Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blog Spotlight: Rebecca asking who will step up to the plate for Abeer

Rebecca, back from vacation, wonders where the Abeer coverage is?

raped and murdered, 14 year old abeer can't defend herself, who's going to step up to the plate?

this is the part in the book not returned
where i'm going to come and save the day
did you miss me?
did you miss me?

i had to open with courtney love's 'hero.' i did last year when i returned from my vacation as well. last year i took more weeks off and this year i had a vacation & a honeymoon, so cut me some slack. (plus you had betty doing a brilliant job.)

let's dive in. i'm going to post the snapshot of iraq by c.i. and then we're rolling up our sleeves because any who worried marriage would make me go 'soft' worried in vain. i'll toss in some brief comments between paragraphs and then let loose at the end of it.

'Iraq snapshot'
Chaos and violence continue in Iraq today, Tuesday, August 8, 2006. Bombings, a bank robery . . . all part of what the
AFP term "Bloody Day in Baghdad." And while people continue to dicker in the United States with games of "Is it or isn't it a civil war," Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) reports on Iraqi politicians who "way that the country is in civil war already." This as the so-called 'crackdown' (in beefed up form) appears to . . . crack apart.

a bloody day in baghdad? now i've been out of the country on both my vacation and my honeymoon but i'm sure that the media covered iraq nonstop, right? this is a u.s. war so i just know no jack offs decided they could pull their crap just because i wasn't around to scream. iraq's been on the front burner day after day, right? wrong. i encountered people reading their new york times and their wall st. journals (no washington post, which surprised me) and they'd ask if i wanted to see it? like they were doing me a favor? i'd ask 'well do they cover' and start reeling off the info from c.i.'s 'iraq snapshot' the day before. they'd be a little stunned. i had truged down to breakfast or the pool or the beach and maybe brought a book with me and maybe not so there they all were feeling superious as they went through their blessed dailies, so much smarter than the blonde beside them. thing was, they weren't. they got far less information in their blessed daily papers.

Strongest dose of reality comes from Patrick Cockburn (CounterPunch): "The vast city of seven million people, almost the size of London, is breaking up into a dozen cities, each one of which is becoming a heavily armed Shia or Sunni stronghold. Every morning brings its terrible harvest of bodies. Many lie in the streets for hours, bloating in the 120F heat, while others are found floating in the Tigris river."

read patrick cockburn's article. use that link. realize how awful things have gotten in baghdad as patrick cockburn describes his life as an un-embedded reporter in iraq. and realize how much crap the new york times and others have offered you, day after day, while iraq's reached a new low.

In the captial,
ITV notes "three near-simulaneous bomb explosins near the Interior Ministry building." Police officer Bilal Ali Majid tells the AP that at least 10 are dead and at least 8 wounded from the three bombs. Al Jazeera puts the toll at nine and notes "[t]wo roadside bombs exploded in the main Shurja market in central Bagdad within minutes of each other, killing 10 civilians and injuring 50". CBS and AP place the death toll at 10 for each bombing (20 total). AFP notes that ths market blast "set fire to several shops."
This is the AP in case anyone's confused (some early reports lumped the two attacks together): "Three bombs exploded simultaneously near the Interior Ministry buildings in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding eight, police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid said. A couple of hours later, two roadside bombs ripped through the main Shurja market, also in central Baghdad, killing 10 civilians and wounding 50, police Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said."
Reuters notes a police officer was wounded by a roadside bomb "in the eastern Zayouna district of Baghdad"; in Iskandariya, two people were wounded by a roadside bomb; and, in Tikrit, a police officer was killed by a roadside bomb (eight people wounded "including a child").

i watched on my vacation & honeymoon as suddenly a kidnapping needed to have more than 40 to be seriously reported (as opposed to 'shout outs') and saw that a single bombing needed to kill at least 21 to get reported on and not just tossed out in the dailys.

what the hell is that? i saw remarks like 'relatively calm' used on days when 20 or more people died. what is that crap?

Reuters notes two civilians were shot to death in Rashad, "a police lieutenant colonel" was shot dead in Falluja (his brother was wounded), and two were shot dead in Mosul.
CNN reports that, in Muqdadiya, three people were shot dead (including a teacher) and that drive-by shootings claimed two lives in Baquba. AP notes "two Sunni brothers . . . slain in their car repair shop in southwestern Baghdad:.
In addition to the above, the
BBC notes the death of "three security guards and two bank officials" during a bank robbery in Baghdad today. AFP notes that the robbery of the al-Rasheed Bank utilized three cars and that the interior ministry is saying it only netted "seven million dinars (less than $5,000)". The AP states it was two cars.

shootings get less and less press attention because, by their nature, they usually involve 1, 2 or 3. so they're completely off the radar. the press needs a massive blood letting in 1 incident to bother to cover it.

