IRAQI HERO, MUNTAZER AL-ZAIDI, FREE AT LAST!
The hurl that was hailed around the world
Max Gross, raving reporter for Xenox News, pauses his DVD of Fahrenheit 9/11 to fire another salvo in the global War on Error
''This is your farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows and orphans of Iraq".
Let those immortal words be the epitaph for the world’s most dangerous idiot, the former U.S. President, war criminal at large and all-round scumbag, George W. Bogus.
They were shouted by Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi as he hurled his shoes at Bogus during a PR exercise in Baghdad last year.
Arrested, jailed and tortured while in custody, al-Zaidi has now been released, an inspiration to all sane, civil and civilised human beings.
In 2003, as invading U.S. troops roared into Baghdad through a swathe of shock, awe, gruesome collateral damage and shredded international laws, the felling of a minor statue of Saddam Hussein was hailed as a symbol of democracy prevailing over dictatorship.
In terms of blood and treasure, it was a very, very expensive ego trip for the then Presidential incumbent, dumb Dubya, the consequences of which continue to leech the American economy to this day and - alongside that other U.S. war-of-choice in Afghanistan – helped trigger Amerikkka’s Global Financial Clusterfuck and the withering of its rotten economic roots.
In mere U.S. dollars, between November 2001 and December 2008, the Bogus administration flushed $US179 billion down the bloody drain in Afghanistan alone (NATO pissed away $US102 billion).
Not so much Operation Enduring Freedom as Enduring Cock-up.
Total greenbacks burned in U.S. “combat operations” in Afghanistan, 2002-2009: $US228.2 billion.
For just 2009, TV-addled U.S. taxpayers shredded around $US170 billion on Amerikkka’s losing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
There goes your universal health care system right there, Yanks! Forget the toppling of a monument to a toppled dictator, how’s THAT for symbolism!
Yet the humble shoes thrown at the U.S. President by al-Zaidi on December 14 2008 are the far more potent symbols, of justice, free speech and the longing for genuine democracy, not the homogenised, snap-frozen, rubber-stamped U.S. McFreedomburger with a tub of blood and a serve of fried men, women and children on the side.
Al-Zaidi knew damn well about “Operation Iraq Freedom” and the Amerikkkan version of “democracy” that Bogus and his gang of zealots forced upon Iraq for, as academic Sami Ramadan wrote in the Guardian:
“He reported for al-Baghdadia TV on the poor and downtrodden victims of the U.S. war. He was first on the scene in Sadr City and wherever people suffered violence or severe deprivation. He not only followed U.S. Apache helicopters trails of death and destruction, but he was also among the first to report every 'sectarian' atrocity and the bombing of popular market places. He let the victims talk first."
And if there’s one thing the goons in Washingtoon don’t want the world to hear, it’s the voices of the victims of U.S. foreign policy.
According to The New York Times (July 20 2003), the then Defence Sickretary Donald Rumfuck personally approved over 50 U.S. air strikes in Iraq which were “expected to kill up to 50 innocent Iraqi civilians each”. Expected!
It WAS U.S. policy, in other words, to kill innocent civilians.
Rumfuck expected it, Dubya expected it, the entire neo-con crime gang expected it, especially Dick Shiney, the bloke who really put the vice into the Vice Presidency.
Around 650,000 civilians are estimated to have been killed in Iraq because of the U.S. invasion.
However, in 2007, British polling firm Opinion Research Business calculated the Iraqi dead at 1.22 million - roughly five times the number of people killed when the former Yugoslavia splintered into shitty little “independent” Balkan nations and neighbour fell upon neighbour like the raving lunatics in 28 Days Later (Tin-pot Kosovo? A nation? Give me a fecking break!).
In Afghanistan which, unlike Iraq, has never been a coherent, modernised, civil society, the number of “non-combatant” deaths is more difficult to pin down, not least because the U.S. does its best to dismiss and deny them (“We don’t do body counts,” remember?). What we do know is that Amerikkka’s war-of-choice in Afghanistan is responsible for the highest ratio of civilians-killed-per-bomb-dropped.
