Saturday, March 13, 2010

Court-martials, continued targeting of Iraqi Christians

I knew the phony progressive left was just a trick of Soros and billionaire criminals to take down health care. I knew Obama got more wall street money than any other candidate, and I knew he was a phony too, all the way, as I watched him snicker about Hillary, the woman's candidate being "likable enough". I didn't like her vote on Iraq, but she promised to end the war, and I believed that she would. I knew that she would listen to women, not completely abandon them as Obama has done. I knew that she would listen to working people, before bankers, unlike what Obama has done.

The above is from Roseanne's "when the dems screwed Hillary, they screwed america" (Roseanne's World). Meanwhile Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) reports that, following his Article 32 hearing, the US military will now move to court-martial Spc Beyshee Velez in the September 13th death of KBR contractor Lucas T. Vinson and cites Army spokesperson Maj Cathy Wilkinson explaining that the charges include "two counts of murder". Strangely, the court-martial -- like the Article 32 hearing -- will apparently take place in Hawaii. Strangely? The death took place in Tikrit.

By contrast, Iraq War veteran Marc Hall recorded a rap song in the US and yet the military is attempting to court-martial him in Iraq -- which not only removes him from many witnesses who could offer supporting testimony, it also greatly limits the press and let's not pretend that the latter especially factored in when the military decided to court-martial for the 'crime' of rapping. Iraq Veterans Against the War has more information on Marc and his struggle including how you can donate to his legal defense fund and Marc explaining what happened in his own words:

I guess this all started with a hardcore “rap” song I made about the Army’s very unpopular “Stop-loss” policy back in July 2009. Like any “rap” or rock song, I was expressing my freedom of expression under the US Constitution. Being that the Army’s “Stop-loss” policy was a Pentagon decision from what I had heard on the news, I decided to send a copy of my song directly to the Pentagon.
I don’t know if anyone at the Pentagon listened to my song, but somebody in Washington DC mailed the package back to my chain of command. My First Sergeant called me in to his office to discuss it. I explained that the rap was a freedom of expression thing. And that it was not a physical threat, nor any kind of threat whatsoever. I explained that it was just hip hop. He told me that he kind of liked the song, that it sounded good.
1st Sgt Chrysler and Capt Cross, our company commander at B-CO 2-7 IN [Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment] at that time, just recommended me for mental counseling and evaluation. I attended mental counseling at the behavioral health clinic on Ft. Stewart from late July 2009 through November 2009. I had about four visits to the clinic, but I couldn’t attend all the appointments because we were always training in the field. In the end this counseling still left me feeling the same way about Army life, "Stop-loss" and war in general.
I spoke to our chaplain and told him my feelings, including all of the domestic things I had gone through with my estranged spouse and my three-year-old daughter over the last four years. I let him hear the "Stop-loss" song and I explained that he shouldn’t take anything in the song personally. He said he liked the song but wished it was not “gangster”.
Later when we trained in the field in Georgia and at the National Training Center (NTC) in California I was made to train without a weapon due to the song and my ongoing counseling. During that time of training without a weapon; however, I felt a surprising sense of peace for the first time.
At NTC in October 2009 I spoke again to our chaplain after attending services one night. I explained to him how I still felt hurt by the Army policies. He replied that my chain of command had already “forgiven” me about the song. But that didn’t really help me with what I was going through and trying to deal with.

In Iraq, Christians have been under attack again with a continuous exodus from Mosul taking place. Catholic News Agency reports:

A religious sister from Mosul reports that Iraqi Christians continue to leave the country because they are targeted by violence. In a CNA interview, she said many people are suffering and tired of the conflict. “Where is the freedom?” she asked.
For eleven years Sister Aman Miriam has been a Dominican Sister of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq. Her motherhouse is in Mosul, an ancient center of Christianity that now stands at the center of anti-Christian violence.
Bomb attacks have targeted several churches in Mosul. In recent weeks extremists killed at least eight Christians in the city.
Speaking with CNA in a Thursday phone interview, Sr. Aman said she has lived and ministered with the Adrian Dominicans in Michigan since September 2005.
There Sr. Aman is among five young Iraqi religious sisters engaged in ministry and study.

