IRAQ: No country for women


Insecurity and the threat of violence limits women's freedom.

The improved political representation of women in Iraq is in sharp contrast to their broader disempowerment, as highlighted by the persistence of domestic violence and early marriage, according to a new report by the UN Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit.

Women may hold 25 percent of seats in the Iraqi parliament, but one in five in the 15-49 age group has suffered physical violence at the hands of her husband. Anecdotal evidence alleges that “many women are being kidnapped and sold into prostitution”, and female genital mutilation is still common in the north, the report notes.

“The situation many Iraqi women and girls face is beyond words,” journalist Eman Khammas told IRIN in a telephone interview. “Before, I was a journalist, a professional; now, I am nothing.”

Khammas noted an underlying political climate of intolerance that has become increasingly poisonous for women. She was forced to flee Iraq after receiving death threats that effectively stopped her - like thousands of other Iraqi women - from working. She now lives in Spain.

The New York Times Again Censoring WikiLeaks

Stephen Lendman

The New York Times got left out of getting advance access
to the latest round of leaked cables. (Associated Press)

On November 28, WikiLeaks began releasing over 250,000 leaked State Department and US Embassy cables (many designated "secret"), dating from 1966 through end of February 2010. Their content ranges from embarrassing to important revelations about US spying on allies and the UN, ignoring corruption and human rights abuses in "client states," corporate lobbying, backroom dealmaking, disparagements of foreign leaders, and overall revealing a much different America than its public persona. Most of all, it offers more proof of a sham democracy, a lawless imperial state rampaging globally though little, if anything, of a smoking gun nature was disclosed.

Unsurprisingly, the London Guardian said the documents

"reveal how the US uses its embassies as part of a global espionage network, with diplomats tasked to obtain not just information from the people they meet, but personal details, such as frequent flyer numbers, credit card details and even DNA material. Classified 'human intelligence directives' issued in the name of Hillary Clinton or her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, instruct officials to gather information on military installations, weapons markings, vehicle details of political leaders as well as iris scans, fingerprints and DNA."

Washington's "most controversial target was the leadership of the United Nations." One document requested "the specification of telecoms and IT systems used by top UN officials and their staff and details of 'private VIP networks used for official communication, to include upgrades, security measures, passwords, (and) personal encryption keys."

Iraq Has Most Disappeared Persons in World

Dirk Adriaensens
War Is A

Forced disappearances and missing persons: The missing persons of Iraq. -Always someone’s mother or father, always someone’s child.

A forced disappearance (or enforced disappearance) is defined in Article 2 of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly On 20 December 2006, as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law. Often forced disappearance implies murder. The victim in such a case is first abducted, then illegally detained, and often tortured; the victim is then killed, and the body is then hidden. Typically, a murder will be surreptitious, with the corpse disposed of in such a way as to prevent it ever being found, so that the person apparently vanishes. The party committing the murder has deniability, as there is no body to prove that the victim has actually died. [1]

Article 1 of the Convention further states that No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.[2]

Neither Iraq, nor the USA have signed or ratified this convention.[3]

The United States refused to sign, saying that the text "did not meet our expectations", without giving an explanation.[4]

Once again the United States placed itself outside the provisions of International Humanitarian law.

Unconstitutional, Time to End the Scanner Scam

Gordon Duff
Veterans Today

Let’s begin with one fact. We are using expensive, dangerous and illegal scanners in our airports for one reason. A year ago, a single “terrorist,” really a moronic dupe with a defective bomb in his crotch, was escorted onto a plane for Detroit, no search, no passport, not even a ticket, placed on a plane by an airport security officer who is a former IDF “commando.”

These are the facts, plain and simple. The government depends on you not knowing this so you will let them either radiate you or grope you, you get to choose, next time you fly. In order to get away with this affront to decency and common sense, they hid the fact that their “terrorist act” never really happened. Everyone involved, airline personnel, security, all the video, the statements, the names of those who smuggled the “Crotch Bomber” through Schiphol Airport, all missing, vanished into thin air, along with the civil rights of over 300 million Americans.

All we have is a story, more comedy than reality, the scraps of a bomb that could never work, could never damage a plane, a bomb we are supposed to believe traveled 15,000 miles from Yemen through Ghana, Nigeria, the Netherlands to Detroit to burn a hole in someone’s pants. We know security escorted our criminal mastermind onto the plane.

