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Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

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Three Boat People and 100,000 Dead People

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Wednesday January 26, 2005 22:25author by Ed Report this post to the editors

A Defendant Writes......

UPDATE: ALL CHARGES DROPPED IN COURT TODAY 27/1/05

"Our politicians should be reminded that the killing of one Iraqi person is as much a crime as the killing of Jean McConville"

The 27th January 2005 is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. A minority of German people, and others, perpetrated the Holocaust but the majority contributed indirectly by their silence. Since 20 March 2004, over 100,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed in an illegal war. The people of Ireland have been complicit in these deaths because we allowed the US military to use Shannon Airport, as a vital part of its war logistics.

On the 27th January 2005, the Shannon boat people, Edward Horgan, Aron Baker and Eibhlin ni Hir, go on trial in Ennis Co Clare, for protesting against this illegal use of Shannon airport. They were arrested during the Bush visit in June 2004, in a small rowing-boat, while peacefully protesting on the river Shannon. They could face a large fine or imprisonment. It took the combined forces of the Irish Navy, the Gardai, the Irish Air Corps, the Shannon Foynes Harbour Authority, with a US warship standing off Irish territorial waters, to arrest this fearsome trio, who were armed with a protest sign saying "Bush Go Home".

This protest was their way of breaking the silence of complicity. Please help publicise the ongoing abuse of Shannon airport, and the killing of innocents in Iraq, by contacting your local media, politicians, and other contacts. During 2004, 158,549 heavily armed US troops passed through Shannon airport, on their way to the war and occupation of Iraq, and we allowed this to happen. It was the likes of this that made the Holocaust possible.

We three appreciate your support, but it is not we who need support, it is the people of Iraq. They also need your peaceful actions to deny Shannon Airport to US troops and munitions. Our politicians should be reminded that the killing of one Iraqi person is as much a crime as the killing of Jean McConville. The killing of 100,000 Iraqis is 100,000 crimes against humanity.

Edward Horgan.

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author by toneorepublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 07:01author email toneore at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is completely untrue that 100,000 Iraqis have been killed.

author by Maxpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 09:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its completly untrue because you say it is? thats every boy told then isnt it?
problem solved forget about it and go home and have a cup of tea.

Related Link: http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/10/29/news/toll.html
author by righteous pragmatistpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If Saddam Hussein were still ruler of Iraq millions of its people would continue to live under a fascist dictatorship. This man murdered millions of innocent men women and children whose bones are still being dug up out of the sand. 25 million Iraqis would still be living under the tender mercies of his secret police and with the reality of his torture chambers ringing with the screams of its prisoners.
This man invaded Iran and Kuwait and attacked Saudi Arabia and Israel with ballistic missiles.
He funded the Palestinian suicide bombers who regularly killed bus loads of innocent Jews.
His presence was a threat to oil supplies without which the world would grind to a halt (try living through an icy winter with only twigs and briars to heat your home)
This man used poison gas against the people of Hallabjah killing thousands.
He was the only world leader other then Mullah Omar of Afghanistan who praised the 9/11 attacks.
Do you believe for one moment that any sane statesman would contemplate leaving this tyrant in power knowing what he was and was capable of with the flimsy hope that he would not supply terrorists with WMD in the future?
Do you believe for one moment that an American President would allow Saddam's dynasty to continue under his sons Uday and Quasay both of them monsters like their father?
He harboured terrorists such as Abu Nidal the leader of the Achille Lauro hijacking during which an elderly wheelchair bound American was flung overboard to his death.
He held Irish diplomats, nationals and their families hostage prior to the 1991 Gulf War and threatened to kill them if the Allies would abandon Kuwait to his clutches.
This man was an ogre and a monster and Iraq and the entire world are delighted he is in a jail cell.
On Sunday millions of those same Iraqis will participate in their first democratic elections no thanks to you.

Except for the Anti-War movement.

The anti-war movements said "No to War" and "Not in My Name" in the full knowledge of the nature of Saddam's regime.
If that is not complicity in innocent deaths then what is?

author by pcpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Iraq: Torture Continues at Hands of New Government

Since the appointment of the Iraqi Interim Government in June 2004, Iraqi officials have stated on many occasions that respect for human rights and the rule of law remains a priority, and that tough measures to bring the security situation under control and to reduce the level of violent crime would remain consistent with international human rights standards. The findings of Human Rights Watch’s research has shown otherwise, and led to the conclusion that under the banner of bringing security and stability across Iraq, tolerance of the abuse of detainees by government agencies remains high.

