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Palestinian refugees displaced again as they flee Islamic State in Iraq

Palestinian Ambassador Nazmi Hazouri to Kurdistan speaks to Palestinian residents of Iraq and Kurdistan about the current situations in Gaza and Iraq. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)

Palestinian Ambassador Nazmi Hazouri to Kurdistan speaks to Palestinian residents of Iraq and Kurdistan about the current situations in Gaza and Iraq. (Photo: Abed Al Qaisi)

Qasi Mustafa Abu Khalil and his family packed all of their belongings into one car and fled their home in the middle of the night. They were too nervous to look back as they left Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq—all eyes were glued on the road for Islamic State (IS) checkpoints, and the sky for Iraqi Government military jets.

The Abu Khalil’s have lived as refugees in Iraq since their family fled Palestine in 1948 during Israel’s war of independence, which forcibly displaced over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and into the life of a refugee.

Today, like many Palestinians in Iraq, Abu Khalil and his family find themselves fleeing for their lives yet again. Over 300 Palestinians have recently fled the city of Mosul, which was taken over early June by The Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS), an offshoot of the Islamic militant group Al Qaeda.

“In my mind I don’t think I will ever come back to Mosul,” Abu Khalil told Mondoweiss.

Since IS’s siege of Mosul and the surrounding areas an estimated one million people have fled the area seeking refuge. These refugees have reported whippings in the streets, executions for smoking tobacco hookah pipes and a crackdown on the movement of women. Regular life has been turned upside down in Mosul, where IS militants decide the rules and who they believe are following them.

Abu Khalil said the problems in Mosul started with the IS’s takeover of the city but continued with the Iraqi Army’s airstrikes against the city after the seige. The airstrikes are meant to target IS but the people fleeing say they feel they are indiscriminate—leaving the people of Mosul constantly afraid from both the militants on the ground and the planes in the sky.

“It is scary now that these Islamic State people are in Mosul, because we can’t predict them, we don’t know what they want or if they like Palestinians. And now the Iraqi government is bombing everything. They’re doing this everywhere, the army airstrikes can hit anyone at anytime,” Abu Khalil said.

Issa Mustafa and his whole family have also fled Mosul, choosing an uncertain future over taking the risk that IS will decide being Palestinian is some sort of infraction.

“We got out of the whole situation in Mosul, it’s not safe to the people, to my family, to the Palestinians living there. We had a problem from the Islamic State from when they came into Mosul.  Because of this reason we left and got out, we don’t know where these Islamic State people are from, who supports them, what directions they have, or whether or not they will like Palestinians,” Mustafa told Mondoweiss.

His six children are all young and remain unaware of why they left their home at 2am to pile into their family car and flee from the only home they have known throughout their short lives. Mustafa is at least happy his children are young, he hopes by not knowing, they will keep their innocence.

Refugees fleeing Mosul have sought refuge in newly set up refugee camps beside or in Iraqi Kurdistan, or if they are lucky, with family and friends that live in safer areas under Kurdish Peshmerga control. However for Palestinians living in Mosul leaving the city was not easy and came with its own risks due to their nationality.

When IS came to their homes most Palestinians pretended to be Iraqi, in case being Palestinian would put them in danger.

“If they knew I was Palestinian, some of the Islamic State would probably want to kill me. The Islamic State people don’t know if we are Palestinian or not because we have the same accent as Iraqis, I have talked to them when they have come to my house and they have no idea I am Palestinian. But I was nervous when we left the city, if they ask you at a checkpoint for ID they will know we are Palestinian, and I don’t know what they would do after. On the Iraqi ID it says Palestinian refugee on it,” Abu Khalil said.

Many Palestinians still reside in Mosul, but can’t afford to leave. According Abu Khalil and Mustafa, most Palestinian families in the city are poor and just the travel to leave the city is out of their means.

The Palestinian Consulate in Erbil, Kurdish Iraq, is doing its best to keep up with all the cases of new Palestinian refugees fleeing areas under siege by IS, while attempting to help Palestinians avoid the newly created, and already crowded, UNHCR’s IDP camps.

“Some families are able to stay with friends they know or family they know in Erbil, many people in one room, but others are having to stay in tents in Khazir IDP Camp. We are trying to avoid this. And there still remain many Palestinian families left in Mosul as they simply cannot afford to leave, their only option has become to stay in this dangerous city of Mosul, we can only do so much,” Palestinian Ambassador Nazmi Hazouri told Mondoweiss.

Leaving Mosul has resulted in the displacement yet again of some Palestinian families, who are often treated like outsiders in their host country.

Mustafa said fears his sons will become refugees yet again with their future families, just as his he and his forefathers have for three generations before him.

“My grandfather and my father were refugees and now I am a refugee again and my sons are also now refugees from this,” Mustafa said. “My grandfather and myself are two time refugees, him in 1948 and 1967, me in 1967 and now. For my family it is now three times a refugee, 1948, 1967 and now. Palestinians have been tortured more than any other group in the world.”

Sheren Khalel and Matthew Vickery
About Sheren Khalel and Matthew Vickery

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk. Matthew Vickery is an independent multimedia journalist based in the Middle East with a focus on the Levant and Iraq. Follow Matthew on Twitter: @MMVickery

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27 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby on August 6, 2014, 11:56 am

    Same ISIS israel have no problem with, even support?

    • Bandolero
      Bandolero on August 6, 2014, 5:03 pm

      Some clips from the papers:

      Efraim Halevy, a former Israeli national security adviser and ambassador, who was director of the Mossad from 1998 to 2002, in NYT, 7/2/2012

      Iran’s Achilles’ Heel
      … Iran is intent on assuring its hold over the country regardless of what happens to Mr. Assad — and Israel and the West must prevent this at all costs. …

      Algemeiner, 4/6/2013

      Israeli Officials: We’d Prefer Al-Qaeda-Run Syria to an Assad Victory

      … According to Israel Hayom, senior Israeli officials were quoted as saying that “al-Qaeda control over Syria would be preferable to a victory by Assad over the rebels.” …

      Jpost, 17/9/2013

      ‘Israel wanted Assad gone since start of Syria civil war’

      … “Bad guys” backed by Iran are worse for Israel than “bad guys” who are not supported by the Islamic Republic, Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post in a parting interview. … This was the case, he said, even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated to al-Qaida. … “… With these Gulf States we have agreements on Syria, on Egypt, on the Palestinian issue. We certainly have agreements on Iran. This is one of those opportunities presented by the Arab Spring.”

      The Atlantic, 23/6/2014

      ‘Thank God for the Saudis’: ISIS, Iraq, and the Lessons of Blowback
      U.S lawmakers encouraged officials in Riyadh to arm Syrian rebels. Now that strategy may have created a monster in the Middle East.

      … Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra, to the point that a senior Qatari official told me he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, “ISIS has been a Saudi project.” …

      If this was a Kojak TV series, now the handcuffs should probabaly click. However, this is real life, and sadly, here is no Kojak in sight to arrest the culprits.

      • annie
        annie on August 6, 2014, 5:19 pm

        thanks for your comments bandolero. one thing thatmakes me curious, is anyone who was blogging about the ME during the iraq war, how could they not forget the neocons continually promoting an independent free kurdistan and the push for 3 separate states in iraq. and now, all we hear about it the hand wringing over how iraq may split apart. i read somewhere just recently it is already all but done. but the constant yammering implying it wasn’t always on the agenda….do people have such short memories?

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero on August 6, 2014, 6:53 pm


        I think many people around the world, many activists including, have still not learned a basic calculation of Zionists: Bloody conflict in the world, especially in the Arab and Muslim world, is always good for Israel. It functions as a diversion for Israel. While the world is preoccupied with very bloody conflicts in the Arab and Muslim world, Israel can build more settlements instead of making peace, can paint arabs and muslims as uncivilized savages, and Israel will get a pass for it’s role in inciting these conflicts because to say Israel and it’s lobby had indeed a major role in inciting such strife can be easily brushed away as anti-semitic. A secession of Iraq in three pieces would almost be a guarantee for a protracted bloody intra-arab/intra-muslim conflict in Iraq about borders and resources. It would thereby divert attention from Israel’s actions and it’s lobby.

