Shoe-tossing journalist was abused, Iraqi judge says

Thousands of protesters are calling for the release of journalist

By Sarah More McCann
December 19 2008

An Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush at a press conference in Iraq last Sunday was beaten afterward, an Iraqi judge said Friday. The latest revelation in the incident that has garnered worldwide attention comes amid an Iranian cleric’s call for a “shoe intifada” against the US and praise for the journalist from a Malaysian leader, suggesting that US President-elect Barack Obama will face challenges to overcoming anti-US sentiments.

According to the Associated Press, Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi had “bruises on his face and around his eyes” shortly after throwing his shoes at President Bush during a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Dec. 14.

Judge Dhia al-Kinani, the magistrate investigating the incident, said the court has opened an investigation into the alleged beating of journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi.

Al-Zeidi was wrestled to the ground after throwing his shoes during the news conference Sunday by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and there has been conflicting claims on his condition since then. One of his brothers said he was harshly beaten, but another said he seemed to be in good condition.

Al-Zeidi “was beaten in the news conference and we will watch the tape and write an official letter asking for the names of those who assaulted him,” the judge told The Associated Press….

The judge said the investigation would be completed and sent to the criminal court on Sunday.

The Guardian reports Mr. al-Zeidi’s family claims US and Iraqi security teams are to blame for any injuries.

Zaidi’s family have said he suffered a broken arm and other injuries after he was dragged away by Iraqi security officers and US secret service agents.

Al-Zeidi, who called Bush a “dog,” is currently in custody, and may be charged with insulting a foreign leader, the AP reports. If found guilty, al-Zeidi could face two years or more in prison. Al-Zeidi did not lodge a complaint leading to the investigation of his alleged beating, and there are conflicting reports as to whether he wrote a letter to Mr. al-Maliki asking for clemency.

The incident sparked an outpouring of support for the journalist who tossed the shoes as “retaliation” for the US-led 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Middle East Times reports.

For many Iraqis and Arabs… the war was an illegal move against a sovereign nation, it had dismantled the state’s institutions, brought disorder and violence, provided fertile ground for more terrorism, killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, made more than 4 million homeless, and fragmented an Arab country along sectarian lines. In other words, the war is widely seen as having destroyed Iraq.

So when Zaidi threw his shoes at the U.S. president as a “farewell gift” just a few weeks before Bush leaves the White House, the Iraqi journalist was seen as a hero; Dec. 14 was declared the “start of a shoe revolution,” and wealthy Arab businessmen offered to pay millions to buy the famous footwear that had narrowly missed Bush’s face, but hit the American flag behind him.

On Thursday, The Times (of London) reported that for days, protesters have been calling for the release of the journalist.

In three days Mr al-Zaidi has gone from minor television presenter to a hero of Islamic resistance. Thousands of Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia, took to the streets in cities from Mosul to Nasiriyah yesterday in a second day of protests demanding his release. Smaller groups gathered in the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Karachi. In Beirut university students threw footwear at an effigy of the American President before setting it on fire.

Al-Zeidi’s detainment caused a disruption within Iraq’s Parliament as well, The AP reports.

In parliament, lawmakers had gathered to review a resolution calling for all non-U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of June but those loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr interrupted the session.

They said parliament should focus on al-Zeidi’s case rather than the proposed legislation. The argument escalated with lawmakers screaming at each other, and finally leading [Parliament speaker Mahmoud] al-Mashhadani to announce his resignation, said Wisam al-Zubaidi, an adviser to Khalid al-Attiyah, parliament’s deputy speaker.

Religious and governmental leaders, too, from the Middle East to South Asia have professed support for the journalist, Reuters India explains.

Malaysia‘s foreign minister on Friday praised an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this week,…

“The best show of retaliation so far is the shoe throwing act by that remarkable reporter who gave President Bush his final farewell last week,” Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said at an event to commemorate the 63rd anniversary of the United Nations.

“That shoe throwing episode, in my view is truly the best Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) to the leader who coined the phrase ‘axis of evil’ to denote Iran, Iraq and North Korea,” Rais said, according to the advance text of his speech.

