Iraq TV: Muntader al Zaidi Being Tortured at American Military Prison

American Hero: al-Zaidi

American Hero: al-Zaidi

The Roads to Iraq blog is reporting that Egyptian shoe-tossing champion and TV journalist Muntader al-Zaidi is being tortured in an American military prison.

A Roads to Iraq correspondent wrote on the blog this morning, “Iraqi TV al-Sharqiya just reported on the news that AL-Zaidi is transferred to Camp Cropper prison [the Airport prison, managed by the American forces].”

The correspondent continued,”The TV Channel announced that Al-Zaidi is in a difficult condition, with broken ribs and signs of tortures on his thighs. Also he can not move his right arm.”

If it’s true, this is the torch that will leave the region in complete flames. Bush has broken through every frontier of incompetence to arrive at a kind of divine imbecilic state in which everything he does results in catastrophe.

UPDATE #1: It appears that our hero Muntader has been stomped close to death. The BBC is reporting that he has been hospitalized. His brother Dargham told the news network that Muntader is suffering from an injury to one eye, a broken hand, broken ribs and has internal bleeding.

The Americans will kill this guy and most of the Arab world will go stark, raving bonkers for the next two generations. This is Caligutard’s final kiss for Obama: a world in complete and utter chaos.

UPDATE #2: The massive unrest begins with protests by the armed, militant Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, brandishing Kalashnikovs and going apeshit. Expect more and expect no efforts by the Caligutard to try to defuse the situation. No doubt, the twisted witless fuck is digging it all.

Meanwhile, the fate or custody of al-Zaidi is unclear. His body, wracked by injuries no one can tell if he sustained being taken into custody at yesterday’s press conference or while being held, is apparently in the custody of Iraqi security officials, according to the AFP.

AFP also reports this morning: [Dargham] said he had been told that his brother was initially held by Iraqi forces in the heavily fortified Green Zone compound in central Baghdad where the US embassy and most government offices are housed.


Since he can’t nuke Iran, it’s his last shot at wholesale devastation.

Seems a fitting end to an era of pure American stupidity.

Of course, we’re the ones with the boot marks on our asses after the last eight years.

we need those shoes.
they should be bronzed and displayed in the smithsonian.
sums up his entire service to our country.

Maybe the design for the Georgie Jr. Prezinit Library could have a giant pair of Hush Puppies at the entrance.

This dude is now a prisoner of conscience and should have a team of black UN helicopters swoop in on the prison to rescue him.

Oh please don’t let this be true.

Leaving aside its entertainment value, which was prodigious, we cannot use a tank to swat a metaphorical mouse. The man has no power (hence his actions) unless we give it to him. And by we I mean Preznit Bunnypants and his Klown Kar.

Besides which… oh please don’t let this be true. It will be too shaming and haunt the US for years to come.

Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck.

Where is the Red Cross? MSF? Amnesty International?

Srsly. We need the cooler heads of someone to keep this dude from getting killed. If he dies a second earlier than of old age in another 60 years, it will be pinned on the US of A.

Concur in part, dissent in part. I mean, the guy did huck something at the head of the President of the United States. And then hucked something else. And it could have hurt him. Now, if somebody (e.g., a “Barack Hussein Obama II is not native-born” douchebag) had done something like that to Black Eagle, we’d want something done about it, like throwing him in the slam for a good long time, right?

But, of course, in an American prison, the guards wouldn’t lay a beatdown on the guy [add: “for no reason.” American prisons, brutal as they are, have at least some form of logic and protocol and stuff]. And Americans in charge of prisons in Iraq have a somewhat checkered track record. So, on the whole, this isn’t good.

@chicago bureau: Sure, I agree that there needs to be some sort of proper process to hold this guy accountable. But breaking his arms and ribs ain’t it.

And besides, the longer this goes on, and he isn’t released after paying a fine or spending a couple weeks in a humane jail, the more of a tinderbox clusterfuck we will have.

Do you really want a bunch of civilians (of any country) or soldiers, for that matter, taken hostage and tortured and killed until this dude is released?

