Friday, July 23, 2010



BECAUSE "Hillary Was Smeared First - DailyCaller, Race-baiting JournoList, And DailyKos DailyKooks - The Big Media/Big Blog Cartel" DEMANDS WE MAKE A LIST OF THE LIARS WHO PRETENDED TO BE REPORTERS -- AS BETTY SAYS "THEY ARE NOT REPORTERS" -- WE ARE COMPILING THE LIST (SEE "The list" AND "THIS JUST IN! MAKE A LIST!"):

Ryan Donmoyer, Bloomberg News
Kate Steadman, Kaiser Health News,
Moria Whelan, National Security Network
Spencer Ackerman, The Washington Independent
Eric Alterman, City University of New York
Dean Baker, The American Prospect Online
Steven Benen, The Carpetbagger Report
Julie Bergman Sender, Balcony Films
Ari Berman, The Nation
Brian Beutler, The Media Consortium
Michael Bérubé, Crooked Timber, The Pennsylvania State University
Joel Bleifuss, In These Times
Sam Boyd, The American Prospect
Lakshmi Chaudry, In These Times
Joe Conason, Journalist and Author
Brad DeLong, Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal and UC Berkeley
Kevin Drum, The Washington Monthly
Henry Farrell, Crooked Timber, George Washington University
James Galbraith, University of Texas at Austin
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University, TPM Cafe
Merrill Goozner (formerly Chicago Tribune)
Ilan Goldenberg, The National Security Network
Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films
Christopher Hayes, The Nation
Don Hazen, Alternet
Michael Kazin, Georgetown University
Ed Kilgore, The Democratic Strategist
Richard Kim, The Nation
Ezra Klein, The American Prospect
Mark Kleiman, UCLA/The Reality Based Community
Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
Ari Melber, The Nation
Rick Perlstein, Campaign for America's Future
Katha Pollitt, The Nation
David Roberts, Grist
Thomas Schaller, Columnist, The Baltimore Sun
Mark Schmitt, The New America Foundation
Adele Stan, The Media Consortium
Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones Magazine
Mark Thoma, The Economist's View
Michael Tomasky, The Guardian
Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks
Tracy Van Slyke, The Media Consortium
Kai Wright, The Root



Starting with Iraqi refugees. Tuesday the United Nations released [PDF format warning] "Regional Response Plan for Iraqi Refugees." The 108 page report focuses on "the immediate needs of Iraqi refugees in 12 countries: Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Iran" Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudia Arabia and the UAE. Syria, Jordan and Lebanon continue to house the most Iraqi refugees. And humanitarian organizations -- including the UNHCR, CARITAS, CARE International, UNICEF, France RC, -- are suffering from a drop in donations. This comes at a time when Iraq itself continues to be unstable. The report notes that "human rights violations continue, including illegal detention, targeted killing, kidnapping and discrimination. The formation of a new Government following the Parliamentary elections in March continues to be delayed and the political vacuum may continue until August or September 2010." These conditions and others continue to influence the flow of Iraqis out of Iraq and create new refugees -- with very few refugees (the report covers external refugees only) returning to Iraq. In Syria, for example, new Iraqi refugees are citing "threats made against them" and/or "the security situation in their area" as reasons for departing Iraq in 2010. One new feature emerging is a drop in official refugees. How can that be?

Many refugees are no longer apparently confident that they can be helped and they have been dropped from the UNHCR rolls (it's noted that all they have to do is ask to be reactivated). In addition, this year, the UN has resetled 7,918 Iraqi refugees as of May 31st. The report offers a breakdown of registered refugees by country and by gender. GCC is Gulf Cooperation Council and Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudia Arabia and the UAE make up the GCC. Iraqi refugees (registered) in Syria, Jordan and Egypt make up 49% of each countries' Iraqi refugees. By contrast, in Lebanaon, females make up only 36% of the Iraqi refugee population with males coming in at 64%. All host countries have similar needs because the realities refugees face don't differ a great deal. They need medical assistance, they need food assistance, they need training if they're fortunate enough to be in an area that will allow them to work, they need housing assistance and much more. It's all the basics and with the global economy having dived, donations are down to humanitarian organizations.

