Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: “If Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani lifts a finger the American Occupation of Iraq is Finished.”
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Imbush Peach

An interview with Naomi Wolf about the 10 steps from democracy to dictatorship!

Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

“If Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani lifts a finger the American Occupation of Iraq is Finished.”



Issues Of The Mid East And Hillary Has Played Her Last

“Ugly Card”; I Hope!

“If Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani lifts a finger the American Occupation of Iraq is Finished.”

But First: I'd like wife to take my seat: Kennedy

According to an AP dispatch, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is inclined to issue a series of fatwas declaring what amounts to a defensive jihad against the occupying US troops. The Ayatollah's spokesman Abdul Mahdi Karbala'i, recently said that Sistani was against the Maliki government offensive on the Mahdi Army in Basra and Sadr City. “If he lifts a finger the American Occupation of Iraq is Finished.”

The Real News Network's Paul Jay talks to Gareth Porter about the pretext of waging a war on Iran. Although Ahmadinejad's rhetoric does not reflect the official Iranian policy toward Israel, it does reflect the Iranian government's disapproval of the existing regime. Though Iran dosen't seem to have nuclear weapons aspirations, the possibility of such could begin to stall emigration of Jews to Israel thus worsening the demographic balance.

Political Animal) SISTANI'S FATWAS....Via Robert Farley and a bunch of other people, Hamza Hendawi and Qassim Abdul-Zahra of AP report that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential cleric in Iraq, may be moving in a worrisome direction:

Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric has been quietly issuing religious edicts declaring that armed resistance against U.S.-led foreign troops is permissible — a potentially significant shift by a key supporter of the Washington-backed government in Baghdad.



....So far, al-Sistani's fatwas have been limited to a handful of people. They also were issued verbally and in private — rather than a blanket proclamation to the general Shiite population — according to three prominent Shiite officials in regular contact with al-Sistani....Between 10 and 15 people are believed to have received the new fatwas in recent months, the Shiite officials told the AP.



....It is impossible to determine whether those who received the edicts acted on them. Most attacks — except some by al-Qaida in Iraq — are carried out without claims of responsibility.

All the usual caveats apply here. The purpose of the fatwas is murky, the leakers may have axes to grind we don't know about, and it's a good idea not to overreact to daily news from Iraq.



That said, this ranks fairly high on the worry meter. As badly as the U.S. occupation of Iraq has gone, it would have gone way, way worse if Sistani hadn't cooperated with us. And for the most part he has, mostly by tolerating our presence and refusing to countenance the kind of active resistance favored by Mutqda al-Sadr. But these recent fatwas might be a sign that this is changing. Eric Martin:

Sistani is moving in this direction, at least partially, because of public sentiment and Sadr's ability to capitalize on his anti-American stance. Opposing the American presence is popular. That's not going to change any time soon.

But why now? There has to be some reason not just for the fatwas themselves, but for leaking their existence to the press at this moment in time. Maybe Sistani was feeling the heat from Sadr. Maybe after five years of waiting for us draw down, his patience has finally run out. Or maybe it was just a shot across the bow, a way of telling us that a long-term American presence is not in the cards.



There's no way to know for sure based on this single report. Still, it's probably not too much to say that if Sistani turns openly against us, our continued presence in Iraq will truly become impossible. He may have decided that if we're not going to set a timetable ourselves for leaving, he's going to set one for us. Stay tuned.

Any Moment now I expect to hear Hillary say she will end the her campaign and accept the Vice presidency in case there is an assassination!

Oh No She Didn't!


The Washington Post leads with Hillary Clinton sticking her foot in her mouth big time by mentioning the June 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy as a reason she's not ending her nearly hopeless campaign for the Democratic nomination. The other papers front or tease the story as well. The Los Angeles Times leads with a new poll indicating that California voters favor Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in a general election. The New York Times leads with the sentencing of 270 illegal immigrants rounded up in a raid on an Iowa meatpacking plant.

Hillary Clinton apologized for her assassination statement within hours of making it. The WP emphasizes the notion that the morbid remark undercuts speculation that Clinton wants to wind up on a joint ticket with Obama. The NYT credits the New York Post for first reporting the gaffe and notes the speed with which outraged comments piled up on the Internet. The Times also notices that Clinton made almost this exact same statement to Time magazine back in March.

The significance of the LAT's poll is that California voters like Obama much more than Clinton when it comes to beating McCain, when just four months ago Clinton defeated Obama in the California primary. The Democratic candidate has won the state in each of the last four general presidential elections.

Hillary Clinton's last gasp campaign suffered a gaping, self-inflicted wound Friday when she recalled Robert Kennedy's 1968 assassination while defending her determination to keep running against Barack Obama.

Meeting with the editorial board of the Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, S.D., Clinton vigorously defended soldiering on through the last two primaries on June 3.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right?" Clinton said. "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

Political reaction was swift and unanimously negative. Even Hillary loyalists expressed shock, dismay and private outrage.

It was a rare moment in political circles when Democrats and Republicans alike literally had the same visceral first response:

"Oh. My. God."

"She said what?" an incredulous Rev. Al Sharpton told the Daily News, adding that the remark reinforced his belief that Clinton should fold her candidacy.

"The danger of her staying in is that she keeps making statements that do serious harm to the party and, increasingly, irreparable harm to her and her legacy," Sharpton said.

A horrified senior Republican operative added, softly: "She is so finished. What a pathetically stupid thing to say."

But Robert Kennedy Jr., a Clinton supporter, came to her defense.

"It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband's 1992 race, both of which were hard-fought through June," he said in a statement.

"I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense."

Clinton's embarrassing comment was the worst gaffe of a campaign universally considered doomed.

It was certain to complicate - and perhaps destroy - her chances of wresting the nomination from Obama or of becoming his running mate, an idea some of her operatives and supporters have floated.

Earlier in the Argus Leader interview, she called those rumors "flatly untrue and it is not anything I'm entertaining. It is nothing I have planned and it is nothing I am prepared to engage in."

The Clinton camp scrambled furiously to stem the carnage, saying she was simply making a factual historical analogy and making senior aides who rarely talk to reporters available. A subdued candidate Clinton sought out television cameras in a supermarket to issue a swift apology.

"The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Sen. [Edward] Kennedy and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family, was in any way offensive," she said.

"I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever . . . I have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family."

Obama spokesman Bill Burton responded, "Sen. Clinton's statement . . . was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign."

A close Obama ally, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), accepted her explanation. "It was . . . a careless remark, and we'll leave it at that," he said.

There was no comment from Sen. Kennedy, diagnosed this week with brain cancer.

Clinton's remarks were particularly problematic because worry over Obama's personal safety has been a major concern - although largely unspoken and unwritten - of this campaign cycle. He received Secret Service protection earlier than usual because of his historic status as the first black candidate with a real chance at the White House.

tdefrank@nydailynews.com

With Kenneth R. Bazinet

Hillary Clinton slammed for Robert Kennedy assassination remark

Paterson says Clinton's going too far

By Anne E. Kornblut

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 24, 2008; Page A01

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday invoked the 1968 assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in explaining her decision to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, comments that drew criticism from aides to Sen. Barack Obama and cooled speculation that the two may form a joint ticket for the general election.

Clinton was asked during a meeting with the editorial board of the Argus Leader newspaper in Sioux Falls, S.D., about continuing to run despite long odds of winning the nomination. She said that while the media and Obama's campaign have urged her to withdraw, "historically, that makes no sense."

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right?" she continued. "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

Her advisers quickly explained that Clinton merely intended to note that this was not the first primary campaign to stretch into the summer, not to suggest that Obama might be assassinated. Clinton later apologized to the Kennedy family while speaking to reporters, saying she did not mean to offend anyone.

But in a campaign where Obama's safety has been a subtext and in which critics have blamed Clinton for exacerbating racial tensions, her words added a new element of tension to the Democratic contest. Obama began receiving Secret Service protection about 18 months before the general election because homeland security officials were concerned about potential threats against him.

Obama campaign officials quickly called the comments out of bounds. "Senator Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign," spokesman Bill Burton said. Clinton's comments came just days after Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), the only survivor of four brothers, found out he has a malignant brain tumor.

Robert Kennedy's son, Robert Jr., has endorsed Clinton, and in a statement through her campaign, he said: "It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. . . . I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense."

The incident served to further undercut rumors that the two campaigns are engaged in private talks about forming a joint ticket. Advisers on both sides said that any such discussions probably would come as part of a longer process after the final primaries, on June 3. Howard Wolfson, a top Clinton strategist, described the reports of talks as "totally false," a sentiment Obama strategist Dan Pfeiffer echoed. "Entirely not true," he said.

A report in Time magazine said that former president Bill Clinton is driving the effort to secure a slot for his wife on the ticket, and Clinton campaign aides said it would not be the first time that he has ventured out on his own.

Hillary Clinton's reference to the shooting of Robert Kennedy on June 6, 1968, after he had just won the California primary, hardened feelings in the Obama campaign once more, following a brief thaw as it appeared that Clinton would seek to unite the party in the final weeks of the campaign. Her allusion came on the heels of two other comments over the past few days that the Obama campaign described as off-putting: her reference to the Michigan and Florida delegations as similar to the fraudulent elections in Zimbabwe, and her comparison of that dispute to the ballot recount in the 2000 presidential election.

The Clinton campaign sent out a full transcript of her conversation with the South Dakota paper, and its executive editor, Randell Beck, also issued a statement saying that "the context of the question and answer with Sen. Clinton was whether her continued candidacy jeopardized party unity this close to the Democratic convention. Her reference to Mr. Kennedy's assassination appeared to focus on the timeline of his primary candidacy and not the assassination itself."

But even her advisers did not try to defend the reference, and by 5 p.m. she had apologized.

"Earlier today I was discussing the Democratic primary history, and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged in California in June 1992 and 1968 and I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June," Clinton said.

"That's a historic fact. The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator [Edward] Kennedy and I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation, and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that, whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to, and I'm honored to hold Senator [Robert] Kennedy's seat in the United States Senate from the state of New York and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family."

Hillary Clinton Raises the Specter of the Unspeakable
Smart candidates don't invoke the possibility of their opponents being killed. This seems so obvious it shouldn't need to be said, but apparently, it needs to be said.
(By Libby Copeland, The Washington Post)

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