Friday, October 26, 2007

All the News That's Iffy

Saw this headline on more than a couple of sites today, WRH and Antiwar. IRAQ: Child prisoners abused and tortured, say activists.

Antiwar made no comment on the headline but Rivero at WRH states: "Done with your tax dollars and in your names. The torture of children: doesn't it make you feel proud??"

Rivero takes his usual leap with fuzzy logic.

The story, from IRIN and source Khalid Rabia'a state : "According to Rabia'a, child prisoners between 13 and 17 are being accused of supporting insurgents and militias. Most were detained during Iraqi army military operations in the Baghdad neighbourhoods of Adhamiya, Latifiya, Alawi, Doura and Hay al-Adel.

---- Um, well, unfortunately those between ages 13-17 often are insurgents (and younger recruits). Not saying they deserve torture, nor to say there is no abuse of youth in Iraq jails. Iraqis juvenile jailers are no different than juvenile guards in the USA. And remember Martin Lee Anderson. Or Genarlow Wilson – you think a 17 year old imprisoned for a blowjob, when he should be in his dorm, isn't torture?

But when the accusation is child torture in my name with my dollars I gotta look at the source. (And I'm still looking for the same concerned white folks upset over incarcerated and tortured children in the US.)

From IRIN Middle East, their blurb states : " ... IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) is part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, but its services are editorially independent. Its reports do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations and its agencies, nor its member states."

Okay, "part of the UN" and yet "editorially independent." Believe it or not Ripley.

IRIN's budget and stats are here. IRIN Liaison Officer is Mark Dalton, 1 UN Plaza, New York, NY, USA Tel: +1 917 367 2422, – but remember, IRIN is independent of the UN, its agencies, or member states, ummm yessiree Bubba, in-de-pen-dent.

Here's how it works: IRIN hires a few locals, who, with IRIN supplied guidelines on the type of news the IRIN has in mind – good, bad, the ugly – the local reporter writes the story which is then given to local IRIN desk jockeys who polish it to suit the tastes of their particular subscribers (and donors) and then send it to the big office.

Included in the stats and budget there are glowing thematic reports from IRIN "journalists" on such issues as HIV/AIDS (comic books explaining the disease), analysis and research and updates on the fight against malaria (only been fighting that one since Adam and Eve), "honour crimes" - how those barbaric African and Middle Eastern men maim and murder women who dishonor the family (known as domestic violence in the Anglo world). Feel good fotos and oh-how-sad pics included. Also fotos (below) of folks like Jan Egeland, former United Nations UG for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator from June 2003 to December 2006.

Mr. Egeland is patiently explaining to the natives how white folks just want to help.

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