There is a 99.9% chance that they also gave him the bomb. Maybe it was in a Duty Free bag. Nobody ever asked, nobody checked, nobody is asking, nobody is reporting about it. Who has that kind of power?

Imperial America's End Time

Stephen Lendman

"Since WW II, all US wars have been illegal."

Noted analysts on both left and right see America's empire in decline. In his 2009 book, "Global Depression and Regional Wars," James Petras said:

"All the idols of capitalism over the past three decades have crashed. The assumptions and presumptions, paradigms and prognosis of indefinite progress under liberal free market capitalism have been tested and have failed. We are living the end of an entire epoch (and are bearing witness to) the collapse of the US and world financial system," and with it America's empire.

On August 16, Paul Craig Roberts headlined his article, "The Ecstacy of Empire: How Close Is America's Demise," saying:

America's profligacy "is running out of time...." Yet "2010 has been wasted in hype about a non-existant recovery." Government-manipulated reality masks the internal rot. Wall Street handouts and imperial wars are bankrupting the country.

"US military spending reflects the unaffordable and unattainable crazed neoconservative goal of US empire and world hegemony....If the wars are not immediately stopped and the jobs (not) brought back to America, the US is relegated to the trash bin of history....Without a revolution, Americans are history."

Indeed so.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud: Terrorist or Victim?

Stephen Lendman

[A crowd watches before a Christmas tree is lit on Pioneer Courthouse square Friday night, Nov. 26, 2010 in Portland, Ore. Federal agents in a sting operation arrested a Somali-born teenager just as he tried blowing up a van full of what he believed were explosives at the crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony, federal authorities said. The bomb was a fake supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Torsten Kjellstrand) (]

November 27 major media headlines accused him, including New York Times writers Colin Miner, Liz Robbins and Erik Eckholm triple-teaming him in their article titled, "FBI Says Oregon Suspect Planned 'Grand' Attack." Their saying so becomes accepted fact, according to corporate media reports - guilty by accusation.

It happens repeatedly. It's usually strategically timed, in this case to defuse anger over enhanced airport screening. It's also nearly always against Muslims, America's target of choice - of course, to justify imperial wars against Muslim nations. The topic was addressed often in previous articles, including one accessed through THIS link.

It explained how America's war on terrorism exploits and vilifies them. Hollywood and corporate media reports especially portray them stereotypically as culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, violent, dangerous gun-toting terrorists, wrongfully against Western values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.

The Times recounted the latest accusation as follows:

"A Somali-born teenager who though he was detonating a car bomb at a packed (Portland, OR) Christmas tree-lighting ceremony downtown here was arrested by the authorities on Friday night after federal agents said that they had spent nearly six months setting up a sting operation" - to entrap him, what Times writers didn't say, or that it's standard FBI practice to snare innocent victims.

They're then wrongfully accused of crimes they either had no intention to commit or wouldn't consider without FBI provocation. In this case, an implied attack against Christmas and Christian values was alleged, or, in other words, "violent" Islam against "peaceful, morally superior" Christianity.

New WikiLeaks documents expose US foreign policy conspiracies

David Walsh

WikiLeaks not only has the legal right, it has the moral obligation to do anything in its power to disrupt these bloody operations. It is to the everlasting shame of the mainstream media that it has not exerted any of its efforts along the same lines.

The batch of 250,000 US classified documents released by WikiLeaks to several news outlets, some of whose content was made public Sunday, sheds new light on the sordid nature of American imperialist intrigue and conspiracy around the globe.

The WSWS will analyze the documents more thoroughly in a subsequent article, but “highlights” published by the Guardian and the New York Times are revealing.

The leaked material consists of classified cables from US embassies, some dispatched as recently as early 2010. The cables, most of which date from 2007-2010, contain US officials’ comments on foreign governments and leaders and speculation about the activities and maneuvers of the latter, as well as details about American foreign policy operations.

In a revelation that should surprise no one, the US State Department and American diplomacy in general turn out to be a vast nest of spies.

The New York Times: What Passes for Journalism in the Newspaper of Record

Stephen Lendman

Overall, America's major media fails the test. It is biased, shameless, and irresponsible with "everything to sell and nothing to tell" as a noted US media critic once said. It delivers a daily diet of managed news (propaganda), infotainment, and junk food news, a worthless mix, treating people like mushrooms - well-watered, in the dark, and uninformed about what matters most. No wonder greater numbers opt out, consuming less broadcast "news" and print media, the kind no one should waste time or money on.

No paper has more clout than the New York Times. Media critic Norman Solomon once called its front page "the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA" - in fact, anywhere because its reports circulate globally.

In his April 1998 article titled, "All the News Fit to Print (Part I): Structure and Background of the New York Times," Edward Herman called The Times "an establishment newspaper," serving wealth and power interests, a record dating from 1896 when the Ochs-Sulzberger family took control. Its agenda "persist(s) to this day" as two earlier articles explained, accessed through the following links, here and here.

In The Year 2025

David Michael Green
The Regressive Antidote

A Message From Dear Leader Palin:

Comrades, your attention please. As we come now to mark a dozen years spent as your Dear Leader, I thought it might be worthwhile to take stock of our achievements. And as Thanksgiving time rolls around once more, I thought it only proper to take stock of our blessings, and give thanks to the Lord Jesus for all he has given us.

We should be thankful, to begin with, for our unity as a nation. Many of us remember well the ugliness of the democracy our parents suffered under, with all its messy dissent and nasty name-calling. That is now over for good. In our last election (which was, truly, our last election), fully one hundred percent of the population of God’s chosen country voted in favor of making me Dear Leader For Life, an astonishing show of unanimity and national will. No more ugliness, no more division, no more worrying “Should I vote for Tweedledee or Tweedledum?” choice. We are one people now, with one Leader, as God always intended.

We must be thankful as well for our freedom from freedoms. I know I speak for all of those from my generation who can remind you younger patriots of how destructive it was to the national peace when anyone could say anything, when people could disrupt our family prayer hour with demonstrations on the street, when sexual deviants could undermine our wholesomeness by getting married or serving in our military, or when Muslims defamed the name of our Lord Jesus by their very presence in America. We are so much freer now without these infernal threats to our well-being and our perfectly rigid belief structure. And we are so much truer to what our blessed Founders had in mind when they wrote our Christian Constitution.

Oscar Lopez Rivera: Imprisoned for Supporting Puerto Rican Independence

Stephen Lendman

After the 1898 Spanish-American War, the US took over the Philippines, Guam, Samoa, Hawaii, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Canal Zone, assorted other territories, and Puerto Rico. On September 29, its Governor-General, Manuel Macias y Casado (a Spanish general), ceded control to Washington, its current status today as a colony.

In 1966, then University of Puerto Rico economics associate, Dr. Antonio J. Gonzales said:

"The Puerto Rican Independence Party bases its struggle in favor of the independence of Puerto Rico on the conviction that we continue to be a (US) colony, thus being denied (our) right to freedom and sovereignty."

After taking over in 1898, America

"never granted Puerto Ricans the total control of their lives and destiny. Sovereign powers have never been transferred to us in order to be able to decide in all those areas that affect the collective life of our nation."

For over 112 years, America's had total control, Puerto Ricans virtually none, forced to "accept the dispositions of laws imposed" by a colonial power.

In its relationship with America, Puerto Rico is called "Estado Libre Asociado" (Free Associated State or Commonwealth). Under international law, it's a colony, seeking independence. Therein lies the roots of its struggle, Oscar Lopez Rivera imprisoned for supporting it.

Nigel Farage To European Parliament: "The Euro Game Is Up... Just Who The Hell Do You Think You Are? You Are Very Dangerous People"

Tyler Durden

Famous euroskeptic Nigel Farage (as seen previously here), in just under 4 brief minutes tells more truth about the entire European experiment than all European bankers, commissioners, and politicians have done in the past decade. As we have already said pretty much all of this before, we present it without commentary:

"Good morning Mr. van Rompuy, you've been in office for one year, and in that time the whole edifice is beginning to crumble, there's chaos, the money's running out, I should thank you - you should perhaps be the pinup boy of the euroskeptic movement. But just look around this chamber this morning, look at these faces, look at the fear, look at the anger. Poor Barroso here looks like he's seen a ghost. They're beginning to understand that the game is up. And yet in their desperation to preserve their dream, they want to remove any remaining traces of democracy from the system.

