BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
IN THE FACE OF UNRELENTING CRITICISM OVER HIS REFUSAL TO KEEP HIS PROMISES REGARDING GAYS AND LESBIANS OPENLY SERVING IN THE MILITARY AND DOING AWAY WITH DOMA, CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O FEARS A PROTEST THIS MONTH IN DC.
IN AN ATTEMPT TO CIRCUMVENT THE PROTEST AND DISTRACT, BARRY O'S DECIDED TO SPEAK TO THE HRC.
HE TOLD THESE REPORTERS HE'S NOT SURE WHETHER "I'LL GO AS A POWER BOTTOM OR A VERSATILE BUT I WILL SURELY BE WEARING LEATHER. MAYBE A BALL GAG."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Earlier this year, four Iraqi gay males -- Fadi, Ahmed, Mazen and Namir -- discussed the targeting of Iraqi gays in a Baghdad cafe. Within a month, two of the four would be executed for the 'crime' of being gay. Matt McAllester (New York Magazine) notes them in his report on the continued assault on Iraq's LGBT population which observes:
As virulent as the violence against gay people (men mostly) was, it operated at a kind of low hum for many years, overshadowed by the country's myriad other problems. But in February of this year, something changed. There was no announcement, no fatwa, no openly declared policy by a cleric or militia leader or politician, but a wave of anti-gay hysteria hit the country. An Iraqi TV station, with disapproving commentary, showed a video of a group of perhaps two dozen young men at a private dance party, wiggling their hips like female belly dancers. Terms like the third sex and puppies, a newly coined slur, began to appear in hostile news reports. Shia and Sunni clerics started to preach in their Friday sermons about the evils of homosexuality and "the people of Lot." Police officers stepped up their harassment of openly gay men. Families and tribes cast out their gay relatives. The bodies of gay men like Mazen and Namir, often mutilated, began turning up on the street. There is no way to verify the number of tortured or harassed, but the best available estimates place that figure in the thousands. Hundreds of men are believed to have been killed.
Yesterday on NPR's Talk of the Nation (here for audio and transcript links) discussed the issue with Matt McAllester.
Neal Conan: As the conditions improved in Iraq, general security, the militias had time to start feeling that gay people were a real threat and punishing them.
Matt McAllester: Yeah. I'm not sure that they ever felt that they were a threat. I felt that there was, in a sense, there seemed to have been a lack of targets. American troops were armed, much less visible and much less numerous and really just aren't in the major cities in Iraq anymore. The government of Iraq is much stronger than military and police forces in Iraq. And the power of the militias has faded in terms of the civil war that was going on and really has been over for sometime. So some of the militias, one in particular, Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, which had been extremely powerful, had lost their sort of raison d'etre in their power base, and, in a sense, needed someone to pick on. And there was no more hated and is no more hated group across just about every ethnic barrier that you can think of and social group in Iraq than gay people. And --
Neal Conan: Yeah. You just described them as being utterly defenseless. There is no --
Matt McAllester: Mm-hmm.
Neal Conan: -- political advantage to anyone in Iraq for standing up for the rights of homosexuals.
Matt McAllester: That's right. I mean, it's incredibly difficult to get any comment from the Iraqi government about this. They're just not even comfortable talking about it. It took me several weeks, I think it was - certainly many days to get any response from the Iraqi embassy in Washington, and none that I get at all from emails that I sent to Iraqi government spokesman in Baghdad. Other journalists have had this problem in the past. It's not even something they're happy talking about it.
Nor is it something that the US State Dept or White House is "happy talking about" which is why they avoid the topic and are aided in that avoidance by a domestic press corps that finds the issue too 'icky' to bring up. (The one time the issue was seriously raised in a State Dept briefing, the correspondent pressing the issue was with BBC News.)
Matt McAllester and Neal Conan discuss "Nouri" (not his real name) and how he was not only targeted, not only kidnapped, but it was done by the Interior Ministry and he was taken to one of their prisons (they have many -- most 'off the books') where he was shown five corpses and told that was his fate if his family didn't pay a ransom.
Kidnapping is just another way to raise additional funds apparently. Richard Kerbaj (Times of London) reports how it "has overtaken burglaries, robberies, car theft and other crimes to become the biggest criminal activity in many areas of Baghdad, an investigation by The Times has discovered insurgents and gangsters are increasingly using abducted children to raise funds for terrorism operations and personal wealth." Kerbaj explains how posters of mmissing children have become common in Baghdad's richer neighborhoods while, in "unstable neighborhoods," "several children were found beheaded and dumped in the rubbish after their parents failed to come up with ransom payments." That was the fate of 11-year-old Muhsin Mohammed Muhsin whose parents were unable to raise "$100,000 in 48 hours".
That's 'liberated' and 'democratic' Iraq. Where children and the LGBT community (along with Iraqi Christians and many others) are targeted with nary a word from the US administration and little interest from the press. Grasp that despite all the money spent, it wasn't the Times of New York that reported on the kidnappings, it was the Times of London. The paper that sold the illegal war (Times of New York) seems to think that they deserve praise when they manage to do a violence brief once or twice a week -- the sort of thing Reuters does daily without breaking a sweat.
Though the US press largely lost interest in Iraq, US forces did not leave the country. And today the US military announced: "A Soldier assigned to Multi-National Division-South died of a non-combat related injury October 6. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4349.
Since the start of the illegal war? Today US House Rep Dennis Kucinich observes, "Seven years ago this week the House of Representatives debated the Iraq War Resolution which was presented by President Bush. I made the case for NOT going to war. I analyzed the Bush war resolution, paragraph by paragraph, and pointed out 'Key Issues' which argued against Congress voting to go to war. I distributed the attached analysis, personally, to over 200 members of Congress from October 2, 2002 until October 10, 2002 when the vote occurred. When you hear people say: 'If only we had known then what we know now,' remember, some did know of the false case for war against Iraq. And since so many know now that we should not have gone to war against Iraq, then why are we still there?"
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