U.S. soldiers raided and ransacked the offices of the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists (ISJ) in central Baghdad Tuesday this week. Ten armed guards were arrested, and 10 computers and 15 small electricity generators kept for donation to families of killed journalists were seized.
This is not the first time U.S. troops have attacked the media in Iraq, but this time the raid was against the very symbol of it. Many Iraqis believe the U.S. soldiers did all they could to deliver the message of their leadership to Iraqi journalists to keep their mouth shut about anything going wrong with the U.S.-led occupation.
"The Americans have delivered so many messages to us, but we simply refused all of them," Youssif al-Tamimi of the ISJ in Baghdad told IPS. "They killed our colleagues, closed so many newspapers, arrested hundreds of us and now they are shooting at our hearts by raiding our headquarters. This is the freedom of speech we received."
Some Iraqi journalists blame the Iraqi government.
"Four years of occupation, and those Americans still commit such foolish mistakes by following the advice of their Iraqi collaborators," Ahmad Hassan, a freelance journalist from Basra visiting Baghdad told IPS. "They (the U.S. military) have not learned yet that Iraqi journalists will raise their voice against such acts and will keep their promise to their people to search for the truth and deliver it to them at any cost."
There is a growing belief in Iraq that U.S. allies in the current Iraqi government are leading the U.S. military to raid places and people who do not follow Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's directions.
"It is our Iraqi colleagues who pushed the Americans to that hole," Fadhil Abbas, an Iraqi television producer told IPS. "Some journalists who failed to fake the truth here are trying hard to silence truth seekers by providing false information to the U.S. military in order to take advantage of their stupidity in handling the whole Iraqi issue."
The incident occurred just two days after the Iraqi Union covering journalists received formal recognition from the government. The new status allowed the Syndicate access to its previously blocked bank account, and it had just purchased new computers and satellite equipment.
"Just at the point when the Syndicate achieves formal recognition for its work as an independent body of professionals, the American military carries out a brutal and unprovoked assault," International Federation of Journalists General Secretary Aidan White said in a statement. "Anyone working for media that does not endorse U.S. policy and actions could now be at risk."
The above, noted by Marcia, is from Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily's "Another U.S. Military Assault on Media" (IPS). Bremer was the first to be most public that his war on the Iraqi press was all about his own pettiness but al-Maliki has more than carried the ball since being installed to front the illegal occupation. Worth noting from the New York Times this morning, Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "Old Problems Undermine New Security Plan for Baghdad:"
It looked like a scene out of a counterinsurgency training video. Dressed in crisp uniforms with a computer-generated camouflage of blue, gray and brown, Iraqi national police officers joined United States troops on searches late last week through relatively calm districts of Shaab and Ur in northeast Baghdad in the first large operation of the Baghdad security plan.
But appearances in Iraq can often be deceiving. At least two of the national police officers who turned out for the operation were moving ahead of the American troops not to lead the security drive but to warn the residents to hide their weapons and other incriminating evidence.
Some policemen on the sweep advertised their Shiite sympathies. Infiltration by militias has always been a major problem for the Iraqi security forces, and particularly the police, viewed by many Sunnis in the capital as de facto Shiite militia fighters.
The much anticipated effort to wrest Baghdad streets from the control of militias and insurgents has been presented in news conferences and public statements as an Iraqi-led operation. Iraqi officials have been out front, announcing arrests, weapons finds and other details, as well as new decrees intended to halt two years of so-called sectarian cleansing. But on the streets, the joint patrols seemed little different from those of the past few years: A handful of Iraqis, acting at the direction of a larger group of Americans, opening drawers and closets and looking behind furniture as they searched for banned weapons or other contraband.
Now we're going to return to the topic we were on in "MSM cover rape? Against their will!"
From Marilyn French's The War Against Women, pp. 193-194*:
Scully concludes: "No fundamental change will occur until men are forced to admit that sexual violence is their problem." Yet while everyone knows that it is men who rape, few see it as men's problem. All too many women, and men who do not rape, blame women for rape, claiming that they deserve it for putting themselves at risk. We will put aside the many cases that make a mockery of suck statements (like ninenty-year-old women raped and killed in their own houses) to examine such a position. What are these people saying? They are assuming that men are women's natural enemies (much as one animal is another's), that all men are potential predators upon women, and that women know this and must protect themselves. If they do not, they are asking for what they get. Men's behavior is taken for granted, not judged. Only women are judged. And what is taken for granted is that men are engaged in perpetual war against women.
So automatic is society's acceptance of male rapists as a fact of fact of life that journalists often conceal this form of male predation. Peace activist Betty Reardon points out that male-dominated media often censor the fact that murdered women were also raped. For example, the men who murdered the four American religieuses in El Salvador in 1980 raped them first -- but most media did not mention this fact. One person who did, Reardon writes, was Mary Bader Papa in the National Catholic Report, who wrote: "A special message was sent us by the rapists and murderers of the four American women. They wanted to make it clear that women who step out of their place will find no special prosecution behind the labels of 'nun or churchworker.'"
[* That's from memory. If you're planning to use it for a paper, get a hard copy. I will try to check it when I get home tomorrow morning. If I do, I'll note that it's correct or needed a word change (or more than one) in Saturday's morning's entry. If you don't see a note tomorrow, please remind me because I may forget.] [2-24-07, haven't made it home yet; however, Dona was kind enough to check both excerpts and says they are correct. Thank you, Dona.]
So what a week it's been, what a telling week. Two women come forward in Iraq to say that they're raped and those reporters who play no-one-can-figure-anything-out with the first, ignore the second or just ignore the fact that three of her rapists confessed. With the first woman, only Richard Mauer and McClatchy Newspapers bother to run by experts a released page (page two and only page two) of a medical report allegedly on the first woman to find out what it means. (The released page backs up the rape claim unless, like many pigs, there's a belief that only a virgin can be raped.)
And as always, there was Abeer. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi ignored in real time by pretty much everyone, big media and small. Ignored after a minor flurry in June. Never followed up on by most. The New York Times found her so repulsive they could never print her name. Don't think they found her rapists repulsive because Robert F. Worth and Carolyn Marshall wrote a very sympathetic defense argument for the rapists, a novel one, one that, it turns out, the defense would use as well. The oft cited military expert Eugene Fidell would note that this defense was one unknown legally. So it was just pure luck that Worth and Marshall would present it in the paper before the defense could.
At the height of this, some on the left or 'left' side of the net fired off nasty little bulletins, trying to shut down any discussion on what might have happened. There's no might now. Two of the rapists have confessed. But see how much attention it gets because Abeer's not warranted much attention from the media (big or small) from day one.
The new 'fad' these days is to continue to call the war crimes 'rape and murder' when in fact they are gang rape and murder. Two of three men accused have now confessed in a court of law. Both tell of of 'taking turns' holding her down and raping her and both say a third did as well. That isn't just a rape, that is a gang rape.
But note how few will use the proper term. (The Associated Press deserves credit for doing so -- Kristen M. Hall and Rose French to cite two reporters.)
Maybe it's time to start noting that the Go-Go Boys Gone Wild in the Green Zone rumors included brothel visits? What we can note is that it's nothing new.
In the towns brotherls sprang up. A double standard of sexual morality pervaded. There was no mercy for 'fallen' women but the colonialists expected to make any woman they wanted whore for them. The upper-class Vietnamese colluded in this, ready to offer their wives to the French for the chance of promotion. Rape was barely an offence if the victim was Vietnamese. The sexual violation of a woman seemed nothing amidst the violation of a whole people
-- Sheila Rowbotham's A History of Women and Revolution In the Modern World, p. 209*
[*See earlier note. ] [2-24-07, Dona says this is correct.]
We'll close with another highlight from Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily, "Fallujans Defiant Amidst Chaos" (IPS):
Resistance attacks against U.S. forces have been continuing in Fallujah despite military onslaughts and strong security measures.
Two U.S. military onslaughts in 2004 left the city in a shambles and displaced an estimated 250,000 of the 350,000 residents of the city.
The military operations, and more that followed have done nothing to reduce resistance in and around Fallujah city in the al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad.
Last month U.S. forces introduced a new phase of 'security' along with local Iraqi police, and supported by some local Sunni militias.
Resistance groups have taken the fight to the security forces. In one instance resistance fighters in four cars attacked one of the biggest police stations in the city with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.
Chief of the city council Abbas Ali Hussein was killed by unknown assassins. He was the fourth chief of council killed in the city within 12 months.
"The big failure of the U.S. troops in Fallujah came when they began bringing Sunni secret police into the city," a member of the city council told IPS. "The situation in Ramadi, Hit, Haditha and all over al-Anbar province is now catastrophic."
IPS has reported earlier that the U.S.-led coalition had backed local militias near Fallujah in an effort to combat growing resistance in the area. Many residents in Fallujah believe the U.S. military also continues to support Shia militias.
Amidst the chaos and violence, residents blame occupation forces for their problems.
"Americans are paying our own people to kill each other," a local tribal chief told IPS. "This is very nasty revenge."
The tribal chief said U.S. forces provoked armed resistance in Fallujah early in the occupation when they killed 17 unarmed demonstrators on Apr. 28 and 30.
Brad noted the above.
The e-mail address for this site is email@example.com. And, noted last night, the snapshot may be very late today. I've got three different campuses of students to speak with and I'm not sure the distance/travel time required on the last two. So it may go up late, but the snapshot will go up today.
kristen m. hall
the new york times
richard a. oppel jr.