BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O FOUGHT BACK TODAY ON CLAIMS THAT HE HAS DONE NOTHING FOR THE ECONOMY OR TO HELP PEOPLE GET JOBS.
"I'VE GOTTEN PLENTY OF PEOPLE JOBS, PEOPLE WHO BUNDLED AT LEAST $800,000 FOR MY CAMPAIGN! ALL MY BIG DONORS ARE BECOMING AMBASSADORS! BARRY O CREATES JOBS AND DON'T LET ANYONE SAY HE DOESN'T! I CREATE JOBS AND I STAFF THEM! WITH DONORS!"
IN OTHER NEWS, U.S. HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN CONYERS BECAME THE LATEST TO CALL BARRY O ON HIS EMBARRASSING TENDENCY TO CONSTANTLY BEND OVER.
SAID CONYERS, "I SWEAR, WHEN HE WAS A BOY, THE ONLY WORDS HE MUST HAVE EVER HEARD WERE 'BEND OVER'."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
"The reports already out," declared Michael H. Posner this afternoon to US House Rep Jim Costa. "Those designations will happen in the next few months. The human rights -- the broader human rights report is just a factual summary." Posner, the Assistant Secretary for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the US State Dept, was appearing before the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. The report he was refering to was the State Dept's International Religious Freedom Report which was released October 26, 2009.
On Iraq, the State Dept's publication notes:
At the end of the reporting period, national identity cards continued to note the holder's religion, which has been used as a basis for discrimination; however, passports did not note religion.
Law No. 105 of 1970 prohibits the Baha'i Faith, and a 2001 resolution prohibits the Wahhabi branch of Islam. Although provisions on freedom of religion in the new Constitution may supersede these laws, no court challenges have been brought to have them invalidated, and no legislation has been proposed to repeal them.
In April 2007 the Ministry of Interior's Nationality and Passport Section canceled Regulation 358 of 1975, which prohibited the issuance of a nationality identity card to those claiming the Bahai' Faith. In May 2007 a small number of Baha'is were issued identity cards. The Nationality and Passport Section's legal advisor stopped issuance of the cards thereafter, claiming Baha'is had been registered as Muslims since 1975 and citing a government regulation preventing the conversion of "Muslims" to another faith. Without this official citizenship card, Baha'is experience difficulty registering their children for school and applying for passports. Despite the cancellation of the regulation, Baha'is whose identy records were changed to "Muslim" after Regulation 358 was instituted in 1975 still could not change their identity cards to indicate their Baha'i faith, and their children were not recognized as Baha'is.
A March 2006 citizenship law specifically precludes Jews from regaining citizenship if it is ever withdrawn.
[. . .]
There were allegations that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) engaged in discriminatory behavior against religious minorities. Christians and Yezidis living north of Mosul claimed that the KRG confiscated their property without compensation and that it began building settlements on their land. Assyrian Christians alleged that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)-dominated judiciary in Ninewa routinely discriminated against non-Muslims and failed to enforce judgments in their favor. There were reports that Yezidis faced restrictions when entering the KRG and had to obtain KRG approval to find jobs in areas within Ninewa Province administred by the KRG or under the security protection of the Peshmerga.
There were also allegations that the KRG exhibited favoritism toward the Christian religious establishment, and it was alleged that on February 17, 2008, KRG authorities arrested and held incommunicado for four days an Assyrian blogger, Johnny Khoshaba Al-Rikany, based on articles he had posted attacking corruption in the church.
Yezidi and Shabak political leaders alleged that Kurdish Peshmerge forces regularly committed abuses against and harassed their communities in Ninewa Province. Districts that are within the security control of the Peshmerga include Sinjar, Sheikhan, Ba'asheq (sub-district of Mosul), and Bartalla (sub-district of Hamdaniya). Minority leaders alleged that Kurdish forces were intimidating minority communities to identify themselves as Kurds and support their inclusion in the KRG. Yezidi political representatives also reported that because of their religious affiliation, they were not allowed to pass through security checkpoints in areas controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga as they traveled from Baghdad to their communities in northern Iraq.
