10:20 AM - Sunday, Feb. 06, 2005
Especially after last year, when Chalabi was sitting in the seat. You often wonder who these people are.
So as I'm watching the woman hold up a shaky "peace" sign, finger stained in purple, you are wonder. "Did they fly her in? Wow, that's some crazy symbolism."
So I decided to look around.
Here's what Bush said.
"Eleven years ago, Safia's father was assassinated by Saddam's intelligence service. Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country -- and we are honored that she is with us tonight."
She works for the "International Alliance For Justice," which no longer has a website that is functioning. [ www.i-a-j.org. ] I tried to do a google search for the site and found a cached version of another one, www.a-i-j.org, which is down now as well and looks like it's been taken over by a defunct porn website. As for www.i-a-j.org, its now a rather generic "antispyware" website.
Beats me. I have my theories about all of these freedom and justice and happy iraqi websites that are oh so slick and oh so American, but I can't draw any conclusions because I have no background in doing so.
I was struck by the line "three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote..."
I did a search and found that she published an article in December of 2003 for the group "Foundation For the Defence of Democracies."
They seem pretty reasonable when you look at their mission statement on the website.
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a non-partisan, non-profit policy institute dedicated to:
Employing strategic communications, education and research to fight terrorism across national, ethnic and religious lines.
Promoting freedom and basic human rights for all peoples.
So, then I went to see who they are, being non-partisan and all. Board of Directors?
OK, so far not so balanced.
OK, yikes. Still a bit off kilter.
Board of Advisors?
wow. OK and then finally we see who represents the other side on that board.
All very interesting, strange, but leading me away from my original question. Who is Safia Taleb Al Souhail?
Well I read her piece published under the banner of this group here. It was written in January of 2003. Just before we headed off to war. I think it's important to remember the mood of the time, and the debates we were having.
The first paragraph is what got me.
"As we watch UN inspectors search Iraq for weapons of mass destruction, I ask, why are there no UN inspectors investigating Saddam Hussein's crimes against the Iraqi people? Along with hidden caches of biological and chemical weapons, Iraw also has hidden tourture chambers, prisons, and mass graves."
Sound familiar? Does to me. Not only does he have lots of weapons that he's hiding, the United Nations is a worthless organization that isn't holding Sadaam accountable. Hmmm...
The article goes on to explain how bad Sadaam was for women, which we all know his brutality was second to none. But what struck me again was that she left the country in 1968. She returned to the country at some point recently. I found an article about her return to Iraq. to hold a Iraqi women's conference in Baghdad in July "facilitated by the coalition provisional authority." It seems she was in a group of people that had "returned" to Iraq with the "facitity" of the CPA. This was at another pastel colored, sleek website called "womenforiraq.org"
But here it is again, you click to read more about the conference in Baghdad...and you go to another blank page that says "Hopefully /article928.php at www.i-a-j.org will be up again soon. - 1254726158" And you click the "home" button and you're right back at that anti-spyware site. All of these groups are strangely connected to each other, and this one is now defunct.
But back to the article.
Her father was killed in 94. But although Bush said in the SOTU her father "was killed by Sadaam's Intelligence service," it's not quite the way you think it is. Her father was the leader of a tribe, but was killed in his exile home in Lebannon. How long was he in Lebbanon? Doesn't say, but the rest of the family was living in Jordan for nearly 30 years. It is not clear where Safia lived, but by this point, I'm sleepy and can hunt no more.
**** [UPDATED: I don't know how to do the fun editorial update but here it is. I found some new information, the plot seems to thicken.
US Secretly Helped Saddam
The names are slightly different, but theses are obviously the same people.
Is the prominent position within current policy a payback to cover some behinds? Perhaps Bill Hemmer wasn't far off when he said "she will soon be the Mayor of Baghdad."
makes u think..doesn't it?