BULLY BOY PRESS & CEDRIC'S BIG MIX -- THE KOOL-AID TABLE
AFTER THREE DAYS OF A MASSIVE MISUSE OF F.B.I. RESOURCES AND MANPOWER, THE HUNT FOR THE CORPSE OF JIMMY HOFFA HAS ENDED.
AND IT ENDED WITHOUT IT BEING FOUND.
SUPPOSEDLY, OUR GOVERNMENT IS IN THE MIDST OF A FISCAL CRISIS.
BUT THE JUSTICE DEPT., HEADED BY ERIC HOLDER, DECIDED WE COULD WASTE THE MONEY TO LOOK FOR A CORPSE THAT'S BEEN A CORPSE FOR OVER FOUR DECADES.
AND NOT THE CORPSE OF MOTHER TERESA OR JONAS SALK, BUT THE CORPSE OF A CONVICT AND MOBSTER.
THANK YOU, ERIC HOLDER, FOR YET AGAIN WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS.
REACHED FOR COMMENT BY THESE REPORTERS THIS MORNING, ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER INSISTED THE F.B.I. WOULD CONTINUE TO WASTE TAX PAYER MONEY, "I'VE GOT A TIP THAT SANTA ISN'T REALLY LIVING IN THE NORTH POLE! SOMEONE SPOTTED HIM IN MEMPHIS -- NEAR GRACELAND! -- I'M ORGANIZAING A MASSIVE MANHUNT AS WE SPEAK!"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Some people leave Iraq, some people come in. There's very little
discussion of either departures or arrivals -- especially when they take
place for for less than humane reasons. Today, US Secretary of State
John Kerry spoke of the issue of human trafficking.
Secretary John Kerry: Thank you very much, and welcome, all of you, to this remarkable
room, a room named after a Founding Father who was a lonely voice
against slavery long before there was a United States of America. And it
is called the Franklin Room, and you can see Ben Franklin looking over
us from the wall over there above the fireplace. It’s fitting that we
gather here today in this room in order to mark the importance of our
country remaining committed to this message that we send to all of the
Thank you, Ambassador. Thank you, Lou, for your kind words. Thank you
most importantly, I think everybody here would join me in agreeing, you
are a TIP hero and we thank you for everything you’ve done these past
years. (Applause.) And I want to thank you and your team and everybody
who works in the Trafficking in Persons Office. Thank you, all of you
who are part of this effort today and those of you around the world who
helped produce this report. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into
this. This is a year-long effort. We’re already working on the next one
and we will make measurements that are based in fact and common sense.
To our TIP Report heroes who have made a very long journey on very
short notice, we welcome you here and we’re very grateful for your
efforts. And everybody here will get to share in the remarkable
individual, personal journeys that they represent.
When we think of the scale of modern-day slavery – literally tens of
millions who live in exploitation – this whole effort can seem daunting.
But it’s the right effort. And there are countless voiceless people,
countless nameless people except to their families or perhaps a phony
name by which they are being exploited, who look to us for their freedom
and for the possibility of life itself. It’s no understatement to say
that we are working to tackle an issue that millions of people assumed
had been dealt with a long time ago.
But the problem unfortunately persists, and I hate to say in some
places can grow, and the challenge continues. And that is why the
inspiring examples that are here today remind us not just that we have
work to do, but that the actions of a single person can make all the
difference in the world and they can actually bring so many lives out of
bondage, out of the shadows, out of darkness. So I thank our TIP heroes
for their very personal individual commitment, for the example that
they set. And I thank all of you, those here and millions of others who
are out there waging this battle. I thank them all for their commitment.
I want to acknowledge Somaly Mam, who is a survivor, who was a TIP
Report hero in 2005, and who is a hero every single day in helping women
and girls who have been abused to try to get their lives back.
I’m also particularly happy to be joined here today by Congressman
Chris Smith. I’ve worked with Chris on this stuff. There’s nobody more
committed or dedicated. So thank you, Chris, for your strong voice and
leadership in these efforts. (Applause.) Trafficking in persons is one
of those rare issues that can bring people together across the aisles
without regard to ideology and without regard to politics, and that’s
the way it ought to be. I appreciate Chris’s advocacy on this issue. For
years together in Congress, we were able to work on this and some other
issues. And it’s no understatement to say that he was banging the drum
on this long before many in Congress even knew the term “trafficking in
persons” or understood what it really meant.
Lou mentioned a number of great American diplomats, but he left one
out, and that was one of our first African-American ambassadors,
Frederick Douglass. A century later, the Douglass family continues to
fight against all forms of slavery. And his direct descendant, Kenneth
Morris, who is the head of the family’s foundation, is here with us
today. He just came from the Capitol, where today Douglass was honored
at long last in our National Statuary Collection. And we welcome Ken
here. Thank you for being here with us today. Appreciate it. (Applause).
I know that's a long excerpt but if the issue is important -- and it is -- it's important to recognize those who work on it. Feminist Majority Foundation has noted, "The three most common forms of trafficking are labor
trafficking, including child labor, child soldiering and sweatshop
work; sex trafficking, including child sex tourism and 'mail order'
brides; and domestic servitude."
The State Dept's report is entitled "Trafficking in Persons Report 2013"
[available at the link in PDF or HTML]. Human trafficking is a global
problem. It's not limited to Iraq. It takes place in the United
States, it takes place everywhere. In fact, from the report, here's a
US horror story:
For over 20 years, the owners and staff of a turkey-processing plant
subjected 32 men with intellectual disabilities to severe verbal and
physical abuse. The company housed the workers in a “bunkhouse” with
inadequate heating, dirty mattresses, and a roof in such disrepair that
buckets were put out to catch rainwater; the infestation of insects was
so serious the men swatted cockroaches away as they ate. Although the
men were as productive as other workers, the company paid them only $15 a
week (41 cents an hour) for labor that legally should have been
compensated at $11-12 an hour. The employers hit, kicked, and generally
subjected the men to abuse, forcing some of the men to carry heavy
weights as punishment and in at least one case handcuffed a man to a
bed. Supervisors dismissed complaints of injuries or pain, denied the
men recreation, cellphones, and health care. The U.S. government filed
an abuse and discrimination case against the company for damages under
the Americans with Disabilities Act. During the trial, the attorney
representing the men said: “The evidence is these men were treated like
property…these men are people. They are individuals.” A jury awarded the
men a total of approximately $3,000,000, the largest jury verdict in
the history of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
That company is Hill County Farms (aka Henry's Turkey Service) and Yuki Noguchi reported on the horrors for All Things Considered (NPR -- report is audio, text and transcript) May 16th:
YUKI NOGUCHI: During the day, the men worked at a nearby processing plant, gutting
turkeys under the watchful eye of a contractor called Hill County Farms,
which was paid to oversee the men's work and living arrangements. Those
supervisors hit, kicked, handcuffed and verbally abused the men, who
were paid $2 a day. This went on for three decades, affecting 32 men. [Susan] Seehase (director of a support center)
says medical exams later revealed the men suffered diabetes,
hypertension, malnutrition, and festering fungal infections that had
SUSAN SEEHASE: Roots of teeth were exposed.
NOGUCHI: She says it went on and on because the men knew nothing better, and no one reported the abuse.
Their life experiences didn't tell them that there was really another
option for them. It's incredibly difficult to try to understand. And I
have no explanation. And I don't know who can explain how this really
Again, human trafficking is a global horror. One of the most common misconceptions? As the State Dept report notes:
"Trafficking doesn’t happen here." Approaching human trafficking
as a crime that occurs only in far off places ignores situations of
forced labor or sex trafficking that may be happening closer to home.
Human trafficking is not a problem that involves only foreigners or
migrants, but one faced in nearly every corner of the world involving
citizens who may be exploited without ever leaving their hometown.
The US Ambassador at Large to Monitor Combat Trafficking in Person, Luis
CdeBaca, notes in the State Dept report's introduction that an
estimated 27 million people are trafficked worldwide but that, using
data provided by the governments of various countries, "only around
40,000 victims have been identified in the last year." The actual
number, from the report, is 46,570 which is an increase from 2011
(41,210) but still lower than the high of 2009 (49,105) (please note
these numbers begin with 2008). Of the 46,570 identified in 2012, only
7,705 resulted in trials and a little over half of those trials
resulted in convictions (4,746). From those numbers on trafficking,
it's broken down further for trafficking in prostitution alone, 1,153
went to trial and only 518 -- less than half -- resulted in
convictions. Again this is a global horror.
We do focus on Iraq here, so that's what we'll zoom in on. The report
notes, "Iraq is a source and destination country for men, women, and
subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor." Let's start with the
trafficking of Iraqis:
Iraqi women and girls
are subjected to sex and labor trafficking within the country and in
Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Iran,
Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. An international organization reported cases of
forced prostitution in the city of Tikrit; sex traffickers sell girls
and women from Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Syria for the approximate equivalent
of $1,000-5,000. Criminal gangs reportedly prostitute girls from
outside of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) in the provinces of Erbil,
Dahuk, and Sulaymaniyah. An Iraqi official revealed that criminal
networks have been involved in sex trafficking of boys and girls. An NGO
reported that sex traffickers rape women and girls on film and
blackmail them into prostitution or recruit them in prisons by posting
bail and then forcing them into prostitution via debt bondage. An
international organization alleged that police officers and other
members of the security forces kidnapped women and girls and forced them
into prostitution in Kirkuk and Salah ad-Din Provinces. Some women and
children are pressured into prostitution by family members to escape
desperate economic circumstances. NGOs report that women are prostituted
in private residences, brothels, restaurants, and places of
entertainment. Some women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking
within Iraq through the use of temporary marriages (muta’a), by
which the family of the victim receives money in the form of a dowry in
exchange for permission for the woman or girl to be married for a
limited period of time, during which she is subjected to labor and sex
trafficking. Women are also subjected to forced domestic service through
forced marriages and the threat of forced divorce, and women who flee
such marriages or whose husbands divorce them are often vulnerable to
further forced labor or sexual servitude. Criminal gangs reportedly
subject children to forced begging and other types of forced labor.
The large population of internally displaced persons and refugees in
Iraq are particularly at risk of being subjected to forced labor and sex
trafficking. An international organization observed that Syrian
refugees in the Domiz refugee camp in Dahuk, Iraq, are particularly
vulnerable to trafficking. Specifically, women may begin commercially
dependent relationships with Iraqi men, men enter into employment
without contracts, and children are increasingly pressured to engage in
begging. In previous years, some Iraqi refugees in Syria reportedly
contracted their daughters to work as maids in Syrian households, where
some of them were reportedly raped, forced into prostitution, or
subjected to forced labor. In other instances, Iraqi refugees’ children
remained in Syria while their parents departed the country in search of
improved economic circumstances, leaving the children vulnerable to
trafficking. Previously, Iraqi sex trafficking victims deported from
Syria on prostitution charges were vulnerable to re-trafficking by
criminal gangs operating along the border. Iraqi refugees who
involuntarily return to Iraq from Syria are highly vulnerable to
exploitation and trafficking, due in part to the fact that female and
child returnees typically do not have a support network or community to
which they return.
Some Iraqis are trafficked within the borders of Iraq, some are
trafficked outside the border to another country. What of those
non-Iraqis who come to Iraq hoping for work or fleeing violence in their
Iraq is also a destination for men and women who migrate from
Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka,
Thailand, Pakistan, Georgia, Jordan, Ethiopia, and Uganda and are
subsequently subjected to involuntary servitude as construction workers,
security guards, cleaners, handymen, and domestic workers. Women from
Iran, China, and the Philippines reportedly are subjected to forced
prostitution in Iraq. Some foreign migrants are recruited for work in
other countries such as Jordan or the Gulf States, but are forced,
coerced, or deceived into traveling to Iraq, where their passports are
confiscated and their wages withheld, ostensibly to repay labor brokers
for the costs of recruitment, transport, food, and lodging. Other
foreign migrants are aware they are destined for Iraq, but once in the
country, find the terms of employment are not what they expected or the
jobs they were promised do not exist, and they are forced to live in
work camps with substandard conditions. The Government of Nepal
continues to ban its citizens from migrating to Iraq for work.
The report classifies Iraq as a "Tier 2" country and explains,
"Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA's minimum
standards but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into
compliance with those standards." TVPA stands for "Trafficking Victims Protection Act." How did it garner that rating? From the report:
The Government of Iraq does not fully comply with the minimum
standards for the elimination of trafficking, but it is making
significant efforts to do so. The government conducted some
investigations and at least one prosecution under the 2012
anti-trafficking law. The government also established an
anti-trafficking department in the interior ministry, which collected
human trafficking law enforcement data and operated the newly
established anti-trafficking hotline. The inter-ministerial Central
Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons was active in furthering the
government’s anti-trafficking efforts throughout the reporting period.
The committee met multiple times, publicized its meetings to raise
awareness about trafficking, and included participants from
international organizations, foreign governments, and NGOs. Despite
modest improvements in law enforcement efforts, the government failed to
investigate or punish government officials complicit in
trafficking-related offenses. Moreover, the government demonstrated
minimal efforts to identify and assist victims of forced labor and sex
trafficking, including those incarcerated for prostitution violations.
The government continued to arrest, detain, and prosecute victims of
forced prostitution and prohibit NGOs from operating shelters to protect
sex trafficking victims. Nonetheless, law enforcement officials worked,
on a limited basis, with NGOs and international organizations to refer
some victims to protection services. The government also established a
location for a temporary and permanent shelter for trafficking victims
and drafted shelter guidelines.
Last January, Iraq's Deputy at the Ministry of Interior, Adnan al-Assadi, was quick to proclaim to Alsumaria
that he was on the job and was letting the European Union know, adding,
"These workers enter the country either legally or illegally and some
companies oppress them, hurt them or ridicule them in an inhumane way."
Does anyone else see a problem?
How about the fact that he's only focusing on the trafficking of
non-Iraqis and his statements ignore the fact that Iraqis are being
trafficked (in and out of Iraq).
He might need to refer to the State Dept's remarks on common misconceptions.
If he seemed defensive at the start of the year, he had every reason to
be. For years now, Iraq's government has claimed it was addressing (and
solving!) the issue. In 2009, Rania Abouzeid (Time magazine) reported on the efforts of the Iraqi government to respond to State Dept condemnation on this issue. Abouzeid also noted:
As a TIME.com story detailed,
trafficking in Iraq is a shadowy underworld where nefarious female
pimps hold sway and impoverished mothers sell their teenage daughters on
the sex market. (See pictures of a women's prison in Baghdad.)
Do we need to repeat that in bold a few more times?
The reason I ask is, for years now, starting with the New York Times 'reporting' that women who had died were "prostitutes," through the more recent attempt this year of AFP to pimp that lie, we have noted it is nonsense. If a group of women die, why would you besmirch their names?
Can a woman in Iraq be called anything worse than a prostitute? Had
she been branded that and lived, she would have risked being murdered in
a so-called 'honor' crime. The New York Times, to its credit, backed off from that nonsense. It seemed to be long gone. And then? Dropping back to the May 22nd snapshot:
Alsumaria adds that an attack on a Baghdad home left 10 women and 4 men dead, an armed clash in Mosul left 1 rebel dead and two Iraqi soldiers injured, and they update the toll on the Kia mini-bus bombing noting 1 dead and seven injured. Fars News Agency reports 1 corpse was discovered by Camp Ashraf. AFP insists
that the Baghdad home was a brothel. They provide no quotes from
neighbors maintaining that and, after the attack, they weren't allowed
to enter the home so apparently AFP's confessing to visiting it before
the attack? They note, "Soldiers and police mainly armed with
Kalashnikov assault rifles and
pistols cordoned off the site, which was visited by high-ranking
officers." Considering the stigma attached to prostitution in Iraq, I'm
always amazed at how glibly some outlets are when it comes to making
that charge about the just murdered. They don't even wait a day. They
can't ever prove it, but it's apparently the thing to say when women
die: "Prostitute." Since they're so comfortable with it, maybe the need
get off their little asses and start reporting on who is visiting these
alleged brothels? Or would that take all the fun out of their smearing
dead women? And note, it's not an even an 'allegation,' it's presented
as fact. Because smearing Iraqis -- especially dead Iraqis -- has
always been a favorite hobby of the western press.
Can AFP explain how, the day the women died, the 'news' agency is able to say they were prostitutes? Were their johns AFP correspondents?
If not, what are they basing it on? Hearsay. Imagine that, Iraq might
be just like every other country on the face of the earth in that it has
nosy and judgmental neighbors.
The neighbors don't know anything, they've just formed judgments. Like
the Iraqis who attacked the LGBT community formed judgments. No one
deserves to be harmed or attacked for the 'crime' of falling in love.
But not only did it happen, some of the targeted men and women weren't
even gay or lesbian. But they got targeted because of small minded,
Why AFP would want to help that along is beyond me.
But let's assume for just one second that the women in that house
'entertained' men. That still doesn't mean they were prostitutes. They
might not have been willing sex-workers, they may have been the victims
of human trafficking.
If that is the case, then AFP not only besmirched their reputations, AFP also
allowed these women to be defined by the very criminals who trafficked
them. Maybe in light of the State Dept's report today, AFP can take a look at that? And among the misconceptions mentioned in the report that AFP might want to consider in light of their 'reporting'? Try this one:
“She’s free to come and go.” Popular images of human trafficking
include dramatic kidnappings and people held under lock and key. More
common, but less visible, methods of control include psychological
coercion, debt bondage, withholding of documents and wages, and threats
of harm. As in domestic abuse cases, observing a person out in public or
taking public transportation does not mean that she is free from the
effective control of her trafficker.
(By the way, we were being kind May 22nd. Since we're addressing it again, the author of that report was W.G. Dunlop.)
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