A U.N. report on civilian casualties says that more than 1,000 civilians were killed in just the first half of 2009, an increase of about 25% from the first half of 2008.
Most of the dead were – and continue to be - killed by U.S. and NATO air strikes. Substantial underreporting is a certainty and I’ve yet to see a recent total figure but back in 2002 Jonathan Steele (The Guardian,UK) reported that the (then) Afghanistan civilian death toll was somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000.
Eight years later, what do you reckon? No wonder the Yanks don’t want to “do” body counts.
Kind of puts paid to the obscene suggestion that the war has a "humanitarian" purpose.
As for the total number of maimed and traumatised men, women and children due to U.S. belligerence? It doesn’t bear thinking about, does it? And so we don’t, do we?
So who are the naughty terrorists now then, eh?
In Amerikkka, the most heavily propagandised nation in the world with its homogeneous fundamentalist FuxNews and Republicrat hydra, the mantra of the U.S. corporate media remains "the report cannot be independently verified". Indeed, the Bogus Administration’s determination to suppress the truth reflects that of the Communist regime of the long gone Soviet Union. Ah, McFreedom! Just smell those greasy fries and lies!
While civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to be covered-up in the Home of the Braindead and Land of the Freak, the rest of us watch aghast at the U.S. government's blatantly fraudulent words and deeds, even with golden boy Barack O’Bother sitting on the comfy cushion in the Oval Orifice.
Although he was smirking as security thugs beat al-Zaidi to the floor last December, surely even Dubya realised that his legacy was nought but a bloody shitstain on the pages of history?
Naaah, he’s a fuckwit. He had no idea of the significance of Muntaza al-Zaidi’s actions.
Showing the sole of one’s shoe is considered a sign of contempt and a grave insult in the Arab world, so al-Zaidi’s outburst contrasts ironically with the triumphal images of Iraqis using their footwear to beat Saddam’s statue six years ago.
Ah, the good old bad old daze, eh George!
While the faux felling of a minor statue - with out-of-towners specially trucked-in to dance around for the cameras - was orchestrated by U.S. forces, al-Zaidi’s gut-wrenching outrage during a glib photo-op for Bogus during a Presidential farewell was the real deal.
It was spontaneous, passionate and immediately recognised around the globe as the genuine cry for Iraqi freedom and justice that is was.
Freedom not merely from U.S. protégé, the former dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein, but freedom from the current government cronies, from foreign occupation and from the U.S. military-industrial complex of which that fecking imbecile George W. Bogus was merely just another White House front man.
Al-Zaidi threw his shoes on behalf of the many millions of people around the world who urged the U.S. not to invade Iraq and who remain appalled that Bogus and the fanatics who aided and abetted his war crimes remain at large.
Muntazer al-Zaidi’s all too human reaction to the U.S. President’s disgusting pretensions and shameless mendacity was rewarded in March 2009 by Iraq's Central Criminal Court with a jail sentence of three years for “assaulting a foreign leader”.
On April 7 2009 al-Zaidi's sentence was reduced to one year. And now he’s out.
He deserves a medal!
Al-Zaidi let fly at a foreign “leader” who illegally invaded a sovereign nation, destroyed vital infrastructure, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and is responsible for the deaths of the thousands more killed in the resulting and ongoing civil war.
Bogus had just told reporters that while the war in Iraq was not over "it is decisively on its way to being won" when Al-Zaidi couldn’t stand listening to any more bullshit and jumped up to hurl abuse - and footwear - at the Tool from Texas.
In the words of Uday Al-Zaidi, Muntazer’s brother: “The shoe that did not fall on Bush fell on the American flag. This is a source of pride for us Arabs and Muslims. It reclaimed our dignity, even if just partially, from that criminal [George W. Bush]”.