The KRG denied allegations that it was behind violent incidents directed at Christians and other minorities. Moreover, despite such allegations, many non-Muslims reside in northern Iraq and the KRG area, and there were reports that some sought refuge there from other parts of the country where pressures to conform publicly to narrow interpretations of Islamic tenets were greater. In February 2009, the IOM estimated that there were 19,100 internally displaced families in the Ninewa Plain and that 43,595 internally displaced families were located in the Kurdistan region.
In reply to a question from US House Rep Bob Inglis today, Posner said there were three things the US government could do to support religious communities being targeted around the world:
1) Be very viligant when religious communities are targeted and in trouble.
2) The US government can help amplify their voices.
3) The US government can provide direct, material, financial support.
With regards to the US government speaking out against targeting of religious communities, Posner declared that "governments take notice of that" and that "it is always valuable for us to speak out."
Religious minorities are among Iraq's refugee population. The genocide and ethnic cleansing of Iraq led to millions of refugees -- some internal, some external. Julien Barnes-Dacey (Christian Science Monitor) reports that "up to 2 million" of the external refugees "remain stranged in neighboring countries" while the United Nations faces shortfalls in funding. As Barnes-Dacey reports, that has not prevented Iraqi refugees from continuing to leave Iraq. One example of that is Abu Ali who entered Syria in August and states, "I had to leave: they say there's security, but on the ground it's a different story. They still kill you because of your ID papers." As a backdrop to the crisis, the US State Dept's Eric Schwartz wrapped up a multi-day bad will tour today. Over the weekend, Schwartz made the usual ass of himself including when AP interviewed him and, despite the fact that various humanitarian organizations have issued studies this year pointing out how little the Baghdad government or 'government' has done for refugees, he declared 'strides have been made'. And the 'answer' is for Iraqi refugees to return to Iraq -- despite the fact that the Red Cross and the United Nations both have stated that that Iraq is not 'safe' enough for refugees to begin returning nor is that country able to handle a mass return. Wednesday he was in Syria which estimates they currently house 1.2 million Iraqi refugees. Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters) reports that Schwartz declared the influx of Iraqi refugees to the US this current fiscal year would be "substantial." And Schwartz declares it will be "at least 17,000." That's substantial? By whose measurement? Or have we forgotten Schwartz promised 20,000 would be settled in FY '09 -- a little over 18,000 were re-settled in the US for that fiscal year. So 'substantial' is now even less than his predications for the last fiscal year? Phil Sands (The National) reports:
Abdul Rahman Attar, the president of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, criticised the international community and the Iraqi government, saying both were failing in their duty to care for displaced Iraqis. And he cautioned there were dangerous implications in four million people continuing to live as refugees, many of them struggling to cope with increasing levels of poverty.
"Perhaps the world is underestimating the significance of the Iraqi refugees issue," he said. "It is not a short-term matter. We are talking about medium- and long-term impacts. It has already been six years or more for some refugees and they need greater support. "The international community should not allow its attention to drift easily away from the refugees. This issue is a bomb that can still explode at any time."
It would certainly seem that Eric Schwartz is underestimating the significance. But the State Dept has always done that with Iraq -- especially with regards to Iraq's LGBT community and the continued assault on the community. Tuesday, Kelvin Lynch (Dallas Examiner) was reporting that Iraqi LGBT was estimating the number of LGBT men and women murdered in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 720 and Lynch observes, "But the big question continues to be, why hasn't the U.S. government done anything to help?" Taylor Luck (Jordan Times) reports on the Sabian Mandaeans who left Iraq due to the violence and are currently in Jordan:
Fatwas were issued declaring Mandaens kuffar, or infidels. Mandaens, known for their gold and jewellery craftsmanship, became frequent targets of kidnappings, with ransoms set as high as $100,000.
Since the US-led invasion, the Mandaean Human Rights Group has recorded around 180 killings, 275 kidnappings and 298 assualts and forced conversions within Iraq.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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