Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tensions high in Baghdad

These flyers were distributed this night in the Mansur and Karrada districts signed by 'Asa'ib Ahl al-Haqq (a renegade Shi'ite militia formerly linked to the Mahdi Army) threatening members of the Sunni community (referred to here as the grandchildren of Umar and A'isha) with 'liquidation' if they do not leave. The threats followed a wave of bombings targeting Shia neighborhoods during the last two days killing up to 30 people. 

Locals reported fake checkpoints set up in several areas of southern Baghdad stopping vehicles and checking IDs. 


63 comments:

Freddie Starr said...

Freddie Starr ate my hamster!

Petes said...

It sounds like somebody is doing their damnedest to reignite a civil war in Iraq. A recent BBC report claimed that "ordinary Iraqis" were resisting such provocations. Apart from citing Shi'ite restraint in reacting to the recent wave of bombings, it didn't go into a lot of detail. However, it sounds like things have definitely taken a turn for the worse, and sustained sectarian campaigns are inevitably going to cause a downward spiral.

Zeyad - what's your prognosis? This Reuter's article is not encouraging. (Also incredibly frustrating to see in the slideshow at the bottom a security person still wielding the world's least effective bomb detection equipment!)

Marcus said...

I think it may be part of the same proxy-war that worked to fuel the conflict in Syria and turn it worse. You've got the Gulf Countries on the south shore of the Persian Gulf and Iran on the north shore. Where these aspiring leaders of the islamic world brush against eachother, in the west, is Iraq and Syria and Lebanon.

An over simplification of course and for sure there are local interests in both Iraq and Syria, but I do believe outside interests are fanning the flames.

Zeyad said...

It's definitely a spillover of the sectarian violence from Syria, PeteS. I'm far removed from the conflict for so long to make a detailed analysis but Marcus is right on.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

It's definitely a spillover of the sectarian violence from Syria, PeteS.

The danger of a wider conflict has always been there. The recent rocket attack on Hezbolah by the FSA is also an unsettling development.

Marcus said...

Lynnette: "The recent rocket attack on Hezbolah by the FSA is also an unsettling development."

It is very bad news for the "FSA", or whoever you want to name among the anti-Assad rebel-groups, that Hezbollah has got involved. They are probably the most efficient and coherent militia in the ME region, capable of even giving the IDF a tough fight as we saw the last time they faced off against eachother. That Nasrallah has gone public with his support for Assad means they mean business I would say. Without some serious outside help for the "rebels" I think the Assad regime backed by Hezbollah has the upper hand. Not that they will be able to control all of Syria but they might get as far as denying the rebels holding any territory. But, as I said, that's if there isn't any change in the support from abroad, which there very well might be.

I read one article (can't find the link) that speculated that this development might lead to the EU declaring Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and that there will be a push for the UN to do the same. And that if that happened the Israelis would seize the moment to attack into Lebanon and create a two front war for Hezbollah.

On the other hand I read another article suggesting that all in all the Israelis are fine with having Assad in power as he's unlikely to challenge them in any serious way, and that they are content with sitting this fight out and keeping their eye fixed on Iran.

In any case it's a huge human tragedy unfolding. In Syria obviously but that it spills over to Iraq and violence is up again there is very unfortunate. With all the factions involved and with so may of them thinking it's a zero-sum game (kill or die) I can't see any real hope for things not to get even worse.

I read pundits here in Sweden who launch article after article claiming "we have to help Syria", without ever explaining how. And if asked for an opinion on what could/should be done I'd have to confess I have no idea.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Hezbollah does Iran's bidding so their support for Assad comes as no surprise. Perhaps Assad's courting of Hezbollah has more to do with his looking for a place to go if he is pushed out of Syria rather than any military alliance that would prove fruitful for him.

I don't know what Israel is thinking, but I can't think that an active military alliance between Hezbollah and Assad is in their interests. Nor do I see it being in ours. The FSA rocket attack was a warning to stay out of it.

And, honestly, it is in noone's interest for a wider conflict to engulf that region, except those who feed off of other people's misery.

Marcus said...

Lynnette:

"Hezbollah does Iran's bidding so their support for Assad comes as no surprise."

No I don't think that's accurate. Hezbolllah has been substantially suppported by Iran but they have a long history and it's not as a serf of Iran (for one thing the Lebanese Hezbollah are largely arab and the Iranias are persian). I believe they are quite independent, although the share many interests with Iran and will take both weapons and training from them.

Lynnette: "Perhaps Assad's courting of Hezbollah has more to do with his looking for a place to go if he is pushed out of Syria rather than any military alliance that would prove fruitful for him."

He could never leave power and go to Lebanon. Impossible. He'd be handed over to the Hague or killed and he knows it. Possibly he could flee to Argentina where there's a large syrian precense favourable to him but I guess he'll stay put and fight it out to whatever end.

Lynnette: "I don't know what Israel is thinking, but I can't think that an active military alliance between Hezbollah and Assad is in their interests."

That was always the case. No news there.

Lynnette: "Nor do I see it being in ours."

Ya'll don't really have the means to halt that, despite all your power. Not at the moment.

Lynnette: "The FSA rocket attack was a warning to stay out of it."

Actually I don't think anyone can say what that attack was about.

Lynnette: "And, honestly, it is in noone's interest for a wider conflict to engulf that region, except those who feed off of other people's misery."

Are you sure? Are you really sure about that? What about if either Iran or Saudi came out as the undisputed champion of the Islamic world, don't you think they might thing a litte blood along the road was a fair price to pay?

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

Lynnette: Hezbollah does Iran's bidding so their support for Assad comes as no surprise.

Marcus: No I don't think that's accurate.

Are you saying that Hezbollah has refused any of Iran's requests of them? Or are you saying that Hezbollah is supporting Assad purely because of sectarian empathy? Or because they feel Assad is a counterweight to Israel and thus deserves their support?

Lynnette: Perhaps Assad's courting of Hezbollah has more to do with his looking for a place to go if he is pushed out of Syria rather than any military alliance that would prove fruitful for him.

Marcus: He could never leave power and go to Lebanon. Impossible.

Where else could he go? Iran?

Marcus: He'd be handed over to the Hague or killed and he knows it.

You really believe Hezbollah would hand him over to the Hague? Seriously? Somehow I don't think so. And once he was under their umbrella it would be difficult to snatch or kill him. Unless you are thinking the Mossad?

Lynnette: I don't know what Israel is thinking, but I can't think that an active military alliance between Hezbollah and Assad is in their interests.

Marcus: That was always the case. No news there.

My point is I don't see Israel backing off if such a thing happens. *shrug* But I could be wrong, of course.

Lynnette: Nor do I see it being in ours.

Marcus: Ya'll don't really have the means to halt that, despite all your power. Not at the moment.

Probably true. But it might encourage us to become more closely involved. I can't see where Assad would want that. He's been very good at stringing the world along to try to keep the major powers out.

Lynnette: The FSA rocket attack was a warning to stay out of it.

Marcus: Actually I don't think anyone can say what that attack was about.

It did happen suspiciously close to when Nasrallah came out and publicly backed Assad. Just a hunch on my part.

Lynnette: And, honestly, it is in noone's interest for a wider conflict to engulf that region, except those who feed off of other people's misery.

Marcus: What about if either Iran or Saudi came out as the undisputed champion of the Islamic world, don't you think they might thing a litte blood along the road was a fair price to pay?

How does that saying go..."the best laid plans of mice and men..."? They have to get there first. Things don't always work out the way people think...if they are indeed thinking along those lines.
















Petes said...

I kind of agree with Marcus on this one. Hezbollah is not merely an Iranian stooge. They have their own interests. But it's fair to say that they have very deep mutual sectarian sympathies ... just as do the Iranians and southern Iraqis. Hezbollahs founders were inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini. If you have an idea of the strong ties that link millenarian Christians and all sorts of doomsday cults... that gives you an idea of the linkages in messianic Shi'ism. I posted a documentary video on it here about six or seven years ago, centred on Iranian pilgrims in Karbala and Najaf. It's fascinating, and scary, stuff. And I think it's much stronger than the differences between Iranian and Arab culture.

Marcus said...

An interesting sum up of the present state of the conflict in Syria:

http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MID-03-310513.html

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

PeteS Hezbollah is not merely an Iranian stooge.

If that is the case then it would be logical to assume that they would pursue some separate goals. I just haven't really seen that.

In any case, they seem to be pursuing the same goals in Syria as are the Iranians. I can't see various people being too happy with that.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

An interesting article, Marcus. They mention atrocities committed by rebel forces which alienate the average Syrian and outside supporters. That is definately a problem. Unfortunately this is another one of those situations where it is hard to know who to lend support to for fear they are just as bad as Assad. Probably one of the reasons there has been such hesitation by some. There is no easy answer. Perhaps there never is. But with Russia actively arming Assad, Hezbollah sending fighters and Iran sending advisors, then those are cards that someone may desire to trump. It's how things escalate.

Marcus said...

Lynnette: "But with Russia actively arming Assad, Hezbollah sending fighters and Iran sending advisors, then those are cards that someone may desire to trump. It's how things escalate."

Both Saudi and Quatar, and possibly western intelligence agencies also, have been actively arming the rebels. Where do you think they get their weapons? Apparently quite a lot has been bought in Croatia and sent to Syria from there, including lots of M60 machine guns.

The tit for tat escalation is already happening and has been for a long time.

Lynnette: "Unfortunately this is another one of those situations where it is hard to know who to lend support to for fear they are just as bad as Assad."

Yes, that'd be about what I think also. It seems to be almost a contest going on in committing the worst atrocities with the regime-backed shabiha militias on one side and the Al Qaeda linked "rebels" on the other. Poor civilians. In a war like that it's plain hell to be a civilian. If one side holds your town or village and you survive you'll be suspected if the territory changes hands - why did you survive? Were you in cahoots with the "terrorists"/shabiha?.

Petes said...

+1 Marcus. There's no way an indigenous Syrian rebellion is combatting a well-armed regime for more than two years now with weapons it just "happened to have lying around". Clearly they are being armed clandestinely as well as having overt support from some groups.

Between the West, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Lebanon and Hezbollah et al., this is all starting to look as complicated as the Lebanese civil war. (Ok, I take that back, nothing could be as complicated as the Lebanese civil war, but you know what I mean).

Even if either side were capable of "winning" this conflict, I don't think it promises to bring peace to Syria. It will just advantage one group over another and shuffle the balance of power in the region. The sensible way forward for all parties has to be toward de-escalation. That, of course, doesn't get any easier after two years of bloody conflict with plenty of atrocities to blame on all sides.

Petes said...

Off-topic ...

Marcus, apropos your comments on the Stockholm riots, here's a short video about the Swedish psyche ... don't ask me why all these authentic Swedish people in the authentic Swedish footage are speaking ENGLISH :-)

(... maybe because nobody else on the planet would have a clue what they were saying otherwise? ... perhaps because you seem to have more pronunciations for 'k' than the Poles do for 'z')

:-)

Marcus said...

Pete: "Marcus, apropos your comments on the Stockholm riots, here's a short video about the Swedish psyche"

There are some good observations there I must admit. Exaggerated of course but with a basis in reality. I had not seen that before. The actors are well known comedians except the guy playing our PM who is - our PM.

Zeyad said...

Are you guys following the unrest in Turkey? Funny how Assad came out today saying Erdogan should step down, lol. Already on Twitter the protests are being dubbed the 'Turkish spring' and it seems Turkishh authorities are blocking access to social media websites

Marcus said...

Zeyad, from what I can tell the protests started with young people protesting the building of a shopping mall where there is a public park in Istanbul. But once there were confrontations with police it turned into a more general protest against the police and government.

Today I heard Erdogan ordered the police to basically stand down and let the people hold their demonstrations (att least in some areas). He also admitted the police had gone too far and been to heavy handed on occation. Perhaps he's worried about escalations into full blown riots. But that was this morning so maybe it's blown up again, I don't know, just came back from a barbeque evening.

That's all I can tell from the news this far. I have no real idea about the level of discontent in Turkey. I was of the mind that they were doing quite well, both economically and socially. I might have got that wrong though.