According to another Iraqi observer: “Bush is a war criminal. I hope he has shoes thrown at him everywhere he goes until he is tried and executed”.
Muntazer’s other brother, Maitham al-Zaidi, has been quoted as saying that, being an Iraqi journalist, Muntazer had always feared he would die either at the hands al-Qaeda or U.S. forces, both equally indifferent to the pain and misery of innocent bystanders.
During Amerikkka’s catastrophic war in Vietnam, U.S forces applied MGR (“Mere Gook Rule"): "If it’s dead and it's Vietnamese, it’s VC [Vietcong]”. In Iraq and Afghanistan, they use MRR (Mere Raghead Rule): if it’s dead and its Arabic-looking, it’s al Qaeda, Taliban or whatever the hell Washingtoon requires.
But we all know who eventually won in Vietnam.
Still, U.S. troops have often targeted journalists who dare operate outside Amerikkka’s control. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a U.S. missile struck independent news agency Aljazeera's office in Baghdad, killing correspondent Tareq Ayyoub. And in the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, a U.S. air strike destroyed Aljazeera's Kabul office.
Neither of these attacks were "mistakes"; they occurred after Aljazeera had alerted U.S. forces to the locations of their offices. In fact, as Aljazeera reported on the war crimes U.S. forces were committing in Fallujah, the wretched Bogus regime planned to destroy the news agency's headquarters in Doha, even though the Qatar government is a U.S. collaborator, much like most Middle Eastern monarchs and despots.
In Afghanistan, as in Iraq, the lives of those brave men and women who attempt to report news contrary to Amerikkka’s global terraforming (i.e. terror forming) agenda are expendable.
A few days ago, the death of a respected senior Afghan journalist, Sultan Munadi, in a rescue mission to free a New York Times reporter, outraged Munadi’s colleagues.
Munadi was killed during a reckless British Special Forces raid on the house where the two men were being held, despite the fact that negotiations were under way that would have freed them.
Stephen Farrell, a reporter for The New York Times, was rescued unhurt but Munadi was shot as the Brits stormed in.
And so it goes. In the Bogus “war-on-terror” - rebranded by the castrated O’Botherers as the "overseas contingency operation" - neither side wants independent reporting of their cold-blooded, bloody activities.
Shoe-throwing Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi, who worked for the Cairo-based Al-Baghdadia television network, was kidnapped in Baghdad and held by unknown captors for three days in 2007 and then detained for a day by Amerikkkan forces at the beginning of 2008
In the moments after his Baghdad protest, he had fully expected the U.S. President’s security detail to shoot him dead.
He was instead set upon on, beaten, arrested and incarcerated. He suffered a broken arm and ribs, as well as injuries to an eye and a leg, and can clearly be heard crying out in pain in available video [http://video.google.com.au/videosearch?hl=en&source=hp&q=Muntazer%20al-Zaidi&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv# ].
While detained, Muntazer says, he was also tortured. Medical reports show he “lost at least one tooth and has two broken ribs and a broken foot that have not healed.”
His eldest brother Uday says prison doctors repeatedly injected “unknown substances” into Muntazer against his will and his captors also burned him with “cigarettes behind his ears”.
Uday has told reporters that the torture was the result of his brother’s refusal to write and sign a letter of apology to President Bogus and to budding dictator al-Maliki, who stood alongside the Texas Tool when the shoes were hurled.
The corrupt and compromised Iraqi government called Muntazer al-Zaidi's behaviour "barbaric and ignominious".
What does it call the mass slaughter and destruction inflicted upon Iraq by the Amerikkkan invasion?
Ordinary Iraqis praised al-Zaidi, calling him "brave," and saying his protest was "awesome." Local media quoted police officers, professors, dentists, and shopkeepers, all saying that his actions reflected what every Iraqi wished to do.
