THE BOSTON BRUINS' TIM THOMAS REFUSED TO BE A POLITICAL PROP YESTERDAY BY SUBMITTING TO A PHOTO OP WITH CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O AND NOTED THAT "I BELIEVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS GROWN OUT OF CONTROL, THREATENING THE RIGHTS, LIBERTIES, AND PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE." THE RESPONSE?
THE OWNERS RESPONDED LIKE DAINTY OLD WOMEN -- MAYBE HOCKEY'S NOT THE SPORT FOR THEM -- BY CLUTCHING THE PEARLS AND EXPRESSING SHOCK AND DISMAY. AND ESPN REFUSED TO PUT TIM'S FULL STATEMENT ON AIR.
TIM THOMAS REFUSED TO BE A DANCING MONKEY FOR A POLITICIAN'S PHOTO-OP, ESPN AND THE OWNERSHIP OF THE BRUINS DEMONSTRATED THEY'RE ALL ABOUT SUCKING UP TO POLITICIANS. HERE'S TIM THOMAS' STATEMENT IN FULL:
"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
On February 21, Iraqi police stood by as dozens of assailants, some wielding knives and clubs, stabbed and beat at least 20 protesters intending to camp in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, the capital. During nationwide demonstrations on February 25, security forces killed at least 12 protesters across the country and injured more than 100. Baghdad security forces beat unarmed journalists and protesters that day, smashing cameras and confiscating memory cards.
[. . .]
On June 10 in Baghdad government-backed thugs armed with wooden planks, knives, iron pipes, and other weapons beat and stabbed peaceful protesters and sexually molested female demonstrators as security forces stood by and watched, sometimes laughing at the victims.
[. . .]
On September 8 an unknown assailant shot to death Hadi al-Mahdi, a popular radio journalist often critical of government corruption and social inequality, at his Baghdad home. The Ministry of Interior said it would investigate his death, but at this writing no one has been charged. Immediately prior to his death al-Mahdi received several phone and text message threats not to return to Tahrir Square. Earlier, after attending the February 25 "Day of Anger" mass demonstration in Baghdad, security forces arrested, blindfolded, and severely beat him along with three other journalists during their subsequent interrogation.
In addition, Human Rights Watch notes in a press release:
In January 2012, Human Rights Watch observed that Iraqi authorities had successfully curtailed the Tahrir Square anti-government demonstrations by flooding the weekly protests with pro-government supporters and undercover security agents. Dissenting activists and independent journalists for the most part said that they no longer felt safe attending the demonstrations.
"After more than six years of democratic rule, Iraqis who publicly express their views still do so at great peril," Whitson said. "Al-Mahdi's killing highlights what a deadly profession journalism remains in Iraq."
Dan Morse (Washington Post) reports on the report and also carries a response from Nouri al-Maliki's spokesperson including this statement, "Their number [Baghdad protesters] is gradually decreasing and they do not reflect strong opposition to the government." The denial might be more convincing were there not so many reports which already demonstrate Nouri's thugs are shutting down protest and attempting to intimidate free speech. Yesterday Jane Arraf (Al Jazeera -- link is video) reported on the ever-closing society in Iraq.
Jane Arraf: These days at Baghdad's Liberation Square, there are more soldiers and police than protesters. Not just these but dozens of riot police waiting just under the grid. But they won't have any trouble from these demonstrators. With the killings and arrests of anti-government protesters, these young men chanting support for Nouri al-Maliki have taken over the square. A few won't give up.
Iraqi female protester: I can talk freely, right? This is Tahrir Square. And it's about freedom.
Jane Arraf: But it's not. These men drown her out when she starts criticizing Maliki. They won't give their names. Here at Radio al Mahaba, an independent women's radio station, the staff used to see all their friends at the Friday protests. That's until Hadi al-Mahdi, a controversial radio host, was arrested and badly beaten and then killed at home. And before the first set in the station's cafeteria last fall.
Kamal Jabar (showing the remains of the bombing): This was an in door.
Jane Arraf: One of the founders of the station who was beaten up after a protest last year says they've had enough.
Kamal Jabar: And we got the message. We are moving out of here. I don't feel secure. I don't want to be responsible for any death or injury or harm to any of the staff.
Jane Arraf: There were high hopes for the democracy meant to take root in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was toppled. But in between the fall of Saddam and an increasingly authoritarian government, the freedom to say what you want has been shrinking. Hundreds of activists have either left the country or gone underground. While some of the radio staff have quit, Ahlam al-Daraji wants to continue her show at a new, safer location.
Ahlam al-Daraji: Life is meaningless if you remain afraid and worried all the time. And if I say, "I can't say this because someone might object"? If that's the case, why are we living? Maybe I should leave Iraq?
Jane Arraf: They're staying for now. With fewer voices left, they believe they need to speak up for the rest. Jane Arraf, Al Jazeera, Baghdad.
