Saturday, May 20, 2023

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Benched, deleted, etc -- talking entry

The site has some changes.  That's not me.  

We haven't changed that much here.  Piss me off and you get benched.

Currently, THE VANGUARD is benched.  

I don't plan on them being up any time next week.

I started to post a video and then made the mistake of listening.

Zac needs to control his ridiculous anger.

He was -- as usual -- attacking Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 

He has nothing better to do.  You would think he would try to temper his remarks if only because he and the program look so wrong.

I get it, Mr. Gavin and Mr. Zac are very young.  I do get that.  I get that their knowledge of the world seems to have started in 2014.  But Robert F. Kennedy Jr. running for president?

I am sorry he would most likely wipe the floor with Marianne "Kaneichiwa, girlfriend" Williamson. 

Robert F. Kennedy Sr. remains a legend to many.  Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as a politician means a lot to a lot of people.  His father was assassinated while running for president and his uncle was assassinated while he was president.  

The family's name and legacy still stand for something.

R.F.K. Jr. on his own?

Let me start with his anti-vaccine position.  

All he has to do is state it is what he believes and . . .

Point out that he has been attacked for that belief "but I never backed off.  I don't back off or cave when I believe in something and I believe in fighting for you, the American people." 

I think that is a strong trait that a lot of people will respond to in a world where too many cave at the slightest rebuff from a few people.

Now let me note some of his strengths:

From 1986 until 2017, Kennedy was a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit environmental organization. From 1984 until 2017, he was a board member and attorney for Hudson Riverkeeper.[5] Earlier in his legal career, he served as assistant district attorney in New York City. For over thirty years, Kennedy was an adjunct professor of environmental law at Pace University School of Law. Until August 2017, he held the post as supervising attorney and co-director of Pace Law School's Environmental Litigation Clinic, which he founded in 1987.[6] Kennedy's work on environmental law led him to be considered for the position of Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008.[7]

R.F.K. Jr. has serious concerns about vaccines.

He owns it.

Mr. Zac and Mr. Gavin, you cannot say the same about Ms. Williamson.

Oh, I am sorry, you did not know that, did you?

Ms. Williamson can also be called an anti-vaxer.  Oops.

I am sorry.  I admire the energy you young men sports but you really need to dig into some facts.  I am not the one who should be telling you that the candidate you are promoting has a history of anti-vax statements -- going into the pandemic, in fact.

You are using your show to promote her?  Well it is your show.  But you are crapping on Mr. Kennedy for his view on vaccines and you do not even know Ms. Williamson's long, long history (2012 to 2020) of anti-vax statements?

The con artist that she is has nothing that counters that.  First off, she caved on it -- so did she ever believe it or was it just some con on her part?  Second, she has not done a thing for the environment and that issue is going to be a bigger issue after four years of President Joe Biden failing to address the climate crisis.

There is an Eminem song and I got my title from it.  I thought he said, "Will the real Slim Shady please shut up, please shut up."  My grandson Jayson told me it was "please stand up, please stand up."  But I like my title for this post so I am leaving it. 

And I have tried to  be very delicate about this because those young men who host the show are young men and I often enjoy the program.  But they do not know Ms. Williamson's history or they would not have slammed Mr. Kennedy the way they did.  Ms. Williamson is a joke.  

They so often do not know what they're talking about.

Ruth was right.  And I don't think Ruth had to crawl out on a limb to realize that Robert entering the race was going to destroy Marianne.

Ruth's noted that they've tried to inflate Marianne's polling since RFK Jr. is now in the double digits and Marianne's still struggling at the same 8%.  

It's just dishonesty.

I don't have time for it.  But that's not what got them benched.

Some people are bothered by Friday's Iraq snapshot.  That's your right, you don't have to like everything I put up here -- or like anything I put up here.  That was a full Iraq snapshot.  And some people were bothered by that because I didn't touch on LGBTQ+ issues or the illegitimate Supreme Court or the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination  or how DISNEY is kicking Ron DeSantis' ass or . . .

First off, we're always going to have snapshots that solely cover Iraq.  It's not every day.  But they will pop up and they have.  Second, Friday's snapshot?  It was a scramble.  Why?

THE VANGUARD.  I almost posted a video from them.  Then I streamed.

And I wrote a very long response that I put at the top of the video before deciding, no, I'm not posting that video here.

