Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shoe-Thrower's Bones Broken in Custody

Now it's really getting bad - In custody for throwing 2 shoes at GW Bush when the latter was in Iraq at a press conference, presumably trying to get his "legacy" in order, now Muntadar al-Zaidi has been beaten to the point where

suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and internal bleeding, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC.

So shall we believe this? Or shall we believe the highly trustworthy Iraqi military?
A spokesperson for the Iraqi military says the journalist is in good health and said the allegations were untrue.

It is unclear whether the reporter may have been injured when he was wrestled to the floor at the news conference, or at a later point.

The head of Iraq's journalists' union has asked the government for clemency towards the journalist who is still in custody.

A spokesman for Iraq's High Judicial Council said that Mr Zaidi, accompanied by defence and prosecution lawyers, had been brought before the investigating judge, Reuters news agency reported.

Abdul Satar Birqadr said Mr Zaidi had been charged with aggression against a president.

But al-Zaidi at least isn't lying.
"He admits the action he carried out," the news agency quoted Mr Birqadr as saying.

Earlier, Dargham al-Zaidi told the BBC's Caroline Wyatt in Baghdad he believed his brother had been taken to a US military hospital in the Iraqi capital.

A second day of rallies in support of Mr Zaidi were held across Iraq, calling for his release.

Meanwhile, offers to buy the shoes he threw are being made around the Arab world, reports say.

Mr Zaidi told our correspondent that despite offers from many lawyers his brother has not been given access to a legal representative since being arrested by forces under the command of Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser.

Is this Iraqi democracy? Or are they following Cheney's lead on this?

Muntadhir at least was patriotic, that much we know.

Dargham al-Zaidi told the BBC that his brother deliberately bought Iraqi-made shoes, which were dark brown with laces. They were bought from a shop on al-Khyam street, a well-known shopping street in central Baghdad.

And he's doing something for the Iraqi economy.
The shoes themselves are said to have attracted bids from around the Arab world.

According to unconfirmed newspaper reports, the former coach of the Iraqi national football team, Adnan Hamad, has offered $100,000 (£65,000) for the shoes, while a Saudi citizen has apparently offered $10m (£6.5m).

And he has family values.
Mr Zaidi said his actions were for Iraqi widows and orphans.
The daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Aicha, said her charity would honour the reporter with a medal of courage, saying his action was a "victory for human rights".

The charity called on the media to support Mr Zaidi and put pressure on the Iraqi government to free him.

Mr Zaidi, who lives in Baghdad, has worked for al-Baghdadia for three years.

Muzhir al-Khafaji, programming director for the channel, described him as a "proud Arab and an open-minded man".

He said that Mr Zaidi was a graduate of communications from Baghdad University.

"He has no ties with the former regime. His family was arrested under Saddam's regime," he said.

Mr Zaidi has previously been abducted by insurgents and held twice for questioning by US forces in Iraq.

Hmmm... seems he was more of a sympathetic character before we "turned him around."
In November 2007 he was kidnapped by a gang on his way to work in central Baghdad and released three days later without a ransom.

He said at the time that the kidnappers had beaten him until he lost consciousness, and used his necktie to blindfold him.

Mr Zaidi never learned the identity of his kidnappers, who questioned him about his work before letting him go.

Mr. Zaidi looks to me like a brave, thoughtful, and frequently-victimized man who reflects the world around him in Iraq, where Bush is symbolic not of liberation, but of death, destruction, war, and the breaking up of families, promises, and the hope of democracy and freedom.

Maybe we should find a way to democracy that doesn'tuse war. Democracy by force??? Oxymorons, oxymorons...

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