Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's time to fire Ellen Barkin

NBC's "The New Normal" is a sitcom that had a lot of promise.  It still does.  The funniest think is probably the little girl who plays Shania.  But the actors playing David, Bryan and Goldie are really great too.

Last night was the best episode of the sitcom so far.  How come?

The Shannen Doherty cameo was cute.

But what really made it work was no Ellen Barkin.

Goldie and Bryan helped Shania with her project of saluting an important woman.  They went with Cher.  Shania did a wonderful Cher.  It's write up there with her Little Edie from "Grey Gardens."

But the show really worked because Ellen Barkin wasn't on.

I don't dislike the actress.  She's very talented and I'm pretty sure I've seen every movie she's done.  I think she's very talented and I had the hugest crush on her for years, by the way.

So why do I say she needs to leave the show?

She plays Jane, Goldie's mother, Shania's grandmother.

That should be interesting and funny.

It's not.

I don't have a problem with her being a Republican.  I do have a problem with Barkin and the writers writing ridiculous crap.

I'm a Black man so let me explain to Ryan Murphy that I don't find Jane's racism cute or funny.  I also don't find it realistic which is the bigger problem.

One of my favorite characters on the show has become Rocky.  NeNe Leakes plays Bryan's assistant and she's really great.  And I was really hoping she and Jane could become friends.  Now Rocky, like a lot of us Black people, is strong enough to put a racist in her or his place.  And to do so in a strong way that also doesn't reduce everyone to screaming fits.

But she shouldn't have to.  Now that Rocky's helped Jane, Jane should drop the crap.  It's not funny, it's not cute and it's so offensive.  As a Black man, I have a really hard time watching this show when Jane comes on.

And they can't just make her a Republican, they have to make her a vile racist.  I really don't get why, when she meets Rocky's brother, she is surprised that 'there really are'  Black Republicans.  She yammers away about how she's heard of them but . . .

Excuse me?

Jane's a Republican, she should know her own party.  Condi Rice, Herman Cain, Allen West, Mia Love and those are just the first names that come to mind.

It's not funny.

And it doesn't make me think, "Jane is a racist!"

It makes me wonder about Ellen Barkin and Ryan Murphy.  How they think these are entertaining comments?

To me, they're really risking popularizing Jane's racist remarks.  And I think they both need to think about that.  I also think NBC needs to ditch Ellen Barkin.

(Barring that, kill Jane and bring Ellen on as her twin sister that Jane hated.)

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue,  in another international embarrassment for Nouri Iraq loses their football coach, oil production dips, some fools rush to defend Thomas E. Ricks, Senator Patty Murray calls for a suicide prevention plan for veterans, and more.
As is too often the case, Howard Kurtz misses the point.  It's a long drop from the Washington Post to the Daily Beast and apparently he injured himself in the fall.   All together now . . .
And it's a long way down
It's a long way down
It's a long way down to the place
Where we started from
-- "Ice Cream," written by Sarah McLachlan, first appears on her Fumbling Towards Ecstacy
It's a long way down.  Which would explain his idiotic column today on the overweight and sexist Thomas E. Ricks appearing on Happening Now.  Yes, Howie, the program has a name.  The fact that everyone wants to keep ranting "Fox News!" goes to just how turgid and for-show the nonsense has been.  Jon Scott and Jenna Lee host Happening Now on the Fox News Channel.  See there, unlike Howie, I did the actual work.  But Howie's a 'media critic.'  He wastes 27 paragraphs in a ridiculous column at CNN and he can't even name the show but let's all pretend Howie's doing out of sight work these days.  In fact, let's all pretend that going from the Washington Post to the Daily Beast is a step-up as long as we're fantasizing.
In a telling and whorish moment, Howie 'forgets' to mention the program's name but works in a plug for Thomas E. Ricks' latest military porn -- what is it this time?  On My Knees In The Steamroom With The Generals, Wrapping My Mouth Around That?
Howie Cut 'Em Off Kurtz feels that Snow shouldn't have wrapped up the interview the minute that Ricks criticized Fox News.
But Snow didn't do that.  And Kurtz lies to make it seem as if he did.  You can stream the video at Erik Wemple's Washington Post blog post.  This is what sends Ricks packing:
Jon Scott: When you -- When you have four people dead -- including the first US Ambassador in more than 30 years -- how do you call that 'hype'?