F**k them, honestly.

Now they were attacking Robert again over his vaccine stance -- a stance they do not know and do not grasp but I honestly don't care about that.

I care that Zac's zeal to attack Robert was so great that he belittled autism.

This is a cause I've worked on all my life.  

I had a cousin who was autistic.  She was institutionalized.  I was seven or eight when I met her.  It was Christmas and everyone was downstairs.  I was looking for something upstairs and found her in an upstairs bedroom with a plate of food.  I had no idea who she was.  She was about seven years older than me.  I walked in and sat down on the bed beside her while she ate her Christmas meal.

Sometime later, I have no idea how long it was, a woman (her nurse) returned to the room and it was a big deal that I was there and adults were summoned.

What was the big deal?

She was kept away from the others -- in this rare time out of the institution -- because she was thought to be a danger to children.  "She doesn't know her own strength," it was explained to me.

I don't know if she got out more often than just Christmas but I saw her on Christmas.  After that, I always would look for her, find what room she was stashed away in, go into the room (if the nurse wasn't there, no problem, if she was I just ignored her and went in anyway) and I would talk to my cousin -- who had the sweetest smile.  And sometimes she'd listen, sometimes she wouldn't, sometimes she'd register I was there and sometimes she wouldn't.  But she was my cousin and she never hurt me and, over the years, she got to where she recognized me and, even if she didn't speak, she'd reach out her hand and we'd hold hands.  That lasted throughout her life.

She didn't have a long life and I'm sorry about that but I'm even sorrier that the life she had was so awful.  I can't imagine being locked away or not being able to play with your cousins or have physical contact or anything like that.  Back then, it was a different world.  Thanks to all the hard work that so many have put in on this issue, there is a greater understanding of autism and there are options and -- and still more work to be done.

I have discussed how I work on this issue -- many times here, I've discussed it -- and noted -- again many times over the years -- that I do not and I will not get involved in the issue of vaccines with regards to autism.

I am not part of either side of that battle.  I will not choose sides and I will not insult people.  The issue matters greatly to those with loved ones who are autistic. There are many families -- including one that donates a huge sum annually for autism research -- that have been torn apart by this issue.  I'm not here to make anyone feel bad, I'm not here to judge anyone.  I'm here to raise awareness and raise money for research.  I do not take sides on that issue and will not.  I know first hand the blame and the guilt that goes on when you end up with a loved one who has autism.  I know first hand the struggles that a family faces in that situation.

So there's Zac, in the video, belittling autism -- you're not going to die from it or some such stupid remark.

And after I've dictated this long piece about it, I'm thinking, "Why the hell am I going to post this video of THE VANGUARD's?  It goes against everything I believe."

So I didn't post it.

And now they're on the bench.  I'm afraid to post any content they create right now without making time to stream it all.  

Zac's intent, I'm sure, was not to belittle or mock autism.  But that is what he did.  His remarks were insulting and crass.

I don't care that he hates Robert.  I do care that his hatred run so deep that he made the most disgusting remarks about autism and what families dealing with it have to face.

I also care that he still doesn't seem to grasp that his beloved Marianne Williamson can also be called a vax denier.  That's by her public statements.  That's also by conversations I've had with her.

Zac, don't piss me off on this again or I will go to my journals and start publishing my notes on conversations with Marianne going back to the early 90s.  

(I know Marianne, I know Robert.)

Zac's having a meltdown because he was part of the pimp Marianne effort.  And he didn't know anything because he's too young and apparently won't apply himself to learn.  (Zac was the one I called out here after a friend called to say Zac was an idiot.  I'd posted a video from THE VANGUARD where, among other things, Zac broke down the 'history' of McCarthyism -- but didn't know a damn thing he was talking about.  I was kind and didn't name him or the program but that's who it was.)

Zac and Krystal and others thought they were going to be their own little cabal and carry Marianne to the nomination.  

Zac can't deal with the fact that Robert's popular and, in fact, far more popular than Marianne.

So now he has meltdowns.  

On Krystal, there was THE VANGUARD's ridiculous segment on Krystal's wedding.  I know others in the community criticized another video about 'wedding coverage.'  For me, the other video -- Katie Halper and BJG -- had other problems including not grasping that you can be an opinion journalist and still have to follow an ethical code.  Saying, I'm an opinion journalist so I don't have to worry about conflict of interest?

