also Badr and some of these political parties," said Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. general in Iraq. "A lot of their guys (Badr) are going into the police and military."

In another breakthrough report, today's Washington Times carries an interview with a leading former Iraqi general who says that the network of torture prisons run by SCIRI, Badr, and the Iraqi interior ministry is overseen by an Iranian intelligence officer, Tahseer Nasr Lawandi, nicknamed "The Engineer". Here's the report, but read the whole thing:

An Iraqi general formerly in charge of special Interior Ministry forces said yesterday that a senior Iranian intelligence officer was in charge of a network of detention centers where suspected insurgents were routinely tortured and sometimes killed.

Gen. al-Samarrai said the Iranian intelligence officer, Tahseer Nasr Lawandi, works directly under the Kurdish deputy minister, Gen. Hussein Kamel, and is known throughout the ministry as "The Engineer."

"The Engineer was behind the torturing and killing in the ministry and was also in charge of Jadriya prison," said Gen. al-Samarrai, who left the ministry after a dispute with superiors and is now living in Jordan.

The Iranian officer not only masterminded interrogations, tortures and executions at the prisons, but also would take part in torture sessions, often using an electric drill, Gen. al-Samarrai said.

Some of the tortured prisoners were found in morgues with drill holes in their legs and eyes, according to another security source, who declined to be identified.

The general said Mr. Lawandi had worked with the minister and deputy minister to form a special security service to run the detention and interrogation operation and a separate group called the Wolf Brigade to capture suspects and bring them to the secret locations -- usually under cover of darkness.

This is critically important stuff, because it utterly destroys the Bush administration's contention that the United States is building 'democracy' in Iraq.

Today's New York Times has a story about the torture prisons, noting that a senior Iraqi interior ministry official denies that any abuse occurred, and it then quotes U.S. military officials contradicting him.

So the question is: when will hear the Bush administration's top officials start calling the Shiite fundamentalist regime in Baghdad "Islamofascists"? So far, they's applied that term only to the Iraqi resistance, tarring the Sunni-led insurgency by painting them as led by Al Qaeda-style terrorists, when in fact that they are mostly Iraqi nationalists, Baathists, and ex-military men. Their main grievance is that the United States is handing Iraq over to Iran. I'd say they're right.

Here is another little item, from Abdel Aziz Hakim, the former Badr commander who leads SCIRI, and who kindly offers "200,000" Badr troops to protect polling places on Thursday (from AP):

Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, told about 1,000 tribal leaders who gathered in Baghdad's Jadriyah neighborhood that the military wing of his group - the Badr Brigade - was ready to help with election security.
"I declare that the Badr Organization is ready to mobilize 200,000 of its men in all parts of Iraq so that they can play a role in defending Iraqi and Iraqis," said the black-turbaned cleric, who is heading the strong Shiite United Iraqi Alliance slate.

Posted by Robert Dreyfuss on December 13, 2005 09:56 AM

Iran Stuffing Iraqi Ballots

Yesterday I blogged about Iran's influence in Iraq, and the long reach of Iran's secret intelligence service, including the apparent organizing of the torture prisons run by the Interior Ministry. It's getting worse.

The [New York] Times reports that Iran is shipping trucks full of counterfeit ballots into Iraq. The paper found a source at the Interior Ministry who revealed that the truck seized by police contained 'thousands of forged ballots, and it went on

The Iranian truck driver told the police under interrogation that at least three other trucks filled with ballots had crossed from Iran at different spots along the border.

Whatever else happens in tomorrow's election, it's important to remember that elections in Iraq are taking place under wartime conditions. Gangs, armed militias, mafia-like political parties, warlords, village chieftains, and tribal kingpins rule the vote. For every voter who takes his responsibility as an independent voter seriously, there are many more who vote the way they are told. And the big boss is Ayatollah Sistani, who is shepherding his credulous flock into supporting the Shiite religious party bloc.

Incidentally, the Times report is notable for the following flat statement, unsourced:

Agents of the Iranian government are believed to be supporting the two main Shiite political parties here -the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party - with money and other assistance.

Posted by Robert Dreyfuss on December 14, 2005 10:58 AM

It seems that the Bush-Blair axis doesn't give a monkeys that a bunch of religious loonies takes over Iraq (democratically of course- where has that happened before?). Of course, when fait accompli point is reached & a load of beards start running the show, Iran can be accused of "interfering in the internal affairs of another state" (& 160,000 troops stationed in Iraq isn't "interfering in the internal affairs of another state"?). Of course, a lot has got to down the Memory Hole before the next stage in The War Against Terror (the initials spell a quaint Olde Englysh terme) can be reached.


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