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Cablegate: Daily Iraqi Website Monitoring - October 17, 2005

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 004273

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/PPD, NEA/PPA, NEA/AGS, INR/IZ, INR/P

E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO IZ
SUBJECT: DAILY IRAQI WEBSITE MONITORING - October 17, 2005

SUMMARY: Discussions of the constitutional referendum,
problems with the IECI, and electoral bribery were the major
editorial themes of Iraqi, Arabic language websites on
October 17, 2005. END SUMMARY.

-------------------------------
TABLE OF CONTENTS
-------------------------------

A. "What Happened Has Happened . We Should Look Forward"
(Iraq 4 All News, 10/17)
B. "Iraqi Referendum . Facts and Guidance" (Sawt Al-Iraq,
10/17)
C. "IECI Objects to Americans' Behavior, But." (Independent
Iraqi News Agency, 10/17)
D. "Nagham Al-Timimi, Oman Channel Correspondent! Who Is
Responsible for Suing Her?" (Watan Lil Jamee, 10/17)

SELECTED COMMENTARIES
----------------------------------------

A. "What Happened Has Happened . We Should Look Forward"
(Editorial by Fatih Abdul Salam - Iraq 4 All News -
http://iraq4all.org/viewnews.php?id=10349 )

"Mistakes, and even sins, were committed during the
constitutional referendum, starting with forging the number
of registered voters in certain locations and ending with
voters not being able to reach polling stations in some
locations. There were delays in opening [polling] stations;
militias who stole ballot boxes in rural areas; and failures
to inform citizens of the constitution's contents because
draft copies were delivered only days before the
referendum-and this is on top of the high percentage of
illiteracy among Iraqis. This forced many people to cling to
bits and pieces of the draft that do not reveal the true
meaning of the script and how it affects the country's
future.

"We expected to benefit from the experience we gained after
the flaws of the previous election; but we did not, which
indicates the possibility that this experience will not be
used in the future when elections are held in December.
Political processes require the government to remain open-
minded regarding all Iraqi regions and rural areas. The
government must be fully aware of details, and listen and
immediately reply to complaints. It is not possible to rely
entirely on the mechanisms of electoral commissions.

"The new test is coming, so have we prepared for it? Will we
resume from where we left off, or will we start from
scratch?"

B. "Iraqi Referendum . Facts and Guidance"
(From Al-Ittihad, published on Sawt Al-Iraq - "The Voice of
Iraq" http://www.sotaliraq.com/articles-
iraq/nieuws.php?id=17539 )

"The first simple lesson in democracy that should be
understood by all those concerned with the Iraqi situation
is to respect the opinion of the majority regardless of how
much they disagree with it. This fact, as simple as it may
be, will determine the features of Iraq's future after final
results of the referendum are announced. Those who boycotted
the process, those who voted `no,' and those who supported
the draft constitution are required to respect the result
and make use of it as they build toward the next set of
significant political events, including parliamentary
elections, formation of the government, and preparing for a
new permanent political stage.

"Even though the referendum results are not yet known, what
happened on that day offers many points that should be
reflected upon thoroughly. First, the day of the referendum
was the calmest in Iraq for months; those betting on rivers
of blood flowing through streets and terrorists
demonstrating scenes of violence that fail to distinguish
between women, children, elderly people, and those trying to
make a living for their families, were disappointed. This
indicates a very important fact: all Iraqis have had enough
of deteriorating conditions; they decided to cling to the
hope embedded within the constitution, even if points of
difference remain. It also indicates that terrorists failed
to fulfill their self-endorsed image that they are larger
than [forces trying to] contain them, and that security and
public awareness can put an end to their destructive action.

"Information is leaking from certain regions indicating that
the constitution will be approved and that two-thirds of
Iraqis eligible to vote turned out on polling day;
regardless, those who opposed the constitution during the
drafting process and those who supported the draft with or
without reservations should all prepare themselves to absorb
the first lesson of democracy: to respect the result and,
most of all, to prepare to participate in the political
process. After the final results are announced, there will
be no place for those trying to turn back the clock."

