Agam's Gecko
Sunday, May 16, 2004

Frauds Try to Exploit Iraq Abuse Scandal

Fallujah native Abdul-Qader Abdul-Rahman al-Ani, his left elbow wrapped in bandages, his right forearm bound in a cast, recounted how he was beaten by soldiers who picked him up last month. The soldiers tied him and two others arrested with him to a tree and sodomized them one after the other, he told journalists.

"I ask President Bush," he said. "Does he agree with this?"

As Ani, 47, repeated his story, he was interrupted by Jabber al-Okaili, a member of one of the human rights groups that organized the gathering. "He's lying," al-Okaili shouted. "He's a liar!"

Al-Ani was rushed to an office, where al-Okaili and others unwound the bandage on his left arm and found the elbow unscarred and healthy.

[via Tim Blair, who says that German TV has been showing the video footage of the incident, without the part that reveals the complainer as a fake.]

It bothers me a lot to see the infiltration in this region of Saudi-funded, radical Wahabist ideology and the indoctrination into normally tolerant Asian societies through religion based schools. This is a big factor in Southern Thailand, it's a serious problem in Indonesia, heck some of these radical ideological freaks have even been tossed out of Cambodia (there is a small but very old Muslim community around the capital area). So it's good to know that at least somebody is paying attention to this issue:
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Michael K. Young will join Senator Susan M. Collins and Representative Dan Burton at an on-the-record press conference on Capitol Hill on May 13 to announce the decision of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Government Reform Committee to request that the General Accounting office (GAO) undertake a comprehensive review of U.S. oversight of Saudi support for an ideology promoting violence and intolerance globally. In conducting the study, the GAO will seek information from relevant U.S. government agencies and will consult with outside experts on Saudi promotion of religious extremism, including the USCIRF. The findings of the study will be presented in a public report, although some of the information obtained may be classified.
[via Instapundit]

Spanish troops find their return home bittersweet, says the Boston Globe:
"We should have stayed and finished our mission," said Jose Francisco Casteneda, 29, who was among four sergeants who gathered at a local restaurant Thursday -- sharing newly developed snapshots of their time in Iraq. Each image rekindled all of the intensity and emotion of what they saw during their mission. . .

The TV footage of the ceremony shows Zapatero flashing a broad smile that political cartoonists love to lampoon. The soldiers said they couldn't hide their disappointment that the prime minister did not directly address them and left it to Defense Minister Jose Bono.

"A lot of us were wondering, 'Who is this parade for anyway?' " Collado asked. . . .

Torvisco, who suffered shrapnel wounds, said it was difficult for him to discuss his service.

"The great majority do not understand what we were doing there or what we went through," Torvisco said. "I think it was worth it to bring peace to a country at war, as we had helped to do in Kosovo and Afghanistan. But I also know that I won't be able to convince a lot of people in this country of that."
[Also lifted from Instapundit ]

OK, the other day it was journalists who can't pronounce the names of where they report from, today it's the technology-embracing and altogether hip BBC (ok, ok, it's the radio branch, but still...) on the phenomenon of Web Logs, or Blogs. From a very interesting transcript of their Webchat with Salam Pax - the original Baghdad Blogger (who has now gained fame if not fortune with his writing for the Guardian UK, the book deal, soon to be a major motion picture, etc.)
Listen to Salam Pax, as he talked to the Today Programme about his Web Blog . . .

A last word from Salam:
Thanks everyone for reading my webblog . . .
Web. Log.

weblog . . blog . . we blog . . . . geddit?

I love those little nuggets out of history, sometimes little-known asides by participants that might reveal something about themselves, often in a humourous way. I had taped something from the tv last week, and the tape caught a teaser for the C-SPAN program Booknotes - an interview with author Charles J. Ogletree, discussing his book "All Deliberate Speed" Reflections on the first half century of Brown v Board of Education.

Of course we all know this as the landmark US Supreme Court ruling which was the first step to removing the segregation of public schools. Mr. Ogletree was shown explaining how the issue was whether the Supreme Court would end "Plessis (sp?) vs. Ferguson" - the 1896 doctrine or philosophy of "separate but equal"
It's reported, based on memoranda held by justices then, that Chief Justice Fred Vincent from Kentucky was one of the five who would uphold Plessis and not integrate the schools. Amazingly, on Sept. 8, 1953, after the case had been argued and they were waiting for a decision, Fred Vincent died. It was clear that Felix Springford (the name was unclear, maybe incorrect), Harvard Law School professor and member of the court, who was very bright, did not like Vincent. It's reported that he said, at the time of Vincent's death - his Chief Justice and a colleague - he said, "This is the first indication that I've ever had, that there is a God."

Well, it made me laugh, anyway. I also saw earlier this week, that the case of the murder of Emmett Till has been reopened in Mississippi. Emmett was a young boy of the wrong pigmentational persuasion who made the fatal mistake of whistling at a white woman, also in the year 1953. A recent PBS documentary had looked at the events, not even with the aim of pushing for a retrial but just for documentary purpose. People started coming forward, and before you know it, a new trial has been ordered. I read somewhere that there are now something like 26 of these old Jim Crow era cases being reopened.

The London tabloid Daily Mirror has been engaged in a war of words with the British government, over the photos they published hot on the heels of the prison abuse pictures aired by CBS. This is a paper that indulges in 5" tall headlines when cornered, which stated that "WE TOLD THE TRUTH!" Well . . . you could knock me over with a feather . . . apparently they didn't.

The Mirror has finally admitted that they were the victims of a malicious hoax. The pictures were all staged, completely faked, just like the Queen's Lancaster Regiment had maintained all along. The editor was last seen sprinting away from fellow journalists asking if he would resign. The poor fellow showed the bravery and fortitude of the best in journalistic ethics, and stubbornly refused to apologise - whereupon the Mirror's board of directors promptly fired him with immediate effect.

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