Human Rights Watch said its investigations in Iraq over a four-month period between July and October 2004 found the systematic use of arbitrary arrest, prolonged pre-trial detention (up to four months in some cases) without judicial review, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, denial of access by families and lawyers to detainees, improper treatment of detained children, and abysmal conditions in pre-trial facilities. The report does not address the mistreatment of persons in the custody of U.S. or other multinational forces in Iraq.

author by righteous pragmatistpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 14:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would suggest Human Rights Watch investigate the arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention ( up to four months in some cases) without judicial review, torture and ill- treatment, denial of access to families and lawyers and abysmal conditions of facilities of the beheaded victims of the kidnapping and murder campaign of the terrorist Musab Al-Zarqawi.

author by misepublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 15:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes that right tonore, it's more like 140,000

author by me feinpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saddam is in defiance of the UN - a lie
Saddam has WMD - a lie
Saddam bought "yellow cake" from Niger - a lie.
Saddam has links to Al Queda - a lie
Saddam has links to 911 - a lie.
Mission Accomplished march 2003 - a lie
Violence will disappear when we catch Saddam - a lie

Now that the war war proven to be on the basis of "one lie on top of another", it was necessary to fabricate a new enemy .

There is no such person as Abu Mussab al Zarqawi - its another US hoax. Same as Bin-Laden.

Its simply a way of tying Iraq to Al-Queda a link which never existed in the first place.

He is the "evil face of the insurgency" flashed at us every night by RTE and others. I challenge anyone to prove the existance of Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi.

author by Noelpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'I challenge anyone to prove the existance of Abu Mussab Al Zarqawi'

Bin Laden a US hoax.

Bwahahahahahaha.

What next?
Reptiles rule the planet?
No moon landing?
George Bush was on the grassy knoll?

author by eeekkkkpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 16:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

all charges have been dismissed

author by misepublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And that my friends was conclusive proof in the case of the existance of Abu Mussab-al Zarqawi a one legged Jordanian affiliate of (EL)Al-Quaeda.

He is a USA Media Hoax.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/focus/story/0,6903,887439,00.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/10/04/wirq04.xml

And a hundred other links that I cant be arsed posting.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Please post an update. RTE don't have anything about this on their website.

author by Michaelpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 20:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"All charges dismissed in Horgan, Baker, Ni Hir boat case.
Gardai prosecuting got the willies when they saw that defendants would be represented by a team of two SC, four JC, plus their solicitors. Requested an adjournment, but didn't get it.

author by Court reporterpublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 21:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's a pity this case didn't get a full outing, because we were all eager to hear about the exclusion zone that was not properly (legally) established, and to hear all the different versions of events from the prosecution witnesses, as well as seeing the Garda helicopter footage.
As it was, the case moved much quicker than anticipated, when it finally got called. It had been first on the list, but got put back to last, as six charges became three, and then three became one, before finally the entire case collapsed, and the defendants were vindicated.

The following report is from notes taken at the time (not at 10:30 the following day!!!)
================================
Today in Shannon District Court (sitting in Court no.1 in Ennis Court House) Anti-war campaigners Ed Horgan, Eibhlin ni Hir, and Aron Baker were acquitted of all charges in relation to taking a boat out on the Shannon Estuary on June 25th 2004, prior to the arrival of George Bush.

The three appeared in front of Judge Joseph Mangan charged with breaching the Harbour Act and also Section 8 of the Public Order Act 1994.

The penalties under the Harbour Act can be quite severe (it's designed for big commercial vessels, not 10ft boats) and the three defendants were represented by senior and junior counsel, (Roderick O'Hanlon, Paul Callan, Gilliosa O'Liodha, Muireann Grogan, Mike Dreelan and Chris Costello)
as well as their solicitor Pat Daly.

The prosecution, normally handled by one of the Garda Inspectors, was today handled by Superintendent John Kerins, who was also being advised from the side by an unknown legal eagle.

Court started at 11:23 and the Boat case was the first on the list. After the defence barristers introduced themselves in turn, Supt Kerins asked for the case to be heard a little later, as he was hoping to get advice from the DPP on how to proceed.

The judge decided to hear some other cases first, to help clear the list, and returned to the case at 12:06, at which time Supt Kerins said that the DPP was no ready to pass on instructions to him, and asked for a 2 minute adjournement to take the call. (the two minute adjournment was 14 minutes long)

Supt Kerin asked for an amendment to the charge made under the Harbour Act, but it was disallowed, (all a bit technical) and the charges were struck out by the Judge.

