[News] What They're Not Telling You About the "Election"

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Wed Feb 2 11:49:53 EST 2005



** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** http://dahrjamailiraq.com **


February 01, 2005




What They’re Not Telling You About the “Election”

The day of blood and elections has passed, and the blaring trumpets of 
corporate media hailing it as a successful show of “democracy” have 
subsided to a dull roar.

After a day which left 50 people dead in Iraq, both civilians and soldiers, 
the death toll was hailed as a figure that was “lower than expected.” 
Thus
acceptable, by Bush Administration/corporate media standards. After 
all, only of them was an American, the rest were Iraqis civilians and 
British soldiers.

The gamble of using the polling day in Iraq to justify the ongoing failed 
occupation of Iraq has apparently paid off, if you watch only mainstream media.

“Higher than expected turnout,” US mainstream television media blared, some 
citing a figure of 72%, others 60%.

What they didn’t tell you was that this figure was provided by Farid Ayar, 
the spokesman for the Independent Electoral Commission for Iraq (IECI) 
before the polls had even closed.

When asked about the accuracy of the estimate of voter turnout during a 
press conference, Ayar backtracked on his earlier figure, saying that a 
closer estimate was lower than his initial estimate and would be more like 
60% of registered voters.

The IECI spokesman said his previous figure of 72% was “only guessing” and 
“was just an estimate,” which was based on “very rough, word-of mouth 
estimates gathered informally from the field. It will take some time for 
the IECI to issue accurate figures on turnout.”

Referencing both figures, Ayar then added, “Percentages and numbers come 
only after counting and will be announced when it's over ... It's too soon 
to say that those were the official numbers.”

But this isn’t the most important misrepresentation the mainstream media 
committed.

What they also didn’t tell you was that of those who voted, whether they be 
35% or even 60% of registered voters, were not voting in support of an 
ongoing US occupation of their country.

In fact, they were voting for precisely the opposite reason. Every Iraqi I 
have spoken with who voted explained that they believe the National 
Assembly which will be formed soon will signal an end to the occupation.

And they expect the call for a withdrawing of foreign forces in their 
country to come sooner rather than later.

This causes one to view the footage of cheering, jubilant Iraqis in a 
different light now, doesn’t it?

But then, most folks in the US watching CNN, FOX, or any of the major 
networks won’t see it that way. Instead, they will hear what Mr. Bush said, 
“The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle 
East,” and take it as fact because most of the major media outlets aren’t 
scratching beneath film clips of joyous Iraqi voters over here in the land 
of daily chaos and violence, no jobs, no electricity, little running water 
and no gasoline (for the Iraqis anyhow).

And Bush is portrayed by the media as the bringer of democracy to Iraq by 
the simple fact that this so-called election took place, botched as it may 
have been. Appearances suggest that the majority Shia in Iraq now finally 
get their proportional representation in a “government.” Looks good on paper.

But as you continue reading, the seemingly altruistic reasons for this 
election as portrayed by the Bush Administration and trumpeted by most 
mainstream media are anything but.

And Iraqis who voted are hearing other trumpets that are blaring an end to 
the occupation.

Now the question remains, what happens when the National Assembly is formed 
and over 100,000 US soldiers remain on the ground in Iraq with the Bush 
Administration continuing in its refusal to provide a timetable for their 
removal?

What happens when Iraqis see that while there are already four permanent US 
military bases in their country, rather than beginning to disassemble them, 
more bases are being constructed, as they are, by Cheney’s old company 
Halliburton, right now?

Antonia Juhasz, a Foreign Policy in Focus scholar, authored a piece just 
before the “election” that sheds light on a topic that has lost attention 
amidst the recent fanfare concerning the polls in Iraq.

Oil.

I think it’s worth including much of her story here, as it fits well with 
today’s topic of things most folks aren’t being told by the bringers of 
democracy to the heart of the Middle East.

On Dec. 22, 2004, Iraqi Finance Minister Abdel Mahdi told a handful of 
reporters and industry insiders at the National Press Club in Washington, 
D.C. that Iraq wants to issue a new oil law that would open Iraq's national 
oil company to private foreign investment. As Mahdi explained: "So I think 
this is very promising to the American investors and to American 
enterprise, certainly to oil companies."
In other words, Mahdi is proposing to privatize Iraq's oil and put it into 
American corporate hands.
According to the finance minister, foreigners would gain access both to 
"downstream" and "maybe even upstream" oil investment. This means 
foreigners can sell Iraqi oil and own it under the ground ­ the very thing 
for which many argue the U.S. went to war in the first place.
As Vice President Dick Cheney's Defense Policy Guidance report explained 
back in 1992, "Our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside 
power in the [Middle East] region and preserve U.S. and Western access to 
the region's oil."
While few in the American media other than Emad Mckay of Inter Press 
Service reported on ­ or even attended ­ Mahdi’s press conference, the 
announcement was made with U.S. Undersecretary of State Alan Larson at 
Mahdi's side. It was intended to send a message ­ but to whom?
It turns out that Abdel Mahdi is running in the Jan. 30 elections on the 
ticket of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (SCIR), the 
leading Shiite political party. While announcing the selling-off of the 
resource which provides 95 percent of all Iraqi revenue may not garner 
Mahdi many Iraqi votes, but it will unquestionably win him tremendous 
support from the U.S. government and U.S. corporations.
Mahdi's SCIR is far and away the front-runner in the upcoming elections, 
particularly as it becomes increasingly less possible for Sunnis to vote 
because the regions where they live are spiraling into deadly chaos. If 
Bush were to suggest to Iraq’s Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi that 
elections should be called off, Mahdi and the SCIR's ultimate chances of 
victory will likely decline.

I’ll add that the list of political parties Mahdi’s SCIR belongs to, The 
United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), includes the Iraqi National Council, which is 
led by an old friend of the Bush Administration who provided the faulty 
information they needed to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq, none other 
than Ahmed Chalabi.

It should also be noted that interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi also fed 
the Bush Administration cooked information used to justify the invasion, 
but he heads a different Shia list which will most likely be getting nearly 
as many votes as the UIA list.

And The UIA has the blessing of Iranian born revered Shiite cleric, Grand 
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Sistani issued a fatwa which instructed his huge 
number of followers to vote in the election, or they would risk going to hell.

Thus, one might argue that the Bush administration has made a deal with the 
SCIR: Iraq's oil for guaranteed political power. The Americans are able to 
put forward such a bargain because Bush still holds the strings in Iraq.
Regardless of what happens in the elections, for at least the next year 
during which the newly elected National Assembly writes a constitution and 
Iraqis vote for a new government, the Bush administration is going to 
control the largest pot of money available in Iraq (the $24 billion in U.S. 
taxpayer money allocated for the reconstruction), the largest military and 
the rules governing Iraq's economy. Both the money and the rules will, in 
turn, be overseen by U.S.-appointed auditors and inspector generals who sit 
in every Iraqi ministry with five-year terms and sweeping authority over 
contracts and regulations. However, the one thing which the administration 
has not been unable to confer upon itself is guaranteed access to Iraqi oil 
­ that is, until now.

And there is so much more they are not telling you. Just like the Iraqis 
who voted, believing they did so to bring an end to the occupation of their 
country.

Posted by Dahr_Jamail at February 1, 2005 04:15 PM


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