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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Iraqis being threatened to vote?

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Author Topic: Iraqis being threatened to vote?
LetterRip
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This is from Riverbends Blog,

quote:
People in many areas are being told that if they don’t vote- Sunnis and Shia alike- the food and supply rations we are supposed to get monthly will be cut off. We’ve been getting these rations since the beginning of the nineties and for many families, it’s their main source of sustenance. What sort of democracy is it when you FORCE people to go vote for someone or another they don’t want?
http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2005_01_01_riverbendblog_archive.html

Anyone heard anything of this sort elsewhere?

LetterRip

[ January 22, 2005, 11:01 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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ben5
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How could you force someone to vote? You can't stop them from going in to the voting booth and leaving the ballot blank.
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JLMyers
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Ben,

I don't think getting them to actually vote is the problem. The problem is getting them to risk being killed by going to the polling place. Once you've forced them to go there, leaving the ballot blank isn't serving any purpose.

KE

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JLMyers
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quote:
People in many areas are being told that if they don’t vote- Sunnis and Shia alike- the food and supply rations we are supposed to get monthly will be cut off.
He doesn't say who is threatening people, much less offer any proof. This has got to be crap, surely we wouldn't do anything like what he claims?

KE

[ January 23, 2005, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: JLMyers ]

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RickyB
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Riverbend is a she, and she doesn't say it's us doing it. The food and supply rations are handled by Iraqis, so it would follow that it's them doing the threatening.

And FWIW, riverbend seems to be pretty respected among Irai bloggers, so I doubt she's making stuff up.

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FIJC
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I highly doubt the validity of this story.
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RickyB
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On what basis, FIJC? Are you saying that the operatives of the Iraqi interim gov't are above this sort of thing?
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Daruma28
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I've been reading Baghdad Burning for a while now...along with Iraq the Model, Healing Iraq, the Messopotamian and a few other Iraqi blogs.

Riverband is pretty anti-Amerian, anti-Interim and basically anti-everything that has happened since the start of the war.

I'm not pointing this out to try and discredit her, as she does offer a very interesting and valuable insight into the current situations from a citizens point of view in Baghdad, but she often posts speculations and rumors that run rampant throughout the streets.

Oh, and if any of you think our debates about the war are intense, go see the comments in Iraq the Model and Healing Iraq......

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RickyB
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No doubt. She's extremely (and eloquently) anti all the things you say, but still widely quoted even by pro-war blogs, which lends to her credibility in my eyes.

BTW, I loved her post advising Santa to enter thru the door after knocking, rather than thru the chimney, lest he get shot...

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FIJC
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quote:
"On what basis, FIJC? Are you saying that the operatives of the Iraqi interim gov't are above this sort of thing?"
On the basis that this sounds pretty much like a rumor or pure speculation, based upon little actual fact.
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LetterRip
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JLMeyers,

from a previous post by Riverbend,

quote:
There are several problems. The first is the fact that, technically, we don't know the candidates. We know the principal heads of the lists but we don't know who exactly will be running. It really is confusing. They aren't making the lists public because they are afraid the candidates will be assassinated.

Another problem is the selling of ballots. We're getting our ballots through the people who give out the food rations in the varying areas. The whole family is registered with this person(s) and the ages of the varying family members are known. Many, many, many people are not going to vote. Some of those people are selling their voting cards for up to $400. The word on the street is that these ballots are being bought by people coming in from Iran. They will purchase the ballots, make false IDs (which is ridiculously easy these days) and vote for SCIRI or Daawa candidates. Sunnis are receiving their ballots although they don't intend to vote, just so that they won't be sold.

Yet another issue is the fact that on all the voting cards, the gender of the voter, regardless of sex, is labeled "male". Now, call me insane, but I found this slightly disturbing. Why was that done? Was it some sort of a mistake? Why is the sex on the card anyway? What difference does it make? There are some theories about this. Some are saying that many of the more religiously inclined families won't want their womenfolk voting so it might be permissible for the head of the family to take the women's ID and her ballot and do the voting for her. Another theory is that this 'mistake' will make things easier for people making fake IDs to vote in place of females.

All of this has given the coming elections a sort of sinister cloak. There is too much mystery involved and too little transparency. It is more than a little bit worrisome.

I've emailed here a question regarding the substance of the claim of the threats, and also why she thinks people are planning to not vote.

LetterRip

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JLMyers
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I feel sorry for the Iraqis. They are being threatened if they do vote and threatened if they don't vote. They just can't win. At least it doesn't sound like she is accusing the US of any wrong doing.

KE

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LetterRip
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As posted by RickyB, apparently it has been acknowledged that rumors were in fact spread by interim government officials that not voting would result in loss of food rations.

I also found a posting by Raed - I haven't read too much from his blog, he has a much angrier voice on issues than Riverbend, and is also a non native Iraqi (he was in a relationship with Salam Pax whose blog was rather famous during the war for posting from Iraq, but I believe he is from Jordan. He does have an NGO that he is associated with and is frequently in Iraq, so he can offer some insight, but he is strongly anti-Bush so take things with a bit of salt...) He is venting more than usual in this post, but the information is interesting...

http://raedinthemiddle.blogspot.com/2005/01/vote-for-food.html

LetterRip

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LetterRip
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Okay more information and confirmation most taken from Raeds links,

There are confirmations from other sources that people were threatened and believed the threat,

quote:
Like many impoverished Iraqis, she says she has been threatened that unless she votes she will not receive her monthly food ration.

She said: "We are all due to die somedya. I am not afraid of being killed by a bomb or a shell, but I would hate to die of hunger. But if I do not go out and vote they will take my ration bnook away.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1462713_4,00.html

Also a confirmation in the Christian Science Monitor

quote:
The family has heard a rumor that those who do not vote will not receive a new food ration card, the document held by every Iraqi family that is being used to form the voter lists.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0126/p01s01-woiq.html

The reason the threat was credible, was that voter registration and confirmation was done via the individuals that distibute the ration cards.

LetterRip

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