Friday, December 29, 2006

Obama and Rezko: Resko and Alsammarae and Stop the Killing, Start the Healing

The Obama-Rezko intern story made USA Today today.

As for the immensly intriguing Ahim Alsammarae story, I sent an email to Obama's office this AM asking for comment on the State Department's position expressed here,

U.S. officials in Baghdad and Washington, who could face the difficulty of balancing respect for Iraq's judicial system and sovereignty against concerns over a U.S. citizen's safety, have declined to say how they would respond if Alsammarae were to turn up in the United States.

But on Tuesday, a State Department spokeswoman went as far as to say that the U.S. government "supports the Iraqi government's effort to resolve the matter." She did not go into details about whether the U.S. would cooperate if Iraq calls for Alsammarae's extradition.

Dania Alsammarae, the daughter of the former electricity minister, said she has spoken with her father daily since his escape but he never has told her or other family members where he is or what he has been doing since fleeing Iraq.

"My dad wouldn't tell us any details but has been calling regularly to let us know that he continues to be safe," said the daughter, who lives in Dublin. "If the prime minister of Jordan is saying he is there, then I believe it to be true."
Dania Alsammarae has contacted both Durbin and Obama's offices for help securing her Father's release.

An Aihman Alsammarae was active in the anti-sanctions movement apparantly as a speaker from the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee. Here's a link to "Stop the Killing, Start the Healing", part of the August 5-7, 2000 Mobilization against Sanctions on Iraq, held in Washington DC,
"We are destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that." (Denis Halliday, former UN coordinator of the Oil-for-Food Program and Nobel Peace Prize nominee)

On 6 August 1990, the UN Security Council imposed a near total embargo on Iraq, the most comprehensive sanctions in modern history. Today those sanctions continue to kill innocent Iraqis while undermining the pillars of civil society. And since December 1998 the Iraqi people have faced regular bombing by American and British warplanes. Numerous sources estimate the death toll of sanctions and bombing to be over one million.

In response, a broad coalition of organizations and concerned individuals will converge on Washington, DC this August 6 to demand an end to this economic and military war carried out by the United States through the United Nations. Our message is clear and direct: "Lift the economic sanctions, stop the bombing!"
Aiham Alsammarae participated along with the actor Martin Sheen and British MP George Galloway.

I'll confirm next week with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee if this is the same Aiham Alsammarae wanted by both Iraq and for questioning by our Fitzgerald.

Update: "Jack" at the ADC's Dearborn Michigan Office confirmed the Chicago Alsammarae was an ADC board member.

The next question for Senator Obama to consider, should the Senate start investigating post-War Iraq, was why in the world Bremer appointed Alsammarae as Electricity Minister in the interim government given his pre-War position towards sanctions?

15 comments:

Anonymous,  9:45 AM  

If Bremer appointed him, it's not surprising. Virtually every book I have read about post-invasion Iraq describes Bremer as an grossly overconfident and inept CPA administrator. Many of the current problems in Iraq stem from really bad decisions he made during his tenure.
The man should be censured by the national Legislature. His incompetence has cost American taxpayers billions.

Bill Baar 9:56 AM  

Bremer appointed him. I wonder anyone from Illinois or Chicago endorsed him for the job.

I sure hope we don't turn Alsammare back to the Iraqis though. I want him home in Chicago talking to Fitzgerald.

Bill Baar 10:10 AM  

Link to CPA's announcement of Bremer's appointment of the whole interim gov...including Alsammare.

Bridget 9:41 AM  

Anyone notice lately how Bill and a few others are posting Obama, Resko, and Alsammarae's names in the same posts as.many.times.as.possible? Even if it requires a multi-topic post to do it?

Pretty transparent guys. Frankly, I'm surprised Rich hasn't said anything about your abuse of ILLINOIZE as your own little propaganda machine.

district 14 voter,  11:34 AM  

Re:
Bremer appointed him. I wonder anyone from Illinois or Chicago endorsed him for the job.

and

...why in the world Bremer appointed Alsammarae as Electricity Minister...

Bill, check and see if Alsammarae had anything to do w/Chalabi and the Iraqi Nat'l Congress. They are the group, along w/"Curveball", who sold the Neocons in the administration on this mess.

