Friday, June 22, 2018

Iraq snapshot

Friday, June 22, 2018.  THE DAILY BEAST decides to copy PINK NEWS (can we use the p-term?) without attribution, Moqtada's chief of staff speaks to the press, and much more.


Tim Teeman has a report that posted an hour or so ago at THE DAILY BEAT and either he or THE BEAST decided that the way to cover Iraq's LGBTQ was with an ISIS hook.  I have no idea why.  ISIS did kill LGBTQs but even the figures in his article note that this accounted for only 10% of the deaths.  The bulk have been, according to Teeman's article, militias (31%). 

Killing of LGBTQs in Iraq -- and those suspected of being LGBTQ -- predates the rise of ISIS.   Let's drop back to June 1, 2009 to note that day's   KPFK's Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett which featured a conversation between Garrett and LA City Council member Bill Rosendahl and the topic was marriage equality:

 
Bill Rosendahl: . . . we're not equal in America today.  We're not equal anywhere on the earth.  In fact, I put a motion in last week on the council about the outrage in going on Iraq right now.  While we have 130,000 troops there, spending billions of dollars, killing a lot of local people, that gay people are being round up and murdered.  Over 600 have been documented and we're there watching it happen. And it's just outrageous and our president should get up and show some real leadership and, frankly, say, "Look, we're in Iraq to create freedom there and democracy and gay people are not going to be any more murdered just because they're gay."  And that's what's going on -- tortured and murdered.  And so, we suffer as gay people all over the planet.  We have a better life here in American and in the west than a lot of gay people have in other parts of the planet.  They're literally killed for their realities but here in the States we still don't have our basic civil rights.  I mean, when is our president going to get up and talk about Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Our people are in the military.  They're thrown out of the military.  He promised us that, I'm expecting real leadership out of him.  And I must say I am disappointed.  He has not taken the leadership seriously enough.  I don't like what he's doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I don't like what he's continuing to do in Iraq. He better not get to boisterous about North Korea and Iran.  You know, he should focus on our infrastructure, our education and bring peace to the planet, not more imperial war. 
 
 
Lila Garrett: Wait a minute.  600 gay people were murdered?  By whom?
 
Bill Rosendahl: 600 gay people in Iraq were murdered by --
 
Lila Garrett: By?
 
Bill Rosendahl: -- family and by folks within the militia who see gay people out in the street being more public.  They round us up and then they kill us.  And then there's an incredible torture mechanism that they do which I don't really want to say on the air but it's just disgusting how they end up putting us to death and to know about it from international gay and lesbian groups and to know our government knows it's going on and has said nothing about it, to me, is outrageous and I want our president to show some real leadership on this.
 
Lila Garrett: Yeah, but I really have to know, these 600 murdered people, you say by families and militia, are you talking about the American militia
 
Bill Rosendahl: No.  No, no, no.  No, I'm talking about several, what I consider, perversions of the Koran.  There are people who believe in Mohammad that also believe to be gay is wrong and that 'honor' murders can take place.  So some of it is literally families killing their own. And others are groups that are just part of the community who single out young gay men because they figure they are gay and kill them.  They literally kill us.
 
Lila Garrett: Are you saying, that this is happening in Iraq or is happening in Iran?
 
Bill Rosendahl: This is happening in Iraq as we're talking right now, Lila.
 
Lila Garrett: By Iraqis?
 
Bill Rosendahl: By Iraqis. 
 
Lila Garrett: And the United States is not stopping it?
 
Bill Rosendahl: It is not stopping it.
 
Lila Garrett: This is unbelievable.
 
Bill Rosendahl: It is unbelievable.  It's outrageous.  It is a living hell for my folks over there.
 
Lila Garrett: I don't understand why this isn't the story in the United States.
 
Bill Rosendahl: Well because the American media is so perverted.  They spend all this time about Miss America and all that at the same time this is going on over there.  They spend more time on trivia here than they do on real stories.  They spent some quality time on that young lady that was in Iran that was arrested as a spy who was a reporter.  But this particular issue has gotten no press, mainstream press, it has gotten a lot of other press and there's a lot of e-mails that are circulated and the gay and lesbian international groups have documented it, have gone over there and are the ones who first brought it to my attention.  And that's why I brought it to the attention of my colleagues on the City Council and we unanimously passed a resolution.  In fact, my chief of staff Mike Bonahma was with the vice president of the United States the next day, Joe Biden, because he was one of the early Obama supporters, and mentioned it to him, handed him the resolution and as Biden left the room, he said, "I'll get back to you on it." So hopefully our president will show real leadership and show an outrage to this.
 
Lila Garrett: Let's not hold our breath before Obama shows real leadership.
 
Bill Rosendahl: I know.
 
Lila Garrett: I want to get back to these 600 gay people that have been murdered.  By the Iraqis -- by whom among the Iraqis?  By the Sunnis?
 
Bill Rosendahl: No, no, no.  I'm talking about family.  I'm talking about just the militias and the insurgents in general.  They consider this [being gay] wrong and a murderous act and they literally kill us.  And when the numbers started to become hundreds -- and now it's over 600 documented -- that's when it was brought  to my attention.  In fact, one of the international leaders of the gay group read a letter that was sent to him by a 25-year-old gay man who was in that threatened position.  So we're trying to raise the awareness out there, the public awareness, and you're helping with that, Lila, by putting it on your show.


Let's stay with that day's snapshot for a moment to make sure we're all on the same page:

As noted May 15th, "Ruben Vives (Los Angeles Times) reports that the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to approve Council Rep Bill Rosendahl's 'resolution calling for federal legislation urging the Iraqi government to prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people'."  Lila noted that the segment was taped ahead of time so, for perspective, the resolution passed May 15th.  This year, the targeting's been noted here first in more on the issue, you can see this snapshot, this entry and the roundtable Friday night ["Roundtable on Iraq," "Roundtabling Iraq," "the roundtable," "Iraq," "Iraq in the Kitchen," "Roundtable on Iraq," "Talking Iraq," "Iraq," "Talking Iraq roundtable" and "Iraq roundtable"] That's going back to the start of April and it is not true that the MSM has ignored it.  They could do a lot more but they have covered it and where there has been no amplification is in Panhandle Media which appears to feel it's a 'niche' story to be left to the LGBT media.  In April, Wisam Mohammed and Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) and Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN), the Dallas Morning News, UPI and AFP reported on it.   Michael Riley (Denver Post) covered the story and covered US House Rep Jared Polis' work on the issue (which included visiting Iraq), PDF format warning, click here for his letter to Patricia A. ButenisPolis is quoted at his website stating, "The United States should not tolerate human rights violations of nay kind, especially by a government that Americans spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year supporting.  Hopefully my trip and letters to US and Iraqi officials will help bring international attention and investigation to this terrible situation and bring an end to any such offenses."   For the New York Times, Timothy Williams and Tareq Maher's "Iraq's Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder" covered the topic.  BBC News offered "Fears over Iraq gay killing spate."  The Denver Post offered an editorial entitled  "Killing of gay Iraqis shouldn't be ignored: We applaud Rep. Jared Polis for his efforts last week to shine the spotlight on the killings of homosexuals in Iraq,"  Nigel Morris offered "Iraqi leaders attacked over spate of homophobic murders" (Independent of London), the Telegraph of London covers the issue hereNeal Broverman (The Advocate), Jessica Green (UK's Pink News), and Doug Ireland covered it (here's one report by Ireland at GayCityNews -- he's filed more than one report), AFP reported on it again when signs went up throughout Sadr City with statements such as "We will punish you, perverts" and "We will get you, puppies" (puppies is slang for gay men in Iraq) and Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reported on that as well. Chris Johnson offered "Polis seeks to aid Iraqis: Says gays 'fear for their life and limb' after fact-finding trip to Baghdad" (Washington Blade), Killian Melloy (The Edge -- this is the April 2nd story that contains the State Dept stating it's not happening -- the denial) and [PDF formart warning] the April 15th  "Iraq Status Report" by the US State Dept notes the killings.  Amnesty International weighed in as did the  International Gay and lesiban Human Rights Campaign.  Jim Muir (BBC News -- text and video) reported on the targeting and the attacks. UK Gay News covered it, last week ABC News offered Mazin Faiq's "Tortured and Killed in Iraq for Being Gay" Chicago Pride and UPI covered the latest deaths last week.  And AFP and Jessica Green (UK's Pink News) covered the public statement from Moqtada al-Sadr about how they needed to be "eradicated" for "depravity" and he thinks they can be 'taught' not to be gay. As for the technique, Bill Rosendahl didn't want to discuss on air  Doug Ireland (ZNet) reported on that in May:
 

