Sunday, June 24, 2018

SUPERFLY

SUPERFLY is the most fun at the movies so far this summer.

While Mindy Kaling whines about sexism towards the film she has a bit part in -- a film that's made over $100 in the US so far -- the reality is that a film built around an African-American lead that's not wearing a costume appears to have an uphill climb at the box office.

Unlike the frequently boring OCEAN'S 8, SUPERFLY starts with excitement and never lets up.  The moment has most likely passed for it at the box office (this was the second weekend and it was number two), but when it goes to home video, stream this or get the DVD or BLU RAY or whatever.  This will end up being THE SCARFACE of the 21st century.

Red head, female critic Kristen Page-Kirby trashed the film.  Maybe red-headed White women shouldn't be allowed to review films where the cast is African-American?

Isn't that what Mindy Kaling would insist?

Me, I just assumed the film was so foreign to Page-Kirby's sensibilities (she prefers to watch DRUNK HISTORY with her 9-year-old because it's important that the world have more drunken White boyz) that she couldn't embrace it.

Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 
Friday, June 22, 2018.  THE DAILY BEAST decides to copy PINK NEWS (can we use the p-term?) without attribution, Moqtada's chief of staff speaks to the press, and much more.


Tim Teeman has a report that posted an hour or so ago at THE DAILY BEAT and either he or THE BEAST decided that the way to cover Iraq's LGBTQ was with an ISIS hook.  I have no idea why.  ISIS did kill LGBTQs but even the figures in his article note that this accounted for only 10% of the deaths.  The bulk have been, according to Teeman's article, militias (31%).

Killing of LGBTQs in Iraq -- and those suspected of being LGBTQ -- predates the rise of ISIS.   Let's drop back to June 1, 2009 to note that day's   KPFK's Connect the Dots with Lila Garrett which featured a conversation between Garrett and LA City Council member Bill Rosendahl and the topic was marriage equality:

 
Bill Rosendahl: . . . we're not equal in America today.  We're not equal anywhere on the earth.  In fact, I put a motion in last week on the council about the outrage in going on Iraq right now.  While we have 130,000 troops there, spending billions of dollars, killing a lot of local people, that gay people are being round up and murdered.  Over 600 have been documented and we're there watching it happen. And it's just outrageous and our president should get up and show some real leadership and, frankly, say, "Look, we're in Iraq to create freedom there and democracy and gay people are not going to be any more murdered just because they're gay."  And that's what's going on -- tortured and murdered.  And so, we suffer as gay people all over the planet.  We have a better life here in American and in the west than a lot of gay people have in other parts of the planet.  They're literally killed for their realities but here in the States we still don't have our basic civil rights.  I mean, when is our president going to get up and talk about Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Our people are in the military.  They're thrown out of the military.  He promised us that, I'm expecting real leadership out of him.  And I must say I am disappointed.  He has not taken the leadership seriously enough.  I don't like what he's doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I don't like what he's continuing to do in Iraq. He better not get to boisterous about North Korea and Iran.  You know, he should focus on our infrastructure, our education and bring peace to the planet, not more imperial war. 
 
 
Lila Garrett: Wait a minute.  600 gay people were murdered?  By whom?
 
Bill Rosendahl: 600 gay people in Iraq were murdered by --
 
Lila Garrett: By?
 
Bill Rosendahl: -- family and by folks within the militia who see gay people out in the street being more public.  They round us up and then they kill us.  And then there's an incredible torture mechanism that they do which I don't really want to say on the air but it's just disgusting how they end up putting us to death and to know about it from international gay and lesbian groups and to know our government knows it's going on and has said nothing about it, to me, is outrageous and I want our president to show some real leadership on this.
 
Lila Garrett: Yeah, but I really have to know, these 600 murdered people, you say by families and militia, are you talking about the American militia
 
Bill Rosendahl: No.  No, no, no.  No, I'm talking about several, what I consider, perversions of the Koran.  There are people who believe in Mohammad that also believe to be gay is wrong and that 'honor' murders can take place.  So some of it is literally families killing their own. And others are groups that are just part of the community who single out young gay men because they figure they are gay and kill them.  They literally kill us.
 
Lila Garrett: Are you saying, that this is happening in Iraq or is happening in Iran?
 
