Tags: Disappeared persons in Iraq, Missing persons in Iraq
Enforced Disappearance: The Missing Persons of Iraq.
Always Someone’s Mother or Father, Always Someone’s Child.
by Dirk Adriaensens
Global Research, November 29, 2010
“Iraq has the most disappeared persons in the world”
Forced disappearances and missing persons
A forced disappearance (or enforced disappearance) is defined in Article 2 of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly On 20 December 2006, as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law. Often, forced disappearance implies murder. The victim in such a case is first abducted, then illegally detained, and often tortured; the victim is then killed, and the body is then hidden. Typically, a murder will be surreptitious, with the corpse disposed of in such a way as to prevent it ever being found, so that the person apparently vanishes. The party committing the murder has deniability, as there is no body to prove that the victim has actually died.
Article 1 of the Convention further states that No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance. Neither Iraq, nor the USA have signed or ratified this convention. The United States refused to sign, saying that the text “did not meet our expectations”, without giving an explanation. Once again the United States placed itself outside the provisions of International Humanitarian law.
According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which came into force on 1 July 2002, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed at any civilian population, a “forced disappearance” qualifies as a crime against humanity, and thus is not subject to a statute of limitations.
The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on 3 August 2010 took up, on requests of the Human Rights Council, the issue of the missing persons.
For the final report, the drafting group came up with a definition. “Missing persons” are those whose families are without news of them and those who are reported, on the basis of reliable information, unaccounted for as a result of an international or non-international armed conflict. Under both international humanitarian law and human rights law, States are obliged to take measures to prevent persons from going missing.
Occupation, amnesty laws and reparations
During the ensuing discussion, Experts raised a lot of relevant questions. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, Advisory Committee Rapporteur, and Curtis Doebbler, international human rights lawyer, said they regretted the decision to limit the missing persons to situations of armed conflict, and drew attention to a serious omission in the text, even within its confines of armed conflict. The fact is that today, a great many disappearances are taking place in times of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and ever-increasingly in Honduras. Amnesty was also a tricky matter, and amnesty laws should be banned, it was argued, with an end put to violators of human rights establishing amnesty laws in their own favour. Moreover, there is a legitimate right to reparations and also families have a right to have any information about their relatives that had gone missing, Miguel d’Escoto said.
New WikiLeaks Documents Expose US Foreign Policy Conspiracies
By David Walsh
Mehmet Yegin, an expert at the Center for American Studies at the USAK research organization, suggested, according to the English-language version of the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, “that U.S. support for the PKK could have been a result of Turkey’s decision in 2003 not to allow the United States to enter Iraq through Turkish soil.”
29 November, 2010
The batch of 250,000 US classified documents released by WikiLeaks to several news outlets, some of whose content was made public Sunday, sheds new light on the sordid nature of American imperialist intrigue and conspiracy around the globe.
The WSWS will analyze the documents more thoroughly in a subsequent article, but “highlights” published by the Guardian and the New York Times are revealing.
Tags: Early Day Motion, Human Rights Situation in Iraq, Human Rights situation of Iraqi Turkmens
To everyone in the UK who feels concerned with the Human Rights situation in Iraq:
Please contact your MP and ask him/her to sign the Early Day Motion EDM968 – Human Rights Situation Of Iraqi Turkmen
Early Day Motions
EDM968 – Human Rights Situation Of Iraqi Turkmen
That this House is concerned about the human rights situation of the Iraqi Turkmens, the third largest ethnic group in Iraq, who mainly live in the northern provinces, such as Kirkuk; condemns the ethnic cleansing and assimilation policy of Iraqi Turkmens by both Saddam Hussein’s government until 2003 andthe Kurds since 2003, who claim the Iraqi Turkmens’ lands which are rich with oil, gas sulphur, uranium and phosphorus; notes that the census in Iraq delayed for the third time since 2007 is now due to be held on 5 December 2010; worries that the inclusion of the questions on ethnicity and mother tongue in the census will divide Iraqi people instead of uniting them and might create new outbreaks of violence in this country; further condemns the treatment of the Iraqi Turkmens as the lower class in Iraq in comparison with the Arabs and Kurds; believes all ethnicities in Iraq should possess equal rights; welcomes the work of the Iraqi Turkmen Front to promote the human rights of Iraqi Turkmens such as the right to participate in the forming of the new government and the right to have justice, equality, fairness andan end to the discrimination and violence; and calls on the Prime Minister and the Government to raise the issue of Iraqi Turkmens’ human rights with the government of Iraq.
This motion has been signed by a total of 18 MPs.
Tags: Bremer's Order 81, Food sovereignty, Iraqi Agriculture, Monsanto, Seed Banks
More recently, we had a stark case study in what happens when corporate globalization is given total power, violent and bureaucratic, to impose exactly what it wants. When the US attacked Iraq, part of its extermination campaign was against all Iraqi culture. As Naomi Klein described in Shock Doctrine and several articles, the goal was to wipe everything clean and impose a blank slate upon which corporate domination could be directly and fully encoded. One example was the assault on seeds and indigenous farming. The seed bank at Abu Ghraib, a priceless repository of thousands of years of Mesopotamian cultivation, knowledge likely to be of critical importance in the age of climate change as more arid conditions expand, was attacked and destroyed by a mob.
Iraq’s agriculture was disrupted in general, as always happens in a war. When the farmers tried to rebuild, they were confronted with a typical globalist Catch-22. The same invaders who had destroyed their agricultural heritage now offered them aid in the form of proprietary seeds. At the same moment Paul Bremer, the US equivalent of Hans Frank in the General Government administrative zone of Poland, decreed that all proprietary globalization “law” applied in the case of Iraqi agriculture. This was a direct violation of international law, but we see what kind of law of the jungle really prevails with globalization.
Bremer’s Order 81 applied all the strictures of patent domination to the farmers who were at that moment being offered the choice of accepting the proprietary seeds or facing total ruin. (All other aid was conditional on taking the patent deal. It was a textbook example of an unconscionable contract of adhesion, in other words no contract at all according to human law.) This domination includes the truly obscene notion that when through natural inertia, negligence, or deliberate release, the patented seed spreads to the fields of a farmer against his will, he’s declared objectively in violation of the patent and subject to draconian legal penalties. This obscenity has already been enshrined in Canada. So Monsanto’s agent here tried to accomplish directly, by main force, what they’re trying to accomplish more gradually and insidiously everywhere else, including at home in America.
How is it possible that if your neighbor is negligent and lets his pollen spread to your field, or if Monsanto deliberately disperses it there, or if the wind simply blows, that you become a status criminal, an IP violator? Why, on the contrary, isn’t Monsanto guilty of a tort against you, by strict liability? The answer is that it would be under any accountable, human rule of law. But the law has abdicated. This is the anti-sovereign corporate law, which is an exact inversion of human law, just as the corporations are existentially anti-human, their very existence an affront to human dignity. They’re literally satanic according to Judeo-Christian theology.
What is to be done? Since this post was about seeds, let’s consider what is to be done about seeds. One thing’s clear – we cannot rely on seed vaults like the one in Norway. Even if these weren’t vulnerable to corporate domination, the basic idea is wrongly conceived – one big fort rather than a decentralized dispersal.
What do most individual plants do? They don’t hoard their seeds at one spot in the soil. They disperse them a widely as possible by all sorts of vehicles.
So the real Seed Banks we need will have to prize resiliency and redundancy over reinforcing one site as a hard target. They must be outside of official control mechanisms. Our seed banks have to be our own stewardship and propagation of our own heirloom seeds. Here’s one innovative idea for a legal framework for the seed commons. It would apply existing cooperative licensing to enshrine a system where anyone can innovate and sell his innovation, but not control the subsequent innovations of the buyer, and so on virally.
Tags: Women in Iraq, Women's rights in Iraq
IRAQ: No country for women
Insecurity and the threat of violence limits women’s freedom
MADRID, 28 November 2010 (IRIN) – The improved political representation of women in Iraq is in sharp contrast to their broader disempowerment, as highlighted by the persistence of domestic violence and early marriage, according to a new report by the UN Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit.
Women may hold 25 percent of seats in the Iraqi parliament, but one in five in the 15-49 age group has suffered physical violence at the hands of her husband. Anecdotal evidence alleges that “many women are being kidnapped and sold into prostitution”, and female genital mutilation is still common in the north, the report notes.
“The situation many Iraqi women and girls face is beyond words,” journalist Eman Khammas told IRIN in a telephone interview. “Before, I was a journalist, a professional; now, I am nothing.”
Khammas noted an underlying social climate of intolerance that has become increasingly poisonous for women. She was forced to flee Iraq after receiving death threats that effectively stopped her – like thousands of other Iraqi women – from working. She now lives in Spain.
Women’s participation in the labour force has fallen sharply since 2003. Before the invasion, 40 percent of public sector workers were women, according to a report by the BRussels Tribunal, an anti-war movement. Some sectors, such as the teaching profession, were almost entirely staffed by women, Khammas said.
She cited the “new, fundamentalist thinking”, which emerged after the 2003 invasion of Iraq that has been aggressively imposed by the militias, armed private groups purporting to uphold religious law.
The collapse of public social services has also limited access to education, health and jobs, while a high level of insecurity has pushed women out of public life and into the seclusion of their homes, and an ineffective judicial system has created an atmosphere of impunity, Khammas said.
The conservative attitudes of public sector officials has been reinforced by a government that supports keeping women at home, according to a 2007 report by the international women’s resource network, MADRE.
“In 2006, the Iraqi Interior Ministry issued a series of notices warning women not to leave their homes alone and echoing the directives of religious leaders who urge men to prevent women family members from holding jobs,” the report noted.
“Thus, the violence carried out by militias in the streets is backed up by more respectable political leaders, who support the call for a women-free public sphere.”
Escalating poverty has pushed Iraqi families into prioritizing schooling for boys, stifling future opportunities for women.
“For every 100 boys enrolled in primary schools in Iraq, there are just under 89 girls,” the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said in a report released in September 2010. School enrollment figures for girls have been progressively declining, while drop-out rates have gone up in every academic year.
Factors pushing girls out of schooling included “security risks, attitudes to girls and education, the state of the nation’s schools, what is taught and how it is taught, the skills and attitudes of teachers, family poverty,” UNICEF said.
Like Khammas, many other women have chosen to leave Iraq, but asylum does not necessarily end their difficulties. Neighbouring Syria is home to the majority of what the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) considers as Iraqi “persons of concern” – people who have left their home country out of fear for their safety but do not conform to the legal definition of “refugee”.
Of the 139,000 registered Iraqi persons of concern in Syria, 28 percent fall under female-headed households, the UNHCR Protection Officer in Syria, Aseer Al-Madaien, told IRIN in an email interview.
Many do not have work permits, which compounds the difficulties female-headed households face in neighbouring countries, where they struggle to make a living, “especially paying the rent”, while still “coping with family, social and community pressure”, Al-Madaien commented.
Their vulnerability can lead to exploitation. “There is trafficking happening among the Iraqi refugees, [but] the scope and modality is not known to us,” said Al-Madaien.
According to the UN Inter-Agency Information and Analysis Unit report, “Victims are trafficked internally and to neighbouring countries, including Syria and the Gulf states”.
Tags: Forming of New Iraqi government
Attempts to form Iraqi government and Turkey
| By Hasan Kanbolat
None of the parties in Iraq could garner enough seats in the general elections of March 7 to form a government. This started a government crisis that would last eight months. Now there are attempts to overcome this crisis. Finally, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
| The playmaker, as was expected, is again Nouri al-Maliki. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister al-Maliki will continue to serve in their respective posts. Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni politician, was appointed as parliament speaker. Arif Tayfur of the Kurdish Alliance and Qusay al-Suhail of the Sadr group were re-elected as deputy parliament speakers.As such, the political equation in Iraq is similar to the picture that emerged right after the 2005 election. It is made up of an alliance between Shiite Arabs with some Sunni Arabs added. However, the election this year differs from the 2005 election in that the Sunni Arabs were much better organized and were able to form a block that got the highest number of deputies in parliament. Furthermore, the evermore-powerful Maliki made more concessions to the Kurds.
Sources say Maliki accepted all 19 conditions (regarding the distribution of income from oil sales, more authority for the Kurdistan federal region, Article 140, etc.) put forth by the Kurds. Indeed, up until the eve of Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice), Kurdish security forces patrolled even central areas of Kirkuk. Kurdish influence in the disputed region is also increasing. The de facto dominance of Kurds is slowly becoming official.
For example, the north of Mosul has become Kurdish in terms of population and the area is under Kurdish control. Khanaqin, Jalula and Kifri in Diyala province are completely under Kurdish control. In regions such as Karatepe, both Kurdish officials and officials representing the central administration serve in office. A dual form of administration is evermore present in the disputed area. Maliki is making concessions to Sadr. In three provinces, they allowed new governors who are close to Sadr while the previous governors close to Maliki moved out of office.
Al-Iraqiyah, led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, is not happy about the process and for the most part did not participate in the presidential election. Although the Iraqi parliament comprises 325 seats, only 192 deputies attended the session which voted Talabani in as president. The new government now wants to appoint Allawi to head the National Strategic Policy Council, which will lay out strategic policies for Iraq. However, the powers and authorities of this council, created only to satisfy Allawi, are not yet clear.
Allawi is understandably not happy with this council. The concept of “prime minister” does not appear in the Iraqi constitution. Instead, there is the “head of the Council of Ministers.” Al-Iraqiyah wants Maliki to use the term “head of the Council of Ministers” and suggests the authorities of the “prime minister” be shared with the National Strategic Policy Council. The Shiites do not even pay lip service to this demand. Allawi feels a little cheated. However, one should accept that Allawi has so far been unsuccessful in his political maneuvers. For this reason Maliki has already started to divide up the al-Iraqiyah bloc.
Sources in the region claim the US has given the green light for this. What matters for Maliki and the US is that a government is formed in Iraq and stability of a certain extent is achieved. They are not concerned about the continuation of violence, as long as it is manageable. They accept that drawing the Sunni Arabs into manageable violence is enough. This is why they are working to maintain control of the four provinces (al-Anbar, Mosul, Kirkuk and Baghdad) where Sunni Arabs are strong. The aim is to bring al-Anbar under control through Deputy Prime Minister Rafi al-Issawi and Mosul through Parliament Speaker al-Nujaifi with Mosul, Kirkuk through the Kurds, and Baghdad through cooperation between central security forces with the Sadr group. The Salah ad-Din and Diyala provinces are deemed insignificant.
Some circles in Iraq are concerned that Turkey might stand by the Sunni Arabs and stand in opposition to the Shiite Arab and Kurdish alliance. We can also see this concern in Talabani’s recent statements against Turkey. However, Turkey responded to this concern at the highest level, with President Abdullah Gül saying: “He [Talabani] said that we do not support him and we don’t want him to become the president. Ankara has never disturbed the balances, and the end result in the new process unwound in favor of Talabani.” Turkey is continuing its policy of embracing all ethnic, religious and political groups in Iraq from an equal distance to all. Maliki, in order to avoid falling under the control of Iran among its neighbors, has to trust Turkey and cooperate with it.
Tags: Nurit Peled Elhanan, Palestine
Israeli mother Addresses European Parliament
Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the mother of Smadar Elhanan, 13 years old when killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem in September 1997.
Below is Nurit’s speech made on International Women’s Day in Strasbourg earlier this month.
Thank you for inviting me to this today. It is always an honour and a pleasure to be here, among you (at the European Parliament).
However, I must admit I believe you should have invited a Palestinian woman at my stead, because the women who suffer most from violence in my county are the Palestinian women. And I would like to dedicate my speech to Miriam R’aban and her husband Kamal, from Bet Lahiya in the Gaza strip, whose five small children were killed by Israeli soldiers while picking strawberries at the family`s strawberry field. No one will ever stand trial for this murder.
When I asked the people who invited me here why didn’t they invite a Palestinian woman, the answer was that it would make the discussion too localized.
I don’t know what is non-localized violence. Racism and discrimination may be theoretical concepts and universal phenomena but their impact is always local, and real. Pain is local, humiliation, sexual abuse, torture and death, are all very local, and so are the scars.
It is true, unfortunately, that the local violence inflicted on Palestinian women by the government of Israel and the Israeli army, has expanded around the globe, In fact, state violence and army violence, individual and collective violence, are the lot of Muslim women today, not only in Palestine but wherever the enlightened western world is setting its big imperialistic foot. It is violence which is hardly ever addressed and which is halfheartedly condoned by most people in Europe and in the USA.
This is because the so-called free world is afraid of the Muslim womb.
Great France of “la liberte égalite et la fraternite” is scared of little girls with head scarves. Great Jewish Israel is afraid of the Muslim womb which its ministers call a demographic threat.
Almighty America and Great Britain are infecting their respective citizens with blind fear of the Muslims, who are depicted as vile, primitive and blood-thirsty, apart from their being non-democratic, chauvinistic and mass producers of future terrorists. This in spite of the fact that the people who are destroying the world today are not Muslim. One of them is a devout Christian, one is Anglican and one is a non-devout Jew.
I have never experienced the suffering Palestinian women undergo every day, every hour, I don’t know the kind of violence that turns a woman’s life into constant hell. This daily physical and mental torture of women who are deprived of their basic human rights and needs of privacy and dignity, women whose homes are broken into at any moment of day and night, who are ordered at a gun-point to strip naked in front of strangers and their own children, whose houses are demolished , who are deprived of their livelihood and of any normal family life. This is not part of my personal ordeal.
But I am a victim of violence against women insofar as violence against children is actually violence against mothers. Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan women are my sisters because we are all at the grip of the same unscrupulous criminals who call themselves leaders of the free enlightened world and in the name of this freedom and enlightenment rob us of our children.
Furthermore, Israeli, American, Italian and British mothers have been for the most part violently blinded and brainwashed to such a degree that they cannot realize their only sisters, their only allies in the world are the Muslim Palestinian, Iraqi or Afghani mothers, whose children are killed by our children or who blow themselves to pieces with our sons and daughters. They are all mind-infected by the same viruses engendered by politicians. And the viruses , though they may have various illustrious names–such as Democracy, Patriotism, God, Homeland–are all the same. They are all part of false and fake ideologies that are meant to enrich the rich and to empower the powerful.
We are all the victims of mental, psychological and cultural violence that turn us to one homogenic group of bereaved or potentially bereaved mothers. Western mothers who are taught to believe their uterus is a national asset just like they are taught to believe that the Muslim uterus is an international threat. They are educated not to cry out: `I gave him birth, I breast fed him, he is mine, and I will not let him be the one whose life is cheaper than oil, whose future is less worth than a piece of land.`
All of us are terrorized by mind-infecting education to believe all we can do is either pray for our sons to come back home or be proud of their dead bodies.
And all of us were brought up to bear all this silently, to contain our fear and frustration, to take Prozac for anxiety, but never hail Mama Courage in public. Never be real Jewish or Italian or Irish mothers.
I am a victim of state violence. My natural and civil rights as a mother have been violated and are violated because I have to fear the day my son would reach his 18th birthday and be taken away from me to be the game tool of criminals such as Sharon, Bush, Blair and their clan of blood-thirsty, oil-thirsty, land thirsty generals.
Living in the world I live in, in the state I live in, in the regime I live in, I don’t dare to offer Muslim women any ideas how to change their lives. I don’t want them to take off their scarves, or educate their children differently, and I will not urge them to constitute Democracies in the image of Western democracies that despise them and their kind. I just want to ask them humbly to be my sisters, to express my admiration for their perseverance and for their courage to carry on, to have children and to maintain a dignified family life in spite of the impossible conditions my world in putting them in. I want to tell them we are all bonded by the same pain, we all the victims of the same sort of violence even though they suffer much more, for they are the ones who are mistreated by my government and its army, sponsored by my taxes.
