BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O WAS SINGING, "B-B-P, B-B-B-P, B-B-P, B-B-B-P, B-P TAKE MY HAND, B-P, YOU'RE MY FRIEND . . ."
WITH JOE BIDEN ON BASS, RAHM EMANUEL ON TAMBORINE, SUSAN RICE ON ORGAN ("I THINK I'M LAURIE PARTRIDGE!" SHE EXCLAIMED AT ONE POINT CAUSING BARRY O TO HISS, "I THINK I HATE YOU!"), KATHLEEN SEBELIUS ON FRENCH HORN, RON KIRK ON RECORDER AND AND JANET NAPOLITANO ON LEAD GUITAR THE GROUP GOT READY FOR RECOVERY SUMMER WHICH THEY INTEND TO BRING TO A TOWN NEAR YOU -- PROVIDED YOU LIVE IN AN AREA WITH FIVE OR MORE TV STATIONS AND AT LEAST TWO DAILY PAPERS.
"IT'S ALL ABOUT THE COLUMN INCHES!" EXCLAIMED KEN SALAZAR WHO WILL FILL THE ROLE OF TOUR MANAGER. "THEY GOT A GREAT SET LIST. IN ADDITION TO 'BP,' THEY ALSO ARE DOING 'I WISH THEY ALL COULD BE OIL SOAKED GULLS,' 'IN MY BANK ACCOUNT,' AND SO MANY MORE."
AS IF TO PROVE IT, NAPOLITANO YELLED OUT "1-2-3-4" AND THE BAND LAUNCHED INTO ANOTHER SONG AS BARRY O BEGAN SINGING, 'SPEW, SPEW, SPEW, I JUST SPEW, SPEW, SPEW, SPEW, YOU JUST SPEW, SPEW, SPEW, SPEW, B-P TOO, I JUST SPEW!"
WIPING THE SWEAT FROM HER BROW WITH HER DOO-RAG, JANET NAPOLITANO EXPLAINED TO THESE REPORTERS, "WE GONNA' ROCK THIS COUNTRY ALL SUMMER LONG. WE GONNA' BE THE MOTHER OF ALL TOURS. NOW THAT THE GO-GOS HAVE CANCELLED ON LILITH FAIR, RECOVERY SUMMER GONNA' BE THE TICKET FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SEE SOME PEOPLE LAYING DOWN SOME HEAVY TUNES. TRUST ME ON THIS, SINCE HE HEARD MY GUITAR SOLOS, KEITH RICHARDS IS SH**TING BRICKS."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Meanwhile Middle East Newsline reports that the "U.S." military has asserted that Iraq does not intend to shut down an Iranian opposition camp." That's Camp Ashraf. US Lt Col Bob Owen is quoted stating, "United States Forces-Iraq has absolutely no control over Camp Ashraf. Camp Ashraf is in the complete hands of the government of Iraq. Camp Ashraf is not closing on July 1st." Camp Grizzly, the US base, is closing and it's said to have 'protected' the MEK residents of Camp Ashraf. Said to? The assault last July by Nouri's forces was carried out in full of the US military and they did nothing to stop it. Earlier the US government and military had promised the residents protection and led them to believe this was protection with no end-date. Whereas the Bush administration was not afraid to press on this issue, the Obama administration has never known what the hell was going on in Iraq. (Call it "Chris Hill Syndrome.") A year after the deadly assault, Camp Grizzly is closing and the US military's flacks are insisting to the press that Camp Ashraf, like a Celine Dion song, will go on. This in contrast to a report Press TV is carrying which has Iraq eager to crack down on the MEK. The report is filled with laughable assertions about 'terrorist operations' in Iran -- current and future -- when the MEK in Iraq is not shuttling back and forth to Iran. The Iranian government has also accused the United Kingdom of backing the MEK (under the Bush Doctrine and the Obama Doctrine, that allegation alone gives Iran the 'right' to bomb the United Kingdom). Sify reports the UK Foreign Office denies the charges. Reuters notes that Iran is also accusing "France, Sweden and other Western nations" of the same support and claiming that they arrested MEK from Iraq on Saturday in Tehran while residents of Camp Ashraf deny the charge. As all the above takes place, Benjamin Harvey (Bloomberg News) reports Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denies that Iran is an ally of his country. The article avoids the two countries (Turkey and Iran) attacking northern Iraq and Kurdish terrorists or 'terrorists.' The Kurdish region was the subject of a report issued yesterday. Human Rights Watch released "They Took Me and Told Me Nothing: Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi Kurdistan" (link goes to HTML overview, report is in PDF format). The 80-page report documents the continued and widespread practice of FGM in the KRG. Besides the wire services, the New York Times' Namo Abdulla and Timothy Williams, CNN and BBC's Jim Muir covered the report. At Babylon & Beyond (Los Angeles Times blog), Becky Lee Katz and Asso Ahmed note: Nadya Khalife, a Middle East and North Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, called for action from the Kurdish authorities. "FGM violates women's and children's rights, including their rights to life, health, and bodily integrity. It's time for the regional government to step up to the plate and take concrete actions to eliminate this harmful practice because it simply won't go away on its own," Khalife said. "Eradicating it in Iraqi Kurdistan will require strong and dedicated leadership on the part of the regional government, including a clear message that FGM will no longer be tolerated." Stephen Jones (Epoch Times) also covers the report: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines FGM as comprising "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons." FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, says the WHO. The practice is relatively uncommon in the rest of Iraq, but has taken root in Kurdistan, where it is sometimes advocated by local Sunni Muslim clerics. You can also refer to Jason Van Boom's "Call for Kurdistan to Ban Female Genital Cutting" (Illume). Turning to some of the violence reported today (in addition to the home invasion which killed the Sahwa member and his family) . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing targeting a US convoy with no dead or wounded reported and, dropping back to Wednesday for all that follows, a Tikrit sticky bombing which injured one person and Iran continue to shell villages in Erbil
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 man was shot dead in Baquba yesterday and anotehr wounded. Reuters notes a Kirkuk shooting which left a teacher injured.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad yesterday.
Naaser is an Iraqi refugee who left his country for Lebanon due to violence. He shares his story with the Guardian and notes, "Iraq is destroyed. There is death everywhere. There was a lot of talk about democracy when the Americans first came but it is the same as it was under Saddam [Hussein]. Democracy is something we only hear about, it's something I might see when I'm an old man. What kind of democracy is that? Killing, stealing, torturing; the old government, and the new. There is no protection in Iraq. The fear will turn your hair grey. All I wanted to do was get out of Iraq. There is so much poverty there, I was providing for six members of my family but earning only $2 a month."
So far, Nasser hasn't been sent by to Iraq. Others haven't been so lucky. England and other European countries have apparently decided the best way to celebrtae World Refugee Day this year was forced deportations. Which makes you fear just how they might choose to observe November 20th (Universal Children's Day). Jim Muir (BBC News) reports that the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands deported Iraqis last week. Some of the forced returns remain in custody of Iraqi security forces at the airport still. What a welcome. Muir explains that the terminology is "enforced return" and that "Those on the list for deportation told the BBC they had already been moved to short-term holding centres ready for a flight they do not want to take." And flights that the UNHCR, Amnesty International and others have warned should not be taking place. Sam Jones (Guardian) reports:
Keith Best, the chief executive of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, said the charity shared the UNHCR concern about the violence in the region, and had seen evidence of torture. "With the highly-volatile security situation and continuing human rights abuses in Iraq, I'd ask how the government can assure the safety of those being returned," Best said. "The Medical Foundation has provided care and treatment to a significant number of Iraqis … who have fled to Britain having been tortured in Iraq. Their health and security depends on adequate rehabilitation and stability."The charity's own experience, he said, suggested torture still happened in Iraq. "The UK Border Agency should be identifying torture survivors … and not sending anyone back unless it can be demonstrated their human rights will be respected."Iraqi refugee Ziad al-Dulaimi is an Iraqi refugee in England -- at least for now -- and he tells Al Jazeera that the deportations are taking place at the request of Nouri al-Maliki, according to what he's been told by British government officials:The batch that was deported last week had difficult times, I know two of them. They called me and said they refused to leave the plane and security forces climbed on board and beat them. How can we go back to humiliation? On the other side, what are we costing the British government? Nothing. When I came to the UK five years ago, I was detained in Dover. They would not release me until I signed a paper saying I would never ask any financial help from the British government. Why can't they be patient until things are really better in Iraq?
Last week on Inside Story (Al Jazeera), Iraqi refugee Arevan Mohammed explained what his proceeding at the United Kingdom Border Agency (Arevan remains in England at present). We'll excerpt this section.
Mike Hanna: Let me go back to Arevan Mohammed and we understand that when you had your interview about deportation, there were Iraqi members present during that interview. Is that correct?
