Monday, March 06, 2006

Iraqi women tell their stories on Democracy Now!

Mike just called to say he finally was able to log in. I told him I'd try to log into my account.

Here are two items quickly.

"Study: 90% of Baghdad Residents Suffer Psychological Disorders" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, the Washington Post is reporting a new study has found more than 90 percent of Baghdad residents suffer from psychological disorders such as insomnia, depression and post-traumatic stress. According to the study, violent incidents have nearly doubled during the three years since the invasion than in the preceding 14 years. A mass-exodus of educated professionals since the US invasion has left the country with only 75 psychiatrists -- and no child psychiatrists at all.

"Post Reporter Gave Back FBI Document in Possible Spy Case" (Democracy Now!):
Meanwhile, the Washington Post has revealed one of its reporters gave the FBI back a secret document he obtained from a group who said it contained proof they were targets of the government’s spy program. The reporter, David Ottaway, received the document from Saudi Arabia's al-Haramain Islamic Foundation in 2004. The document had been mistakenly handed over to the group by the federal government. The Post finally broke the group's story last week, when its Oregon affiliate filed a lawsuit against the government. The group says government records show the National Security Agency intercepted several of the group's conversations in the spring of 2004. Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie said the government's surveillance program was not known at the time Ottaway received the document, and thus contained no "useful information."

Those are two items from Democracy Now! that Mike and I picked out and I had intended to write on them. But that was before all the problems logging in.

So instead, let me note this.

"Iraqi Women Make Rare Trip to U.S. to Tell Their Stories of Life Under Occupation" (Democracy Now!):
AMY GOODMAN: I saw you both yesterday at the Community Church in New York where you were speaking along with Medea Benjamin and Cindy Sheehan, talking about the conditions in Iraq. Eman, you have been documenting human rights abuses.
AMY GOODMAN: You live in Baghdad?
EMAN AHMAD KHAMAS: I live in Baghdad.
AMY GOODMAN: What have you documented?
EMAN AHMAD KHAMAS: Well, I worked mainly on the bombed cities, the refugee camps. I also worked on the missing, a very big issue in Iraq now, that I don't think people here have any idea about. I worked on the detainees. These are the things that I worked on.
AMY GOODMAN: The missing?
EMAN AHMAD KHAMAS: The missing. Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?
EMAN AHMAD KHAMAS: Well, people are -- people disappear in Iraq. People are -- especially men --- arrested, and you don't hear anything about them later. For example, in the first -- in the first era of the war, between March 20 until April 9, when the Iraqi state fall down, people disappeared. There are eyewitnesses that these people were taken by the American troops. Some of them may be killed. Some of them may be in jail. But now, they don't exist.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, how do you find out? I mean, if you want to find out if someone has been jailed, what do you do?
EMAN AHMAD KHAMAS: There are eyewitnesses in the place that he disappeared, and they say that “We saw him, he was injured and was taken in an American tank or vehicle,” or “He was taken,” simply. We go to the -- and there is a very important point. There are prisoners injured who are released and they say that in our --- in our room and the place, we have this man and they give his description. Many things that no one else would know. Only the person who was with him.

This is a very important interview and the full transcript is up online, so if you're unable to watch or listen, you can read the interview and you should. The mainstream media hasn't provided you with many opportunities to hear Iraqis.

When Mike called, I was thinking, "It's late, I'm in the middle of a novel . . ." But I got online and the reason why was because this interview is important. Please make a point to check it out if you haven't already. Visit Mikey Likes It! to get his take on today's news. (Though from the way he sounded on the phone, he's probably not writing too much more than I have tonight.)