I don't think you are a journalist, not if you make a statement like that.  I don't think you know what a journalist actually is if you make a statement like that.

Anyway, Zac touched the issue that you don't do with me.  

When certain people went after Trig Palin, I defended him and I defended Sarah Palin.  Some disgusting people (Andrew Sullivan among them) thought you could attack Sarah for having a special needs child.  One supposed feminist went on KPFK and insisted that Sarah, in 2008, should be at home and not running on a presidential ticket -- should be at home taking care of her special needs child.  Interesting because (a) the woman speaking was supposed to be a feminist, (b) Sarah was married so why couldn't her husband take care of their child (I ask that as a feminist -- it's a rather obvious question for any feminist to raise) and (c) if she weren't on the ticket, she still wouldn't have been a stay-at-home mom because she was Governor of Alaska.  

Andrew thought it was okay -- and the left refused to call him out for this -- to print lies and conspiracy talk claiming Trig wasn't actually Sarah's son.

That garbage that he pulled?  It goes a long way towards explaining how so many people in America today are  divorced from reality.  Andrew lied and people went along with it, people popularized it -- on the left.  (Andrew's not left.  But the left was embracing him.)

This is not an issue I play around on.

Maybe if Zac would expand his own knowledge base or even the circle of people he interacts with, he might grasp just how offensive his comments were.

Again, this has nothing to do with his trashing of Robert (but he does need to grasp that what he trashes Robert for, others can trash Marianne for as well).

THE VANGUARD was a subject of an e-mail I saw this morning.  I am accused of deleting a video I had posted -- one of their videos.  Nope.  Never happened.  I did refuse to post the video from this week.  Yes, I did.  

But I did not delete a video I posted back in April.

April 5th, I posted a VANGUARD video.  The only words were in the headline -- "RFK Jr is running for president, will challenge Biden as a Democrat."

The video is gone.

That's not me.

BLOGGER/BLOGSPOT is using some AI device that is reading all the posts and some posts end up behind a "warning" that makes you click before you can read it and some posts end up being unpublished.  

I don't think this site is suffering from lack of content.  Nor am I worried about the 'sanctity' of words I've used here and my permanence.  Let's quote Joni Mitchell from "Hejira:"

Well I looked at the granite markers
Those tribute to finality to eternity
And then I looked at myself here
Chicken scratching for my immortality
In the church they light the candles
And the wax rolls down like tears
There's the hope and the hopelessness
I've witnessed thirty years
We're only particles of change I know I know
Orbiting around the sun
But how can I have that point of view
When I'm always bound and tied to someone
White flags of winter chimneys
Waving truce against the moon
In the mirrors of a modern bank
From the window of a hotel room

Others are entitled to their opinion on this issue.  Others in the community have been very bothered by this happening to the posts that they wrote.  That's fine.  They've noted their upset and outrage at their sites over it.  I don't have time to look back or worry about the past in terms of this site.  So that's my approach.  But when I was being balled out in the e-mail this morning, I thought, "Did Blogger maybe pull it?"

Yes, they did.  They unpublished it and put it in the trash file.  I've asked for a review of it so it may go back up -- I don't see how it could have "violated" their service rules -- again, the only words in the post were the headline -- which was the headline THE VANGUARD gave it.  There are two videos that have been removed but not yet trashed and there's a post from 2006 and I think that's it.  But I really don't care.  I'm not deleting anything.  There's a post here from 2005 where I completely misunderstand a word.  The journalist I was calling out in that post e-mailed in real time to let me know I didn't understand the word and might want to change my sentence.  An e-mail went back asking if he wanted to be credited for catching my mistake.  He didn't.  As he's noted in a 2020 e-mail, I still hadn't changed it.  No, and I won't.  I was wrong and people can read it and laugh.  I laugh at it myself.  I make mistakes all the time.  To be clear, it doesn't need a correction because anyone should be able to tell, "Oh, she did not know what that word meant."  Clearly.  I don't care enough to go back and fix it so I don't look like an idiot.  I can be an idiot.  It doesn't bother me and, again, I laugh at it myself.

But if you're seeing stuff disappearing, take it up with Blogger/Blogspot because that's what's going on.  

