Home     Writers     Op/Ed     Book Reviews     News     Bookstore     Photoshops     Submit     Search     Contact Us     Advertise  
  You are here: 
Atlantic Free Press News

Wed

23

Jan

2008

Police and Army Getting Sidelined
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 12:11
by Dahr Jamail and Ahmed Ali

BAQUBA, Jan 21 (IPS) - New military operations in Diyala province north of Baghdad have exacerbated a growing conflict between U.S.-backed Sunni fighters on the one hand and Iraqi army and police forces on the other.

The U.S. military commenced a large military operation Jan. 8 in the volatile Diyala province. Seven U.S. battalions led an offensive to push out fighters affiliated with 'Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia' from the area.

In the current operation, U.S., Iraqi, and local fighters have faced no serious resistance. U.S. military commanders admitted shortly after operations began that anti-occupation fighters were likely tipped off, and fled the area. But the operation has thrown up conflicts within the ranks.

"The military forces comprise the coalition forces, Iraqi police and army, and the popular forces (commonly called Kataib)," political analyst Akram Sabri told IPS in Baquba, capital of Diyala province. "It was found that the local forces are more truculent fighters who can always be relied on. This has made the coalition forces increasingly reliant upon these fighters to the extent that they will one day likely be joined to Iraqi police and army."
 

Tue

08

Jan

2008

Indigenous Communities Call on HS to Stop Border Land Grab, Respect Property and Human Rights
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 08:39
Atlantic Free Press - On Monday, January 7, 2008 at 10:00 am PST a coalition of individual property owners, their legal representatives along with Native American and border community leaders will hold a national telephonic media conference and briefing (see call-in number information below) to announce their intent to fight the Department of Homeland Security's threatened seizure of their property along the United States-Mexico border. DHS is attempting to use its powers of eminent domain in order to illegally seize private lands and build the controversial border security wall.
"Our lands are not for sale. The U.S. government must stop its illegal attempts to intimidate us. The Department of Homeland Security cannot take away our homes and neighborhoods for border militarization," declared Eloisa Tamez.
The Indigenous peoples and border communities telephonic media conference is taking place on the same day that DHS 30-day notices expire, leaving Texas landowners along the international boundary terrorized by the possibility of losing ancestral land. Also, renowned immigrant rights and human rights attorney Peter Schey, of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, will take his first action on behalf of Texas property owners. In this unprecedented telephonic media conference, representatives of Indigenous peoples, whose lands have been bisected by the U.S.-Mexico border, will share historical and current stories of their experiences along the hyper-militarized international border region.
 

Thu

03

Jan

2008

Twelve Arrested in Des Moines as Obama Campaign Hinders Press Coverage of Protest
Thursday, 03 January 2008 10:48
by Michael Gillespie

Josh Earnest, Iowa communications director for U.S. Sen. Barak Obama (D-IL), is running scared in the final few days before the Iowa Caucuses. He must be, otherwise he would not have risked the consequences of ejecting half a dozen media workers from Obama’s Iowa campaign headquarters on Wednesday, Jan. 2, and barring entry to several more.

Reporters and photojournalists representing news organizations in Japan, Germany, Great Britain, and the USA were hindered in their efforts to report on a bona fide news event when Earnest insisted they work outside in the sub-freezing single digit cold while inside a group of eight antiwar activists from Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) and the Iowa Occupation Project questioned Obama’s positions on the war in Iraq, military spending, and U.S. Middle East foreign policy.

Though he knew who the protesters represented and why they had come to Obama campaign headquarters (this reporter heard an Obama staffer say, “We knew they were coming and we have a plan to deal with them”), Earnest told one Iowa newspaper, “They basically just sort of came into the front office and were talking loudly and being disruptive.”

In a remarkably short-sighted and unsuccessful bid to minimize news coverage of an event that he perceived to be unflattering to Obama, Earnest did not stop at ejecting reporters and insisting that they conduct their work on the city sidewalk, about 30 feet from the headquarters main entrance. When he decided to have the non-violent peace activists arrested and removed by Des Moines Police Department, Earnest had the officers take the activists out through a side door, away from the gaze of reporters and the cameras of photojournalists.
 

Wed

12

Dec

2007

Education Becomes the New Casualty in Baquba
Wednesday, 12 December 2007 23:08
by Dahr Jamail & Ahmed Ali

BAQUBA, Dec 10 (IPS) - The alarming security situation in Diyala province north of Baghdad has killed off much of the education system.

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq had at first brought hope. Salaries were increased; a newly appointed primary or secondary school teacher was given 200,000 Iraqi Dinars, about 150 dollars a month. In September 2006, the Ministry of Education increased teachers' salaries by 20 to 50 percent in an attempt to entice them to stay in their jobs.

But in Diyala capital Baquba, 40km north of Baghdad, lack of security means many teachers have quit, and children are not going to school. This is a trend across Iraq. According to a report released last year by the non-governmental group Save the Children, 818,000 children of primary school age, representing 22 percent of Iraq's potential student population, were not attending school.
 

Fri

07

Dec

2007

Refugees Caught Between Deportation and Death Threats
Friday, 07 December 2007 01:33
by Dahr Jamail & Ali al-Fadhily

BAGHDAD, Dec 6 (IPS) - Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis driven out of their country by violence are now faced with detention abroad, or a homecoming to death threats.

More than two million Iraqis, in a population of about 25 million, have taken refuge in many countries. Only a few have won official status as refugees. Most refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and many other countries stay on as illegal residents, facing threats of deportation and imprisonment.
"To deport an Iraqi refugee is to issue a death warrant," Ali Jassim, an Iraqi journalist recently deported from Lebanon told IPS in Baghdad. "The Lebanese authorities are applying regular migration rules to Iraqis, meaning that most Iraqis in Lebanon will be deported."
 

Fri

07

Dec

2007

Cindy Sheehan Joins Activists Planning Impeachment/Pro-Peace Protest at New Year's Rose Parade
Friday, 07 December 2007 00:40
Atlantic Free Press Netherlands - Local and national pro-Impeachment and pro-Peace American citizens will stage non-violent protests and demonstrations throughout the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, on Tuesday, 01/01/08, New Year's Day, with support from Cindy Sheehan and the Camp Casey Peace Institute. The convergence of activists is called the White Rose Coalition, in honor of the resistance movement in Munich in 1942.

It includes members of the Los Angeles National Impeachment Center (LANIC), CODEPINK, Troops Out Now Coalition, World Can't Wait, ANSWER, Progressive Democrats of America, the Green Party, Veterans for Peace, United for Peace and Justice, and others. The groups are calling for impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors, and to end U.S. occupation of Iraq. Rep. Dennis Kucinich [OH] has sponsored two resolutions in Congress to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney: H. Res. 333 and H. Res. 799. He is drafting an extended version relating to President Bush. The patriots gathered on 01/01/08 will be sending a strong pro-Impeachment and pro-Peace message to this Administration in opposition to the continuing occupation of Iraq and the growing pressure by Cheney and others to bomb Iran.

"This administration has shredded Constitutional protections and is now apparently planning another illegal military strike, this time to bomb Iran," says Cynthia Mather, a spokesperson for LANIC. "The consequences of such an assault on global well-being and security would be catastrophic," she said. "Congress is obligated to act before it is too late. But the Democrats are not making any move to stop it, so impeachment is our only recourse."

Numbers of protestors and demonstrators from the various groups could be in the hundreds or in the thousands, said Peter Thottam, Executive Director of LANIC. "We expect this to be a national day of impeachment visibility, with folks joining from all parts of the country. It is hard to gauge how many will show up, but according to the latest MSNBC poll, of 584,000 people asked if they thought Bush had committed impeachable offenses, 89 per cent said yes! There is a tremendous level of anger and frustration out there. I doubt if our politicians in Washington D.C. have any idea just how much."

 

Fri

30

Nov

2007

Canada under fire for flouting federal global warming law
Friday, 30 November 2007 09:16
ATLANTIC FREE PRESS NETHERLANDS - Just days before Canadian Environment Minister John Baird leaves for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Canada is facing a second legal challenge for missing a key deadline under global warming legislation passed into law earlier this year. The government was served late yesterday with a second Application for Judicial Review for violating the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA), the Canadian federal law that requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions according to the Kyoto Protocol commitment.

The application was filed on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada by Chris Paliare of the firm Paliare Roland Barristers and Ecojustice (formerly Sierra Legal). The application alleges that the federal Minister of the Environment and the Governor in Council, consisting of federal cabinet ministers, are ignoring the rule of law by failing to comply with yet another requirement of the KPIA.

The federal government was legally required to publish draft regulations by October 20, 2007 that would enable Canada to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol. By failing to do so, it is out of compliance with the KPIA, thus triggering the second legal challenge.

"This new application, while relevant to climate change, is all about holding the Government of Canada accountable under Canadian law," says lawyer Chris Paliare.  "Despite a clear requirement to publish draft regulations, no action whatsoever has been taken.  Once again, we are simply asking the court to require the government to comply with its legal obligations."

"Missing this deadline demonstrates that Canada continues to be missing in action on global warming," says Ecojustice lawyer Hugh Wilkins. "We cannot sit idly by while the government drags its feet and flouts our laws. The government must be held accountable to the will of the Canadian people and the will of Parliament."

"The Canadian Government is ignoring its obligation to uphold its own laws, while seeking to undermine global negotiations on the defining issue of our lives," says Friends of the Earth Canada Chief Executive Officer Beatrice Olivastri. "Canadians must insist on enforcement of the KPIA, our domestic law, so that we lead by action, rather than bullying other nations."
 

Wed

28

Nov

2007

Detentions Escalate in Diwaniyah
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 23:42
by Dahr Jamail & Ali al-Fadhily

DIWANIYAH, Iraq, Nov 27 (IPS) - Detentions have become commonplace in Iraq, but now more than ever before people are being detained after being accused of membership in "militias supported by Iran."
"Hundreds of our men were detained and accused of being militiamen supported by Iran," Mahmood Allawi, a 50-year-old lawyer from Diwaniyah, 160-kilomtres south of Baghdad, told IPS.
"We are Arab Shiite and Iran is as much an enemy to us as America! It is Iran that we fear most after our leaders were killed by the so-called 'Iranian supported' militias," Allawi said.
There has been a spike in abductions being carried out by U.S. and Iraqi forces in Diwaniyah, capital of Iraq’s Al-Qadisiyah province and home to a population of roughly 400,000.

On Nov. 13, the International Committee of the Red Cross estimated that 60,000 people are currently detained in Iraq.
 

Sat

24

Nov

2007

Executions Not Leading to Reconciliation
Saturday, 24 November 2007 21:59
by Dahr Jamail & Ali al-Fadhily*

BAGHDAD, Nov 22 (IPS) - The executions of former regime officials are creating greater division, rather than reconciliation, among Iraqis.

Special courts formed by the American occupation authorities in Iraq are issuing death sentences -- like that carried out on former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, on 30 December 2006 -- on what many Iraqis are interpreting as a political basis.

"Executing Saddam cost Iraqis a lot of hatred and more division between the sects, " Walid Al-Ubaidi, post-graduate law student at Baghdad University told IPS.

"Now they [U.S.-backed Iraqi Government] are executing the Ex-Minister of Defense, Sultan Hashim Ahmed, who was very well known for being a professional general who led the Iraqi army against Iran," Al-Ubaidi said, stressing that, "This man represents a symbol for the Iraqi army that defended Iraq."

On 24 June 2007 the Iraqi High Tribunal found Ahmed guilty of presiding over the killing of thousands of Kurds during the Anfal campaign in the 1980s.

Several legal delays, and more recently a delay for a religious holiday, have postponed the execution.

A clerk in the court where Ahmed and a number of his generals were sentenced spoke with IPS on condition of anonymity. He asked to be referred to as Hassan.

"We were surprised by the sentence," Hassan told IPS in Baghdad, "This general was no more than a government official who carried out orders with notable skill and proficiency."

"What makes us better than any of those we called dictators and war criminals?" Hassan asked.

"These generals were the ones who defeated Iran in the war and so [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] Al-Maliki and his American masters want to punish them in order to please the Iranian Ayatollahs," former Iraqi army colonel Saad Abbas told IPS in Baghdad.

Anger against the U.S. occupation for the sentences has also been aroused because of the promise for asylum the general was given before he surrendered to U.S. military forces.

"They promised him asylum and that was why he surrendered to them in peace," a relative of the general, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS.

"They even asked him to take a post in the new system, but he refused, and maybe that is why they sold him to his enemies," the relative said.

An Iraqi resistance fighter spoke with IPS on condition of strict anonymity.

"We are not happy for this man’s execution, but we believe it was his fault to trust the Americans," he said. "He should have known, as a general who negotiated with them more than once, how bad they were. Moreover, he should have joined the resistance against occupation rather than surrender to his dirty enemies."

"This man and his colleagues represent the army that terrified those Arab tyrants in an Arab neighboring country," Thuraya Shamil, an engineer from Baghdad Municipality told IPS.

"They cannot forget the day that they ran out of their palaces like rats," Shamil emphasised.

Others view the situation differently, but still agree that the generals do not deserve to be sentenced to death.

"At the moment we are looking for solutions to the dilemma of internal divisions, comes these sentences to widen the gaps between sects and groups," Malik Nazar, a member of the Iraqi Dialogue Front that has nine MPs in the Iraqi Parliament, told IPS.

"We must stop sacrificing our men for the sake of sending messages of compassion to Iran and others who have feuds with our heroic army men," Nazar stressed.

"They are killing any Sunni Arab who might one day lead Iraqis, or at least a group of Iraqis, when this dirty occupation leaves the country," Ali Salman, a teacher in Baghdad, told IPS, "As long as Iranians and Kurds are our real rulers, all our good men will always be targeted."

(*Ali, a correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)
 

Thu

22

Nov

2007

Fallujah Now Under a Different Kind of Siege
Thursday, 22 November 2007 17:34
by Ali al-Fadhily

FALLUJAH, Nov 20 (IPS) - Three years after a devastating U.S.-led siege of the city, residents of Fallujah continue to struggle with a shattered economy, infrastructure, and lack of mobility.

The city that was routed in November 2004 is still suffering the worst humanitarian conditions under a siege that continues. Although military actions are down to the minimum inside the city, local and US authorities do not seem to be thinking of ending the agonies of the over 400,000 residents of Fallujah.
"You, people of the media, say things in Fallujah are good," Mohammad Sammy, an aid worker for the Iraqi Red Crescent in Fallujah told IPS, "Then why don’t you come and live in this paradise with us? It is so easy to say things for you, isn’t it?"
His anger is due to the fact that the embattled city is still completely closed and surrounded by military checkpoints to make it look like an isolated island. Those who are not genuine residents of the city are not granted the biometric identification badge from the U.S. Marines, and are thus not allowed to enter the city.

Since the November 2004 U.S.-led attack on the city, named Operation Phantom Fury, which left approximately 70 percent of the city destroyed, the U.S. military has required residents to undergo retina scans, and finger-printings in order to gain a bar-code for identification.

"This isolation has destroyed the economy of the city that was once one the best in Iraq," Professor Mohammad Al-Dulaymi of Al-Anbar University told IPS. "All of the other cities in the province used to do their wholesale shopping in Fallujah, but now they have to find alternatives, leaving the cities businesses to starve," he explained.

All of the residents interviewed by IPS were extremely angry with the media for recent reports that the situation in the city is good. Many refused to be quoted for different reasons.
"Fallujah is probably the city that had the most of media coverage in the history of the occupation," Hatam Jawad, a school headmaster in Fallujah told IPS. "People are tired of shouting and appearing on TV to complain, without feeling any change in their sorrowful living situation. Some of them are afraid of police revenge for telling the truth."
Many residents told IPS that U.S.-backed Iraqi Police and Army personnel have detained people who have spoken to the media.
"I am not going to tell you whether it is good or bad to be a Fallujah resident," 55-year-old lawyer, Shakir Naji, told IPS. "Why don’t you just ask what the prices of essential materials are and judge for yourself? Kerosene for heating is almost one U.S. dollar per liter, a jar of propane gas is 15 dollars, and it is not winter yet when the prices will definitely be doubled."
Water and electricity services are at a minimum in the city. An Oxfam International report released in July found that 70 percent of Iraqis do not have access to safe drinking water.

Since the November 2004 siege, entire neighborhoods remain totally destroyed, and with no water or electricity. Most of the businesses in Fallujah remain closed.
"We depend upon the private sector for electricity," Fatima Saed, a woman whose husband was detained in 2005 and has not been released yet told IPS. "In my situation, to pay 50 dollars a month [for electricity] is a disaster because I have to cut it from the quantity and quality of food that I buy for myself and my kids."
The Oxfam report also stated:
"At the beginning of May 2007, the Central Office for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT), part of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, released a survey highlighting the fact that 43 percent of Iraqis suffer from ‘absolute poverty’. The poverty of many families is rooted in unemployment, which affects probably more than 50 percent of the workforce."
Fallujah General Hospital, situated across the Euphrates River from the city, is still functioning, but with a minimal number of specialist doctors and medical supplies. The only doctor who would speak to IPS did not want his name published.
"The manager of this hospital is a good man and he is trying hard to improve the services, but the Ministry of Health in Baghdad still treats us here as a bunch of terrorists. We are suffering both corruption from the ministry and ignorance about Al-Anbar Province from this (Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki) administration," he explained. "We do not have enough medicines, and the equipment brought to us by contractors is still in boxes and seems to be part of the corrupt contracts of the province. It is impossible to work under such conditions."
People coming for treatment or surgeries in the hospital appeared desperate to get their essential needs met.
"We have to buy cotton, bandages, medicines and all we need from private pharmacies," 35-year-old Muath Tahir, a teacher who had his appendix removed three days earlier told IPS. "Those who can manage would go to the private hospital for better treatment, but my 230 dollar salary is not even enough for my daily needs. This city has become impossible to live in."
(*Ali, a correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region)

 

Sat

17

Nov

2007

Corruption Adds to Baquba's Problems
Saturday, 17 November 2007 15:58
by Dahr Jamail & Ahmed Ali

BAQUBA, Nov 15 (IPS) - Facing violence, unemployment and poverty, the capital city of Iraq's volatile Diyala province now finds itself confronting also corruption.

