Stop Torture Of Shoe-Thrower al-Zeidi

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According to Zeidi's family the Iraqi authorities have inflicted serious injuries upon the journalist, and after stripping him naked and beating him, and he now suffers from: internal bleeding, cigarette burns, missing teeth, a broken arm and ribs.

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Ever since the shoelacking of George Bush by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the shoe has become the latest symbol of protest against the bloody legacy of George Bush.

Zeidi, an Iraqi reporter for the Al Baghdalia Television in Cairo, Egypt, threw both his shoes at Bush during a press conference in Iraq as the whole world now knows, after Bush had just finished a mendacious speech, where he declared Iraq a "democratic success."

Iraqi authorities claimed Zeidi had apologized for his actions. But Sunday, Zeidi's brother, Uday, says the apology was coerced. Uday says his brother told him he "has no regret because of what he did and that he would do it again." This episode offers yet another insightful illustration of the putrid Pandora's Box the Bush White House is leaving us.

Zeidi now faces two years for "insulting a foreign leader." Two years for throwing a pair of size tens that missed their mark? Is this the kind of democracy 4,000 American soldiers, and an estimated million Iraqis, lost their lives for?

Aren't Zeidi's actions indicative of popular Iraqi sentiment? Because American journalism hasn't bothered to investigate the opinions of the Iraqi citizenry, well, that's somewhat of a lost story now isn't it? What these news organizations should be ascertaining is: why is Zeidi being heralded as a hero all across the Arab world, if the so-called "surge" is such a shining success like we've been told?

And then, there's the brutality being visited upon Zeidi's body. For, within moments of this incident Zeidi was thrown to the ground and beaten up, no doubt because of the embarrassment this caused George Bush and his Iraqi lackey: Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. According to Zeidi's family the Iraqi authorities have inflicted serious injuries upon the journalist, and after stripping him naked and beating him, and he now suffers from: internal bleeding, cigarette burns, missing teeth, a broken arm and ribs.

Zeidi has been tortured. And that torture, apparently, was a continuum of the beating he received in the immediate aftermath of his shoe shenanigans. But why should we be surprised that he was tortured, since, torture has become synonymous with this dictatorial Administration?

There's a rancid laundry list of things this Administration is guilty of: war crimes based on lies, illegally spying on Americans, looting the American treasury, giving welfare to the wealthy via tax-breaks, mass murdering innocent Iraqis-and American soldiers-and engaging in torture, as even Dick Cheney, recently, had the temerity to admit to.

Now, Zeidi's torture is symbolic of two infamous institutions during the last eight years: Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Since 2002, the Bush Administration has used Guantanamo Bay as an American Gulag for terror suspects. Remember former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's January 2002 memo, which said Article Three of the Geneva Conventions was "quaint" and shouldn't apply to Al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters? Wasn't that an implicit acknowledgement of the Administration's intent to torture?

America lectures the world about "democracy" and "the rule of law," yet why has America allowed these very principles to be desecrated by these lawbreakers who have repeatedly dishonored the Constitution? In a "democracy" we're told an accused person has the right to face his accusers in a court of law. Yet, the Administration, and their Republican rascals, passed the illegal Military Commissions Act of 2006.

That legislation stripped the right of Habeas Corpus from those who were only suspects, and designated that their subsequent trials would be in military courts. How can this Administration which preaches about "democracy" justify instituting Kangaroo courts with no transparency? Thankfully, the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision, in Boumediene v. Bush 2008, ruled that prisoners had a constitutional right to Habeas Corpus.

But the outrages of Guantanamo Bay echo those from Abu Ghraib. Remember those pictures of Iraqis being subjected to the worst kinds of torture? The Administration blamed the beatings, sodomy and other abuses there on a few bad apples. Do they really think people are that dumb, especially, when we know of their program of "Extraordinary Rendition," which sent people to so-called "Black Site" countries where they could be tortured with virtually no scrutiny?

However, all of these outrages are outgrowths of this war-for-profit scheme which has depleted the American Treasury and has led to a catastrophic loss of life. Most of us know that over 4,000 American soldiers have been killed; how many are aware that an estimated one million Iraqis have lost their lives? Why isn't American journalism broadcasting stories about the Iraqi dead? Is this how America "fights terrorism" by creating more victims?

Now, here's some irony: we're being told Zeidi may receive a pardon from Iraq's President Jalal Talabani, if Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recommends it, but, the pardon won't include any "international crimes" that may have transpired from this shoe throwing incident.

So, let's get this straight: a "president" can create a war-for-profit scheme based on lies, engage in torture and mass murder and escape international justice, but a journalist who "insults" him by hurling a shoe can be found guilty of "international crimes?" Stunning.

Some may argue that, as a journalist, Zeidi's actions were out of line. But, his anger is understandable, because all across Zeid's Iraqi homeland Bush's bloody footprints have left utter destruction, death and ongoing misery. This is the Bush legacy. If the shoe fits....


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