This left the remaining charge under the Public Order Act. Supt Kerins said that one of the 7 prosecution witness (the Harbourmaster) could be excused

Two TVs were set up in court for showing the video footage taken by the Garda Helicopter overhead.

After lunch, this was the only case left, but the court room was still about half full with barristers, Gardai ( 4 who were witnesses), 2 S/Lts from the Irish Navy (also witnesses), the three defendents - and of course the friends and supporters of the defendants, who outnumbered the barristers, Gardai and other witnesses.

The first witness was Sgt Mark McKeown, normally based in Terenure. He asked if he could read from his notes, which is normal if they are concurrent with the events.
The defense asked when the notes were made - to which the Sgt confessed that he didn't write up his notes until 10:30 the following morning, back on board the L.E. Aoife (this is rather unsual practice)
Sgt McKeown was told to present his evidence as he recalled it, and only to refer to his notes if necessary.

He gave evidence that he was on the Irish Naval vessel the L.E. Aoife on 25/6/2004 during the visit of George Bush, and that at 1:30 in the afternoon, he was deployed in a Navy rib along with Sub/Lt Ultan Finnegan in response to a report of a small craft in the 'exclusion zone' .

He said that the saw three people in a small craft, and they approached them and told them that they had entered an exclusion zone and had to leave. Sgt McKeown said "the man, who I now know as Edward Horgan refused to leave"

Roderick O'Hanlon S.C. asked at this point
"were those his exact words?"

Sgt McKeown said that he didn't recall what Mr. Horgan had said, but that he believed him to be refusing.
He said that he then told all three that he was arresting them for breaching the exclusion zone.
Next, Sgt McKeown referred to an event (losing the canoe) which, according to other prosecution witnesses evidence, happened at a much later time.
He said that they then instructed the defendants to throw them a rope, which he and Sub Lt Finnegan tied to the boat.
He said that had seen one of the defendants opening a watertight container which he feared might contain "a pyrotechnic device" which might endanger people or property, but he gave no reason for believing this to be the case. (Later evidence was that the dry box contained a mobile phone and camera)

The three were taken in tow to the Garda launch and from there to Foynes where they waited for a while, as Sgt McKeown spoke to some of his superiors for 10-15 minutes, before "bringing the prisoners" to Askeaton Garda Station where they were charged.

Supt Kerins asked if, in directing them to leave, he had quoted any legal authority.

Sgt McKeown said that he had told them that they were in breach of the exlusion order, and that they "refused to comply"

As the judge motioned for cross examination, Sgt McKeown added that at the Garda Station he had told the prisoners that the were arrested under Section 8 of the Public Order Act. (this is an interesting thing to say at this point... remember it)

Sgt McKeown was cross examined first by counsel for Mr. Horgan, Roderick O'Hanlon Q.C. who referred to the alleged refusal to comply.

Defence1 :You say Mr Horgan refused to leave?

Witness1 -Yes

D1 -What did he say?

W1 - I don't recall.

D1 -Mr Horgan says that when you met him he said that he was exercising his right to peaceable protest. Is that what you took to be a refusal?

W1- I don't know.

D1 -But after that, you arrested him?

W1- Yes.
[The Judge pressed the witness for any words of refusal, but the Sgt said that he had only written 'refusal' in his notes the next day.]

D1 - You said that you instructed the defendants to throw you a rope and that you tied up the boat?

W1- Yes,

D1- and yet in prosecution statements, and according to the defendants THEY asked for a tow, and THEY tied up their boat, in fact, one of the Navy personnel remarked on the seamanship involved. In fact they were co-operative, were they not.

W1 - they were fully co-operative.

D1- thank you. that's all.

Next up was Paul Callan S.C.

D2: You recall my client Eibhlin Ni Hir on the boat?

W1. - Yes.

D2- this interaction at the boat, where you tell them to leave. This was short, lasting about 1 minute?

W1 - no, it lasted about 5-10 minutes

D2 - I think that's rather far too long, according to the other evidence. [ in fact according to the video footage, it lasted less than 2 minutes, followed by a 6 minute tow to the Garda vessel]

Sgt McKeown agreed that it was difficult to hear everything because of the wind and the Garda helicopter overhead.

D2 - In fact, it was Sub Lieutenant Finnegan who spoke first in this encounter.

W1 - yes.

