Friday, October 31, 2014

Arrow -- only one scene with Felicity

I like Laurel on "Arrow" (The CW, Wednesday nights).

I'd like her better if she were kicking butt as Black Canary. 

Hopefully, that comes soon.

And the show needs it.

A woman of action.

Felicity was on "The Flash" this week so she didn't show up on "Arrow" until the end of the episode.

I bring this up because there's a kind of sexism going on -- more so than usual -- with this show.

Laurel was walking around with a tablet and photos she got from a security camera and . . .

Yeah.

That's Felicity's role.

That's what she's always done.

Instead of having Diggle pick up the slack or have Roy put down the make up (he's wearing so much make up this season), it was, "Uh, where's a girl?  Any girl will do."

Maybe Thea will force a change since she's all martial arts now?

Something needs to change.

So Sarah (Laurel's dead sister) remains dead and who killed her was a mystery.

Sarah's ex-lover showed up telling everyone it was Malcolm Merlin.

And Oliver (Green Arrow) was all, 'He's dead.  He's dead.'

We know he's not.

Like Thea, we know her father is alive.

When Arrow discovered this, he told Thea who played dumb to her (half)brother.

So the long and short of the episode is that Malcolm insists he didn't kill Sarah (I believe him) and Laurel's now training hard to learn the martial arts.





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

 
Thursday, October 30, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods (War Crimes) continue, Loveday Morris explains what 'victory' looks like in Iraq, and much more.


In Monday's snapshot, we noted the death of Sean P. Neal and the presumed death of Jordan L. Spears -- both in the latest wave of the Iraq War which has been dubbed "Inherent Resolve."  Tuesday, the Defense Dept issued the following announcement:


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: NR-546-14
October 28, 2014

DoD Identifies Marine Casualty


  The Department of Defense announced today the reclassification of a previously reported death of a Marine in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, of Memphis, Indiana, was lost at sea Oct. 1 while conducting flight operations in the North Arabian Gulf. He was initially classified as a non-global war on terrorism casualty.
Spears was assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron-163, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.
For more information, media may contact the I Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office at (760) 763-7039 or after hours at (760) 207-5865.
 
The "reclassification" the release notes means Jordan L. Spears is now the first US service member to die in Operation Inherent Resolve.


How many more people will be sent to die in the never-ending Iraq War?

For now, one group of armed forces won't be going.  Al Arabiya News notes:


Australian commandos set to join the fight in Iraq against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have hit an unexpected snag – Baghdad has not yet issued them visas, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday.

Although 200 special forces troops are in in the Gulf awaiting their deployment, the Iraqi government’s “excruciating inefficiency” has made them unable to reach their assignment, according to the daily, citing an unidentified source.



The forces are sent over with no plan.

Just bomb.

Then bomb some more.

And while the Iraqi government -- safe from the aerial bombings, safe in the protected Green Zone -- is happy to see the country bombed, already Iraqis are rejecting it.  Not a surprise.

It's not a plan.

It's a shock and, grasp reality, it's an insult to Iraqis.

Foreigners are 'helping' them by bombing their countryside?

In what world is that 'help'?

In the world where countries can't stop lining up at the chance to bomb Iraq.


NewsinEnglish.no reports, "Norway’s government has confirmed plans to send a total of 195 military personnel to Iraq and Afghanistan as a contribution to the US-led international efforts to combat terrorism. The decision announced Thursday was critizised by some left-wing politicians, but the opposition Labour party said it supported the move." Steven Chase (Globe and Mail) reports, "Canadian warplanes are poised to start striking targets in Iraq, with the government saying bombing of Islamic militant forces should begin very shortly."  Emily Kent Smith (Daily Mail) reports England's gearing up to provide Apache helicopters to Iraq and "If Apaches are sent to Iraq - which are piloted by the Army Air Corps - it would mark the first British Army involvement in a conflict role in the country."


For those who've forgotten who else is bombing Iraq, the US Defense Dept helpfully notes, "Among the coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq are the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain."


That's a lot of countries and so many more lining up for their chance to destroy Iraq.

The US Defense Dept boast, "Separately, officials said, U.S. and partner-nation military forces conducted two airstrikes in Iraq yesterday and today, using attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists. [. . .]

  In Iraq, an airstrike near Bayji struck a small ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, and an airstrike west of Ramadi struck an ISIL checkpoint."

Tom Bowman (NPR's Morning Edition, link is text and audio) notes:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been on the defensive recently about the strategy to take on the Islamic State. American warplanes have been bombing targets in Iraq and Syria, but militant fighters are still on the move.
"We have made it very clear, I have and President Obama has, that this is a long, difficult effort," Hagel said.
Difficult, some critics say, because the U.S. military is not bombing enough targets and is not deploying any U.S. ground troops in the fight. There are also critics who say the U.S. does not have effective partners on the ground and is not training a sufficient number of local troops or militias.

"This sounds like a Goldilocks approach. We're looking for a solution that's just right," said Fred Hof, who worked in the Obama administration on Syria policy.



Greg Miller (Washingon Post) adds, "The magnitude of the ongoing migration suggests that the U.S.-led air campaign has neither deterred significant numbers of militants from traveling to the region nor triggered such outrage that even more are flocking to the fight because of American intervention."


If you're not grasping what a failure US President Barack Obama's 'plan' has been, Xinhua reports, "A total of 255 tribesmen and local policemen were executed by the militants of the Islamic State (IS) after the group took them from their villages and towns in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a provincial security source said on Thursday."

Here's the thing about little boys and their war toys, it stops being a fun game quickly.  They end up like gamblers at black jack, they just can't walk away..  They're losing but they keep betting because now they've lost face, now everyone's looking at them.  And they know they're not doing anything different and they're not planning to do anything different, but if they keep bluffing, surely (they hope) their luck will change.

Luck is all Barack's hoping for at this point to save his 'plan.'


  Al Arabiya News notes,  "Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants executed 46 people and besieged 500 families in the Iraqi city of Heet, Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent to Anbar reported on Wednesday."  Sameer N. Yacoub and Sinan Salaheddin (AP) add, "Hit was captured by Islamic State militants earlier this month after heavy clashes with the government security forces and tribal militias."  Earlier this month.

When you're losing cities, you aren't making "gains."  Even if you retake them, you are not making "gains." The Pentagon keeps labeling this and that "Islamic State propaganda" but the Defense Dept isn't averse to circulating its own propaganda.

Loveday Morris (Washington Post via the UK Independent) provides the reality that the Defense Dept keeps glossing over:

But a visit to the Sunni settlement this week laid bare the huge cost of that victory. The town is now emptied of its 80,000 residents, and building after building has been destroyed – by air strikes, bombings and artillery fire.
After four months of battles between the Isis and the Iraqi army, about 10,000 pro-government Shia militiamen were poured into this area in Babil province for a final push, according to Hadi al-Amiri, who leads the Iranian-backed Badr Brigade and co-ordinated the operation.
Defeating the militants involved clearing out all the residents and leaving the town nearly flattened, underscoring the challenge the Shia-led government faces in areas where demographics do not work in its favour.


And that's what the Pentagon -- and White House -- insists is a 'success.'


We noted some of today's deaths earlier.  Yesterday?  Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) reports:

On Wednesday, Islamic State fighters rounded up and executed 35 tribesmen in Hit, a Euphrates town in Anbar, officials said.
"We asked the prime minister to urgently arm anti-Islamic State tribal fighters. We told him each day that passes adds more complication to the situation in Anbar and the government needs to take immediate actions on ground," said Sheikh Naeem al-Ga’oud, from the prominent Albu Nimir tribe.
"But speaking honestly all what we got out of the meeting with Abadi was promises."


Rasheed reports on the growing distrust of the new prime minister Haider al-Abadi.  This isn't a surprise.  A new prime minister was not a clean bill.  It was a brief chance to demonstrate a new Iraq.

Brief.


Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) notes, "Yet Baghdad has been hit by a slew of bombings in recent weeks that seem intended to disrupt Muharram and shatter public confidence in the new Shiite Muslim-dominated government of Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, the politician plucked from relative obscurity who the Obama administration hopes will find a way to bridge the country’s sectarian divide."

Haider and the White House blew it.

Reuters notes, "The bodies of 150 members of an Iraqi Sunni tribe which fought Islamic State have been found in a mass grave, security officials said on Thursday.  Islamic State militants took the men from their villages to the city of Ramadi and killed them on Wednesday night and buried them, an official in a police operations center and another security official told Reuters."


Had the White House and Haider done their job, the 150 deaths could have been a galvanizing moment, the reason the Sunni tribal sheiks who are now living in exile in Jordan to throw their support behind Haider.

At some point, is the long promised "political solution" going to be worked on?



AFP reports:



As US-led warplanes pound jihadists in Iraq, prominent Sunni exiles say that empowering their marginalised minority will be more important than bombs and missiles in defeating the Islamic State extremist group.
Deadly sectarian tensions have riven Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein more than a decade ago, with Sunni anger at the Shiite-led authorities seen as a key factor behind the rise of IS.



The 'shock and awe' of US war planes was only going to be 'shocking' for a bit.  It's just another layer in the cycle of violence -- the never-ending cycle of violence in Iraq.  The average Iraqi citizen has had to endure and adjust to a life that no one would consider normal anywhere else -- car bombings, roadside bombings, grenade attacks, on and on and on.

Hollie McKay (Fox News) reports on how a song Beyonce recorded, "I Was Here," has had an impact in Iraq:



“Those words were so powerful, so life-changing,” Mohammad Huzaifa Muluki, a 23-year-old student in Baghdad told FOX411. “I know it is difficult to do, but we want to change the world and that song made us realize we can. We can leave in a world with peace, without war, without terror.”
A lot of small steps, he said, can lead to big changes.
The idea was initially sparked by a young student, Muna Abdel Halim, who coordinated with Muluki and just three other friends from university to quickly launch a humanitarian campaign of the same name – “I Was Here.” Today it boasts an ever-growing list of more than 150 young volunteers, all with a mission to provide services that will help those in need.

“Every day we see and hear images and stories of pain and suffering in our own neighborhoods and in countries far away. But we also find acts of kindness, great and small,” he continued. “One day, one message, one goal to inspire people in Iraq to do something good no matter how big or small – for someone else.”


Earlier this month, Shukur Khilkhal (Al-Monitor) reported on the campaign:


Over the last two years, the campaign has completed a number of different humanitarian tasks. It cleaned up and reopened the Mustansiriya Madrasah, the most famous historical school in Baghdad, established in 1233.
The cleaning process took a full week of continuous work, following which its members cleaned Mutanabi Street. They also collected food and clothing and distributed them to needy people during the month of Ramadan in a project they called "Ramadan basket.”
As their number increased by the day, the volunteers started dividing themselves into groups, each specializing in a particular job. “There is a group dedicated to humanitarian work, another to technical work and a third to works of service-related nature, and so on,” Muluki said.

 



The song's lyrics include:

I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that, meant something that I left behind
When I leave this world, I'll leave no regrets
Leave something to remember, so they won't forget

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here

I want to say I lived each day, until I died
And know that I meant something in, somebody's life
The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know



"I Was Here" was written by songwriter Diane Warren who Tweeted today:




  • In tears reading how "I Was Here" has inspired a peace movement among the youth of Iraq. This is truly the power of music. Humbled.



  • Along with "I Was Here," Diane's written or co-written many other hits such as  DeBarge's "Rhythm of the Night," Patti Labelle's "If You Asked Me To," Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me," Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," Roberta Flack & Maxi Priest's "Set The Night To Music," Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart," Aretha Franklin & Whitney's Houston's "It Isn't, It Wasn't, It Ain't Never Gonna Be," Heart's "Who Will You Run To," Brandy's "Have You Ever?" and  Cher's "You Haven't Seen The Last Of Me," "Save Up All Your Tears," "Just Like Jesse James" and "If I Could Turn Back Time."

    Back to the never-ending bombing passed off as a 'plan,' any measure the US was going to execute would only be 'stunning' for a brief time.


    The White House spent far too much time -- wasted far too much time -- on the military response when at one point even Barack was saying that the only answer for Iraq was a political solution.

    But the US could hold a terrorism conference with defense ministers from around the world

    Couldn't do the same for diplomats from various countries.

    And the White House continued the militarization of the State Dept by wasting various State officials on the task of talking this and that country into joining the bombings.

    They failed at the diplomacy and that's what the world will remember years from now.

    Not the daily strikes the Pentagon's so damn proud of.

    But the failure of someone who (wrongly) won the Nobel Peace Prize to use diplomacy.



    It was a brief window of time, we noted that months ago.  The hope that a new prime minister might mean the government could be inclusive and might stop the targeting of Sunnis.

    It required some grand gestures.

    We noted that as well.

    Thug and thankfully former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki targeted Sunni politicians.  This included Vice President Tareq Ali who served from 2006 to 2014 -- the last two years in exile but he held the office -- despite the whoring lie of a whorish press (I'm referring to US and European press) as they rushed to lap at the crotch of thug Nouri.

    Jane Arraf hasn't said a peep about the Frontline special that aired this week.

    Rather strange when you consider that the only time she's on TV is when PBS throws her a bone.

    But she can't highlight that special, can she?

    She whored for Saddam Hussein when he was prime minister (Jane was at CNN then) and she's whored for Nouri.

    On Tuesday, Frontline exposed Nouri as the thug we always noted he was.

    Poor Jane.  All those reports for PRI, Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor.

    Find where she's noting Nouri's crimes?

    She was a good little whore for Nouri.


    Nouri charged Tareq with crimes and demanded that the Baghdad court he controlled try Tareq.

    Tareq was still Vice President.  To stand trial, per the Iraqi Constitution, Nouri had to wait until Tareq was out of office (he resigned or his term expired) or else get the Parliament to strip Tareq of his office and immunity.  The Parliament refused to do that.

    No trial should have taken place.

    Then, months before the trial started, Baghdad judges announced Tareq's guilt.

    Before the trial started.

    Before opening arguments, let alone before any evidence was introduced.

    That's the sort of bias that forces functional judges to recuse themselves from a case.

    But the trial proceeded.

    Tareq's defense attorney wanted to call a character witness.

    The judge refused.

    The character witness?

    Then-President of Iraq Jalal Talabani.

    Who was prepared to testify.

    The evidence presented was from tortured 'confessions.'

    At least one of Tareq's bodyguards was tortured to death, beaten so badly that he died from kidney failure.

    All of this calls for the verdict to a trial which never should have taken place (due to the immunity issue) to be set aside.

    As the head of the government, Haider al-Abadi could make that call/recommendation.

    He could also issue a pardon.

    He's refused to do either.

    All he's done is promise to end the bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja.

    That was a good promise.

    Starting in January of this year, Nouri began bombing the homes of civilians in Falluja, a War Crime, legally defined as such, recognized by the international community as such (the term is Collective Punishment).

    So, September 13th, when Haider promised to end the bombings, that was good.

    Days later, as the bombings continued, it wasn't so good.

    His only gesture -- not grand at all, just respecting international law -- turned out to be hollow words as the bombings continued.

    Iraqi Spring MC notes the bombings continue and that Falluja General Hospital received the corpse of one civilian as well as one wounded civilian.


    There's been no grand gesture.

    Haider's failed to call for the release from Iraqi prisons and jails all people who have never had charges filed against them.  (In Iraq -- and they took this from the US government's actions when it directly controlled Iraq -- if you can't arrest the person you have a warrant for, arrest their spouse, or their parent, or their child, sibling, grandparent, etc.  These people, these Sunnis, remain behind bars despite never being charged with any crime.)

    The only gesture was that he would abide by international law and yet, despite that promise, the bombing of Falluja residential neighborhoods continues.









    iraq













    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    The Flash sucks

    It's official, "The Flash" sucks.

    Tonight's episode drove that home.

