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Tue

20

Feb

2007

Annals of Liberation: Riverbend on the Rape of Sabrine al-Janabi
Tuesday, 20 February 2007 23:22
by Chris Floyd

One of the truly courageous voices of the Iraqi war, Riverbend, the "girl blogger" from Baghdad, is back after weeks of silence with this report on the rape charges against the "security" forces of the American-trained, Bush-backed Iraqi government. The case of Sabrine al-Janabi could have horrific consequences in acc elerating the destruction of Iraqi society (not to mention the Iraqi government) -- which is no doubt one reason why Bush's man in Baghdad, Nouri al-Maliki, leader of a violent sectarian faction with a history of terrorism, is now trying so hard to denigrate the victim and exonerate the death squads under his command.

This is your war, you followers of Bush. This is your war, you timorous Democrats who won't even consider a measure to cut off funding for Bush's crime. This is your war, you Beltway pundits, you "serious reporters" serving as unfiltered pipelines for the lies and manipulations of the brutal thugs in power.

This is your war -- but the bloodsoaked consequences will belong to us all, and to our children, and to their children, a dark acrid smoke trailing down through the generations.

Excerpts from Riverbend (but do read the whole piece:) I look at this woman and I can’t feel anything but rage. What did we gain? I know that looking at her, foreigners will never be able to relate. They’ll feel pity and maybe some anger, but she’s one of us. She’s not a girl in jeans and a t-shirt so there will only be a vague sort of sympathy. Poor third-world countries- that is what their womenfolk tolerate. Just know that we never had to tolerate this before. There was a time when Iraqis were safe in the streets. That time is long gone. We consoled ourselves after the war with the fact that we at least had a modicum of safety in our homes. Homes are sacred, aren’t they? That is gone too.

She’s just one of tens, possibly hundreds, of Iraqi women who are violated in their own homes and in Iraqi prisons. She looks like cousins I have. She looks like friends. She looks like a neighbor I sometimes used to pause to gossip with in the street. Every Iraqi who looks at her will see a cousin, a friend, a sister, a mother, an aunt…

Humanitarian organizations are warning that three Iraqi women are to be executed next month. The women are Wassan Talib, Zainab Fadhil and Liqa Omar Muhammad. They are being accused of 'terrorism', i.e. having ties to the Iraqi resistance. It could mean they are relatives of people suspected of being in the resistance. Or it could mean they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of them gave birth in the prison. I wonder what kind of torture they've endured. Let no one say Iraqi women didn't get at least SOME equality under the American occupation- we are now equally as likely to get executed.

And yet, as the situation continues to deteriorate both for Iraqis inside and outside of Iraq, and for Americans inside Iraq, Americans in America are still debating on the state of the war and occupation- are they winning or losing? Is it better or worse?

Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile.

UPDATE: Riverbend follows up on Maliki's brazen denial that Sabrine was raped at all, and his rewarding of the soldiers accused of the crime.

Excerpts: I  hate the media and I hate the Iraqi government for turning this atrocity into another Sunni-Shia debacle- like it matters whether Sabrine is Sunni or Shia or Arab or Kurd (the Al Janabi tribe is composed of both Sunnis and Shia). Maliki did not only turn the woman into a liar, he is rewarding the officers she accused. It's outrageous and maddening.

No Iraqi woman under the circumstances- under any circumstances- would publicly, falsely claim she was raped. There are just too many risks. There is the risk of being shunned socially. There is the risk of beginning an endless chain of retaliations and revenge killings between tribes. There is the shame of coming out publicly and talking about a subject so taboo, she and her husband are not only risking their reputations by telling this story, they are risking their lives.

No one would lie about something like this simply to undermine the Baghdad security operation. That can be done simply by calculating the dozens of dead this last week. Or by writing about the mass detentions of innocents, or how people are once again burying their valuables so that Iraqi and American troops don't steal them.

It was less than 14 hours between Sabrine's claims and Maliki's rewarding the people she accused. In 14 hours, Maliki not only established their innocence, but turned them into his own personal heroes. I wonder if Maliki would entrust the safety his own wife and daughter to these men.

This is meant to discourage other prisoners, especially women, from coming forward and making claims against Iraqi and American forces. Maliki is the stupidest man alive (well, after Bush of course…) if he believes his arrogance and callous handling of the situation will work to dismiss it from the minds of Iraqis. By doing what he is doing, he's making it more clear than ever that under his rule, under his government, vigilante justice is the only way to go. Why leave it to the security forces and police? Simply hire a militia or gang to get revenge. If he doesn't get some justice for her, her tribe will be forced to... And the Janabat (the Al Janabis) are a force to be reckoned with.

Maliki could at least pretend the rape of a young Iraqi woman is still an outrage in today's Iraq.
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a guest said:

0
It's so pathetic.
I've read Juan Cole's post and thank you also for keeping a horrible batch of reprobates in the light fire. Often, I get so 'pissed' by bad news my teeth chatter. Thanks for pulling these nasty pigs by the tails toward the Hell-Fire. You haul them to the butcher yard, exposing their tales, but Nature returns to 'dish-out' what they 'rightly' deserve. Justice sometimes seems to grind too slow for 'us' but, let's sometimes keep own personal-revealed to 'us' our private theory about Juctice, hush. Don't you ever hush. What we sow we will reap. The war-oats neocons, condoning the war, will get the bad-Karma they got comming. Listen to 'um oink oink oink all the way to a soon come Market Day! Um' Butchers! Nature will cook-fry them in short order. thanks.
 
February 21, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Murder, rape, and pillage
As a longtime follower of Riverbend's postings on Baghdad Burning, I am continuously impressed by her insights and the succinct clarity of her English prose.

Also buried inside her most recent offering - an alarming aside into daily life in February, 2008 of the American military occupation of Iraq - was this tidbit: as the big Bush surge surges from neighborhood to neighborhood in Baghdad, "people are once again burying their valuables so that Iraqi and American troops don't steal them" during the residential sweeps.
Further note Riverbend's perception that the Maliki regime's imminent oil law and long term production sharing agreements with US petroleum war profiteers is a fiat accompli: "You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American trained monkeys.....I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile."

US infantry basic training indoctrination, and often formal and informal combat zone rules of engagement themselves in an urban guerilla war theatre tend to reward a shoot-first-and-let-God-sort-it-out-later mentality. Germaine Greer, Stan Goff, Susan Brownmiller, Andrew Bacevich, and others have written how well trained soldiers well trained to overcome the fundamental cultural taboo against committing mass murder may tend to generalize this loosening of civilian moral values into the area of sex crimes and property crimes too.

Nails, snails and puppy dog tails. Arson, rape, and bloody murder. That's what little boys are made of.

The ONLY known counterbalance to prevent a ground army from descending into rampant violent banditry is a command structure - a heirarchy that focuses the violence only upon the real enemy, and punishes (often harshly) all those who transgress and don't follow orders. Riverbend's fury at Maliki's reflexive decision to pin medals on the rapists and criminally prosecute the victim who spoke on Al Jazeera, and cast the whole controversy into a Sunni/Shiite sideshow, says about all that needs be said about the current Iraqi government's desire to prevent the police from running amok.

But what should we US taxpayers expect? When the civilian leadership at the top of the Pentagon and national security power pyramid openly extols the need to step over to the dark side, take the gloves off, ride with the bad boys and dust off the El Salvador option, what you see is what you're gonna get.
 
February 21, 2007 | url
Votes: +0

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