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Apr 2, 2011

AUI-S Asks a Website to Remove an Anti-AUI-S Article

Dr. Athanasios Moulakis, the provost of the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, has asked the Salon website to remove an anti-AUI-S article. 

The article, which is written by Russ Baker Kristina Borjesson, is described as, "ultimately foolish and personal" and Mark Grueter, a fired lecturer at AUI-S, is accused to be behind the article. 

Here is the whole text of the letter sent by AUI-S to Salon.com asking for the removal of Sex, Oil, Chaos, and Corruption at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani  

Dear Editor,

We at the American University of Iraq were surprised and disappointed to see that War Room just published a tendentious, unsubstantiated, factually inaccurate piece originally written by a disgruntled former employee who was dismissed for cause by an earlier administration of the university. We ask you to see that the piece gets taken down simply because it is bad journalism, unworthy of Salon’s and War Room’s standards.
We would have been more than happy to host a Salon reporter at the university, to witness what the university is actually doing and what students and faculty here really think. No one contacted us. The person behind the story (Mark Grueter) has not been at AUI-S for almost two years. Russ Baker chose to attach his name to this piece, crediting Grueter for “providing research and reporting assistance”, but substantially repeated what was previously posted onWho What Why under Grueter’s name.
The piece rehashes controversies about the Bush administration and its policies in Iraq, now that such rhetoric carries no risk, and seeks to transform personal grudges into attacks on the political outlook of administrators who are no longer at the university, and whose politics, good or bad, have no bearing on the university’s mission or the way its affairs are conducted.
The story insinuates sinister links between the university and oil interests. In fact all corporate donations to the university are transparent. Pieces of petulant gossip supposedly flesh out a bigger story of American imperialist greed, centered on oil, and religious missionary fervor. Your readers are supposed to sit up when they learn that Rockefeller money has gone to theAmerican University of Beirut, an institution that has contributed to the intellectual advancement and capacity building of the region like no other. They will also be taken aback, no doubt, by the revelation that one hundred and fifty year old AUB and its sister institution, the American University in Cairo, were founded by protestant clergymen. So, of course, were Harvardand Princeton.  Thus, supposedly, the nexus of the right wing conspiracy is unmasked. Finally, in a Willy Horton like maneuver, the picture of Lynne Cheney inset against a view of the American University of Iraq purportedly clinches the point, though Lynne Cheney never visited AUIS.

Appealing to your sense of professional ethics and journalistic standards and Salon’s (as well as War Room’s) role as a credible news and commentary publication, I ask that you take down and retract this ultimately foolish and personal hit piece.


Dr. Athanasios Moulakis
The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani

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34 Comments: on "AUI-S Asks a Website to Remove an Anti-AUI-S Article"

Anonymous said...

I think it is unprofessional to attack an instituon like AUI-S. And Mark Grueter is behind this. He - DR. Moulakis - is alright about this.

Mark G said...

Just goes to show how hypocritical AUI-S and this mouthpiece are when it comes to free speech and freedom of the press.

In his letter, Moulakis tries to pressure - and rather pathetically flatter - a popular U.S. magazine into removing an article that criticizes AUI-S. You see, Iraqi and Kurdish politicians aren't the only leaders guilty of targeting media criticism. At least, it looks like Salon refused to indulge Moulakis' censorship fantasies. Here is the article on Salon.com: http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/02/16/american_university_iraq/index.html

The message of Moulakis' letter is clear: if you don't like something written about you, then do everything in your power to remove it. What a *great* value to instill in the students and to the people of that region. Nice work, Dr. Moulakis!

For the record, I did not write the article in question, as Dr. Moulakis so clumsily alleges.

- Mark Grueter

Anonymous said...

Mark Grueter,

IS your life so pathetic that you have nothing better to do than attack AUI-S?

You were fired over two years ago and you know next to nothing about how the University currently operates.

Some of your criticisms are, of course, valid. AUI-S has made mistakes. BUT for someone sitting in a Starbucks in Canada to pretend to be fighting the forces of neocon evil is really just .... well... pathetic.

COnclusion: Get a life.

Mark G said...


My life is fine. Thanks for asking. I know you ask out of the kindness of your heart. I moved to Canada and am pursuing a phd. (Don't blog from Starbucks though, sorry; however, you got the Canada part right. What'd you do, investigate my url address? Talk about, um, pathetic.) Who the hell are you, anyway?

As for attacking AUI-S, you strangely overlook the simple fact that Moulakis' letter above attacks ME. I think I deserve the right to respond, no? It doesn't take much time to handle you AUI-S folk, don't worry.

In any case, I am not the one responsible for sending a paranoid, conspiracy-laden call for censorship letter to Salon.com. Dr. "Cuckoo" Moulakis is.

I may have left at the end on 30 June 2009, but that place still seems royally screwed up to me.

COnclusion: go throw yourself off the nearest bridge.

Anonymous said...

Mark I respectfully hear you got fired from two jobs before AUIS and you wrote bad things about them as well? Is this really true and do you think this hurts your reputation as a journalist writer?

Anonymous said...

Haha so much anger in your response, Mark G.
Seems like I touched a nerve.

You are like the jilted ex-boyfriend of AUI-S: you just can't let us go, even after 2 years!

Instead of moving on, finding a new life, focusing on something productive, you spend your coffee shop time stalking us on the internet, saying nasty things about us and arguing with 20 year old Iraqis on their blog.

Time to start focusing on the PhD, buddy. Maybe then we'll take you back as a Professor.

Mark G said...

"You are like the jilted ex-boyfriend of AUI-S: you just can't let us go, even after 2 years!"

I think you've got it backward, buddy boy. While it's true that I loathe the AUI-S administration, *they* keep obsessing over *me*. For instance, someone named Elia Boggia recently sent a series of hysterical emails to Salon.com with all sorts of wild and petty accusations leveled at yours truly. I was asked to respond and did so. Boggins complained more about me than he did about the Salon article. But the editors didn't change any of the piece. Guess Boggins wasn't very persuasive. It included such silly nonsense as Boggins insisting that I had not been a "faculty member" but rather a mere English instructor. Right. Note to current EWPLI teachers: according to your bosses, you are NOT faculty members of AUI-S.

In any case, AUI-S dragged me out of retirement back into the fight. My contributions to the Salon piece ended last August just before I moved to Canada.

Similarly, last year, after my own takedown of AUI-S appeared in Counterpunch, former AUI-S media flack Jackie Spinner sent a "demand for corrections" email to Counterpunch. I think one or two out of about 20 demanded changes were made. So, you see, they keep on rather crazily provoking me.

"Instead of moving on, finding a new life, focusing on something productive..."

Well, I've done all that, of course. But it doesn't take much time out of the day to refute the moronic antics of AUI-S.

"arguing with 20 year old Iraqis on their blog."

So you're above arguing with Iraqi students? I hope they take that for the insult that it is.

"Time to start focusing on the PhD, buddy. Maybe then we'll take you back as a Professor."

I'd only consider coming back if offered the provost job. Somebody's gotta dispose of clowns like you and turn that place around.

Speaking of provosts, no comment on Moulakis' delirious and self-destructive letter above? That is, you're perfectly okay with the head of AUI-S attempting to block media coverage of AUI-S that he doesn't like? I guess the price is right for you...

Mark G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

So just so everyone understands...

You weren't fired from three jobs, just two.

The other job fired you after one week.

You consider both employers "corrupt."

Thank you for clearing that up.

Anonymous said...

Mark G, someone who knows you well is writing a book about AUI-S. You'll be in it. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Mark G,

Haha so busy with your PhD that you've found time to write hundreds of words in response.

Why so much anger, buddy? So defensive. So upset. So obsessed.

You might consider psychotherapy or rehab or something. In your current mental state, its hard to take you seriously.

Anonymous said...

will the real Mark G., please stand up, please stand up, please stand up . . . . . hahahahaha

Mark G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Got it. That job you thought was a joke fired you after one week. How rash of them.

Mark G said...

"How rash of them."

It wasn't rash of them. They were right - I wasn't going to teach the propaganda that they demanded. I was going to tell students the truth. They knew it, and I knew it. I didn't care about being fired. Hell, I only took the gig to get a free trip to Moscow and earn a little extra cash. And I got a good story out of it. Get with the program, fool, if you want to participate in this discussion. I repeat: there's no shame in being fired from a lousy workplace run by crooks and cowards.

Anonymous said...



1.) Get fired
2.) Accuse ex-employer of corruption, etc.
3.) Rinse
4.) Repeat

Mark G said...

The shampoo gag is almost funny, but let's return the subject of this blog post. Moulakis wrote:

"In fact all corporate donations to the university are transparent."

Let's make them transparent, then. I call on AUI-S to make all of their sources of revenue transparent. Joshua Mitchell, when asked about this in June 2010, was apparently baffled: he didn't seem to know where Dr. Bahram got the money from.

Anonymous said...

I strongly support Mark’s words. There is a huge corruption at AUIS. Everyone can see it. There is not any plan in their works. They came here to take money. Iraqi’s money is very sweet. Take it and go. Liberal art education is a dream.

Anonymous said...

Keep waiting for that libel settlement Mark G, you've made a lot of material available on the Internet, it may bite back.

Mark G said...

"Keep waiting for that libel settlement Mark G, you've made a lot of material available on the Internet, it may bite back."

Oooo, I'm scared. What am I going to do? I'm shaking! I'm shaking!

"They came here to take money."

Take the money and run, that's right. That's an American mantra and song, too - by the Steve Miller Band. "Go on take the money and run..."

Just look at the high turnover rate among all staff, faculty and admin. And especially the two fleeing founders - Agresto and Mitchell. For all of their large talk about the difficulties of building a start-up organization, they sure as hell didn't feel the need to stick around and make sure it works. Don't you think it's kind of odd for the leaders of such a new institution to basically skip town after a couple years?

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you stick around? Oh yeah, you got fired for being drunk during class from a previous night of binge drinking and throwing eggs at your own villa.

Not the best shape to be in while 'building a start-up' organization in Iraq, wouldn't you say?

Feel guilty you couldn't "take the money and run" yourself?

Suggestion: start supporting liquor tax back in your home country. It may save you your next job.

Anonymous said...

You do sound like George Costanza, Mark G

Mark G said...

"Oh yeah, you got fired for being drunk during class from a previous night of binge drinking and throwing eggs at your own villa."

I'll tell you what: if you stop telling lies about me, I might stop telling the truth about you. Seriously, those are big words coming from a guy who won't even reveal his own name. Must take a lot of courage to anonymously slander others.

Mark G said...

"You do sound like George Costanza, Mark G"

Yeah, I had to look up the Seinfeld script online for the exact quote. The brilliant comic writing of Larry David...

Anonymous said...

Mark, what that last person said was absolutely true. The liar is you. You were an alcoholic, you tried to pick up female students, you were abusive and you were an a awful teacher. Do you not understand that students oomplained about you to the dean? Feel free to interpret your teaching style the way you want, but the drinking and the stuff with the female students is true. You know it. Start your own blog, get off the students once and for all.

Mark G said...

"you tried to pick up female students, you were abusive and you were an a awful teacher"

Wrong thrice. For one thing, my student evaluations were great. I have copies of them, and if you want, I can fax them to you. My students actually went to Rosalind to plead my case.

Aw, well, you don't tell me who you are, so how can I fax anything to you? It is the epitome of cowardice to anonymously accuse someone of trying to pick up their students. I feel like you're psychologically projecting here.

Mark G said...

"Start your own blog, get off the students once and for all."

That's a comma splice error. I'm not going to start my own blog on the theme, but I'm also not going to sit around idly while a bunch of anonymous slobs attempt to malign my reputation. I am obviously not attacking the students of AUI-S on this blog. I am criticizing the administration and cowardly apologists like you.

Anonymous said...

You're a mess, get a girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

Don't be bitter, start your own school!

عشتار العراقية said...

OMG! It is getting better and better. There is someone here playing BIG BROTHER WATCHING every word and hitting back behind a veil. I wonder what BB would say when he/she reads MY piece about the whole project of AUI-S. It will be a huge piece starting first part today here:


Oops it is in Arabic. BB will need to hire a translator.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

OMG! You write on the blog in English, yet you can't translate your own article from Arabic? Interesting.

عشتار العراقية said...

Yes, Anon of April 11, because the articles are usually long ones, imagine how many hours it will take me to translate them. The research will cover tens of pages, perhaps 70+. I did not say my inability was due to language. Also, why should I translate them into English? My readers are the majority in Iraq who read Arabic, and know next to nothing about this project(AUI-S).

Anonymous said...

That makes no sense whatsoever.

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