    Felicity from "Arrow" came on.  Emily Bett Rickards was great as Felicity, she always is.

    But she was great in some lousy scenes, scenes that attempted to sexualize the character while pretending otherwise.

    You had a woman being blown away by Felicity's sexuality and then, talking to Barry (the Flash) emphasizing how smart and sweet ("and pretty") Felicity was.

    It was pure garbage.

    Again, the actress did a great job and she deserves praise.

    But it was in the nonsense they wasted the actress with that it became clear "The Flash" has serious problems and needs to do a serious retool immediately.


    Equally true, the actor playing the Flash is 24, so stop writing him like he's 15 and a character on "Dawson's Creek."

    I really wanted to love this show but every episode makes it harder and harder.

    P.S. The ensemble cast is way too large, way too large.  Too many characters -- or too many actors playing too many stereotypes.


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

     
    Tuesday, October 28, 2014. Chaos and violence continue, the murder of civilians in Falluja continue, the State Dept gets asked about the empty words, Erik Prince tries to rewrite history, and much more.



    Erik Prince is back in the news but all those who had "glory hole scandal" haven't won -- yet.  No, Prince has a book and is busy promoting it.  Justine Drennan (Foriegn Policy) reports:


    In his book Civilian Warriors, as well as in a relatively rare interview ahead of its paperback release Tuesday, Prince vehemently rejected such claims and argued that Blackwater was scapegoated by vindictive Democrats and a State Department and Pentagon that couldn't come to terms with the government's growing dependence on private contractors. "I'm no hero. The world knows all too well about my mistakes. But I was never meant to play the villain," he wrote in his book. "Seeing the company I'd built torn down for no reason was almost too much to bear." 



    Really?


    Democrats kicked his Blackwater out of Iraq?


    The State Dept and the Pentagon sued his mercenary company Blackwater?


    He doesn't own Blackwater anymore.


    He sold it to escape legal culpability.


    Now he attempts to escape reality.


    Ali Abbas Mahmoud can't escape the reality of what Blackwater did back in September of 2007.  Last week, Ali Abbas Mahmoud spoke about it to Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) following the convictions of four men who had worked for Blackwater and took part in the attack:

    One of the dead boys was Mahmoud’s 11-year-old nephew, Qasim Muhammad Abbas. Qasim’s father, Muhammad Abbas Mahmoud – Ali Abbas Mahmoud’s elder brother – also died. The boy’s mother was wounded.

    The family was sitting inside a pickup when the shooting broke out. Members of Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority, they were hauling furniture to a new home in a Shiite neighborhood after tensions with minority Sunni Muslims forced them to leave their old house.
    Ali Abbas Mahmoud, a 52-year-old Ministry of Housing employee who agreed to speak by telephone but refused a face-to-face interview, said he’d never forget how his sister-in-law, frantic with grief and terror, called him as she sat bleeding inside the pickup.
    “She made me hysterical when she called me and told me that my brother had just been killed,” he recounted. “She was in the vehicle. She screamed, ‘They slaughtered your brother and they slaughtered your nephew and I’m injured.’ She made me as hysterical as she was.”

    Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/10/23/244476/in-iraq-blackwater-verdict-provides.html?sp=/99/117/416/103/#storylink=cpy




    Is Ali Abbas Mahmoud a Democrat?


    A Pentagon official?

    A State Dept official?

    No, he's an Iraqi citizen.



    Erik Prince is very good about rewriting history.  Some day, the pool may pay off and he may get busted on his knees in a truck stop men's room -- at which point, he'll try to rewrite that as well.


    But all the revisions don't change the fact that his company killed innocent Iraqis.


    His company was out of control.


    It was out of control because that's the way he wanted it.


    There was no training on the need to avoid wounding or killing civilians.


    Iraqis, the same people who do not matter to him today, did not matter to him when he ran Blackwater and the actions of his employees reflected that.




    At the Pentagon today, spokesperson Rear Adm John Kirby declared, "While we recognize that a major Iraqi offensive against ISIL may still be a ways off, these are encouraging reports that highlight Iraq's determination to take the fight to ISIL."


    They continue to spin the inability of the Iraqi military to do its job as 'good news.'


    But every day that the Iraqi army fails to do its job, more US taxpayer dollars are thrown away in Iraq, "millions a day," Kirbay declared today.


    And the tab for the latest wave of the never-ending Iraq War just keeps growing.



    Q: On ISIS. Does the department anticipate forwarding a request for additional money to Congress for 2015 for the ISIS fight?


    REAR ADM. KIRBY: I think you've heard [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel and the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsy] talk about this. I think certainly there's going to have to be some considerations going forward, but I wouldn't get ahead of specific budget moves that haven't been made yet.

    I think, you know, we've gone to the Hill, we've testified to the operations, and again, Secretary Hagel has been very clear that certainly considerations for added funding are going to have to be part of the calculus going forward. But we're just not in a position right now where we can detail what that would look like, what form it would be, how much it would be, that kind of thing.


    Going to nail down the cost someday soon, huh?  Like they nailed down what was happening in Iraq?

    The administration failed to heed warning, failed to listen to intelligence, failed to use common sense and was completely surprised this summer to discover the Islamic State in Iraq.


    Tonight PBS' Frontline examined the Islamic State and how they came to be major players in Iraq.  Michael Iskikoff (Yahoo News) recaps:



    The film, reported by correspondent Martin Smith, offers a richly detailed account of how the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki alienated the country’s disenfranchised Sunni population, making reckless accusations of terrorism against Sunni leaders — including the country’s Vice Prime Minister Tariq al-Hashimi. Those allegations flatly denied by al-Hashimi on camera — were based on the testimony of bodyguards who, it is strongly suggested, were tortured.

    With little pressure or engagement from Washington, al-Maliki’s anti-Sunni agenda driven by his  “paranoia,” as one of Smith’s interlocutors says — paved the way for ISIS radicals to march through huge swaths of Iraqi territory this spring, seizing arsenals of U.S.-made weapons from a collapsing Iraqi army. This, of course, was the same army that the U.S. spent billions arming and training. In fact, terrorism expert Ken Katzman suggests in the film, they were a phantom led by do-nothing officers.


    Nouri was only in office, in his first term as prime minister, for a few months when we noted in 2006 his paranoia which the US government thought (at that time) would make him more "manageable" (as the CIA analysis termed it).  By the time WikiLeaks was publishing the State Dept cables in 2010, the US government's knowledge of Nouri's paranoia was on full display for anyone who wanted to see.

    Yet the White House, Barack's White House, continued to support Nouri.

    They demanded he get a second term as prime minister even though he lost the 2010 elections.

    To get around the voters and the election results, the US brokered The Erbil Agreement, a legal contract singed by the political leaders -- including Nouri al-Maliki -- which gave Nouri a second term in exchange for Nouri making promises -- legal ones -- as well.  But Nouri used the contract to get his second term and then refused to honor it.

    As Rafi al-Essawi told Frontline, "All the commitments that Maliki gave to the politicians in what’s called the Erbil Agreement -- that’s the agreement that formed the government at that time -- nothing from that agreement was fulfilled or implemented."

    The US government swore The Erbil Agreement was legally binding and had the full backing of the US government.  When Ayad Allawi walked out of Parliament following the signing of the agreement -- and Nouri announcing he couldn't implement it immediately -- US President Barack Obama personally spoke to Allawi on the phone to get him to drop the boycott and return to Parliament.

    But when it became obvious, months and months later, that Nouri was never going to honor his part of The Erbil Agreement, the White House said nothing.

    They said nothing.

    And they did nothing.

    And things got worse and worse.

    At Frontline, Priyanka Boghani gathers various comments from four Sunni officials reflecting on how Nouri targeted the Sunni community.  We'll not the Minister of Finance Rafi al-Essawi.

