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Atlantic Free Press News

Thu

01

Mar

2007

Rape Cases Emerge From the Shadows
Thursday, 01 March 2007 20:31
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Mar 1 (IPS) - Reports of the gang-rape of 20-year-old Sabrine al-Janabi by three policemen has set off new demands for justice from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government.

Janabi, who lives in the Hai al-Amil area of southern Baghdad with her husband, was taken from her home Feb. 18 to a police station and accused of assisting resistance fighters.

Janabi told al-Jazeera channel Feb. 19 that three police commandos raped her in the police garrison after accusing her of cooking for resistance fighters.

"One of them put his hand on my mouth so no one outside the room could hear me," she said in a videotaped statement. "I told them 'I did not know that an Iraqi could do this to another Iraqi'."

She said "I begged them not to rape me and I swore to them that I was a good woman and I am like a sister to them, but they did it one after the other."
 

Wed

28

Feb

2007

Another U.S. Military Assault on Media
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 20:57
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily


BAGHDAD, Feb 23 (IPS) - Iraqi journalists are outraged over yet another U.S. military raid on the media.

U.S. soldiers raided and ransacked the offices of the Iraq Syndicate of Journalists (ISJ) in central Baghdad Tuesday this week. Ten armed guards were arrested, and 10 computers and 15 small electricity generators kept for donation to families of killed journalists were seized.

This is not the first time U.S. troops have attacked the media in Iraq, but this time the raid was against the very symbol of it. Many Iraqis believe the U.S. soldiers did all they could to deliver the message of their leadership to Iraqi journalists to keep their mouth shut about anything going wrong with the U.S.-led occupation.

"The Americans have delivered so many messages to us, but we simply refused all of them," Youssif al-Tamimi of the ISJ in Baghdad told IPS. "They killed our colleagues, closed so many newspapers, arrested hundreds of us and now they are shooting at our hearts by raiding our headquarters. This is the freedom of speech we received."

Some Iraqi journalists blame the Iraqi government.

"Four years of occupation, and those Americans still commit such foolish mistakes by following the advice of their Iraqi collaborators," Ahmad Hassan, a freelance journalist from Basra visiting Baghdad told IPS. "They (the U.S. military) have not learned yet that Iraqi journalists will raise their voice against such acts and will keep their promise to their people to search for the truth and deliver it to them at any cost."

There is a growing belief in Iraq that U.S. allies in the current Iraqi government are leading the U.S. military to raid places and people who do not follow Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's directions.

"It is our Iraqi colleagues who pushed the Americans to that hole," Fadhil Abbas, an Iraqi television producer told IPS. "Some journalists who failed to fake the truth here are trying hard to silence truth seekers by providing false information to the U.S. military in order to take advantage of their stupidity in handling the whole Iraqi issue."
 

Thu

22

Feb

2007

Fallujans Defiant Amidst Chaos
Thursday, 22 February 2007 22:06
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

FALLUJAH, Feb 22 (IPS) - Resistance attacks against U.S. forces have been continuing in Fallujah despite military onslaughts and strong security measures.



Two U.S. military onslaughts in 2004 left the city in a shambles and displaced an estimated 250,000 of the 350,000 residents of the city.

The military operations, and more that followed have done nothing to reduce resistance in and around Fallujah city in the al-Anbar province to the west of Baghdad.

Last month U.S. forces introduced a new phase of 'security' along with local Iraqi police, and supported by some local Sunni militias.

Resistance groups have taken the fight to the security forces. In one instance resistance fighters in four cars attacked one of the biggest police stations in the city with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns.

Chief of the city council Abbas Ali Hussein was killed by unknown assassins. He was the fourth chief of council killed in the city within 12 months.

"The big failure of the U.S. troops in Fallujah came when they began bringing Sunni secret police into the city," a member of the city council told IPS. "The situation in Ramadi, Hit, Haditha and all over al-Anbar province is now catastrophic."

IPS has reported earlier that the U.S.-led coalition had backed local militias near Fallujah in an effort to combat growing resistance in the area. Many residents in Fallujah believe the U.S. military also continues to support Shia militias.
 

Tue

20

Feb

2007

Now It Is Lack of Food Security
Tuesday, 20 February 2007 21:15
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Feb 19 (IPS) - The lack of security in Iraq is leading now to a collapse in food supplies. "Look at us begging for food despite the fortunes we have," 60-year-old Um Muthanna from Baghdad told IPS. Standing at a vegetable market in central Baghdad where vegetable supplies are not what they used to be, Um Mahmood despaired for Iraq.

"A country with two great rivers should have been the biggest exporter in the world, but now we beg for food from those who participated in killing us." Iraq is rich in oil and agricultural resources.

Local and international aid flooded into Iraq in 2004, the year following the invasion, but much of the supply was blocked off after the kidnapping of many aid activists in the country.

The food the Iraqis did get was often not what they needed, or wanted.

"Iraqis do not feel at ease receiving food aid when they exported food in the past," economist Dr. Jassim al-Rikabi told IPS.
 

Fri

16

Feb

2007

Foreign "Guest Workers" Allege Slavery, Demand Passports from Employer - Hurricane Katrina Survivors Join Workers in Confronting Louisiana Slave Holder
Friday, 16 February 2007 20:39
Westlake , Louisiana - Close to 100 Mexican guest workers have been trapped for months in Westlake, Louisiana after their employer illegally confiscated their passports.  Workers were recruited under false pretenses and transported to the U.S. where they have been subjected to humiliating conditions and treatment.   Workers and advocates allege that the employer, a prominent business leader, has violated anti-slavery and human trafficking laws while leasing the workers to local businesses for a profit.
 
Already vulnerable and economically desperate in their home country, the workers were defrauded by the employer who promised steady work and fair pay in the U.S.  He charged them for airfare to the U.S., and proceeded to pack them into vans to cross the border.  He seized their passports in Mexico, ostensibly for their own safety.  Despite numerous requests by the workers, this business owner has steadfastly refused to return the passports in effect holding them captive in his employ. Workers who have organized to demand their passports have faced retaliation and threats of deportation.
 
Hurricane Katrina survivors and African-American civil rights leaders will join the guest workers to confront the employer and take a stand against modern day slavery. The group is demanding that the employer return the workers' passports.   The group is also challenging government officials to recognize that the H-2B visa program is being used as an opportunity to subject workers to slave-like conditions across Louisiana .
 
In advance of the confrontation, Katrina survivors and workers have alerted the US Attorney General, US Department of Justice, US Department of Labor, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other state and local law enforcement agencies of the practices of this prominent Louisiana slaveholder.

www.peoplesorganizing.org
 

Thu

15

Feb

2007

More Troops, And More Violence
Thursday, 15 February 2007 19:26
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Feb 13 (IPS) - Violence and bombings have only increased after the proposed "surge" of 21,500 U.S. troops in Iraq.

U.S. troops presence has averaged 142,000 soldiers a month since the occupation began nearly four years ago. Through this period, violence has increased against both them and the Iraqi civilian population.

Despite promises of freedom, democracy and liberation, Iraqis have suffered severe deterioration in security, services, infrastructure and social unity since the U.S.-led occupation began.

Many Iraqis believe that an increased number of troops will actually make the situation worse.

"To increase the number of troops will definitely improve the situation for the troops already on the ground, but a lot more than 20,000 soldiers will be needed to change the situation from defeat to victory," retired Iraqi general Ahmed al-Issa told IPS.
 

Tue

13

Feb

2007

Iran 'Fooling' U.S. Military
Tuesday, 13 February 2007 09:02
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

NAJAF, Feb 12 (IPS) - New evidence is emerging on the ground of an Iranian hand in growing violence within Iraq.

As the United States heads for a confrontation with Iran over allegations of Iranian involvement in bombings, the massacre in Najaf last month indicates that Iran could be working also through the Iraqi government, local leaders in Najaf say.

The slaughter of 263 people in Najaf by Iraqi and U.S. forces Jan. 29 provoked outrage and vows of revenge among residents in and around the sacred Shia city in the south. The killings have deepened a split among Shias.

Iran is predominantly Shia, one of the two main groupings within Islam along with the Sunnis. Iraq has for the first time a Shia-dominated government, comprising groups that have been openly supportive of Iran.
The people killed were mostly Shias from the Hawatim tribe that opposes the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq as well as the Dawa Party. These two pro-Iranian groups control the local government in Najaf and the government in Baghdad.
 

Thu

01

Feb

2007

Official Lies over Najaf Battle Exposed
Thursday, 01 February 2007 08:28
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

NAJAF, Iraq, Jan 31 (IPS) - Iraqi government lies over the killing of hundreds of Shias in an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent investigations carried out by IPS in Iraq.

Conflicting reports had arisen earlier on how and why a huge battle broke out around the small village Zarqa, located just a few kilometres northeast of the Shia holy city Najaf, which is 90 km south of Baghdad.

One thing certain is that when the smoke cleared, more than 200 people lay dead after more than half a day of fighting Sunday Jan. 28. A U.S. helicopter was shot down, killing two soldiers. Twenty-five members of the Iraqi security force were also killed.

"We were going to conduct the usual ceremonies that we conduct every year when we were attacked by Iraqi soldiers," Jabbar al-Hatami, a leader of the al-Hatami Shia Arab tribe told IPS.

"We thought it was one of the usual mistakes of the Iraqi army killing civilians, so we advanced to explain to the soldiers that they killed five of us for no reason. But we were surprised by more gunfire from the soldiers."

The confrontation took place on the Shia holiday of Ashura which commemorates Imam Hussein, grandson of the prophet Muhammad and the most revered of Shia saints. Emotions run high at this time, and self-flagellation in public is the norm.
 

Tue

30

Jan

2007

Jordan Becomes a Doubtful Refuge
Tuesday, 30 January 2007 00:07
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

AMMAN, Jan 29 (IPS) - Hundreds of thousands have fled the violence in Iraq to seek refuge in Jordan, but refugees are now beginning to find its borders closing.

Jordan and Syria are the only two countries where fleeing Iraqis can hope to find shelter. Western countries have shut their doors to Iraqi nationals - even to refugees.

And now much the same is happening with Jordan too.

"I had major eye surgery in Jordan, but my doctor told me it failed and so I need to have it re-operated," Ahmad Khalaf of Saqlawiya, 62 km west of Baghdad told IPS. "I arrived at the Iraqi-Jordanian crossing point with my medical reports and a letter from the hospital in Jordan demanding my arrival in Amman on a certain date in order to remedy the damage of the previous operation."
 

Wed

24

Jan

2007

PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS JOIN ANTIWAR MARCH AND LOBBY DAY IN D.C.
Wednesday, 24 January 2007 10:19
Washington DC - Progressive Democrats of America, the grassroots ally of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is mobilizing its membership into the streets for this Saturday's peace march in D.C. Jan. 27 and into the halls of Congress Monday Jan. 29  to lobby on behalf of a prompt, orderly withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Founded in 2004, PDA's multiracial Advisory Board includes six members of Congress, and legendary peace and justice activists such as Tom Hayden, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus.

"Through our marching and lobbying, we are not aiming our communication at the White House," commented PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter, "but at Democrats who have been complicit in prolonging a futile occupation of Iraq, that most Iraqis want ended. The voters spoke in November; some Democratic leaders aren't listening."

 

Sat

20

Jan

2007

The War Becomes More Unholy
Saturday, 20 January 2007 09:35
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily
FALLUJAH – (IPS) A stepped up military offensive that targets mosques, religious leaders and Islamic customs is leading many Iraqis to believe that the US-led invasion really was a "holy war."



Photographs are being circulated of black crosses painted on mosque walls and on copies of the Quran, and of soldiers dumping their waste inside mosques. New stories appear frequently of raids on mosques and brutal treatment of Islamic clerics, leading many Iraqis to ask if the invasion and occupation was a war against Islam.

Many Iraqis now recall remarks by US President George W. Bush shortly after the events of Sep. 11, 2001 when he told reporters that "this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while."

"Bush's tongue 'slipped' more than once when he spoke of 'fascist Islamists' and used other similar expressions that touched the very nerve of Muslims around the world," Sheikh Abdul Salam al-Kubayssi of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), a leading Sunni group, told IPS in Baghdad. "We wish they were just mere slips, but what is going on repeatedly makes one think of crusades over and over."
 

Fri

19

Jan

2007

MEA CULPA MINIMUS
Friday, 19 January 2007 11:02
by William Fisher

The senior defense department official who suggested that major corporations should stop doing business with large law firms who represent Guantanamo Bay detainees without charge has apologized for his remarks – but his apology has failed to satisfy some legal and human rights advocates.

The remarks were made on a Washington, D.C. radio program on Tuesday by Charles D. “Cully” Stimson, a deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former Navy defense lawyer. They drew an avalanche of anger from lawyers, legal ethics specialists, and bar association officials, who said they found his comments repellent and displayed an ignorance of the duties of lawyers to represent people in legal trouble.

Lawyers expressed outrage at that, asserting that they are not being paid and that Mr. Stimson had tried to suggest they were by innuendo. Of the approximately 500 lawyers coordinated by the Center for Constitutional Rights, no one is being paid. One Washington law firm, Shearman & Sterling, which has represented Kuwaiti detainees, has received money from the families of the prisoners, but Thomas Wilner, a lawyer there, said they had donated all of it to charities related to the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
 

Wed

17

Jan

2007

MASSIVE ANTI-WAR MARCH PLANNED FOR JAN. 27 IN D.C. - PROTESTERS WILL URGE CONGRESS TO STAND UP TO BUSH
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 22:38
By David Swanson
Peace March Expected to be Among Largest Since War Began
NEW YORK, NY -- Americans angered by Bush's plans to escalate the Iraq war will flood the streets of Washington on Saturday, January 27, in a massive national peace march organized by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Marchers will call on Congress to listen to the voters, not Bush, by using its power to end Bush's war and bring the troops home. The last three national marches organized by UFPJ each attracted between 300,000 and 500,000 people.

MoveOn.org has called upon its 3.2 million members to join UFPJ, describing the march as potentially a "turning point for the war" comparable to how "Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington in 1963 was a turning point in the fight for equality and civil rights." The National Organization for Women (N.O.W.) is mobilizing its chapters to participate. Local antiwar groups in cities and towns across the nation are mobilizing.

On Monday, United for Peace and Justice's website received more than 700,000 hits. District Council 37 in NYC, A.F.S.C.M.E.'s largest district council, and New York's United Federation of Teachers, the largest teachers union local in the country, are sending busloads of their members to Washington. Car caravans and peace trains are heading to Washington, DC, from all over the East Coast, Midwest and Southeast. Buses and vans are coming from more than 30 states and 111 cities, including from as far away as Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
 
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