We’re turning him into a martyr and throwing gasoline on a volatile situation in a volatile region, which as Chainsaw rightly points out, may be exactly what Shrub wants. Chimpy’s a mean, vindictive dude…inherited his mother’s cruelty… and I’m sure he’s laughing about the shoe-thrower’s broken arm. (There goes Dodger’s hopes of recruiting him to play for LA this spring).

@chicago bureau: I think you over-rate the importance of the president. He’s just an elected official. And the US is one nation among many. Granted the man overstepped the bounds of civility but I don’t think he should be locked away for doing it. He wasn’t armed. He was expressing a personal opinion. Besides which, if the US behaves as if its ruler, anointed by God as he is, is some sacred being whose divinity has been violated then we will make a volatile situation much much worse. If he’s being roughed-up and beaten we have lost whatever scrap of dignity and good-will that has survived the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

It is time for us to take the high road.

@Benedick: Muntander should be knighted. After 8 years of controlled appearances and press conferences, it’s a good thing for Preznit Bunnypants to see the rage his crimes have caused.

@chicago bureau: I dunno. The guy in charge owns the heat – that is the cost of leadership. This guy exposed himself to obvious harm, much worse than Caligutard could have felt getting hit by a shoe, to send a message. If Caligutard had any chops, he would have caught one or both of the shoes, asked the guy if he dropped something and found time to sit with him to try to diffuse the situation. You’re in charge, guess what, it is never about you, especially when the heat shows up. Benedick is right. He is just an elected official. I get creeped out that the executive branch has become this plenipotentiary position. It even creeps me out that people have such hopes for Obama. The executive was never supposed to be this important or given such nearly limitless authority.

Benedick & SanFranLefty: I am in total agreement on not roughing the guy up, beyond that which is necessary to restrain and cuff the dude, and insert him into a squad car. Stuff that would make a hockey ref laugh, as opposed to handing out penalties. No beating of suspects. No — not ever — never.

But you can express an opinion without resorting to a physical assault. Hell — the guy could have screamed a non-preselected question at Dubya about dead women and children, Dubya could have said something stupid as is his wont, and the guy could have decided to not take “fuck you and your dead civilians” for an answer and pressed him, as so many here do not do. That would have been just as good — if not better — than the hucking of shoes.

Yeah — we got an indelible image and a street hero. But a moment of true criticism, eliciting a moment of truth (spoken or unspoken) from Dubya did not require the throwing of stuff.

@FlyingChainSaw: He is just an elected official. I get creeped out that the executive branch has become this plenipotentiary position. It even creeps me out that people have such hopes for Obama. The executive was never supposed to be this important or given such nearly limitless authority.

Well, it hasn’t become a plenipotentiary position overnight. The point is that the President (and we are talking about the office here as opposed to particular people) is our representative to the world. It’s been like that for decades.

Why are people so royally ticked when the President does something embarassing (as opposed to the Speaker, or the Chief Justice)? Why do people want to see Bush rung up on war crimes, as opposed to Denny Hastert, or Trent Lott? Because, to the world, the President is the United States — rightly or wrongly, l’etat, c’est lui. He’s the showrunner. He could instantaneously tell Dick Cheney to take a freaking hike if he wanted to (as in: stripping the V.P. of any sort of power besides that of the Observatory Circle leafblower), or issue orders mothballing Gitmo and whatever the School of the Americas is called now, or step on the gas with respect to environmental and securities regulations, and so on and so on.

Maybe a parliamentary system would be better for the way things work around here. But, for now, the Presidency freaking matters. Take a look at the wave of universal joy around the world when Barry took it down, and tell me that it doesn’t.

@blogenfreude: Of course he should – then brought here for a victory lap on all the talk shows and a headliner spot with 60 Minutes. However, that’s probably not going to happen.

But we have a chance – and by ‘we’ I mean Preznit Bunnypants et al – to act like grown-ups. Let him be censured in some mild yet dignified manner and let us all go on our way. Let us not add fuel to the fire. And dear God let us not injure him. Apart from the practical cost such an action would incur – haven’t we done enough to trash our reputation? Must we do more?

I was very interested to read an account of this at Inside Iraq, which has been the blog I read most about the situation there. It is consistently shaming/harrowing/necessary. The writer there was embarrassed and sad that this had occurred. She was grieved that this was an insult to Maliki who had to endure it.

We have got to start realizing that this is about Iraq. We did an appalling thing there. They have to deal with it. We are only bankrupt from it: they are dying. I was in the middle of reading The Forever War by Dexter Filkin but can’t stand any more of it. Apart from the narcissism and the you-are-there-style of the magazine writer (which is fine in a magazine but not in a long form) its complete obsession with America and Americans is nauseating. Can we not try to think about them for a change?

At Inside Iraq (it’s run by the Baghdad McClatchey office if you don’t know it) can be found the most horrible, wrenching account of the human cost of this catastrophe: an Iraqi mother goes to a make-shift morgue to try to find the body of her son. She is shown a room full of body parts and invited to search for whatever she can find of him. Which she does.

I don’t know how you can survive such horror. And I wish I didn’t have to feel that my tax dollars made that happen.

This incident, now that my initial euphoria has worn off, seems to be the final straw for me. Like all of us here I’ve done my best to keep it together as I saw this country embark on a truly evil course of action. But to see a young man stand up to Bush and call him what he is has made me more ashamed than I can say. And now, if we damage him in any way, there will be – literally – hell to pay.

@chicago bureau: I understand about that. But don’t we need to take into account the cultural meaning of the gesture? Given the scale of the insult – which words would not have achieved – I don’t see any way to cope with it other than being magnanimous. Isn’t that what a great power does?

I know you’re right about the president and what he represents – he is the head of state and stands in for a monarch – but given what we’ve done there aren’t these special circumstances? Again, can’t we be magnanimous? Isn’t that part of the rule of law?

I might very well be getting ahead of events and perhaps we’ll see that he was treated decently. I hope that’s the case.

@chicago bureau: I second CB–it was a physical assult against another person. Doesn’t matter who the person is. I would hope that if someone threw shoes at me, they would arrest him/her, post bail, and start legal procedings.

The problem, however, is that we haven’t exactly set an example there (or here, for that matter) for the rule of law. Proper legal procedings are not happening and are not going to happen. Not only is it heartbreakingly distressing that he may have already been tortured, but the Beeb says he hasn’t been allowed to see a lawyer yet either. Although it doesn’t create as visceral reaction, that fact should be just as alarming. We already know Caligutard is too craven and stupid a leader to take the road of diplomacy in dealing with this guy, but at the very least he should be receiving basic legal rights. Don’t the whole lot of those pigfucking warmongers care that this guy’s torture or lifelong imprisonment puts a lie to every “reason” they had for justifying the invasion by saying Iraq needed democracy, freedom, and human rights? Oh wait, they already got the oil rights they wanted and many plum contracts for Halliburton, carry on…

Oh, and I should add that I’d hit it.

@baked: Hold on a minute, Lord Elgin. I think the shoes should become the new feature exhibit in the Iraqi museum we allowed to be looted of antiquities after the “liberation.” Although the BBC reports that a “Saudi citizen” has offered $10 million for them.
This matter should be handled by the Iraqi judicial system. US interference only proves that we’re really an imperial power running a colony. The man should be tried by a group of his Iraqi peers, given a medal, and sent home to his family.

@chicago bureau: Yes, the imperial executive is something that’s been decades in the making, very true, and the real test of Obama’s sensibilities as a curator of democracy will come when he seriously faces the question of disavowing some of the extraordinary (historically, constitutionally and in the context of the Caligutard administration) powers that have accrued to the presidency. All agreed. And in this moment, he could do better than cringe and shrug and let this poor sucker be stomped to death. In fact, I argue, he has a responsibility to defuse the situation. @flippin eck: Those shoes weren’t thrown at some doltish clod with FAS; they were thrown at The Presidency and all the assumed and perceived powers that come with it. This could turn out to be an inflection point that leads to all manner of mayhem. Lawrence instructs and, it is true today, Araby can be swept up in tital waves of ideas and emotion. Caligutard could have told the goons to let the guy go, cleaned him up and invited him to join him and interview him and maybe finished this trip with images that would advance nobler causes than avenging the slights against some guy who happens to be president. But you are right, this guy’s just a middleman who did his job like his father and grandfather before him.

@FlyingChainSaw: Heh. You were talking about George Bush and used the word “responsibility”. Hehehehe.

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