    RAFI AL-ESSAWI: The environment was really very, very poisoned because of the behavior of Maliki and the government. And everyone, Shiites and politicians, advised Maliki that this is not the way of dealing with Sunnis.
    There was no direct relationship at all between the demonstrations and tribes from outside and Al Qaeda on the outside. People got very upset, very angry about the government’s behavior and the Iraqi army’s behavior. … The people started to look at the army as an enemy rather than as a national army.
    Everyone participated in the demonstrations, every Sunni. I can say every Sunni, not as a person, but as groups, because everyone felt that they were either not represented in the new Iraq or felt that they didn’t receive a just trial.
    No one thought that the Iraqi army could attack demonstrators in Hawija. They were demonstrating for months at a time, peaceful, calling for their rights.

    So when they brought their tanks, heavy army vehicles, and SWAT teams, the security forces of the ministry of interior attacked. They killed the people in a very criminal model. This added to the upset of the people. This was not their government. And the people who killed them, these were not Iraqi army personnel. These were militias who were killing them.


    And the White House continued to back Nouri.

    For four long years, throughout his second term, they allowed him to break the legal contract they brokered and they allowed him to target the Sunni population.  They looked the other way until the spring of this year when they finally pulled support for the US-installed puppet.

    Nouri was using the security forces to violently attack protesters -- wound them, kill them.  And the US government looked the other way.



    RAFI AL-ESSAWI: [For Sunni people] participation in the political process ended in nothing. Demonstration ended in nothing. Asking the government constitutionally to change their province into region was not accepted. They started to be convinced that there is no benefit of constitutional solutions.
    So the government pushed and squeezed people towards supporting the terrorists. And I can’t say that it is — again, it is not direct support. It is only creating an environment — and this was a very fatal mistake of the government.
    When ISIS came as defenders of Sunnis, we knew that they were criminals, that they were not Sunni defenders. When they presented themselves, people said, “Well, it may be possible to save us from the government, from the army which is not a professional national army, but one that killed and arrested Sunnis.” That is why people in these provinces stayed silent. They are not supporting ISIS. They are not opposing ISIS.
    No one wants to fight against ISIS now, [because they would] appear to be pro-Maliki or supporting the militia that is killing Sunnis in Baghdad. You see, when [Sunnis] fight ISIS, people would blame them for fighting Sunnis who are protecting you, while no one is fighting Shia militias that are killing our brothers, Sunnis in Diyala.
    If the government came to the Sunnis now to fulfill their requirements, the rights of the Sunnis, no one would accept ISIS. By the way, even now, despite being very upset against the government, Sunnis are not accepting ISIS.

    To me, at the end of the day, it is the Sunnis who will defeat ISIS, exactly like in 2007 and ’08 when the Sunnis made the decision of fighting Al Qaeda.


    The administration continues to spin.

    But things don't always go there way.  Even the press doesn't always cooperate.

    At today's US State Dept press briefing, spokesperson Jen Psaki faced some questions from Al Quds' Said Arikat.


    QUESTION: Can I ask a question on Iraq?

    MS. PSAKI: Sure.

    QUESTION: Before Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was sworn in, I remember Brett McGurk, your colleague, had a hearing on the Capitol Hill.

    MS. PSAKI: He’s above me in the food chain, but keep going. (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: Okay. Yeah, he told senators that, quote/unquote, “it was unacceptable” for Baghdad to stop sending the revenue share of the Kurdistan region. He said it was unacceptable. But months have passed since he made that statement, and the Kurds don’t receive their budget yet from Baghdad. I mean, one could wonder whether the United States has done anything concrete to make sure that that decision by Baghdad would be reversed, or you just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, I would completely disagree with the premise of your question, which I’m sure you’re not surprised by. This is an issue we have raised many times publicly. It comes up in meetings that we have on the ground. And our position hasn’t changed on this; we’re continuing to press on that. But obviously, it’s up to the officials on the ground to make progress.

    QUESTION: But why hasn’t Baghdad done anything? Is Baghdad not willing to listen to what you are telling them?

    MS. PSAKI: I think, obviously, there are a range of steps that the central government is working to implement. I’d point you to them for more answers on that question.

    QUESTION: Considering that this is 17 percent of the budget, why, in your opinion, is the Baghdad government withholding all that for so many months?


    MS. PSAKI: Said, you’re familiar with the history here. I would point you to the government there. I don’t have any more analysis for you.




    As noted in yesterday's snapshot:


    Barack spent the summer insisting that Iraq required a political solution.  His point then was that the second term of Nouri had left the Sunnis 'estranged' from their own government and that a new government needed to demonstrate it was inclusive.  Iraq has a new prime minister today, Haider al-Abadi, but where is the progress on the political?
    Nouri should have put through a 2014 budget no later than September 30, 2013.  That's because the 2014 Fiscal Year kicked off October 1, 2013.
    Fiscal Year 2015 kicked off at the start of this month.
    Guess what?
    Iraq still has no 2014 budget.
    Yes, al-Abadi's only been prime minister for a short time but he's been prime minister long enough to push through a budget.  Certainly he could have done that if the US government had made helping him on that a focus.  But they didn't.



    There's been no real work on any political solution for Iraq, not by the US government.

    They've instead poured all their time and energy to get other countries to agree to bomb Iraq.

    That's the military procedure Barack once declared wasn't a solution.


    Let's go back to what Said said today at the State Dept:

    Okay. Yeah, he told senators that, quote/unquote, “it was unacceptable” for Baghdad to stop sending the revenue share of the Kurdistan region. He said it was unacceptable. But months have passed since he made that statement, and the Kurds don’t receive their budget yet from Baghdad. I mean, one could wonder whether the United States has done anything concrete to make sure that that decision by Baghdad would be reversed, or you just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS?



    Yeah, it does appear that the White House "just made that promise in order to make sure that you had a government in place to fight ISIS."



    They do nothing to help the Iraqi people

    September 13th, Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the ongoing War Crimes of bombing civilians in Falluja as payback, Collective Punishment, for what the Islamic State has done.  NINA notes Falluja General Hospital today recieved the corpses of 7 civilians and treated 14 people injured from these ongoing bombings -- these bombings that the new prime minister declared an end to but yet they continue.

    Because the forces aren't listening to the new prime minister.

    And the White House doesn't give a damn.

    The same White House that did nothing while Nouri targeted Sunnis from 2010 to this year wants to pretend they're 'helping' but they're not, they refuse to.  They do nothing but add to the violence.


    So it's no surprise that Middle East Monitor reports:


    A prominent member of Al-Ahrar (Freedom) parliamentary bloc of Al-Sadr movement, led by Shia cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, said today that his bloc is determined to end the presence of American advisors in more than one Iraqi province. He pointed out that his bloc would take all necessary measures to end what he called "the new American occupation".
    In a statement to a reporter from Anadolu Agency, Mithaq Al-Mozani said: "No legal cover justifies the presence of US advisors in Iraq and their presence is part of a plan for occupation different to the 2003 occupation."

    And that was before news broke about US efforts to establish a new base in Iraq.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    On the news of the establishment of a US military base along the lines of the Turkish Incirlik base, in the Kurdistan region, the spokesman for the provincial government, said that "in this regard the talks are continuing," but he also said, "they did not take a final decision in this regard yet.
    It was a high-ranking source in the government of the Kurdistan Region, recently revealed talks by the regional government on using the al-Harir / silk / airport located within Erbil province near Iraq's eastern and northern borders as a military base for US forces in the framework of the international coalition operations to fight the IS in Iraq.



    Asked about the base at today's Pentagon press briefing, John Kirby played dumb.


    Q: Some reports from the Iraqi Kurdish region of -- particularly Iraq Kurdistan region, say that the U.S. is going to establish a military base in Irbil. Can you confirm this, Admiral?


    REAR ADM. KIRBY: I don't have anything for you on that today? Sorry.



     We continue to see that these combined targeting efforts are disrupting ISIL and forcing them to consider changes -- more changes in their tactics to try to avoid being targeted.












      
    mcclatchy newspapers 




    pbs
    frontline

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Look what Neil Patrick Harris is doing now



    That's  Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Prepares" from Sunday which also saw
    Kat's "Kat's Korner: Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Classic" and "Kat's Korner: Aretha Knew You Were Waiting For This."

     I also hope you saw Mike's "Idiot of the week: the unfunny Saturday Night Live."

    I was so grossly disappointed in "Saturday Night Live."

    I could not believe how they wasted having Jim Carrey as a host.

    That was an awful, awful broadcast.

    But we might be getting some good live TV.

    Sadly, NBC's not on board with Maya Rudolph's variety show (she had a special in May that was a try-out for a series).

    But "The Hollywood Reporter" explains they're going to do a 10 episode series with Neil Patrick Harris.

    I will gladly watch and hope it's funny.   

    Since currently there is no effort to attach tired Lorne Michaels to it, I'd say it has a real chance at being funny.




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

     
    Monday, October 27, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Iraq still has no budget, but the cost of US President Barack Obama's 'plan' continues to increase, we note Sean P. Neal and Jordan L. Spears who died in Barack's operation this month, we note the sexism -- the ingrained sexism -- of The Intercept, and much more.


    Let's start with inflation.  Sky News notes that the US Defense Dept stated previously that the Iraq and Syria air strikes were costing "more than $7 million" per day but now the cost has risen to $8.3 million per day.  US President Barack Obama still has no actual plan -- supposedly, it will be proposed after the US-midterm elections -- but he's spending US tax dollars freely in his non-stop bombings.

    Non-stop bombings that aren't accomplishing anything, non-stop bombings that even the Pentagon notes has led the Islamic State to both adapt and anticipate.   The 'plan' is a failure.  Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) notes:

    Since Oct. 13, IS has moved on Baghdad from the northern and western sides. At the same time, it relies on the southern and sympathizing areas where large Sunni segments reside. The group has recently dominated most parts of Anbar province, and still retains many areas in the provinces of Diyala and Salahuddin, north and east of Baghdad. It killed Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed Saddak al-Dulaimi on Oct.12, upon whom the government relied to control the province, given his tribal affiliation with the area and his long military experience and harsh manner in dealing with terrorists.

    August 8th.

    That's when Barack's 'plan' was implemented.  In 12 days, Barack's 'plan' will have been carried out for three months and there's so little to show for it.

    Earlier this month on Meet The Press, administration liar Susan Rice declared that rescuing the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar had been a success.

    But (a) the rescued were rescued by the Kurdish Peshmerga and (b) as the world learned last week, the 'rescue' did not rescue all the Yazidis.  At least 700 families are said to remain trapped on Mount Sinjar.


    Where are the successes in Barack's 'plan'?

    The White House struggles to find them, the State Dept as well.

    Yet Barack continues his (failed) open-ended war, wasting millions of US tax payer dollars despite the fact that he, as a US Senator, attacked Bully Boy Bush for his failure to clearly present an economic price tag on the Iraq War.  Now that he occupies the White House, he's fine with using the US Treasury as his personal ATM to fund the illegal war.

    Where are the questions, where are the demands on Barack?

    Maybe more will be made after tomorrow night's broadcast of Frontline?  The PBS program examines the rise of the Islamic State in the episode most PBS stations will be broadcasting Tuesday night.

    It'll be a surprise to so many -- and a number of whores will pretend to find it surprising -- but the reality is that what took place was not a surprise.  The broadcast makes that clear but so do our archives here.

    While whores like Jane Arraf (remember, she whored for Saddam Hussein when he was in power too) treated chief thug and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as, at worst, a scamp, we were pointing out he was breeding terrorism with his attacks on the Sunni population.  We were pointing out that they'd tried the ballot box (Nouri lost the 2010 elections but the White House demanded he get a second term as prime minister), that they tried peaceful protest and at what point do you lose faith in the process?  That's the time when you turn a blind eye to the Islamic State or maybe you help them or maybe you even enlist.

    The Islamic State did not appear in the blink of an eye.

    Years and years -- you could say Nouri's entire second term -- brought Iraq to where it is now.

    It's an interesting hour of TV.

    More interesting, of course, will be failed journalist Robert Parry.  Frontline is his only connection to respectability at this late date.  Will he yet again lie and whore to protect Barack?  Doing so would require him to attack Frontline.

    Again, it's his only link to respectability.

    And if he loses it, he loses everything most likely.

    So what will Robert Parry do?

    Such a sad sack.  Such a tiny, shriveled sad sack.  Remember, Cedric and Wally are sending the tired whore up in their series of joint-posts where Parry proclaims he's pregnant and carrying Barack's baby.  Thus far, that ongoing novelization includes:

     "THIS JUST IN! OCTOBER SURPRISE!," "The shocking news," 
    "THIS JUST IN! THE OCTOBER SURPRISE ARRIVES!," "Parry talks of naming the expected First Child," 
    "THIS JUST IN! PARRY TALKS BIRTH NAMES!," "It's about the babies!," 
    "THIS JUST IN! HE WANTS TO BE WELCOME AT THE WHITE HOUSE!," "Child birth fears
    and "THIS JUST IN! FRIGHTENED MOMMY-TO-BE ROBERT PARRY"


    Parry has no questions for Barack -- other than what night he gets to be concubine -- but some questions are starting to emerge.

    Elizabeth Norling writes the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times wanting to know, "What is the perspective of the Yazidi or Christian woman who has seen her husband murdered, her daughters taken captive, her sons decapitated, and who has been sold into sexual slavery?"


    The Yazidis are only one religious minority under fire in Iraq currently.    Cathy Otten (Religion News Service via Huffington Post) reports on the Iraqi city of Alqoosh:

    The Assyrian Christian town of around 6,000 people sits on a hill below the seventh-century Rabban Hormizd Monastery, temporarily closed because of the security situation. Residents of Alqosh fled this summer ahead of Islamic State militants. Around 70 percent of the town’s residents have since returned. Still, a sense of unease hangs in the air.
    Below the monastery in the boarded up bazaar a lone shopkeeper waits for customers. At the edge of town local Christian fighters staff lookout posts, checking for danger. With Islamic State fighters just 10 miles away, these men and most residents of the town are scared that they may have to flee again.
    In August, the Christian town of Qaraqosh, 18 miles east of Mosul, was overrun, along with neighboring villages, home to Iraqi Christian communities for centuries. Islamic State forces came close but never entered Alqosh.

    The targeting of Iraqi Christians has been non-stop since the US-invasion of 2003.  Currently, there are efforts to aid the Christian community in Iraq and displaced from Iraq.  Syndicated right-wing columnist Cal Thomas notes:


    Reality television producer Mark Burnett and his actress wife, Roma Downey, are trying to raise awareness and money to help displaced and threatened Iraqi Christians who survived the genocidal attacks against them.
    Burnett and Downey, who produced the highly rated “The Bible” for The History Channel and are working on another biblical epic, “A.D.”, which NBC will broadcast next Easter season, have announced a campaign to raise $25 million to aid homeless Christians in the region with housing, food and clothing. They say they are donating the first $1 million and have set up a website called “The Cradle of Christianity Fund” through which people can give. They promise the money will go directly to the churches for distribution to those in need.


    Last week, Catholic News Agency noted another effort to aid Iraqi Christians:



    Crowdfunding campaign aims to raise $1 million for Iraqi Christians



    The crowdfunding campaign will run from Oct. 14-Nov. 24, and can be found on Indiegogo, which is one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the world. Almost $5,000 of the $1 million goal has been raised so far.

    “We invite all of our brothers and sisters in Christ to join us and contribute, from as little as $10, to the crowdfunding campaign that we have initiated,” stated Eduardo Paz, co-founder of La Filotea Productions.



    There are so many tragedies in Iraq.


    And Barack should be asked about them.  Why is there no televised prime time press conference focusing on Iraq?

    Oh, that's right.

    Because the US press can't focus on Iraq.


    If Helen Thomas were still around, you can be sure she'd be asking about one topic  everyone should be asking about?





    That's Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal (photo from Facebook).   We noted his death in Saturday's snapshot.

    Missy Ryan (Washington Post) notes, "The Pentagon said Neal’s death was the first U.S. casualty in Iraq since the Obama administration began its 'Inherent Resolve' mission, which now includes airstrikes against the extremist group in Iraq and Syria and a growing number of U.S. military personnel on the ground in Iraq in August."

    Murtaza Hussain (Intercept) offers:

    Cpl. Neal was only 19 years old. He would have only been eight at the outset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and merely six on 9/11 – a child at the time of both these events.  The fact that he ended up losing his life in Iraq is on one hand tragic, and on the other completely absurd.
    The tragedy here is that a young man with a long future ahead of him ended up dying in a distant country before even reaching the age of twenty. The absurdity is that men such as him are still losing their lives as a result of still-inexplicable decisions made over a decade ago. The Iraq War never ended, but now it’s being fought by men who were just children when it started. Walter Lippman once said, “I don’t think old men ought to promote wars for young men to fight.” In our time, old men have been promoting wars that kids would ultimately end up fighting.

    You know what?

    Those statements are offensive.

    And it's why the Intercept is such a lame venture.

    It's a bunch of   sexist jerks like Murtaza Hussain, Glenn Greenwald (if his sexism is news to you, where have you been the last decade), Jeremy Scahill and so many others.

    And when you hire sexists, you get garbage like what Hussain's offering, garbage that renders the US female service members who've fought in the ongoing Iraq War -- and who've died in it -- invisible.

    It is a complete, 100% tragedy that Sean Neal is dead.  It is a huge loss.  But Hussain makes an ass out of himself by reducing it to "men."

    If the Intercept wants to have any future at all -- most likely it doesn't, Libertarians online have long been sexist -- it's going to have to accept the fact that half the world is female.

    Shame on all the useless jerks (Dan Froomkin, that means you) who have treated Hussain's sexist rambles as manna from heaven.  Shame on you.

    Last May, The Daily Beast offered Kate Hoit's "The Names You Don't Hear: Nearly 200 Women Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan."  Froomkin, who has made time to attack female artists, didn't really have time to give props to Hoit for that piece.

    Too bad.  The sexism needs to end and it needs to end now.

    It is insulting to the women who have served -- and to the memory of the women who died -- to write such sexist nonsense as Hussain did.  Hussain, The Intercept and every man who Tweeted that article without pointing its fatal and sexist flaw should issue an apology -- but they won't.  The day will come when sexists are shunned in the same way that racists are.  That day is in the future.  When it does come, history will not be kind to the many men -- including those at Intercept -- who regularly engaged in sexism -- history will not be kind, nor should it be.


    Spencer Ackerman (Guardian)  points out, "Technically, Neal may not have been the first US fatality of the Iraq-Syria war against the Islamic State. Naval forces assigned to US Central Command, which has operational control of the war, acknowledged on October 3 that a Marine, Corporal Jordan L. Spears, went missing at sea in the North Arabian Gulf after bailing out of his MV-22 Osprey. Spears took off from the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, which carried Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, assigned to support the war in Iraq and Syria."  UPI notes Spears was (or is) 21-years-old.  RT notes that the commander of Spears unit wrote online, "Cpl. Spears was a cherished member of our MEU family, and he fulfilled a key role in our aviation combat element."  Stars and Stripes notes:



    Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, of Memphis, Ind., was one of two aircrew members who went into the water when the Osprey’s pilot lost control of the aircraft, which the Navy said was participating in flight operations in support of the missions over Iraq and Syria. The pilot regained control of the Osprey, and the other aircrew member was recovered.


    I have no idea about Sean Neal's unit, but the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Jordan Spears' unit, there are women in that unit -- I know that would shock Murtaza Hussain -- there are several women who are part of the current deployment of that unit.

    Turning to violence . . .

    Michael Georgy, Dasha Afanasieva,  Isabel Coles and Angus MacSwan (Reuters) report that a Jurf al-Sakhar suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of "at least 27 Shi'ite militamen" today.  BBC News notes it was a car bombing and a Humvee was used, one "likely to have been captured from government forces, reports say."



    Al Jazeera notes it was a suicide car bomber and the reason Jurf al-Sakhar is so important at this moment:


    Jurf al-Sakhar is part of a predominantly Sunni strip of territory that runs just south of Baghdad and lies on a road usually taken by Shia pilgrims, when they head in large numbers to the holy Shia city of Karbala further to the south.
    Pilgrims will be taking the route again next week in order to commemorate the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson, Imam Hussein --  one of the most revered Shia martyrs.


    In addition, Iraqi Spring MC reports a central Baghdad car bombing left 9 dead and twenty-seven injuredBBC News notes the death toll rose to 10.  In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports  1 person was shot dead in Baghdad while World Bulletin News notes "a bomb-laden motorcycle killed two and injured 20 in Tuzhurmatu district of Salah ad Din Province."  Margaret Griffis (Antiwar.com) notes, "At least 317 people were killed, mostly militants. Another 145 were wounded, about half of them security members."


    Barack spent the summer insisting that Iraq required a political solution.  His point then was that the second term of Nouri had left the Sunnis 'estranged' from their own government and that a new government needed to demonstrate it was inclusive.  Iraq has a new prime minister today, Haider al-Abadi, but where is the progress on the political?

    Nouri should have put through a 2014 budget no later than September 30, 2013.  That's because the 2014 Fiscal Year kicked off October 1, 2013.

    Fiscal Year 2015 kicked off at the start of this month.

    Guess what?

    Iraq still has no 2014 budget.

    Yes, al-Abadi's only been prime minister for a short time but he's been prime minister long enough to push through a budget.  Certainly he could have done that if the US government had made helping him on that a focus.  But they didn't.

    National Iraqi News Agency reports:

    MP for the Kurdistan, Abdul Bari Zebari held the federal government responsibility for the delay in the adoption of the current year's budget. 
    He told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that "the Parliament has long been calling for the federal government to quickly accomplish what is required from its side in the budget, including the employees' salaries in Kurdistan after the Parliament put its remarks upon in order to bring it back and start reading and approve it as soon as possible."


    All Iraq News notes that MP Wafaa Kadhim states the Council of Ministers is supposed to send the 2014 budget bill to the Parliament on Tuesday.  Whether it's sent or not, it won't be discussed tomorrow.  All Iraq News points out the budget didn't make the topics on the agenda.



    Here's the State Dept's Brett McGurk getting giddy on the fumes of a nasty jock worn by a member of the US military:




    Yeah, Brett, you should be working on diplomacy.

    There's something very sad about a grown man, a middle aged man, who's obsessed (sexually obsessed?) with the military that he never elected to serve in.

    I have a relative who's even more gung ho that Brett about the military but the difference?  My relative enlisted.

    Brett's just an old man trying to look manly by standing close to the US military.  Someone needs to ask him to step out of the picture, explain that it's only for those who served in the military.













    iraq





    missy ryan








    Saturday, October 25, 2014

    Jim Carrey hosts SNL tonight

    I stopped being a "Saturday Night Live" fan years ago.

    And this season has been the worst so far.

    Two men on Weekend Update and one sounds like he's on helium while the other stumbles reading the cue cards over and over.

    But I am anticipating tonight's broadcast.

    Jim Carrey is the host.

    It should be the tired series' best chance at funny in decades.

    Jim first got a TV following when he was part of Fox's sketch TV show "In Living Color."

    We know he's funny.

    We know he can do sketch comedy.

    The only question is: Can the lousy writers of today's SNL show manage to come up with some good skits?


    Probably not.

    But I am hopeful and plan to be watching.




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


     
    Saturday, October 25, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, a US Marine is killed in Baghdad, thug Nouri tries to push through legislation destroying the right to protest, judgments on new prime minister Haider al-Haidi are forming, were chemical weapons used in Iraq recently, and much more.



    The numbers on Barack Obama's kill list just keep growing.  Add another American to the list.

    Yesterday, the Defense Dept released the following:


    IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Release No: NR-539-14
    October 24, 2014

    DoD Identifies Marine Casualty


      The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal, 19, of Riverside, California, died Oct. 23, in Baghdad, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.

    He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, whose headquarters element deploys from Camp Pendleton, California.
    For more information, media may contact the I Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs Office at (760) 763-7039 or after hours at (760) 207-5865.



    Well, of course, he didn't die in combat.  Hasn't US President Obama insisted US troops would not see combat in Iraq?  And hasn't the press gone along with that lie?


    However he died in Baghdad, Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal died in Baghdad.

    And Barack's the one who sent him there.

    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

    Barack sent Neal and many others into Iraq.

    Any deaths are on Barack's hands.

    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?

    And the deaths of Iraqis are on his hands as well.

    Especially the ones killed by Iraqi forces.

    Barack hopped in bed with previous prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and is in bed with current prime minister Haider al-Hadi.  Under both, civilians have been terrorized by Iraqi forces throughout Iraq.

    This includes, but is not limited to, the ongoing bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods -- a legally defined War Crime.  One that has been taking place since January of this year.

    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?


    Will this awaken the so-called peace 'leaders' in the United States?

    Or will they continue to direct their outrage at Bully Boy Bush -- a man who left the White House in January 2009?

    Maybe they'll continue to obsess over Hillary Clinton?

    Anything to avoid growing the hell up and calling out the person running the wars today.


    Lance Cpl Sean P. Neal's death is on Barack's hands but never forget CodePink, Win Without War and so many other fake ass organizations are culpable in Neal's death and the deaths of so many Iraqis.


    Hey, hey, BHO, how many people did you bury below?


    Reason notes US Secretary of State John Kerry has declared he's looking into "extremely serious" charges "that IS [Islamic State] attacked Iraqi police officers with chlorine gas last month."  Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) adds that Kerry stressed the allegations had not been confirmed.

    The issue was also raised in Friday's US State Dept press briefing moderated by spokesperson Jen Psaki.




    QUESTION: I know that the --

    MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Roz.

    QUESTION: -- Secretary was asked about the reported chlorine attack against Iraqi forces in the past month. Is there any thinking in this building or in consultation with the Pentagon about how this affects the way that the coalition tries to deal with ISIL fighters? Does this change the strategy? Does this change the training of Iraqi forces to deal with any sort of NBC attack – nuclear, biological, chemical?

    MS. PSAKI: That’s a good question, Roz. I think the most appropriate place to pose it is probably to the Pentagon. Not that I have been briefed on. As you – the Secretary noted this morning, we’re certainly aware of the alleged attacks. We take them very seriously, as we do any allegations. We can’t confirm the details. We’re seeking additional information. Obviously, the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is an abhorrent act. In terms of what it would in term – of training, I would point you to my colleagues at the Pentagon.



    Qassim Abdul-zahra (AP) writes, "The use of chlorine gas as a weapon adds a new concern to the turmoil in the country."

    For reals?


    The US government is responsible for birth defects in Iraq resulting from the illegal use of White Phosphorus, depleted uranium and other substances.  At Global Research this month, Dahr Jamail noted:

    Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.
    Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.
    There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.

    It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation.



    Earlier this month, Amabedl Karoub (Michigan Daily) reported on a public presentation on this issue:


    Muhsin Al-Sabbak, a physician at Iraq’s Basra Maternity Hospital, and Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an environmental toxicologist who resides in Ann Arbor, presented a one-hour lecture centered on their research, which links the increase in congenital birth defects in Iraq over the last two decades to the use of U.S. and coalitions force weapons there.
    Al-Sabbak referenced his study that found a 17-fold increase in children with birth defects between the years 1995 and 2003, a jump from 1.37 birth defects per 1,000 children to 23 per 1,000. By 2008, the number had increased to 48 per 1000, and in 2014 it was 37 per 1000.

    Savabieasfahani attributed the spike to an increase in pollutants caused by U.S. weapons and the presence of military bases.


    Thomas Gaist (WSWS) spoke with Muhsin al-Sabbak:


    “Birth anomaly rates will likely continue to rise,” Al Sabbak told the WSWS.
    “Another assault is coming to Iraq, by both ISIS and those who created ISIS. More fighting will increase toxicity levels in the population,” he added. The well-documented support of the US and its allies for armed Islamist militias like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria in the war for regime change in Syria has been followed by the use of ISIS’s spread across Iraq as the justification for another imperialist war in the region.
    “I am not even political,” Al Sabbak added. “I just want to reverse the spread of this catastrophe. I am tired of hearing mothers ask whether they should even try to have another child, and not knowing the answer myself.”

    Dr. Al Sabbak is visiting the US as part of an effort to bring to the attention of both the US scientific community as well as the broader public the horrific impact of decades of US war in terms of the surge of genetic anomalies and disease in Basra. He cited data showing that the Iraqi city experienced a 17-fold increase in child birth defects between 1995 and 2003.


    Though the US government yet again mounts the high horse, there's no higher ground for them to scramble to.  If the Islamic State used chemical weapons -- if -- they've yet to use them on the scale that the US government has.

    But the Iraqi government, the new Iraqi government, surely they have some ethical ground to stand on.



    : احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا جراء القصف العشوائي المتعمد من قبل الجيش الحكومي على منازل المدنيين في الفلوجة. 







    Is the new government's ethical ground embedded in the wounds of that child?


    It was Iraqi forces that left that child wounded this week.

    The child's crime?

    Living in Falluja.

    The Iraqi forces began bombing residential neighborhoods in January of this year.  This is "collective punishment" and it's a legally defined War Crime, recognized as such by the international community and, yes, by the United States government.


    When Nouri al-Maliki began it, the US turned a blind eye and unofficially took the position of being-a-bystander-means-we-can-stay-silent.  They weren't a bystander, the US government was supplying Nouri with weapons -- weapons he used on the Iraqi people.

    But now Haider al-Abadi is prime minister and now the US government has sent the US military into Iraq to aid and assist the Iraqi military.  That makes the White House complicit in War Crimes.

    And the continuation of Iraqi forces targeting -- killing and wounding -- Iraqi civilians for the 'crime' of living in Falluja gives the Iraqi government little higher ground to take to and finger point from.

    September 13th, Haider declared these attacks were over.

    They didn't stop.

    Nouri al-Maliki brought in Shi'ite militias and these militias, still loyal to Nouri, refuse to follow Haider's orders.


    That's a reality the western press has attempted to ignore.

    On the new prime minister, Gulf News argues:

    Haider Al Abadi has not started well in his tenure as the new Prime Minister of Iraq. It has been just over six weeks since he was appointed and his cabinet is an unfortunate gathering of the same old faces. There is no sense of any new inclusive spirit, which was hoped would replace Nouri Al Malilki’s legacy of a country torn apart by sectarian violence with Sunnis facing discrimination, arbitrary arrests and violent crackdowns by government forces supported by Shiite militias.

    US President Barack Obama was grasping at straws when he gave Iraq’s new leader a ringing endorsement after they first met in September and he described Al Abadi as “the right person” to lead Iraq as it was under attack by the militants of Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Obama was speaking of his hopes and not the reality when he went so far as to say that Al Abadi had “reached out systematically to all the people of Iraq”. 


    The time was always limited, the brief chance for Haider al-Abadi to demonstrate that he was different from Nouri al-Maliki.  Instead of expending efforts to help him do that, Barack has focused all efforts on attacks that do nothing to stem the reasons for the popularity (or at least acceptability) of the Islamic State.  The only thing that stops the Islamic State, is pulling the reasons for their existence.  They represent one of the few responses to the targeting of Sunnis in Iraq (as well as Syria but our focus is Iraq).

    For four long years, Nouri was allowed to target the Sunnis.  He was allowed to kill Sunni politicians and get away with it, he was allowed to attack their homes, to have their homes surrounded by tanks.  And this was what he did to the elected Sunni leaders.  What he did to the average Sunni was far worse.

    And this is what created an environment in which the Islamic State could publicly walk into knowing that many Iraqis would either welcome them or stay silent because there was no other defense for the Sunnis in Iraq.

    Nouri's forces illegally arrested them.  That's illegal due to a lack of arrest warrant but it also goes to if Nouri wanted Sunni X arrested and his forces showed up at Sunni X's home and Sunni X was not present, Nouri's thugs grabbed the wife, or mother, or father, or child, or grandparent, or sibling.

    And these grabbed persons were then tossed in jails and prisons.

    Despite no arrest warrant and despite being charged with nothing, they rotted in jails and prisons.

    This is what Nouri got away with.  This is what whores like Jane Arraf stayed silent about.  This is what the White House was willing to go along with.

    For four years.

    The Islamic State did not spring up overnight.

    And Barack can bomb forever and a day and that will not change a damn thing in Iraq, not for the better.

    You want to end the Islamic State?  Pull the reasons which support their very existence.

    There was a chance to do that with a new prime minister, if the prime minister acted quickly and made a few grand gestures.

    Instead, Haider's done damn little.

    Again, the most important thing he could do write now is publicly appeal the (illegal) conviction of former Iraq Vice President (from 2006 to this year) Tareq al-Hashemi.  He could note that no trial should have taken place because, as a member of Parliament, al-Hashemi had immunity.  (To be tried, the Iraqi Constitution requires Parliament strip him of his immunity first.)  He could note that before the trial started, the Baghdad judges held a press conference announcing Tareq's guilt.  He could point out that one of Tareq's bodyguards was tortured to death by Nouri's forces (and, up to his death, refused to lie and claim Tareq was guilty).  He has a whole host of reasons to call for the conviction to be overturned or ignored, he can also issue a pardon to put the matter rest.

    That would be a grand gesture.

    And grand gestures were needed over a month ago.

    Now, with Haider seen as so ineffectual, grand gestures are required for the Sunni population to believe there's a chance that their new prime minister really does believe in an inclusive government.


    The alternative to a political solution?

    More of the same nonsense Barack tries to pass off as a plan.

    Arab News notes:


    US and allied aircraft have flown nearly 6,600 sorties in the air war against the IS group and dropped more than 1,700 bombs, the American military said Thursday.
    The flights for “Operation Inherent Resolve” include thousands of mid-air fueling runs, surveillance sorties and 632 air strikes in Iraq and Syria, according to US Central Command.



    And it's done nothing, if people are honest.  The bombing has accomplished nothing.  The Journal of Turkish Weekly quotes US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel declaring Thursday, "We believe that our strategy is working. There will be mixed and various outcomes daily. But this is not a daily measurement; this is an overall, strategic, longer term measurement of how well they’re doing."

    While Hagel may be confident, others pointedly are not.  Iraq Times notes that the US forces have been carrying out air strikes for over two months now and that doubts are growing about both how effective these efforts and how serious they are as well.  The paper notes this week's drop of weapons to security forces with one of those drops landing in the hands of the Islamic State and the US government's efforts to spin and lie about it.  The paper also notes the lack of end date on the part of the US government and statements that it could last years or decades which do not inspire confidence and suggest a kind of meandering, try-anything approach to the 'effort.'


    Why are people joining up or supporting the Islamic State?  Kjell Anderson (Arab News) explores the possibilities while reminding, "It is satisfying, but ultimately misleading, to believe that perpetrators possess certain inborn pathological traits. Rather, their motivations are not so different from our own: The desire for community, respect, and security, and the fear of standing apart from the crowd."  A basic reality on the topic is noted in Alice Fordham's report for Morning Edition (NPR, link is text and audio) from Abu Ghraib:


    The Islamic State may be unpopular among many local residents, but so too is the Iraqi Army. The Iraqi military is being supported by the United States, but it's not winning over all the local people.
    "They put military garrisons among us, they stormed our house in the night. Who gave them permission?" says a furious Khadouja Sihel, a local resident.
    Her daughter is with her, plump and pretty in pink lipstick, carrying a tray of eggs.

    Ignoring the soldiers standing a few feet away, Sihel says, "I've got seven daughters, and they harass them in a filthy way. Why are they doing this? Aren't we Iraqis like them?"


    Abu Ghraib is not just an area outside of Baghdad, it is also home to an infamous torture prison -- run first by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and then later by the US government.  It's the second manager that's in the news.  Danny Biederman and Noel Brinkerhoff (AllGov.com) report:


      A federal judge has given the Obama administration less than two months to explain in detail why 2,100 photographs depicting torture by U.S. agents and others should be kept hidden from public view.

    A deadline of December 12 was set by Judge Alvin Hellerstein in the aftermath of his ruling (pdf), in August, denying the government’s claim that it is legally allowed to bar release of the photos. Those images are reportedly of detainees tortured at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at other U.S. detention centers during the George W. Bush administration.



    In other news, rabid dog Nouri al-Maliki may be out of the prime minister post but he remains in the presidential palace refusing to leave and he continues his efforts to strip Iraqi citizens of their rights.  A rabid dog, if not put down, at least needs to be caged behind bars (for life) or run out of the country.  Sadly, Nouri's been made one of Iraq's three vice presidents instead.  In that post and as a member of Parliament, Thug Nouri is attempting to continue his attacks on protesters.  Al Mada notes he's reintroduced his October 2012 bill insisting that protests in Iraq should be of limited duration.  Such a move would impact continuous protests -- like those against Nouri which kicked off in December 2012 and ran through January 2014.  The bill specifically targets civil disobedience such as sit-ins and hunger strikes.  Al Mada explains that people are also concerned about the wording in the bill such as demonstrations must meet "public morals" and how these loose words go undefined as does the issue of who would determine this and how.

    It's interesting that this bill is even being discussed.  It was introduced in October 2012.  It died in the previous Parliament.  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not sent the bill to the Parliament.

    Yet when thug Nouri was prime minister, he repeatedly stated -- and a whorish western press backed him up -- that only his Cabinet had the authority to write and introduce bills.

    He lied, and the whorish press backed him up, that Parliament couldn't write or introduce bills, they could only vote on bills that were introduced to them by the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    It was a lie.

    I'm not a liar.

    I won't now say, "Nouri can't do this!"

    Of course he can.

    Any member of Parliament can introduce a bill.

    But, unlike Thug Nouri and the whorish western press, I said that when Nouri was prime minister.

    Nouri's a thug and a liar and belongs behind bars.  I'm sure the rumors of his sexually transmitted disease are just rumors but they are also understandable on Arabic social media because he is a vile and disgusting man who has harmed and killed thousands, so it's only natural people would wish he would be plagued with a disease.




    Meanwhile, when not playing Inspector Clouseau as Chemical Inspector, John Kerry likes to do meet-ups.  Friday, he and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with the Republic of Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Minister of National Defense Han Min-koo in DC and, following the meeting, issued a statement which included:

    Acknowledging the grave humanitarian situation in Iraq, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to assisting the people of Iraq against the threat of ISIL and Foreign Terrorist Fighters. The United States thanked the ROK for its recent commitment of an additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Both countries condemned the brutality of ISIL, underscoring that their actions violate the basic norms of humanity and civilization, and expressed their support for the international community fighting against the threat of ISIL. 




    Lastly, David Bacon's latest book is The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration. We'll close with this from Bacon's "CENTRAL AMERICAN CHILDREN WILL CHANGE US - Part 1" (Social Policy):



    "When I heard Father Romero was killed I began to weep," Bishop Bobadilla told me.  "I saw that the forces of evil had won. He wanted change, but not through violence.  The bitter truth today, though, is that in Guatemala we are still living the legacy of that violence."
     
    Rodolfo Bobadilla was the bishop in Huehuetenango when I last saw him.  During the civil war he'd been a hero to poor Guatemalans in the indigenous Qanjobal and Mam towns where the worst massacres took place.  He was a friend of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero in San Salvador, when Romero headed the church at the beginning of El Salvador's civil war.  When Romero denounced the death squads and called on soldiers not to obey orders to violate human rights, members of the U.S.-trained Atlacatl Battalion charged into a hospital chapel where he was celebrating mass, and gunned him down.