D2. - He was nearer, further down the boat.

W1 - yes.

D2 - and he quoted the Harbour Act?

W1- I Don't recall. He mentioned the exclusion zone. I don't recall if he mentioned the Harbour Act.

D2 - was it not up to you to take charge?

W1 - I backed him up.

Sgt McKeown said that he recalled Mr. Horgan saying something, when the boat moved or when he moved up the boat, but that he didn't recall what was said.

D2: - You were concentrating on getting the boat out of what you understood to be an exclusion zone?

W1 - exactly.

D2- You said to all three "you're under arrest"

W1 - Yes.

D2: My client, probably in exasperation, said that there was someone more deserving arrest arriving soon. Do you recall that?

W1 - she mentioned some war criminal or other.

D2 - and they were co-operative with you?

W1- they were fully co-operative at all times.

D2 - And at one stage a Garda tried to board the small boat, and was warned not to due to the weight?

W1 - I don't think it was because of his weight, but because it was shallow, choppy water.

D2- It was shallow water, near the edge of the river. In fact the boat was not moving.

W1 - not moving.

D2. It was not moving, because the defendants were changing to a smaller engine for the shallower water. and when changing engines, the boat should be stopped. Did you see anyone changing engines?

W1 - I saw some activity.

D2 - then you indicated that you brought them to a bigger boat, and on that boat to Foynes.

W1- Yes. We brought them to the Garda Launch, and they boarded the launch and we brought them to Foynes.

D2- Did you receive any instructions from the officers at Foynes?

W1- Yes, along the lines of what Garda station to take them to.

D2 - And that discussion went on for how long?

W1 - about 10 - 15 minutes.

D2 - and at that time your understanding was that they were in breach of the Harbour Act?

W1 - The Harbour Act and also the Public Order Act, in failing to leave the area.

D2: in fairness, the man said he was protesting peaceably and you arrested him.

W1 - It was a protest, judge, and I arrested him.

D2 : They had no opportunity to leave. You just arrested them. It wasn't until much later that the Public Order Act is mentioned.

W1 - I informed them at the earliest opportunity.

D2 - Which was?

W1 - At Foynes.

D2 . Before you consulted with officers at Foynes? And you were referring back to the conversation when you met them in what you understood to be the exclusion zone.

W1 - they were not ideal circumstances.

D2: You had arrested them under the Harbour Act.

W1 - I arrested them under the Public Order Act, for being in the exclusion zone, which to my mind falls under the POA.

D2: They were arrested under the Harbour Act, no mention was made of the Public Order Act.

W1- There was no mention of the Public Order Act at the time of arrest.

D2: - That was an afterthought.

W1 - I don't agree.

There was a short discussion on the intended purpose and application of the Public Order act, to the effect that it is designed to deal with breaches of the peace and people who cease to desist from behaviour likely to lead to breaches of the peace.

W1 - The gardai can give people a chance to leave.

D2: - that didn't happen in this case.

W1- I don't agree.

D2: Thank you. Nothing further.

Gilliosa O'Liodha, was counsel for Mr. Baker.

D3: You understood that Mr Horgan had said something but you don't recall what it was, but you interpreted it as a refusal. Did Mr. Baker say anything that you recall?

W1- Mr. Baker said very little the whole time, and nothing of refusal.

D3- then it comes down to the interpretation of that first exchange?

W1- I presumed Mr Horgan to be speaking for all three.

D3: Thank you that's all.

Sub Lt. Ultan Finnegan was called as the second witness at 14.56

He gave evidence of being on the L.E. Aoife and taking a boat with Garda McKeown out to meet the small craft with two men and a woman in it.

He said that he told the defendants that they were in an eclusion zone, the Sgt arrested them, and Mr. Horgan asked for a tow. S/Lt Finnegan described passing a rope to Mr. Horgan, which Mr. Horgan tied to his own boat, taking them into tow to the larger Garda boat which they were told was a safer method of transport to Foynes.

[Mr. O Hanlon] Defence 1: You told the defendants that they were in breach of what you understood to be an exclusion zone.

Witness 2. - Yes.

D1: - Mr Horgan said that he was there to peaceable protest.

W2: - He may well have said that. I don't recall exactly.

D2: That was about the extent of the conversation?

W2: That may have been. I don't recall exactly. One of them said something about a murderer arriving later.

D2: Sgt McKweon says that the defendants were ordered to throw him a rope. Your statement says that Mr. Horgan asked for a tow.

W2: He did request a tow out of the area.

D1: No further questions. Thank you.

[Mr. Callan] D2 : I have no questions for this witness.

[Mr O'Liodha] D3: You made a formal written incident in relation to this, which you say you told the defendants that they were in an exclusion zone, and that they were not permitted to be there, and that one of them asked if you knew of a murderer coming, and then one of them asked you for a tow.
In that order?

W2 -Yes.

D2: Next in your statement was Sgt McKeown informing them of arrest. Isn't it possible that these things happened in the order in which you put them in the formal written report.

The witness agreed that it was possible.

Supt Kerins said that he did not believe it necessary to call his remaining 4 witnesses.

The Judge asked for applications, but told Mr Horgan's counsel to wait a while. He asked Counsel for Ms Ni Hir and Mr Baker what applications they had.

Both asked for both charges to be dismissed as no evidence had been produced that they had made any refusal.

Judge Mangan then asked Supt Kerin if that would suit him.

Supt Kerin, enthusiastically agreed "Absolutely, yes" - [seems like he was happy to be left to get Ed - and the atmosphere in court suggested that the supporters sensed that.]

"Eibhlin Ni Hir, - dismissed. Aron Baker - dismissed"

Counsel for Mr. Horgan applied for the charge against his client to be dismissed, that there was no evidence to support it, and that the charge under the public order act was related to loitering in a public place without reasonable excuse, behaviour with concerns of saftey for the public or property, requests to desist in such behaviour and failure to comply with the direction of Gardai to leave peaceably.
He told the court that this is a very different situation from being in a purported exclusion zone.
He also said that it was very clear that the request to leave related to removal from a particular zone, not to desist in any particular activity, and that there was no refusal to desist in activity, and that in relation to refusing to leave the area peaceably, that situation clearly didn't arise.
Mr. O Hanlon then quoted a High Court Case presided over by Justice Laffoy where it was ruled that in relation to the Public Order Act, an accused is entitled to be informed of the legal requirement put upon him/ her and that a criminal offence would arise for non-compliance, and of the penatly which would be applied.
[In other words, that you can't just nick people and make up the charge later]

Mr. Hanlon told the court that in this case, it was clear that there was no citation of the Public Order Act at the time of arrest, nor of a criminal offence nor of the penal sanction.

Referring back to the High Court precendent, Mr O Hanlon quoted Justice LAffoy that "in prosecution for the offence, there should be evidence that the accused was informed that failure to comply would result in criminal proceedings" Mr. O'Hanlon said that his submission was that the case for the offence under S.8 had not been made.

At this point the Judge asked Supt Kerins for his argument. Supt Kerins said that he had no answer to the High Court ruling.

Judge Mangan said that he did not consider the words used by Mr. Horgan to constitute a refusal, and was dismissing the case and holding with the defence on all points.

At which point, there was much shaking of hands amongst the defendants and their friends, much relief amongst the note-takers who had been scribbling furiously for ages.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Thu Jan 27, 2005 22:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wooooohoooo! That was a close shave! The cops have been after Ed Horgan in particular for a while now, and would have been quite happy to catch just him in their Harbour Act & POA net. Well done all round, including the lawyers of course!!

author by Edward Horgan - Shannon Peace Camppublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 00:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A very sincere thanks to a great legal team, Roderick O'Hanlon SC, Paul Callan SC, Gilliosa O'Liodha BL, Muireann Grogan BL , Mike Dreelan BL, and Chris Costello BL, and of course our solicitor Pat Daly from Tralee for the great work they did on our behalf. A very special thanks also to our dedicated group of supporters, especially the court scribes.
It was indeed a small but significant victory for Irish civil liberties, but we are not celebrating because we know that so many innocent Iraqi people have died since 20 March 2003.
On this aniversary of the Holocaust it is particularly annoying to hear Irish Government ministers recalling the Holocaust, and warning of risk of ongoing racism in Ireland, and recalling other crimes against humanity in Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda, yet deadly silence on Irish Government complicity on the unlawful deaths of 100,000 innocent people in Iraq.
The time to actively prevent the passage of US troops through Shannon and Irish airspace, was in 2003, just as the time to stop the trains to Auschwitz, was in 1940 and not in 1945. However, these crimes against humanity are still ongoing in Iraq, and since the present time is the only time that we can ever act within, now is the time to stop US troops passing through Shannon airport. We must all ask ourselves,
"If not I, then who? If not now, then when?"
Silence is cowardice, inaction in the face of evil is always wrong.

Edward Horgan

author by Joan Horganpublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 02:56author email espousal011 at rcn dot comauthor address 554 Lexington Street, Waltham, MA 02452 USAauthor phone 781-209-3111Report this post to the editors

Congratulations to all three of you - Eibhlin, Aron and Edward - and to your excellent legal team on the successful outcome of your trial, and especially for your courageous pursuit of truth and justice, not just for yourselves, but for the people of Iraq. Keep up your very vital peace activities ... your voices ARE being heard - 3,000 miles away and beyond. We need more courageous prophets like you who are not afraid to acknowledge that the "President" has no clothes and is just another vulnerable human person.
"One peace advocate at a time,
we'll bring "George W" into line."
You inspire the weary.
God bless you and THANK YOU!

Siochain De linn go leir!

Siobhan from Boston

author by righteous pragmatistpublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 10:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On Sunday millions of Iraqis will go to the polls and elect their government for the first time. What made this possible was the overthrow of Saddam.
Nothing else.
The lives of almost 1500 American troops are well worth losing if 25 million people can live in freedom.

author by Michaelpublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 11:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you're such a fan of the Iraq war you should go to the British or American embassy to enlist.

author by righteous pragmatistpublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 14:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll say it again.
The only reason democratic elections are taking place on January 30th, next Sunday, in Iraq is as a result of the invasion in 2003 and the end of Saddam's regime.

author by redjadepublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 16:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saddam had elections too, you know?

They were not fair
They were not free
They happened in the context of Iron Fisted Baathist rule

Therefore, those elections were a joke.

Just like these elections are a joke.

'Elections' by themselves (without security, freedom or even knowing where the polling places are!) does not equal a democracy.

The only reason these 'elections' are happening is that Bush and his gang will make sure that their new White House chosen Iraqi leaders will 'ask' the US/K to stay - thus 'legitimising' the illegal war and occupation.

After that, next target will be Iran.

author by Noelpublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 16:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If memory serves, the recent Presidential elections in the United States were also deemed unfair by the luminaries posting on this site.

And again, the Presidential elections before that.

Also, the Palestinian elections a few weeks back. They were unfair too.

Fair elections are becoming like Osama Bin Laden. Hard to find.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 18:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I couldn't have put the point better myself. There's a definite link between the absence of democracy and the absence of ObL/Goldstein. Still they both turn up whenever it's convenient.

author by redjadepublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 19:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Complicity in Iraqi deaths eh?'

Can you identify the American in this picture?

Firm Handshake - Good Business Etiquette
Firm Handshake - Good Business Etiquette

author by Big Irish from the USApublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 21:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

kinda lame post now that the butcher, tailor and candlestick maker have been found not guilty of doing anything. their boat people stunt was a failure.

author by eeekkkk - eeekkkkerspublication date Fri Jan 28, 2005 21:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

author by righteous pragmatistpublication date Sat Jan 29, 2005 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Saddam held "elections" in Sept 2002 in which he was the ONLY candidate and miraclously received a turnout of 100% of voters of which 100% voted for him.
That was a joke.

This election is not.
For the first time ever over 14 million registered Iraqi voters are participating in a free and fair election.
There are in excess of 4000 candidates for 275 posts in the Iraqi parliament and the party with the majority of seats will form a government or if it does not have an overall majority will form a coalition government with other parties. The leader of the largest party in the coalition will become prime minister and he will appoint cabinet members. It will the parliament who will give approval to the appointment of the President and Vice President.
Who are trying to stop this process?
Islamic terrorists such as Al-Zarqawi and his Sunni allies among remnants of the Baath party of Saddam who have declared war on the democratic process and are using terror and murder in an attempt to scare Sunnis and Shias from voting.
The US Army deposed Saddam and made this situation possible and it is they who will maintain security for Iraq until its new democracy is established and they can begin to fight the terrorists for themselves.
It will be then that American with its new free Iraqi ally can instigate democratic revolutions in the rest of the Middle East.
This strategy worked in Germany and Japan post World War 2, it worked in 1989 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it worked in South America with the establishment of democracy in Gautemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador, it worked in South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia and it gradually working in China which is tip toeing to democracy.
The tyrannies and dictatorships of the Middle East will topple in time as people will see the benefits which become fruitful in a Free Iraq and demand their own freedoms in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Palestine and Algeria.
The tide has turned on facism and Islamic fundementalism.

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