R7

"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Statement from the International Action Center

The Election in Iraq:

"a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing."
-William Shakespeare


The media and the Bush Administration are in high gear,
trumpeting this weekend's election as a victory for
democracy. However, this election changes nothing on the
ground in Iraq. On Monday, January 31, the day after the
election, the people of Iraq woke up with 150,000 U.S.
troops occupying their country, CIA asset Ayad Allawi the
appointed head of state, and the Pentagon's plans to build
14 permanent military bases still proceeding.

Democracy means, "rule of the people." What happened on
Sunday merely continues rule by military occupation and an
appointed government.

This was a meaningless election.

This piece of political theater can't even be accurately
described as an election. In an election, voters get to
choose candidates who will then hold office and exercise
some measure of power.

In this election, voters didn't get to vote for a
candidate, or even for a political party. Instead, they
were allowed to vote for a list, which may include several
parties or individuals--there was no way to know. These
lists were approved by the Bremer-appointed High
Commission for Elections. The names of the 7,700
candidates were not publicly available, so there was no
way to know who was actually being voted for.

The candidates who are eventually selected by this process
will exercise no executive or legislative authority. They
will form a transitional national assembly, which will
draft a constitution under the supervision of the
occupiers.

The people of Iraq were not given the opportunity to vote
against the occupation--they were allowed to vote for
anonymous lists, representing U.S.-approved candidates
that will not have the power to alter U.S. plans to
colonize Iraq.

Of course, the people of Iraq want to vote in free and
open elections to determine their own future, but the
occupation was not on the ballot, rendering any pretense
at an election meaningless.

The more than 100,000 people who were killed by the U.S.
during this war were not given the opportunity to vote.
Nor were the prisoners in the torture chambers of Abu
Ghraib.

Returning Iraq to 1955.

It is telling that the Bush Administration is claiming
this is the first democratic election to be held in Iraq
in fifty years. The election referred to as the last
democratic election was held under a U.S. & British
appointed monarchy to select an advisory body that had no
executive or legislative power. Its only function was to
provide a fa├žade of legitimacy to the puppet regime; the
election did not change the fact that the people of Iraq
were under the thumb of U.S. and British oil companies.
Less than 3 years later, a massive popular revolutionary
upheaval overthrew the corrupt monarchy and, since that
time, the U.S. and Britain have been trying to return Iraq
to the same semi-colonial status. This election is part
of their plan.

The U.S. government has never demonstrated any interest in
bringing democracy to the Middle East. Former U.S.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger outlined U.S. policy in
the region when he said, "Middle East oil is too important
to be left to hands of the Arabs." The U.S. has made no
effort to bring democracy in any of the nations in the
region where it has maintained troops-the people of
Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates all
live under feudal monarchies, without free elections,
civil liberties, civil rights, union rights, or rights for
women.

This was an election under occupation.

It is important to emphasize the circumstances under which
this election was held. More than 150,000 U.S. troops
occupy the country, patrolling the streets with guns
trained on the Iraqi people. Throughout Iraq, the U.S.
occupation forces imposed an unprecedented series of
security measures - including shoot-on-sight curfews,
closed borders, and a ban on cars and travel restrictions
within Iraq.

This election was held under the supervision of U.S.
Ambassador John Negroponte. Negroponte served as U.S.
Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985 and was involved
with Contra terrorists and death squads. While he was
Ambassador, Honduras was the launching pad from which the
Reagan administration conducted its violent attacks on the
people of Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Negroponte's predecessor, Paul Bremer, set up the rules
for this election. The organization that ran the
election, the High Commission for Elections, was appointed
by Bremer, and had the authority to disqualify any party
that did not meet with Washington's approval. Before he
left his post, Bremer issued a series of articles which
cannot be reversed by any election. Many of these
articles, which are in violation of international law,
have to do with the plundering of Iraq's resources and
control of the economy by U.S. corporations. No matter
what list the Iraqi people voted for, decisions that
affect their future are being made by the occupation
government under orders from Wall Street.

Assisting Negroponte were two U.S.-funded organizations
with long records of manipulating overseas elections on
behalf of U.S. corporate interests, the National
Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and
the International Republican Institute (IRI). Both
organizations work closely with the National Endowment for
Democracy and the U.S. Agency for International
Development, long used by the CIA for covert operations
abroad. They were, for example, involved in orchestrating
the failed coup and recall referendum in Venezuela in an
attempt to remove the democratically-elected and popular
President Hugo Chavez. Both were involved in manipulating
the election in the Ukraine to ensure that a pro-U.S. head
of state would be installed.

Similar elections were held during the U.S. war against
the people of Vietnam. They were conducted under military
occupation, administered by the U.S., and in no way
allowed for any real self-government. None of the
U.S.-managed elections in Vietnam succeeded in conferring
legitimacy on the occupation government or in ending the
resistance. Likewise, this election was conducted at
gunpoint, administered by a war criminal, and
stage-managed by CIA front companies. To pretend that this
has anything to do with democracy is outrageous.

This election has no credibility.

This election was almost unique in that it had no
international observers. There was no outside source to
monitor the voting, the integrity of the ballots, or the
counting. The only monitoring was by observers trained by
groups like the National Democratic Institute--in other
words, by the CIA.

With no international observers monitoring the election
process, the elections are only as credible as the people
running it--the Bush Administration, who lied about
weapons of mass destruction, lied about ties between Al
Qaeda and Iraq, lied about everything associated with this
war and occupation.

This election was a public relations campaign.

Opposition to the occupation has been growing in the U.S.
Many people, including members of Congress, have begun to
demand an end to the occupation.

The election was staged to create the illusion of
progress, much like the phony transfer of power held on
June 28 of last year. The idea is to create a new fiction
to legitimize the occupation. The lies about weapons of
mass destruction have been exposed. The lies about the
people of Iraq being involved in the attacks on September
11 have been refuted. So now, the Bush Administration is
taking up the cause of democracy to justify the ongoing
occupation.

The claim that the U.S. needs to bring democracy to Iraq,
that the country would descend into civil war without the
U.S. presence, is pure racism. It is a rehash of the
arguments used by the British Empire and other empires to
justify the colonization of entire nations.

Many of those who did vote, took part in the election
thinking that it would be part of a process that would
lead to ending the occupation of their country. All polls
indicate that an overwhelming number of Iraqis want an
immediate end to the occupation. Once they realize that
the election serves only to justify further occupation and
plundering of their country, this will give rise to a new
level of outrage and resistance.

The myth of high turnout.

Despite the media's claim that turnout was overwhelming,
in many areas, polling centers were closed or deserted.
Only a handful of people voted in Fallujah, Samarra and
Ramadi. Among Iraqis living abroad, 80% of eligible
voters did not vote. This dispels the myth that low
turnout was due to security concerns. Turnout was low
because the people oppose occupation and recognized that
the election was a public relations effort by the occupier
of their country.

The Iraqi people want the occupation to end now.

Any real interest in democracy would lead us to recognize
that the Iraqi people are opposed to the occupation.
Polls have repeatedly shown that the people of Iraq want
the troops to leave now--not after they have stage-managed
an election and installed a puppet regime.

The growing resistance throughout the country demonstrates
how the Iraqi people feel about the occupiers. The
occupiers are not there to bring democracy--they have
instead brought death, destruction, and torture. The
Iraqi people and a growing number of people worldwide want
it to end.

March 19
Troops Out Now!
March on Central Park in NYC!
Regional Demonstrations Across the U.S. & Worldwide