        Remember when Benjamin Netanyahu said to a settler worried about the possible inevitability of peace in spring 2001: “America is something that can be easily moved. Moved to the right direction.They won’t get in our way.” Then came 9/11, the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war, and while the world was bleeding from that madness, Israel built many, many new settlements in the meantime. Then came Obama, who told Bibi that settlements had to stop, but shortly after that came the bloody conflicts of the so-called “Arab spring” – which was prepared by Feltman’s MEPI – and Israel builds many, many new settlements in the meantime. That’s how diversion by other conflicts works.

        Sadly, many people around the world still don’t understand that mechanism.

      • Kay24
        Kay24 on August 6, 2014, 7:59 pm

        Perhaps it is ignorance of how deadly associating with Israel can be, and how devious it is, that makes some Asian countries inviting them to slither into their nations. They are playing with fire. Australia is already corrupted by Israeli influence, so now they try to dominate SE Asia.
        The US is a good example of being controlled.

  2. Bandolero
    Bandolero on August 6, 2014, 1:52 pm

    That story sounds to me like it has been cooked up. I want to tell you why. Take this key paragraph:

    “It is scary now that these Islamic State people are in Mosul, because we can’t predict them, we don’t know what they want or if they like Palestinians. And now the Iraqi government is bombing everything. They’re doing this everywhere, the army airstrikes can hit anyone at anytime,” Abu Khalil said.

    From all what is known it’s very clear that ISIS or IS are not anti-Palestinian, and not so few ISIS members are Palestians themselves. There are rabidly sectarian, they are brutal, they are medieval extremists, but they are anti-national, for the ummah, they couldn’t care less what arab national ID an arab Sunni muslim has – they publish videos of their people being proud to burn their national ID cards, because their now only part of the ummah. As Palestinians are usual Sunni arabs, they have not more to fear as any other Sunni arab. The ones who have really to fear ISIS (and I find the argument that genocide might be a correct word for what ISIS is doing to them quite substantial) are Shia, Allawi, Alevi, Christians, Yezides and Kurds (who are suspected of being PKK/YPG communist infidels) as ISIS sectarian violence specificially target these sects with persecution and violence up to murder and mass murder for having the wrong religion. As far as I understand everyone in Mosul knows this because large parts of Mosul are run by IS, ISIS, ISI, Al Qaeda in Iraq or however these wahhabi jihadis call themselves for many years now.

    Add to this this paragraph:

    Abu Khalil said the problems in Mosul started with the IS’s takeover of the city but continued with the Iraqi Army’s airstrikes against the city after the seige.

    Really? Problems in that city where large parts were run by Al Qaeda and similar violent extremists for years, which had regular bombings, Al Qaeda openly collecting taxes, official Iraqi courts run by Al Qaeda, plenty of murders for illoyalty with Al Qaeda, and so on, problems started this June? I find such an assertion just outright ridicolous.

    I also note that the typical western propaganda meme against the Iraqi army is there: “the Iraqi government is bombing everything.” Really? Are we really to believe the story cooked by GCC anti-shia sectarian propagandists (and their Zionist helpers in western anti-Iranian Hasbara) that the evil Iranian-aligned Shia prime minister Maliki bombs “everything” – just because he’s pleased to bomb the Sunnis of Mosul? That said, the Iraqi airforce is doing airstrikes, and I guess it causes substantial collateral damage, but the meme pushed that the Iraqi airforce is bombing “everything” or even specifically civilians is ridiculous.

    Finally, three English language websites I’ld recommend to get a better idea of what’s currently going on in Mosul and Iraq then from reports from Erbil.

  3. john_manyjars
    john_manyjars on August 6, 2014, 3:57 pm

    I agree Bandolero- I was gathering mangoes over at other sites and it’s pretty transparent that the Hasbarists are wetting themselves over the 40,000 hill people being held hostage by ISIS, and the ISIS antics in general, as it provides a much-needed distraction from the Zionist filth on their Gaza murder spree.

    And of course, they view it as a moral equivalency-or worse, as ISIS are non-white and non-Xtian/Jewish after all, and therefore beneath contempt- but as bad as ISIS may be, I don’t see them getting 100% US Senate approval, or billions in US tax giveaways like we do for the ’51st State’ to continue its merry killing rampage.

    • annie
      annie on August 6, 2014, 5:15 pm

      as bad as ISIS may be, I don’t see them getting 100% US Senate approval, or billions in US tax giveaways

      it doesn’t work like that for covert ops, i don’t think. it comes byway of ‘democracy building’ ngos (think cia) who get USAID via the state dept. i don’t think the senate knowingly has to approve.

    • Bandolero
      Bandolero on August 6, 2014, 6:04 pm


      ISIS DID get major support from the US Senate. And now, surprise, surprise, ISIS did get that support from the US Senate especially from the very same people who are known as “best friends” of Israel there. Of course, the US Senate cannot pass a law to officially support Al Qaeda with US taxpayer money. But what US Senators can do – and did do – is to greenlight and encourage other friends of the US – who are also good, but covert friends of Israel and it’s lobby – to support ISIS and Al Qaeda and shield them from negative consequences like to get a listing as a state sponsor of terror from the US.

      Read the story from the Atlantic I quoted above on who created ISIS. It begins:

      “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told CNN’s Candy Crowley in January 2014. “Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar, and for our Qatari friends,” the senator said once again a month later, at the Munich Security Conference.

      McCain was praising Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services and a former ambassador to the United States, for supporting forces fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham had previously met with Bandar to encourage the Saudis to arm Syrian rebel forces.

      A couple of days ago, I already posted a link here to an article from David Hearst about the covert friendship between the Saudi monarchy and Israel and it’s lobby:

      Two interesting paragraphs from that article by David Hearst:

      And are the kingdom’s dealings with Israel really “limited to bring about a plan for peace”? You are privy to the cables, Mr. Ambassador. Tell us what passed between Prince Bandar and the Mossad director Tamir Pardo at that hotel in Aqaba in November last year. The Jordanians leaked it to an Israeli newspaper in Eilat. Were Bandar and Pardo: 1. soaking up the winter sun, 2. talking about the Arab Peace Initiative, or 3. plotting how to bomb Iran?

      And why are your new friends the Israelis being so loquacious? Why, to take the latest example, did Dan Gillerman, Israeli ambassador to the UN 2003-08, say at the weekend that “representatives from the Gulf states told us to finish the job in Gaza time and again.” Finish the job? Killing over 1,000 Palestinians, most of them civilian. Is that what you meant when you said “we will never do anything to harm them”?

      I’ld say it means nothing less than that the Saudis and the Israelis are in a covert strategic partnership, and one of the main purposes of that partnership is to weaken the position of Iran. Israel does so because Iran supports the Palestinians, and the Saudis do so because they see Iran as a strategic competitor for influence in the region. Israels assets in that partnership are mainly it’s lobby in Western countries, influence on western media, while Saudi assets in that partnership I’ld see mainly as money and Takfiri terrorists.

      From what I see Israel and the Saudis have brought those assets into play in quite similar ways against Iran’s allies in Libya, Syria and Iraq, and, in a longstanding Saudi-Israeli understanding in Lebanon, of course, too. But in recent years, the most desastrous application of these combined Saudi-Israeli assets was brought to play in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

      There is one more hint for that partnership in Iraq. Israel was the only country publicly backing Kurdish independence based on the argument that the Iraqi state led by Iran-friendly Shia, is finished anyway. At the same time,Iraqi insurgents allied with ISIS (they call themselves Tribes Revolutionary Council) met in Erbil, the center of Iraqi Kurdistan, to organize themselves better and to plot the conquest of Baghdad. Zionist media and lobbyists helped to further this agenda by tirelessly repeating “Maliki must go” and spreading largely unfounded rumors of unjust of oppression of Sunnis by Maliki-led Shia, therefore justifying the ISIS-aligned terror groups in Iraq.

      • just
        just on August 6, 2014, 6:10 pm

        super analysis and links, Bandolero!

      • Donald
        Donald on August 7, 2014, 12:12 am

        I don’t know about this–

        “spreading largely unfounded rumors of unjust of oppression of Sunnis by Maliki-led Shia”

        Depends on what you mean, I guess. “Largely unfounded” could mean exaggerated, but not entirely false.

        Amnesty and other human rights groups seem to have ample evidence of human rights violations by both sides, though ISIS is worse.

        link to amnesty international

        revenge killings of sunni detainees

        war crimes committed in the battle for mosul

        So does HRW


      • Bandolero
        Bandolero on August 7, 2014, 9:08 am


        Yes, there are reports of horrible human right abuses from the pro-government-side. Some are likely true. It’s a brutal war, in a brutalized society, so I expect to find brutality an all sides. And since the US has enrolled lot’s of Al Qaeda type jihadis into Iraqi government forces – the US called that strategy of arming and paying Al Qaeda type jihadis to remain silent for a while a successful surge, Sahwat, also known as Sons of Iraq – I would wonder to be it otherwise. What is called the “Iraqi Sunni uprising” is in part not only fighting against government, terror against Shia, but also score settling between jihadis and jihadi traitors who faught in the US-led Sahwat against their fellow jihadis.

        Other reports of human rights abuses I think are more likely fabrications to serve the goal of incitement of conflict. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and also the ICC I have seen in other conflicts to spread horrific war propaganda, directly serving emperial goals of inciting strife and justifying wars of aggression. Amnesty International has an especially infamous record of spreading war propaganda lies to incite mass killings. I will never forget that it was Amnesty International, who spread the “throwing babies out of incubators” story instead of uncovering the lie. When confronted with the allegation of spreading propaganda to incite war, Amnesty director Donatella Rovera once said: Amnesty is not an antiwar organisation.

        So now she is in Northern Iraq and publishes reports from there. And there are clearly signs in one of the Donatella reports you linked in from there that it is designed to cause more sectarian strife. Look what Donatella reports:

        “Iraq: Testimonies point to dozens of revenge killings of Sunni detainees”

        My main point of criticism here is the word “Sunni” – it suggests that Sunnis are the victims of sectarian violence and thereby serves to stir sectarian strife. And in her report, there is then even this: “He was killed along with a number of others by members of a Shi’a militia in the presence of the head of al-Wahda police station in in Ba’quba” When I read such an account all red lamps start to light in my head. They don’t name the militia who killed the man, and the only thing they pretend to know for sure, it was “Shia.” From Tel Afar I heard the opposite from what Donetella’s witness alleges: Al Qaeda jihadis rounded up shia and Kurd people in a kind of prison, then they massacred them there and spread images titled “Shia massacre Sunnis.”

        If Donetella and AI were honest, they would notice that the claims from partisan witnesses she spreads are highly doubtful and serve to incite sectarian strife. But Donetella does the opposite: she pushes the same GCC-zionist story of one sect killing another sect, Shia killing Sunnis, without any credible proof, in what I suspect to be an specific attempt by AI and Donatella to incite Sunnis against Shia and cause more sectarian warfare in Iraq. As she once said: “Amnesty is not an antiwar organisation.” Sometimes AI acts more like an organisation to spread war propaganda lies to cause more war.

      • Donald
        Donald on August 7, 2014, 10:00 am

        ” I will never forget that it was Amnesty International, who spread the “throwing babies out of incubators” story instead of uncovering the lie.”

        I remember that, and put it down to the fact that there is no organization or group of people that always gets it right. The Saddam regime did a lot of awful things, but not that particular awful thing, which was a PR invention. I don’t jump to the conclusion that Amnesty International is a pawn of Western imperialism. Human Rights Watch is biased in a pro-Western way , but criticism of them by lefties is also exaggerated. The fact is that if AI and HRW were pawns of the West they do an exceedingly bad job covering up the crimes of Western countries. They did a devastatingly effective job exposing Reagan Administration lies in Central America in the 80’s (or rather, one of HRW’s predecessor groups America’s Watch did). HRW (or rather, Middle East Watch) did a very thorough report on America’s air tactics in the Gulf War. HRW has done a good job documenting Israel’s crimes–the only flaw here is they often use the term “may be a war crime” about things which obviously are war crimes, but they get there in the end. (And yes, I’ve seen what Finkelstein and As’ad AbuKhalil say about them.) Amnesty International has called for an arms embargo on both sides. I’m for that, though the key word there is “both”.

        And of course AI isn’t an antiwar organization as such. They report on the violations of the laws of war, but their mission isn’t to take sides. In practice, if one side is committing most of the violations it will be clear if one reads their reports.

        Overall, even with their flaws I trust AI and HRW more than I trust people on the allegedly antiwar left to be accurate and to try to get the facts right, because they have the idea at least of trying to report all the information they have on atrocities of all sides. They’ll get it wrong sometimes, but that’s the ideal I want in a human rights organization–I wouldn’t trust an explicitly anti-Western imperialist organization much more than I’d trust, say, the mainstream press. The BS just comes in different forms. People on the anti-imperial left have our own political agendas, our own reasons for emphasizing this atrocity and de-emphasizing that one, for believing one source and not another. If that didn’t lead to us being unreliable and wrong sometimes we wouldn’t be human. And people on the antiwar left aren’t actually antiwar as such in many cases–just anti-Western war. It’s fine to concentrate on the crimes we as citizens are most responsible for, and in fact obligatory, but invariably some people on the antiwar left start taking sides and cheering for one side in a conflict and downplaying or denying their crimes. It happens in every single conflict where people on the anti-imperialist left are involved in protesting.

        In this case, merely from reading the AI and HRW reports it’s clear that ISIS is worse. And the idea that AI is deliberately trying to incite sectarian war in Iraq is something I’d need a hell of a lot more evidence for than what you provide in that last couple of paragraphs. Getting it wrong–yes, that’s possible. Deliberately inciting sectarian war–wildly unlikely.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 7, 2014, 11:09 am

        Donald, you are confounding the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that heard the bogus testimony about the babies/incubators with Amnesty International that had nothing to do with the super con pulled over the American public on live TV. I missed work that day to watch it on TV and I still remember it very clearly with the sobbing and choking all over her story of the 15-year old nurse “Nayirah” recounting how Sadam’s soldiers had left the 312 Kuwaiti babies on the cold floor to die to cart away the incubators back to Iraq. It even got me mad enough to wish for Bush I to invade Iraq. It was also enough to sway the American public to clamor for Bush to attack after having refused to back his proposal to do so for almost a year.

        In time the super hoax was proven for it was. It was part of a PR campaign orchestrated by the giant Washington firm of Hill and Knowlton that had been contracted since 6 months to soften the American public for a war on Iraq with 115 of its executives blitzing 12 major American cities to beat the drums of war and to capitalize on the incubator story.

        To cover the professional involvement in drumming up the war, State Department made look as if funding for Hill and Knowlton campaign would come from concerned grass root individuals. It was later declared that “concerned individuals” amounted to only 76 individuals and the actual cash raised from the 76 was only $17,000 whereas the rest of tab of $11 million for the campaign had been secretly picked up by the State of Kuwait. The worst revelation was that “Nayirah”, the 15-year old nurse that recounted the incubator story to the Senators wasn’t 15-years old and was actually the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador in Washington.

        That was Bush I’s super con that led to the first Gulf war. Bush II also pulled a stunt with the WMDs that led to the second Gulf war.

        For the nuts and bolts of the super-con:

      • Walid
        Walid on August 7, 2014, 11:24 am

        Sorry Donald, that was a quote by Bandolero and my reply should have been addressed to him.

      • Bandolero
        Bandolero on August 7, 2014, 12:22 pm

        Amnesty International DID play an important role in that super con war lie by using it’s good name to give it credibility. Francis Boyle remembers Amnesty’s role in that lie in an interview with Covert Action Quarterly:

        Of course the worst instance is well known, and that’s the Kuwaiti dead babies report. I was on the AI USA board at that time, it was the late Fall of 1990 and, as you know, we were on the verge of going to war. There was going to be a debate coming up in the United States Congress, and a vote. And at the end of November or so, mid-November, since I was a board member, I got a pre-publication copy of the Amnesty report on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. So I immediately read through this report and it was sloppy, it was inaccurate – even its statement of applicable law. It did not seem to me that it had gone through the normal quality control process.

        As for the allegation about the Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and putting them on the floor of the hospital where they died, I didn’t know if that was true or not, but it certainly sounded very sensationalist to me. And as a result of that, I made an effort to hold that report back for further review, on those grounds that I gave to you. I also enlisted a fellow board member for the same reason, and he and I both tried, and I made the point, even if this story about the dead babies is true, it’s completely sensationalist, and it is simply going to be used in the United States to monger for war, and could turn the tide in favor of war. And so you know, we really need to pull back on this, further review, more study.

        They wouldn’t do it. It was clear it was on the fast track there in London.

        Though it’s already a decade old and talks are there about another decade back then, I find it’s worth reading the whole interview. It reveals deficits in Amnesty, it reveals that Amnesty is not monolithic. There are many people in AI who are honest and do their best for human rights, while others in AI do not do that. They follow with their mouth where the money is, spread rumors, and, what I may add from my experience, outright lies. As these people battle in AI, sometimes AI puts out very useful information helping to stop imperial prime crimes, but sometimes the other side wins the internal battle and AI puts out propaganda lies serving the empire.


        I didn’t want to say that all what AI and HRW do is bad and all what they say is worng. However, sometimes they really do give credibility to ugly rumors intended to make a bad situation worse, and sometimes they are silent when a voice would be needed.

        Let me give an example. AI director Donetella was a big champion for regime change in Libya (and elsewhere in MENA), because Gaddafi was seen as a bad dictator and human rights violator. I remember Donatella giving an interview at the end of the year 2011 – after the war in Libya. She was asked about the widespread allegation that Libya gave masses of Viagra to it’s troops so they can use mass rapes as a weapon of war. That Viagra allegation was in many major media reported like a fact and from what I have seen it had a major role in Libyan “revolutionaries” torturing and “revenge-killing” Libyan soldiers, black people and raping Libyan women from families they deemed government-friendly. Donatella laughed, saying that nobody could have been so stupid to believe that Viagra lie. Who would believe that young black soldiers need Viagra to get it up? When the devastating lie was spread and people got murdered, tortured and raped due to that lie, she was silent. In my eyes it looks like an admission of having been an accomplice.

        So now you linked a statement by AI’s Donetella regarding Iraq. I said what I – besides that I regard Donetella as a very untrustworthy source for anything – have to criticize in her report. She put a decidedly sectarian spin on her AI report, “Sunni’s” were killed was alledged in title, and in the report there was a questionable, but unquestioned by Donatella, allegation of some unnamed “Shia militias” being the perpretrator of the crime. That I based my criticism of inciting sectarianism on, not that AI and HRW always lie for imperial interests.

        They, AI and HRW, do not always lie for imperial interests. In some cases they do good jobs, and also against imperial interests. But sometimes they do spread ugly lies in the interest of the empire, und even more often they peddle unfounded rumors of war propaganda which serve to incite more bloodshed.

        So, what I think is one should be very critical with reports from AI and HRW. That’s what I did, especially as I noticed a clearly misleading pattern I described above in western reporting on Iraq that does fit the AI and HRW storylines from there.

        My criticism of HRW I didn’t detail or source here, but it’s quite similar to my criticism of AI.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 7, 2014, 1:28 pm

        Bandolero, my mistake was in having taken off by reading only the quote with which Donald started his post. I hadn’t realized he was quoting you. Had I read your post in full, I’d have better understood what you said and agreed with it, of course. My mind has been on ISIS all day, the 100,000 Christians that had to flee in last night from the Qaraqosh and Al-Qosh areas of northern Iraq or the 130,000 Yazidis that fled to Turkey and the other 40,000 Yazidis stranded on mountain tops and dying because ISIS is waiting to slaughter them at the bottom and how the West is not reacting at all to all of this.

      • Walid
        Walid on August 7, 2014, 12:53 am

        “… And now, surprise, surprise, ISIS did get that support from the US Senate especially from the very same people who are known as “best friends” of Israel there. ”

        Saying that the ISIS people are Israel’s pals, is not using a figure of speech. The Turks, in spite their of their flag waving for Gaza, are not very far behind either. Of world leaders, Israel has almost as many covert friends as overt ones.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on August 7, 2014, 10:53 am
      • American
        American on August 7, 2014, 11:19 am

        Donald says:
        August 7, 2014 at 10:00 am
        ” I will never forget that it was Amnesty International, who spread the “throwing babies out of incubators” story instead of uncovering the lie.”

        I remember that, and put it down to the fact that there is no organization or group of people that always gets it right. >>>>>>

        Well you ‘put it down’ to the wrong thing. It was a purposeful lie to Amnesty by the Kuwait Housing Minister and a set up for interested parties to then use it on congress.
        Tom Lantos, the ‘holocaust survivor’ sheparded it into a congressional hearing to help instigate a cry for attacking Saddam.
        Here’s the real story.
        The invented story eventually broke apart and was exposed by CBC-TV’s Fifth Estate – Canada’s “60 Minutes” – in a program called “Selling the War.”

        Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990. “The country’s ruler, Sheik Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, fled into exile in his armour plated Mercedes, across the desert to neighbouring Saudi Arabia.” “Under the auspices of a group called Citizen for a Free Kuwait, which was really the Kuwait government in exile it hired the American PR firm Hill & Knowlton. The first mention of babies being removed from incubators appeared in the Sept. 5 edition of the London Daily Telegraph.

        The key moment occurred on October 10, when a young woman named Nayirah appeared in front of a congressional committee. She told the committee, “I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where 15 babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators and left the babies on the cold floor to die.”

        Lantos part in the deception….he knew the set up and who he was putting in front of congress with the lie.
        ” Lantos, the consummate prevaricator, said that Nayirah’s last name had to be kept confidential or otherwise her family in Kuwait might face reprisals from Iraqi occupiers. Nice try, but soon it was revealed that Nayirah’s actual last name was Al Sabah and that she was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States.”

      • Sassan
        Sassan on August 7, 2014, 4:22 pm

        What a sheer lie. U.S. NEVER supported ISIS. WE supported the Free Syrian Army which is the direct enemy of ISIS. They kill each other.

  4. American
    American on August 6, 2014, 5:23 pm

    Of the various descriptions of what ISIS is about this is the best I believe.

    ”All you need to know about ISIS and what is happening in Iraq”

    In a nutshell it is a ‘Sunni’ militant group. Even more rabid and probably smarter than ALQ who it broke from.
    ALQ was dedicated to removing ‘corrupt western influence’ from the ME and Islam.
    ISIS had doubled down on that and then some.
    Some try to claim the US is funding ISIS but I cant find or see any benefit to US interest in doing that—Saudi, otoh kicked started ISIS with their funding of the Syria Sunni rebels.
    My guessing says maybe Saudi and US, mostly Saudi ,will let ISIS clear out Shittes in countries where Sauds want them cleaned out and then try to take out ISIS before it turns to taking out the Sauds also for their few, but what AQL and now ISIS, consider too liberal reforms in Islamic Saudi Arabia.

  5. just
    just on August 6, 2014, 5:40 pm

    “”Palestinians have been tortured more than any other group in the world.””

    We have to undo the damage and give these people their stolen human rights back.

    In the meantime, I think that Iran would probably give them safe refuge.

  6. oldgeezer
    oldgeezer on August 7, 2014, 12:31 am

    I am beimg sarcastic when I say that what’s the issue? Israel will gladly let them escape the danger zone provided they sign away their basic human rights aka right of return. I’ve lpst 3 friends in the last week…Anyone else feel it’s not really worth it? Just curious. I’ll check back tomorrow. In the meantime the target is 0 Palestinian lives lost. We can do that can’t we? If we can’t then what’s the point.

    There really isn’t anyone pulling Israeli triggers other than Israelis . When will they accept that and understand it.

  7. Kay24
    Kay24 on August 7, 2014, 7:43 am
  8. oldgeezer
    oldgeezer on August 7, 2014, 7:44 am

    Surely if ISIS gains too much territory then Israel will need to invade and establish a security zone in order to ensure their self defense.

    I say that somewhat tongue in cheek as I don’t feel it’s speculation but actually part of the plan.

    Maybe I’m wrong but time will tell.

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