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Friday, September 30, 2005

Fallujah protests arrest of woman alleged to be Zarqawi's daughter

Today the residents of Fallujah will protest the arrest of a local woman by US forces. Residents state that US soldiers arrested her because she was suspected of being Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi's daughter. However, a sign carried during the protest will emphasise her gender rather than the reason for her arrest, which is suggestive of another motivating factor behind the residents' protest: "Fallujah residents ask US forces to release the female detainee immediately".

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

US soldiers trade photographs of Iraqi dead for pornography, no charges

Today it will be reported that US soldiers in Iraq have been taking photographs of dead and mutilated Iraqis bodies and body-parts and posting them on a pornography site in exchange for free access to that site. The photographs sometimes include the soldiers, with their faces clearly identifiable, themselves laughing at and mocking the dead. The gruesome photographs are often accompanied by the soldiers' own comments, which are often joyous in tone, racist, and generally disrespectful of the fact that the image portrayed was once a living, thinking human being. Examples include "DIE HAJI DIE" and "What every Iraqi should look like".

Chris Wilson, owner of the site, is quoted as saying

It's an unedited look at the war from their point of view. ... There's always going to be a slant from the news media. ... And this is a photo that comes straight from their camera to the site. To me, it's just a more real look at what's going on.
In seven day's time Army investigators will conclude that they have too little evidence to pursue criminal charges. The site owner will state to journalists that the Pentagon never contacted him about the photographs.

On 8 October 2005, the site owner will be arrested on obscenity charges. Ironically, the charges will be directed at the sexual content of the site, not any of the pictures of dead Iraqis.

Monday, September 19, 2005

International human rights removed from Iraqi constitution

Today, amid allegations that the US had an inappropriate level of influence in the drafting of the Iraqi Constitution, it will be reported that Article 44 of the draft Iraqi Constitution was removed from the final draft. The original Article 44 emphasised Iraqis' right to enjoy guarantees and safeguards enshrined in international human rights treaties ratified by Iraq. Article 44 had read as follows (translation from this site):
All individuals have the right to enjoy the rights stated in international human rights agreements and treaties endorsed by Iraq that don't run contrary to the principles and rules of this constitution.
The new version now reads (translation from this site):
Restricting or limiting any of the freedoms and liberties stated in this Constitution may only happen by, or according to, law and as long as this restriction or limitation does not undermine the essence of the right or freedom.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International will express concern at the move, stating
While the proposed new Constitution of Iraq encompasses many positive human rights provisions, removing this provision is a serious step backwards ... These treaty obligations to respect fundamental human rights were not respected under Saddam Hussein but the inclusion of Article 44 in the new Constitution represented a real opportunity for Iraq to open a new chapter in human rights protection. It is one that must not be lost.

Friday, September 09, 2005

UN raises concerns over killings, torture by Iraqi govt

Today it will be reported that a bi-monthly human rights report by the UN raised concerns about violence by government forces. They will allege that the Interior Ministry, police stations, and pro-government militias have:
  • conducted mass arrests and held people in detention for long periods without charge
  • tortured people in police stations and premises owned by the Interior Ministry
  • had sectarian death squads within the police forces commit extrajudicial executions
On the 19 September, Kofi Anan will be reported as naming Baghdad, Al Basra, Al Musel, Kirkuk and the Kurdish regions in the north of Iraq as areas in which torture at police stations and institutions affiliated with the Interior Ministry is widely reported.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

London bomber says invasion, torture motivated him

Today AlJazeera will air a clip from al-Qaida in which one of the London bombers, Muhammad Sadiq Khan, explains his reasons for attack as being the invasion of Iraq, and abuses in the war. He is quoted as naming torture specifically, saying
Your democratically elected governments continue to perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world.

Your support for them makes you directly responsible ... until we feel security, you will be our targets. Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people, we will not stop.