Sunday, August 16, 2009

And the war drags on . . . .

Human Rights Watch will urge in a report to be released Monday that the Iraqi government do more to protect gay men, saying militiamen have killed and tortured scores in recent months as part of a social cleansing campaign.
Although the scope of the problem remains unclear, hundreds of gay men may have been killed this year in predominantly Shiite Muslim areas, the report's authors said, basing their conclusion on interviews with gay Iraqi men, hospital officials and an unnamed United Nations official in Baghdad.

The above is the opening to Ernesto Londono's "Gay Men Targeted In Iraq, Report Says" (Washington Post). AFP adds the report is entitled "'They want us Exterminated': Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq." Nouri al-Maliki, supposed 'advanced' and 'humane' leader -- if you believe the New York Times' recent efforts to whitewash the blood off Nouri, has done nothing. This isn't new and it's not new that it's being called out. US House Rep Jared Polis raised the issue last spring on a visit to Iraq. He and other members of Congress have appealed to the US State Dept, the US Embassy in Baghdad and the White House to do something. Nothing gets done because Iraq's LGBT community is neither a priority for or important to the US government. So Nouri's thugs in the Interior Ministry can continue their reign of terror and no one will object. They're eyes are on the 'prize' -- ramming through the theft of Iraqi oil legislation. The Austin-American Statesman (compiling various wire reports) notes, "The campaign has been largely blamed on Shiite extremists who target behavior deemed un-Islamic, beating and even killing women for not wearing veils and bombing liquor stores. "

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4330 and tonight? 4331. Violence continued today.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured two people, two Baghdad bombings attacking a commercial district which claimed 5 lives and left twenty-seven people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing which injured "Nineveh provincial council member Qusai Abbas" as well as "two of his bodyguards" and a Mosul grenade attack which wounded six people (two were police). Al Jazeera updates the death toll for the Baghdad commercial district bombings to 8. Reuters notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing which injured one Sahwa member


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) notes a Falluja home invasion ("house of commander of Fallujah police") in which two people were injured and a Falluja home invasion in which Sawha leader Jamal Ziban and 2 sons were killed before the house was then blown up. Reuters adds 2 Iraqi soldier were shot dead in Mosul in separate incidents.

Meanwhile in the New York Times, Sam Dagher continues to embarrass himself. The paper appears to have grasped how stupid they looked reducing Iraq to either Sunni or Shi'ite. So they rush out Dahger with an article on Iraq's 'minorities.' It's a hilarious read as he explains last week saw "Shiite Shabaks, a Kurdish-speaking minority" attacked. As we noted in real time, the Shabaks demonstrated publicly to become part of the Kurdistand Regional Government. It appears to be only the New York Times that wants to tie the Shabaks in with the Shiites. Then you learn from Dagher -- remember the Times reported that Shi'ites were the targets in last week's violence -- that the Yazidis and the "Shiite Turkmen" were also attacked. If you ask Turkmen (also spelled Turkmon) what they are, they'll respond "Turkmen." They won't toss out Shi'ite. Apparently the paper needs to cover their own ass? The UN, the ICRC, any respectable body classifies Shabaks as Shabaks, Turkmen as Turkmen. But the Times has really gotten vested in Nouri's puppet government and that's really not what a free press is supposed to do. Alissa J. Rubin should be grateful she got out of Iraq before the paper descended into such non-stop garbage passed off as 'reporting'. (Rubin is not assigned to Afghanistan.)

Lizette Alvarez does a better job for the paper reporting on women in combat:

As the convoy rumbled up the road in Iraq, Specialist Veronica Alfaro was struck by the beauty of fireflies dancing in the night. Then she heard the unmistakable pinging of tracer rounds and, in a Baghdad moment, realized the insects were illuminated bullets.
She jumped from behind the wheel of her gun truck, grabbed her medical bag and sprinted 50 yards to a stalled civilian truck. On the way, bullets kicked up dust near her feet. She pulled the badly wounded driver to the ground and got to work.

The paper can't be bothered (they filed a report in the spring) with the assaults on Iraq's LGBT community because they want to 'jazz up' the Shi'ites before the January elections. Presumably that's why they've done such a poor job covering the assault on journalism in Iraq. Adam Ashton (McClatchy's Kansas City Star) does a better job -- he notes around 200, as opposed to the Times' less than 100 who protested Friday -- but where's the draft law in his article? Not in his article. He does note:

Journalists' fears have been inflamed this summer by a decision from the Iraqi Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Interior requiring publishers to get their permission before printing books and by an Aug. 7 speech at a prominent Shiite mosque where an imam and lawmaker denounced a journalist's work, triggering fears for the writer's safety.

Imagine if we had an independent media that gave a damn about Iraq? Imagine if they birddogged these reporters and forced some truth into the reports? Instead, they've all got 'better' things to do.

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week
A note to our readers
Editorial: It can start all over again
TV: How a dud became watchable
The Joni Roundtable
The Flim Flam Man (Ava and C.I.)
News from Iraq
Amy Goodman doesn't give a damn about Iraq
FSRN covers Camp Ashraf
Klibur Solidaridade Timor-Leste
ETAN to Gather in Timor-Leste
Nourish yourself

We'll close with Pru's highlight, Simon Assaf's "Afghanistan: Growing resistance to the '40-year war'" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

The US military has admitted that the Afghan resistance is spreading across the country.
US General Stanley McChrystal, who is presenting a strategic assessment of the occupation, warned that the insurgency has spread from its traditional areas to other parts of the country.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, McChrystal said, “We’ve got to stop their momentum, stop their initiative. It’s hard work.”
His warning came as fighters stormed a government building Pul-i-Alam, near the Afghan capital, Kabul.
McChrystal said that the occupation needs a “very significant expansion” of the Afghan army.
There are currently some 100,000 foreign troops in the country. But the occupation needs to build the Afghan army to 400,000 troops—four times its current size.
The US military is now demanding an extra 45,000 troops, on top of the 62,000 it currently has in Afghanistan.
The US announced that some 4,000 troops would be launching an offensive on the Kandahar province. A similar offensive in the Helmand province last month resulted in heavy casualties.
Other soldiers will be posted to remote bases around the country, making them easy targets for guerrilla-style attacks.
Over 1,300 foreign troops and countless thousands of Afghans have been killed since the 2001 invasion—with the death toll rising month on month.
In July, 76 soldiers died and hundreds were badly wounded—22 were British soldiers.
Now McChrystal is warning that the August will be as bloody as July.
The announcement of a new offensive came as the future head of the British army, General Sir David Richards, told the Telegraph newspaper that Britain could be in Afghanistan for the next “30 to 40 years”.
Richards said that “the end will be difficult to define—it won’t be neat and clear-cut like the end of some old-fashioned inter-state war might have been.”
He added, “There is absolutely no chance of Nato pulling out. We made this mistake once. Our opponents are banking on us doing it again, and we must prove them wrong.”
The Tories have made it clear that they want to send more troops if they get elected.
Shadow defence minister Gerald Howarth said that leaving “would not be fair to those who have given their lives for this conflict”.
Occupation forces in Afghanistan announced that they have issued a “kill or capture” order for 367 “drug traffickers” as part of their war against the Taliban insurgents.
The death list has raised alarm about “mission creep”, with foreign troops launching a campaign of assassinations against those they suspect of supporting the insurgency.
A similar campaign in Iraq resulted in the killing of thousands of people suspected of supporting the resistance.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Protest called against war
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