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Tue, Nov. 9th, 2004, 05:18 pm
checkyourfacts: Bush's First Major Iraq Cover-Up Since the Election: Links Below

Wikipedia: Martial Law

Though I'm sure many of you didn't know it, on that lazy, peaceful Sunday afternoon you enjoyed a few days ago you should've caught the headlines instead of going outside. Had you, you would have noticed the same thing I did. Lower on the homepage was a headline that read "Iraq's Allawi Defends State of Emergency." Many of you would have glossed over even that, not realizing (as I didn't at first) the euphemism in place. On reading the article, we find that Allawi has chosen to enforce an "emergency declaration" that allows for curfews and restricted access to Baghdad's airports. Sounds docile enough, though the curfew should bug you.

"Prime Minister Ayad Allawi strongly objected to media descriptions of the decree announced Sunday as martial law and stressed the steps were being taken only to curb the insurgency and not clamp down on civil liberties." Well, that's kind of like punishing lawful gunowners for the actions of those who commit violent crimes with firearms. The problem with this kind of legislation is that its only obeyed by lawful citizens, and regardless of in which direction the steps were taken, they are curbing civil liberties, though, as said before, at this point in the article to only a minor extent.

"Spelling out details at a news conference, Allawi said round-the-clock curfews was to take effect in Fallujah and Ramadi starting at sundown Monday and that all roads into the two cities would be closed. No residents may carry weapons, and government offices were ordered closed except for emergency services like hospitals and the fire department...In addition, Allawi said Iraq was temporarily closing its borders with Syria and Jordan, allowing in only trucks carrying food and other ``emergency deliveries.'' Baghdad International Airport would close for 48 hours, he said." And now there's more civil liberties being taken away.

I think what bothers me the most is that we're trying to establish democracy in a country that is now practicing martial law.

Sunday's Article in the NY Times (Revised Monday)

So I did some researching. Searched back in the NY Times and found this article from July 7, 2004, from which I excerpted the following quote:

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi on Tuesday signed into law broad martial powers that allow him to impose curfews anywhere in the country, ban groups he considers seditious and order the detentions of people suspected of being security ... Putting a law in place that permits him to establish emergency powers..

The Reach of War

Now that's a little more scary, isn't it. Further research, this article from July 8, 2004:

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and other government ministers formally unveiled a sweeping law on Wednesday that would allow them to declare martial law to curb unrest. ... ''We will use this law and the items in the law whenever it is necessary to defeat our enemies,'' Mr. Allawi told reporters...

The Reach of War 2

This, of course, is not martial law.

The scary thing about all this is I had to dig pretty far to be able to find anything on this. I started looking on Monday, the day after it happened. I was in the Underground with Brad and wanted to show him the article that I had seen. So I went to the NY Times, and it wasn't on the homepage anymore. So I went to International, then Middle East...and usually under "All Headlines" it gives the major news for the last few days...nothing.

Do you know what it had instead? Five articles about the attack against Falluja. At least three about Iraqi progress towards democracy, because they're allowing expatriates to vote.

I finally, after searching CNN, the BBC and Reuters where I found absolutely nothing (so much for the liberal news media) I found an article on Common Dream. The scariest part of it is at the bottom:

"Iraq's law gives the government the right to impose curfews, set up checkpoints, and search and detain subjects, provided they have a valid reason and present suspects before a judge within 24 hours...The period of martial law can be extended with the written approval of Allawi and a presidential council at 30-day intervals, but would automatically expire if not extended."

The extension of martial law can occur by the prime minister and a presidential council, therefore, with no input from a branch of government outside of the executive .

So the question is, how did this get away from us all? Practically no one knows about it that I haven't shown it to. I've been racking my brain for two days, since I've been writing an eleven page take-home political theory essay and haven't been able to post this sooner, for another reason that it was so quickly and efficiently scraped from major media. I couldn't come up with another one, so here's my conclusion.

The Bush administration realizes how bad widespread knowledge of martial law in Iraq would appear two months before national elections in this fledgling democracy. Therefore, Allawi was instructed to declare it at a strategic point, when it could hit the front pages and bounce back off. They had been preparing to attack Falluja for almost a week, why did they choose Monday? They effectively inundated the media with news of the "Battle of Falluja" and Iraq's democratic progress, allowing its gigantic step backward towards authoritarian government to go largely unnoticed.

More on this topic as I'm able to look further into it.
(Deleted comment)

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 03:10 am (UTC)
silk6953: Re: The link to Common Dreams

the truly scary thing... it looks like commondream doesnt have the article anymore.

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 03:12 am (UTC)
checkyourfacts: The link to Common Dreams

Sorry for not Posting this Before

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 03:13 am (UTC)
checkyourfacts

i fixed the link and reposted it. sorry for the confusion

Wed, Nov. 10th, 2004 03:27 am (UTC)
angelzashez: GOTCHA!

i'm confused, why is this important? iraq will become a "fledgling democracy" when it actually does something democratic, until then it's a war zone with appointed leaders and serious opposition. war sucks, people will try to attack you and make you die. it's sad that these measures had to be taken, but i'd rather read about civil liberties being curbed for a period of 60 days than 50 more people dying. iraq needs these elections to take place on time, and this poor guy is trying to do everything he can to make sure they do.

i'm not sure how this qualifies as a bush cover up, seeing as it was a decision by the interim pm of iraq for the country of iraq, and i'm not sure it's something to be ashamed of. bush has and had during the elections a smart team that would have passed the buck to the interim government or have generated a cute soundbite about democracy needing help. two months before the election martial law would have hit the front page and bounced off due to election coverage anyways.