Muntazer al-Zaidi is quite rightly lauded as a hero, not only throughout the Middle East but also around the world, by those of us who oppose the violence perpetrated and enabled by U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Images of the former U.S. President ducking Muntazer’s flying foot gear are displayed in graffiti throughout Baghdad, decorate T-shirts in Egypt, and appear in children's games in Turkey.
Free at last, his original sentence reduced “for good behaviour”, al-Zaidi will undergo medical treatment in Greece. In his own words: "At the time that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on television that he could not sleep without being reassured on my fate ... I was being tortured in the worst ways, beaten with electric cables and iron bars."
Apparently Muntazer plans to open an orphanage but may abandon reporting. His brother Dargham says an State-orchestrated embargo may block all-Zaidi's return to journalism.
Dargham al-Zaidi says Muntazer “is sure that he will be turned away or boycotted by government officials. Rather, he told me he is interested in working in a humanitarian organisation or becoming an activist for women's and orphans' rights."
However, the BBC reports that the manager of al-Baghdadiya TV (which continued to pay Zaidi's salary during his imprisonment) says al-Zaidi will return to work there.
My guess is that, despite the global support for his honourable actions, that Muntazer has probably had his fill of reporting the U.S.-fuelled horrors that continue with depressing impunity under the benign gaze of current incumbent Barack O’Bother.
In Iraq in August, all but ignored by the mainstream media, political violence (i.e. sectarian and ethnic violence) killed 456 Iraqis, the highest monthly death toll since July 2008.
In Afghanistan, another protégé of failed U.S. foreign policy, the incompetent, venal and corrupt Hamid Karzai - handpicked for his job by the Bogus Administration - claims to have been re-elected in a process generally acknowledged by independent observers as “fraud en masse”. Ballots at 10 per cent of the polling stations will be audited and recounted because of the attempted scam.
Election workers loyal to Karzai were sprung setting up hundreds of fake polling sites where nobody voted but still registered hundreds of thousands of ballots towards Karzai's “re-election”. I guess they’ve studied the Republican strategy that handed Dubya his stint in the Big Chair.
As in Iraq, current front man for America’s military and money moguls, President O’Bother, continues the U.S. onslaught in Afghanistan that George W. Bogus began, with more foreign troops, more missile strikes and more civilian deaths.
As a result of Amerikkka’s Afghan adventure, the number of registered Afghan refugees languishing in Iran and Pakistan right now is 3 million.
Last week, the religious fundamentalist Taliban, ousted from power eight years ago but surging back, couldn’t believe their ongoing luck when U.S. proxies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) slaughtered and maimed over 100 people in air strikes in the northern province of Kunduz.
In the battle for hearts and minds in Afghanistan, the U.S. and its Europeans stooges continue to do the Talib’s work for them.
While the corrupt Hamid Karzai “rules” behind sandbags in Kabul – and the O’Bother administration attempts to legitimise the electoral swindle - the resurgent Taliban are entrenched in the northern provinces and are establishing themselves along the routes through which NATO's supply lines pass from Russia and Central Asian states.
The Talibs have set up significant public infrastructure in parts of Afghanistan, with their own courts and even ombudsmen who villagers can bring their problems to.
According to a new map released this week by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), "The Taliban now have a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan, up from 72% in November 2008.”
They are winning indigenous hearts and minds in ways the U.S. and its Euro proxies cannot hope to comprehend.
Ironically, if you swap the label ''Taliban'' for ''mujahideen'' you have an exact copy of what the Russians confronted 25 years ago.
Indeed, anti-tank mines provided by the U.S. for jihadis to fight Russians then are being used against Amerikkkan and NATO troops now.
The Talibs are, in fact, replaying a tactic used to great effect by the Afghan mujahideen in the U.S. sponsored jihad against Soviet forces in the 1980s.
In a war that George W. Bogus “launched with a slogan from a comic book” (to quote Crikey.com.au’s Jeff Sparrow), the Talibs know victory is just a matter or time.