On Zac, if this is how he's handling the 2024 election, I'm scared to think of how much worse it's going to get for him.  I mean this is the kind of high strung ranting you usually don't see until the actual election year.

I don't know who the nominee's going to be.  And it is not my job to tell anyone who to vote for.  I will be voting Democrat for president regardless of who the nominee is.  That's what I'll be doing.  Anyone reading this who will be voting as well is (or will be by November 2024) an adult.  That means you own your vote and you vote how you want.  

I do not plan on covering the election as we did in the past.

In the past, we covered all the candidates. 


Even if you had groped me against my will (hello, John Edwards), I covered you.  

I'm not in the mood for it anymore.

And when I think of why it's because of Jill Stein.  What a worthless person she is.  She was a lousy candidate in 2012 and she was a lousy one in 2016.  I'm not in the damn mood to cover lazy ass useless people who want to go whine about how the mainstream media won't cover them.

You stupid idiots.  

You don't need corporate media.  You can work Twitter and social media and all these other outlets.  Your refusal to do so goes to the fact that you're not a real candidate.

Back in 2008, we were noting that your website was your online office.  You need to run it as such.

I'm also sick of the Jill Steins who will attack the corporate media and then turn around and praise Amy Goodman.

So many Greens refuse to call out DEMOCRACY NOW! They will devote five shows in one week to coverage of the GOP convention and five shows in another week to coverage of the Democratic Party convention.


If they're lucky, the Green Party's convention will get a one paragraph note in headlines for one day's episode of DEMOCRACY NOW!

I am not the Green Party and I'm not a Green Party member.  I'm damn sick of defending that party when they won't even defend themselves.

And they repeatedly demonstrate that they don't want to be a real party.  They'd rather be the kid sister of the Democratic Party than an actual political party.  That's obvious from their actions.

As Ann noted this week in "Howie Hawkins:"

That's Howie Hawkins.  He was the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2020 and he has spent every week since the election continuing to build the Green Party and to raise Green issues and make sure we're part of the national conversation.

The national Green Party fails us.  Two press releases -- that's what they've accomplished in the last months -- one in March, one at the start of this month.  Neither dealt with Clarence Thomas, by the way.  Didn't address that issue at all.  (Thank you to Betty for filling in for me here last night with "Crooked Clarence Thomas (Betty)".)  We have nothing to say on that apparently.

We've said nothing on it from our national organization.

So when Ajamu Baraka gets on his high horse and starts insulting Howie, yeah, I get pissed.

They sit on their asses and then, in a presidential election year, want to pretend that they're a party.  But they're all vacationing the rest of the time.

Howie has rolled up his sleeves and put in the work required to build this part.  As a Green, I say thank you to him.


If Howie's the Green Party nominee, we'll note them.  Because Ann is right.  Howie didn't run away or go on vacation.  He's been there every week since the election focusing on Green issues and getting the word out on the Green Party.

I have no idea what Ajamu Baraka's problem with Howie is but I really don't care.  We're talking about a political party in this case and no one but Howie has been on a national Green Party ticket and gone on to continue to work on building the party.  Ajamu didn't.  Jill certainly didn't.  Love Cynthia McKinney but I don't think she's even a Green.  If she is, she's done nothing to build the party since being their 2008 presidential nominee. 

My time is limited.  I'm tired of doing this website and I'm tired of wasting my time trying to cover campaigns that do nothing.  Dario Hunter whines that the nomination was stolen from him.  That's the same idiot that couldn't even do one Tweet a week when he was running for the nomination. I'm sick of these lazy asses who won't work for a vote. I'm sick of it.  I spent more time looking for coverage and trying to create coverage for Dario than he as the candidate put into the campaign.

I'm tired of it. 

I did it because I wanted to be fair and I wanted to support the right to be informed of all the choices we have.  But my time is not going to be wasted anymore on lazy candidates who want coverage but can't issue a press release and can't Tweet but can show up months later on Cindy Sheehan's podcast and she will let them lie about how they were campaigning and she will let them offer crackpot conspiracy theories about how everything was rigged against them.

My time is limited.  Friday morning, I was debating whether or not THE VANGUARD video should go up here and dictating a lengthy intro that would go up if it did.  So when I did start dictating the snapshot, I was pressed for time more than usual.  We focused solely on Iraq.  We'll catch other things at other times.

Winding down . . .

Zac is a lousy face for Marianne's campaign.  He's too busy gushing to help her.  He could help by doing interviews unlike the one that went up Friday afternoon/evening.  She needs to be pressed on issues.  She's not talking about anything that's reaching out broadly.  The tiny percentage she currently has is all she's going to have if she doesn't start listening to Peter Daou who has made clear to her that there are certain issues that she needs to be addressing that she's refusing.  As an interviewer, Zac could have helped her by pressing her to comment on issues she's avoiding.

They're benched, THE VANGUARD, probably for a week or two.

I have no interest in Krystal at all.  People have noted that I'm even noting Kyle here.  And, on certain issues, I am.  That's fine.  Kyle wasn't the one who screamed that people needed to grow up and get on board with one candidate.

That was Krystal.  And her comments are not comments needed in a democracy.  She's a stupid idiot and unless she apologizes for those remarks, I really have no desire to note her.  And BREAKING POINTS has turned into a homophobic and transphobic show.  We'd already called out her co-host -- too unimportant for me to look up his name -- for his comments regarding Monkey Pox.  And then this week, he paired with the ugly blond woman and they went full on transphobic.

If we call out, on the left, FOX "NEWS" for certain actions, we're going to have to apply that same standard to programs like BREAKING POINTS or else be hypocrites.

I plan to do an entry tonight.  However, if I end up too tired I will use this as my excuse not to.  E-mail address for this site is


The Movie Brat: Disney Purges Streaming Content In Third Week Of Writers Strike


Stan covered this topic last night with "Streaming services -- where's the content?."

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Friday, May 19, 2023

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Iraq snapshot

Friday, May 19, 2023.  Water, the budget, women's rights and war-war-war -- the UN hears about Iraq.

Starting with this from MENAFM:

 Iraq registered up to 119 cases of viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF), including 18 deaths, since the beginning of this year, the Iraqi Ministry of Health said on Thursday, trend reports citing xinhua .

The ministry's spokesman Sayf al-Badr told the official Iraqi News Agency that 35 of the detected VHF cases were registered in the southern Dhi Qar province, followed by Basra with 18 cases, and the rest are spread across the other provinces.

Al-Badr added that six of the 18 deaths by the infectious disease were registered in Dhi Qar, followed by the southern province of al-Muthanna with three deaths.

From the Center for Disease Control:

Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHFs) are a group of diseases that are caused by several distinct families of viruses. The term “viral hemorrhagic fever” refers to a condition that affects many organ systems of the body, damages the overall cardiovascular system, and reduces the body’s ability to function on its own. Symptoms of this type of condition can vary but often include bleeding, or hemorrhaging. Some VHFs cause relatively mild illness, while others can cause severe, life threatening disease. Most VHFs have no known cure or vaccine.

Although VHFs are caused by several families of viruses, these viruses share some common characteristics:

  • They are RNA viruses, meaning viruses that have ribonucleic acid (RNA) as their genetic material. These viruses are the most common cause of emerging disease in people because RNA viruses change over time at a high rate.
  • They are covered, or enveloped, in a lipoprotein outer layer, making it easier to destroy these viruses with physical (heat, sunlight, gamma rays) and chemical (bleach, detergents, solvents) methods.
  • They naturally exist in animal or insect populations, referred to as host populations, and are generally restricted to the geographical areas where the host species live.
  • They spread to people when a person encounters an infected animal or insect host. After the initial spread into the human population, some VHF viruses can continue to spread from person-to-person.
  • Outbreaks of VHFs in people can be difficult to prevent since they can occur sporadically and cannot be easily predicted.

The United Nations Security Council got a briefing on Iraq yesterday.  As usually happens, the United Nations Special Representative for Iraq briefed the Committee.  Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert holds that position currently.  We're going to note some of the testimony.  

UN Special Representative for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert: With UNAMI’s next mandate renewal around the corner, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect, just a bit, and more importantly: to look ahead.  In the past months, numerous people and entities have analysed the events that shook Iraq 20 years ago, as well as the developments since.  Few would deny that it has been a very rough road. A road that has seen not only the compounding of existing fragilities, inherited from the previous decades, but also the exposure of new weaknesses. And while many acknowledged that Iraq, throughout its history, has overcome some very dark times - they also argued that the drivers of instability in the country’s more recent past remained, for the most part, the same. Drivers such as corruption, weak governance, the presence of armed non-state actors, impunity, factional politics, poor service delivery, inequality, unemployment, and an overreliance on oil.
[. . .]

Madam President, the resources needed to turn certain Government goals into realities, such as adequate public service delivery, should be unlocked with the passage of a federal budget. This is yet to happen and, these days, all eyes are on Iraq’s Council of Representatives. Needless to say: agreement on a functioning budget, sooner rather than later, is critical. Including for the timely organization of the long-awaited Provincial Council Elections, now announced for no later than 20 December this year.  Meanwhile, Iraq continues to rely on oil. And the public sector remains the biggest employer. Now, these phenomena are, of course, nothing new. But, as I have said so many times, neither can last indefinitely. Economic diversification and major structural reforms remain urgent.

Representing the US to the Security Council  Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis:  

The United States will stand side-by-side with all Iraqis as they continue their effort, which has come at great sacrifice, to ensuring an enduring defeat of ISIS. The United States and the Defeat-ISIS Coalition will continue to provide support for this critical effort, at the invitation of the Iraqi government.  An essential element of ISIS’s defeat is the dismantling of their networks for recruitment and radicalization to violence, particularly those that prey on children in displacement camps in Syria. We commend Iraq for its efforts to bring home Iraqis, overwhelmingly women and children, from al-Hol camp, and we call on all UN Member States to repatriate, rehabilitate, reintegrate, and where appropriate, prosecute their nationals in Iraq and Syria.

So the US military is never leaving.  

We used to cover this briefing in detail.  It really has little importance.  They want the UNAMI mandate renewed that's probably the big thing out of this one.  Here's the United Kingdom's  Political Coordinator Fergus Eckersley:

 Over the past twenty years the Mission has played a vital role in supporting Iraq and the Iraqi people. We strongly support the renewal of the mandate of the Mission and welcome the opportunity for an independent strategic review to ensure the Mission is aligned to the current peace and security threats facing Iraq.

He also stressed the importance of the budget for the year being passed.

We're going to note Khanim Latif's remarks in full (the main reason we're noting the briefing, in fact):

President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for the opportunity to brief you on the situation of women and civil society in Iraq this morning.

I am Khanim Latif, founder and director of Asuda for Combating Violence against Women, an Iraqi non-profit organization that strives to achieve gender equality, eliminate gender-based discrimination, and end all forms of violence against women. My organization established the first independent shelter for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in Iraq in 2002.

The current situation in Iraq is characterized by widespread violence against women in all fields, including the targeting of women human rights defenders.[1] In recent months, we have witnessed campaigns against women human rights defenders in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq simply for using the term “gender.”[2] The precarious situation of Iraqi women, coupled with social and economic inequality and the unacceptably low numbers of women in decision-making, means that the space for women to fully and freely exercise their rights is highly restricted.

The current situation of women and girls in Iraq should deeply concern us all. My statement today will focus on how the international community can effectively address four key issues:

  • Legal protection from violence against women;
  • Women’s political participation;
  • The gendered impact of climate change; and
  • Renewal of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) mandate.

With regard to legal protection from violence against women:

Discrimination and violence against women in Iraq are now widespread. Hardly a day goes by without reports of women being killed, maimed, and targeted by their own family members, simply because of their gender.[3] Besides the alarming levels of violence against women across the country — GBV increased by 125 percent to over 22,000 cases between 2020 and 2021, and over 75 percent of those at risk of GBV are women — the brutal nature of these crimes is also of grave concern.[4] So-called ”honor killings” of women for transgressing social norms, early and forced marriage and incest are also widespread across the country.[5] This sharp increase in GBV is occurring against a backdrop of impunity for perpetrators, and lack of access to services, legal protection, and justice for survivors of GBV.[6]

Excellencies, without protection from violence and freedom from discrimination, women cannot engage fully or equally on the political, social, and economic levels. The prevalence of GBV not only violates women’s basic human rights as guaranteed by international standards outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), ratified by Iraq, but also violates Security Council resolutions on women, peace, and security (WPS) that have, for more than 20 years, emphasized the important linkages between protection and participation.[7] For women to have a voice in determining their country’s future, the violence must end.

Therefore, I urge the Security Council to call on the Iraqi Government to take all necessary measures to protect girls and women from all forms of GBV and to support access to justice for survivors. This requires adopting the long-overdue draft Anti-Domestic Violence Law, amending the Penal Code, and preventing the interpretation of the Personal Status Law on sectarian grounds.[8] Adopting the Anti-Domestic Violence Law could provide an important solution for the thousands of Iraqi girls and women who are exposed to GBV on a daily basis. I also urge you to call on the Government of Iraq to provide GBV survivors with robust access to shelters for those fleeing domestic violence, including shelters operated by NGOs, and ensure their access to psychosocial support, access to justice and legal services, as well as support for livelihoods.

Finally, we call on the Iraqi Government to allocate a budget for and fully implement the Yazidi Survivors Law adopted in March 2021.[9]

As for women’s political participation:

Today, 29 percent of the members of Iraqi Parliament are women, and the cabinet includes three women ministers, including the Minister of Finance.[10] While this is a positive first step, there must be far greater efforts by political parties to ensure the meaningful participation of women in all processes. It is not enough to only increase the number of women in decision-making positions — they must also have meaningful influence over the outcomes of such processes and negotiations.[11] Quite simply, without women at the table, decisions will remain the preserve of men in the political process and fail to reflect women’s rights.

Therefore, I call on the Security Council to encourage the Iraqi Government to establish a national mechanism for women, whether it is a council or a ministry, with competent human resources, and to allocate a sufficient budget to implement the second National Action Plan to implement Security Council resolution 1325 (2000).

Concerning the gendered impact of climate change:

We know that Iraq is the fifth-most vulnerable country to climate change in the world.[12] The percentage of Iraqi lands exposed to desertification reached 92 percent.[13] Iraq also contributed 9 percent on average of all global emissions of greenhouse gasses, methane, and carbon dioxide.[14]

As is the case with wars, the first victims of climate change are women. After the agricultural lands dried up in Iraq, migration from rural to major urban centers increased in search of livelihoods, exposing women to sexual harassment, economic violence, loss of adequate shelter, and deprivation of their most fundamental rights.[15]

In this regard, Asuda organized awareness campaigns calling on stakeholders to take concrete measures to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change on women and girls and to include them in programs to improve irrigation systems and resource management.

Therefore, the Security Council should call on the Government of Iraq to abide by the Paris Agreement and the Helsinki Principles on climate change. This would help ease internal migration to large cities and provide livelihoods for the displaced, especially women, rehabilitate them and provide them with information, psychosocial support, and economic opportunities to ensure security and respect for their rights.

On the renewal of UNAMI’s mandate:

The United Nations has a vital role to play in supporting and advocating for the protection and advancement of women’s human rights, gender equality, and their full, safe, equal and meaningful participation in peace and political processes within Iraq.

As the mandate for UNAMI is renewed, it is essential to strengthen its role in advancing any issues related to WPS. I strongly encourage the Security Council to be explicit in calling on UNAMI to support women’s participation in all political and decision-making processes. Additionally, UNAMI must monitor and report on any violations or retaliation against women human rights defenders and civil society leaders. UNAMI should also prioritize regularly engaging with Iraqi civil society to ensure their views inform its work throughout the country. UNAMI must also provide the necessary support to the Government of Iraq to carry out judicial and legal reforms, protect women’s rights, support women’s organizations, and prevent all forms of GBV in line with all relevant Security Council resolutions. Finally, the Security Council should urge the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for UNAMI to provide comprehensive analysis on WPS issues in all upcoming briefings and reports to the Security Council.

In conclusion, I can say that Iraq is currently in the process of being built. I urge the international community to relinquish militarized approaches and to instead support us, with technical expertise and resources, as Iraqis, to rebuild our homeland, end corruption and work towards lasting peace. As I hope my statement today highlights, none of this is possible without respect for women’s rights, or without women taking their rightful place at the table.

Thank you.

The rights of women in Iraq get very little attention from the international press.  If a murder gets reported -- not takes place, but actually gets reported in the international press -- we might see a paragraph of two on the issues facing women in Iraq today -- we might even get a sentence of how women's rights were destroyed in the 2003 invasion.  That's pretty much all.  Ali Younes (ARAB NEWS) is the only one I'm seeing who reported in English on the testimony above (click here).

 UN Special Representative for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert didn't address the issue nor did she speak of the disappeared.  The latter was especially surprising since it was just last month that the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances noted that forced disappearances continue in Iraq -- their timeline covered "he Ba’ath era from 1968-2003 - characterized by the authoritarian rule of Saddam Hussein - through to the anti-Government protests from 2018 to 2020. "  She may represent UNAMI but how can Hennis-Plasschaert represent the UN when she can't even speak to that?  And please note, this is not a minor issue.  She has been protested in Iraq for ignoring this very topic.  She's also been protested for some of the people she elects to meet with -- known assassins and gangsters and she infamously refused to meet with the mother of Ihab al-Wazni.  Ihab was one of many activists who was assassinated.  In 2021, she had to be publicly shamed into meeting with Samira al-Wazni. 

One thing Hennis-Plasschaert did address, as an aside and late into her remarks, was water:

Something else, Madam President: water. Water represents the most critical climate emergency for Iraq. By 2035, it is estimated that Iraq will have the capacity to meet only 15% of its water demands. 90% of Iraq's rivers are polluted, and 7 million people are currently suffering from reduced access to water. This is a significant multiplier of threats to Iraq’s stability.

The priority placed on the issue of water security by Iraq’s Government is, therefore, most welcome. And, plans for the extensive updating of Iraq’s water management systems are said to be underway. This will be vital in meeting demands driven by population growth and urbanization.

The fair sharing of resources among Iraq’s neighbours is equally important. If water is a competition, everyone loses. Bold domestic actions and close regional cooperation offer the only winning solution.

Saturday, May 6h, Baghdad hosted the International Water Conference.  Though the conference was needed, there was no real attention from the international press.

You'll note Iraq's prime minister, foreign officials, a WHO rep, the United Nations, etc.  Why isn't this being covered by the US press?

Lack of interest in Iraq?  Lack of interest in climate change?  Or both.

Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reported:

Iraq on Saturday called for emergency assistance from the international community to help restore the flow of water in the country's two main rivers.

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani made the plea for “urgent international intervention” at the start of the two-day Baghdad International Water conference.

“The issue of water has become a sensitive one not only in Iraq but in all countries,” Mr Al Sudani said.

Water levels in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which account for more than 90 per cent of Iraq's freshwater reserves, have declined significantly over the years, partly as a result of the construction of dams and diversion of water upstream in Turkey and Iran.

The Prime Minister warned that a shortage of water compounded by climate change would have a substantial impact on Iraq's economic development and environment, with wider ramifications for regional stability.

KURDISTAN 24 noted:

The KRG Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Begard Dlshad, is heading the delegation to present the Region’s perspective on water issues such as drought, that has negatively impacted Iraq in recent years, the minister told Kurdistan 24.

The United Nations is also participating in the conference along with representatives of neighboring countries, including Iran and Turkey.

“The KRG’s dam construction project aims to reduce the reliance on water flow from neighboring countries,” the minister told Kurdistan 24 and added that 30 percent of Iraq’s water reserves are in the Kurdish region.

45-year-old Begard Dlshad Shukralla has her degree in biology and has previously held the following posts: 2011 to 2013 head of the PUK's Office for Monitoring and Follow Up, 2013 to 2017 MP in the Kurdistan Parliament and, in 2017, Secretary of the Kurdistan Parliament.  Julian Bechocha (RUDAW) reported:                                                                             

Iraq is among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including water and food insecurity, according to the United Nations. It is facing a severe water shortage because of reduced precipitation and higher temperatures, and waste and mismanagement. The crisis is worsened by dams upstream in Turkey and Iran that have led to a significant decrease in the volume of water entering the country. 

A visit by Sudani to Turkey in March saw measurable success after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to double the water releases in the Tigris River for a period of one month, saying the decision was made “in order to relieve Iraq’s distress.”

“The government has set the water file as one of its priorities, and has taken many policies. And it was necessary to identify the problems with upstream countries so our meetings with the countries emphasized the need to give the full share of water,” Sudani said. 

During the conference, Sudani also pleaded for “the efforts of all friends” of the international community to “urgently” assist Iraq counter water insecurity.

In one of the latest stark warnings of the threats a heating climate poses to Iraq, a report by the Ministry of Water Resources late last year predicted that unless urgent action is taken to combat declining water levels, Iraq’s two main rivers will be entirely dry by 2040. 

The following sites updated: