Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 
Atlantic Free Press News

Wed

17

Jan

2007

Furor Over Saddam's Execution Continues Unabated
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 21:14
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD (IPS) - Expressions of outrage over the conduct of the trial and the manner of Saddam Hussein's rushed, chaotic execution are continuing unabated here as lawyers and human rights groups voice their criticism – although some are still cautiously asking the media to withhold their names from publication.

Iraqi and international legal experts appear in agreement that the special court that sentenced the former Iraqi leader to the gallows was illegally set up and failed to meet international recognized standards.

They recalled that former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Sept. 16, 2004, that the invasion and occupation of Iraq violated the UN Charter. This made the setting-up of the so-called Iraqi High Tribunal to try Saddam illegal.

Two others sentenced to death, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Saddam's half brother and a former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court, were hanged early Monday. Barzan was decapitated – accidentally, authorities said.

The manner of the executions has added to the disquiet over the execution of Saddam and the trial that led to it.
 

Wed

10

Jan

2007

Media Under Growing Siege
Wednesday, 10 January 2007 21:32
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Jan. 10 (IPS) - The U.S. administration continues to tout Iraq as a shining example of democracy in the Middle East, but press freedom in Iraq has plummeted since the beginning of the occupation.

Repression of free speech in Iraq was extreme already under the regime of Saddam Hussein. The 2002 press freedom index of the watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked Iraq a dismal130th. The 2006 index pushes Iraq down to 154th position in a total of 168 listed countries, though still ahead of Pakistan, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, China and Iran. North Korea is at the bottom of the table.

The index ranks countries by how they treat their media, looking at the number of journalists who were murdered, threatened, had to flee or were jailed by the state.

The end of Saddam's dictatorship had for a while brought hope of greater press freedom. More than 200 new newspapers and a dozen television channels opened. The hope did not last even weeks.

"We were overwhelmed by the change that accompanied what we thought was the liberation of our country," journalist Said Ali who had earlier been arrested many times for criticising Saddam's regime told IPS. "I was arrested then for criticising low-ranking officials, and that was why I did not stay in jail long. The change of system in 2003 brought me hope of a better situation, but it proved false."
 

Wed

10

Jan

2007

Terrified Soldiers Terrifying People
Wednesday, 10 January 2007 09:31
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

FALLUJAH, Iraq, Jan 8 (IPS) - Ten-year-old Yassir aimed a plastic gun at a passing U.S. armoured patrol in Fallujah, and shouted "Bang! Bang!"

Yassir did not know what was coming. "I yelled for everyone to run, because the Americans were turning back," 12-year-old Ahmed who was with Yassir told IPS.

The soldiers followed Yassir to his house and smashed almost everything in it. "They did this after beating Yassir and his uncle hard, and they spoke the nastiest words," Ahmed said.

It is not just the children, or the people of Fallujah who are frightened.

"Those soldiers are terrified here," Dr. Salim al-Dyni, a psychotherapist visiting Fallujah told IPS. Dr Dyni said he had seen professional reports of psychologically disturbed soldiers "while serving in hot areas, and Fallujah is the hottest and most terrifying for them."

Dr. Dyni said disturbed soldiers were behind the worst atrocities. "Most murders committed by U.S. soldiers resulted from the soldiers' fears."

Local Iraqi police estimate that at least five attacks are being carried out against U.S. troops in Fallujah each day, and about as many against Iraqi government security forces. The city in the restive al-Anabar province to the west of Baghdad has been under some form of siege since April 2004.ars.)
 

Mon

08

Jan

2007

Managing Escalation: Negroponte and Bush's New Iraq Team
Monday, 08 January 2007 23:55
by Dahr Jamail

As part of a massive staff shakeup of Bush's Iraq team last week, it was announced that John Negroponte, the current U.S. National Intelligence Director who has also conveniently served as the U.S. ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005 is being tapped as the new Deputy Secretary of State.

It is a move taking place at roughly the same time when Mr. Bush is to announce his new strategy for Iraq, which most expect entails an escalation of as many as 20,000 troops, if not more. Bush has already begun preparations to replace ranking military commanders with those who will be more supportive of his escalation.