As the murder campaign targeting Iraqi gays intensifies, a leading Arabic television network last week revealed the use of a horrifying new form of lethal torture against Iraqi gay men -- anti-gay Shiite death squads are sealing their anuses with a powerful glue, then inducing diarrhea, which leads to a painful and agonizing death. The use of this stomach-turning new torture was first reported by the Al Arabiya network, which is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates and was alerted to the story by a leading Iraqi feminist and human rights activist.
Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), told Al Arabiya that the torture substance "is an Iranian-manufactured glue that, if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile telephones in Iraq." Al Arabiya said its reporter confirmed the use of this anal torture by "visiting the Baghdad morgue in Bab-al-Moazaam in central Baghdad, where Neman Mohsen, the medical examiner, confirmed they have the bodies of seven homosexuals in the morgue. He said, 'We were not able to identify the culprits, who dumped the bodies in front of the morgue and fled without being seen.'" A two-person team from Human Rights Watch (HRW) currently in Iraq to investigate persecution of LGBT people has also confirmed the use of this form of torture. In a widely-circulated email from Iraq, the head of HRW's LGBT desk, Scott Long, said he and his colleague had gathered evidence which confirms the Al Arabiya report and that HRW would make its own detailed report after the organization's two staffers return to the United States next week.      



The State Dept denial noted above came when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  It was considered wiser to ignore it than risk that they might be forced to pull aid from Iraq.  US Senator Robert Menendez would run afoul of the Obama administration a few years later when he refused to back down on the human rights abuses carried out by the Iraqi government.  It was during that period that the efforts to remove Menendez from office kicked off. 

And the human rights abuses of the Iraqi government included the targeting of Iraq's LGBTQ community.  As we covered here, this was a Nouri al-Maliki operation.  It was his Ministry of the Interior that distributed pamphlets throughout the schools and sent in speakers explaining that these "vampires" must be killed. 

To this day, some who paid attention will try to give Nouri cover noting that the Ministry could have acted alone.  Yes, it could have.  But who was the head of the Ministry?

Nouri al-Maliki.  He refused to name a Minister for Parliament to confirm because he wanted to control the Ministry of Interior. 

Nouri was prime minister and he was in charge of the Ministry.

The Ministry had been in place for almost seven years before that and it had a lousy reputation; however, it was not known for going into schools with presentations calling for students to kill.

Nouri, of course, insisted that was not what they were doing.  AL MADA and ALSUMARIA had covered the story before his denial.  Too bad for Nouri, they were then able to produce the documents handed out by the Ministry to the students.  They were calling for the murder of anyone suspected of being gay and they were referring to them as "vampires."

That's Nouri.  That's the Iraqi government at that time.  And the US State Dept, in April of 2009, didn't want to risk being forced to cut off funding to Iraq or US troops being removed from Iraq. 

From Tim Teeman's report this morning:


Rana from Babylon said: “I will die without anyone knowing that I was a lesbian. All the feelings I have, and all the girls I had crushes on will remain secrets I will take with me to my grave. I don’t think I will ever live to see an Iraq that welcomes people like me.” 
Mazin, a gay man living in Baghdad, told IraQueer in January 2018: “I escaped my family’s home six months ago. My dad is a police officer and he found out that I am gay. He’s been threatening to kill me since then. I’ve been staying at my friend’s house since, and rarely go out.”
Rawa, a 26-year-old gay man, said he was unable to keep his job because of sexual harassment and violence. “I was raped by my boss when I was working as a barista. He then threatened that he will report me to the police if I said anything. I had no choice but to escape.”
Hana, who is 31 years old and lives in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, said: “Every day I spend with my husband, another part of me dies. My father forced me to marry my cousin. I no longer recognize myself in the mirror.”
Members of the trans community face particular danger “simply by existing,” the report said. Hormone treatments are not legal and so make transitioning even more dangerous. Gender confirmation surgery is not permitted by the law, and if people manage to have the surgery outside the country, they face difficulties obtaining legal documents that reflect their gender identity.




  1. 96% of Face Physical or Verbal Violence. A new report, released by the group , has revealed the state of LGBT rights in . It found 96% of LGBT Iraqis have faced physical or verbal violence because of their sexuality or gender…
  2. Ronny, a gay Christian refugee from Mosul, Iraq, looks out at the city skyline. After being sexually harassed by his work colleagues, he moved to an LGBT shelter in Istanbul. Ronny, 32, has faced other discriminatory acts in Turkey, including being beat up by eight people on…


  1. We are officially releasing our baseline study highlighting the situation of the LGBT+ community in Iraq. Read more about the report in this interview with .





Eve Hartley reported on the survey four days ago for PINK NEWS and, interesting, she didn't feel the need to use ISIS as a hook.



Members of the trans community in particular face extreme danger simply by existing in Iraq. In particular danger are those who choose to undergo hormone treatment and show physical changes.
As hormone treatments and sex operations are not legal in Iraq,  transitioning is even more dangerous for those individuals. People who manage to undergo the surgery outside of Iraq face the difficulties in obtaining legal documents that reflect their post surgical identity.


Hmmm.  That's strangely similar to what Tim wrote this for morning for THE DAILY BEAST:

Members of the trans community face particular danger “simply by existing,” the report said. Hormone treatments are not legal and so make transitioning even more dangerous. Gender confirmation surgery is not permitted by the law, and if people manage to have the surgery outside the country, they face difficulties obtaining legal documents that reflect their gender identity.


Strangely similar. 

Eva and PINK NEWS cover it and then THE DAILY BEAST and Tim 'borrow' from it four days later.

Let's move on to another topic, Turkey's continued attacks on Iraq.



Statements by undisclosed Iraqi sources talked about an understanding between Baghdad and Ankara on Turkey pursuing the PKK inside Iraqi territory. Turkey has touted the reported agreement, but Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, have adamantly denied one exists.
Saad al-Hadithi, spokesman for the prime minister's office, said Turkey's statements about launching military operations in Iraq are politically motivated as Erdogan is trying to impress voters before the June 24 elections.
“Turkey wants the Turkish citizens to vote in favor of the Turkish president in the elections,” Hadithi told Al-Monitor. “The Iraqi government will not allow Turkish forces to invade its territory under any pretext. It warned Turkey not to do so. The entry of Turkish troops into the Iraqi territory is a violation of sovereignty.”
While Baghdad is openly rejecting the Turkish incursion, silence prevails in the KRG.
The KRG — which fought a war against the PKK in the 1990s — doesn't mind Turkey's military action against the Kurdish militant group, said Nawzad Hasan, a political analyst at Al-Sabah Iraqi newspaper and a former professor at Salahuddin University-Erbil.
KRG spokesman Sven Dzi told Al-Monitor, "The KRG had called on the PKK months ago to leave the Kurdistan region territory, to deny Turkey any pretext for its invasion.” 
Though Iraq clearly rejects any military action without its consent, Hasan told Al-Monitor that Baghdad isn't in a position to stop Turkish incursions right now, given the internal turmoil over Iraq's recent elections.



Nawzad Hasan's an interesting sort of analyst "Baghdad isn't in a position to stop Turkish incursions right now, given the internal turmoil over Iraq's recent elections."  Those elections took place May 12th.  What prevented Baghdad prior to that?  This has been going on for years. As noted in yesterday's snapshotYENISAFAK reports, "Turkey has 11 temporary military bases in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Thursday."


 
On the topic of the recent elections, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc came in first in the elections (who knows how the recounts will turn out).  Quentin Muller (THE NEW ARAB) interviews Dhia al-Asadi (chief of staff for Moqtada).  Here's an excerpt:
Q.M. - Why did he distance himself from Iraqi Shia politicians?
D.A. - Moqtada left the Shia coalition because he didn't trust al-Maliki. And above all he wanted to change our relations with our neighbours. We fought the US intervention in Iraq, but that didn't mean we had to put up with the presence of Iranians, Turks or other Arabs on our soil. It is positive to have good relations with one's neighbours, but that doesn't mean those countries should interfere in our affairs.
Q.M. - Have you carried out surveys among your followers to make sure your new positions won't cause a split in the Sadrist movement?
D.A. - Our movement involves three different levels. There is Moqtada, the leader, there is an "elite" - though I wouldn't call us that, rather we are intermediaries, civic advisers, like myself; and then there are the grassroots followers, who trust him implicitly.

There was no need to take a survey or negotiate with them, because whatever he decides, they will go along with it. Sometimes we advisers will get together with him and negotiate, pointing out different possible directions we could take, but the final choice is his. Before making a decision, Moqtar al-Sadr consults with those who are closest to him, in Iraq and abroad.
Q.M. - But still, isn't it a little odd to have made an alliance with communists and liberals, often viewed in Iraq as "atheists"?

D.A. - In 2015, we took to the streets alongside representatives of the very few other parties involved in the anti-corruption demonstrations, and we realised we had a common goal, a peaceful one: Reforming the political system.

And so Moqtada al-Sadr broached the question: Why not join our efforts and form a single coalition? Some thought such a coalition couldn't last because of our ideological differences. Sometimes contradictions do arise, but our goal was not to discuss what divides us but rather our common objectives.





The following community sites -- Jody Watley -- updated:




  • Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Leslie Cockburn’s 8-Minute View of the World


    Leslie Cockburn’s 8-Minute View of the World
    By David Swanson
    http://davidswanson.org/leslie-cockburns-8-minute-view-of-the-world/
    Our VA-05 Democratic Party nominee for Congress Leslie Cockburn has a website that does not admit to the existence of the world, mention foreign policy, outline a basic budget, oppose or support any wars, or propose or denounce any treaties, international bodies, acts of diplomacy or aid. Her campaign has declined to answer any questions related to the 60% or so of the budget she wants to oversee that currently goes to militarism.
    But she spoke publicly on Tuesday, together with Larry Wilkerson, and someone has postedvideo of 48 minutes from him and 8 from her. Did she really speak for only 8 minutes at an event where she was listed as one of the two speakers? Who knows. I’m told by someone who attended that she didn’t speak much (if at all) more than that, and that she left the event shortly after speaking. But we now know 8-minutes worth of information from her and her campaign and her supporters. This is the sum total of the foreign-policy knowledge on which we’re supposed to decide whether or not she should be sent to Congress. So it’s worth looking closely at these 8 minutes.
    Cockburn denounced John Bolton as a “warmonger” who wants war with Iran and North Korea, strongly implying that she wants neither. She says the military budget is too big and notes that a fraction of it could make college free in the United States, implying that she wants to reduce military spending by some unstated amount and that she might want to fund free college. She does not make any concrete proposals or lay out any legislation she might introduce.
    Cockburn mentions U.S. wars in Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan. She speaks of the U.S.-Saudi war on Yemen as the worst disaster in the world, seeming to imply that she would end U.S. involvement and perhaps even U.S. support for Saudi Arabia. But she doesn’t say so. The one case in which she explicitly names a policy she favors is Afghanistan, where she favors either sitting down and talking or withdrawing. What she would count as sitting down and talking and how long she would support continuing it before withdrawing we can’t be sure.
    Cockburn makes a number of arguments against a U.S. war on Iran, strongly implying that she’s against one. She says she favored keeping the Iran agreement. She says that Bolton needs to be “checked,” and she credits James Mattis with being more reasonable.
    Cockburn closes with a highly vague and muddled comment about war or Congressional war powers. She sees the AUMF(s) as a facilitation of endless war and wants it/them “changed.” However, she cites Senator Tim Kaine as working in the right direction, despite the fact that Kaine has been trying to expand the AUMF to further facilitate presidential wars.
    Cockburn says that after every war people get together and sign something that says they don’t want any more wars. She suggests three examples of this: the U.N. Charter after World War II, an unnamed document after World War I (presumably the Kellogg-Briand Pact), and an unnamed document after the war on Vietnam (she seems to mean the War Powers Act). And she suggests that all of these were somehow sort-of related to Congressional war powers.
    In reality, of course, while the War Powers Act relates to Congressional war powers, the other two documents are international treaties that ban war, one with narrow loop holes, the other without. This is actually slightly important, because Senator Kaine and others have also been advancing legislation to essentially undo the War Powers Act, while rhetorically maintaining the pretense of doing the opposite, but at the same time advancing the idea that war is legal as long as it is Congressional. For Cockburn to mention the existence of the U.N. Charter and the (unnamed) Kellogg-Briand Pact would seem encouraging, except that it’s unclear whether she knows what they say.
    Happy voting!


    --
    David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
    Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.
    Help support DavidSwanson.org, WarIsACrime.org, and TalkNationRadio.org by clicking here: http://davidswanson.org/donate.

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