Myself I went to Istanbul for a weeks vacation a few years back, in the summer of 2010, and it was very nice. Went to see St Helena, the Blue Mosque, the grand bazaar, that ancient underground water reservior and their vast war museum. And no tour to Istanbul is complete without a ferry ride on the Bosporous. And of course a lot of dining and plenty of Effe beers. I can highly recommend Istanbul for a few days visiting.

I heard that some sultan built the Blue Mosque just across from St Helena (which used to be a church but was first converted to a mosque and then Attaturk thought that was disrespectful to Christians and now it's labeled a museum) to be grander than St Helena. My opinion is that they succeeded with the exterior - the Blue Mosque is more beautiful from outside. But when it comes to the interior St Helena wins hands down.

The food was mostly great too and they have a sort of local cheese which is close to the greek feta-cheese but creamier that I really liked and that was common as an appertizer served with melon. Lots of lamb dishes also, but they are kinda hit and miss IMO. If they are actually from lamb they are good, but if they are from an old sheep they taste like eating a wool sweater - and that's not to my taste.

Petes said...

Yeah, I've been keeping an eye on Turkey since Friday. Found it most confusing. First thing I thought was "uh-oh, bunch of Islamists demonstrating". Then I heard it was environmentalists protesting the shopping mall thing. Then I see the teargas and water canon footage. Then I saw some close-ups and a few shouts of "Allahu akbar" so I went back to thinking "Islamists". Then I heard it was secularists protesting against the government being overly conservative, pretty much the opposite of what I thought. Still confused. It's the number one headline on the current news bulletins here, but the newscasters seem to have little information on what it's actually about.

I've been in Turkey once, too -- middle of the south coast, near Antalya. But I was in a golf resort, with it's own security, kept well away from the local villages which were pretty poor looking. I liked the Turkish people I met but I don't like that sort of tourism, so I haven't been back. If I get to visit Istanbul, there is only one thing on my "must see" list -- a particular ceiling fresco in the parekklesion of Chora Church, an eight hundred year old version of a famous Orthodox icon, one of my favourite images. I've got a print of this modern version hanging on my wall -- some of the drug addicts in a rehabilitation centre I visited in Bosnia painted the shattered pieces of the chains of hell below Christ's feet as syringes. Always found it a poignant image.

Petes said...

P.S. The picture title is ΗΑΝΑΣΤΑΣΙΣ (Anastasis -- Resurrection)

Petes said...

So, looks like youth / Occupy-style protests against Erdogan's increasingly conservative government. Have to say, I always thought he was a staunch moderate, but apparently his Justice and Development Party has been shifting in a less liberal direction.

WaPo article with Twitter pics.

Guardian article

BBC article

Wikipedia article on AKP

Petes said...

An ironic thought occurred to me while thinking about those poverty-stricken villages near Antalya, which was a few years back ... under Erdogan, the economy grew to the extent that Turkey was able to put up €5 billion as an IMF contribution to help with the Euro area crisis. So there's probably some fairly stricken villages in Ireland being supported by Turkey right now. Ironic indeed!

Marcus said...

Pete: "Then I saw some close-ups and a few shouts of "Allahu akbar" so I went back to thinking "Islamists". Then I heard it was secularists protesting against the government being overly conservative, pretty much the opposite of what I thought. Still confused."

My take on that is that in Istanbul the majority and the vast majority of youngsters are quite secular minded. There are plenty of nightclubs, a vibrant nightlife and every small side-street to Istankar (the main strip where there have been protests lately) is packed with outdoors restaurants where you can drink cold beer and smoke waterpipes late into the night - something I really enjoyed trying myself. Even if the city kids consider themselves muslims they are strongly opposed to religion in politics and restrictions to their freedoms, that's my observation.

But Istanbul is the most western part, half of it in Europe (about 3% of Turkeys land mass) and the other half in Asia, and in the interior of the country the people are said to be way more conservative.

Erdogan and the AKP are a moderate Islamic party, when compared to basically any other Islamic political movement, but they have taken some actions towards creating a more... pious, if you will, climate in the Turkish society. I think these protests may in part be young people voicing their opinion about that development.