You're damn right we should ask Bremer why he appointed him, and why he got the Freedom award from the President. We lost, I mean flat out lost, $9 billion dollars. Dan Senor, on Real Time w/Bill Maher, fumbled around when questioned about it, then said accounting standards weren't up to speed, and the money just got lost in the shuffle.

Further, you had 24 year old interns from the American Enterprise Institute rebuilding the financial markets. This whole venture had a blind eye turned toward it, and seemed like a pet project in free market engineering.

Lastly, who in Chicago would have endorsed him? Obama was still a State Senator, they wouldn't give a fink what Durbin said, no congressmen from Chicago was on board, I doubt the mayor has that kind of pull (did Alsammarae do stellar work for the city?). Could it be this guy had nothing to do w/Chicago, and when he got the post, contacted his old fried Rezko?

Bridget is correct - there are real reaches on this board the make no sense. The state GOP needs to figure out if they are going to act like cultural, southern conservatives, and get snuffed out and marginalized into small pockets, or libertarian conservatives, like Goldwater, and start making some sense. Illinois is a moderate state, and the national GOP has gone so far to the right it makes the middle look like the far left. That's why you are seeing their grip on the suburbs slipping. They may win them, but not in the quantities they need to carry state offices. And now they are losing state house and senate seats, and congressional seats are getting competitive.

Bill Baar 1:23 PM  

Bridget, I've got an email in to Obama's office asking what his position is on sending Alsammarae back to Iraq.

Alsammarae was a board member of the Illinois chapter of the Arab American Anti Discrimination Committee. (Here's there website but it's down http://www.adcchicago.org/. Here's a cached letter they wrote to Family Bank http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:uwu8-QBGkYQJ:www.adcchicago.org/Family%2520Bank%2520letter-a.htm+Chicago+Arab+American+family+bank&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2) Alsammarae was active in the anti Iraq sanctions movement before the War. He's a friend and classmate of Rezko.

I think it's fair to ask Obama if their paths crossed. I think it's fair to ask Obama his stand on sending Alsammarae back to Iraq (especially since the death penalty still used as we saw yesterday).

Propoganda... maybe... (How about audacious?) but darn if it's not fascinationg stuff... Especially when the right bloggers all say Alsammarae got the job through connections with Bush.

Here's Chicagoan Ali Abunimah on Obama and the Middle East. I'd like to know Obama's thoughts, and why they've changed....

Illinois swept Barack Obama, a rising star in the Democratic party, into the United States Senate with a stunning 70 percent of the vote - a rare Democratic gain. Obama, whom I've met many times, has served as my local state senator in the Illinois legislature. I found him to be an inspiring politician, not least because he appeared to understand Middle East issues and take progressive views supporting Palestinian rights and opposing militarism. He participated in many events in the Chicago-area Arab community including a 1998 fundraiser with Edward Said as the keynote speaker. I even made contributions to his campaigns.

But following Obama's nationally-televised address at the Democratic National Convention everything seemed to change. In the campaign's final weeks, Obama proclaimed his support for tough sanctions and military strikes against Iran if it refused U.S. demands to give up its nuclear programs. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama now says that the onus of peace in the Middle East "is on the Palestinian leadership, which ... must cease violence against Israelis and work 'to end the incitement against Israel in the Arab world." The unique fact about Obama's campaign is that he did not need to parrot the pro-Israel lobby's standard line to get elected. He ran effectively unopposed. Such a capable and ambitious man must have calculated that any hope of higher office requires that he not offend when it comes to Israel and its interests. This begs the question: If a man like Obama will not speak frankly when it comes to Israel, what hope is there for a change in U.S. policy coming from within the establishment?

Bill Baar 1:32 PM  

Bill, check and see if Alsammarae had anything to do w/Chalabi and the Iraqi Nat'l Congress. They are the group, along w/"Curveball", who sold the Neocons in the administration on this mess.

Seems just the opposite. He was active in the movement to remove sanctions on Saddam before the war. Check my link to the Washington Ralley he spoke at in 2000.

I believe this is his Daughter Danaia quoted and pictured at a pro Palestinian ralley back in 2002 at UW Madison.