At least the fecking Russians had sense enough to know when to quit, although by then their economy was floundering too, leading to the demise of the Soviet Union.
I suspect the badly compromised U.S. President Barack O’Bother knows a change IS gonna come, like it or not.
As for the missing Mr Bin Laden, although he is still on the FBI’s website of “most wanted” terrorists the Saudi-born al-Qaeda leader is apparently NOT wanted for the 9/11 attacks, the U.S.S. Cole bombing, or anything else. The FBI web page states old has-Bin Laden is “a suspect in other terrorist attacks throughout the world" but there’s no mention of the 9/11 hijackings. And despite a $US50 million bounty on his head, there hasn’t been a credible lead on Osama Bin Laden’s whereabouts in years.
So, tell me again: why are we still in Afghanistan?
And speaking of 9/11, we didn’t need “Osama’s” latest dubious anniversary message to know that the attacks were prompted – at least to some degree - by U.S. "support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine".
Israel’s domestic crimes and atrocities against indigenous Arabs have continued unabated, unpunished and virtually unremarked in the mainstream “Western” media for more than 60 years. So let’s not even mention its unilateral terrorist attacks on neighbouring nations, shall we?
And before some mensch, kvetch, gonif or goyim starts whining about my “anti-semitism”, permit me to quote Hussam Abuayish, a resident of Gaza: ''I'm not against Jews, I'm against an occupying Israel.''
But 8 years after 9/11, the site in Manhattan known as Ground Zero is still just a big fecking hole in the ground.
A design for something called “Freedom Tower” was unveiled in 2005, a mighty edifice envisioned to soar 541 metres (or, in backward U.S. measurement, 1776 feet, apparently a subtle reference to the year the Declaration of Independence was signed – the kind of independence Amerikkka denies Iraq and Afghanistan).
Sadly, the New York Police Department bagged the building, saying it would be too vulnerable to “truck-bomb attacks”.
Then, this year, the inspiring, star-spangled, all-American, we-are-the-champions name was changed to the innocuous “World Trade Centre One” because of fears that “Freedom Tower” would attract terrorists.
So much for “Bring it on,” eh?
And if New Yorkers – and other non-combatants in and out of the USA – feel a tad anxious, apprehensive and afraid of random acts of violence perpetrated by foreigners pursuing ideological agendas, perhaps they should pause a moment and spare a thought for the millions of Iraqi’s, Afghans and Palestinians (to name but a few) who live this way every day. And then those same hypothetical New Yorkers (and others) should examine the historic words and deeds of successive U.S. Republicrat governments and ask themselves: why is so much innocent blood on OUR hands?
Of all the sickening outrages, brazen lies and scandals of the Bogus Bush/Shiney Cheney years, the worst is possibly the fact that they were not impeached, convicted, tarred, feathered and ridden out of Washingtoon on a rail.
Nonetheless, the option remains for putting these creeps on trial for war crimes.
Justice must not only BE done, it must be SEEN to be done. Come on Yanks, DO it!
In the recent words of good ol’ boy Republican Senator Jim Clyburn, a senior member of the South Carolina delegation, 'Son, always remember that silence gives consent.'
I don’t know whether old Jim is a shrieking, in-bred xenophobe like most of his tribe – who still haven’t gotten over losing the Civil War, never mind the fact that a “black man” is their President - but at least he had sense enough to acknowledge that much.
As for the shoes that were hurled in Baghdad and hailed around the world, the company that produced them is going gang-busters. The style that Muntazer al-Zaidi lobbed has been renamed and re-registered under the delightful brand name “Bye-Bye Bush”.
Since al-Zaidi’s protest and arrest in December 2008, the manufacturer - based in Istanbul (not Constantinople) - has sold more than 500,000 pairs.
And, finally, one last quote for the day, boyz and grrls:
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare” - James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
This was Max Gross retorting for the new, improved Xenox News, emerging, surging and wishing all Xenox News readers a gezunt dir in pupik. L'chaim!