Of course you also have the famed turkish "deep government". Institutions such as the military, the judiciary and partially the police, who have for a long time been secularists and still hold Kemal Attaturk and his ideas up as the real sole of Turkey and are very suspicious about the AKP. They might not be that sad to see the goverment discredited.

Marcus said...

"sole" should read "soul"

Petes said...

Even Attaturk had to tread a fine line with his secularisation reforms. And attempts to copy his successes in Iran by Reza Shah and his son didn't work out so well. (Of course, it didn't help that they were totalitarian tosspots :)

It wouldn't be impossible for Turkey to go backwards.

Marcus said...

Lynnette, is there much in US news about the Bradley Manning trial? And also: what's the general opinion in the US about him?

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Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

Both Saudi and Quatar, and possibly western intelligence agencies also, have been actively arming the rebels. Where do you think they get their weapons? Apparently quite a lot has been bought in Croatia and sent to Syria from there, including lots of M60 machine guns.

The tit for tat escalation is already happening and has been for a long time.


Tit for tat implies keeping the sides evenly matched. I am thinking that what the Russians are talking about sending the Syrian government is upping the anti, which is why our government has been making noise. Whether they will decide to "call" this move is the question.

In a war like that it's plain hell to be a civilian.

No truer words have been spoken.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Petes,

Even if either side were capable of "winning" this conflict, I don't think it promises to bring peace to Syria. It will just advantage one group over another and shuffle the balance of power in the region. The sensible way forward for all parties has to be toward de-escalation. That, of course, doesn't get any easier after two years of bloody conflict with plenty of atrocities to blame on all sides.

The sensible move would be for Assad to resign. There might be a slight chance of a negotiated settlement between the Syrian government and the opposition (minus Al-Qaida supported affiliates, of course.) The Al-Qaida types will probably fight to the end.

But since Assad is the usual run of the mill dictator who really cares little for his country, only his power, his resignation is rather unlikely.

Yes, I do agree though that the longer time drags on without a resolution the harder it becomes for reconciliation. Not impossible, mind, just harder.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus: If they are actually from lamb they are good, but if they are from an old sheep they taste like eating a wool sweater - and that's not to my taste.

lol! Having never sampled the culinary delights of a wool sweater I will take your word for it. :)

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

Lynnette, is there much in US news about the Bradley Manning trial? And also: what's the general opinion in the US about him?

I have seen very little except a small blurb about the trial in my newspaper, which I didn't read. Our media has a tendency to focus on the latest BIG story and relegate everything else to the back burner.

As for the general opinion of him, my guess is it varies according to your feelings about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I can only speak for myself and IMO his actions were more detrimental to his country than of help. Unlike the soldiers who brought the Abu Graib situation to the attention of the authorities and public, he endangered innocent people. My opinion of him is not high.

There now, I just asked a co-worker her opinion of him and she didn't even remember who he was. So I will alter my first guess on this and go out on a limb and say that her reaction is probably what the average American would say. Most Americans don't follow all of the events surrounding our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. A sad statement perhaps, but realistically speaking, true. She was against the Iraq war, btw.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Zeyad: Funny how Assad came out today saying Erdogan should step down, lol.

lol, indeed! Sounds a bit like Assad was enjoying Erdogan's internal problems.

Anonymous said...

Lynnette:

Here in Europe you have many people on the left hailing Manning as a hero who dared to put "human rights" above his military code of conduct.

They see him as a hero who righfully exposed your military for the fascist regime it is - or something like that.

Myself I feel like this: I was in no way surprised by the leaked videos Manning provided WikiLeaks. I knew all along that war is hell and that no matter how just you think your cause is the soldiers on your own side will be perpetrators of atrocities. That US helicopter pilots snuffed a few civvies that happened to be close to the real action and the joked about it - that's standard practice in war. I'm sure there have been thousands of worse trangressions that never got caught on tape btw. War is hell, it cannot be nice, even if some TV outlets hopes for a clean struggle.