speaking of which, i'm also not sure where you get your news, because on monday on the front page of the washington post, the top right column (not crammed into the bottom) was about that and other things, fallujah or whatever. i honestly believe that the reason you didn't find anything about it is because it's not as big of a deal as you think it is. these liberal media guys are smart, and they like to get jabs in on people whenever they see them. if no one's writing editorials about it, if the article doesn't mention bush at all (it doesn't), then i hardly think it's cause for undermining the bush administration. i knew exactly what you were talking about when you mentioned it to me, but i guess that takes away from the drama of your argument if you say that. anyways, this is what they say:

Washington Post Monday November 8, 2004
"Fighting around Fallujan Intensifies: Premier Puts Most of Iraq Under State of Emergency" & "Allawi Invokes State of Emergency"

"the order, which imposes martial law, heightened a sense of crisis in iraq and fueled fears that an offensive in fallujah would unlaeash a wave of counterattacks, which insurgents appeared have already begun elsewhere in the country. violence in six cities in the past two days has killed MORE THAN 80 PEOPLE."

""this will send a very powerful message that we are serious," allawi said after meeting with cabinet ministeres who approved the emergency measure for all areas of the country execpt the realtively peaceful kurdish northeast. the order will run for 60 days but could be extended through the elections in january."

""we want to secure the country so elections can be done in a peaceful way and the iraqi people can participate in the elections freely, without the intimidation by terrorist snad by forces whoa re trying to wreck the political process in iraq," allawi said. "so this is a message. i hope the terrorists get it because we're not going to be easy on them."

"US forces cited allawi's decree in announcing that they had sealed off the city (fallujah) late sunday..."

"allawi's warning was immediately answered by a sunni group that has been a leading voice for the resistance. "this will increase the violence" said mohammed bashar faidhi, spokesman for the association of muslim scholars, which represents 3000 sunni muslim clergy in iraq. "the government is like a man walking in the dark who wants to avoid a small hole and falls into a big hole." : )

""at this point, the government can't even protect itself," faidhi said. "how can it impose a state of emergency? allawi, when he travels, half of the american army accompanies him!""

also, don't encourage people to not go outside, we're fat enough as it is : )

Fri, Nov. 12th, 2004 05:58 pm (UTC)
moosepiss9: Re: GOTCHA!

I spoke to Joe the other day regarding his position on Martial Law. I found myself disagreeing with his sense of terror, or concern really. At first I explained how I felt it was necessary to enforce strict regulations in the area since there was in fact so much civil upheaval. But Joe's justification for me was a simple one, which I understand completely: Example being, you're walking through Monroe Park and you get accosted by a group of individuals. Who's job is it to intervene? The Police. The Military was designed to wage war. They are trained killers, people who occupy and area as a show of force at the most peacful application. But the fundamental use of a Military is to kill, destroy, or otherwise decapacitate an 'enemy.' Are these people our enemy? I mean the ones we're trying to set up with our grand Democracy? Are they? And do they need Killer Police to scare them into Democracy? No. They don't. Imagine if you will walking through Monroe Park and getting harassed by that same group of people... with Martial Law, if you were walking through Monroe in the first place you'd probably be wrong, and getting involved with this group in any way would arouse great suspicions. So who gets busted? You all do, and chances are you may even get arrested or worse, depending on the situation. So these people in Iraq are just simply walking through Monroe Park, and they're being subjected to harassment by small radical groups. Do the math. They deserve to live their life, democracy or not, without fear of the Killer Police reacting to the select few for their radical actions and including them simply for being there. Maybe I'm thinking a bit extreme, but I just don't see how we're promoting anything over there except even more right wing radicalism by endorsing this Martial Law thing. It is scary stuff, when you put yourself in the situation. That was my mistake at first... I acted like we were doing them a favor.

Mon, Nov. 15th, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC)
angelzashez: palestinian state by 2009

okay, yeah...it would be better if there didn't have to be a martial law.

but as it is iraq doesn't have a police force or proper equipment to keep a decent sense of law and order. in fact, whenever we manage to train a bunch of police kids, they get the crap blown out of them. so, there aren't any police. oh well, i guess the resistence wins. no. not all of iraq is our enemy, but this is not our martial law, it's the law of the government. "we" are not doing anything, favor or otherwise. this is a war america needs to win, i really think that. i also think once these elections get off america will get the hell out of there, as will most of our "coalition" or whatever bush calls it. after that, iraq will be better or it will be worse, who knows? until then it's gonna be a war, sorry. this isn't a picnic or a human rights parade, it's a serious war where americans and civilians are going to die. how many depends on a lot of things, including the amount of order kept. i doubt anyone will be killed for being attacked, and in fact i've heard no reports of that, although i guess people get detained. in fact, i read iraq news in the washington post everyday and i haven't heard a word on this martial law since it happened. like i said, just because a topic doesn't get a lot of news doesn't make it a conspiracy...that's some leftover holocaust thinking or something.

hmm, i guess i should add that i didn't support the iraq war when it started so i don't get mistaken for a republican : ) who is this? do i know you?

Mon, Nov. 15th, 2004 05:42 pm (UTC)
moosepiss9: Re: palestinian state by 2009

this is Brad. I don't think we've met, I'm a friend of Joe's. I wrote this long response to this, then it got erased... sorry. I'll re write it later. After I write my english paper.