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Donald & Saddam
Brazilian Butt Fill
E. Wayne Ross
Mark t. Harris
Huibin amee Chew
Gay & Lesbian Community Notes
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Donald & Saddam
S addam Hussein has gone on trial, but questions remain unasked by mainstream U.S. journalists about Donald Rumsfeld’s 1983 meeting with Hussein in Baghdad on behalf of the Reagan administration. The initial trial of Saddam and co-defendants is focusing on grisly crimes that occurred the year before Rumsfeld shook Saddam Hussein’s hand. “The first witness, Ahmad Hassan Muhammad, riveted the courtroom with scenes of torture he witnessed after his arrest in 1982, including a meat grinder with human hair and blood under it,” the New York Times reported on December 6.
The victims were Shiites—143 men and adolescent boys, according to the charges—tortured and killed in the Iraqi town of Dujail after an assassination attempt against Hussein in early July 1982.
On December 20, 1983 the Washington Post reported that Rumsfeld “visited Iraq in what U.S. officials said was an attempt to bolster the already improving U.S. relations with that country.” A couple of days later, the New York Times cited a “senior American official” who “said that the United States remained ready to establish full diplomatic relations with Iraq and that it was up to the Iraqis.”
On March 29, 1984 the Times reported: “American diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied with relations between Iraq and the United States and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been restored in all but name.” Washington had some goodies for Hussein’s regime, the Times account noted, including “agricultural-commodity credits totaling $840 million.”
A few months later, on July 17, 1984, a Times article with a Baghdad dateline reported that the U.S. “granted Iraq about $2 billion in commodity credits to buy food over the last two years.” The story recalled that “Donald Rumsfeld, the former Middle East special envoy, held two private meetings with the Iraqi president here,” and the dispatch mentioned in passing, “State Department human rights reports have been uniformly critical of the Iraqi President, contending that he ran a police state.”
Full diplomatic relations between Washington and Baghdad were restored 11 months after Rumsfeld’s December 1983 visit with Saddam.
As the most senior U.S. official to visit Iraq in six years, Rumsfeld served as Reagan’s point man for warming relations with Hussein. In 1984, the Administration engineered the sale to Baghdad of 45 ostensibly civilian-use Bell 214ST helicopters. Hussein’s military found them useful for attacking Kurdish civilians with poison gas in 1988, according to U.S. intelligence sources. “In response to the gassing,” journalist Jeremy Scahill has pointed out, “sweeping sanctions were unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate that would have denied Iraq access to most U.S. technology. The measure was killed by the White House.”
U.S. big media institutions did little to illuminate how Washington and business interests combined to strengthen and arm Saddam Hussein during many of his worst crimes. “In the 1980s and afterward, the United States underwrote 24 corporations so they could sell to Saddam Hussein weapons of mass destruction, which he used against Iran, at that time the prime Middle Eastern enemy of the United States,” writes Ben Bagdikian, former assistant managing editor of the Washington Post , in his book The New Media Monopoly . “Hussein used U.S.-supplied poison gas” against Iranians and Kurds “while the United States looked the other way.”
Of course the crimes of the Saddam Hussein regime were not just in the future when Rumsfeld came bearing gifts in 1983. Saddam’s large-scale atrocities had been going on for a long time.
A photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking Hussein’s hand on December 20, 1983, is easily available. But the picture has been absent from the array of historic images that U.S. media outlets are providing to viewers and readers in their coverage of the Saddam Hussein trial. Journalistic mention of Rumsfeld’s key role in aiding the Iraqi tyrant has been similarly absent. Apparently, in the world according to U.S. mass media, some history matters profoundly and some doesn’t matter at all.
Norman Solomon is the author of War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.