Olive Branch Optimism
what a wonderful world...
Monday, August 29, 2005
In Gods Hands Now
A parcel full of prayers,
was set upon its way.
To brighten up the future,
and warm the sunshines ray.
Hopefully soon it shall arive,
to its first destination.
Then on to Mosul,
to become sunshines salvation.
So I beg of you all tonight,
say a prayer to protect,
this ever so precious package,
surround it with hopeful light.

For Sunshine By [olivebranch]

The package is on its way with your Terbutaline inhaler and your Pulmicort inhaler. I hope you receive it soon. Please everyone, say your prayers for this package. It worked before, it should work now.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Hey everyone!
Check it out!

Me & Mike Allen, who helped me campaigning for Khalid have created a blog designated to reviewing other peoples blogs!!! Now I know, we are not the first to do this, and I don't wish to take credit away from people like IraqBlogCount, who have done more than their fair share for the blog community, but I think it will become a major 'hub' for people looking for a particular view on the Iraq situation.

There will also be other blogs we read and enjoy reviewed, and we hope it will become a center for us to use in our own research, as a remote 'bookmarks page', and as a place to direct people when they ask about our favourite blogs, and where to find reliable sources.

It is essentially a "Bloggers Blog of Blogs" as we aptly named it :)

Mike is only new to the blogsphere, and writing his own blog, so he doesn't post quite as much, YET. It will also be a place where we can post a list of "exciting recent posts" from our favourite bloggers, without distorting the messages on our own blogs!

If you have a blog to suggest for review, click the e-mail links or post a comment!

here is the link to the Bloggers Blog of Blogs - http://bloggerslinks.blogspot.com/
Riverbend??? Where forth art thou Riverbend?
Oh what a mystery we have here. Riverbend has not spoken to me for more than a month, she has not posted since Khalid was captured.

It is not fair if she just gave up blogging, and it is even less fair if she was to scared to continue, or unable to continue. Her stories are interesting and I want to know where she went! Dear riverbend, come back to your blog and answer those emails!

We want you to tell us what you want us to know!

Has any body else heard from Riverbend???
Thursday, August 25, 2005
poorly trained US troop ruins the rep of proffessional team.
As the title says, this is the story of a wayward marine, obviously gung-ho about this war ruins the good manner of his team.

Maybe they are moles from outside of the US, or communist infiltrators trying to destroy the reputation of the USA, which in this case would otherwise have been upheld.

Or maybe, just maybe this troop should have been accompanied by someone else at all times, and should not have been left alone to do what he wished to an innocent Iraqi families house.


I can not tell the stories of people suffering better than they can, and will not attempt to.

Here is Mama and Sunshine's stories from Saturday.

Sunshine's Story

Why did he do that ?...
Hello friends ,
The day before yesterday at 11 o'clock in the morning we saw some panzers & soldiers in front of our house . We knew that there is inspection , I arranged my room & kept repeating welcoming sentences with my self & then they left without checking our house .
Anyway , in the afternoon we were about to leave to visit a nearby relative house , but we saw the road closed by the American forces, we knew there is another inspection .
My mom opened the doors ,the family kept waiting, but this time I kept watching TV , & I was not sure that they will choose our house for inspection.
I was in the living room , when I heard the bell , & my father was talking with someone in English , I said FINALY .
They asked my Parents if we have gun & they were surprised when they knew that we don’t .. & surprised more when they saw me talking English fluently. . It was the first time I speak with some one in English.
My mother was a little bit uncomfortable in the beginning , but the soldiers were nice with us, except one ,he was rude, he crushed the TV remote control , squeezed a tube of gel on the ground & on the bed cover & sheets.
He also powdered two bottles of Baby powder on my mother clothes in side her closet & on the bed cover, that was unseemly deportment. He did that while he was searching my parents room alone.
The other soldiers didn’t break anything . however we were expecting the worst & more losses . .We heard that some houses were damaged , so we were afraid that could happen to us .
I believed that if we cooperate with them & welcome them, they will check our house with more graciousness.
Every time I hear people saying that the soldiers broke this & did that , I would say: come on they are targets all the time , they expect attacks in every minute , certainly they will be nervous.
But if they see a co-operative family they will be nice!!!!.
Give me a reason i am confused...

Mama's Story

Stop the hate...

Dear friends
On 20/8/2005 our house was inspected by the American forces , only one of the soldiers misbehaved, I wrote a letter about that to the hot line we have .This line receive any notification about terrorists or doubts in the neighborhood. But we don’t have any other addresses, for complaints.
My uncle advised me to write to the military forces , to the white House , to our government .But I don't have the addresses .
I thought it will be a good Idea to share me my anger &my letter to the hot line:
To whom concerned I believe that we should all gather to reach the goal,& get rid of the terrorists. On Saturday at 20/8/2005 at6 in the afternoon , our neighborhood was inspected by the American military forces .we welcomed every member of the teem . They were polite, and friendly .
They even allowed my husband to accompany them though the house rooms . Except one SOLDIER he was a little bit nervous , he asked my husband not to follow him to the main bed room .
When that soldier finished& every one in the teem finished inspecting the other rooms , we wished them to stay safe & asked them to take care .
They didn’t find any thing illegal .
Then I went to my bed room ,I saw some thing that bothered me a lot . That nervous soldier , crushed the TV remote control , squeezed a tube of gel on the ground & on the bed cover & sheets.
He also powdered two bottle of Baby powder on my clothes in side the closet& on the bed cover .Such irresponsible behavior will change the cooperation of people to anger &hate. My kids used to believe in your soldiers & their courage .When terrorists invalidate Mosul &then you came to help us they were very much amazed. But now after they saw that soldier behavior they got confused &disappointed.
I wanted to write about that to stoop the stupid guys in the military forces from offending the relationship more &more between the Iraqis & the soldiers .I want to stop the hate that is increasing even among the most peaceful Iraqis ,due to such irresponsible behavior, such soldiers affect the reputation of the American military forces ,whom already have enough scandals.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Blogs effecting society (ongoing)
Good day to everyone reading my blog again! Guess what?!?

I have a University assignment worth 50% of my overall year mark for 1 subject, where I must choose a peice of technology or development in the field of Media, Communication and Information and discuss the effect it has on society.


AND, Sunshine and I just created a perfect example for how blogging can definately have PRACTICAL effects towards changing society. Sunshine most recent post was titled " My Asthma & the pollution... ", the story of how she has been fighting asthma since she was young, and how being allergic to the "Turbo Inhaler", ventolin that is commonly used to treat asthma has meant she can no longer get medication to prevent her asthma worsening or causing fits...

The type of medicine Sunshine uses is the same type that I used up until I was about 13(when I stopped using medicines all together because my asthma subsided for a while), and are readily available here in Western Australia.

Sunshine's Aunt, Rose lives in Dubai, a country more friendly with my own than Iraq is, so I am going to post Sunshine's medication over to her.

She will then send it to Sunshine in Mosul, this way it will be much less conspicuos, I can imagine that a small package sent from Australia to Iraq wouldn't be too reliable and probably be subjected to much 'observation' before it went anywhere....

anyway, that is one such practical application...

I will continue this post later!
Friday, August 19, 2005
Hey everyone,
just received an email from US congressman and fellow blogger John Conyers.
I am not supporting this man in his politics nor am I against his politics, but I definately support his moves with the 'Downing Street Minutes' and on Cindy Sheehan's case. He is aiming to protect the rights of people to know the truth, and deserves credibility for that.

Everyone please jump on the Sheehan band-wagon and start them emails again. The media is never going to escape our email campaigns for as long as the internet exists. If they will not report accurately on our behalf, we will beseige them until they do.

Cindy Sheehan, for those who do not know, is camping in a 24hour peace-vigil outside George W Bush's Ranch in Texas while he is 'holidaying' as US troops, such as Cindy's dead son, are being battled in the streets of Iraq daily, and taking severe and increasing casualties.

Cindy wants answers to the reasons for invasion, and if she was decieved while believing the invasion was for the security of America, the safety of the world from WMD etc. Cindy believed many lies, and now has come to realise the truth after her sons' horrible death.

George Bush should atleast greet her and give her false answers rather than completely ignore the family of his very own troops !

SUPPORT CINDY SHEEHAN, E-MAIL YOUR SENATORS AND MEDIA REPS. This is a good campaign in favour of ending the devistation in Iraq.

A program has been put on congressman Conyers website which allows you to email all your local media groups with one click.

John Conyer's email prog

here' is John Conyers original e-mail

Support Cindy
Help Write 1000 Letters to our local Newspapers

Cindy Sheehan’s vigil outside in Crawford, Texas has clearly struck a nerve in this country, and her willingness to speak truth to power resonates as a model of courage and dedication to us all.

I am proposing that we take three steps to support Cindy in the face of a ferocious assault by the right wing.

First, I am organizing an effort to write our local papers to support Cindy and her efforts to meet with the president. I have set up a form on my web site as part of a Crawford Action Center (which includes news reports, pictures, video, audio, and talking points) to allow you to submit a letter in your own words simultaneously to all papers in your region. I will be able to keep track of the number of letters submitted, and have set an initial goal of generating at least 1,000 letters to support Cindy. This is a follow-up to the letter that I, along with 40 Members of Congress, sent to the president urging him to meet with Cindy.


Second, I have made a $500 donation to the Gold Star Families for Peace. If you are able to, you can go to the following site to make a donation to the Gold Star Families or the Crawford Peace Center to support Cindy’s efforts.


Third, arm yourselves with the facts about Cindy so that you are prepared to respond to the smear attacks coordinated by the right wing. Correct these misconceptions in your communications with the media, on the internet, and in your day-to-day conversations. I have added a talking points section to my website that provide simple, direct refutations to the lies that are being spread besmirching Cindy's character. Grassroots word-of-mouth is the first line of defense in responding to these attacks.


Let’s help Cindy in her pursuit for truth and justice in the face of a right wing smear campaign.


John Conyers, Jr.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
One Week & Four Days
I told you all before I would be dissapointed if this turned into a news-site. Fortunately it hasn't. I have been very busy lately with University, here is a story I wrote about my experiences involving Khalid Jarrar's abduction..

One Week  Four Days

Lucas James is 19 years old and lives in a mountainous region south of Perth. Lucas is 'different' from his peers and is neither popular nor unpopular. His friends hold him close and he does the same. Recently he has formed friendships with people in Iraq, friends dear to his heart. These friends are in constant danger, and need his support.

Lucas is finding out from his mother, that his Grandfather will become the third person in Western Australia to receive a lung transplant tomorrow (Monday, 10th July). Granddad has not seen Lucas for 10 years, and since they aren’t close, the news means little.

Still, Lucas can’t prevent thoughts.

'Will he die mid-operation?
Could this re-unite my estranged family?
What if he dies after, wouldn’t it be a waste?'

The moral dilemma hits Lucas, 'doesn’t someone else deserve this lung more?'

Lucas believes in making the most of opportunities. His dilemma intensifies.

‘Surely, someone can use this lung better,’ his thoughts betraying his Grandfather.

Lucas knows where the road leads, but he travels it anyway.

'Granddad has few years left at best, and no truly close family.’

Lucas is right; Granddad has traveled and enjoyed his life. Someone on the list probably can use the lung better.

The days pass quickly; Lucas is busy enrolling for University. Thursday evening, shortly before 5pm Lucas hears his mother arriving home.

He rushes out to greet her, knowing Granddad has an infected lung. Lucas notes distress in her eyes and embraces her, comforting her with all his heart.

She manages a few words "He looks awful, tubes everywhere.." and buries her head into his chest. Lucas knows how to ease her pain. With a strong coffee, dinner, and the family dog Lucas tucks his mum into bed and returns to his email.

Najma, his closest friend in Iraq has left a message.

'Khalid Jarrar =(=(=(=(‘

Lucas opens it anxiously. Khalid's brother Raed posts that Khalid is “detained in Iraqi Mukhabarat jails,” (the 'secret police') since Monday, July 10th. He opens Raed's blog to read the story. Black clouds choke-up the room.

Lucas envies Khalid’s religious faith, though Khalid never preaches in his writings or when speaking. He is gentle and cool in all situations. Khalid believes that everything will work itself out, god willing. Khalid is no religious fanatic, nor does he disrespect other cultures.

Lucas's thoughts become confused and angry 'HOW COULD THEY FUCKING CAPTURE KHALID?
'Are they stupid? Khalid is no f**king threat!'

Lucas and Khalid formed a close bond months ago, and Lucas cares/fears deeply for his Iraqi friend. The glee he feels when hearing Iraqi’s say 'thank you, you made me smile'…

‘Will I ever hear from Khalid again?’ he wonders….

Scared, Lucas writes a series of emails ensuring Khalid is an innocent victim, was wrongfully detained, probably for something ridiculous. The phone call mentioned on Raed’s website came ‘illegally’ today, Thursday 14th of July... Four days Khalid has been held with no outside contact.

‘Things are really looking up this week’ Lucas thinks.
'Granddad nearly dies three times, and Khalid's chances look minimal,
‘What can I do? How do I help?' the questions keep rolling.

Lucas knows he can’t do anything to help Granddad. The people around him, doctors and family will keep Granddad kicking.

‘I will ensure Khalid is never forgotten'.

Lucas is confused by the desire to help Khalid, and wonders how to help a friend many thousands of kilometers away.

One notion stirs in his mind, 'God'. Lucas is no religious man, though he believes in thing inexplicable in this world. His respect for friends with religious beliefs often influences him to pray. Praying is explicable in his beliefs anyway.

Khalid can feel his prayers!

Lucas knows Khalid's hopes and thoughts would be with Allah, Khalid's god.
Lucas prays for Khalid.

'Please God, Allah, people of the world; help Khalid through this dark moment'. Lucas emails his prayers to Khalid’s family and friends. He knows they prey for Khalid too; it is what Khalid would do.

To the omniscient eye, the response is incredible. Thousands sign petitions for Khalid’s immediate release or trial. Men and women cry out to god for Khalid. Phone calls, blogs, emails and articles pop up across the globe.

For days there has been no word from Khalid and Lucas feels despair. A week passes, and Granddad is no better.

Granddad spent the last 7 days on life-support, machines breathing for him. Sadness fills the family, ever-present in Lucas's eyes. Fear for his friend overcomes him, and all he wants to do is hide.

Though in his depression Lucas knows, he will not give up. Khalid will not allow it, he will never leave Lucas's mind. He is alive.

Thursday again and Lucas has heard nothing from his friend. Day 13 since Khalid was detained, since Granddad’s operation. Lucas's mother arrives home from visiting Granddad. This time no tremor is in her lip, she looks proud. Lucas beams happily knowing there is light in the dark.

"Granddad walked 150m today, WITHOUT OXYGEN!" his mum exclaimed happily.

Granddad has been on oxygen for 3 years, and hasn’t walked once without it.

It is barely light outside as Lucas awakens to his mother and aunts rushing about the house.

Something is wrong.

Listening intently, Lucas learns Granddad's infection is in resurgence, and taking over his body. His weight is 14kg below what it should be, and he is unable to consume solids.

For the first time Lucas fears for his Grandfather's life, Khalid slipping his mind.

'What if my Granddad dies? I should go see him' Lucas thinks guiltily.
Loosing his nerve, his thoughts betray his friend; 'Why waste my time on Khalid, how can I help him, HE’S IN IRAQ!'

The sisters leave and Lucas tries to sleep; defeated. He doesn’t want to see Granddad; things are not right.

'Granddad shouldn’t have that lung, he wouldn't be dying, and someone else would be healthy!'

He betrays his morals; Lucas doesn’t put family first.

That evening, sad and tired his mother walks in "Granddad is stable, he is surviving," the words say everything.

"Have you heard from Khalid?" the words come with a rush of hope, Lucas senses change.

Rushing to check his email, Lucas forgets about Granddad.

Najma, A --Khalid is free!--

Lucas runs to re-assure his mother, words dancing from his mouth "Granddad will be okay, because Khalid has been released! The tides are changing again!"

It makes sense to them.

Khalid will tell his story later, and Lucas will follow it up. Optimism freshens the air as Lucas writes a poem for his Grandfather.

He knows that his faith, his prayers and those of Khalid's family and friends have been answered. Lucas is religious, for the first time in this life.

'One thing left to do,' He thinks. His Iraqi friends are close to God, Allah as they call him. Lucas will ask them for help.

'I am praying for my Granddad, he is nearing his death tonight,
Thank you all for helping, in Khalid's Fight.
I ask you please, please pray my Granddad survives the night.'
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
The fate of Iraqi Women
The future of Iraqi women is a debate that I wish to be involved in. I have met some amazing Iraqi women, and read some astonishing stories of struggle, determination and victory despite the awful conditions that were brought about by years of warfare under Saddam's Regime, and now I have a medium through which to have my writings on this issue made public. My University has a newspaper to which Journalist students like myself contribute.

I am looking for sources within Iraq, experts on Muslim doctrine, someone who can interperet Arabic writings for me, and any other kinds of information about Iraqi women that one could fire at me.

For the regular readers of my blog, you may find this inspiring, please do not hesitate to write stories about the future of Iraqi women and the Iraqi constitution on your own blogs, do your own research and pass the information on to me aswell.

With good knowledge and good communication, we can overcome any problem that may be faced by the Iraqi people, that would have been over-looked by the international community if it were not for our blogs.

Please help me out on this one, you can email ANYTHING AT ALL to me at lukey@iinet.net.au

Iraqi-American Big Brother
Was strolling my way through the Iraqi Blogsphere, an amazing and incredibly fascinating world from which one may not emerge for hours unless there is something like this to blog:

This i found off Iraq The Model probably a blog I haven't read enough of, nor given enough credit to on this blog so far. This will be a blog I shall read from beginning to end.

But anyway, for the purpose of increasing good relations and public awareness about the intelligence common amongst most born in the Iraqi community- go vote to have this Iraqi man re-instated in the Big Brother house in the USA.

post from Iraq The Model is below! Get behind this good Propaganda cause!


Would you like an Iraqi-American to be your big brother?
Away from today's clashes and Tuesday's planned protest, I found this cool bit of news through NZ Bear:

Did you know that there's a national, network television show with an Iraqi-American central character?

It's true: the CBS reality show Big Brother, a guilty pleasure of mine, has as a contestant Kaysar, an Iraqi-American graphics designer from Irvine, CA. He's proven to be a formidable competitor in the game during the first few weeks, and seems like a genuinely intelligent and decent fellow.

There's only one problem: he lost last week and was "evicted" from the house.
So why should you care? Because CBS is holding a public poll to determine whether Kaysar or one of two other evicted players will be allowed back in the house. And you can vote, for free, right here.

I, for one, want him back. And so I figure I'll spread the word, and ask my fellow citizens of the blogosphere: click that link, give Kaysar a vote, and keep a positive example of an Iraqi-turned-American in front of the television viewing public.

It's a little thing, but sometimes those actually do count...

I second what NZ said, little things do count.
Well I blogged previously asking for you to pray for my grandad and Khalid. Khalid was released so thank you all so very very much for this your help.

My grandad got sicker, but now is walking without the help of oxygen on a daily basis, something he hasn't been able to do since several years before his lung transplant. Thank you for your prayers, thanks god, Allah, me & you, the doctors, my family everyone/thing else for answering these prayers so well.

Life is good right now. Things are great with my girlfriend Georgia (who has a new post on her BLOG ), and my Mother is working hard @ uni and work. My lil sister Cassie is about to do a solo @ the masse choir fest here in Perth, infront of thousands of people (not the first time, she will do great).

@ uni I am learning about patience, as well as about journalism codes & conventions, referencing, sourcing etc etc etc.

I am writing a SHORT STORY of 1000-1200 words as an assignment.. The main characters and James Lucas and Khalid Jarrar who live thousands of miles apart but share the same timeframe & emotions over two seperate tragedies.

Wait and see before you speculate, I think it can work.

Monday, August 08, 2005
A long time in between. A lot discovered
The reason for my not posting much in the last week is quite simple.
Nothing yet has pushed Khalid from my mind, and I am working on my next step to get the justice he & his Iraqi' friends deserve after their false detention.

It is quite obvious that due to the poor quality training of Iraqi security forces that thousands of Iraqi's are dissapearing into the hands of the Mukhabarat, National Guard and Iraqi Police... Not to mention those being kidnapped for ransom money, sometimes amounting to US$50,000, sometimes more, where families are selling their homes in exchange for their children. Better trained forces are necessary, and stronger human rights laws need to be imposed to ensure those taken by the iraqi Mukhabarat etc can be interrogated safe and effectively to ensure people do not spend days, weeks or months locked up for crimes they did not commit.

Without ensuring there are positive changes made towards this ultimate goal, thousands of new anti-occupation forces will be created everyday. If Khalid and his family did not have their blogs, perhaps they would have pent-up-anger enough to tip them. If the bloggers decided their blogs were no longer enough, there could be mass upheavals all over the world, particularly Iraq. Stop the kidnapping of innocents, and stop the attempts to smother the blogsphere in a cloud of mystery & accusations.

A force has been released inside myself and the thousands who watched as Khalid an innocent and charming man was degraded to the extent of being accused of being a London Bomber! If I was accussed of this I can assure you I would be suing them for emotional damages and slander, tainting my good name, and I WOULD WIN.

There are some Iraqi bloggers who I would like to bring to everyone's attention as I have been extremely lazy lately with only blogging about things that deeply & emotionally stand out to me. Well, these blogs definately stand out and deserve noticing.

Firstly I will start with the "teenage girls" category. This category contains perhaps some of the worlds wisest 13-19 year olds alive.

Firstly: Aunt Najma, friend and dedicated blogger from http://astarfrommosul.blogspot.com/

Secondly: hnk, Najma's delightful and emotional little sister is always great to read- hnk's blog

these two girls have part responsibility in the upbringing of the delightful Aya, who is one of the few things in Iraq to bring them hapiness and escapism from the horror-filled reality that is their lives. God bless Najma, Aya and HNK. We pray your lives may be long and filled with experiences good&bad.

next is their cousin Sunshine. Recently turned 14, this girl is incredibly intelligent. Her native language is not english, assumably is Arabic, and her English rivals and sometimes is better than my own. She is coming to the realisation of herself and her friends and how life itself really is, at the early age of 14 where most people would be just realising that the opposite sex is attractive and that popularity status is everything (sarcasm). Perhaps with girls like these the future of Iraq is as the worlds leader, it is bursting @ the seems with intellectual women and determined men and she is one of the best examples. See "Sunshine"'s blog at http://livesstrong.blogspot.com/

Next, is a list of other intelligent iraqi women bloggers, and this list is very large. From the Jarrar family is the prominent Faiza, from a Shia background and well educated this is the mother of Khalid, Raed and Majid. They are all intelligent well brought up sons, which reflects the mothers determined and fair attitude. Her blog can be found here: http://afamilyinbaghdad.blogspot.com/

Next Iraqi woman blogger is, obviously going to be the prominent blogger riverbend of "Baghdad Burning". If you have time, this one you should read from start to end. It is a cover of post-war Iraq like you will not see elsewhere. A qualified, hard working Computer Engineer before the invasion, it has been to dangerous for Riverbend to recieve work in Iraq and her story as a struggling, only marginalized and partly religious woman in Baghdad is amazing and well-accounted in her blog until the recent slow-down in her writing (maybe its getting a little dangerous and close to home, or maybe she is loosing hope in her blog, who knows, go inspire her with something!) her blog can be found here: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

Sunshine's Mum, Mama, a 34 year old dentist mother-of-three is an incredibile spirit. You may ask yourself why I am writing a post about these Iraqi women, and this is why. She is the example of a dedicated mum that I would love to see every woman in the world follow. Struggling through life after a relatively privelaged upbringing, she moved to Mosul where she had her first daughter, Sunshine. Unfortunately for her, it was never going to be easy bringing up Sunshine, for she was born on the year Saddam invaded Kuwait, and thus her daughters whole upbringing was in a country war-torn and blown apart, restricted through trade sanctions, Toys were not available for her daughter.

So she decided to learn to make them, and fix the local Kindergaten's playground when her daughter started there, to save every penny from years of work to buy her daughter a computer when she turned 8. This mother sacrificed her very own pleasure and leasure to ensure her daughter had everything she could need for a decent upbringing despite the conditions in Iraq.

Many people around the world have misconceptions about Muslim women, and I want the world to see these girls and hold them proudly in their eyes. For you will find very few mothers and very few daughters with the intellect and maturity held by any one of these girls, anywhere in the world.

Sunshine's mum, Mama has recently started a blog, and here is the address: http://youngmammy.blogspot.com/, well done Mama. Your' daughter is one to be proud of, and may just be the future president of Iraq.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Khalid Jarrar's Story (In the hands of the Iraqi Secret Police)
Below I will post the whole story of my friend Khalid Jarrar, and his experiences whilst being held illegally under suspicion of "viewing terrorist websites" - the comments' section on Raed In The Middle.

In my words, here is the story- and its implications.

Khalid went to University, he is a studying (almost finished) engineer. He was there to pay fee's (I did this same event here in perth, last week @ Curtin University, fortunately my experience was much less dramatic). He filled out the appropriate paper work and was told he must wait for one of the staff members who was currently in a meeting, they would be ready to sign his papers in 1 1/2 hrs.

So, as everyone does to kill time, Khalid went to the CAFE to get a bite to eat. After 15 minutes or so he was bored, he decided there must be something better to do and thought "what would I do to kill time normally?", evidently, being a blogger, the answer was "THE INTERNET!".

So he went to the internet cafe at his Uni (which he had not used since the invasion), and did the usual round of blog-reading, which is much similar to my order- raedinthemiddle, riverbendblog, astarfrommosul, liminal, etc etc etc...

Raed's site, as usual, had a full comments section and comments in english, from many people of all countries and nationalities around the globe (probably including me). Khalid soon got bored as on this day there were not many new posts (he had posted earlier in the day on his blog, so he must have been bored then too!). So he left the internet cafe.

On his way back to the administration, (shortly after leaving the internet Cafe'), he was approached by an old man who asked him "how can I help you?" confused, Khalid replied with "how may I help you?". There was a very brief series of questions - who, where, why and what are you doing? where is your ID card?

Khalid told him that he was on his way to pay @ the administration and had been killing time @ the internet Cafe. The security man escorted him to administration where his mobile phone and ID card were left (standard procedure at Khalid's Uni).

On arriving he found that the box his ID and Mobile Phone was left in had been "mistakenly locked", minutes later a man came in saying "Where is the detained person?". The detained person, apparently, was Khalid. They pulled up the records of what he had been reading, on Raed's blog. The security didn't know english, and accused him of being a terrorist, showing the comments section from Raed's blog as 'proof'.

He was made to run, bag over head, handcuffed tightly, to a police van that he was forcibly made to enter. He was taken to a building he knew to be 'expensive', because
of the marble floor (the only thing he could see since his head was covered).

And so the story goes. He was kept in jail, with others who had been tortured, forced to sign false confessions, had fingernails ripped off, acid treatments, held upside down whilst under interrogation.... There is much more horrid methods that you need not hear... The 'interrogators' asked him to “Tell us the name of the other members of your group, and where you get your fund from”.

A stupid question. Khalid is no terrorist, has no terrorist connections and over all promotes non-violence, peace, respect and religion. He was asked also silly questions like "Why do you have a beard", which he was not allowed to fully answer before being hit over the head, and "Have you ever had sex", to which he replied no (he may be charged with adultery or something ridiculous if he said Yes), and was teased and told that he "must like boys instead".

The men who interrogated Khalid are NOT QUALIFIED for their job, they are completely under-trained and are UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE AMERICAN CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, which has its Baghdad headquaters in the 8th story of the building in which he, and other prisoners of the Mukhabarat were kept.

It was around this time he was sent to a cell, where other accused 'terrorists' and criminals were also kept, 35 of them in a 12x12 room. They had realised they were directly in custody of the Iraqi Mukhabarat, and thanked god that Khalid had not been sent to a police station or national guard unit first, where he would probably have succumbed to the same treatment of some of the prisoners he was sharing cell with.. That is, BRUTAL torture methods to try and FORCE false confessions out of them.

They spent much time praying and thanking god they were allived, reading the Quran and joking about the silly accusations placed against them. They talked alot about each others stories and lifes, and kept each other's hope alive. Khalid was very fortunate, his family had connections, which helped accellerate the process of having him face a judge.

On Thursday the 14th of July, Khalid managed to find an 'illegal' way to contact his family. (only god knows how). This made him feel very relieved, by this time his dad had already contacted the National Guard, the US occupying forces in Baghdad, Every morgue & hospital in baghdad and even many known insurgent groups to try and find his son. So they were very relieved to know he was alive.

It was this day that I viewed Raed's website and called the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In the following two weeks, the majority of the worlds media and hundreds if not thousands of government officials and embassies world-wide were contacted in an attempt to ensure Khalid got a fair-trial and was free'd, because every person who knows him also knows his innocence. More on this can be found further down on my blog, or on http://giveusourkhalidback.blogspot.com/ and on http://iraqblogcount.blogspot.com/ and many other blogs around the world.

And when the day finally came that Khalid must face a judge, on Wednesday the following week, he was taken, cuffed hands & feet, with a big chain connecting his cuffed hands to his body, to face a man sitting with computer, mobile phone and a copy of the comments section from Raed in the Middle. The judge asked if Khalid knew what these websites and comments were, to which Khalid replied that it was from a website he was reading, that he had not commented on, and which was free'ly available to anyone in the world to comment on.

The judge asked if it was like chatting, Khalid replied that it was similar, but to him much more like TV, if you don't like what you read you can just change to another site. There is no membership, he had not commented, and was not in any way responsible for or related to the contents of the comments on that website.

The judge knew a little about computers, and understood this. Realising that Khalid was more than likely innocent the judge told Khalid (who's lawyer that was provided by the Mukhabarat had not said a word the entire time, only signed two peices of paper declaring he was Khalid's lawyer), that he would take the Arabic translation of this comments section home, and read them that night and inform Khalid of his decision the next day.

Evidently Khalid was released on saturday, but not until being forced to sign papers declaring he would not tell the families of the arrested people he had met that they are arrested, and that he wouldn’t tell anyone about anything that happened whilst he was arrested or tell them what he had seen inside the jail, and that he would report any case of breaking the law that he knew about to the authorities, and would not visit anything considered to be a 'terrorist website'. (I wonder, is this considered a terrorist webiste? Because I am against occupation and write in English?).

Of course, after leaving the Mukhabarat Khalid mistakenly forgot what he had signed and decided to tell the families of his new friends who had been jailed wrongly, and to write about what had happened to him on his blog, and to visit whatever website he so wished whenever he so wished. GOOD FOR HIM. I SAY, GO FOR IT.

Khalid knows that the world was behind him, he could feel the hope of our prayers entering him inside the jail, and god only knows what would have happened to him if we had not prayed. The stories of his friends can be found on Khalid's full post, which is listed below on this blog, and also on Khalid's website: (http://secretsinbaghdad.blogspot.com/)

This post will be being forwarded to the media, I want this story in the local paper. I want my friends to know, I want the Australian Government to know what its troops are being labelled as a part of, I want the Australian Public to know what is happening our friends in Iraq, as a result of the occupation our government so adamately supports. Do not underestimate my conviction to getting this in the publics face, if the Media will not help, then I will personally walk the streets of the suburbs and the cities handing out his story and telling people.

Accountability should lie on the shoulders of those who trained the people who arrested Khalid' and others, on the shoulders of interrogaters, and of the leaders who allow such tactics and send troops to this illegal occupation without ensuring their training is adequate for the job of training others to detain and interrogate others fairly and effectively.

The US has not trained the Iraqi Secret Police, National Guard, or Police Recruits efficiently and should be held accountable. The rest of the "coalition of the willing" should also accept responsibility for their part in this quagmire.

relieved, angry and inspired
Khalid's Story (In the hands of the Iraqi Mukhabarat)
Here is the full text in Khalid Jarrar's very own words.

I found myself...
Sleeping in a grave-size space, defined by two walls touching both my head my and feet, and surrounded with human bodies touching me from both sides, in a way that hardly leaves any chance to move at all during the long… long night, in a 12 square meters room stuffed with 35 people trying to sleep, and to hold themselves together in order not to fight…
The whole thing started when I went to the university to pay my tuition fees, the thing is that the engineering campus is separated from the rest of the university with few kilometers, but for such administrative issues, students should go to the headquarter, and this is what I did. I entered the main campus and went to the financial department to pay money. I started the paperwork process, and then reached to a point where we needed the director’s signature to finish the paperwork, but she was in a meeting. So, the employee asked me to go and waste an hour inside the campus till the meeting is over, and I did.

What would you do in such a case? Go to the café? I tried, but was totally bored after less than 15 minutes, and then I don’t remember how an idea flashed in my head like a big light bulb: internet!
Of course, what is better than the internet to kill time?

I remembered there was an internet café inside the campus. I rarely came to this campus during the last five years. I think I came like three or four times only. Anyways, so I went to the internet café and did my regular tour: raed in the middle, riverbend, etc etc..and then I was bored again. I left the internet café heading towards the financial department again.

In my way, I was stopped by an old man, with a hateful face. “tfa`6al” he said (it means something like: “how can I help you?”) I was a bit surprised, I said “inta tfa`6al!” (meaning: “how can I help you?”) he said: where are you going? So I knew that he must be some kind of a security guy. I should have guessed from his tone, he sounds like a typical saddam-style security-man.
“to the financial department, to pay my tuition money” I said.
“where were you right now?”
“ in the internet café !”
“where is your ID?”
“at the campus entrance reception, with my mobile phone” (this is common now, in all governmental buildings you have to leave your mobile phone in the reception, you cant take it with you).

Please people; don’t be surprised because of all these questions. It used to be very common in “Saddam’s Iraq” and it’s very common in today’s Iraq.

Anyway, the old hateful man decided to escort me to make sure I was telling him the truth. Once we entered the financial office, the employees there talked to me spontaneously, so he knew I was there before and he left. I paid the money, took the receipt, and left. When I went back the campus entrance reception to take my mobile and leave, I found out that the mobiles’ closet was “mistakenly locked” as I was told. They were waiting for the guy that has the key. “He’ll be here in any moment” I was told.

I sat there waiting for my mobile phone to be freed. Then suddenly, after few minutes, someone came and asked “where is the detained guy?”

The other security guard pointed at me!!!

I was like: ehhhhh..sorry there is misunderstanding here, I am not detained, its only that the mobile phones closet is mistakenly locked!

“come with us, we have some questions please” they said, and I went with them, searching for answers inside my head…

They searched me very carefully; they took my shoes off and searched them, and even took my watch. They read every paper I had in my pockets, and asked me questions about my origin, nationality, and many other questions. Then they asked me to unlock my mobile phone so that they can check it out. At that particular point I had had enough, I said I wouldn’t unlock it except if it was in front of “the person” who is hiding somewhere in the campus, the one asking all these questions through messengers.

They didn’t like my response.

Another guy came after a while, and asked me: who did you contact on the internet?
“my mother and brothers” I said.
He didn’t look satisfied.
“keep him” he said.

Next thing I know, a very fat policeman entered the small room, asked me to face the wall, searched me again, took my money and glasses, put a bag on my head and handcuffs in my hand (I still have the marks on my hand till now). While my hands were behind my back and my head in a bag, he made me run for about a minute, till we reached a police van, where I was forced to get in. The car starting moving towards an unknown destination…

You don’t want to know the swearing and curses I heard all the way, but maybe you’ll want to know that no one beat me.

We reached a luxurious building, I could tell from the marble on the floor. The floor was the only thing I could see at that point through a very small space between the bag and my nose. Then I was led to a room after taking an elevator.

I was afraid to be taken to the torture rooms directly; I was praying to find someone to talk to, to explain to him that this all is nothing but a little silly mistake!

God answered my prayers.

Instead of being lead to some underground dungeon, I was taken to an air conditioned room with a lot of people. I could tell from their voices they were interrogating someone, I couldn’t see anything still, but they released my hands.

I understood that this person they were interrogating, (Sa’ib as I knew later, he was in the same cell with me), did a very awful thing. Sa’ib came to the ministry of interior, and went to the office of a high ranked officer, and tried to remind the officer of Sa`ib’s own father who served with this the officer long time ago, hoping to ask this officer for a favor. The Favor was to order the transferring of a friend of Sa`ib, a cop, to another governorate.

The officer didn’t remember sa’ib’s father, and refused to help him. Then he ordered his guards to take Sa’ib for interrogation!!!

Untill I left the jail, Sa’ib was still there!

They beat him a lot, “how dare you enter the office of an officer just like that?” they were telling him.

Back to the air-conditioned interrogation room, I was still facing the wall, my eyes were covered, and my brain working so fast, trying to see behind the darkness infront of my eyes.

Then it was my turn:))

“Finally!” I told myself!

They started by asking me: “What’s the connection between you and the London Bombs?” !!!
And I was like: “haaaaa???!!.”. I said: “London Bombs???! Nothing!”


A heavy hand landed on my neck, my brain was too busy to feel the pain, I felt my neck numbing for a while.

“SPEAAAK” he shouted.

“Turn around” he yelled.

I turned, facing the room now, but not seeing anything other than my nose and the shoes of the person who was interrogating me, standing so close.

“Why do you have a beard?” he asked.

“Because the prophet...” (I was trying to tell him that prophet Mohammad had one, and that I have one because I love to look like him...)


He slapped me on the face. It made a loud noise that the room became dead-silent for some seconds….

“May the prophet curse you” he shouted.

Again, my brain didn’t respond to the pain signals, I didn’t feel it.

For the next few hours, they asked me questions like “who are the other members of our terrorist cell, where does your fund come from? What operations did you have?”

“What do you have against Shia?”
I said: “nothing, my mother is Shia!”
He said” what do you have against Kurds? Why don’t you go blow yourself up and kill Kurds?”
I said: “Because God says in Quran…” (I was trying to tell him a part of Quran where God orders us not to kill any innocent soul) he interrupted me shouting, “We know Quran better than you”.
“My best friend is Kurdish!” I said.
“Of course he is, so that you can get information about Kurds from him, right?” he answered.

Nothing I said seemed to make sense to them. And nothing they said makes sense to anyone in the world.

Then finally I understood why I was there, after few hours. Security guards at the university had printed out all the websites I was reading while I was online there. They were accusing me of “reading terrorism sites” and “having communications with foreign terrorists”.
“Do you know what these pages are?”
I looked at them and figured out they were the comment section of Raed in the Middle!!
I opened the comments section while browsing in the university, read some comments, and didn’t even post anything. But these people don’t seem to know what the internet is, and they don’t speak English, so I was a major suspect of being an assistant of al Zarqawi maybe! Or that I have a terrorist group of my own, with foreign connections!

I was accused of terrorism, and sent to jail after they decided that I’m not helping myself because I am not helping them!!!
“Help you with what??!!”I asked “I am so willing to help you with anything you want, just tell me what exactly you want to know?”
“Tell us the name of the other members of your group, and where you get your fund from” then answered.
I entered the jail, and found people staring at me with curiosity, but with total silence.
“assalamo alaykom!” I said with a smile, and sat down on the ground, just like the others.
“alaykom assalam!” everyone said.
Then one of them couldn’t resist it anymore, so he asked: “why were you brought here?”
I told them my story, and they all looked very upset.
In the next few minutes, I learned about the stories of the other people that were there.
Then it suddenly hit me: “where are we? Do you know?” I asked curiously.
They all looked a bit afraid, I knew they had an answer but didn’t know whether they should trust me enough already to tell me or not, I have been there for a couple of minutes only.
Then someone whispered in my ears “istikhbarat il dakhliyya”, “but don’t tell anyone that we know”. Istikhbarat il Dakhliyya means the Mukhabarat, and that is the intelligence or the secret service police.
“Ohhh!!” I said “Do your families know you are here?”
They nodded with their heads: no.

There were around 35 people in that room, 4 of the arrested people in this floor were teenagers. I’ll tell you about some of their stories at the end of this post.

I made friends with almost everyone there that day, and then I slept, it was a long day, I was so worried about my family, how would I let them know that I wasn’t killed in a car bomb, or kidnapped? I’m sure they don’t expect that I ran away from the house to go party with my friends or join the circus!

Next day I was taken to interrogation again.

They asked me all the questions you can ask anyone, but they did it very fast. They took the name of my teachers, my friends, even my colleagues and the girls in my class. They asked me if I had ever had sex before, I said no. They didn’t believe me, they made fun of me and asked if I prefer men more, and I said no too.

Then they wanted me to write my “confession” finally, which is the paper that will go to the judge to decide my fate.

He asked: you are accused of attending terrorist sites (Did he say that they are sites that recruit young people for terrorism? I don’t remember) so what do you say?

I said, with my eyes covered: please write my answer “I deny that completely, I was practicing my democratic right of viewing people’s opinion about a certain topic on a site that people visit from all the countries around the world to give their opinions”
He said: what in the hell is that? Did I ask you to write me a composition? Answer my question Goddamn it! You are accused of visiting terrorist websites, what do you reply?
I repeated my answer, but I reformed it in a way that is less complicated for his simple brains to understand, they wrote something and made me sign on the paper.
I don’t know if any of them finished high school, they are uncivilized, they lack morality and education, the way they swear all the time and the words they say tells you what kind of people they are, I asked them about the things that were with me when I was arrested, they said that they have my mobile phone, and my IDs, but the fat policeman broke my glasses and stole some of my money, till now, they didn’t give me back my mobile phone or my IDs.

Since they don’t speak English, they didn’t even ask me one time about the content of the site, which my one and only crime was that I read.

The third day, I found a way to contact my family, “illegally”, to tell them that I am alive and that I am in the seventh floor of the ministry of interior affairs. By that time, my dad checked every hospital, police station and morgue in the city. He checked with the Iraqi army, the Iraqi militias, the US army, and even the ministry of interior which denied that I was there!

It was such a relief to know that my family knows where I was, I told them that I was very well, and that we eat well and sleep well and no one hurts us.

Eight days after I was arrested, I was sent to see the judge, in a court that is a bit far of the prison, when we reached the court they put cuffs on my legs too, and a chain that ties my cuffed hands with my body. I felt the humiliation to be treated like a criminal and sent to a court tied with all these chains. I cried for few seconds only, and held myself together before anyone noticed.

I was taken first to an interrogator who works for the court, where he re-wrote my confession in a way that makes it easier to be understood correctly. He said that the court will assign a public defender for my case. I asked him what did that mean and he replied “Nothing, just some formalities”. He asked me to sign the paper of my “confessions”, and then he called a big chubby man with cheap outfit. The strange man came from outside and signed on my paper: “The Lawyer I-Don’t-Know-What’s-His-Name”. Then after some waiting, I was taken to see the judge, finally.

The judge was a very elegant man in his 40s, sitting behind a fancy disk in his air-conditioned room, with a computer beside him and a cool mobile phone too, with guards outside and a secretary beside him.

He didn’t look at me in the beginning. He asked me while surfing the papers of my case: “What’s your case?”
I said: “I went to the university to pay the fees of…”
He interrupted me impatiently: “the website, tell me about the website”

I said: “It’s a forum, it’s a place where people discuss a topic written by the owner of a website. I visited it and I didn’t even post an opinion, I closed it and left the internet place, and then I was brought here.”

It seemed he was following me. He said: “Is it like chatting?”
I said: “Yes, your honor. This is more like a website than a chat room. You don’t have to sign in and be a part of what’s happening in the case of forums. I was just watching things there. For me, it was more like watch a TV with different channels; you go to a channel not knowing what will be there and without knowing the content. If you didn’t like the channel, you can change it”

He interrupted me: “ok ok I know I know.”

He had 37 translated papers of Raed’s Comments Section, that’s it, that’s my case. He asked me “What are these strange letters between the words here?” I said “Maybe the person who printed out the papers selected the wrong font, these strange characters appear when you pick the wrong encoding for the language”. He didn’t seem to be a computer expert, but at least he knows the basics.

He said “go, I will take the papers to read them at home, and will decide about them tomorrow”.

The chubby entered the room and sat on a chair in front of the judge. He was my “lawyer”, but he didn’t say a single word, not one single word. He only signed a paper that says that he is my lawyer.

I was taken back to the prison. That was my Wednesday.

On Thursday, the judge decided that I was innocent. He figured out that the papers were from a public forum, and he didn’t find any comments posted by me.
I wasn’t released till Saturday morning, after I was forced to sign a paper committing that I wouldn’t tell the families of the arrested people that they are arrested, and that I wouldn’t tell anyone about anything that happened while I was arrested or tell them what I saw inside the jail, and that I would report any case of breaking the law that I know about to the authorities (at this point I laughed and asked: even if someone drove his car through a red traffic light?), and that I wouldn’t visit terrorism websites.

I, of course, told all the families I could that their sons are arrested in the seventh floor of the ministry of interior in the hands of the Mukhabarat, and here I am telling you everything that happened with me, and I am planning to visit all kind of websites as much as I like as long as I want.

I was so lucky that I was taken to the Mokhabarat directly. Usually you have to go through a police station or a center of the national guards to get there, where the standard procedure of torturing is hanging people upside down and beating them with cables for hours, pinching their bodies with electrical drills, burning them with hot water, ripping out their finger nails, breaking bones, using acids on the wounds after whipping them, the dead bodies that are found in the dumpsters in Baghdad even had their eyes taken out of them, and a lot of these things happened with people that I know, or with people that were detained with the people that were with me in this jail, before they were brought here, and the list of torturing techniques is long, and you don’t want to hear them or know about them if you want to sleep at night.

In one of the floors in the same building, there is another prison, a bigger one called “The Palace of Hospitality” (doesn’t this remind you of 1984? The ministry of love and stuff?) Where recently a father and his son were arrested, and the son died at night because his rips were broken after they beat him, and then they spelled hot water on his body, he kept moaning of pain for the whole night, said Abo Ayid, who slept right beside him, and then he died. I’ll tell you more about Abu Ayid in the end.

The one thing in common between all the people that were there is that almost all of them were Sunnis. Interrogators told one of the prisoners during an interrogation session “you Sunnis are all terrorists” and during my interrogation, I heard a lot of racist remarks and questions. The Shia Iraqis who were there were mostly accused of non-terrorism crimes, like stealing, carjacking, etc…

If you were wondering how did we spend our time in jail… I’ll tell you.

We read Quran a lot, we prayed five times a day, we had three meals a day, and we praise God for long periods of time too. We sat all together talking and telling jokes and stories about our lives…

At night, while trying to sleep, I mostly was thinking of what I should write in my next post!

I always had the hope that I would leave that place, time goes really slow there, when I used to feel sad I would think of the nice places that I would go to when I leave, and all the other positive ideas that would keep me happy, I asked people: what is the first thing you want to do when you leave this place?
And we all sat thinking of the nice things we want to do… the things we want to eat, the places we want to visit; it was a hope-generating game.

My family played an important role to help me get out of the Mukhabarat’s jail faster than other people. Like any other corrupt system, you can get a better treatment by knowing the right people and giving the right “gifts”. My family didn’t pay anything to the judge because they believed I was innocent, they tried their best to get me a lawyer, but they couldn’t. I was freed because I was innocent, and I have the capabilities to defend myself in front of a judge.

The question is: what about the rest of Iraqis? The ones who don’t have the money or the power to leave places like that? The innocent people who were taken away from their families and loved ones and accused of false crimes? What happens to them? Who will stand for them? What about human rights? What about civil rights? What about humanity?
Here are just some of the people that were in the jail and their cases, as a sample to the cases. I hope that these people and all the other Iraqi prisoners will go back home safe. And I’ll work with my family to ask the US administration and the Iraqi authorities to improve the situation of the detention for the Iraqis. People should have the right to inform their families about their location, and they should have the right to appear in front of a judge very soon after being detained without being questioned and tortured, and they should have real lawyers in the court, they should at least know their charges!

Firas: a 26 years old light skinned guy, was walking in the street with grocery bags in his hands when a car attacked an American convoy, he ran away, in a normal reaction, so the police followed him and caught him, and beat him continuously for 7 hours with pipes while he was tied up to a chair, and when he didn’t confess of attacking the US troops or Iraqi police, his investigators wrote a report that he must have been trained in foreign terrorists camps to tolerate torturing, and sent him to this place, supposedly a place for more expert interrogators.

Mohammed: a very dull 23 year old dark skinned guy, works in a very poor traditional café in a very poor neighborhood, the owner of the café was high on drugs and reported that Mohammed killed 4 policemen and 4 national guards, Mohammed is hardly smart enough to form a sentence, he can read and write, but besides serving tea and coffee, don’t expect much of him. One minute with him and you will discover that he has a heart of a 6 year old child, he thinks that an imaginary bird comes to him everyday and tells him the news of his mother, the only family member he has. When they were interrogating him they asked him: “did you kill eight men?” He said “sayyidi ya 7aras wa6ani ya kharyan istor 3alena” hahahaJ (meaning: “me? I killed no national guard and no shit at all, don’t put me in trouble” which makes sense in English, but its extremely funny in Arabic and tells you that a person isn’t sane at all), since Mohammed is accused of killing eight men, we called him Mohammed the wolf, haha, and that was his nick name for the rest of the time, till I left, and God knows what will happen to him. All what it takes to put someone in jail is to call anonymously and claim that he is a terrorist, and that’s it, he will be tortured and put in jail for 45 days, so you, “the secret informer” can chose to come to the court during this period and swear that he is a terrorist, if so, that’s it, he will be legally accused of terrorism and might spend the rest of his life in jail, or he maybe executed, or maybe set free, its totally up to the judge to decide that, or maybe its up to the CIA, which I knew later that they occupy the floor that was above us in the building, where the orders come from.

Maysam And Nathom: two brothers, in their twenties, very poor, amazingly good looking, if there was an Arabic version of Hollywood, they would sure be Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

When I was in jail I cried twice, one of them was when Nathom came to the toilets from an interrogation session, and I was in the toilets at that time, and he started crying hard, he said that they beat him so much to the point that he had to say that his brother killed 300 people and stole many cars.

He came to the toilets while they started to torture his brother to make him confess of these crimes, I went back to the cell and cried for minutes, it was so unfair, so unfair.

That night we made jokes about it, and that since we all are supposed to be “terrorism experts” we knew that a sword can kill up to 50 people, so he must have used so many swords, or maybe he used chainsaw? How else would anyone kill 300 people with his own hands?

Yes, we made jokes about that, in prison, and when it’s such a silly situation, you learn to joke about it.

So the interrogator said: “so he killed 300 people?”
“yes sir” Nathom answered, and the interrogator writes the confession.
“and he stole an Opel Car?”
“yes sir”
“a yellow one?”
“yes sir”
And then the interrogator put down the pen and said “you son of a b****, it has been more that two years since the war and I never saw one yellow Opel car”
(And it’s true, for some reason all Opels in Iraq are grey, some are black or blue but it’s rare, but no yellow ones!) All of that interrogation happened while Nathom is hanging upside down, and being hit at the same time.

I left the jail and the two brothers where still there.

Abo kamal, and his nephews: a sheikh of a tribe, had an appointment with a friend to have dinner, and they agreed to meet in front of a well known police station in that area, so they waited there in their car, with the four hazard lights flashing, and the light inside the car turned on, on the side of the road right in front the police station waiting for their friend, and then some cops came out of the station, arrested them and accused them of killing a man, till I left, abo kamal and the others weren’t told the name of the person that was killed, how and when he was killed.

Abo ayid: you know that in our region we call people “abu something” and abu means “the father of” so for example my dad would be abu raed, cause raed is the oldest son, and if your oldest son is called james for example, you would be called abu james ok?
Abu Ayid is a nick name that is used, rarely, to call someone that is married in long time but doesn’t have children, for any reason, cause its rude to call people with their names, calling them abu – is a formal and respecting way, so if you know someone that doesn’t have children you call him abo ayid, ok?
Now abu ayid has been in prison for about three months, he was tortured a lot, his fingernails were taken out, his toes were broken, he was beaten so much, because someone thought that the name abo ayid sounds like a name of a terrorist, maybe a leader of a terrorist group, it SOUNDS like that, so they tortured him, and they are keeping him till he confesses and tells them about the other members in his group and their fund etc…

Kathom: a dark skinned man in his late 40s walking late at night passed by a governmental building while he was drunk. After a while, an explosion happened in that building, so the police picked him up walking not far of that building, and needless to say that they weren’t nice to him.
And so on, so many sad stories, sad because they are stupid, sad because they aren’t fair.
Whenever someone new arrives, I had this bad feeling in my stomach, its sick, and it keeps happening to other people everyday.
One of the guys there, Msaid, was so sad, he has been there for about 50 days, he never says a word, he never speaks to anyone, no one knows what he is accused of cause he wouldn’t talk, and I wouldn’t tell you about this if I didn’t see it with my own eyes, Msaid haven’t eat a bite since over 40 days, we all live in the same place and its easy to keep track of that, people there watch him and be him to eat every now and then, all they hear from him is: I don’t feel like eating.
Guys I haven’t lost my mind in jail, its true, and I saw it myself, Msaid drinks water only.
I really learned that yama fissign mazaleem!
Which is an Egyptian saying says that many of those in prison are really innocent.
I learned also the value of freedom, now just looking from the window or going out in the street is a lot of fun to me, I learned to appreciate freedom.
May God free everyone that is under such great injustice, and send them back home to their families and friends, about us, we will do what we can to make sure that happens, any kind of help that you can offer, any legal help or support from human right groups will be much appreciated and evaluated, we must do all we can to try to get some rights to those arrested, and being arrested in occupied Iraq, everyday.