Not Telling You
About The Election
By Dahr Jamail
02 February, 2005
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.
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.
expected turnout, US mainstream television media blared, some
citing a figure of 72%, others 60%.
What they didnt
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 closed.
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
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 isnt
the most important misrepresentation the mainstream media committed.
What they also didnt
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, doesnt it?
But then, most folks
in the US watching CNN, FOX, or any of the major networks wont
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
arent 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
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 removal?
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 Cheneys old company Halliburton,
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 its
worth including much of her story here, as it fits well with todays
topic of things most folks arent 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
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 Mahdis 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 Iraqs Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi
that elections should be called off, Mahdi and the SCIR's ultimate chances
of victory will likely decline.
Ill add that
the list of political parties Mahdis 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 Chalabi.
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.