Bill Rosendahl: This is happening in Iraq as we're talking right now, Lila.
 
Lila Garrett: By Iraqis?
 
Bill Rosendahl: By Iraqis. 
 
Lila Garrett: And the United States is not stopping it?
 
Bill Rosendahl: It is not stopping it.
 
Lila Garrett: This is unbelievable.
 
Bill Rosendahl: It is unbelievable.  It's outrageous.  It is a living hell for my folks over there.
 
Lila Garrett: I don't understand why this isn't the story in the United States.
 
Bill Rosendahl: Well because the American media is so perverted.  They spend all this time about Miss America and all that at the same time this is going on over there.  They spend more time on trivia here than they do on real stories.  They spent some quality time on that young lady that was in Iran that was arrested as a spy who was a reporter.  But this particular issue has gotten no press, mainstream press, it has gotten a lot of other press and there's a lot of e-mails that are circulated and the gay and lesbian international groups have documented it, have gone over there and are the ones who first brought it to my attention.  And that's why I brought it to the attention of my colleagues on the City Council and we unanimously passed a resolution.  In fact, my chief of staff Mike Bonahma was with the vice president of the United States the next day, Joe Biden, because he was one of the early Obama supporters, and mentioned it to him, handed him the resolution and as Biden left the room, he said, "I'll get back to you on it." So hopefully our president will show real leadership and show an outrage to this.
 
Lila Garrett: Let's not hold our breath before Obama shows real leadership.
 
Bill Rosendahl: I know.
 
Lila Garrett: I want to get back to these 600 gay people that have been murdered.  By the Iraqis -- by whom among the Iraqis?  By the Sunnis?
 
Bill Rosendahl: No, no, no.  I'm talking about family.  I'm talking about just the militias and the insurgents in general.  They consider this [being gay] wrong and a murderous act and they literally kill us.  And when the numbers started to become hundreds -- and now it's over 600 documented -- that's when it was brought  to my attention.  In fact, one of the international leaders of the gay group read a letter that was sent to him by a 25-year-old gay man who was in that threatened position.  So we're trying to raise the awareness out there, the public awareness, and you're helping with that, Lila, by putting it on your show.


Let's stay with that day's snapshot for a moment to make sure we're all on the same page:

As noted May 15th, "Ruben Vives (Los Angeles Times) reports that the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to approve Council Rep Bill Rosendahl's 'resolution calling for federal legislation urging the Iraqi government to prevent the persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people'."  Lila noted that the segment was taped ahead of time so, for perspective, the resolution passed May 15th.  This year, the targeting's been noted here first in more on the issue, you can see this snapshot, this entry and the roundtable Friday night ["Roundtable on Iraq," "Roundtabling Iraq," "the roundtable," "Iraq," "Iraq in the Kitchen," "Roundtable on Iraq," "Talking Iraq," "Iraq," "Talking Iraq roundtable" and "Iraq roundtable"] That's going back to the start of April and it is not true that the MSM has ignored it.  They could do a lot more but they have covered it and where there has been no amplification is in Panhandle Media which appears to feel it's a 'niche' story to be left to the LGBT media.  In April, Wisam Mohammed and Khalid al-Ansary (Reuters) and Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN), the Dallas Morning News, UPI and AFP reported on it.   Michael Riley (Denver Post) covered the story and covered US House Rep Jared Polis' work on the issue (which included visiting Iraq), PDF format warning, click here for his letter to Patricia A. ButenisPolis is quoted at his website stating, "The United States should not tolerate human rights violations of nay kind, especially by a government that Americans spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year supporting.  Hopefully my trip and letters to US and Iraqi officials will help bring international attention and investigation to this terrible situation and bring an end to any such offenses."   For the New York Times, Timothy Williams and Tareq Maher's "Iraq's Newly Open Gays Face Scorn and Murder" covered the topic.  BBC News offered "Fears over Iraq gay killing spate."  The Denver Post offered an editorial entitled  "Killing of gay Iraqis shouldn't be ignored: We applaud Rep. Jared Polis for his efforts last week to shine the spotlight on the killings of homosexuals in Iraq,"  Nigel Morris offered "Iraqi leaders attacked over spate of homophobic murders" (Independent of London), the Telegraph of London covers the issue hereNeal Broverman (The Advocate), Jessica Green (UK's Pink News), and Doug Ireland covered it (here's one report by Ireland at GayCityNews -- he's filed more than one report), AFP reported on it again when signs went up throughout Sadr City with statements such as "We will punish you, perverts" and "We will get you, puppies" (puppies is slang for gay men in Iraq) and Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reported on that as well. Chris Johnson offered "Polis seeks to aid Iraqis: Says gays 'fear for their life and limb' after fact-finding trip to Baghdad" (Washington Blade), Killian Melloy (The Edge -- this is the April 2nd story that contains the State Dept stating it's not happening -- the denial) and [PDF formart warning] the April 15th  "Iraq Status Report" by the US State Dept notes the killings.  Amnesty International weighed in as did the  International Gay and lesiban Human Rights Campaign.  Jim Muir (BBC News -- text and video) reported on the targeting and the attacks. UK Gay News covered it, last week ABC News offered Mazin Faiq's "Tortured and Killed in Iraq for Being Gay" Chicago Pride and UPI covered the latest deaths last week.  And AFP and Jessica Green (UK's Pink News) covered the public statement from Moqtada al-Sadr about how they needed to be "eradicated" for "depravity" and he thinks they can be 'taught' not to be gay. As for the technique, Bill Rosendahl didn't want to discuss on air  Doug Ireland (ZNet) reported on that in May:
 

As the murder campaign targeting Iraqi gays intensifies, a leading Arabic television network last week revealed the use of a horrifying new form of lethal torture against Iraqi gay men -- anti-gay Shiite death squads are sealing their anuses with a powerful glue, then inducing diarrhea, which leads to a painful and agonizing death. The use of this stomach-turning new torture was first reported by the Al Arabiya network, which is headquartered in the United Arab Emirates and was alerted to the story by a leading Iraqi feminist and human rights activist.
Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), told Al Arabiya that the torture substance "is an Iranian-manufactured glue that, if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile telephones in Iraq." Al Arabiya said its reporter confirmed the use of this anal torture by "visiting the Baghdad morgue in Bab-al-Moazaam in central Baghdad, where Neman Mohsen, the medical examiner, confirmed they have the bodies of seven homosexuals in the morgue. He said, 'We were not able to identify the culprits, who dumped the bodies in front of the morgue and fled without being seen.'" A two-person team from Human Rights Watch (HRW) currently in Iraq to investigate persecution of LGBT people has also confirmed the use of this form of torture. In a widely-circulated email from Iraq, the head of HRW's LGBT desk, Scott Long, said he and his colleague had gathered evidence which confirms the Al Arabiya report and that HRW would make its own detailed report after the organization's two staffers return to the United States next week.      



The State Dept denial noted above came when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.  It was considered wiser to ignore it than risk that they might be forced to pull aid from Iraq.  US Senator Robert Menendez would run afoul of the Obama administration a few years later when he refused to back down on the human rights abuses carried out by the Iraqi government.  It was during that period that the efforts to remove Menendez from office kicked off. 

And the human rights abuses of the Iraqi government included the targeting of Iraq's LGBTQ community.  As we covered here, this was a Nouri al-Maliki operation.  It was his Ministry of the Interior that distributed pamphlets throughout the schools and sent in speakers explaining that these "vampires" must be killed.

To this day, some who paid attention will try to give Nouri cover noting that the Ministry could have acted alone.  Yes, it could have.  But who was the head of the Ministry?

Nouri al-Maliki.  He refused to name a Minister for Parliament to confirm because he wanted to control the Ministry of Interior.

Nouri was prime minister and he was in charge of the Ministry.

The Ministry had been in place for almost seven years before that and it had a lousy reputation; however, it was not known for going into schools with presentations calling for students to kill.

Nouri, of course, insisted that was not what they were doing.  AL MADA and ALSUMARIA had covered the story before his denial.  Too bad for Nouri, they were then able to produce the documents handed out by the Ministry to the students.  They were calling for the murder of anyone suspected of being gay and they were referring to them as "vampires."

That's Nouri.  That's the Iraqi government at that time.  And the US State Dept, in April of 2009, didn't want to risk being forced to cut off funding to Iraq or US troops being removed from Iraq.

From Tim Teeman's report this morning:


Rana from Babylon said: “I will die without anyone knowing that I was a lesbian. All the feelings I have, and all the girls I had crushes on will remain secrets I will take with me to my grave. I don’t think I will ever live to see an Iraq that welcomes people like me.” 
Mazin, a gay man living in Baghdad, told IraQueer in January 2018: “I escaped my family’s home six months ago. My dad is a police officer and he found out that I am gay. He’s been threatening to kill me since then. I’ve been staying at my friend’s house since, and rarely go out.”
Rawa, a 26-year-old gay man, said he was unable to keep his job because of sexual harassment and violence. “I was raped by my boss when I was working as a barista. He then threatened that he will report me to the police if I said anything. I had no choice but to escape.”
Hana, who is 31 years old and lives in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, said: “Every day I spend with my husband, another part of me dies. My father forced me to marry my cousin. I no longer recognize myself in the mirror.”
Members of the trans community face particular danger “simply by existing,” the report said. Hormone treatments are not legal and so make transitioning even more dangerous. Gender confirmation surgery is not permitted by the law, and if people manage to have the surgery outside the country, they face difficulties obtaining legal documents that reflect their gender identity.




96% of Face Physical or Verbal Violence. A new report, released by the group , has revealed the state of LGBT rights in . It found 96% of LGBT Iraqis have faced physical or verbal violence because of their sexuality or gender…
 
 
Ronny, a gay Christian refugee from Mosul, Iraq, looks out at the city skyline. After being sexually harassed by his work colleagues, he moved to an LGBT shelter in Istanbul. Ronny, 32, has faced other discriminatory acts in Turkey, including being beat up by eight people on…
 
 


We are officially releasing our baseline study highlighting the situation of the LGBT+ community in Iraq. Read more about the report in this interview with .
 
 





Eve Hartley reported on the survey four days ago for PINK NEWS and, interesting, she didn't feel the need to use ISIS as a hook.



Members of the trans community in particular face extreme danger simply by existing in Iraq. In particular danger are those who choose to undergo hormone treatment and show physical changes.
As hormone treatments and sex operations are not legal in Iraq,  transitioning is even more dangerous for those individuals. People who manage to undergo the surgery outside of Iraq face the difficulties in obtaining legal documents that reflect their post surgical identity.


Hmmm.  That's strangely similar to what Tim wrote this for morning for THE DAILY BEAST:

Members of the trans community face particular danger “simply by existing,” the report said. Hormone treatments are not legal and so make transitioning even more dangerous. Gender confirmation surgery is not permitted by the law, and if people manage to have the surgery outside the country, they face difficulties obtaining legal documents that reflect their gender identity.


Strangely similar.

Eva and PINK NEWS cover it and then THE DAILY BEAST and Tim 'borrow' from it four days later.

Let's move on to another topic, Turkey's continued attacks on Iraq.



Statements by undisclosed Iraqi sources talked about an understanding between Baghdad and Ankara on Turkey pursuing the PKK inside Iraqi territory. Turkey has touted the reported agreement, but Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, have adamantly denied one exists.
Saad al-Hadithi, spokesman for the prime minister's office, said Turkey's statements about launching military operations in Iraq are politically motivated as Erdogan is trying to impress voters before the June 24 elections.
“Turkey wants the Turkish citizens to vote in favor of the Turkish president in the elections,” Hadithi told Al-Monitor. “The Iraqi government will not allow Turkish forces to invade its territory under any pretext. It warned Turkey not to do so. The entry of Turkish troops into the Iraqi territory is a violation of sovereignty.”
While Baghdad is openly rejecting the Turkish incursion, silence prevails in the KRG.
The KRG — which fought a war against the PKK in the 1990s — doesn't mind Turkey's military action against the Kurdish militant group, said Nawzad Hasan, a political analyst at Al-Sabah Iraqi newspaper and a former professor at Salahuddin University-Erbil.
KRG spokesman Sven Dzi told Al-Monitor, "The KRG had called on the PKK months ago to leave the Kurdistan region territory, to deny Turkey any pretext for its invasion.” 
Though Iraq clearly rejects any military action without its consent, Hasan told Al-Monitor that Baghdad isn't in a position to stop Turkish incursions right now, given the internal turmoil over Iraq's recent elections.

Nawzad Hasan's an interesting sort of analyst "Baghdad isn't in a position to stop Turkish incursions right now, given the internal turmoil over Iraq's recent elections."  Those elections took place May 12th.  What prevented Baghdad prior to that?  This has been going on for years. As noted in yesterday's snapshotYENISAFAK reports, "Turkey has 11 temporary military bases in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Thursday."


 
On the topic of the recent elections, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr's bloc came in first in the elections (who knows how the recounts will turn out).  Quentin Muller (THE NEW ARAB) interviews Dhia al-Asadi (chief of staff for Moqtada).  Here's an excerpt:
Q.M. - Why did he distance himself from Iraqi Shia politicians?
D.A. - Moqtada left the Shia coalition because he didn't trust al-Maliki. And above all he wanted to change our relations with our neighbours. We fought the US intervention in Iraq, but that didn't mean we had to put up with the presence of Iranians, Turks or other Arabs on our soil. It is positive to have good relations with one's neighbours, but that doesn't mean those countries should interfere in our affairs.
Q.M. - Have you carried out surveys among your followers to make sure your new positions won't cause a split in the Sadrist movement?
D.A. - Our movement involves three different levels. There is Moqtada, the leader, there is an "elite" - though I wouldn't call us that, rather we are intermediaries, civic advisers, like myself; and then there are the grassroots followers, who trust him implicitly.

There was no need to take a survey or negotiate with them, because whatever he decides, they will go along with it. Sometimes we advisers will get together with him and negotiate, pointing out different possible directions we could take, but the final choice is his. Before making a decision, Moqtar al-Sadr consults with those who are closest to him, in Iraq and abroad.
Q.M. - But still, isn't it a little odd to have made an alliance with communists and liberals, often viewed in Iraq as "atheists"?

D.A. - In 2015, we took to the streets alongside representatives of the very few other parties involved in the anti-corruption demonstrations, and we realised we had a common goal, a peaceful one: Reforming the political system.

And so Moqtada al-Sadr broached the question: Why not join our efforts and form a single coalition? Some thought such a coalition couldn't last because of our ideological differences. Sometimes contradictions do arise, but our goal was not to discuss what divides us but rather our common objectives.





The following community sites -- Jody Watley -- updated:



  • Thursday, June 21, 2018

    Again on the boring OCEAN'S 8

    Sorry for not posting much this week.  I'm just still pissed about Mindy Kaling's nonsense that sexism is why her bad film (OCEAN'S 8) didn't get better reviews.  (See "INCREDIBLES 2, BOOK CLUB, OCEAN'S 8.")

    I was glad to see Carlos Delgado (WSWS) also panning the bad movie:

    A number of reviews praise the film for supposedly depicting “badass women,” but this is far from the truth. The plodding, lifeless script (co-written by Ross and Olivia Milch) is so devoid of tension that its performers hardly have an opportunity to exhibit anything resembling bravura or boldness. The cast is mostly wasted. Bullock’s easygoing confidence is somewhat more watchable than was Clooney’s irritating smirk, but outside of a few moments of playful chemistry with Blanchett she mostly looks bored. Hathaway is able to hit some comic beats with her smug, self-obsessed Kluger, but the rest of the cast is given little to work with.
    Ocean’s 8 livens up a bit during the heist itself, with Ross’s camera fluidly tracking the intricately choreographed movements of the team of thieves while spirited jazz music plays in the background. But the fawning depiction of the Met Gala (which raises more than $10 million in a single night), replete with celebrity cameos and red-carpet lavishness, leaves one sick to one’s stomach. We’ve come some distance from Free State of Jones’s Newton Knight declaring that “No man shall stay poor so that another man can get rich.”
    If the filmmakers had set out to prove that a female-led studio film can be just as vapid as a male-led one, they have succeeded. One hopes that everyone involved will set their sights higher next time.

    The film sucks.  Mindy should focus on that and not trying to pretend that the problem is sexism.

    Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


    Thursday, June 21, 2018.  Iraq's failed legal system gets worse, Turkey announces they have 11 bases in Iraq, and much more.


    May 12th, Iraq held elections.  Over a month later, they've decided to recount all the votes.   No, this is not how a functioning -- or even just an emerging -- democracy handles elections.  Nor does it instill a feeling of fairness -- or, for that matter, pride -- among voters.  But the US government has a lot of money to toss around and the Iraqi legal system is full of crooks who are on the take which explains how the Iraqi Supreme Court reversed its own position today.  REUTERS reports:


    Iraq's top court upheld on Thursday a law mandating a nationwide recount of votes in a May parliamentary election but ruled that the cancellation of overseas, displaced, and Peshmerga ballots was unconstitutional.
    Iraq, OPEC's second largest oil producer, faces political uncertainty after the election, which was marred by a historically low turnout and allegations of fraud.


    The farce becomes even more sick.  This is akin to presidential debates in the US.  After third party candidate John Anderson made it into the 1980 debates, the two dominant parties threw a hissy fit and the League of Women Voters walked.  As the League noted on October 3, 1988:


    "The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter," League President Nancy M. Neuman said today.
    "It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions," Neuman said. "The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."
    Neuman said that the campaigns presented the League with their debate agreement on
    September 28, two weeks before the scheduled debate. The campaigns' agreement was negotiated "behind closed doors" and vas presented to the League as "a done deal," she said, its 16 pages of conditions not subject to negotiation.

    Most objectionable to the League, Neuman said, were conditions in the agreement that gave the campaigns unprecedented control over the proceedings. Neuman called "outrageous" the campaigns' demands that they control the selection of questioners, the composition of the audience, hall access for the press and other issues.
    "The campaigns' agreement is a closed-door masterpiece," Neuman said. "Never in the history of the League of Women Voters have two candidates' organizations come to us with such stringent, unyielding and self-serving demands."
    Neuman said she and the League regretted that the American people have had no real opportunities to judge the presidential nominees outside of campaign-controlled environments.
    "On the threshold of a new millenium, this country remains the brightest hope for all who cherish free speech and open debate," Neuman said. "Americans deserve to see and hear the men who would be president face each other in a debate on the hard and complex issues critical to our progress into the next century."

    Neuman issued a final challenge to both Vice President Bush and Governor Dukakis to "rise above your handlers and agree to join us in presenting the fair and full discussion the American public expects of a League of Women Voters debate."


    The debates were never the same again and now you have some candidates receiving questions ahead of time, you have 'moderators' playing favorites and interrupting some candidates when they are speaking, you have nothing that really challenges the candidates or gives the American people any true insight.  Miss American contestants are asked tougher questions than presidential candidates these days.


    ALJAZEERA notes:

    The country's outgoing 328-seat parliament voted on June 6 in favour of the manual recount of all the 11 million ballots after allegations of irregularities in the electronic voting system.
    MPs had also sacked a nine-member Iraq's Independent High Elections Commission that oversaw the process and replaced the body with judges. The recount process began shortly after the judges took over leadership of the commission. 

    The court was tasked with ruling on the matter after the law amendment was challenged by Iraq's president, the election commission chief, and a Kurdish party.


    The Supreme Court has just legalized Parliament's unconstitutional actions.

    Last week, THE ECONOMIST noted how the latest actions were harmful ("Iraqis are souring on democracy'') and they noted:

    WHAT would politicians the world over like to do when they lose an election? Annul the results and burn the ballots, of course. In Iraq such dreams come true. On June 6th outgoing MPs voted to hold a recount of Iraq’s election and sack the head of the electoral commission. They were furious that a populist Shia cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, won the poll, held in May. Then, on June 10th, a warehouse in Baghdad containing a million ballots went up in flames. Firefighters claim to have saved most of them, but the equipment for counting the votes was destroyed.


    This was not about the people, this was about the sour grapes of the candidates and the US government being appalled by how well Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr performed.


    In addition, XINHUA notes that "the court rejected the decision to cancel the votes of Iraqis outside Iraq, the votes of the displaced people inside the country and the votes of the security members in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, saying that such cancelation must be carried out after scrutinizing the votes in the polling stations with allegedly witnessed fraud and irregularities."


    Some will try to see a silver lining in the fact that Sunni votes will increase because the Court has also disallowed the exclusion of some overseas votes which was taking place.  Iraqis of every stripe have fled Iraq -- a mass exodus that continues to this day.  Sunnis do make up a significant portion of the refugees, yes.  But equally true, Shias who were part of any of the exit waves dubbed the "brain drain" are going to be leery of supporting various Shi'ite parties having left the country when Shi'ite militias changed the fabric of daily life in Iraq.  The Court also disallowed the exclusion of some votes by the internally displaced and some Kurdish votes as well.

    Again, some will try to see this as a silver lining.  It's not.  It's not even a silver plated lining.  It's tin foil, at best.

    Some Kurds are thrilled.


    Some fairly fresh news from Iraq. 1/ the local council of Khaniqin wants Peshmerga and KRg security to return to the city



    The federal court says cancelling the the results of the elections in region and outside and these of the displaced people is unconstitutional



    The federal court endorses the manual  count of the votes






    And while they may be entitled to rejoice, in the larger picture, this is awful.  (A) It prolongs the formation of a government.  (B) It sets a precedent where all counts can be overturned in the future by losers in Parliament who are unhappy with the results.  (C) It makes clear that the citizen's vote is not the final answer but instead it's how politicians massage the vote.  (D) It goes around Iraq's Constitution which is supposed to be the supreme law of the land.  (E) Iraq's already shaky legal system takes a hit.  We could go on and on.  In no way does the Court's decision help or foster democracy.




    has leadership crisis.
    -By the end of June, Iraq enters a constitutional quagmire.
    -Militias clash with ISF challenging the state on both security and political levels.
    -Low turnout, elections’ results are highly contested, & burning of ballot boxes undermines results.






    We quoted from FOREIGN POLICY"s article on the elections and Moqtada earlier this week but they continue to Tweet about it so we'll note the Tweets for any who missed it:



    The man I once fought in Iraq is now the person I hope will save that country, argues U.S. soldier Michael D. Sullivan



    Many American soldiers have fought against Iraq's Muqtada al-Sadr and his forces. Michael D. Sullivan did too. But now, he says, he has newfound hope for Sadr and Iraq. Here's why:



    Michael D. Sullivan says Iraq's election has left him "with a feeling I’ve rarely experienced in all of my years in Iraq and certainly one I would have never thought I’d associate with Muqtada al-Sadr: hope."





    If you're not getting that this is about overturning the results, all last week the present prime minister Hayder al-Abadi made a big deal about how all blocs would meet up and have a discussion.  As ALL IRAQ NEWS reports today, it wasn't going to be all blocs -- Hayder never invited Moqtada.  The bloc that got the most votes was to be excluded.  These moves have always been about sour grape losers overturning the will of the Iraqi people.


    Staying on the topic of Iraq's failed legal system for a minute more, Human Rights Watch notes:

    Iraq’s judiciary should change its approach to dealing with detained foreign women and children who are accused of affiliation with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. Since January, Iraq has proceeded with rushed trials against foreigners on charges of illegal entry and membership in or assistance to ISIS without sufficiently taking into account the individual circumstances of each case or guaranteeing suspects a fair trial.
    Most foreign women are being sentenced to death or life in prison. The Iraqi justice system is also prosecuting foreign children, ages 9 and up, on similar charges, and sentencing them in some cases with up to five years in prison for ISIS membership and up to 15 years for participating in violent acts.
    “Iraq’s ‘one size fits all’ approach to women who traveled to live under ISIS or to children whose parents brought them along is producing unjust outcomes in many instances,” said Nadim Houry, Terrorism/Counterterrorism director at Human Rights Watch. “Iraqi justice should take into account their individual circumstances and actions and give priority to prosecuting the most serious crimes while exploring alternatives for lesser ones.”
    Human Rights Watch attended the trials of seven foreign women and three foreign children. Human Rights Watch also spoke with relatives of detainees and some of the lawyers representing them, and reviewed media reports of trials of at least 72 foreign women. The prosecuted women are from a number of countries, including, Turkey, Russia, France, Germany, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Trinidad and Tobago.
    Most of the foreign women and children held in Iraq belong to a group of more than 1,300 foreigners detained by Iraqi forces last August during the battle for the ISIS stronghold of Tal Afar in the northwest of Iraq. A security source told AFP news agency that the group was composed of 509 women and 813 children, though the overall number of foreign women and children in detention is believed to be higher based on information from sources close to the penitentiary system in Baghdad.
    In September, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated in an interview that most of the women and children were not guilty of a crime, and that his government was “in full communication” with their home countries to “find a way to hand them over.” But Iraq appears to have changed its approach and starting in January 2018, proceeded to prosecute women and children ages 9 and up. Meanwhile, the women and children are detained in overcrowded conditions.

    A relative of one woman held with her 2-year-old child for months in an airless leaking cell near Mosul with about 25 other women said: “The food they were getting was barely enough to keep them alive. Many were sick but no doctor ever came to see them. One of [her fellow] inmates gave birth right in the cell.”

    Earlier this week, the ridiculous International Red Cross declared that "the battle is over" in Iraq "after years of fighting.''

    Proving how out of touch they are, the violence continues and the US continues to bomb Iraq.  In addition, on Sunday, according to the US government, Israel bombed Iraq as well.  So much for the battle being over.  Iraq is also bombed by Turkish war planes.  On that topic, YENISAFAK reports, "Turkey has 11 temporary military bases in northern Iraq, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Thursday."

    11 bases?

    When Turkey was publicly claiming the right to have one, it was a serious issue to the Iraqi people -- as well it should have been.  A foreign country setting up bases?  Hayder al-Abadi publicly declared that they had to leave.  But they didn't leave, did they?  And now they are bragging about the 11 bases they have in Iraq.

    Hayder al-Abadi is supposed to be prime minster of Iraq. How does he answer to the Iraqi people on this?

    It's bad enough that he's allowed Turkey to continue bombing northern Iraq -- he will -- from time to time -- offer a meek denunciation of these bombings, but 11 bases?





    We're going to wind down with a section of  Justin Raimondo's latest at ANTIWAR.COM:

    No one is allowed to dissent from the official Establishment line: that’s the new dispensation in the media, and it is being enforced by the political class, which has launched a series of smear campaigns against anyone who dares question the conventional wisdom. Anyone who questions the veracity of the media, starting with our President, is deemed an “enemy of democracy,” because the media is supposed to be the foundation stone of a free society.
    But what happens when the media becomes an instrument in the hands of Power, a weapon in the arsenal of a Deep State intent on exercising its veto over our democratically elected government?
    That’s a question fake-“libertarian” Conor Friedersdorf doesn’t want you to even contemplate. Why? Because then, like Tucker Carlson, you’d be “hurting America.” That’s right, folks: “Tucker Carlson is Hurting America Again”! Yes, again!
    Oh, when will they make it stop?
    How and why is this hurting happening? Well, it seems Tucker stepped over the line by giving his audience the sort of advice I’ve given my readers time and time again:
    “Last week, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, or else the eponymous populist demagogue that he plays on TV, declared on Tucker Carlson Tonight, ‘If you’re looking to understand what’s actually happening in this country, always assume the opposite of whatever they’re telling you on the big news stations.’
    “He has previously hosted TV shows on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS.”
    That last paragraph is supposed to clue you in to Carlson’s hypocrisy, and yet it will no doubt seem to the non-hysterical reader that Tucker’s experience in those vales of confirmation bias gives him some insight into how they report the news. And then there’s the snarky implication that Carlson doesn’t really believe what he’s saying – after all, how could anyone doubt the Russia-gate conspiracy narrative? Why, nobody at The Atlantic does! – and he’s just “playing” the “eponymous populist demagogue” on TV.
    First of all, let’s dispel the aura of intellectuality that Friedersdorf exudes: “eponymous” doesn’t mean what he thinks it means, and the word has absolutely no applicability here. See for yourself. So why include it? Because Friedersdorf is a complete and total phony, and always has been. He’s a pretentious careerist who, in taking on the assignment given to him by Jeffrey Goldberg, former Israeli prison guard and editor-in-chief over at The Atlantic, shows us what a third-class writer he is.

    Most of the piece consists of quotes from Carlson, supposedly contradicting his present skeptical view of the “mainstream” media. Yet this misses the point – deliberately, one can’t help thinking – being made not only by Carlson but by some of the few remaining rational pundits on the left who are disturbed by the weaponization of journalism as a sword in the hands of those who would slay the President. There’s been a sea change in the content and tone of the “mainstream” media, which has given up all pretenses of objectivity and lent itself to partisan purposes.




    The following community sites -- plus Cindy Sheehan and PACIFICA EVENING NEWS -- updated: