Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Unsettling US Embassy memo from Iraq

The Washington Post has obtained a memo sent from the US Embassy in Baghdad to the Secretary of State that paints a grim picture of the conditions there. Here are some of the bullet points:

  • Two of our three female employees report stepped up harassment beginning in mid-May. One, a Shiite who favours western clothing, was advised by an unknown woman in her upscale Shiite/Christian Baghdad neighbourhood to wear a veil and not to drive her own car. Indeed, she said, some groups are pushing women to cover even their face, a step not taken in Iran even at its most conservative.

  • Embassy employees are held in such low esteem their work must remain a secret and they live with constant fear that their cover will be blown. Of nine staffers, only four have told their families where they work. They all plan for their possible abductions. No one takes home their cell phones as this gives them away. One employee said criticism of the U.S. had grown so severe that most of her family believes the U.S. "is punishing populations as Saddam did."

  • Since April, the "demeanor" of guards in the Green Zone has changed, becoming more "militia-like," and some are now "taunting" embassy personnel or holding up their credentials and saying loudly that they work in the embassy: "Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people." For this reason, some have asked for press instead of embassy credentials.
The full memo is available in PDF format here.


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