Sunday, February 09, 2014

Editorial: War Crimes against women and the outlets that ignore them

In Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki terrorizes the Iraqi people.

No one gets more tortured than the Iraqi women:

For example, Fatima Hussein (not her real name), a journalist accused of involvement in the murder of a parliamentarian’s brother and of being married to an Al-Qaeda member, described physical and sexual torture in early 2012 at the hands of one particular interrogator in Tikrit, Colonel Ghazi. She described Ghazi tying her blindfolded to a column and electrocuting her with an electric baton, hitting her feet and back with cable, kicking her, pulling her hair, tying her naked to a column and extinguishing cigarettes on her body, and later handcuffing her to a bed, forcing her to give him oral sex, and raping her three times. "There was blood all over me. He would relax, have a cigarette, and put it out on my buttock, and then started again," she said.

That's from Human Rights Watch's report entitled (PDF format warning) "'NO ONE IS SAFE: Abuses of Women in Iraq's Criminal Justice System."

The response in the US was highly disappointing.

Do you remember last year when McClatchy's Hannah Allem was grandstanding in public about how the most important thing was the fate of the Iraqis trying to get into the US?  And how this problem needed serious attention?  And she kept grandstanding until it was pointed out that she'd never written a report on this topic or even done a Tweet?

Well Hannah still useless.

Human Rights Watch released their report on Thursday of last week.

Thursday and Friday?  Hanna Allem served up 40 Tweets and reTweets.

How many were on the HRW report about Iraqi women?


Try lower.




Let's just end the guessing.


Human Rights Watch released a report that's over 100 pages, addressing what happens to Iraqi women in prisons and detention centers and Hannah Allem can't even be bothered to serve up 140 characters or less about the report.

Here's what one Iraqi woman shared to HRW:

They took us with the children. For the first half-hour they held us in the same room. Then they separated us and the torture started. The first day they tortured me all night, through until the morning. I was bleeding on the floor. I couldn’t breastfeed my baby. They used electricity on me the first four or five days, after that they mostly just beat me.... My shoulders are still damaged and I can’t pray. Ibtihal said that four men at the 8th Brigade headquarters interrogated her about Khalid. I told them I only know he works as a laborer. They beat me up and electrocuted me during two days, asking me over and over where he works and what he does. When I didn’t know the answers they handcuffed my hands behind my back, blindfolded me and beat and kicked me, calling me bad names. They would do this two or three times a day, about a half-an hour each time, for three days. 

What happens in interrogation?  One woman offers:

They used a thick black tube they calle d the “donkey.” They beat me with it and inserted it into my vagina. They chained me to a bed and threatened to rape me with their dogs. They asked me how I had sex with my husband and made me dance with them.

A woman grabbed in a super market by Nouri's forces was quickly beaten, shocked with electricity and more.  When that didn't force her to sign a false confession, they used her daughter to threaten her:

They pulled up her picture on my mobile, and said, "Is this [name withheld]?"   They knew her name, where she went to school, everything. They said "We can take her just like we took you."  I would have said anything at that point. 

There are many other stories like that in the report.

And they were ignored by Hannah Allem.  And she wasn't the only one.

Ms. magazine's blog never noted the report.

While Women's Media Center has a campaign which insists "Don't Let Women's Voices Be Silenced in 2014," they have thus far let Iraqi women be silenced by refusing to write an article or even a Tweet about the HRW report (and they've 28 Tweets since the report was released).

B-b-but the report just came out!

Last Thursday.  And Women's e-News has managed to cover it. Sarah Sheffer covered it for The NewsHour (PBS).

By contrast, NPR refused to cover it -- on air or at the website.

They did 'tax' themselves by re-running an AP report.

Women are tortured and raped, disappeared into prisons, their children threatened and this isn't news to Women's Media Center?

WMC makes time on their awful Twitter feed to whore for the daughter of celebrities  but they can't do a damn thing for Iraqi women?

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