“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Normally, we don’t read David Brooks column in the NYT. However, because the discontinuance of the failed U.S. effort in Iraq is going to depend on how the right paints a smiley face over the retreat, we read Brooks column today – Brooks being a specialist in smiley faced conservatism.

We were surprised to read this, however:

“The newspaper Sabah recently published a poll of 4,974 Iraqis living in and around Baghdad. Nearly 88 percent support military action against the terrorists. A survey by the Iraq Center for Research and Strategic Studies suggests that the insurgents' archfoe, the prime minister Ayad Allawi, is the most popular prospective leader in the land.”

So we went to Al-Sabah. Admittedly, the site LI went to was obviously translated into English, which made the article summaries seem amateurish. However, the English doesn’t seem to be the problem in the way Al-Sabah does polls. Here’s a report on an Al-Sabah poll:

Baghdad , As-Sabah, Sept8 , Page1

The general polls held by different parties and centers interested in studying the directions of the Iraqi public opinion indicated that the majority of Iraqi people %84 , 56prefer strong central government in Baghdad while %56 , 26prefer a government in Baghdad consisted of representatives of different regions , nationalities , tribes and Iraqi sects.The polls added that %55 , 7support granting great authorities for the Iraqi regions . Finally about63 , 3are willing to dissolve the central government and connect Iraqi regions with treaties .The polls are further indicated that the majority of Iraqi people %06 , 56prefer an integrated Iraq . Meanwhile,80 , 7said that Iraq is an Arab country on the1 st position . The majority of Iraqi people held the government grand responsibility in interesting in the citizens' causes.”

The confusions of that paragraph are nothing compared to the confusions surrounding who runs Al Sabah. Last February, most of the team running Al Sabah resigned. They were protesting the takeover of the newspaper by a CPA hired consultant, Harris communications.

“When on February 14, 2004 Harris took over from its predecessor SAIC, Al-Sabah was ready to stand on its own feet. In the last days of SAIC in Baghdad, a new printing press was bought to replace the 35 years old machines of the former regime.
With that printing press Al-Sabah could start its life without any further financial support.


To our surprise Harris Corp did everything to prevent Al-Sabah from becoming independent and tried to sell us the idea that Al-Sabah would be independent as part of the IMN. On paper, Iraqi television and radio have been declared independent through decree 66, and with them, on Harris' request, Al-Sabah. In reality the so-called Iraqi Public Service Broadcasting will be not only dependent on foreign funding but run by a foreign company that has refused from the beginning any transparency in its dealings with Iraqi entities.

Al-Sabah newspaper can also not accept to be under the control of a Board of Governors appointed first by governor Bremer, and later Iraq's prime minister, let alone accept, as decree 66 stipulates, that the Director General of the IMN will also be the formal editor in chief of Al-Sabah.”

The flurry of stories about the U.S. funded Al Sabah died down, however. Forgetting is always a stage on the way to healing. And healing, here, is promoted by blowing back a U.S. government founded and funded propaganda organ as a real newspaper, and spreading news from it in the U.S. via the biggest newspaper in the U.S., the NYT.
There is some dreadful rock song in the back of my mind which contains the lyrics, Smiling faces. Ah, I’ve found it – Joan Osborne! What am I saying, dreadful.

And the lyrics go:

I tell you, you can't see behind smiling faces
Smiling faces sometimes they don't tell the truth
Smiling faces, smiling faces
Tell lies and I got proof

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