January 10th, Jomana Karadsheh (CNN -- link is video) reported:
Jomana Karadsheh: Last month, Oday al-Zaidy and a small group of people gathered in a Baghdad square to celebrate the US media withdrawal planning to burn the US flag. But more than 200 security forces swarmed around them, banned us from filming and stopped the protests because they said the group had not obtained a permit. But they still managed to burn the flag. Oday and others were beaten up and detained for a day. Security officials say, they assaulted policemen, something the group denies. "Democracy in Iraq is an illusion," Oday says. "An American illusion and an American lie. Whoever wants to see that for themselves, should come and see what's been happening in Iraq since February 25th." That's when thousands of Iraqis -- partly influenced by the Arab Spring -- took to the streets of cities across the country protesting against corruption and a lack of basic services. [Gun shots are heard and security forces move in.] But from the start, they were met by a fierce crackdown. The government denies an orchestrated effort to put down protests, saying there were just minor violations committed by to put down protests by individual security officers. Activists groups disagree. Human Rights Watch says the violations have been systematic and ongoing documenting dozens of cases where protesters were beaten up, detained and, in some cases, even tortured.
Human Rights Watch's Samer Muscati: People are afraid to go to demonstrations, are afraid of being rounded up, of being assaulted, of being beat up, of being followed to their own homes.
And we can drop back to December 30th when Jomana Karadsheh captured a Friday Baghdad protest in a series of Tweets:
We can go back further and further. What Nouri's spokesperson wants to deny is in the public record, has been in the public record for some time. Iraqi's suffer and they suffer because of an illegal war and occupation and because of decisions imposed upon the Iraqi people by the US government. In March 2010, Iraqis voted. At great risk to themselves. Candidates ran for office -- at great risk if they were Iraqiya because Iraqiya candidates were banned, they were arrested, they were assassinated in the lead up to the March elections. Nouri and his thugs insisted that Iraqiya was "Ba'athist" and "terrorist" and would destroy Iraq. State of Law, his political slate, was supposedly going to destroy all the other choices. But that didn't happen, Iraqiya came in first.
Recently, video surfaced of US service members urinating on corpses. While disrespectful, it's not the end of the world for the corpses. The end of the world for them was how they were killed. Yet Diane Rehm, to name another example of a Queen Bee, will waste forever on the urination and then take calls on the urination and the shock and the dismay. Maybe the shock should be that Afghans in their own country were killed by foreigners?
Nuri Al Maliki made his groveling subservience to Washington clear, when on the 12th December he requested to go to the city's Arlington Military Cemetery and jointly lay a wreath with President Obama, at the Memorial to the Unknown Soldier, to pay his respects to US service personnel who lost their lives, decimating the country of which he is -- for now -- Prime Minister.
Diane Rehm devoted how many shows to Abeer al-Janabi? Zero. Democracy Now! devoted how many shows to Abeer? Zero.
The 14-year-old caught the eye of Steven D. Green. He and other soldiers decided to invade her home and gang-rape her. They'd also decided that everyone residing in the home would die, so that there would be no witnesses and the crimes could be blamed on Iraqi insurgents.
So they left base, forced their way into the home, started the gang-rape of Abeer with Green leading Abeer's parents and her five-year-old sister into another room where he shot them dead. And Abeer heard it as she was gang raped. She heard her parents murdered, she heard her little sister murdered. And the guys in the room took turns until Green joined them and he went last. At which point, he then shot Abeer dead.
To destroy evidence, they attempted to set her body on fire.
These were disgusting War Crimes. And the media remained silent. Even when soldiers were standing up in open court and admitting what they did, the media really wasn't interested. I slag on Arianna Huffington for a number of things but, to her credit, when Green went on trial, she made sure her site (The Huffington Post) covered it. Arianna took the trial more seriously than did any US outlet with the exception of the Associated Press.
Again, what took place with the urination was disrespectful. It does not, however, rise to the level of War Crimes. (Though the continued US occupation of Afghanistan may rise to the level of War Crimes.)
CBS News' Lara Logan was sexually assaulted while reporting from Egypt. For those who've forgotten, trashy Nir Rosen elected to mock her, to say she deserved it, to turn around and wish it on Anderson Cooper and much worse. (See Ava and my "The Damned Don't Apologize" if you've forgotten what he did or if you're new to the topic.) People who don't respect women don't usually respect people. That's why Nir could attack Lara and then, when called on it, think he could expand it beyond women by attacking Anderson.
People like Nir Rosen don't respect women and don't respect the people. Nir was 'brave' we were told, Nir was 'wonderful.' And when he finally got called out for his garbage, Amy Goodman and his other little friends avoided the issue. Amy Goodman, who please remember, is one of the few female broadcasting personalities who has ever elected to appear in Hustler magazine. They didn't call out their little buddy for the same reason that they didn't cover Abeer, they just don't care about women. And people like Nir never cared about the Iraqi people.
While some people were sounding alarms about Nouri's attempt to remain prime minister, others were excusing Nouri. In 2010, ahead of the elections, Nir was declaring that it really didn't matter and the Iraqi people didn't really care. Let's check those keen observations:
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"
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"PTSD and sexaul assault"
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