Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No justice in Iraq

Students were leaving the school when a bomb in a wooden cart detonated, killing the pupil, along with a 2-year-old girl and two adults at an adjacent market. The 12 people injured included students.
In a second attack, a roadside bomb targeting an army patrol killed five soldiers in Hillah, south of Baghdad, police and a witness said.
"It hit the first vehicle. The whole thing exploded and burned," witness Ali Jubouri said.
In the northern city of Tall Afar, a car bomb killed five people and wounded 30, including five children, a senior medic in the city's main hospital said.

That's the Los Angeles Times on some of yesterday's violence. Instead of noting the violence covered in Alissa J. Rubin and Katherine Zoepf's "Bombs Kill 21 Iraqis, Including Children" (New York Times), we're going to zoom in on this section:

Judge Khalifa said Mr. Majid was guilty of crimes against humanity. Mr. Majid remained calm, but Mr. Ani shouted: "I welcome death if it is for Iraq, for pan-Arabism and for the Baath. Down with the American and Persian occupation!"
The judge responded, "Shut up."
In later remarks to fellow judges, Judge Khalifa was overheard saying: "All the Baathists are this way. Baathists live as Baathists and die as Baathists."

We don't cover the kangaroo courts in Iraq and it's because they're not about justice. But we'll note the above because, in America, Judge Khalifa would not merely have to recuse himself from the case, he would be disbarred for those remarks. He would be disbarred and that's what should happen in Iraq to Khalifa.

The Times of Los Angeles gives a nod to the UN report released yesterday -- nod in passing -- while the Times of New York doesn't seem aware of it. If you ever wonder how so many press violations can take place in Iraq, grasp that it's all the easier when American journalists refuse to stand up for their Iraqi counterparts. UNAMI's report had more than a little to say about Iraqi journalists and the way they are treated.

If you want medical treatment, you're still better off leaving Iraq. Lloyd notes this from Ernesto Londono's "A Lifeline Abroad for Iraqi Children" (Washington Post):

Appalled by the state of Iraq's health-care system and frustrated by rules preventing military doctors from treating Iraqis, Heavey and a colleague, Capt. John Knight, 36, began arranging for sick Iraqi children to receive free medical treatment abroad. During their year-long deployment, which ended last month, they created a nonprofit organization that has sent 12 children overseas for medical care, funded by $17,000 that Heavey and Knight have contributed from their own pockets and raised from family and friends.
Heavey, who is so polite and soft-spoken that he seems out of place among gruff infantrymen, and Knight, 36, a physician assistant, worked at a small aid station inside the high walls of Forward Operating Base Justice, a U.S. military base in the Kadhimiyah section of northern Baghdad.

In today's snapshot, we'll finish out the UNAMI Human Rights Report and hopefully also note Iraq's Foreign Ministry which continues establishing diplomatic relations such as below:

1 December, 2008

Foreign Minister Receives Copy of Credentials of New Russian Ambassador in Baghdad

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari received a copy of the credentials of Mr. Valerian Vladmiri Wavij Shofayif, new Russian Ambassador in Baghdad on Monday morning 1/12/2008.

Minister Zebari welcomed Ambassador Shofayif, expressing that Iraq and Russia associated by excellent relations and it would remain like that, praising former Russia's Ambassador who challenged the difficult time in Iraq and kept the Russian embassy opened, wishing the success to the new ambassador in his work. Minister Zebari expressed the ministry's willingness to provide all the possibilities to success his mission in Iraq.

On his part, Russian Ambassador Valerian Shofayif expressed his country's commitment towards the relations with Iraq and it looks positively to the future of these relations and develop them in all fields, praising the security development in Iraq and restoring the normal life.

Minister Zebari discussed the bilateral relations and ways to develop them especially activating the Joint Russian Iraqi Committee, pointing out that Iraq wants Russia's support in its efforts to get Iraq out of the seventh chapter and protecting its money and wealth abroad.

Russian Ambassador expressed that his country is supporting Iraq in its efforts and it is following the international efforts to support and assist Iraq.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Labeed Abbawi, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary, Director of Minister Office Dr. Soroud Najeeb, Head of Protocol Department Ambassador Abdul Ameer Abu Tobiyik and Assistant Head of Europe Department Mr. Shamil Abdull Aziz Mohammed.

From yesterday's snapshot:

Thursday's snapshot noted: "Meanwhile in Germany a US soldier is seeking aslyum. Andreas Buerger (Reuters) reports 31-year-old Iraq War veteran Andre Shepherd self-checked out of the military in 2007 and is now seeking sancturay in Germany where he held a press conference today and declared: 'When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing. I could not in good conscience continue to serve. . . . Here in Germany it was established that everyone, even a soldier, must take responsibility for his or her actions, no matter how many superiors are giving orders'." Today James Ewinger (Plain Dealer) reports for Andre's hometown (Cleveland) that the 31-year-old war resister calls the Iraq War "illegal" and he notes:
Shepherd said he grew up on East 94th Street in Cleveland, attended Lakewood High School and studied computer science at Kent State University until he ran out of money.
He enlisted in 2004 with the hope of flying the Apaches, but was urged to become a mechanic first.
Scharf said he doubts that Shepherd's expected order to return to Iraq would, by itself, constitute an unlawful order.
"His best argument would be that Apaches are used to kill civilians," Scharf said, but he still viewed it as a weak case.

Via the MCN blog, here's a photo of Andre ("
André Shepherd seeks German asylum"):

Molly notes the opening to John Pilger's "Kafka Has a Rival" (Dissident Voice):

Today (December 1), a surreal event will take place in the center of London. The Foreign Office is holding an open day "to highlight the importance of Human Rights in our work as part of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." There will be various "stalls" and "panel discussions" and Foreign Secretary David Miliband will present a human rights prize. Is this a spoof? No. The Foreign Office wants to raise our "human rights awareness." Kafka and Heller have many counterfeits.
There will be no stall for the Chagos islanders, the 2,000 British citizens expelled from their Indian Ocean homeland, which Miliband's government has fought to prevent from returning to what is now a US military base and suspected CIA torture center. The High Court has repeatedly restored this fundamental human right to the islanders, the essence of Magna Carta, describing the Foreign Office actions as "outrageous", "repugnant" and "illegal". No matter. Miliband's lawyers refused to give up and were rescued on 22 October by the transparently political judgments of three law lords.
There will be no stall for the victims of a systemic British policy of exporting arms and military equipment to ten out of 14 of Africa's most war-bloodied and impoverished countries. In his speech today, with the good people of Amnesty and Save the Children in attendance, shamefully, what will Miliband say to the sufferers of this British-sponsored violence? Perhaps he will make mention, as he often does, of the need for "good governance" in faraway places while his own regime suppresses a Serious Fraud Office investigation into BAE's £43 arms deals with the corrupt tyranny in Saudi Arabia -- with which, noted the Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells in 2007, the British had "shared values".

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