We won't provide a breakdown of each country (the report does); however, we will not a camp on the border between Syria and Iraq. Iraq's Palestinian population has been noted at this site several time before; however, it is the segment of the population that has received the least attention at this site. So we'll note the section on the ones at Al-Hol camp in full. But first, Palestinians who became Iraqi refugees mainly populated Al-Hol, Al-Tanaf, Al-Walid and Al-Ruwesiehed camps. The Al-Tanaf camp closed February 1st. The Al-Hol camp was set up in 1991, during the first Gulf War. Children of this camp attend Syrian schools. From the report, we'll note:

As of 15 May 2010, some 561 Palestinians from Iraq were living in Al-Hol camp. This population comprises three major groups:

1) The former Al-Hol camp population, the majority of whom is awaiting the completion of formalities for resettlement departure.
2) The remaining Al-Tanf population who were transferred to Al-Hol between the ened of 2009 and 31 January 2010, and have fallen outside the resettlement process for Al-Tanf camp.
3) Palestinian refugees recently arrived at the camp from Damascus.

Since the beginning of the year, various achievements have been made. They include the closure of the Al-Tanf camp, thanks to increased advocacy efforts by the humanitarian community in 2009 with the Syrian Government and resettlement countries.
Regarding the Al-Hol situation, improved and standardized registration procedures for camp residents have been introduced, all vulnerabilites and basic bio-data being checked and updated. Three refugee committees were newly elected and participate in the camp management and decision-making process.
All agencies involved have set up and now closely monitor an accountability framework of the activities. On the assistance side, all shelters have been connected to the potable water system; a food basket was agreed at the beginning of the year with the refugee community; primary health care has been provided at the camp level; and regular food and NFI distributions (such as hygiene kits or school supplies) have taken place.
In terms of solutions, return to Iraq is not considered a viable option, given the current security situation and the uncertain future for Palestinians in Iraq. Resettlement is still considered the most desirable option for Palestinians ex-Iraq living in Al-Hol camp. At the same time, UNHCR and UNRWA are exploring a local temporary solution with the Syrian authorities, whereby part of the remaining Palestinian population from Iraq would be authorized to regularize their stay and enjoy a set of minimal rights.
In this view, and similarly to the process that took place in Al-Tanf, the Syrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs has publicly communicated that its objective is to support the joint efforts to close Al-Hol camp by the end of 2010.

It's worth noting that while US government dollars have been wasted on a huge number of projects and 'projects,' the US -- which led on the Iraq War which produced the refugee crisis -- has only agreed to provide $17,724,493 (in US dollars). That's appalling. Though they can take pride in not being the United Kingdom ($2,400,000). And Australia whose John Howard (prime minister when the war started) wanted to be a player and got so upset when the press would forget to mention him as one of the three big leaders on the war? They're bellying up to the bar to waive $161,570. They can't even reach the million mark. How very sad. Of course, these are only the figures to date and all the countries -- including the US -- could increase their contributions before the end of the year. Refugees International issued the following press release today:

Washington, D.C. -- Refugees International President L. Craig Johnstone today called for a greater U.S. commitment to more than two million Iraqis who have fled their homes due to conflict and fear of persecution during seven years of U.S. engagement in Iraq. "As the U.S. military departs Iraq it is leaving behind nearly 500,000 Iraqi refugees -- mainly in Syria and Jordan -- and one and a half million Iraqis who have been uprooted from their homes, many of whom live in total destitution in shanty towns of Iraq," said L. Craig Johnstone, President of Refugees International. "This is the tragic legacy of the conflict in Iraq and as the United States disengages militarily it would be unconscionable to abandon our responsibilities to these civilian victims of war." Ambassador Johnstone testified at a Helsinki Commission hearing, "No Way Home, No Way to Escape: The Plight of Iraqi Refugees and Our Iraqi Allies." Johnstone is former Deputy UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and former U.S. Ambassador and Director for Resources, Plans and Policy in the Department of State. Recalling his own experiences in Vietnam, he called on Congress and the Administration to step up to its commitment to Iraqi refugees, as it did after the fall of Saigon. "The United States was woefully unprepared for the collapse of South Vietnam and unfortunately the prevailing attitude bordered on callous disregard for the well being of the many Vietnamese civilians the U.S. was about to leave behind," stated Johnstone. "But as Saigon was falling, the nation mobilized with unprecedented effort, opening its arms to welcome to hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees. We now face an analogous situation in Iraq, and the United States must again wake up to its responsibility -- this time to the millions of Iraqi civilians displaced by the war." Johnstone asked Congress to expand the program that has resettled some 48,000 Iraqis in the Unites States, and to provide greater financial and social support for refugees struggling to rebuild their lives. Seven years after the beginning of the war in Iraq, an unprecedented number of Iraqis are still living in squatter slums filled with open sewers and lacking water and electricity. Most of the squatter settlements are located precariously under bridges, alongside railroad tracks and amongst garbage dumps. Following visits this year to 20 different squatter settlements throughout Iraq, RI found that nearly 500,000 Iraqis are left living in squalor receiving little help from the Iraqi government, aid agencies and the United Nations. Johnstone called on Congress and the Administration to fund at least 50 percent of the United Nations humanitarian appeals for Iraq and noted that to date it has funded only 23 percent of the some $700 million requested. "The United States must fund humanitarian efforts in proportion to its responsibility," stated Johnstone. RI also recommended that the UN adapt its security measures so that humanitarian officials can access squatter communities regularly and provide assistance. "UN and U.S. officials need to get out of the Green Zone and work the problem where it is, in the slums, in the cardboard shelters that go without electricity or sewage systems," stated Johnstone. In February RI staff traveled to Iraq, Jordan and Syria where they interviewed displaced people, local and national government officials and international agencies. Since November 2006, the organization has conducted eleven missions to the Middle East and has led the call to increase assistance and solutions for displaced Iraqis. To read the report, go to: International is a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates to end refugee crises and receives no government or UN funding.

Oussayma Canbarieh (CBC) reported Friday from Damascus on Iraqi refugees (the UN report notes that Damascus is home to the most Iraqi refugees within Syria) where people like Zakiya reside: "Look at me here, I used to be happy. Now, I've lost it all. First two of my daughters were killed and, a couple of months ago, my husband went back to Baghdad to get us some of our savings and he never came back." Meanwhile John Pontifex notes that Syrian Bishop Antoine Audo SJ has thanked Aid to the Church in Need for their latest contribution of $29,000. From Pontifex's press release:

The Chaldean-rite bishop, who is a Jesuit, said: "I do not think the situation for Christians in Iraq is improving. It is still difficult especially in Mosul [city, north Iraq]. "In Baghdad, it varies a lot. Life can be quite normal and then suddenly there can be attacks on the churches and acts of persecution against the people." His comments come after Pope Benedict XVI told the new Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See that the beleaguered country should "give priority to improved security, particularly for the various minorities". At the meeting earlier this month in which Habeeb Mohammed Hadi Ali al-Sadr presented his credentials to the Pontiff, the Pope stressed his concern that if at all possible, Christians resolve to stay in their ancestral homeland. But he added: "Iraqi Christians need to know that it is safe for them to remain in or return to their homes and they need assurances that their properties will be restored to them and their rights upheld." Aid to the Church in Need is prioritising help for the Middle East after Pope Benedict XVI told the charity that "Churches in the Middle East are threatened in their very existence." As well as helping Iraqi Christian refugees in Syria, ACN is providing aid for those fleeing to Turkey and Jordan.

Also giving thanks this week was Ayad Allawi. Al Jazeera notes, "Allawi in turn thanked Syria for hosting hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees and for its support for efforts to restore stability in Iraq." Meanwhile AINA reports that the Council of Europe is demanding that "the Swedish government stop the deportation of Iraqis." And Gabriel Gatehouse (BBC News -- link has video) reports on an internal refugee camp within Iraq near the Iranian border.

Gabriel Gatehouse: [. . .] this tent village has grown up in just the last month. The people who are living here now come from villages between here and that border [Iranian border] and they fled because of the persistent shelling from inside Iran and aerial bombardments byTurkish planes. They're living a very basic life, water systems provided by UNHCR, the same for the tents they're living in. These people are farmers, they're too scared to go back home to their villages. What's more, they don't know when they'll be able to go back.

Recommended: "I Hate The War"
"Iraq snapshot"
"Militarizing the State Dept"
"Iraq Inquiry"
"No boundaries"
"It was also MSM"
"Stocks fail, mortgage rates fall, unemployment soars"
"The economy"
"False cries don't help us"
"I still have my integrity"
"gruesome murder"
"ezra klein's a whore"
"He blew it"
"Lynne Stewart"
"Charlie Rangel"
"Katha Pollitt is trash"
"Suck on it, Barack and Bush!"
"They are not journalists"
"Grasp the deceit"
"Who smeared the Black church? A White man"
"Bully Parker"
"It's not about political leanings"
"Recommended reading"
"Ben Smith, stop spinning!"
"David Corn is one ugly ass idiot"