Sunday, November 17, 2013

Editorial: The administration remains Nouri's dirty little whore

September 1st, 7 Camp Ashraf residents were kidnapped.

"The seven are not in Iraq," the State Dept.'s Brett McGurk testified to Congress last week.

November 11, Matthew Offord (The Diplomat) explained:

On October 28, I joined a cross-party panel at a conference in Church House, Westminster, with dozens of my colleagues from both Houses of Parliament to talk about Iran and what we, in the U.K., can do in the face of appalling atrocities committed by the Iranian regime. At the heart of the conference was the fate of seven Iranian dissidents taken hostage by Iraqi Special Forces. The hostages were abducted following an attack on their home in Camp Ashraf Iraq which left 52 of their friends killed.
Several weeks ago, I spoke at a rally in Trafalgar Square on this very issue and I met the hunger strikers from my constituency protesting to bring about the release of the hostages. It saddens me that after 68 days their hunger strike for the release of the seven Iranian hostages continues. In fact, they are not alone. Supporters of a free Iran, their friends and family in Camp Liberty and in other cities around the world are also on hunger strike.

Hunger strikes.  Supporters have been on hunger strikes.

But the State Department couldn't inform anyone that the seven were not in Iraq?

Where are they?

McGurk wouldn't say in open session.

We're failing to see how their basic location -- for example, what country they're in -- is classified information.

We're also failing to grasp why the State Department failed to issue a statement.

But then, time and again, the State Department is not working for Americans or for Iraqis.

No, it's working for Nouri al-Maliki, chief thug and prime minister of Iraq.

November 1, Nouri met at the White House with US President Barack Obama.  And supposedly Nouri grasped that he needed to stop the attacks on the Sunni population.  Yet mere weeks after that alleged understanding?  Human Rights Watch reports:

Based on accounts by witnesses, since November 7 security forces have carried out operations in which they invaded every home in sections of predominantly Sunni neighborhoods of various cities, detained many of the male residents without showing arrest warrants, and held them for several days – without notifying family members of their whereabouts or taking them before an investigative judge within 48 hours, as required by Iraqi law. Many of those detained have not yet been released, the witnesses told Human Rights Watch.

Baghdad residents told Human Rights Watch that between November 7 and 11, SWAT and counterterrorism forces carried out mass arrests in the Dora and Adhamiyya neighborhoods. A tribal leader said that a security force he could not identify raided homes and conducted random arrest sweeps in Adhamiyya, arresting more than 30 people without warrants, insulting them and calling them “humiliating names,” then turned them over to a battalion from the army’s 44th brigade, 11th division. Interior and Defense Ministry officials told Human Rights Watch in February and May that it is illegal for Defense and Interior Ministry security forces to detain suspects, rather than transfer them to the custody of the Justice Ministry.

The tribal leader told Human Rights Watch that he and other elders from the neighborhood visited the battalion to request the detainees’ release. “They let some of them go, but this has become the norm,” he said. “Every Ashura, security forces come, raid the neighborhood, arrest people, and hold them for a while. Once Ashura is over they release most of them, but they are never charged.”

He said that the army battalion commander told him that, after Ashura, “The people who are wanted will stay and the others will be released.” A lawyer working with him told Human Rights Watch that most of the people “were arrested randomly, without warrants” and that some were laborers from outside Baghdad. The lawyer said he had heard that security forces conducted similar operations on the same days in Baghdad’s Tarmiyya and Dora neighborhoods, also majority Sunni, but that he did not know how many people they arrested.

Another Adhamiyya resident told Human Rights Watch that on November 7, security forces began conducting raids in the neighborhood that continued until November 10, the date of the interview. “We can see them everywhere [right now], but we don’t know how many people they are arresting,” she said.

A resident of Dora told Human Rights Watch that on November 7, “a huge number” of SWAT forces dressed in black surrounded the neighborhood at 10 a.m. and raided “every single house” in an operation that lasted until 5 p.m. “They brought at least five trucks,” she said, “and arrested so many young men – at least 50 of them. They put them in the trucks and took them away. The women were coming out and crying, and none of the men have returned.”

She said the families of the arrested men are “terrified” and do not know where their relatives are being held. “People are afraid to leave and afraid to stay in their homes,” she said. She said many of the people arrested “looked very young” but did not know whether they were under 18.

A teacher from Hitt, a majority Sunni city in in Anbar province, told Human Rights Watch that between 5 and 6 a.m. on November 10, SWAT forces surrounded entire neighborhoods in the city and arrested dozens of young men over the course of several hours. The teacher said she saw security forces “everywhere” in the streets and watched them arrest two people. Several students told her later that day that SWAT forces arrested several of their family members, in at least one instance taking a student’s uncle and all of her cousins from their house, she said.

A local news correspondent living in Ramadi told Human Rights Watch that residents and tribal leaders told him security forces from theJazeera and Badiya Operations Command arrested 90 people from Falluja, 63 from Hitt, and 42 from rural areas in Anbar on November 9 and 10.

On November 9, Anbar police chief Hadi Resij, announced that local police and SWAT forces had arrested 43 people in the Shouhadaa neighborhood that evening during a “security operation” south of Falluja, apparently referring to one of the several arrest sweeps that witnesses described to Human Rights Watch. He said all those arrested were “leaders of al-Qaeda,” but did not offer any evidence given that none of the detainees have faced trial. Human Rights Watch was unable to reach other Interior and Defense Ministry officials for comment.

And if you ever doubt how far the State Department will go to lie for Nouri, read this column which Brett McGurk told Congress was Nouri's Veterans Day column thanking US service members for their work in Iraq.

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