Paula Doyle (The-Tidings) speaks with Father Yousif Habash, an Iraqi-born priest now at LA's Jesus Sacred Heart Catholic Church:

He noted that Christian students in the region have been banned from attending the local university and seven college-age students have recently been killed. "Since 2003, there hasn't been any progress in Iraq. The electricity, water and power [infrastructure] are destroyed," said Father Habash, who hopes Americans will write their congressional representatives in support of enhanced protection for Iraqi religious minorities.

Thursday, the US State Dept issued "2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" and they noted the following regarding religious minorities:

Religious leaders, groups, and centers were targeted for killings. On July 12, a coordinated series of bombings at six Christian churches in Baghdad killed four persons and left more than 20 wounded. On July 31, five Shia mosques were bombed in Baghdad in a coordinated attack that resulted in at least 29 killed and 136 wounded. On October 16, a gunman attacked worshippers at the Taqwa mosque in the town of Tal Afar and then detonated an explosive vest, killing 15 people, including the mosque's imam, Abdual-Satar Hassan, and wounding approximately 100 others. On November 26, bomb attacks against St. Ephrem's Chaldean Church and St. Theresa's Convent in the city of Mosul caused extensive damage to the buildings, but no casualties. On December 15, bombs detonated outside the Syriac Catholic Church of the Annunciation and the Syriac Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in Mosul, killing five individuals and wounding 40. On December 24, a bomb targeting a procession to commemorate Ashura, an important Shia religious holiday, killed six persons and wounded 26 in Sadr City, and another explosion in the city of Karbala killed one and wounded 12 individuals. On December 27, a bomb killed five persons celebrating Ashura in the town of Tuz Khormato.
During August and September, a wave of attacks targeted minority communities in the north. On August 7, a truck bomb in the village of Shirakhan killed 37 Shia Turkmen. On August 10, two truck bombs destroyed the village of Khazna near Mosul where approximately 10,000 Shabaks lived. The attack killed 34 and wounded 200. On August 13, a suicide bombing at a cafe in the village of Sinjar killed 21 Yazidis. On September 9, a truck bomb exploded in the Kakai village of Wardek in Ninewa Province, killing 20 persons and wounding 40 others.
During the year Sabean-Mandaeans, who were few in number and lived in small groups spread across the country, continued to report criminal and extremist elements targeted them because of their religious identity and their perceived wealth. On April 19, three Sabean-Mandaean goldsmiths were among seven jewelers killed in a coordinated daytime robbery in Baghdad. Three other Sabean-Mandaeans were severely injured. Four suspects in the killings were arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. On August 6, a Sabean-Mandaean, We'am Abdul Nabi Lazem, was killed in his shop in the Iskan district of Baghdad. On September 19, four masked men using silenced pistols and knives killed two Sabean-Mandaean goldsmiths, Farqad Faiq Authman and Muhand Qasim Abdul-Razzaq, in their shops in the city of Basrah.
According to a 2009 report published by the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, a domestic NGO, 12 Christians were kidnapped during the year. On May 15, a Christian missionary was kidnapped in Kirkuk and held for eight days before mediation by tribal chiefs and local imams led to their release. On November 23, gunmen kidnapped a Christian oil industry worker on his way to work in the city of Kirkuk. On December 28, a Christian university student, Sarah Edmond Youkhana, was kidnapped in Mosul by an organization identifying itself as the "Islamic State of Iraq" (see also section 1.b.).
Islamist militants continued to target stores that provided goods or services considered inconsistent with Islam. Islamic extremists bombed, looted, and defaced liquor stores in Baghdad and elsewhere. For example, on May 9, an alcohol merchant in the al-Shurta district of Baghdad was killed after storekeepers in the area received anonymous warnings to close their shops. Liquor store operators in Basrah received occasional threats from Islamist militants, but there were no recorded acts of violence during the past year.
The country's Jewish population was virtually nonexistent as a result of both voluntary and forced emigration over decades. Even so, anti-Semitic sentiment remained a cultural undercurrent. Among other provisions, the citizenship law precludes Jews who emigrated from regaining citizenship.
For a more detailed discussion, see the 2009 International Religious Freedom Report .

Earlier this week, Amy Goodman interviewed the parents of Rachel Corrie. The Salem-News has posted the transcript of the interview with a foreword by Tim King. Since yesterday morning, the following community sites have updated:

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends