Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mosul Saturday July 8th 2006

Two children in Mosul Hospital after car bombing

According to Mosul police the car bombing in Mosul, today Saturday July 8th 2006, killed nine people and injured 50. Further fatalities are expected as some of the wounded were seriously injured.

Children being treated in Mosul Hospital after car bombing

Meanwhile according to Reuters:

"US military ready for "pain" over Iraqi killings"


Oh Fuck

"Ten years after Pentagon leaders toughened policies on extremist activities by active duty personnel -- a move that came in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing by decorated Gulf War combat veteran Timothy McVeigh and the murder of a black couple by members of a skinhead gang in the elite 82nd Airborne Division -- large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists continue to infiltrate the ranks of the world's best-trained, best-equipped fighting force.

Military recruiters and base commanders, under intense pressure from the war in Iraq to fill the ranks, often look the other way. Neo-Nazis "stretch across all branches of service, they are linking up across the branches once they're inside, and they are hard-core," Department of Defense gang detective Scott Barfield told the Intelligence Report. "We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," he added. "That's a problem." "

In May I wrote about gang members joining the US forces to get trained as more effective fighters. As if that weren't bad enough today I have posted an entry on markfromireland that deals with a report from the SPLC on how, because they are so short of recruits; US commanders are ignoring Image showing Pfc Green Superimposed on a confederate flagthe infiltration of racist extremists. The extremists join with the avowed intention of becoming more effective warriors for the white race in what they believe is a coming race war in America.

I was alerted to the report by a kind reader in the US who emailed me about the SPLC report and who included the graphic to the left which she said was embedded in an email asking her to support Steven Green now awaiting trial by US federal authorities for rape and murder in Mahmoudiya Iraq while serving as a private in the US army. The email which she forwarded to me specifically asked for her support for Green because "good men like him" would be needed "when the struggle to preserve the white race comes."

You will find the full text of the entry here.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Rachel from north London

"This blog was started to provide a place to continue my BBC online diary that I started after surviving the 7/7/2005 London bombings, when I was travelling in the first carriage of the Picadilly line tube from Kings Cross to Russell - Square. The bomb went off in my carriage, about 7 feet behind me. 26 people died in that blast and 340 were maimed and wounded. 56 people died in the London blasts. Over 700 were injured. Thousands were frightened and affected by the blasts. This blog is dedicated to the victims of all bomb attacks. ………"

Rachel from north London Our thanks to Richard of This Old Brit for letting us know about Rachel's blog.


For Our London Friends

For all those killed injured or traumatised by the London bombings


Guess Whose Not Coming To Dinner

“The members of the terrorist organization wanted by Turkey, are not in the regions under the control of the Iraqi security forces
"Tehran: Iran is to host a regional conference on Iraq security this weekend and will likely call for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq."

"Officials from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference are expected to attend."

Service: Foreign Policy
News Code :8504-08142

TEHRAN, July 07 (ISNA)-Iraqi Foreign Minister so to participate in Iraq's Neighboring Countries Foreign Ministers Conference today entered Tehran.

Hoshyar Zebari on his entrance was warmly welcomed by Iran's Foreign Minister and Iraq's ambassador to Tehran.

“We, of course, are concerned that some in the neighborhood may want to derail the progress of a free Iraq. And that is troubling and something that we'll work on.”



Update: Fixed links - thanks Richard


Thursday, July 06, 2006

We're going to be running a colony - part 2

This is an update to Mark's posting immediately below. "We're Going To Be Running A Colony" I've added emphasis to highlight what was done to these two children's family.

Ahmed and Mohammed Qassim Hamza Ahmed is the boy on the left he's aged 9 Mohammed is aged 11These two boys are Ahmed Qassim Hamza and Mohammed Qassim Hamza. Ahmed is the boy on the left he's aged 9. His brother Mohammed is 11.

They're what's left of the the family of the 14 year old girl raped and murdered in Mahmoudiya by a group of 5 US soldiers one of whom, Steven D. Green has now been charged with homicide and aggravated sexual assault. [A copy of the complaint against Green can be found here. - mfi]

  1. Their father Qasim Hamza Raheem's head was "smashed" by bullets;
  2. Their mother Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin died of gunshot wounds to her head.
  3. Their seven year old younger sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza was shot dead.
  4. Their fourteen year old sister Abeer Qasim Hamza first raped then shot and her body burnt.

So these two children have had been orphaned by a brutal sex crime committed by at least one American soldier. Those two children are all that's left. Now there comes this:

U.S. expresses condolences to Iraq family
The top U.S. commander in Iraq and the American ambassador expressed condolences Thursday to the family of the victims of an alleged rape-slaying attack against an Iraqi family by U.S. forces.

Gen. George W. Casey and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, in their first remarks on the case, said the investigation into the attack would be pursued in a "vigorous and open process."

"On behalf of the U.S. Mission and the Multi-National Force in Iraq, we wish to express our heartfelt condolences to all the family members who lost a loved one in Mahmudiyah on March 12, 2006," they said in a statement, calling the alleged rape of a young Iraqi woman and the killing of her and her family "absolutely inexcusable and unacceptable behavior."

"Coalition forces came to Iraq to protect the rights and freedoms of the Iraqi people, to defend democratic values, and to uphold human dignity. As such, we will face every situation honestly and openly, and we will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of the facts," the statement said.

"We will hold our service members accountable if they are found guilty of misconduct in a court of law," it added.

The general and the ambassador also promised to "work closely with the government of Iraq to ensure transparency as we complete the investigatory and legal processes."

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called for an independent investigation into the attack and a review of the immunity of U.S. forces from Iraqi prosecution.

Former Army Pfc. Steve D. Green has been charged with rape and four counts of murder, and at least three other U.S. soldiers still in Iraq are under investigation in the attack.


I don't see any expression of human concern for those two children do you? I don't see any offer of restitution do you? I see absolutely no mention of any attempt even on the ex gratia CERP programme to ensure that two orphaned and traumatised children will be helped do you?

Janabi said that when he arrived at the house, he began to call for others to help him.

"But nobody came," he said in a telephone interview Tuesday from Mahmoudiya, describing the eeriness he felt as he and his wife stood there. "I felt that I had made a disastrous decision. I felt I had made a mistake to rush so quickly to the house, because if the murderers were still there, they would kill me as well."

He and his wife had to douse some of the flames before they could enter the home.

The couple had found the two young boys in the family crying as they stood outside the farmhouse, where they could see the bodies inside. The boys had been at school when the killings occurred but were home by the time Janabi and his wife arrived.

Source    Emphasis added by me - Declan

Go read the complaint against Green that Mark linked to it's very detailed, it's very specific, it's very plain what was done to those two children's family — and by whom. It's not as if there haven't been a flood of complaints about how American soldiers behave. It's not as if there hasn't been attempted coverup after coverup after coverup. This cynical statement is nothing more than spin for home consumption.

Maybe I'm being unkind to the oh so well behaved and compassionate invaders. When can we expect to read that a team of Marines abseiled from a helicopter onto the roof of the people now giving these two boys shelter. Smashed the door in and bombarded them with toys from "Operation Give" to show how much they care?

Oh hang on hold operation "Exploding Teddybear" — they've already been hauled before Green's commander.

"He hugged the children and kissed them several times," Janabi said. "It was hard for him to control his tears."

(Same source as above )

How heartwarming, I'll bet they really enjoyed that the poor little sods, I'm sure that made them feel really better.


We're going to be running a colony

"We're going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We're going to be running a colony almost,"

Paul Bremer to Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Meeting, February 23 2003

"The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don't have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over."

-Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003

Ahmed and Mohammed Qassim Hamza Ahmed is the boy on the left he's aged 9 Mohammed is aged 11These two boys are Ahmed Qassim Hamza and Mohammed Qassim Hamza. Ahmed is the boy on the left he's aged 9. His brother Mohammed is 11.

They're what's left of the the family of the 14 year old girl raped and murdered in Mahmoudiya by a group of 5 US soldiers one of whom, Steven D. Green has now been charged with homicide and aggravated sexual assault. [A copy of the complaint against Green can be found here. - mfi]

  1. Their father Qasim Hamza Raheem's head was "smashed" by bullets;
  2. Their mother Fakhriyah Taha Muhsin died of gunshot wounds to her head.
  3. Their seven year old younger sister Hadeel Qasim Hamza was shot dead.
  4. Their fourteen year old sister Abeer Qasim Hamza first raped then shot and her body burnt.

Standard procedure in a colonial war of subjugation don't say you weren't warned:

"We're going to be on the ground in Iraq as soldiers and citizens for years. We're going to be running a colony almost,"

Paul Bremer to Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Meeting, February 23 2003


Zarqawi successor 'in Egypt jail'

Here's a fun little item from Al-Jazeera

"Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, the purported successor of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, is in an Egyptian prison and not Iraq, a lawyer has claimed.

Egyptian newspaper Al-Masri al-Yawm has quoted Mamduh Ismail as saying he met al-Muhajir, also known as Sharif Hazaa, or Abu Ayub al-Masri, in Tura prison in Cairo, where he has been held for seven years.


Al-Muhajir is on the "most wanted" list issued by the Iraqi government last week. The US military in Iraq has put a $5million price on his head. The US army media centre in Iraq said: "We cannot comment on the news that ... al-Masri is in an Egyptian prison and not in Iraq, we have to clarify that from the Egyptian government."

Source    (Emphasis added by me.)

If true this makes me wonder about how come he's organising all those bombings in Iraq? I really really really wish I could have watched the face of whoever it was in the US army media centre in Iraq who had to answer questions about this.


Iranian Pilgrims Bombed in Kufa

Details are still a bit unclear but what's known so far is:

The attack took place at dawn or shortly thereafter. The bombing was a suicide bomb attack using a car. Apparently the driver drove between two coaches in which the pilgrims were travelling and detonated his payload. Early reports say at least 10 dead and at least 40 wounded.

The bombing was at the Maithem al-Tamar shrine which attracts many pilgrims particularly the ill.


This should be seen as part of the pattern of bombing places held in particular esteem by the Shia and of targetting pilgrimages/processions. Kufa is important to the Shia and this latest bombing will be seen as yet anothe rsevere provocation.

Kufa's one of three religiously important cities placed in a cluster south of Baghdad, it Najaf and Karbala are all in close proximity to one another.

It was founded by Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas (one of the companions of the prophet) at the same time as Basra and was the capital of ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib (Imam Ali.) Who was murdered there by Kharajites while he was performing morning prayers in the mosque.

The shrine is built over the tombs of Muslim ibn Aqil and Hani ibn Arwa beside it is Ali's headquarters protected by a very imposing wall.

The town itself is relatively poor. Muqdata alSadr has a considerable presence there and often preaches in Kufa.


To The People Of Connecticut

Bush Birth Sign

60 Years ago today the people of Connecticut failed miserably and abjectly in their duty to humanity to strangle the murderous little fuck at birth.

The rest of humanity will never forgive them for that.

An apology isn't enough.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

All Iraq is Abu Ghraib

All Iraq is Abu Ghraib

Our streets are prison corridors and our homes cells as the occupiers go about their strategic humiliation and intimidation.

Haifa Zangana

Haifa Zangana is a woman for whom I have great admiration. She is brave, determnined, compassionate, and loves her country and its people very much. She's an Iraqi writer and women's rights activist. Her forthright opposition to Saddam Hussein and his regime led to her arrest and torture. She was in Sydney Australia for the recent Sydney Writers' Festival and was interviewed by George Negus for SBS' "Dateline" programme on May 24th 2006. The full transcript and a recording can be found here Haifa Zangani Interview extensive extracts are below in the second part of this posting.

She has published an article "All Iraq is Abu Ghraib" today Wednesday July 5th 2006 in the "Comment is free" section of The Guardian. Which I reproduce in full in the first part of this posting I've added links to the article text. I have crossposted this to my other blog.


A'beer Qassim al-Janaby, a 15-year-old Iraqi girl, was with her family in Mahmudiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, when US troops raided the house. A group of soldiers have been charged with her rape and the murder of her father, mother, and nine-year-old sister. They are also accused of setting A'beer's body on fire.

The al-Janaby family lived near a US checkpoint, and the killings happened at 2pm on March 11. As usual, a US spokesman ascribed the killings to "Sunni Arab insurgents active in the area", contrary to local eyewitnesses.

A'beer's rape and murder is neither incidental nor the product of a US soldier's "personality disorder": it is part of a pattern that includes Abu Ghraib, as well as the Haditha, Ishaqi and Qaiem massacres. And we see this pattern as serving a strategic function beyond indiscriminate revenge: to couple collective humiliation with intimidation and terror.

Today, four years into the Anglo-American occupation, the whole of Iraq has become Abu Ghraib, with our streets as prison corridors and homes as cells. Iraqis are attacked in detention, on the streets and in their homes.

It took almost a year, and published photographs of horrific torture in Abu Ghraib, before the world began to heed the voices of the detainees and those trying to defend them. The same is happening to women victims.

Abuses, torture and the rape of Iraqi women have been reported for three years now by independent Iraqi organisations. But the racist logic of occupation means that occupied people are not to be trusted, and truth is the private ownership of the occupiers.

Families of the abused, raped, and killed Iraqi civilians have to wait for months, if not years, until a US soldier comes forward to admit responsibility and the US military begins an investigation. (For the US military to investigate a US soldier's crime has been seen by Iraqis as the killers investigating their own technical skills.)

On the October 19 2005, Freedom Voice, an Iraqi Human Rights society, reported the rape of three women from the "Saad Bin Abi Waqqas neighbourhood" in Tell Afar after a US raid.

The alleged rape took place by soldiers inside the women's own house after the arrest of their male relatives. Medical sources in the town said one of the women died. A US commander ordered some soldiers detained, and no more was heard of this.

Immunity from prosecution under Iraqi or international law is the main fact of the occupation and renders laughable any claims of sovereignty. It is based on UN security council resolution 1546 [link is to PDF - mfi] and the accompanying exchange of letters between Iraqi and American authorities. This immunity applies equally to the marine units accused of roaming our streets high on drugs and to advisers running ministries, to prison guards, security guards, multinational forces and corporate contractors of all kinds.

The Iraqi women's ordeal began the moment occupation forces descended upon them. Most arrests and raids take place after midnight. In some neighborhoods, women now sleep fully dressed so as not to be caught in their nightgowns. Armoured cars and helicopters are sometimes deployed in raids, in a variant on "shock and awe". Troops force women and children to watch as they deliberately humiliate their husbands, sons or fathers, and sometimes order them to take pictures with US soldiers' cameras. Money and jewellery are taken. Are these "terrorist assets confiscated" or spoils of war?

Random arrests, rapes and killings by the occupation forces continue under the so-called "national unity government", which renewed their mandate and immunity while at the same time talking of a "national reconciliation initiative".

Despite all the rhetoric, a female minister for human rights and dozens of US-funded Iraqi women's organisations, the only outcry we have heard condemning the rape of A' beer and the plight of Iraqi women under occupation is from the anti-occupation Islamist movement.

Occupation authorities and their puppet regime share the denial of violence against women. After the sexual abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, the authorities talked about respecting local traditions, and the need to avoid provoking anger and give the Iraqi people the sense that the occupation recognises the sensitive status of women.

On occasion, Iraqi collaborators joined in. On April 18 2004, the ministry of interior chief, Ahmed Youssef, issued a statement denying maltreatment of female detainees. He said: "We are Muslims. We know very well how to treat our female detainees." As if violence against women were not a universal crime.

The abuses continue also in the puppet regime's prisons. On October 20 2005, officials of the Kazemiya women's prison reported an instance of rape. The UN was refused permission to investigate. According to a report of the UN assistance mission to Iraq, Iraqi police tortured a woman who had been detained in Diwaniya police station since March 2005. The victim recounted that electric shocks were applied to her heels. She was reportedly told her teenage daughter would be raped if she did not supply the information her interrogators wanted.

A report published by the Iraqi National Association for Human Rights on October 29 2005 found that women held in interior ministry detention centres are subject to numerous human rights violations, including "systematic rape by the investigators and ... other forms of bodily harm in order to coerce them into making confessions". The report added that prisons fail to meet even the most basic standards of hygiene, and that the women were deprived of facilities as fundamental as toilets. The ministry of justice has confirmed the accuracy of the report.

The wall of denial is cracking. On June 12, al-Jazeera showed footage of Mohammed al-Diaeny, a member of parliament, going to a prison in Baquba, near Baghdad, where men showed evidence of torture and talked of being raped. Seven women detainees were shown but refused to talk. "Too ashamed", whispered one of them. In response, Jawad al-Bolani, minister of the interior, promised investigation. He later vowed to release all women prisoners and negotiate with the multinational forces to release theirs.

There will be no end to these violations as long as Iraq remains occupied by forces that enjoy immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law and as long as the occupation authorities continue to treat Iraqi citizens with racist contempt in order to feel better about plundering the nation's wealth and depriving its people of their most fundamental rights under international law and human rights conventions.

The Iraqi puppet regime's promises and US investigations of the "personality disorders" of their soldiers and the "few bad apples" are irrelevant for Iraqis: for them, the Anglo-American occupation means destruction, rape and pillage.


GEORGE NEGUS: You have said that the series of interim governments that have occurred over the last few years, since the invasion, have been a total disaster. What about the latest attempt at a government? The new government of national unity?

HAIFA ZANGANA: Hardly anything has changed really. What we are witnessing in this new government is almost the cloning of the same people, or the same sectarian and ethnic divide they were establishing under Paul Bremer, the ex-ambassador of Iraq.

GEORGE NEGUS: Will it work as a government? You're making it sound like a puppet government.

HAIFA ZANGANA: It is a puppet government nothing more or less. I don't think it is going to accomplish anything different than the previous one. All they are receiving They are on the receiving end of orders from the unexpected visits by Condoleezza Rice, Jack Straw previously, and to orders from Bush and Blair.

GEORGE NEGUS: So you don't see it as a true attempt at an Iraqi government at all?

HAIFA ZANGANA: It isn't at all. It is not even a government even. It is a government of the green zone. It is an occupation government. An occupation government, no matter what it does, it doesn't represent people and their aspirations. People have the right to rule themselves.

GEORGE NEGUS: Are you saying that life in Iraq is no better or in fact worse than it was under Saddam Hussein, the dictator?

HAIFA ZANGANA: He is not our moral yardstick on any level regarding political government with political attitudes at all and invasion. So better or worse, we are entitled o to democracy as much as any other country. And democracy the way we understand it is not taking place at the moment.

GEORGE NEGUS: We should look at it this way. You were imprisoned and tortured under Saddam, right?

HAIFA ZANGANA: I was, yeah.

GEORGE NEGUS: How badly? Can you give us some picture?

HAIFA ZANGANA: Terrible. It was terrible. It was something beyond imagination and it is still happening. The same thing is happening now in Iraq. So we are against this continuity of torture. This is why we fought Saddam's regime. We did not fight for 35 years to replace it by another torturer.

GEORGE NEGUS: I guess what a lot of people in the West would say, particularly government leaders and leaders of the coalition, is that you can say this now. Could you say this in Iraq now? Where you couldn't criticise Saddam without finding yourself in prison and tortured, now can your voice be heard in Iraq?

HAIFA ZANGANA: No, you can't actually. Iraqis inside Iraq cannot say what I'm saying at the moment here. I'm saying it because I am here. I feel safe and secure. I would not be able to. Because whoever voicing any issue against the occupation is Iraq is targeted. We have the academics being targeted, we have hundreds of our scientists being killed, academics, lectures, professors, whoever. Journalists we have the biggest campaign of killing journalists. Fiction writers - we have a fiction writer who'd been imprisoned for three years, not even saying a word about anything.


GEORGE NEGUS: Doesn't that leave Iraq and people like yourself in a no-win situation? If you listen to Condoleezza Rice, she says that all that has gone wrong, the thousands of mistakes that she has acknowledged has occurred is worth it - to get rid of Saddam, it was worth it.

HAIFA ZANGANA: This is a total farce. And it is continuing what we heard from Madeline Albright, before that when Iraq was under sanctions, when 500,000 children were killed or died because, as a consequence of the harsh sanctions on Iraqi people. 500,000 children were killed and she said that the price was worth it. And here is Condoleezza Rice repeating the same thing. "We are only committing mistakes in Iraq." It is not mistakes. When you kill a person this is a crime, you do not call it a mistake. So crimes are committed in Iraq every day. In fact there is an Iraqi being killed at the minute where we're talking now. One Iraqi per every five minutes killed as a consequence, direct consequence of the occupation. So we are asking for the withdrawal of troops and immediate withdrawal - not to go on for 5 years or 10 years and prolonging, putting a timetable to it. The way they walked in the troops, they have to leave.

GEORGE NEGUS: Let's talk about that. Because in the last few days Tony Blair has talked about the withdrawal of troops, George Bush has talked about the withdrawal of troops, Blair has gone so far as to say maybe by the end of the year all the British and American troops will be out, I suppose that means Australian, except for a couple of key areas like Baghdad and the West. What would occur if there was this withdrawal that you say Iraqis want, if that was to happen in the next six months?

HAIFA ZANGANA: To start with, we have to make it clear that the withdrawal that Tony Blair's talking about, or Bush, is different about the withdrawal we're talking about. I am talking about the complete withdrawal of troops. That doesn't mean they go around and build bases, American bases in Iraq which they are doing at the moment. There are more than 14 bases building. And there is the biggest embassy in the world. And no signing of long-term binding agreements, not on behalf of Iraqi people but on behalf of these interim governments or the puppet governments at the moment. This is second.
Third - there should be a compensation for all the crimes being committed against Iraqi people, whether in life or the destruction of the country. So we're talking about a different kind of withdrawal. They said the country is going to descend into civil war. But we it have already. Those occupation forces there, they are encouraging it because they are emphasising the force of one militia against the other, even supplying weapons to certain militias against the other. So who is encouraging civil war?
There is no civil war among Iraqi people themselves. There are the militias fighting. And there is another kind of war which no-one is talking about. This is really the fighting of Iraqi resistance against the occupation forces.

GEORGE NEGUS: How do you draw the line, then, between a terrorist and an insurgent, and an insurgent and a resistance fighter?

HAIFA ZANGANA: There are differences. I'm talking about 80 attacks per day, average, which has being really constant for the last two years and targeting American and British troops. This is, for me, pure resistance. I cannot really believe this is terrorist acts or any civilian act, attacking civilians. This is Iraqi national movement demanding liberation, independence and building our own country, the democracy as we see it democracy because we are desperate for democracy and we want to do it that way. Not by shock and awe.


Iraq and Afghanistan: Military Casualties (UK)

Iraq and Afghanistan: Military Casualties

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government: Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Drayson on 12 June (HL6043), whether they will publish in the Official Report the names, ages and, where appropriate, the regiments of all military and civilian British nationals who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since the commencement of the recent conflicts in those countries.[HL6276]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The names, ages and, where appropriate, regiments of all UK defence personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan up to 23 June can be found in the table below in date order, with the most recent being listed first

Posted as a update to this posting made by markfromireland:

Thursday, May 04, 2006
Operation Telic - Fatalities and Casualties
Operation Telic is the codename used by the British for the role of their forces in the Invasion of Iraq and its subsequent occupation. -


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4th 2006

Mother and daughter working rubbish dump Baghdad July 4th 2007
Mother and daughter earning their living by combing through garbage Baghdad July 4th 2006. Desperate poverty, fear, bereavement, imprisonment, mutilation, torture, hunger, rape, disease, this is what the American occupation has brought to Iraqi women and children.

George Bush with cake July 4th 2006
What's the line in that song?

Oh yes … "Each day the 4th of July."

Table set for 4th of July dinner.
Have a nice day.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Tools of Opression - The Impact Of Guns On Women's Lives

This posting highlights a report on how small arms impact women and children.

The small arms trade is wickedly profitable dominated by wealthy westerners and has a devastating impact on the lives of women and children the world over. The report isn't overly long (76 pages,) it's comprehensive, a PDF, and it's available from here.

At the end of most of the chapters there are action points - things you personally can do organisations you can support campaigns they run and so on. Did you know that Amnesty have a specific campaign against violence against women? How much do you actually know about how gang culture impacts women? For example are American women at increased risk from gang members who signed up to serve the better to learn how to fight when they get home? What can we expect from those gang members. What happens to women after a conflict? (Answer: nothing good.)

The brutalizing effects of armed conflict do not disappear with the end of conflict. For returning combatants, both women and men, the transition from the violence of the frontline to home life can be extremely problematic. The return of male relatives, many traumatized and brutalized by the conflict, can bring violence directly into the home.

If men bring weapons home with them, the danger to women increases. A study in Northern Ireland showed that the increased availability of guns meant that more dangerous forms of violence were used against women in the home. SOS-Belgrade reported that men came back from fighting traumatized, angry and violent, and used the weapons they brought with them to threaten or harm women.

On this blog we focus especially on the fate of Iraqi women and children - how upset do you get at some of the photos we publish here? Are there legal obligations on combatants for protecting women and children? Yes there are actually and they don't just apply to soldiers and policemen:

"As a matter of customary law (law that is universally established to such an extent that it is binding on all states, whether or not they are bound by treaty law), basic human rights norms apply both to states and to armed groups within states, where they exercise de facto control over territory and take on responsibilities analogous to a government. Indeed, in a number of situations armed groups have expressly indicated their commitment to human rights principles. Some innovative approaches have been developed, by UNICEF (the UN Children’s Fund) in particular, to elicit commitments from some armed groups to abide by certain human rights norms, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Article 3 common to all four Geneva Conventions applies in all cases of armed conflict and reflects customary international law. Under it, armed groups, no less than governments, must never target civilians, take hostages, or inflict torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. More detailed rules for noninternational armed conflicts are included in Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions. Some armed groups have taken it upon themselves to respect rules of international humanitarian law. Whether or not an armed group has made a specific commitment, individual members of an armed group can and must be held criminally responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or other serious human rights violations. The adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998 has greatly enhanced the prospects for a world where those who have committed such crimes, whether in the service of governments or of armed groups, will no longer be able to escape justice. [Page 50]"

Here's a list of the chapter headings and page numbers for easy navigation:

  1. Introduction 2 - Women, men and guns 3

  2. Armed violence against women in the home 10

  3. Law enforcers, guns and violence against women 22

  4. Gangs, guns and gender 28

  5. Guns ratchet up the level of violence against women 28

  6. Crimes against women in armed conflict 36

  7. The aftermath of war 44

  8. Legal background: the international framework 48

  9. The way forward 58 What can you do about it? 58

I don't plan on writing here often, I prefer to help out with the research and the technical end of things. But while the cat's away I might as well give you some something to read :-)


Bombs Don't Just Explode They Burn Too

Child with severe burns Mahmoudiya hospital
This young boy suffered serious burns in a bombing attack on a market in Mahmoudiya, today Monday, July 3, 2006. The bomb killed three people and injured 22 more.The same market was attacked yesterday.

Amir Ahmed severely burned in bombing 10 years old being comforted by mother
There were also bombing attacks on markets in Baghdad. This child is 10 years old. His name is Amir Ahmed the lady holding him is his mother.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cleaners Children Coffins

Child in Yarmouk hospital injured by grenadeThis child was one of two rushed into Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad by the policeman seen helping attend to him. The children were playing on the street when someone threw a grenade at a street cleaner. Street cleaners are often injured in Baghdad, their job is dangerous because bombers often hide their bombs in piles of rubbish. A lot of street cleaners have been killed that way. That wasn't the case this time however, this time it was a drive by grenade attack.

Wasn't it clever of the invading army not to bother guarding the armouries until after they'd been well and truly looted? Perhaps they were recovering from Mr. Tenet's "slam dunk" and were waiting for the promised hordes of little fluffy bunnies to show up and shower them with rosewater and flowers.

I suppose this child was lucky in a way. Somebody was nearby who was able to rush him to a hospital, the hospital wasn't so full of casualties that he was turned away. Of course like most urban hospitals in Iraq Yarmouk hospital isn't exactly in the best of shape. Just another day in the overstretched hospital system brought to Iraqi children and street cleaners by the effects of the American led occupation of Iraq. Quite a quiet day really, quiet enough that this child was able to be treated. So he was a lucky child.

He was a hell of a lot luckier than his twelve year old friend who was killed in the same attack
Child Yarmouk hospital morgue killed by grenade



Notes: Code cleaned up and posted by me for markfromireland who is having problems with an unreliable connection


The Al-Ula Market Bombing

Saturday's bombing of the Al-Ula market in Sadr City followed by today's three bombings in Karrada, demonstrate Body being recovered from second storey after al-ula bombing The force of the explosion was such that some of the victims' bodies were blown two storeys into the air and had to be recovered by residents.the security problems faced by Baghdad residents, the security forces,.and the Maliki government ensconced within the eight square mile "green zone."

Al-Ula is large, very busy, and very crowded, and is known throughout Baghdad as a place where you can buy everything from household goods, to eggs. The range of goods on sale both at the stalls and in the surrounding shops is such that many people come there from outside of Sadr city. On a Saturday morning it would very crowded with shoppers on a severely limited income looking for bargains. In present-day Iraq that means that many of them were women and children.

Accounts differ as to exactly how the bombing was carried out. Some witnesses say that the bomb was contained in a parked van, while others maintain that it's driver tried to drive it across a central reservation the better to target a police patrol. All agree that the market was packed and that massive civilian casualties were inevitable. This report from Asharq Al Awsat quotes witnesses as agreeing that had the bomber succeeded if the crossing the island of the central Street and entering the market proper that the number of victims would have been much greater.

The bomb itself was very large. It devastated a swathe of stalls, cars, and buildings in the square in which the Al-Ula market is located and was sufficiently powerful to blow some of the dead and injured two storeys into the air.

At this stage it is difficult to say exactly how many people were killed and injured by the bomb. Asharq Al Awsat puts the number killed at 68, others say 74 with more than 200 wounded many of those injured are in a serious condition and are not, at the time of writing, expected to survive. Most of the victims were taken to the Imam Ali hospital in Sadr city in the familiar combination of ambulances, taxis, and private vehicles. Boy with multiple injuries and flashburns from al-ula bombing
The number of people severely injured by the bombing such as this child rapidly overwhelmed the facilities at Imam Ali hospital.
The Imam Ali hospital's facilities were soon overwhelmed and many of the crtitically wounded had to be diverted en route from there to other hospitals in the city. Some of the expected death toll can be ascribed to this as it meant that many of the victims quite simply got treated too late for the treatment to be effective .

The reaction (and recriminations) were immediate. Sadr city which is located in East Baghdad is one of the poorest and most crowded areas of Baghdad. Unemployment is very high even by the standards of American occupied Iraq and many of the streets and buildings are in a state of severe disrepair. As might be expected from the name Sadr City it's a stronghold of Mehdi Army militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr and as such has often been targetted for bomb attacks. Until very recently Mehdi Army militiamen operated checkpoints and would search vehicles entering the area. Unfortunately at the behest of the American military the Interior Ministry insisted that this cease, while at the same time Major General Jihad Taher al-Luaibi the officer in charge of the anti-explosives division in Baghdad has repeatedly complained that his men have not been given explosive detection equipment.

These facts which were already widely known, have caused considerable resentment amongst ordinary residents and militiamen alike. Tensions between residents, the militia, and the occupation were unusually high already due to what appears to have been a planted story that appeared on Friday (hastily retracted by US army spokesman Major General William Caldwell) that American troops had rescued three hundred hostages from the clutches of the Mehdi Army during a raid on either on the health ministry itself or at various locations in Sadr city depending on which version of the story you read. Accordingly when American troops appeared at the bomb scene they were forced to beat a rapid retreat by an infuriated stone-throwing mob who, not unreasonably under the circumstances, were of the opinion that this particular bombing was a reprisal attack and blamed the planted story for being the provocation.

There have been several demonstations in Sadr city today by no means all of them organised by the militia demanding that the milita be given responsibility for manning checkpoints and that the police be properly equipped. These demonstations are in addition to many funerals and come on top the political storm caused by other bombings and kidnappings today.



Sunday Miscellany July 2nd 2006

Boy crying in front of his home in BaqubaThis child was photographed today in front of his home in Baquba*. The child behind him with the shrapnel wound to his throat is his brother. Two of his siblings were killed earlier today.

Baquba's about 50 Km north of Baghdad and is the capital of Diyala governorate (province) it's at the centre of an agricultural district mostly orange groves. It's a Sunni town and is a centre of resistance to the American occupation of Iraq and the new government.

In the South of the country in Samawah the capital of the Al Muthanna Governorate which borders Saudi Arabia police and residents staged a protest against the dismissal of 200 police officers.

Dismissed police and residents protest in SamawahThe Australian contingent of the occupation forces have recently moved to Samawah which has an almost entirely Shi'ite population.

At the time of writing, midday Sunday July 2nd 2006, there had been three confirmed car bombings in Baghdad all of them in the Karrada district three fatalities and twenty casualties have so far been reported. Finally Saddam's eldest daughter and his first wife have been put on the Iraqi government's most-wanted list along with a lot of Baathists which makes me wonder how seriously the "olive branch" offered by Nour al-Maliki to his Sunni compatriots was intended. Mr. Maliki isn't in the "Green Zone" at present he's travelling round the GCC states asking them to help him get his government established.


Notes: * According to mfi's notes the name comes from Baya 'quba, which means the "House of Jacob." In Arabic that would be Yaqub, or sometimes you'll see it written as Yacoub. Whichever way you see it written he's the same prophet known in the Old Testament as Jacob. He's not mentioned in very much detail in the Koran that I can see except to say that his legacy was the righteous practice of bowing in worship to the one true God (Allah) and that this legacy which shared with Jews and Christians is one of the bases of salvation.