What They're Not
Telling You About the 'Election'
By DAHR JAMAIL
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
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."
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,
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
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
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,
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.
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
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.
February 01, 2005
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© 2004 Bulatlat
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