Bill Baar 1:35 PM  

Of course Alsammarae didn't get his job as Energy Minister because of Obama... but you have to wonder if someone in Illinois gave the Administration a reference. Alsammarae crossed paths with all sorts of Illinois politicos both R and D... I sure want him talking to Fitz before he goes back to Iraq.

Bill Baar 1:43 PM  

Bridget... Here's Rich Miller post on Alsammarae, Rezko, Blagojevich, and Rumman.

I used to think Alsammarae a hero and example of good US intentions stuck in the mess over there....

...now a have a feeling we were exporting not Democracy to Iraq, but our own special brand of Illinois politics.... very literally.

Springfield 3:20 PM  

Bridget got it exactly right. Bill Baar will endlessly repeat slurs about Obama and other enemies of George-Bushism in utterly transparent attempts to smear with reckless innuendo. God Bless Our Blogosphere.

district 14 voter,  3:53 PM  

Illinois Politics?

Hell, lets say Rezko - Alasammarae is real, and Tony got him the connections to get the position. This would be the best scenario for the the Blago-Rezko-Obama-Alsammarae master conspiracy.

So, in this world, you have this cabal of pay to play insiders and Iraqi expatriots conspiring to fleece
the new Iraqi goverment, with, possibly, the help of some of the highest state and elected officials.
Could have happened - if it did, I hope Fitz nails them all like Scooter Libby.

That being said, what about his former political contributions:
http://newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?st=&zip=60010&last=Alsammarae&first=Aiham
or wife
http://newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?st=&zip=60010&last=Alsammarae&first=Amira

Here he is w/the Pres himself.
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/16616

Doesn't Mr. Hastert, former Speaker of the House, reside in Illinois? Did anyone call him? How come this is never asked? What about Kjellender (sp?)? He's got the ear of many people, too.
Is Biggert or Weller his Congressmen? Could they have been contacted?

Remember, he was installed in '03, when us lonely Dems were wandering the desert, and Denny wasn't letting anything move w/o a majority of the majority.

I don't think they needed Illinois Politics to get them this kind of waste:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0127/dailyUpdate.html
http://uspolitics.about.com/b/a/207718.htm

It's all in the oversight.
http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0302-24.htm

We'll give the dems a few months to ask some questions. If our hands are dirty, then let's find out who it is and get rid of them.

But don't blame complete failure over there on Illinois politics. It was this administration, half-assing everything they could. In terms of appointing people, see Brown at FEMA. He had nothing to do w/Illinois, yet found a way in.

Bill Baar 4:19 PM  

The Administration was presented with two plans for post war Iraq.

One from State / CIA, which Bush chose, and gave us a CPA with a Bremer who relied on Adnan Pachachi and Sunni's like Aiham Alsammarae.

The other was from DoD and called for rapid withdrawel and a qucik transfer to a prov Gov headed by Chalabi (a Shia).

Bush went with the State / CIA plan.

This is decision that should be the subject of hearings.

The fascinating thing is the Sunni role and a guy like Alsammarae (a Sunni Arab from Chicago). Why did we decide to select him? It may very well have been from advice from Illinois Republicans.

I sure want him back talking in Chicago.

Whether that turns out to be a slur on Obama I don't know. I used to think Alsammarae a real Chicago hero. And maybe he is!

I think his story worth being told for sure.... who the heros will be I don't know.

And that people get defensive about it, and call it a slur, and say Rich should be alerted to propaganda, just makes it all the more interesting.

Dania Alsammarae turned to both Durbin and Obama for help for her Dad. I'd like to know what they could do for her, and what their positions are on returing Alsammarae to Iraq should the Iraqi's ask for him back.

Bill Baar 5:04 PM  

Jed Babbin on the plans and the Bush's choice. Alsammarae teamed up with the Sunnis who Bremer had turned too.... There will be investigations for sure (Bremer should have been on the hill much earlier).

It's just I think there is going to be an Illinois angle to it all too.