My opinion on Manning: Yes he's a traitor. Yes he should face a court. Yes he deserves punishment. But that he's been tortured for 2 years to soften him up for the trial is shameful. You in the US really have got to do something about all that torture you're doing, in Guantanamo and elsewhere by proxy, and now even in the states themselves.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

But that he's been tortured for 2 years to soften him up for the trial is shameful.

Hmmm...that's the first I've heard of that. What is your source for that allegation?

Marcus said...

What's the point Lynnette, if you have someone locked in a cell awaiting trial, to: 1. Keep bright lights on 24 hours, 2. Keep the inmate naked, 3. Force the inmate to stand up a few times per hour and state his name and number, 4 keep the cell chilly?

The point is to physically exhaust and psykologically break down the prisoner. IMO that's torture when prolonged over long stretches of time.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

As I mentioned in an earlier comment I have not been reading too much about the Manning incarceration/trial, so am not aware of what you are talking about. Which publication was reporting those things? I would be interested in reading the article.

Marcus said...

Just Google "torture of Bradley Manning" Lynnette and you'll get plenty of sources.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Here is an update on the Turkish unrest. Some of the comments, especially those by Turkish citizens, are rather interesting.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.      said...

 
      "Just Google 'torture of Bradley Manning'…"

You can also get plenty of hits on how the late American Ambassador Chris Stevens was raped, sodomized and his body dragged through the streets of Benghazi, which also didn't happen.

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Petes said...

Central Europe is getting a hammering from the Danube and its tributaries again. The Danube has had record flooding in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010. There were continual flooding problems from well before Christmas 2009 to late Autumn 2010. Now it's happening again and, in spite of the records of the past decade, this time they say it's the worst in over 500 years.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

Just Google "torture of Bradley Manning" Lynnette and you'll get plenty of sources.

Okay, so I've done a little Googling. Most of the sources were blogs or internet chats regarding Manning and his treatment during his custody at Quantico, which was for about 9 months.

Not having observed any of this first hand I can only speculate as to what was going on and why. I can see where solitary confinement, lights on, removal of some clothing, and I emphasize some, and checking on him frequently, may have been called for if there was concern for his safety. His is a very "hot button" case for many people within the military. Suicide or attacks from other detainees is not uncommon within a detention center.

Having said that there is certainly room for question as to his treatment. I do not know if I would label it "torture" though. Some of those things don't seem as bad as some of the training our SEAL teams are put through. And I would not put it on a par with what happened at Abu Ghraib or Bagram(?) in Afghanistan.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Hi Lee.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Speaking of weather, which as a true Minnesotan is a continually fascinating topic for me, here is what they are now saying is the largest tornado ever recorded in US history. It was 2.6 miles across at its widest point.

Marcus said...

Lynnette: "Some of those things don't seem as bad as some of the training our SEAL teams are put through."

First of all the SEALs have the option to quit if things get too hard for them. And I suspect they do have a rather high rate of candidates not passing the program.

Second they are probably among the most well trained, motivated and hardened soldiers in the world. I don't see how "the SEALs can withstand it" could be put forth as a general guideline for what ordinary folks should be expected to put up with. I can imagine myself crying like a baby after one single day of their training if I was forced to go through it, and I'm not that much of a wuss.

Also, I'm sure you know, some of their training is aimed at trying to prepare them for the effects of being tortured. The R-part in the SERE program.

All I say is that I've read stuff about the treatment of Manning that suggests to me your military wants to make an example of him by intentionally breaking him down. I think that's inhumane treatment and that it amounts to torture.

You might as well say: "now, what would the Russians do to a wistleblower, or the Chinese?" And I know they would be far harsher. But that's not really the point, now is it?

That Lee doesn't agree torture has been committed I am not surprised by. He didn't seem to think it was a crime way back when that Iraqi coloned was stuffed into a sleeping bag and kickeed around in the desert heat until he suffocated either. With Lee it always depends on the who, not the how. And if the who is the US military no wrong has been done.

Hi, Lee, by the way. How are things? You haven't been around much lately.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "He didn't seem to think it was a crime way back
      when that Iraqi coloned was stuffed into a sleeping
      bag and kickeed around in the desert heat until he
      suffocated either.
"

You seem to have let your imagination get the better of you here.  But, back to the point at hand…

      "All I say is that I've read stuff about the treatment
      of Manning that suggests…
etc."

