Wednesday, April 28, 2010

He needs more TV time

BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE

CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O MET SUNDAY WITH NOTED HOMOPHOBE AND JEW HATER BILLY GRAHAM. THOUGH HE'S DONE NOTHING TO REPEAL LGBT RIGHTS, BARRY O SAYS HE HAS TO COURT THE GRAHAM CONTINGENT.

"BESIDES," HE EXPLAINED, "IT MIGHT HELP ME GET AN HOUR ON THE 700 CLUB AND SO FAR THAT AND THE HORACE MCQUEEN FARM AND RANCH REPORT ARE THE ONLY PROGRAMS I HAVEN'T BEEN ON."

FROM THE TCI WIRE:

Amnesty International issued a [PDF format warning] report today entitled "Iraq: Civilians under fire," click here. The human rights group's 28 page report focuses on the groups targeted in Iraq:

Hundreds of civilians are still being killed or maimed every month in Iraq, even if the past two years have seen an overall reduction in the number of civilian deaths. As a result, safety and security remain key concerns for Iraqis -- especially for those who, because of their religious, ethnic or other identity or because of their profession or work, are particularly vulnerable to be targeted for violent attack.
Although civilians have been killed, injured or otherwise abused by Iraqi security forces and foreign troops based in Iraq and by members of private military and security companies, most killings of civilians are being carried out by armed groups.

For the report, Amnesty spoke to a wide range of Iraqis in Iraq as well as to Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria and other countries. The targeted include those are who are targeted for speaking out or for reporting on abuses. "Women who have taken the lead in confronting violence against women and promoting women's rights," the report notes, "have been directly targeted because of their activities, notably by members of Islamist armed groups and militias. Some have been attacked and killed because of their efforts to promote gender equality." The report notes:

Wars and conflicts, wherever they are fought, invariably usher in sickeningly high levels of violence against women and girls. All parties to the armed conflict in Iraq have been involved in violent crimes specifically aimed at women and girls, include rape. Perpetrators have included members of armed groups, militias, Iraqi government forces and foreign military forces. In addition, women and girls continue to be attacked and sometimes killed by male relatives and Islamist armed groups or militias for their perceived or alleged transgression of traditional roles or moral codes. Most of these crimes are committed with impunity.

Relatives attacking women include not only husband but "fathers, brothers and otehr relatives, particularly if they try to go against the wishes of the family." Another targeted group would be composed of the religious and ethnic minorities. Unlike other targeted populations, they are guaranteed (a small amount of) representation in the Parliament -- or some are. Iraq's now dwindling Jewish population, for example, was never had set-aside seats in the Parliament. We cover the persecution of religious minorities regularly and will do so in another snapshot this week so we'll instead focus on one of the least reported ongoing persecutions: the assault on Iraqi's LGBT community.

Members of the gay community in Iraq live under constant threat. They are confronted by widespread intolerance towards their sexual identity and scores of men who were, or were perceived to be, gay have been killed in recent years, some after torture. Violent acts against gay men have occurred against a background of frequent public statements by some Muslim clerics and others condemning homosexuality.
[. . .]
The wave of attacks on gay men in early 2009 coincided with statements by Muslim clerics, particularly in al-Sadr City, urging their followers to take action to eradicate homosexuality from Iraqi society. They used language that effectively constituted incitement to violence against men known or alleged to be gay.
Gay men face similar discrimination as women under the legislation that provides for lenient sentences for those committing crimes with an "honourable motive". Iraqi courts continue to interpret provisions of Article 128 of the Penal Code as justification for giving drastically reduced sentences to defendants who have attacked or even killed gay men they are related to if they say that they acted to "wash off the shame". In its rulings, the Iraqi Court of Cassation has confirmed that the killing of a male relative who is suspected of same-sex sexual conduct is considered a crime with an "honourable motive", thus qualifying for a reduced sentence under Article 128.
Although provisions under Articles 128 have been amended in the Kurdistan Region by Law 14 of 2002 and, therefore, may no longer be applied in connection with crimes committed against women there, they continue to be applicable throughout the whole of Iraq in connection with crimes against gay men.
For example, on 24 October 2005 the Court of Cassation of the Kurdistan Region confirmed the conviction for murder and one-year prison sentence imposed on a man from Koysinjak who had confessed to killing his gay brother earlier in 2005. The court found that he had killed his brother with "honourable motives" because he "wanted to end the shame which the victim [of the crime] had brought over his family by practicing depravity and by being engaged in homosexuality and prostitution." The court also accepted that a one-year prison sentence was in this case appropriate for premeditated murder, a crime which carries the death penalty.

