- On February 21, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) press release
headlined, "Iraq: Vulnerable Citizens at Risk," announcing its
new report titled, "At a Crossroads: Human Rights in Iraq Eight Years
After the US-Led Invasion." Besides many others, two previous articles
discuss more, accessed through the following links:
- The top link explains that over the past two decades,
America devastated Iraq by genocide, vast destruction, terror, occupation,
and contamination - a monstrous combination of unspeakable ongoing crimes.
- At issue is:
- -- controlling the region's oil, gas and other strategic
- -- remaining permanently in the Middle East and Central
Asia, besides all other parts of the world; and
- -- achieving unchallengeable full spectrum global dominance
over all land, sea, subsurface, space and information.
- As a result, in the last decade alone, millions died
from Washington's imperial wars, other violence, disease, depravation,
torture, unimaginable human misery, and starvation. Hundreds more daily
increase the numbers. Yet no one has been held accountable, despite outrageous
crimes of war and against humanity - clear violations under international
and US law. The regional people await justice so far not forthcoming.
- Today, HRW said women, journalists, detainees, and marginalized
groups are especially at risk in Iraq. During 2010, it conducted research
in seven cities, interviewing activists, lawyers, journalists, religious
leaders, former and current detainees, security officers, victims of violence,
- According to its Middle East director, Joe Stork:
- "Today, Iraq is at a crossroads - either it embraces
due process and human rights or it risks reverting to a police state."
- Of course, it's been that throughout America's occupation,
the puppet Iraqi government and local security forces taking orders from
- As a result, "(b)eyond the continuing violence and
crimes associated with it (for eight years), human rights abuses are commonplace,"
ones Iraqi satraps commit and/or ignore.
- HRW says after years of US occupation, "the country's
transition to a functioning and sustainable democracy built on the rule
of law is far from accomplished." In fact, America tolerates democracy
nowhere, including at home.
- Nonetheless, HRW says Iraq's future as a human rights
respecting society depends on its government defending them "and establish(ing)
a credible national criminal justice system embodying international standards
with respect to torture, free expression, and violence against women and
other vulnerable sectors of society."
- In fact, Washington won't tolerate all or most of these
standards. Iraqi satraps get orders they must obey or be replaced. HRW
also claims that "tens of thousands of Iraqi lives" have been
lost in the past eight years when, in fact, it's been millions from war,
violence, disease, starvation and other factors.
- Gideon Polya's February 25 article titled, "Western
Media Ignore Iraqi Freedom" can be accessed through the following
- According to UN data, medical literature, and other authoritative
sources, he cites the following "Iraqi Holocaust" data from 1990
- -- "1.6 million violent deaths;
- -- 2.8 million non-violent excess deaths;"
- -- among them, "1.8 million avoidable under-5 year
old infant deaths;" and
- -- "five to six million" internally and externally
- Overall, it's an "Iraqi Holocaust," according
to the UN Genocide Convention definition.
- In addition, a climate of pervasive fear exists, as well
as mass impoverishment and few basic services, including enough food, clean
water, sanitation, electricity, health care and education. In fact, pre-Gulf
War Iraq no longer exists. America effectively destroyed it.
- Though Washington and Iraq are parties to relevant international
human rights treaties, including the Convention Against Torture and Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, their
principles have been ignored.
- Focusing heavily on the rights of women and girls, HRW
cites how lack of security adversely effects them, "both inside and
outside" their homes. "For Iraq women, who enjoyed some of the
highest levels of rights protections and social participation in the region
before 1991," it's a heavy blow.
- For example, misogyny promoting militias target women
and girls for assassination, and intimidate them to stay out of public
life. They're also victimized by family members, including fathers, brothers
and husbands "for a wide variety of perceived transgressions that
allegedly shame the family or tribe."
- Outside homes, they're harassed and abused by the virtually
all-male police and security forces. Moreover, Iraq's penal code protects
perpetrators of violence against women for "honorable motives,"
including murder. Husbands are also empowered legally to discipline wives.
- Other abuses include sexual trafficking of women and
girls in and out of the country. Yet, "no reported convictions"
are known, "and a long-awaited anti-trafficking bill is on hold in
the parliament, awaiting revisions." Except for Kurdistan, no government-run
shelters exist, and virtually no other aid is available.
- Moreover, "victims of sexual (and other) violence
and trafficking have well-grounded fears of reprisals, social ostracism,
rejection or physical violence from their families, and (no) confidence
that authorities have the will or capacity to provide the support or protection
required." As a result, most abuses aren't reported and those that
are meet stiff resistance.
- In addition, many religious minorities and other "marginalized
communities" have been forced from homes and communities for lack
of security and religious extremism. An ongoing unaddressed eight-year
long humanitarian crisis exists, exacting an unspeakable toll, including
on men and boys.
- Free expression and media freedom are also absent because
of legislative measures, other restrictive barriers, and a climate making
Iraq one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists. Assailants
bomb their bureaus and kill them. Media workers also have to contend with
"emboldened Iraqi and Kurdish security forces and their respective
image-conscious central and regional political leaders."
- As a result, they're harassed, intimidated, threatened,
arrested, physically assaulted and killed by security forces attached to
government institutions and political parties. Moreover, senior politicians
often sue journalists and their publications for unflattering articles
or whatever else they dislike.
- Widespread use of torture also rages out-of-control,
first by America, now mostly transferred to Iraqi authorities, controlling
thousands of detainees. Interrogations routinely include torture and abuse
to coerce confessions. Dozens of detainees confirm sodomizing, whippings,
cigarette burns, as well as fingernails and teeth pulled out and other
- Investigations, however, aren't conducted. Confronted
with HRW evidence, prime minister Nouri al-Maliki called it fictitious,
suspended prison inspections, and US authorities haven't intervened to
stop abusive torture and other abuse even after Washington-based advocacy
groups, including Refugees International, called on the Obama administration
to pressure local officials to "meet (their) responsibilities to (their)
- Abuse of marginalized communities is also severe, despite
laws in place to protect them. As a result, Iraq's most vulnerable are
especially at risk, including minorities, disabled persons, and millions
internally displaced, living in squatter slums, under bridges, alongside
railroad tracks, and near garbage dumps with no access to essential services.
- In addition, armed groups assault minority communities,
"decimating Iraq's indigenous populations, and forcing thousands to
flee abroad with no plans to return." Local authorities and Washington
have done nothing to intervene, and a climate of impunity prevails.
- Further, many thousands of disabled persons have been
stigmatized. As a result, they've been relegated to the margins of society,
can't find work or receive healthcare, rehabilitation, prostheses, wheelchairs,
or other needed help.
- A Final Comment
- In 1990, Iraq ranked 50th on the UN Development Program's
Human Development Index. In 2003, it was 126th. Currently it's unrated
because accurate data is unavailable on four of the nine Index components.
- Ranked or not, eight years under US occupation made the
once cradle of civilization a dystopian nightmare. An April 2010 Amnesty
International report titled, "Iraq: Human Rights Briefing" revealed
many outrageous human rights abuses, including:
- -- thousands detained without charge or trial, some for
years in overcrowded conditions, gravely affecting their health and safety;
- -- torture, ill-treatment and other abuses against men,
women and children, including beatings with cables and hosepipes, prolonged
suspension by their limbs, electric shocks to sensitive parts of their
bodies, breaking of limbs, removal of toenails with pliers, and rapes,
- -- unfair trials, with low quality court appointed lawyers,
using torture extracted confessions to convict;
- -- the death penalty, increasingly imposed in the last
five years; currently, at least 1,100 detainees have been sentenced to
death; over 900, including 17 women, have exhausted all means of appeal
or clemency; government supplied information on executions is suppressed;
many are carried out secretly;
- -- killings and other human rights abuses by armed groups
include kidnappings, torture, bombings, and other attacks;
- -- impunity for prison guards, US and Iraqi security
forces, and security contractors because no investigations of their crimes
- -- violence against women (domestically and on streets),
given little or no protection by authorities as explained above;
- -- refugees and internally displaced people endure severe
hardships as also explained; and
- -- similar human rights abuses occur in Kurdistan as
in other parts of the country.
- Moreover, democracy is non-existant. Rampant corruption
is out-of-control. Paul Bremer's 100 orders turned the country into a cutthroat
capitalist laboratory. GMO crops infest the country, and the combination
of war, pollution and drought wrecked Iraq's ecosystem, drying up fertile
farmland and marshes, turning arable land into desert, killing trees and
plants, and making a Garden of Eden a wasteland, much perhaps never to
- Last August 31, however, Obama declared an "end
to the combat mission in Iraq," outrageously adding: "Through
this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we
have met our responsibility." In so doing, he exposed his culpability
as a war criminal, matching the worst of George Bush and others preceding
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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