The reason you've read that stuff and yet Lynnette had not is because the allegations had to be taken seriously by the American media she is customarily exposed to; American media could expect some serious pushback if they went public with those charges and then the charges turned out to not be true (which they were not).  Your sources could reasonably expect that nobody'd bother to correct them.  And indeed, that's pretty much been the case.

(And I would note in passing that the American military did not need to ‘break him down’.  They had him cold, even before his confession, which he couldn't give fast enough.  Manning is a fairly pathetic fellow, he started out broken down.  And he's a whiner.)

Marcus said...

Lee: "And I would note in passing that the American military did not need to ‘break him down’. They had him cold, even before his confession"

But I did say they were making an example of him, right? I never said they needed to "break" him to recover some evidence or force some confession, I know they don't.

That they had him down for his transgressions from the get go is a given. It's not to get him to squeal they are tormenting him. But to tell other possible wistleblowers "this is what you'll get...". Quite possibly effective but not that humane.

Marcus said...

Back to the riots in Sweden for a while. Here's a very interesting piece fromm an Iranian Kurd who grew up in Sweden and now resides in the US:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/350017/torching-utopia-tino-sanandaji/page/0/1

Try to get it to the third page, that's the most interesting.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "But I did say they were making an example of
      him, right?
"

And yet they passed up the opportunity to charge him with treason and go for a capital sentence.  Took the death penalty off the table ‘cause they wanted to make an example of him did they? 

(Your logic leaves somthing to be desired.) 

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

This is the closest thing to a mainstream media report on Manning's treatment at Quantico that I could find. The fact that they transferred him to a medium security detention facility does not jive with your analysis that they were trying to make an example of him. However, the accusations of mistreatment do appear to have been used as an excuse by the defense to try to get the charges dropped. In the end Manning will have his day(s) in court.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Try to get it to the third page, that's the most interesting.

There's a third page? I just saw the first one. I will look again tomorrow.

   Lee C.  ―   U.S.A.     said...

 
      "It's not to get him to squeal they are tormenting
      him. But to tell other possible wistleblowers “this is
      what you'll get...”.
"

The fatal flaw in your theory is the need for it to become widely known among their presumed target audience that they'd been inflicting petty indignities on Manning in lieu of going for the death penalty.
If you'll think it through from there I'm sure you can see where this theory necessarily falls apart under the weight of its own required corollary assumptions.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

Marcus,

I don't know how I missed the multiple pages in that article, but I finally read the whole thing. Good article.

Cultural self-confidence is essential for integration, since integrating immigrants inevitably involves some willingness to assert majority culture. Furthermore, the gravitational force of a strong and identifiable national identity in fact facilitates integration, since no one can integrate into nothingness.

It sounds as if Swedes are being a little hard on themselves. Nothingness? Nobody is nothing. You have managed to govern a successful, modern country. No small thing, that.

As opposed to the conformist nature of Swedes that the author mentions, I think at heart Americans tend to be more individualistic. We tend to admire those who can stand on their own and try something different, and in many cases are supportive of them. That's not to say we don't have people who will discriminate against immigrants. You will always find those, unfortunately.

For the most part people who come to the US are coming seeking a better life than what they could have had in their country of origin. Whether they achieve that or not would have a huge bearing on their feelings of patriotism. That's probably why the discrepancy between Hispanic immigrants and native born Americans the author mentions at the end. Hispanic immigrants were hard hit in the recent recession as more native born Americans were willing to work the lower paying jobs normally filled by newer immigrants. There was even a reverse migration as illegal immigrants went home because the job opportunities were actually better there.

But that is looking at immigration from a purely economic standpoint. There are those, of course, who come for other reasons. And they may still beel it was worth it, despite the economic hardships.

It's interesting that the author is an Iranian/Kurd living in the States. A co-worker of mine has a neighbor from Iran. He is very much assimilated, but he was saying that there is a large Iranian community in California that for the most part isn't. So it's not perfect here either.

Lynnette In Minnesota said...

beel? *sigh*

should be "feel"

:)

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