Few know that in early 2003 - a month or more before the Iraq invasion - President Bush was presented with two plans for post-war Iraq. The first, written by CIA Director George Tenet and Secretary of State Colin Powell, provided for a long occupation of Iraq and the nation-building that the president renounced in his 2000 campaign. The second, a Pentagon plan authored by Rumsfeld's team, provided for the establishment of a provisional government before the invasion and American withdrawal within months of Saddam's overthrow. The president, convinced by Powell that "if you break it, you own it", chose the Powell-Tenet plan and ordered Rumsfeld to carry it out.

When Baghdad fell, after the brief tenure of Gen. Jay Garner, the president appointed L. Paul Bremer III to govern Iraq under Rumsfeld's direction. But Bremer proved to be a loose cannon, endlessly circling around from Powell to Rice to the president to get permission to do whatever Rumsfeld didn't agree with. One Pentagon official involved closely told me Bremer's tenure was disastrous because of his continuing reliance on the group surrounding Adnan Pachachi, an old-time Sunni whose persuasion of Bremer to leave Sunni militants alone was one of the principal reasons the Sunni insurgency was able to gain strength. Bremer's decisions to disband the Iraqi army and delay the outlay of reconstruction funds alienated Iraqis almost completely. At about that time, the media began contriving the myths of Rumsfeld and Iraq.

district 14 voter,  12:13 AM  

BB - And that people get defensive about it, and call it a slur, and say Rich should be alerted to propaganda, just makes it all the more interesting.

It's comments like this:
BB - Bremer appointed him. I wonder anyone from Illinois or Chicago endorsed him for the job?
and
BB - It's just I think there is going to be an Illinois angle to it all too.

Great. Then say I think X did this to get Alsammarae a job.
Or I think X has got his hands in everything, and it will all come back to Chicago.

And then state your case. Who appointed him? Why did they do it, and what was the method they used to do it? Or do you just think it, the way Stephen Colbert "feels the truth at you".

I'll state my case - No one from Chicago got Alsammarae his job. Suburban Republicans or State Republicans? Maybe. Why? This admin can give two ***** what Dems think. They don't like Durbin, Sen. Fitzgerald was an odd man out(remember, this guy got installed in '03, when Sen. Obama was still in Springfield), and there are no congressional Dems that have that kind of pull. Alsammarae, according to his donations, was a good republican donor. I'll be the first to say that if a Dem was involved in getting the guy a job, he has a lot of explaining to do. Who specifically do you believe it was in Chicago that got him the job?

BB - Bush went with the State / CIA plan. This is decision that should be the subject of hearings.

The subject of hearings should be the $9 billion missing, the lack of any prewar planning for the postwar occupation, and
complete degradation of our military structure. We will be looking at a decade long job to replace/repair equipment, vehicles, and troops. We have lowered recruitment standards, increased signing bonuses, hell, even sent back while medicated with anti-depressants:
http://www.courant.com/news/specials/hc-mental1a.artmay14,0,6150281.story

BTW- a friend of mine was completed his tour with the Marines and was discharged (honorably) in August '05, and he told me at that time there were guys that were going back to the front lines medicated (zoloft and other anti-depressants). I was in Georgia last May when I heard a radio news story on the Courant article - I turned to my wife and told her I heard that 9 months earlier.

It's all in the oversight. When discussing his book, Fiasco, Tom Ricks said he had CD's of emails officers had given him,
requesting more troops, equipment, etc. When asked why he hasn't testified, he said nobody asked me. And he was referring to on the record emails, not ones covered by a reporters sources. My Bro-in-law was dressed down by his superiors for telling Rep. Shimkus about their needs for armored humvees.

The repubs flat out turned their back on any reality and responsibility. They did not gain one seat in the house or senate in the mid-terms. They lost in Virginia and Montana.
They lost in Kansas. They lost in Ohio and Missouri (or Missourah for the locals). I think most average people will have their stomachs turning after we start finding about the failures of this admin when real oversight is administered. And I'm not hoping for garbage, either. No fishing expeditions, no Christmas card lists, no Pet fan club lists. I want subtantive oversight of this operation. My kids future depends on it.

Bill Baar 6:18 AM  

Well, we won't know much if Alsammarae doesn't get back to Chicago that's for sure.

Let's hope he does. He has a story to tell.

Don't you all agree? Don't you think we should all be writing letters to Durbin, Obama etc saying please don't send this Chicagoan back to Iraq?

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