Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Killing children

John Glaser's overseeing Antiwar.com's Blog and he's also posting on the main site including about a newly released US State Dept cable, released by WikiLeaks:

The cable excerpts a letter written by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, addressed to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. American troops approached the home of Faiz Harrat Al-Majma’ee, a farmer living in central Iraq, to conduct a house raid in search of insurgents in March of 2006.
"It would appear that when the MNF [Multinational Forces] approached the house," Alston wrote, "shots were fired from it and a confrontation ensued" before the "troops entered the house, handcuffed all residents and executed all of them." Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his wife Sumay'ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children Hawra'a (aged 5) Aisha ( aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz’s mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz's sister (name unknown), Faiz’s nieces Asma'a Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama Yousif Ma'arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid.

And that may remind some of the 2007 killing Michael Ware observed. And one may wonder why the US government thought they had any right to conceal this news from the American public. That makes them as guilty as those who shot and killed that family. And when the US government knows about the killing of a five-month-old baby, they better be able to say someone was punished. Maybe Condi & crew can write about that in their little no-tell-alls? Refusal to do so should result in every interview starting with a reference to the above cable that no-one-could-have-guessed should have read. It might take a little pressure. As I remember her 9-11 commission testimony, it took a lot of pressure to get no-one-could-have-guessed to identify the PDB's title "bin Laden determine to strike in the US."

And, to be clear, most likely no one was punished. You never heard about the slaughter until WikiLeaks released the cable. Any good defense attorney would have been aware that the US govenrment wanted to keep a lid on the story and if his or her client was being prosecuted would have floated the threat of going public.

AFP reports that journalist Asos Hardi was attacked and beaten with the butt of a pistol. The wire service notes that Human Rights Watch sees this as part of a continued and increasing wave of attacks on journalists in the Kurdistan region. Human Rights Watch issued the following news release on the attack:

(Beirut) – The Kurdistan Regional Government should conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into the attack on the prominent journalist Asos Hardi on August 29, 2011, and prosecute whoever is responsible, Human Rights Watch said today.
Hardi is the director of the Awene Press and Publishing Company, which publishes the independent newspaper Awene in Iraqi Kurdistan, and a member of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa advisory committee. He told Human Rights Watch that a young man dressed in black attacked him as he was leaving the newspaper office at 7 p.m. The assailant, who was waiting near Hardi’s car, knocked him to the ground with a blow to the back of the head with a pistol and continued beating him as he lay on the ground. Hardi was hospitalized and received 32 stitches for six wounds to his head.
“The attack on the respected journalist Asos Hardi is the latest example of the grave risks faced by independent media workers in Iraqi Kurdistan,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Kurdish authorities should act decisively to bring whoever is behind this attack to justice.”
Hardi told Human Rights Watch that he believes he was targeted for his work as a journalist. “I have never had any personal problems with anyone my whole life,” he said. “It is very clear that this attack is related to my job as an independent journalist and my vocal support for freedom.”
Xendan news media, a local news organization, reported on its website that Prime Minister Barham Salih of the Kurdistan Regional Government had ordered authorities in Sulaimaniya to investigate the attack. Police said they are investigating the incident and took a statement from Hardi.
Since the start of protests in Sulaimaniya on February 17 over widespread corruption and violations of civil and political rights, journalists in Iraqi Kurdistan have faced escalating attacks and threats, including from members of the government’s security forces. In March, Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 20 journalists in Kurdistan and found that security forces and their proxies routinely repress journalists through threats, arbitrary arrests, beatings, and harassment, and by confiscating and destroying their equipment.
Hardi expressed concern that the government’s promised investigation will go nowhere. “There are many cases like this in Kurdistan,” Hardi told Human Rights Watch. “Police always say they investigate the attacks but no one is captured or tried.”

The following community sites -- plus Jane Fonda and Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

Plus Mike's "AbFab Monday?" and Rebecca's "played on the global playground."

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "OBAMA WIDENING WAR IN SOMALIA" (Scoop):

Led by the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) the U.S. is stepping up its war in Somalia, The Nation magazine reports.
“The CIA presence in (the capital) Mogadishu is part of Washington’s intensifying counter-terrorism focus on Somalia, which includes targeted strikes by US Special Operations forces, drone attacks and expanded surveillance operations,” writes Jeremy
Scahill, the magazine’s national security correspondent.
According to well-connected Somali sources, the CIA is reluctant to deal directly with Somali political leaders, who are regarded by U.S. officials as corrupt and untrustworthy. Instead, Scahill says, the U.S. has Somali intelligence agents on its payroll. Even the nation’s president, Sharif Sheihk Ahmed is not fully briefed on war plans.
The CIA operates from a sprawling walled compound in a corner of Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport defended by guard towers manned by Somali government guards. What’s more, the CIA also runs a secret underground prison in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency headquarters, where conditions are reminiscent of the infamous Guantanamo Bay facility President Obama vowed to shut down.
The airport site was completed just four months ago and symbolizes the new face of the expanding war the Obama regime is waging against Al Shabab, and other Islamic militant groups in Somalia having close ties to Al Qaeda.

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