This follows the failed promises of reform, reconstruction and rehabilitation at the beginning of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Billions of dollars of U.S. and Iraqi funds were set aside for rebuilding Iraq, ruined by four years of occupation, 12 years of sanctions, and 30 years of dictatorship. There is little to show for these vast amounts of aid money.

The infrastructure is clearly worse on all measurable levels than it was pre- invasion.

Under the Coalition Provisional Authority, more than 7 billion dollars went "missing" in the first year of occupation alone. Now Iraqi authorities are blamed for adding to the corruption.

Contractors in Baquba told IPS they believe the governor's office is directly involved in the corruption.
"I'm not quite sure about the governor (Ra'ad Hameed al-Mula Jowad al- Tamimi) himself," the owner of a security contracts company, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. "What is certain is that his protection group plays a big role in taking the money using his name."

"In contrast to all the contractors, a large number of projects go to the governor's nephew," contractor Abu Ahmed told IPS. "This contractor often tries to influence the monitoring committee to sign his invoice even if it is inconsistent with the specifications of the job."
 

Mon

12

Nov

2007

Youth Against War and Racism
Monday, 12 November 2007 00:05
 
 
Youth Against War and Racism is a growing national network of youth activists and student groups. YAWR is organized around the following Points of Unity:

* End the occupation of Iraq - Bring the troops home now!
* Money for jobs and education, not war!
* Military recruiters out of our schools!
* Say no to racism, homophobia, and attacks on our civil liberties!
 
 

Thu

08

Nov

2007

Daily Roundup from Willard Payne (Night Watch Information Service)
Thursday, 08 November 2007 13:03

by Willard Payne

BRODEC - Last month a leader of an Albanian nationalist unit in Kosovo threatened his group would begin attacks if there were no signs of international recognition of Kosovo’s independence by November 1. The nationalists may have decided to go into action with the firefight Wednesday in Macedonia near Tetovo in which eight Albanian gunmen were killed by Macedonian police. B92 reports the engagement took place in the villages of Brodec, Vesala and Vejce in the Sara mountains along the border with Serbia’s Kosovo province. It is believed the Albanians were led by two wanted criminals Ramadan Siti and Lirim Jakupi aka Nazi. According to security services both men were allowed to escape from Kosovo’s Dubrava prison by “certain structures” in order to destablize the region “should the negotiations go in a direction these structures do not favor.” Macedonian police are searching the area for more fighters and hundreds of soldiers serving in NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) are right now guarding the border area between Kosovo and Macedonia. All year there have been news reports of both Albanian and Serbian para-military units forming, heavily armed and ready to go into action on both sides of the issue, no longer believing in any negotiated settlement. Regular readers of this site know Teheran has excellent strategic relations with both Albanians and Serbs knowing when war resumes it will not only occupy the West’s attention away from Iran, but war in this regional theatre can also be used to silence Vienna and the UN agency based there investigating Iran’s nuclear weapons program. I also suspect Southeast Europe is Teheran’s avenue of invasion into Europe and will be conducted with the assistance of every nationality in the region since every government once again hates Vienna and Brussels even more than Teheran does. I have often maintained the division of Yugoslavia divided more than Yugoslavia, but also NATO and well as the European Union (EU) both of them based in Brussels.

Sadporta Mohalla - NewsBlaze reports three Indian soldiers were killed in heavy house to house fighting 15 miles (27 km) north of Srinagar in the village of Sadporta Mohalla in Pattan. During the running gunbattle the soldiers were at times fired upon from different directions.
Qandeel Mountains - As Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan returns from Washington with tacit approval for an invasion of northern Iraq, euphemistically called a “cross border operation", this link from Asharq Al-Awsat provides an excellent portrayal of the Kurdish PKK fighters Turkey’s military will be encountering. All of them are from Kurdish communities in Turkey and some of them joined the PKK fifteen years ago when due to the oppression they experienced as Kurdish university students in Istanbul they felt they had no other choice but to take up weapons. The ones the reporter was allowed to interview stated in Turkey the Kurds are not even permitted to speak in their own language. The article is a moving and convincing testimony.


Daily Roundup from Willard Payne (Night Watch Information Service)

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 3 of 13

adsense

Top