CBS and AP note the discovery of nine "bullet-riddled" corpses in Kut. AFP notes that at least seven were "Iraqi border guards." Reuters notes that seven corpses were found "south of Baghdad" and that they were "wearing military uniforms". And the AP notes two corpses found in Baghdad ("shot in the head").

i hope everyone gets that the 19 corpses were people who were killed 1 day and their deaths didn't get calculated that day because no 1 knew they were dead until the corpses were found.
so since it's now know they're dead, you might add them to the 30-plus death toll today and get 50-plus. you might do that but the press won't.

In addition, the BBC reports: "Also on Tuesday, a US soldier died of wounds sustained in fighting, the US military said"; while CBS and AP report: "Two Iraqi journalists were killed in separate incidents in Baghdad, police said Tuesday. Mohammed Abbas Hamad, 28, a journalist for the Shiite-owned newspaper Al-Bayinnah Al-Jadida, was shot by gunmen at he left his home Monday in western Baghdad, police Lt. Mohammed Khayoun said. Late Monday, police found the bullet-riddled body of freelance journalist Ismail Amin Ali, 30, about a half mile from where he was abducted two weeks ago in northeast Baghdad, Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali said. The body showed sign of torture, he added." The AP reminds that the two are "among more than 100 Iraqi and foreign media workers slain here since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003."

reporters die and your embedded reporters don't seem to give a damn. the new york times, remember, made a huge deal out of the death of their stringer but they don't care to cover the deaths of other reporters.

Mohammed A. Salih (IPS) notes that Nouri al-Maliki (prime minister and puppet of the occupation) no longer pushes the "reconcilation project" and that Abdullah Aliawayi (Iraqi parliamentary member) describes it as "failed." Nouri al-Maliki's criticism of the "U.S.-Iraqi attack on Mahdi Army's stronghold in Baghdad's Sadr City" continues. Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) writes of the attack: "Families sleeping on rooftops to escape the summer heat were startled early Monday by helicoprters and gunfire" and that the action "killed three people, destroyed three homes and sent families scurrying for cover." (For those who wonder about the heat, a friend says it is 110 degrees in Baghdad right now). As AFP noted yesterday: "An AFP journalist in Sadr City reported that the raid on the area, a stronghold of the firebrand cleric, was accompanied by air strikes." Today AFP notes: "Coalition aircraft were called into action after the Iraqi army snatch squad came under fire, and at least three civilians were killed." Coalition aircraft would most likely mean US military aircraft. Elsa McLaren (Times of London) notes Times' colleague James Hider's observation that "This security plan is basically the last chance to save the country from civil war. It seems like he [al-Maliki] is trying to distance himself. There is a very fine line between sending your troops out to attack militia that are linked to a government party." Hider himself writes that "a clear rift" has opened between puppet al-Maliki "and the American military" which leads to "doubts about whether the security forces would have the political backing required to tackle powerful militias beholden to parties in the governing coalition."

these attacks happen all the time. the u.s. claims any 1 on a roof is an 'insurgent.' and people in this country buy that nonsense. i ended up going over that repeatedly on vacation. yes, i was talking iraq. see, i didn't put it on the backburner just because i was vacationing and honeymooning. you can't afford to. there's no excuse for doing so. i was shocked by the figures on how many americans believe iraq had wmds! it's like it's going backwards.

why is that? i blame the media. i blame their nonsense of all running after israel and just covering that 1 story (corporate and indy) and ignoring iraq.

In Baghdad, the trial into the murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza and three of her family members continue (as well as into the alleged rape of Abeer). This is the case that yesterday, as Reuters notes: "A US military court heard graphic testimony about how US soldiers took turns to hold down and rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murderer her and her family." Ryan Lenz (AP) reports that the attornies for the four troops currently serving (James Barker, Paul E. Cortez, Jesse V. Spielman and Bryan L. Howard; Steven D. Green is no longer in the military) accused of rape, murder and arson are calling for "a new hearing, accusing Yrbie's counsel of deliberately asking incriminating questions. A ruling was expected later in the day." Anthony Yribe is accused of dereliction of duty for alleged failure to report the incident, he is not accused of rape, murder or arson. Also, CNN reports that a witness testified of "colleagues who drank whiskey and cough syrup and swallowed painkillers to cope with their jobs." The witness, Justin Cross, was asked if Steven D. Green could have done the crimes by himself and Cross responded, "Green does nothing by himself."

i'll deal with abeer after i'm done commenting on other events.

In the United States, peace activist Cindy Sheehan and others continue their protests in Crawford, TX. Sheehan is quoted as saying of the Bully Boy, "He can shorten his vacations or not show up at all, but he's not hiding from the truth." Camp Casey III is up and going again this summer. Writing of Sheehan and the first Camp Casey last year, Tom Hayden noted: "Cindy Sheehan inhabits an alternative world of meaning that more Americans need to experience before this war can end. She represents the survivors' need to define a meaning in her son's death -- and her life -- that is counter to the meaning offered by President Bush. That is why she refuses any condolences, and why she continues to ask the President what was the 'noble purpose' for which Casey Sheehan died."

this was probably the biggest shock to me because we saw coverage out of the country. we came back so flyboy could vote for ned lamont. (he's always maintained legal residency in conn. that's where his family's home is. no 1 in his family is voting for joe lieberman and that was his request for a wedding present if they were registered as democrats. i'm serious on that. we don't need anything. i have more money than i could ever spend - and you know i won't be giving it to indymedia after the last few months - and fly boy's got more than i have. this is a remarriage for us. we're doing dinners this week with family members but he said 'if you want to give a gift, rebecca and i would appreciate that you vote for ned lamont.' when they agreed, he would ask them to give their word.) so we get back and where is the media with cindy? i see ap. i don't see a great deal more.

In an interview with Dan Bacher (Toward Freedom), Sheehan spoke of the Troops Home Fast action and noted, "We hope the fast will galvanize public attention, invigorate the peace movement, build pressure on elected officials, and get our troops back home." Troops Home Fast continues with at least 4,549 people taking part today from around the world.

i don't know toward freedom but obviously they grasp that camp casey is news so good for them. on the fast. i saw c.i. for the 1st time since july 4th at my wedding and was shocked. there was no weight to lose before the fast. (c.i. religiously works out and did during the fast.) i admire the committment. i know it must have been a pain in the ass. and i know c.i. wasn't sitting on the ass during that. so i marvel (always) at my friend's strength. but please, never again. c.i.'s doing a one day a week fast now until september 21st. i need to pick a day and start doing that. fly boy took 1 look at c.i. and said, 'we need to do at least 1 day when we get back.' (let me clear, c.i. didn't look haggered. c.i. looked great, the skin was amazing and i was envious as hell, to be honest. but i'd guess 15 pounds were lost, maybe more, and they weren't there to lose. c.i. wrapped a piece of my wedding cake and hopefully will eat that soon. when we spoke on the phone today it was still easing back into solid foods, which began on sunday. bananas have been a big thing and tomatoes, c.i. loves tomatoes.)

In other peace news, Edwin Tanji (The Maui News) reports that Bob Watada, father of Ehren Watada, is getting the word out on his son (first known commissioned officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq) and will appear at Maui Bookseller (Wailuku) today at four p.m. as well as on the TV program Crossroads tonight at 7:00 p.m. Maui Democratic Party leader Lance Holter says of Ehren Watada: "I'm awe-struck by this man's bravery. He has taken on the entire American military machine and standing up for principles of honor and justice and American patriotism. There is no more patriotic man than this person."
Courage to Resist and are calling for a "National Day of Education" on August 16th, the day before Ehren Watada would be due to "face a pre-trial hearing for refusing to deploy to Iraq." ThankYouLt.Org notes: "On August 16, the day prior to the hearing, The Friends and Family of Lt. Ehren Watada are calling for a 'National Day of Education' to pose the question, 'Is the war illegal?' This day can also serve to anchor a 'week of outreach' leading up to the pre-trial hearing."

i know the answer to this but let's pretend i don't. so while i was gone, indymedia just piled on this story, right? august 17th isn't that far away and they've just been getting the word out like crazy, right? nope. i'm really glad c.i.'s been able to locate stuff from hawaii because otherwise there would pretty much be no news for the last few weeks. i'm back, i'll be back to working my own contacts asking friends (in big media), why aren't you covering this? when will you be covering this? on watada and a host of others. but i want to be really clear that independent media has blown it. i was at c.i.'s for a long period before i left on my vacation. i heard the calls on speaker phone if we were working out, i heard c.i.'s end of the calls otherwise. i saw people come by and c.i. corner them and pretty much demand that they cover it. that's big media.
the 1st question on any iraq story would be 'is any 1 covering it' or a statement of no 1's covering it. if c.i. was able to list off a series of indymedia programs or publications covering it, the person was interested in right away. if not, c.i. had to start from scratch walking them through it, explaining why it was 'news' because, in many cases, these aren't political people. they're not writing columns, they're reporting news of the day and there questions are how is this news, how is this more important than another story, blah, blah, blah. if c.i. could say '___ wrote about it in ___, and ___ spoke about it on ____' the next moment was always, 'okay, tell me about it' it wasn't 'well tell me why i should think it is news?'

this should be a time when all media is covering iraq but indymedia has laid down, rolled over and played dead. i heard c.i. call in markers from friends to get coverage of iraq-related stories (in 1 instance, 'you owe me from 1997 and i'm calling in the favor'). now, when we're getting some coverage from the mainstream, indymedia wants to pull the rug out from underneath?

that's disgraceful and shameful. when they all went running after israel in indymedia, they didn't just leave the topic, they made it that much harder for every 1 like c.i. who is willing to use every and any connection to get coverage on iraq. c.i. has called in favors, has traded favors and this would really have impact if indymedia was doing a damn thing on iraq right now. but they're not. they're lazy ass idiots who fail to realize that this is the moment. take it from some 1 who made a bundle in public relations, if you don't get press, you may as well forget about changing anything in most instances.

In Australia, AAP reports "Soldier 14" will be the next to testify into the April 21st death of Jake Kovco in Baghdad. In addition to Soldier 14 testifying in person, AAP reports: "The inquiry is also this week expected to hear more evidence about the bungled repatriation of Pte Kovco's body from witnesses appearing on a video link from the Middle East." Last week, one of Kovco's former roommates testified that the repatriation was contracted out and done on the cheap, tying that into the mix up that led to the body of Bosnian capenter Juso Sinanovic being sent to Australia instead of Jake Kovco. Those remembering how the scene of Jake Kovco's death was cleaned up before the investigation into what happened began won't be surprised by Ian McPhedran (Australia's Courier-Mail) report that it's happened again -- in this instance David Nary ("father-of-five SAS Warrant Officer") died in Kuwait last November and the military board's finding include "criticism for the lack of procedures to preserve an incident site."

jake kovco has never been a story i've seen covered by indymedia. everything i know about him, i've learned via the common ills. if you don't know about him, he is the 1st on the ground fatality australia had in the current war on iraq. he died of gunshot wounds. at one point, the country's defense minister was telling the press it was a suicide. was it? the testimony in the hearing doesn't indicate it was. i'm really bothered by the hearing, by the way, and how it's 'truth' if some 1 heard of something 3rd or 4th hand. they testify to things they never saw or heard. the hearing has to be winding down because it's been going on for some time. i think it's been established that it wasn't a suicide. i think other questions were never addressed.

In election news in the United States, as Ned Lamont challenges Joe Lieberman (polls close at 8:00 pm EST) for the Senate seat currently occupied by Lieberman, commentators sees the race as a sign post. Stephen Schlesinger (Huffington Post) draws comparison to Eugene McCarthy and LBJ in 1968 and offers that: "A Lamont triumph or near success will make (and is already making) Democrats like Senators Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden shift progressively more in favor of withdrawal from Iraq and is certainly going to alter the entire spectrum of political views over the issue of Iraq, not only for Democrats, but for Republicans, too. In short, this is likely to be the turning point". Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post) takes a look at Lieberman's "strategy" noting: "Anxious to move Iraq to the backburner, Lieberma dug deep into his long history in the Senate to find a reason why Connecticut voters shouldn't send him packing tomorrow. The biggest selling point he came up with? 'I don't hate Republicans,' he said while arguing that he wasn't President Bush's 'best friend and enabler.' Talking points for the ages."

as i said, we came back so fly boy cold vote for lamont.

now let's talk about abeer. abeer qasim hamza. 14 years old. dead. raped. i won't say allegedly raped. the article 32 proceeding has heard from 1 witness who heard about it and a military investigator who says 1 of the alleged murders and rapists admitted the rape and murder to him.

there's also the descriptions of how she was found.

indymedia, where the hell are you?

where the hell are you?

i don't know an american adult male who doesn't know the concept of the age of consent and grasp that they'll go to jail for sex with a minor that's consensual. add in that we're talking about rape.

an underage girl was raped.

the mainstream press covers this trial and can't even mention her damn name. good god, most of us have seen silence of the lambs, we know how important it is that the victim have a name.
it puts a face on it, it gives it's weight.

so where the hell is independent media to call this b.s. out?

'oh we can't go to iraq.' don't give me that whining nonsense. you bring up some 1 to talk about rape or about pedophiles. you bring on some 1 to talk about the changes in a combat zone that allow soldiers to dehumanize the civilians around them.

abeer is dead. witness testimony (including by the military's own investigator) indicates that she was raped. the way her body was when she was found (and the remains of her clothes) indicate it was rape.

so where the hell is the coverage?

a 14 year old girl.

good god, how sick do you have to be to not get that this is an important story that you need to be covering?

how full of shit and yourself do you have to be to ignore abeer?

it's as though you've just been handed the photo of the girl in vietnam burning from napalm and you're saying, 'oh wait, um, i've got to cover the 6 day war instead. this isn't that important.'

this is damn important.

this is the story of the occupation. this is the story of a 14 year old girl who was raped and murdered and they also killed her parents and her sister and then attempted to burn them to hide their tracks.

this is a story that is repulsive. outrageous.

it demonstrates why the troops need to come home.

those soldiers were supposed to be protecting them. but the occupation has so degraded that soldiers can leer at a 14 year old girl to the point that she and her family are worried for her safety (with good reason). they were going to move her to another area to protect her.

why is it that her family noticed what was going on but no 1 in the military who could stop it (who should have stopped it) did?

don't give me that one of the higher ups had a mini-crack up. so what.

there's a chain of command it doesn't end with him, it doesn't being with him.

the fact that u.s. soldiers could leer at a 14 year old girl without any 1 stepping in is frightening enough. the fact that she and her family could be killed and she could be raped and soldiers though they'd get away with it? this is the occupation.

there's been no accountability.

there's not any now as you hear (from the defense and their co-horts at the new york times) that the soldiers were just really stressed.

hey, i was stressed when i recently miscarried. i didn't go cruising the junior high looking for tail.
they're responsible for their actions and the fact that they thought they could get away with it indicates that a lot has been gotten away with it.

over here, in this country, would they have thought they could get away with raping a 14 year old girl, killing her and her family?

no. but that they thought they could in iraq tells you how out of control the occupation is.

abeer has a name. fair needs to address this coverage. whether they will or not, they need to address it. (they should also credit c.i. and the common ills because they have been loud and clear on this subject while every 1 else took a damn pass.)

as usual, in the face of silence, the common ills has waded in where no 1 else wants to go. and not with a weak ass 'on the 1 hand, on the other.' c.i. has called the press out on the way they've covered abeer. repeatedly.

where has independent media been?

they've all been off in on israel.

that's an important story and i've covered it here. its importance doesn't mean everyone drop iraq. and it certainly allows no excuse not to note the way a 14 year old girl who was raped and murdered is now being shoved under the carpet day after day by big media.

since the article 32 started, the new york times won't even print her name. they've printed it before. but now that there's a hearing with american soldiers charged, the paper won't even print her name. they are rendering her invisble. they are presenting and making the defense's case.

apparently no 1 knew abeer. that must be why the same reporters that can chase down stories from other soldiers serving with the accused can never find out anything about abeer.

but when there was talk of exhuming her body, her remaining family said no. they didn't want her distrubed. she still has family living. she still has friends living. she still has neighbors living. but the new york times doesn't want to interview them.

why is c.i. the 1 pointing this out? why isn't this a huge story? it should be. it damn well should be.

and if another week goes by with indymedia silent on abeer, i'll start noting them by name.

i don't take rape lightly. i don't any women who do. (but i'm sure, law of averages, there has to be some who will - or who will make excuses for the rapist.)

is this the equivalent, u.s. soldiers accuses of rape, of accusing a nba star? is that why the victim's being trashed in death by repeated efforts to render her invisible?

every 1 should be outraged by this coverage, but women should be especially outraged by this coverage. this is a return to the dark days where the rapists got all the press sympathy (provided they were white) and the victims were ignored.

abeer is dead. apparently a group of u.s. soldiers thought they could do whatever dirty, criminal thing they wanted to 14 year old abeer and, guess what, the press thinks that's okay. they don't think her story matters, they don't think she's even worthy of being given a name.

feminists my age and older should be outraged. we should be able to remember very well when the way abeer's being treated is the way all rape victims were treated.

abeer's dead. she can't defend herself. at 14, she shouldn't have had to. so who's going to step up to the plate and defend her from those who would render her invisible?

again, thank you to betty for filling in for me. i'll write more about that next time. tonight i want to concentrate on abeer. if you're new to the topic of abeer, c.i.'s most recent coverage includes:

'NYT: Rendering Abeer Qasim Hamza invisible again'
'NYT: Continuing render Abeer Qasim Hamza invisible'
'NYT: Paper of record files one report from Iraq'
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