Iran-Korea nuclear lies, orders from Tel Aviv

Gordon Duff
Veterans Today

[Poverty in Chongjin - North Korea -Chongjin is the third town of North Korea. It is an industrial place where very few foreigners were allowed to go. [F]rom my hotel room, in the center of the town, I could see hundreds of people going to work in the early morning, carrying packs of heavy stones to rebuild the roads. During the hunger in the 90's hundred thousands died in this area. Image + Text: Eric Lafforgue (flickr)]

Two imaginary nuclear programs, one criminal conspiracy

Former President George W. Bush planned to invade Iran in 2007, even though America’s military was exhausted and overstretched by two unsuccessful wars. His own popularity, at a real 8%, was the reason, that and the economic collapse that he was trying to push back until he left office. He believed a war would have saved his presidency, buried the $3 trillion dollars stolen by his friends and given him a legacy to be proud of, even if every family in America suffered.

Bush brazenly admits prettymuch exactly these things in his ghost written autobiography, an incoherent rant, that rambles between blithering and megalomaniac delusion . The only thing that stopped this disaster was the National Intelligence Assessment, (NIE) that proved categorically, that Iran had no nuclear weapons program whatsoever. Even then, Bush tried to hide this report and demanded that falsified intelligence be created as he had done for 9/11, Afghanistan and Iran. However, as a lame duck and failed president, nobody listened. Integrity won out over insanity, greed and corruption this time. It wouldn’t last.

Liliany Obando: A Political Prisoner – Release them All!

Patrick Mac Manus
Patrick Mac Manus Blog

What does Colombian political prisoner Liliany Obando have in common with Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lynne Stewart and the Cuban Five? All of them are incarcerated in prisons built by the U.S. government. Since the mid-1990s, seven new military bases and a rash of state-of-the-art prisons have been built in Colombia. Under the pretext of the “war on drugs and/or terrorism,” the U.S. has funnelled billions of dollars into Colombia’s efforts to crush dissent.

The U.S. government has been intervening in the affairs of Colombia since the 1950s, providing military training and economic aid to combat primarily two armed reformist organizations — the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Liliany Obando, a sociologist and independent filmmaker, was arrested in 2008 and charged with “rebellion” against the government and aiding the forces of FARC, which has been declared a “terrorist” organization.

The Korean crisis and the threat of a wider war

Bill Van Auken

This week marks the 60th anniversary of China’s entry in force into the Korean War. The attack carried out by some 300,000 Chinese troops resulted in one of the most stunning defeats suffered by the US military in its entire history.

What followed was a protracted and bloody stalemate that ended only with the armistice declared in July 1953. The war had claimed the lives of more than four million people, the vast majority of them Korean civilians.

Six decades after US and Chinese troops waged bitter hand-to-hand combat south of the Yalu River, tensions on the Korean peninsula are arguably at their highest since the end of the Korean War. They are being fed by and are in turn exacerbating great power conflicts between Washington and Beijing.

The arrival in the Yellow Sea this weekend of a naval battle group led by the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington, signals another escalation in the current crisis.

The dispatch of the giant warship was announced in the immediate wake of the North Korean shelling Tuesday of the island of Yeonpyeong, killing two South Korean marines and two construction workers.

State-sanctioned murder: The Bus 300 Affair

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (Press Release)

Majdi Abu Jumma, a suspect in the 1984 Bus 300 hijacking, being
led to his death by Shin Bet officers. (Photo: Alex Levac)

"I smashed their skulls," [on orders from Shin Bet head Avraham Shalom, and] "I'm proud of everything I've done." [Yatom said he put the men on stretchers into a van.] "On the way I received an order from Avraham Shalom to kill the men, so I killed them." (1996) "I acted for the security of my country." (2001) ~ (Shin Bet officer) Ehud Yatom

General Attorney of Israel refuses to disclose file of the Bus 300 Affair

Wednesday, 06 November 1996

In a letter dated 8 September 1996, the Attorney General of Israel disregarded a request by the Palestinian Centre for full disclosure of the case file of the Bus 300 affair.

Interest was revived in the Bus 300 affair following the 26 July 1996 publication in Yediot Ahronot of an interview with Ehud Yatom, a former agent in Shabak (Israeli Security Services), which introduced new evidence that had not been previously disclosed by stating his direct involvement in the extrajudicial killing of Subhi and Majdi Abu Jamea.

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