Thursday, October 16, 2008

Security pact and no security still for Iraqi Christians

A13 of today's New York Times contains Alissa J. Rubin and Steven Lee Myers' "Iraq Inches Closer to Security Pact With U.S." which details the draft of the treaty between the White House and the puppet of the occupation (passed off as a SOFA) being whispered about but notes that there are many hurdles and also notes, "The Iraqis did not provide details about the language of the draft, and it is unclear whether it says the pullout would be based on conditions on the ground." Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman tells the paper, "In Parliament it will face a lot of opposition. Some of the nationalists won't like it and some other groups, too. They won't oppose it as such, by they will say they don't like this article or that article. Maybe it will pass, but it will take some time."

While Rubin and Myers stick to the fact, Kool-Aid drinker Patrick Cockburn is all giddy and ready to sing "Let's Hear It For The Boy." Cockburn hasn't read over the draft -- and it's only a draft -- but he just knows in his heart of hearts what it says and what it means and you kind of get the idea that Cockburn needs to walk through the halls of school today with a notebook held across his lap. You could consider it the most embarrassing scribble passed off as journalism in today's news cycle but only if you missed someone working overtime to render a victim of war crimes invisible. (That's addressed next entry.)

Patrick really thinks Nouri al-Maliki is running things. One more reason Cockburn has become of less and less value. But it's always cute to see a foreign 'radical' so damn obsessed with a US presidential election. It sure is cute to see all these people who can't vote in a US election obsess over it -- especially considering how they've all elected or re-elected their own little war criminals and maybe, had they spent the time required to STAND UP in their own countries instead, they'd have leadership they could be proud of? The easiest thing in the world for anyone to do is to point to leaders of another country while staying silent on their own.

Meanwhile Alsumaria reports that Iraqi Christians and "tribal figures" protested in Baghdad against the attacks on Christians in Mosul:

The Secretary General of the national council for tribes and awakening leaders council Mostapha Kamel expressed solidarity with Christians. Meanwhile, an Iraqi official announced that around 1390 families and more than 8300 people have flown the province last week.

Qassim Khidhir's "Iraqi Christians want actions, not words" (Kurdish Globe) explains:

Demanding more than words of condemnation, fleeing, prosecuted Christians seek protection and the safeguarding of their rights, families, and property.
Father Rafael Benjamin said that condemning the acts of forcing hundreds of Christian families to flee Mosul city is not enough. Iraqi officials and international communities must stop extremist aggressions against Christians.
"Up to this point, the Iraqi government has not found any solution to end the hostile acts against Iraqi Christians," said Father Benjamin, a priest in Ankawa town, which is a Christian town in the city of Erbil, Kurdistan Region's capital.

Asia News explores the possible forces behind the attacks on Iraqi Christians in "Kurds and Arabs exchange accusations over attacks on Christians in Mosul:"

Who is behind the attacks on Christians in Mosul? The Iraqi government says it does not believe that this is al Qaeda, while media sources note that most of the people struck lived in the area controlled by Kurdish militias. The Kurdish regional government denounces the "malign efforts" of those who want to "conceal the truly guilty," denounced as "religious fanatics," and "orders" all ministers to help those who have been struck.
The exchange of accusations over responsibility for the attacks against Christians in Mosul seems to confirm the at least predominantly political nature of what is taking place in a city that is at the center of Kurdish and "Arab" claims, in addition to being a region extremely rich in oil reserves. Condemnation of the attacks against Christians on the part of the highest Shiite authority, grand ayatollah Ali Sistani, seems to point in the same direction.

Assyrian Times publishes a plea which I'm going to assume can be republished in full due to the crisis and the need to raise awareness:

Assyrian Universal Alliance Demands UN's Immediate Intervention
10/15/2008 18:00:00

Date: 10/13/2008
No. 021

Secretary General
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon,
Secretary General, United Nations
C/O Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary General
United Nations, S-378
New York, NY 10017

Re: United Nations Intervention Urgently Required to Stop Bloodshed Against Assyrians of Iraq

Your Excellency,

On behalf of the Assyrian Nation, the Assyrian Universal Alliance is appealing for UN’s urgent intervention to immediately halt the atrocities and injustices perpetrated against innocent Assyrians in Iraq.

The human, civil and political rights of minorities are continuing to disintegrate; we receive reports daily from relatives and friends of the most heinous crimes: threats of violence and oppression, and acts of murder, kidnapping and rape. We have received news from Mosul of organized and deliberate killings which target Assyrian citizens. Families across Iraq are being forced to flee from this terrible situation with absolutely nothing, forsaking possessions and their very livelihoods to barely escape with their lives.

A large number of Christians, including Assyrians, have long called Iraq home. Now, because of the attacks, these Christians are being forced to close their shops and flee the city for fear of being targeted by armed radical Islamic groups. These appalling crimes take place frequently, despite the Iraqi government's claims of control over the national security system. Thus far the latest waves of displacements and murders perpetrated against the Christians of Mosul have all been ignored by the Iraqi government, ruling political groups, parties and organizations, as well as by the media.

Accordingly, we call upon the United Nations to take urgent measures to stop these vicious attacks against the Assyrians and to deal with this enormous humanitarian crisis that threatens the most ancient and indigenous nation of Iraq. We ask for your attention and support of the following:
1 - To demand severe and immediate action from the United Nations and the Iraqi and United States governments to stop the bloodshed against both Assyrians and Christians, and to provide emergency protection for them.

2 - To provide economic and financial assistance addressing the immediate humanitarian needs of the forcibly displaced Assyrian refugees in the northern cities of Iraq.

3 - To support the establishment of a national Assyrian security and police force and provide them with the arms and training necessary to secure and safeguard the Assyrian towns and villages from terrorist attacks and harassment by militias.

4 - To urge the Iraqi government to agree to the critical demand of Assyrians for an Assyrian Autonomous Region in the historical and ancestral Assyrian lands in Northern Iraq as part of the modern day Federal Republic of Iraq. This newly formalized Assyrian region shall be administrated and protected by the Assyrians under the jurisdiction of the central government of Iraq. The establishment of such a region is most crucial to the security and survival of the Assyrians in Iraq by allowing greater local Assyrian control within the context of their sovereign state as an integral part of Iraq. This action will also encourage the Assyrian refugees, whether those internally displaced in the homeland or those scattered in Diaspora, to return to Iraq.

On behalf of the Assyrians worldwide, I thank you for your support of our Assyrian people living in our ancestral lands, as well as your support of the other Iraqi Christians who are enduring this horrific situation. We eagerly await your positive response and plan of action detailing the support for the rights of our people and strategy for halting their bloodshed.

Yours faithfully,

Yonathan Betkolia
Secretary General-Assyrian Universal Alliance
No.10. Mokhaberat – Kanoon St.
Shahre Ziba
Ayatolah Kashani St. Tehran, Iran
Phone: 9821 4432-5050
Fax: 9821 4431-2755

Michelle A. Vu's "Iraqi Christian: We Took Only Our Souls" (Australia's Christian Today) stresses immediate needs:

Some are even sleeping in their cars.
These displaced Iraqi Christians are said to be in desperate need of food, clothing, bedding, personal hygiene items and other basic necessities.
"We left everything behind us. We took only our souls," said Ni'ma Noail, 50, a civil servant who was forced by the violence to abandon his home in Mosul and is now living in a church, according to Barnabas Fund.
The United States on Tuesday condemned attacks on Iraqis, including those against Christians in Mosul.
"The terrorist groups responsible for these attacks have shown again that their enemy is the Iraqi civilian population," the U.S. embassy said in a statement. "They are seeking to create divisions among Iraqi communities and undermine the progress Iraq is making in building an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society."
Mosul, the capital of Ninewa province, is home to the second-largest Christian community in Iraq, after Baghdad. Many Christians from Baghdad and Basra had fled to the north for safety in recent years.

Last night, if you watched, was pretty amazing, wasn't it? I thought the comment about not having heard that line since college was among the night's big winners. Clearly, last night's winner was Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The New Adventures of Old Christine -- what a wonderful show. Oh, the debates?

Pacifica Radio has Cynthia McKinney (Green Party presidential candidate) and Ralph Nader (independent presidential candidate) responding. I haven't listened to it and considering Pacifica's fact-free and highly biased debate coverage this month and last, I wouldn't expect much. But maybe, for a change, a piece of garbage can manage not to insult Cynthia McKinney (after she's off the line)? Say it to her face, coward, or shut your damn mouth. Pacifica doesn't grasp the issue of bias or the issue of being neutral. So who knows how they embarrass themselves this time? Didn't we all love the White Brit who thought he knew more about the theft of African-American votes in Florida in 2000 than Cynthia? If you can't laugh at these less-than-basic-cable rejects, you'd have to cry so remember, "Pacifica, where they hire the unhireable."

Vernon notes this from the McCain-Palin campaign:

ARLINGTON, VA -- McCain-Palin 2008 Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker issued the following statement on tonight's Presidential Debate:

"John McCain won tonight's debate with strong, clear straight talk about setting a new direction for our country and fighting for working families. He outlined a specific, bold plan for creating jobs, helping those near retirement, keeping people in their homes, curbing spending, lowering health care costs and achieving energy independence. He vowed to fight for 'Joe the Plumber' every day he is President and he affirmed his belief that we shouldn't raise taxes just to 'spread the wealth.' While Barack Obama is measuring the drapes and campaigning against a man not even on the ballot, John McCain demonstrated that he has the experience, judgment, independence and courage to fight for every American."

McCain is the Republican presidential candidate. Sarah Paline is his running mate. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Today Ralph takes on Wall St. :

Nader to Protest on Wall Street

Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM


Press Advisory
Contact: Toby Heaps, 202-441-6795, or Ryan Mehta, 408-348-0681

Attn: Politics Editor, Business Editors, Photo Editors


What: Ralph Nader Wall Street Rally to Protest the Bailout + Photo Opportunity with 25-foot tall inflatable pig

When: Thursday, October 16, 12 Noon

Where: Federal Hall, next to the NYSE, 26 Wall Street, New York City

Who: Ralph Nader, Matt Gonzalez, and local community leaders

Note: Event is on rain or no rain. In the event of rain, tent cover provided.

Note to TV crews: Mult box on premise. Media riser provided. Please arrive at least one hour early to set up. For satellites trucks, please arrive by 10:30 a.m.



Tori noted that and it will be included in the next entry as well.

And that's only one of the upcoming events for the Nader campaign:
Thurs. Oct. 16th, 12pm
Ralph Nader, Protesting the Bailout on Wall Street
New York City
Federal Hall
26 Wall Street

Click here for latest information and downloadable event fliers.

(718) 909-6343 or
Map it
Thurs. Oct. 16th, 7:30pm
Nader/Gonzalez Rally
Albany, NY
The Egg
Empire State Plz. Albany, NY 12223
Suggested Contribution: $10/$5 students
(518) 495-8001 or
Map it
Fri. Oct. 17th, 12:00pm
Nader/Gonzalez Rally
Syracuse, NY
Westcott Theater
524 Westcott St. Syracuse, NY 13210
Suggested Contribution: $10/$5 students
(315) 474-7055 or
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Fri. Oct. 17th, 7:00pm
Nader/Gonzalez Rally
Buffalo, NY
Lafayette Ave. Presbyterian Church
875 E. Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, NY 14222
Suggested Contribution: $10/$5 student
(504) 319-9312 or
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Mon. 20th, 3pm
Nader/Gonzalez Rally
Eugene, OR
Location: TBA

Suggested Contribution: $10/$5 students
(202) 471-5833 or
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Mon. Oct. 20th, 7:30pm
Nader/Gonzalez Rally
Portland, OR
Bagdad Theatre and Pub
3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214
Suggested Contribution: $10/$5 students
(503)781-2308 or
Map it

The e-mail address for this site is