Arevan Mohammed: Is that correct? Yes. Basically when I had an interview, an immigration officer denied me access to my representative -- legal representative. I pleaded with him to just let me bring my legal representative with me because you are forcing me to be interviewed with some peoples which you are putting my life in danger with. But basically he denied that. After when I went to the interview I basically told them I live in the UK and I would prefer the interview has to run with an English language. The [Iraqi] Interior Minister diplomat, he became annoyed in some point in the interview and he shouted at me [. . .] "I know what I'm going to do with you by the time you're returning back home and I will put you -- I know where I will put you and how I will treat you." So don't you think that's a threat? In the middle of a democracy, like the country of UK, Iraqi diplomats threatening me by the time I will return back to Iraq, he's simply telling me, I will put you in hidden prison or secret prison and I will kill you later on."
Meanwhile Helsingin Sanomat reports that they've learned Air Finland is transporting the refugees and:The Finnish airline Air Finland Ltd has its head office in the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport complex.More than half of the airline is owned by Berling Capital Ltd., belonging to CEO Esa Karppinen and his family, while 45 per cent of the airline is owned by its executive management.In 2009, Air Finland posted a sales profit of more than EUR 2 million.In the current year, the airline has started the sales of package tours to a number of destinations, including Turkey.The airline's package tours use the same planes as those used for the repatriation of asylum-seekers. Iraq is a failed state as the Fund for Peace's report [PDF format warning] "Iraq On The Edge: Iraq Report #10 2009 - 2010" makes clear (see yesterday's snapshot for overview). And that's what Iraqis are being sent back to.
World Refugee Day is this Sunday (June 20th). Yesterday, Mike Hanna (Inside Story, Al Jazeera) spoke with Stop Deportations To Iraq's Richard Whittle, Euro Council On Refugees and Exiles' Bjarte Vandvik and UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards. We'll excerpt the following:
Richard Whittel: Iraq continues to suffer from the consequences of war. Iraqi refugees leaving that and going to, for examples, countries like the UK. When they get to the UK, they're then faced with anti-immigrant -- I mean, hysteria is a fair word for it -- encouraged by governments and the right-wing media which is then leading to people being forcibly deported from the UK. For example, last week there was a flight from the UK and Sweden to Baghdad with 50 people on. There's another one scheduled for tomorrow back to Iraq which continues to suffer from the insecurity and violence caused by the war. [. . .] And a further compliction of this is that, for example, 13 of the people who were deported on the flight, I mentioned, last week from the UK and Sweden to Baghdad, are currently still in detention in Baghdad Airport because the authorities there say they do not have the right i.d., they do not have proof they're Iraqis which begs the question -- Well, it begs yet another question, why they were sent back there in the first place?
Mike Hanna: , many of those Iraqi refugees from Europe Does this point to the necessity for some kind of regional agreement? Some kind of standards that can be observed by the host countries in terms of when refugees should be returned and why?
Bjarte Vandvik: Well I think it's a very important point you're raising and the colleague in London as well because with the Iraqi situation -- which was the biggest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Second World War -- we saw that a lot of European governments were actually shying away from their responsibility. On the one hand, some of the same states that were so eager to create peace, democracy, human rights in Iraq that they sent soldiers there, when people were fleeing because there was no peace and human rights were then turning their backs to them and saying, "Well go somewhere else." I think there is a very unfortunate and very politically hostile environment in many European states today when it comes to refugees in particular. And I think we, as Europeans, must really take a good look at ourselves when it comes to contributing as a very privileged part of the world to finding solutions for the world's refugees. We can't just build a wall around our part of the world and then pretend that these problems will disappear because they won't and we need to play a more active role -- both in helping countries in the region such as, in this example, Iraq and Jordan and also show by example that it's important to uphold the international standards, to respect human rights and that means the same things that European Union is built on to-to avoid persecution and to give shelter to people that are being persecuted. That is under threat in Europe today, I'm afraid.
Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Philip Shenon (Daily Beast) reported Friday that the US government is attempting to track down WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. Mike Gogulski has started a website entitled Help Bradley Manning. Yesterday, Shenon was interviewed by Deborah Amos (NPR's Morning Edition) on the news that WikiLeaks is planning to release video of a US assault on Afghan civilians.
AMOS: Let's talk for a minute about this second video. There are reports about what's on it. Can you tell us?
Mr. SHENON: The first video that was released involved an American airstrike in Baghdad in 2007. The one Assange is now talking about is an airstrike in Afghanistan that occurred last year that is apparently it is believed to have been, in terms of civilian casualties, the most lethal American attack in Afghanistan since the war began.
AMOS: So has anybody seen this second video of the aftermath of a bombing in Afghanistan?
Mr. SHENON: To the best of my knowledge, it's only been seen within the Defense Department. This will be the first time that it's had any sort of public viewing.
AMOS: And how do we know that this is the same one?
Mr. SHENON: Well, we only have at this point Assange's claims that he has it, and we also have these Internet chat logs in which the young soldier in Iraq boasts of having stolen that video.
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