You can kill a gay man and get away with it in Iraq. Which sort of makes John T. Fleming look like a lying prick. (Much worse than that but I can use "prick" and still manage work safe language.) Fleming is with the US State Dept. Last June, Seth Michael Donsky (Boston's Edge) reported:

John T. Fleming, who heads public affairs for the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, takes pains to point out that homosexuality is not a crime in Iraq. "Homosexuality," he pointed out in a recent e-mail to EDGE, "is outlawed by more than 85 countries and is punishable by death in several Islamic states . . . but Iraq is not one of them."

Being gay's not a crime in Iraq . . . except it is. And if you kill a man because he's gay and you're a family member you can walk. Much, much more complicated than Fleming's 'informed' explanation. From a US official acting the fool to a British one, Paul Canning (Pink News) explains David Miliband (Foreign Secretary) is providing one whopper after another:

He said: "Under Labour the UK will continue to be a beacon of hope for LGBT people."
This delusion sounded a lot like Home Office minister Phil Woolas' article last year, when he wrote that he was proud of the attendees of the London Pride march who'd found sanctuary in the UK -- never mind that his office would have refused them and fought tooth-and-nail to remove them.
The pair should form a double act.
An Amnesty International report released today said that gays in Iraq have no protection from the state and are allegedly even being targeted by some security forces. Yet Miliband's 'beacon' government would tell those seeking our sanctuary they could safely return and be "discreet".

Also at Pink News, Jessica Green covers Amnesty's report and notes, "An Amnesty International report claims that the UK and several other European countries are breaching United Nations rules on returning vulnerable Iraqi asylum seekers."

The internally displaced are also targeted, especially if they attempt to return to their homes. The Palestinian refugees in Iraq remain targeted and vulnerable to assaults "mainly by Shi'a militias." And, of course, the residents of Camp Ashraf -- Iranian dissidents -- remain targeted by Nouri al-Maliki in his attempts to curry favor with the Iranian government. The report closes with recommendations for a number of groupings in Iraq. We'll note two. First the US could

* Exercise due diligence and protect the human rights of all civilians in Iraq.

* Ensure prompt, impartial and thorough investigations into all attacks on and other violent crimes against civilians by US forces, and bring those resposible to justice in conformity with internation law and without recourse to the death penalty.

For those in government in Iraq?
* Exercise due diligence and protect the human rights of all civilians in Iraq.

* Review and improve protection measures for human rights defenders, other critical voices and vulnerable groups, including by consultation with representatives of groups at risk.

* End discrimination, including with regard to protection measures, on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, origin, colour, religion, sect, belief or opinion, or economic or social status -- as required by Iraqi and international law.

* Ensure prompt impartial and thorough investigations into all attacks on and other violent crimes against civilians, and bring those responsible to justice in conformity with international law and without recourse to the death penalty.

* Immediately disarm all militias.

* Train and instruct law enforcement personnel to identify at risk individuals or groups and ensure effective protection measures.

* End the indication of holder's religion on identity cards in light of the risk of grave human rights abuses entailed in the inclusion of religious affiliation on identity cards, in consultation with religious minority communities.

* Abolish legislation that provides disproportionately lenient sentences for perpetrators claiming "honourable motives" for crimes against women and members of the gay community perceived to be transgressing traditional gender roles or moral codes.

* Ban or enforce existing bans on harmful traditional practices for girls, namely female genital mutilation and forced and early marriages.

* Provide assistance to all displaced people, including shelter, health care and other essential needs.

* Do not forcibly return any refugees or asylum-seekers to countries where they are at risk of human rights violations.

For the global community, the recommendations include: "End all forcible returns to any part of Iraq; any return of rejected asylum-seekers should only take place when the security situation in the whole country has stabilized." Friday on Free Speech Radio News, it was noted that Denmark was forcibly returning an Iraqi refugee.

Sondre Bjordal: A resigned atmosphere hung over the small group of protestors this afternoon after Umaeed the Iraqi asylulm seeker who had since 2002 was led by police to the gates. Umaeed is one of about 280 aslyum seekers including some two dozen children who are effected by an agreement between the Danish and Iraqi governments that lets them repatriate asylum seekers even if their lives may be in danger in the war ridden country. Under the agreement, Iraq has promised their safety but the UN doubts that promise can be fulfilled. Forced repatriations now happen about once a month. Umaeed's pregnant wife told FSRN that she now sees little hope for the future.

Umaeed's wife: I don't know what to do. I can't provide for myself. I can't. A woman with two children can't provide for herself. And the children of course need their father.

Sondre Bjordal: As many as 200,000 Muslims live in Denmark where limiting immigration has become a major political issue.


That was pointed out by a FRSN friend who also informed me that I was wrong (I was wrong) and that FRSN had noted the Friday's bombings on Fridays:

In Baghdad today, numerous bombs exploded across the city -- at least 58 people are dead. Varying reports say there were between 6 and 13 blasts -- most targeted Shia mosques during Friday prayers. The blasts follow yesterday's announcement that yet another high level al Qaeda leader was recently detained. In the past week, US and Iraqi forces have killed at least three high level al Qaeda in Iraq leaders, and detained a number of others.

As noted, I was wrong in yesterday's snapshot. My apologies for my error and thank you to a FRSN friend for calling me and correcting me.

Amnesty's also notes how the continued election confusion isn't helping either. It's not surprising that Iraq has yet to form a government. No one's surprised by that, not even Chris Hill. What's surprising is that roadblocks keep being tossed out there to prevent talks to forming a coalition -- such as yesterday's disqualifying of candidates -- including two who won seats in the Parliament. Today US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued the following statement:


On March 7, I congratulated the people of Iraq on their national elections, which were a clear demonstration of their commitment to democracy and a future without fear and intimidation.
Iraq's Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), the United Nations, the Arab League, and both international and domestic observers declared those elections to be free of widespread or systematic fraud. The United States respects the legal avenues that Iraq has set up for challenges to candidates and to electoral results. However, for challenges to be credible and legitimate they must also be transparent and must accord with the laws and mechanisms established for the conduct of the elections. Investigations into allegations of fraud should be conducted in accordance with IHEC procedures. Similarly, candidates should have every opportunity to answer charges against them. Transparency and due process are essential to protecting the integrity of the process and preserving the confidence of the Iraqi people in their democratic system.
The United States does not support a particular party or candidate. We seek a long-term partnership with an Iraq that is stable, sovereign and self-reliant. As a friend and partner, the United States calls upon Iraq's leaders to set aside their differences, respect the courageous ballots of the Iraqi people, and to form quickly a government that is inclusive and represents the will of all Iraqis and their hope for a brighter future in a strong, independent and democratic Iraq.


RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
"Amnesty warns of the worsening conditions in Iraq"
"Guns drawn on Chomsky"
"Repeat City"
"As Old As The Hills Doug Henwood"
"A Monday"
"get off your ass"
"Free Lynne"
"Joni wins against Bob every time"
"I'm just getting old"
"Lady In Cement"
"The peace movement versus the kiddie table"
"Fried chicken interrupts this planned post"
"Poster or poser?"
"THIS JUST IN! BARRY EXPLAINS IT ALL!"

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