Thomas E. Ricks:  How many security contractors died in Iraq?  Do you know?

Jon Scott:  I don't.

Thomas E. Ricks:  No.  Nobody does.  Because nobody cared.  We know that several hundred died but there was never an official count done -- of security contractors in Iraq.  So when I see this focus on [. . .]
To be clear, Scott let him go on and finish his 'thoughts' on contractors.  I'm not including his garbage here.  Thomas E. Ricks' statements were innaccurate and offensive and it's very telling that Howie Kurtz choose to whore instead of report.  That is what ended Ricks' segment.  Kurtz pretends it never happened. 
But then Howie is among the many in the press who's written and said "Chris Stevens and three others . . ."  That is so offensive. And the press doesn't care.  They don't care that it's offensive to the memories of Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Glen Doherty.  They don't care that it's offensive to the families and friends of those three people.  They don't care that it exposes their so called love for the troops as hollow and bulls**t.   Let's quote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

Today, we also recognize the two security personnel who died helping protect their colleagues. Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty were both decorated military veterans who served our country with honor and distinction. Our thoughts, prayers, and deepest gratitude are with their families and friends. Our embassies could not carry on our critical work around the world without the service and sacrifice of brave people like Tyrone and Glen. Tyrone's friends and colleagues called him "Rone," and they relied on his courage and skill, honed over two decades as a Navy SEAL. In uniform, he served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since 2010, he protected American diplomatic personnel in dangerous posts from Central America to the Middle East. He had the hands of a healer as well as the arm of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic. All our hearts go out to Tyrone's wife Dorothy and his three sons, Tyrone Jr., Hunter, and Kai, who was born just a few months ago.
We also grieve for Glen Doherty, called Bub, and his family: his father Bernard, his mother Barbara, his brother Gregory, and his sister Kathleen. Glen was also a former Navy SEAL and an experienced paramedic. And he put his life on the line many times, protecting Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hotspots. In the end, he died the way he lived – with selfless honor and unstinting valor.
Now pretend you give a damn about troops, pretend all you want.  But if you're writing or stating "Chris Stevens and three others," you are making very clear that you just don't give a f**k.
As soon as all four names were released publicly, Marcia and I both began using all four.  It's not difficult to do.  But don't expect anyone to take your crap seriously when you want to 'talk' Benghazi but you don't have the decency to list all four names.  Of course, it was important for the media to vanish these three because their parents refuse to play along with photo ops the way Chris Stevens' parents did.  These three parents want answers.
I applauded the Jersey Girls in real time (and applaud them today).  I applaud any American who takes on the system to find out why their loved one died (or where their loved one is in the case of the MIAs).
Howie Kurtz has proven himself to be an idiot and any words about caring about the troops or anything else are flat out lies from him because he refused to note the rude treatment of two Americans who died in an attack that took place because they were American and he refused to call out Thomas E. Ricks' bulls**t. 
He had time to plug the latest bad book from Thomas E. Ricks.  He just didn't have time to mention Iraq War veterans killed in an attack on Americans.  Whores make their priorities very clear and we hear you, Howie.  Though for how much longer is going to be the question.
Fat trash Ricks is quoted by Howie saying his apology to Fox News was not an apology "but rather an explanation of why I jumped a bit when the anchor began the segment with the assertion that pressure on the White House was building, which it most clearly was not."
As we've noted before, Thomas E. Ricks is no longer a reporter.  (Congratulations to the European community members who made sure that his billing was corrected when he went to Europe to pimp The Gamble.  He even got confronted to his face when he attempted to claim he was "just a reporter."  No, you're not.  You haven't been a reporter in years.)  Clearly was not?  Jay Carney made a ridiculous statement yesterday that the press refused to call out.  When you admit that the administration, 47 days after the attack, knows nothing, that's kind of desperate.  My opinion, that shows pressure on the White House.  But it's just my opinion, it's not fact and Thomas E. Ricks can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction which is why, on that segment, he announced that Susan Rice would be confirmed as Secretary of State.
While Thomas was digging through the hampers of various generals today and holding the pouches of boxers and briefs up to his nose, I was at two hearings.  The one in the afternoon?  Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  It was so the Committee could publicly vet two of Barack's nominees.  Susan Rice wasn't one of them.  You had Robert Godec who is nominated to be the US Ambassador to Kenya and Deborah Ann McCarthy who is nominated to be the US Ambassador to Lithuania.
You know who else was at that hearing?  Senator John Kerry because he's the Chair of that Committee.  And while Thomas E. Ricks rubs his nose against military officers' crotches, I actually speak to the people who will be voting in the Senate.  And today there was a surprising amount of sympathy for John Kerry who his Democratic peers feel would be a great Secretary of State and felt that this was in the bag after Kerry's endorsement of and work for Barack during the 2008 primaries.  There's a feeling that John's not just qualified, that he's not only put in his time, but that he's being snubbed in the most rude way possible.  As a Democratic Senator not on the Foreign Relations Committee said to me and another Democratic Senator today, 'John's being asked to just go along with this media circus and if Susan Rice is nominated, he'll be the one to preside over that hearing.  And you know it's tearing him apart but he's never said a word against Rice or against Obama.'