Islam in itself, like Judaism in itself and Christianity in itself, is not a threat to me or to anyone. American imperialism is, European indifference and co-operation is and Israeli racism and its cruel regime of occupation is. It is racism, educational propaganda and inculcated xenophobia that convince Israeli soldiers to order Palestinian women at gun-point, to strip in front of their children for security reasons, it is the deepest disrespect for the other that allow American soldiers to rape Iraqi women, that give license to Israeli jailers to keep young women in inhuman conditions, without necessary hygienic aids, without electricity in the winter, without clean water or clean mattresses and to separate them from their breast-fed babies and toddlers. To bar their way to hospitals, to block their way to education, to confiscate their lands, to uproot their trees and prevent them from cultivating their fields.
I cannot completely understand Palestinian women or their suffering. I don’t know how I would have survived such humiliation, such disrespect from the whole world. All I know is that the voice of mothers has been suffocated for too long in this war-stricken planet. Mothers` cry is not heard because mothers are not invited to international forums such as this one. This I know and it is very little. But it is enough for me to remember these women are my sisters, and that they deserve that I should cry for them, and fight for them. And when they lose their children in strawberry fields or on filthy roads by the checkpoints, when their children are shot on their way to school by Israeli children who were educated to believe that love and compassion are race and religion dependent, the only thing I can do is stand by them and their betrayed babies, and ask what Anna Akhmatova–another mother who lived in a regime of violence against women and children–asked:
Why does that streak o blood, rip the petal of your cheek?
Tags: Abdullah Gül, Turkey
|Tuesday, 23 November 2010|
|President Abdullah Gül has expressed surprise over recent remarks from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that Ankara did not support him in the recent Iraqi elections.Speaking to journalists on the plane ride back from the NATO summit in Lisbon, Gül said he “was completely surprised by Talabani’s comments. On the contrary, we were the most sincere entity in the Iraqi elections process.”
“I was the first person to call and congratulate him after he was re-elected,” Gül added.
“We have not said a single negative statement about Iraq. On the contrary, we have given importance to its sovereignty from the start. We supported the democratic process.”
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also pointed out that Turkey “cleared the path” for the election process by establishing the “difficult balances” needed to select a parliament head, a requirement for the presidential elections.
Asked about the summit, Gül said it was successful in every aspect. “Everyone congratulated us on our economic growth and success,” said the president.
Recounting his brief meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Gül said Obama thanked Turkey for its efforts in Iraq and that they talked about the delay in the new U.S. ambassador’s posting to Turkey and the matter of unmanned air vehicles.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denied allegations that Turkey supported some political parties during the efforts to form a government in Iraq. “Turkey has not provided support to any political party. All parties worked in line with their political influence and ability. But some consultations were made after the elections,” Erdoğan told reporters Monday. Recalling that all political groups except for Talabani’s came to Turkey for consultations during this period, Erdoğan said what Turkey did was simply express its views regarding the situation in Iraq.
Complicity in Torture the truth Britain doesn’t want to face
Baha Mousa’s body
November 23, 2010
UN Convention Against Torture Article 10
During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the British Armed Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary were using the ‘five techniques (wall standing, hooding, subjection to noise, sleep deprivation and food and drink deprivation) as a precursor to interrogation of suspected terrorists. Following complaints and an inquiry, Lord Chief Justice Lord Parkers report stated that such practices were illegal under both the Geneva Conventions and domestic law. This being so, ‘no Army Directive and no Minister could lawfully or validly authorise the use of the procedures. Only Parliament can alter the law. The procedures were and are illegal.
That same day Prime Minister Edward Heath made a statement to Parliament: ‘The Government, having reviewed the whole matter with great care and with reference to any future operations, have decided that the techniques will not be used in future as an aid to interrogation The statement I have made covers all future circumstances (my emphasis).