C. "IECI Objects to Americans' Behavior, But."
(Editorial by Serdar Kawani - Independent Iraqi News Agency
- http://www.normal.iraq-ina.com/showarticles.p hp?id=1487 )

"I read a piece of news titled: `IECI objects to Americans'
behavior.' I was surprised at this news because I noticed
the Commission itself violates election laws. The Commission
has authority over Americans and demands [they] `hand over
video and photography equipment to the Commission.' A
commander of U.S. forces sent a formal apology.

"But when the Irbil Education Directorate refused to hand
over a set of school's keys to the Commission, the
Commission could not force the Directorate to abide by the
law. Instead, the Commission carried out the Irbil Education
Directorate's demands.They violated election laws, including
Article 15, Item B. The judges and lawyers [associated with
the Electoral Commission] were replaced with the schools'
headmasters even though the judges and lawyers participated
in courses to work as [referendum] coordinators. As a result
of these violations, the referendum process and the Irbil
bureau of the Election Commission were vulnerable to many
problems in managing polling centers.

"When I told the head of the Irbil Bureau: `Go ahead sir,
solve all these problems,' he answered: `What can I do?' I
told him that this decision will cause many problems.Isn't
it surprising that the commission has power over U.S forces,
and yet it cannot decide to execute election laws and
implement its decisions? Or is there something behind the
scenes? The elections and referendum processes were
fulfilled so Iraq can achieve a state of law and
institutions.

"How is that the Supreme Independence Commission?"

D. "Nagham Al-Timimi, Oman Channel Correspondent! Who Is
Responsible for Suing Her?"
(Editorial by Widad Fakher - Watan Lil Jamee - "Homeland for
All" -
http://www.wattan4all.com/viewarticle.php?id= 5910&pg=article
s )

"Arabic prostitution channels have crossed their boundaries,
especially since the fall of the idol of Auja [Auja refers
to the birthplace of Saddam Hussein] on 9 September (sic)
[April] 2003. There is no ministerial or legal authority to
hold them [the channels] accountable. One of the Arabic
prostitution channels is Al-Jazeera; its real owner, Donald
Rumsfeld, American Secretary of Defense, drew a red line
that the Iraqi government cannot cross. Al-Jazeera takes
cover behind the largest American bases in the world: Al-
`Adiad and Al-Siliya in Qatar, both `guarded' by the
Americans. The second [channel] is.Al-Arabiya, headed by a
Saudi journalist and the former editor-in-chief of the Saudi
Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid.

"Today, on 15 October 2005, a correspondent of a television
channel asked some Iraqi citizens to stand in front of her
camera after they received $5 to shout `no' to the
constitution during the Iraqis' referendum and festive
carnival. The electronic Elaph newspaper published this
piece of news the same day and.disclosed the journalist and
her criminal act. Nagham Al-Timimi claimed she practiced her
democratic right by instigating people to say `no' to the
constitution in exchange for a bribe. The news segment was:
`commission member Hamdiya Al-Husseini said the level of
participation was average all in all. she clarifies that a
journalist who is working for an Arab channel gave $5 for
every person who said `no,' the monitors were informed.' But
she did not mention the journalist's identity or the
channels she works for. However, media sources said Oman
Sultanate satellite channel correspondent, Nagham Al-Timimi,
was seen in front of an electoral center in Baghdad asking a
woman who voted `yes' to the constitution to stand in front
of her camera and shout `no' in exchange for $5. Then one of
the [election] monitors saw her, so he stopped her and asked
why she did this. She replied that she was practicing her
`democratic' right. The monitor demanded that she remain
where she was as he went to get guards to explain the issue;
when he returned with police, they found that she had
escaped with her crew.

"This correspondent's action can be described as criminal,
starting from the bribe, forgery, and betrayal of press
duty-which requires legitimacy in conveying news and
absolute fairness. We ask the IECI, MOI, security forces,
and national security advisors to tell us what they are
going to do about that correspondent, especially since a
referendum monitor was a witness and was supposed to spit on
her face in front of her camera instead of filing a
complaint.

"Millions of Iraqis and I are waiting to see what the Iraqi
authorities will do, especially because the correspondent is
Iraqi-what a shame! She claims she is from Timimi tribe?"

KHALILZAD

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