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Oppose Sham Elections in Iraq--Sunday 4pm, Market + Van Ness

Date:
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Time:
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Event Type:
Protest
Organizer/Author:
Location Details:

Iraqi Elections = Death for Iraqis & US Troops = Oil for US Corporations

Troops Home Now!
End the Occupation and Empire!

Sunday January 30
4pm: Demonstration and Vigil
5pm: Procession
Market and Van Ness, SF

Join us in publicly opposing the sham elections in Iraq. The Bush
Administration is using these elections in an attempt to legitimize the
continued US occupation. People can not vote in Iraq without fear of
death. Democratic participation and self-determination have been denied.

This is not Democracy, it is Death. The Elections Must be Opposed.

The elections will mean more blood spilled for Oil. On December 22,
2004 the Iraqi Finance Minister announced 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. The catch?
The Finance Minister's Shiite political party will first have to gain the
majority in the new government. Thus, the elections go forward, the
Shiites get power and the Bush Administration and its Corporate War
Profiteers get Iraq's oil.

We are a group of friends active in anti-war, direct action and
global justice movements who felt called to initiate a public
demonstration to express our outrage, grief and resistance. We will mourn
the victims of the war, occupation and policies of empire. We will read
aloud the testimonies and stories of Iraqis living under the occupation.
Their voices will not be heard in these elections. Let us come together
in the streets, to listen, to give voice, to call for an end to the
bloodshed.

BACKGROUND:
Calling Sundays looming election in Iraq a "grand moment" in history,
President Bush said at a press conference on Wednesday--a day in
which more American troops died than any other day of the war, "The fact
that they're voting, in itself, is successful."

Antonia Juhasz in an article published on Alternet on January 27 writes:
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. While few in the American media other than
Emad Mckay of Inter Press Service reported on -- or even
attended -- Mahdiís 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 Iraqís Interim Prime
Minister Iyad Allawi that elections should be called off, Mahdi and the
SCIR's ultimate chances of victory will likely decline.

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.

Based on all reports from both U.S. military and Iraqi officials, the
elections this Sunday could be a blood bath for Iraqis and American
troops alike. They are also certain to be far from representative.
Democratic elections simply cannot be held under these conditions, nor
conditions in which the U.S. government and its corporations
exercise such dominant economic and political control.

Dahr Jamail reported on January 26 from Iraq:
The high commission for elections of Iraq has still not announced the
location of polling stations due to security fears, but many school
buildings around Baghdad are being cordoned off with sand barriers,
concrete blocks and razor wire.
"I feel unsafe in my own home now, even more than before," said
Hashim al-Obeidy, a retired engineer. A school building near his
house is being prepared as a polling station. "I watched the American
soldiers building these barriers. And now I am afraid mortars will hit my
home if the school is attacked."

Standing outside his house in central Baghdad, he pointed to a row of
large sand barriers outside an old yellow school building with
damaged walls and cracked paint. "They already severely damaged our
school system, they haven't rebuilt anything, and now they will
create more destruction in the schools," he said. Many Iraqis
continue to express frustration over what they see as illegitimate
elections.

Prof. Shawket Daoud, a computer science specialist who now works for the
government, said uncertainty over polling booths and the fear of violence
was not the only problem. "Why vote when we don't even know who is
running yet?"
More than 7,000 candidates on the electoral lists have opted to
remain anonymous prior to polling day. At least eight political
leaders thought to be candidates have been killed. Many others
receive death threats. Abu Sabah, a grocery stall owner near the
Karrada district of Baghdad says he is simply confused about the
election. The elections feel rushed and a list of
at least 83 coalitions of political parties with mostly anonymous
candidates makes no sense, he says.

"Who says we should have elections for people we don't even know
during occupation, martial law and in a war zone," he said.
http://alternet.org/waroniraq/21102/
Added to the calendar on Fri, Jan 28, 2005 2:04PM
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