Mostly Muslim Malaysia, a Southeast Asian country of 27 million people, opposed the Iraq war but is an ally of the U.S. and won favour from Washington after it cracked down on Islamic militants after the 9/11 attacks.

Rais has twice been the country’s foreign minister and usually is known for more measured tones.

In Iran, al-Zeidi received support in some religious circles, the AP reports.

In the Iranian capital Tehran, hard-line Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati praised the act at Friday prayers, calling it the “Shoe Intifadha.”

Jannati proposed people in Iraq and Iran should carry shoes in further anti-American demonstrations. “This should be a role model,” said Jannati.

In an interview with Tavis Smiley of NPR, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice downplayed the longterm effects of the shoe incident.

“Well, there is always going to be some criticism of American policy because we have to do difficult things, Tavis. And I know that it doesn’t matter who’s in office; we’ll have to do difficult things and sometimes people won’t like them. But what the President stood for and what was important about that trip to Iraq was he got to stand next to a freely elected prime minister of Iraq, in front of journalists who could speak their minds and even vent their anger. And that’s a far cry from when Saddam Hussein was in power. So if America stands for its values, it might not always be popular, but it will be respected.”

But the AP reports President-elect Barack Obama faces an uphill battle to win back the trust of many across the globe.

So the sight of an average Arab standing up and making a public show of resentment was stunning. The pride, joy and bitterness it uncorked showed how many Arabs place their anger on Bush….

The reaction explains in part the relief among Arabs over Barack Obama’s election victory, seen as a repudiation of the Bush era. But it also highlights the task the next president will face in repairing America’s image in the Mideast, where distrust of the U.S. has hampered a range of American policies, from containing Iran to pushing the peace process and democratic reform.

Source

Protests rise over alleged beating of ‘shoe man’ Muntadhar al-Zeidi

December 18, 2008

The furore over President Bush’s shoe-throwing assailant spread through Iraq and across international borders yesterday, claiming its first political casualty as protests grew over his continued detention and alleged ill-treatment.

The brother of Muntazar al-Zaidi, who secured his place in infamy with his outburst against Mr Bush at a press conference in Baghdad, claimed that the Shia journalist had been so badly beaten in custody that police were unable to produce him in court.

Mr al-Zaidi’s family were told that a court hearing had been held in his jail cell instead and that they would not be allowed to see him for at least another eight days. “That means my brother was severely beaten and they fear that his appearance could trigger anger at the court,” Dargham al-Zaidi said, adding that his brother had been treated for a broken arm and ribs at the military hospital in the green zone.

Anger at Mr al-Zaidi’s treatment erupted in the Iraqi parliament, provoking stand-up rows and prompting the resignation of the assembly’s notoriously hot-tempered Speaker. “I have no honour leading this parliament and I announce my resignation,” Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said after quitting the assembly amid chaos created by Shia politicians.

In three days Mr al-Zaidi has gone from minor television presenter to a hero of Islamic resistance. Thousands of Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia, took to the streets in cities from Mosul to Nasiriyah yesterday in a second day of protests demanding his release. Smaller groups gathered in the Paki-stani cities of Lahore and Karachi. In Beirut university students threw footwear at an effigy of the American President before setting it on fire.

In Egypt Muntazer al-Zaidi was so struck by Mr al-Zaidi that he offered his daughter in marriage, a proposition she wholeheartedly supported. “This is something that would honour me. I would like to live in Iraq, especially if I were attached to this hero,” Amal Saad Gumaa, 20, said.

In Afghanistan, Mr al-Zaidi has become the subject of a Saturday Night Live-style television comedy show that used actors to reconstruct the scene.

Mr al-Zaidi has not been seen in public or by his family since he was hauled out from Sunday’s press conference by the bodyguards of Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister. He is under investigation pending charges of insulting a visiting dignitary, a crime punishable with a jail sentence of up to seven years.

At the press conference, Mr al-Zaidi, a reporter for the Iraqi al-Baghdadia television channel, rose to deliver a question before pulling off his shoes, one after the other, and hurling them at Mr Bush. “This is your farewell kiss, you dog!” he shouted in Arabic, combining two of the harshest insults in Middle Eastern culture. Mr Bush was uninjured but his press secretary, Dana Perino, appeared before reporters in Washington yesterday sporting a faint black eye, the result of a collision with a microphone in the mêlée.

Mr Bush has laughed off the incident, claiming not to understand the implied insult. It was “just a shoe”, he insisted. But nerves were rising in Washington at Mr al-Zaidi’s continued nonappearance, especially after the official spin that Mr Bush had brought Iraqis the freedom to register such protests without risking imprisonment or torture. The State Department said that it would issue a condemnation if it were true that Mr al-Zaidi had been beaten up.

Mr al-Zaidi’s protest has spawned a rash of viral internet games. One, from Dubai, called “Sock and Awe” gives players 30 seconds to hurl as many shoes as they can at Mr Bush, scoring a point for each direct hit.

Source

Related Links

Hundreds of Iraqis protest in Kufa, Iraq 19/12/2008

The shoe-throwing attack on US President George W Bush by Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi has sparked a raft of copycat protests around the world.

Lebanese and Palestinian protesters in Sidon, Lebanon 19/12/2008

This shoe-themed rally in Lebanon followed Sunday’s incident, when Mr Zaidi threw his shoes at Mr Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

A box of shoes outside the US Embassy at Grosvenor Square, London 19/12/2008

Protesters in London even gift-wrapped a box of their shoes – in keeping with the festive season – and labelled it for “George W Bush” at the White House.

A protest in Cairo, Egypt 18/12/2008

In Egypt, ballet shoes were on offer from this reporter who gathered with her colleagues at the Journalists’ Syndicate in Cairo.

A Code Pink member dressed as President Bush is hit with a shoe during a protest near the White House 17/12/2008

The US president was not spared even on his home turf, where a member of the group Code Pink offered his services for target practice in Washington.

Pasban Pakistan activists protest in Karachi 17/12/2008

Protesters – like these in Pakistan – are demanding the release of Mr Zaidi, who has been detained since Sunday and shows signs of being beaten, according to an Iraqi judge.

Turkish leftists protest outside the US embassy in Ankara 18/12/2008

Mr Zaidi could face imprisonment on charges of insulting and attempting to assault a foreign leader, but he enjoys strong support from people in a wide range of countries.

Filipinos throw shoes at a picture of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during a Migrants Day protest in Manila 18/12/2008

The shoe-throwing trend is catching on in other parts of the world, with images of other world leaders – like the South Korean leader and the Philippines president – already falling prey.

Source

Numerous other reports at link below as well as links to petitions to release Muntadhar al-Zeidi.  Be sure to support Muntadhar.

You may even want to send Bush a Christmas greeting.  Information provided for that as well.

Protesters at White house and Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy
December 17 2008

Anti-war protesters throw shoes at a fellow demonstrator wearing a prison uniform and mask of President George W. Bush outside the White House in Washington, on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008. (AP Photo)

By  Tom Fitzgerald

President Bush may have though he’d see the last of shoes being thrown his way, but the anti-war group Code Pink showed up at the White House Wednesday to stage a protest inspired by the President’s much-discussed shoe ducking incident.

The protesters took turns throwing shoes at a large puppet that was made up to look like President Bush. A shoe memorial was also laid out on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to represent the Iraqi civilians who have been killed during the war.

The group’s founder, Meda Benjamin, says she views the Iraqi reporter who threw his footwear at the president as a role model, saying “We feel that the Iraq reporter is now a hero throughout the world because he has expressed the sentiment of millions of people who are so angry at George Bush’s policies”

Critics of Code Pink say the event was more publicity stunt than constructive discussion of the problems facing a post-Bush administration.

Brian Darling of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, says Code Pink may have to change its style once Barack Obama inherits both the White House and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying “There is a mainstream left which respectfully discusses what’s happened in Iraq and then there is Code Pink – no where near respectful – and their actions are out of the mainstream.”

The U.S. Secret Service stood by during the protests; however there were no conflicts with authorities and no arrests were made.

Source

Berkeley Code Pink activists support Iraq shoe-throwing reporter

December 17 2008

Code Pink members and supporters hold a “Farewell Kiss, Shoe-in” outside the Marine Recuitment…
Anti-war activists from the group Code Pink gathered at a Marine recruiting station in Berkeley this morning to show solidarity with an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush on Sunday.

Members of the group and others marched around the recruiting station holding shoes in the air to show support for Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who hurled two shoes at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad.

In many Arab countries, showing the sole of one’s shoes, much less throwing shoes at another person, is considered extremely disrespectful.

Organizers said their demonstration was to show support for the Iraqi people who have been killed, tortured or maimed and U.S. soldiers who have died since the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.

The Code Pink protest didn’t effect operations at the Shattuck Avenue recruiting station, said Marine Corps spokesman Sgt. Matt DeBoard.

“Code Pink has been protesting at Shattuck Square for almost a year now,” he said. ”They don’t bother us and we don’t bother them.”

He repeated the Marine’s contention that their recruiting and military operations help defend Americans right to freedom of speech. “Our position is that we do what we do so that everyone can express their opinion.”

For more than a year, women from CodePink picketed weekly in front of the U.S. Marine recruiting center at 64 Shattuck Square in downtown Berkeley. They say the Marines are not welcome in liberal, anti-war Berkeley and that the office should shut its doors.

In January, the Berkeley City Council got involved when it officially stated that the Marines were “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” and granted CodePink a permit waiver and a free parking space in front of the Marine center for the weekly protests. The move angered people across the country, who flooded City Hall with about 25,000 letters and e-mails.

Source

Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist

Please also sign Petitions at below link.

Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Hate Messages from KKK Rears Its Ugly Head On Long Island

Incident Follows Alleged Gang Bias Killing Of Man In Patchogue And Anti-Barack Obama Graffiti In Mastic

Hateful Newsletter Turns Up On Windshields And Driveways

This newsletter appeared in several driveways and on car windshields in the Long Island community of Islip Terrace on Nov. 12, 2008.

ISLIP TERRACE, N.Y. (CBS) ― Messages of hate were left at the front doors of homes in our area on Wednesday.

Residents on an Islip Terrace street said hate hit their driveways and doorsteps in the form of literature called “The Klansman’s Voice.” It is from the Ku Klux Klan and no one seems to know who delivered it to dozens of Suffolk County homes.

“Everything about it is scary to me,” preschool teacher Jill Thompsett said. “I just didn’t think it would be around here.”

Thompsett said she felt sick as she read all six pages of small type. It begins with a plea that everyone buy American-made products.

On page 1 the newsletter reads: “How much longer are you going to wait before you do something to help this problem we all have. Continue on this slippery slope and your children may be learning Spanish and Chinese in school.”

Then the focus shifts to immigration.

“The part, ‘Jose, we’re coming for you were going to get you,’ that’s the threat,” Thompsett said.

What she’s talking about is a passage from page 4 that says: “A bad storm is coming our way. Yes folks, things are going to become ugly for us — no doubt about it. But things are going to become very, very ugly for you, Jose.”

“A lot of typos a lot of ignorant people,” Thompsett said.

The biggest shocker was the inclusion of a business card that reads “join the KKK,” with a web address and an ominous P.O. box.

“State office in Babylon, N.Y. … Babylon, N.Y. … right here and that’s scary,” Thompsett said.

Suffolk County police are investigating this at a time when its Hate Crimes Unit is busy on several other cases, including one in Mastic, where dozens of cars were discovered with painted on death threats against President-elect Barack Obama.

“It’s something that, you know, we don’t tolerate in Suffolk County,” Suffolk Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said.

The car cases have the attention of the U.S. Secret Service. To get a handle on the hate crimes across Suffolk County, police are calling on everyone to help to get these cases solved.

Last month KKK newsletters were left on the windshields of commuter cars at train stations in Deer Park and Babylon.

Source

This is one of the terrorist organizations in America.

Unfortunately there are more White Supremacy organizations.

Their message is that of  Hate.

Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 12:21 am  Comments Off on Hate Messages from KKK Rears Its Ugly Head On Long Island  
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