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East, Gen. John Abizaid, will likely be replaced by Adm. William Fallon, currently the top U.S. commander in the Pacific. Gen. George Casey, currently the chief general in Iraq, would be replaced by Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who headed the failed effort to train Iraqi security forces. Thus, those not in favor of adding more fuel to the raging fire are to be replaced with those who are happy to oblige.

Former NSA director and veteran of over 25 years in intelligence, retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell who happens to be an old friend of Dick Cheney (who personally intervened on his old buddy's behalf) will succeed Negroponte as national intelligence director. McConnell, willing to oblige his neo-con pal Cheney, may prove more hawkish regarding Iran than Negroponte was.

The timing of this move is what should raise eyebrows, and for two main reasons. First, Negroponte is relieved of his job of intelligence director as the drums of war continue to be pounded by the die-hard neocons, and Negroponte wasn't playing quite loud enough to the Tehran tune. McConnell may well be able to carry a louder tune for his pal Cheney, which may come in the form of a Sonata of manufactured intel to justify an attack on Iran, which is important since time is growing short for Cheney and Co.
 

Sat

06

Jan

2007

Execution Memories Refuse To Go Away
Saturday, 06 January 2007 11:59
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Jan. 5 (IPS) - The footage of the execution of Saddam Hussein has generated controversy in Iraq that is refusing to die down.

Footage of Saddam's last moments, taken by an onlooker with a mobile phone, shows the former dictator appearing calm and composed while dealing with taunts from witnesses below him. The audio reveals several men praising the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and Mohammed Bakr al-Sadr, founder of the Shia Dawa Party, who was killed by Saddam in 1980.

"Peace be upon Muhammad and his followers," shouted someone near the person who filmed the events. "Curse his enemies and make victorious his son Muqtada! Muqtada! Muqtada." These chants are commonly used by members of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army militia.

There has been a huge international backlash to the footage. In India millions of Muslims demonstrated against the execution being carried out during the sacred festival of Eid.

Across Iraq, Shias seem mostly pleased. "Of course things will be better now that Saddam is dead," Saed Abdul-Hussain, a cleric from the Shia dominated city Najaf told IPS in Baghdad. "It is like hitting the snake on the head and I hope his followers will hand over their weapons and accept the fact that they lost."

But few believe that Saddam was inspiring the armed resistance.

"Who is Saddam and why would he affect anything after his death," a 55-year-old teacher from Fallujah told IPS. "The idea of his leading the resistance from jail is too ridiculous for a sane man to believe. We know that Mujahideen (holy warriors) are the only ones who will kick the occupation out of the country."veral years.)
 

Thu

04

Jan

2007

International Delegation Travels to Guantanamo, Cuba to Protest Infamous US
Thursday, 04 January 2007 17:45
by David Swanson

Delegates include mother of current prisoner, former Guantanamo detainee, and high-level US peace activists On January 9-13, a first-ever international delegation of former prisoners, families of current prisoners, US lawyers and human rights activists will travel to Guantanamo, Cuba to hold a conference on prison abuses and march to the Cuban-side security gate of the US Naval Base to call for the closure of the illegal prison. The protest in Cuba is part of the January 11 International Day to Shut Down Guantanamo, the day that marks the 5-year anniversary of the first prisoners being sent to Guantanamo.

"I am traveling all the way from Dubai because by heart is overflowing with grief over the abuse and ongoing detention of my son," says Zohra Zewawi, whose son has been tortured and blinded in one eye during his detention, and has never been charged or tried. Her son was imprisoned in September 2002 and is still a prisoner in Guantanamo.  Asif Iqbal, a former detainee who was freed on no charges after years of abuse, is coming to show his support for the basic rights of detainees.

"All prisoners deserve humane treatment and fair trials, which is not happening in Guatanamo," says retired US Army Colonel and delegate Ann Wright. "US federal courts, not military commissions, should hear the cases against those charged with terrorist acts and the infamous prison in Guantanamo should be immediately shut down."
 

Wed

03

Jan

2007

'Illegal' Execution Enrages Arabs
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 04:14
by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Jan 2 (IPS) - The execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein carried out at the start of the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha has angered Iraqis and others across the Middle East.

Saddam Hussein was hanged on what is held to be a day of mercy and feasting in the Islamic world. It is usually celebrated with the slaughter of a lamb, which represents the innocent blood of Ishmael, who was sacrificed by his father, the prophet Abraham, to honour God.

Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, the Kurdish judge who had first presided over Saddam Hussein's trial told reporters that the execution at the beginning of Eid was illegal under Iraqi law, besides violating the customs of Islam.

Amin said that under Iraqi law "no verdict should be implemented during the official holidays or religious festivals."

While Iraqi Shias, particularly those in the U.S.-backed Iraqi government, view the execution as a sign that Allah supports them, many Sunnis across Iraq and the Middle East now see Saddam Hussein as a great martyr.

"Saddam Hussein is the greatest martyr of the century," Ahmed Hanousy, a student in Amman in Jordan told IPS. A 50 year-old man in Baghdad said "the Americans and Iranians meant to insult all Arabs by this execution."
 

Wed

03

Jan

2007

BUSH MUST GO! Demonstration at Opening of Congress "If War Crimes, Torture, and Crimes Against Humanity are not Reason to Impeach, What is?"
Wednesday, 03 January 2007 03:36
by David Swanson

1. DEMONSTRATION, 12noon, Thursday, January 4, 2007

Upper Senate Park (Delaware & Constitution, just north of Capitol), Washington DC

2. "VOICES FOR IMPEACHMENT" evening program featuring MICHAEL RATNER, JOHN NICHOLS, CINDY SHEEHAN, DEBRA SWEET, message from GORE VIDAL, 7pm, Thursday, January 4, 2007

National Press Club, 529 14th Street Northwest (one block east of the White House)

Millions thought they were voting against the war and the president, but the Democratic leadership of the new Congress has declared that impeachment is off the table.  If war crimes, torture, and crimes against humanity are not reasons to impeach, what is?

On January 4, people will demonstrate at the opening of Congress carrying signs and doing street theatre dressed in orange Guantanamo torture jumpsuits.  The demand: that Congress investigate and hold accountable the Bush administration for criminal liability, and that the House of Representatives immediately initiate Articles of Impeachment against President Bush for his multiple “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

And that night at 7pm, MICHAEL RATNER (president, Center for Constitutional Rights), JOHN NICHOLS, CINDY SHEEHAN, and DEBRA SWEET will speak at the National Press Club at a forum sponsored by World Can't Wait. GORE VIDAL will send a video message.

Debra Sweet, National Director of World Can’t Wait: "A regime as criminal as the Bush regime should not be allowed to remain in office.  This unjust war was started on lies and has continued for four years despite an election where millions thought they were voting to stop it.  The Democrats, now the majority, allow debate only on how to run the war more effectively, and are saying that impeachment can’t even be considered. This is unacceptable.  If George Bush is not removed from office before 2008, then everything he has done -- his doctrine of preemptive war, his legalization of torture, his undermining of the rule of law, and his elevating the role of fundamentalist Christianity in the laws, culture and institutions of the country -- will continue no matter who becomes the next president.  As people of conscience living in the U.S. we cannot allow that to happen.”

Endorsers include Rep. Cynthia McKinney; AfterDowningStreet.org; Cindy Sheehan, Gold Star Families for Peace; Bill Goodman, Center for Constitutional Rights; ImpeachBush.org; Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus; ImpeachForPeace.org; ImpeachBush.tv.   

More info: www.worldcantwait.org.

 

Sun

31

Dec

2006

Saddam Execution Begins to Deepen Divisions
Sunday, 31 December 2006 21:18
by Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 (IPS) - New divisions appear to be opening up between Iraqi political and religious leaders following the execution of Saddam Hussein Saturday.

Former president Saddam Hussein was hanged at an army base in the predominantly Shia district of Khadamiya in northern Baghdad outside of Baghdad's Green Zone just before 6am local time.

The execution of the 69-year-old former dictator was witnessed by a representative of Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki and a Muslim cleric among others.

The execution appears already to be generating more sectarianism, which has already claimed tens of thousands of lives in the war-torn country. Sectarian divisions have opened up primarily between Shias and Sunnis, who follow different belief systems within Islam.

Several Shia leaders, particularly those of Iranian origin, say the execution would be a blow to resistance against the Iraqi government by Saddam loyalists. In Baghdad's sprawling Shia slum, the Sadr City, where most of the three million inhabitants are loyal to the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, people danced in the streets while others fired in the air to celebrate the execution.

National security advisor Mouaffaq al-Rubaii, a Shia, declared that "we wanted him to be executed on a special day."

Celebrations in Kurdish areas were no expression of unmixed joy, even though Kurds were persecuted more than any other group under Saddam's regime.
 

Sun

31

Dec

2006

More Troops but Less Control in Iraq
Sunday, 31 December 2006 13:31
by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Dec. 28 (IPS) - More U.S. troops are expected to be deployed in Iraq in the New Year. Despite obvious rethinking, there is no decision on withdrawal of occupation forces.

The presence of troops may be raised just for their own protection. According to a Pentagon report, U.S. and Iraqi forces are facing close to 1,000 attacks a week now. U.S. forces comprise more than 90 percent of the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq.

According to the White House, 49 countries joined that coalition at the time of the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. That number has shrunk to 32, after countries like Italy and Canada withdrew troops this year.

Britain is expected to withdraw its 7,500 troops next year, after pulling out 1,300 earlier this year.

Whatever the numbers, the vital question is whether U.S. troops will continue to do next year what they have been doing this year.
 

Wed

27

Dec

2006

When Iraqis Gave Up on Government
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 15:49
by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Dec 27 (IPS) - The Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Noori al-Maliki, like earlier governments assigned by U.S. occupation authorities in Iraq, appears to have killed Iraqi dreams of a brighter future.

General elections Dec. 15, 2005 brought in a government that was supposed to listen to Iraqis all over the country. It was called a unity government because the cabinet was formed to include ministers from all ethnic and sectarian backgrounds after months of negotiations in the parliament.

"This is a unity government that no one should object to," al-Maliki told reporters recently in Baghdad. "All of the powers in parliament should take part in improving security and services in order to achieve success."

Maliki condemned groups such as Jabhat al-Tawafuq and The Iraqi Front for National Dialogue, along with other political groups who have been critical of the government.

Jabhat al-Tawafuq comprises three leading Sunni groups: the Iraqi Islamic Party, the Iraqi People's Conference and the National Dialogue Council. Their platform is based on national unity and ending the occupation.
 

Wed

27

Dec

2006

Uncounted Casualties of War
Wednesday, 27 December 2006 15:38
by Larry C Johnson

The bodies keep piling up, but not just in Iraq.  Police in a Maryland town killed an Iraq war vet.  This news bite from the Washington, DC metro region:

LEONARDTOWN, Md. -- An Army reservist just called up to serve in Iraq was fatally shot by police Tuesday after a standoff that began Christmas night.  .  .  . Dean's family contacted police Monday night, saying he was armed and threatening to kill himself, the sheriff said. Dean later told police he would shoot anyone who entered the house.Dean, who had ranger training, was despondent about several things, including recent orders for him to go to Iraq, the family told authorities. Dean had returned in 2005 from a year-and-a-half-long tour in Iraq. Cameron did not know what reserve unit Dean served in.
The tragedy was compounded by the incompetence of the Leonardtown police tactical team.  These clowns dressed in their Ninja gear pushed for a violent solution rather than wait Dean out and talk him down.  There was no justified tactical reason to launch the assault.  No one other than Dean was in immediate jeopardy. 

Although Dean was killed by local police his blood stains the hands of George Bush and Don Rumsfeld and every member of Congress who voted to send these kids to a war of choice.  But no politician will be standing at Dean's grave mourning his loss or honoring his service.
 

Tue

26

Dec

2006

Children Pick Their Christmas Toys - Iraq
Tuesday, 26 December 2006 17:07
by Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily

FALLUJAH, Dec 25 (IPS) - Ahmed Ghazi has little reason to stock Christmas toys at his shop in Fallujah. He knows what children want these days.

"It is best for us to import toys such as guns and tanks because they are most saleable in Iraq to little boys," Ghazi told IPS. "Children try to imitate what they see out of their windows."

And there are particular imports for girls, too, he said. "Girls prefer crying dolls to others that dance or play music and songs."

As children in the United States and around the world celebrate Christmas, and prepare to celebrate the New Year, children in Iraq occupy a quite different world, with toys to match.

Social researcher Nuha Khalil from the Iraqi Institute for Childhood Development in Baghdad told IPS that young girls are now expressing their repressed sadness often by playing the role of a mother who takes care of her small daughter.
 
<< Start < Prev 11 12 13 Next > End >>

Page 11 of 13

adsense

Top