So Thomas E. Ricks lunatic idea that Susan Rice is beloved by Democratic Senators for the Secretary of State post?  He might want to get his nose out of the hairy crotches of generals, wash his face and try talking to actual Senators.  (Though I doubt too many would want to talk to him.)
Decades of service and public work is what John Kerry brings to the table.  But when it's not about qualifications, why should anyone have to wait their turn?  I'm not saying Susan Rice wouldn't get confirmed.  I believe Democrats will vote for her.  But while Barack has angered the nation by yet again picking fights when he should be focused on issues that matter, he's angered Republicans and the assumption that he will go with Rice over John Kerry is really doing damage to Barack's reputation in the Senate. 
This was not the fight to have and we made that point the minute Susan Rice's name was floated publicly.  It's shown Barack to be petty and bickering, it's hardened tensions between the White House and Republicans in Congress (House and Senate) and it's left Democrats in the Senate demoralized as one of their own, an immensely qualified candidate for Secretary of State, appears about to be passed over for a woman more infamous for snarls than for building ties.
Here's Gareth Porter (TruthOut) correcting some of the damaging lies Thomas E. Ricks has put into print over the years about his wet dream David Petraeus:
Petraeus has been credited by Ricks and other journalists with having abandoned violent "cordon and search" operations used everywhere else in Iraq that alienated the entire Sunni population, and having replaced them with "cordon and knock" operations. In the softer version of targeted raids, the targets' homes were surrounded and the targets were invited to give themselves up peacefully. But again, the NPS thesis, based on the actual documents and the testimony of officers in Petraeus's command, tells a rather different story.
It turns out that Petraeus did not end kill-or-capture raids in Mosul: he continued to use them to kill or capture those believed to be hardcore insurgents, according to the NPS study. The less violent sweeps were used to capture "less dangerous but potentially active members of insurgent groups without alienating entire neighborhoods," the authors wrote. And when insurgent attacks went over 100 for the month of November 2003, Petraeus ordered a major increase in the level of cordon-and-search raids in December, hitting 23 targets simultaneously in one night. The number of suspects detained in Mosul soared that month to 295 - nearly three times the average over the previous five months.
Those targeted raids on suspected insurgents depended on intelligence gathered by Petraeus' own command, Special Forces operating in the area and the CIA. But how reliable was that intelligence? It is widely acknowledged that, especially that early in the war, US intelligence on the insurgency was woefully weak. The International Red Cross disclosed in a February 2004 report on detainee abuse in Iraq that US military intelligence officers had estimated that 70 to 90 percent of Iraqis they had detained were innocent. Petraeus' operation, as elsewhere in Iraq, had to rely on Iraqis volunteering information as to who was an insurgent, and, as Ricks relates, Petraeus told him "there were so many phony tips passed by Iraqis feuding with each other that this softer approach helped sort those tips without unnecessarily insulting Iraqi dignity."
Unlike Thomas E. Ricks, Senator Patty Murray doesn't have time to waste obscuring reality.  As the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, she's up to her neck with reality attempting to address the many concerns and issues of veterans each day.  Today, her office notes:
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Contact: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Senator Murray Proposes Major Mental Health Care Expansion as Part of Defense Authorization Bill
Murray's amendment would make improvements to ensure that those who served have access to consistent, quality behavioral health care
Would require DoD to create a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program
(Washington, D.C.) – As it becomes increasingly clear that the Pentagon and VA are losing the battle on mental and behavioral health conditions that are confronting so many of our servicemembers and veterans, Senator Murray gave a speech on the Senate floor today to offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill that seeks to improve mental health and suicide prevention services. The amendment is derived from her servicemembers and veterans mental health legislation, the Mental Health ACCESS Act of 2012, which unanimously cleared the Veterans' Affairs Committee earlier this year. Senator Murray's amendment would require the Department of Defense to create a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program; expand eligibility for a variety of Department of Veterans Affairs mental health services to family members; strengthen oversight of DoD Mental Health Care and the Integrated Disability Evaluation System; improve training and education for our health care providers; create more peer-to-peer counseling opportunities; and require VA to establish accurate and reliable measures for mental health services.
Key excerpts from Senator Murray's speech:
"I think everyone in this body knows about, and is distressed by, the alarming rate of suicide and the mental health problems in our military and veterans populations. We know our servicemembers and veterans have faced unprecedented challenges: multiple deployments; difficulty finding a job here at home; and isolation in their communities. Some have faced tough times reintegrating into family life, with loved ones trying to relate but not knowing how. These are the challenges our servicemembers and veterans know all too well."
"We must have effective suicide prevention programs in place. It's often only on the brink of crisis that a servicemember or veteran seeks care. If they are told 'sorry, we are too busy to help you,' we have lost the opportunity to help, and that is not acceptable."
"While the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have taken important steps towards addressing this crisis, we know more must be done. We know that any solution depends upon reducing wait times and improving access to mental health care; ensuring proper diagnosis; and achieving true coordination of care and information between the Departments."

The full text of Senator Murray's speech:
"Mr. President, today I am offering an amendment to the defense authorization bill to improve mental health and suicide prevention services.
"This language is derived from my Mental Health ACCESS Act, which was unanimously approved by the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
"This amendment is critical legislation that improves how DOD and VA provide mental health care.
"I think everyone in this body knows about, and is distressed by, the alarming rate of suicide and the mental health problems in our military and veterans populations.
"We know our servicemembers and veterans have faced unprecedented challenges: multiple deployments; difficulty finding a job here at home; and isolation in their communities.
"Some have faced tough times reintegrating into family life, with loved ones trying to relate but not knowing how.
"These are the challenges our servicemembers and veterans know all too well.
"But even as they turn to us for help, we're losing the battle. Time and time again, we've lost servicemembers and veterans to suicide.
"But while the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have taken important steps towards addressing this crisis, we know more must be done.
"We know that any solution depends upon reducing wait times and improving access to mental health care; ensuring proper diagnosis; and achieving true coordination of care and information between the Departments.
"This amendment would require a comprehensive, standardized suicide prevention program across the DoD.
"It would require the use of the best medical practices, in suicide prevention and behavioral health programs to address serious gaps in
the current programs.
"This amendment would expand eligibility for VA mental health services to family members of veterans.
"The amendment would also give servicemembers an opportunity to
serve as peer counselors to fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and create a quality assurance program for the historically troubled disability evaluation system.
"It would require VA to offer peer support services at all medical centers and create opportunities to train more veterans to provide peer services.
"This bill will require VA to establish accurate and reliable measures for mental health services.
"We must have effective suicide prevention programs in place. It's often only on the brink of crisis that a servicemember or veteran seeks care.
"If they are told 'sorry, we are too busy to help you,' we have lost the opportunity to help, and that is not acceptable.
"I would like to thank Senator Levin and Senator McCain for their work
on the defense authorization bill, and for their help bringing this amendment to the floor today.
"Thank you Mr. President."
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510
Meanwhile in Iraq, where Nouri's reputation really can't handle too many other hits, there's news of another loss.  Xinhua explains, "Brazil's soccer legend Artur Antunes Coimbra, beter known as Zico, resigned as coach of the Iraqi national team after he accused the Iraqi Football Association (IFA) of failing to meet his contract obligations." ESPN reports, "Iraq are currently in third place in Asia's Group B with five points from five matches behind Japan and Australia, but the Brazilian has quit his role after accusing the country's governing body of an unspecified breach of contract."  And Brian Homewood (Reuters) notes, "Zico made his debut as Iraq coach against Jordan in September last year.  He has been in charge for 21 games, with 10 wins and six draws."   The news comes as Nouri al-Maliki is in a war of words with ExxonMobil and other companies and as he's just broken a $4.2 billion weapons contract weeks after he signed it.  On top of that Platts reports, "Iraq's oil production fell sharply in October to 3.035 million b/d, a 200,000 b/d decline from September output of 3.235 million b/d although oil exports rose slightly to 2.624 million b/d, a new post-1990 record, oil ministry figures obtained Wednesday by Platts showed."  Al Mada reports political leader and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has declared that Nouri al-Maliki's escalation of forces is an attempt to distract from where the problems stem -- the one who holds the power.  He decried Nouri's recent efforts to cancel the ration card and noted the corruption allegations regarding the $4.2 billion weapons deal with Russia.
Yesterday, Iraq was slammed with bombings.  UNAMI issued the following today:

Baghdad, 28 November 2012The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Martin Kobler, expresses his dismay following the series of attacks against innocent victims, including worshippers, in several locations throughout Iraq. كوردی
 "These inhuman acts only add to the senseless suffering of innocent people and their families," the SRSG said.
 Mr. Kobler also expresses his profound sympathy to the families of the victims, to whom he extends his sincere condolences, and wishes a speedy recovery to the wounded.
And the violence continues today.  All Iraq News reports a Falluja sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 officer (a colonel) and the life of 1 of his bodyguards while a Baquba home invasion resulted in the death of 1 police officer and his son being left injured. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports a Tarmiyah home invasion (targeting a Sahwa family) resulted in the deaths of 1 Sahwa, 2 women and 4 children.   Xinhua adds, "In Baghdad, two roadside bombs went off outside a liquor store near the Nafaq al-Shurta area, in al-Jamia district in western the city, wounding five people, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua. In a separate incident, gunmen using silenced pistols wounded a police officer while he was driving on al-Qanat Street in eastern Baghdad, the source said."  Meanwhile Alsumaria reports that fisherman Taha Mahmoud Sabhan is set to be executed in Kuwait and the Basra government is calling on Kuwait to toss aside the death sentence.

In what's supposed to be good news, Al Rafidayn reports that 20 women who were employees of the Centeral Bank are being released.   Why isn't that good news?  In what world are bank employees held for over a month to be interrogated or 'interrogated'?  This is unacceptable and this is the sort of thing the US allowed when they put thug Nouri in charge in 2006 and when Barack demanded that thug Nouri stay in charge in 2010.

This is unacceptable.  20 women whose 'crime' was working for the Central Bank have been held imprisoned for over a month as Nouri's forces attempted to 'extract' information from them. About what?  Probably attempting to get testimony against Sinan al-Shabibi.  As the latest quarterly report from the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction noted at the end of last month:

On October 16, 2012, the Council of Ministers dismissed Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) Governor Sinan al-Shabibi, amid allegations of corruption leveled against him. This peremptory and constitutionally questionalbe move occured as an audit of the DBI's foreign currency auctions surfaced.
Nouri made a "constitutionally questionable move" and it's really looking like he doesn't have evidence -- not even enough circumstantial evidence to convict in the Baghdad courts he controls.

So it's a good guess that the time the women were imprisoned, they weren't doing arts and crafts.

On Iraqi prisons, we'll note this from the BRussels Tribunal:

Hamid Al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister and Member of the Defense and Security Committee alerted both Nouri Al-Maliki, Chief Commander of the Armed Forces,
and Sadoon Al-Dulaimi, Defense Minister, about the torture in Iraqi prisons, and
said that female prisoners are routinely raped by the prison guards. Al-Mutlaq said in a press conference held in the Parliament that there are many female prisoners who are tortured on a regular basis, and that Al-Maliki and Al-Dulaimi bear full responsibility. He also added that it's unacceptable that the perpetrating officers go unpunished for raping women, children and torturing them. He also mentioned the names of prisoners who died as a result of torture: Muhammad KhudairUbaid, Muhammad MoohiSharji, Ibrahim Adnan Salih, Mahmood Ubaid Jameel, Hamid Jameel, Fadil Abdullah, Omar Hisham, and Muhammad JasimMezhir.

Al-Mutlag said the Iraqi army and security forces carry out many raids and arbitrarily arrest citizens to blackmail them to be released on bail. He said that the government and the Iraqi Parliament are responsible for this situation of lawlessness.
A security source revealed in August that the officers in the detention centers in Baghdad practice all kinds of torture on the prisoners, and many of them died as a result.
MP Hamid al-Mutlaq holds Nouri al-Maliki and the Supreme Judicial responsible for violations perpetrated against Iraqi women in prisons and demandsthe release of these female victims and asked why such shameful practices go unpunished.
Al Mutlaq: "The security situation has deteriorated to a limit that can not be tolerated as violation of women honor during arrests is done by the security services.
Mutlag expressed his regret for arresting women and their daughters aged of 12 years on charges of terrorism.

This situation of lawlessness and rape of Iraqi female prisoners is becoming a big problem for Maliki, as more MP's, Civil Society organisations and the Iraqi people are denouncing the abuses of the Regime's security forces
Sheikh Sufian Omar al-Naimi,Emir of Naim tribes in Iraq, urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Iraqi parliament speaker Osama Nujaifi to start an immediate investigation in the case of the Iraqi women detainees who are suffering of flagrant violations in the women prison in Baghdad.
He said in a press statement issued by his office on 25 November that "the appeals that we receive from Iraqi jailed women on charges of multiple crimes mostly of terrorism are subjected to torture and rape".
MP Khalid Abdullah al-Alwani called the Iraqi Government to open the women prisons for civil society organizations in order to provide the female inmates with services and to inspect their situations.
Alwanisaid "We condemn the government's silence towards the torture and rape crimes that are practiced inside the women prisons."
He urged the "officials to reveal the names of the perpetrators of these shameful acts, calling at the same time to give the guilty officers the maximum penalty", and added that "our women's honor is the honor of all Iraqis."
Hundreds of citizens demonstrated on 26 November in downtown Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, urging the government to proceed with the investigation of violation of human rights committed against women in detention centers.
Demonstrators waved banners calling on the government to open a serious investigation of those violations and the formation of a committee to examine the reality of female detainees situation in prisons and to distinguish between those who were arrested unjustly and terrorist elements.
A team of the Iraqi NGO Hammurabi Organization published on 21 Octoberits first report about the dreadful situation in the women's prison in Baghdad and its 31 prisoners sentenced to death on terrorism charges under Article 4. The report says women have been subjected to torture by electrocution, beatings, and rape by the investigators during interrogation. They had also been raped by the police and by the officers escorting them during the transfer from Tasfirat Jail to the women's prison in Baghdad. Two membersof the Hammurabi Organization, William Warda and Pascal Warda, former minister of environment,were authorized to visit the prison. They said that female prisoners in death rowsuffered from infectious diseases and scabies. "They receive no health care and are not allowed to bathe andcan change clothes only once a month, which aggravates their health situation". The NGO said that the children, imprisoned with their mothers,are "ticking time bombs that can explode any minute".
The organization also said in its report that there are 21 children, some of them infants, living inside the women's prison "suffering a punishment without committing any crime". A total of 414 detainees are being held in the jail, varying in age from 20 to 65. Among the inmates were 18 women sentenced to death, and they all complainedabout neglect and violence in various ways.
Pascal Warda who led the Hammurabi Organization team said that the conditions of prisoners, convicted as suicide bombers, live in miserabe and intolerable conditions.
The report quoted an unidentified judge as saying that there were "violations throughout the investigation process," recommending that female security officers escort women prisoners to reduce the chance of abuse.
International human rights groups have on several occasions complained of persistent torture at Iraqi prisons being used to extract confessions from detainees, and also of the continued use of secret jails.
Journalist Serene Assir, member of the BRussells Tribunal, accurately described on 08 March 2012 in Iraqi Women: Resilience Amid Horror( the situation of female prisoners and women in general in today's Iraq.
Thousands of women are currently in prison under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior or the US and UK-trained military. Others, according to veteran Iraqi activist Asma al-Haidari, languish in "secret prisons, headed by militias loyal to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki."
The use of torture and sexual abuse in prisons has become systematic in Iraq, al-Haidari said, thanks to training not only by the US and the UK, but also Israel and Iran.
While in detention, many women suffer rape and become mothers to children they never wanted. Some are raped in front of their husbands and children, as a way to humiliate the family and extract "confessions" from men suspected of resisting against a criminal regime. Some of the women are arrested and behind bars instead of their husbands.
The degradation of secularism in Iraqi society, under the weight of Iranian-trained and backed militias, has also given rise to new social dynamics, for which women paid the heaviest price.
It is hard to imagine just how the effects of a decade of oppression can be undone. For one, the dismantling of Iraq's state institutions in 2003 put hundreds of thousands of women out of work. A 2007 BRussells Tribunal dossier on women estimated that until 2003, 72 percent of public sector workers, including teachers, were women.
In spite of the damage, many Iraqi women have continued to take an active, even heroic role. "Iraqi women have been very resilient," said Zangana. "Since 2003, and increasingly since February 2011, women have been at the forefront of protests denouncing the occupation and the regime."
Violations of women rights and torture and rape of women has been introduced by the US Occupying Forces. In June 2010 the General Secretary of the Union of Political Prisoners and Detainees in Iraq, Muhammad Adham al-Hamd declared that the US occupation administration in Iraq relied on systematic rape, torture, and sadistic treatment of Iraqi women prisoners in its prison camps in the country. Al-Hamd said that the enormous crimes being committed against women in the prison camps in occupied Iraq had the support and blessings of the US military, for whom the practices served as a means to bring psychological pressure on men engaged in the Resistance, in an attempt to break their spirit and fighting will.
Muhammad Adham al-Hamd made the comments in a statement regarding reports that confirmed the presence of large numbers of women in the American-run prison camps – women who are detained solely to be raped and abused in order to bring pressure upon their husbands, brothers, sons or fathers.
Years of US/UK occupation of Iraq have affected Iraq's social fabric and contributed to a serious deterioration of Iraqi women's rights. As a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Government of Iraq (GoI) should urgently take the necessary measures to improve gender equality and women's rights.
The US and UK must be held accountable for thisdeterioration, for the destruction of Iraq'ssocial fabric and for all other crimes against humanity they have inflicted upon the people of Iraq.

Al Mada reports political leader and cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has declared that Nouri al-Maliki's escalation of forces is an attempt to distract from where the problems stem -- the one who holds the power.  He decried Nouri's recent efforts to cancel the ration card and noted the corruption allegations regarding the $4.2 billion weapons deal with Russia.

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