Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Afghan Whigs


The new Afghan Whigs album is out.

And look at the price at Amazon:

CD: $10.00  |  MP3: $6.99

I bought the MP3 from Amazon before I went to work this morning.

I listened at work and Kat's "Kat's Korner: Do The Beast" called it, this is a great album.

If you're wondering, "Is it really worth it?"

Use the Amazon link because they'll let you stream the album for free.

It is a great album.

I love it.

I also love Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The lines drawn"  and let me note last week's TV coverage in the community:

"scandal," "Elementary," "community is in a race to air its worst episode ever," "The CW and cancellations,"  "CBS makes another 'brave' decision," "Repeats," "revenge - the good," "scandal - the bad," "More episodes please," and "The Mindy Project

 And here's some TV news from The Hollywood Reporter:

Maya Rudolph's NBC variety show project has a guest lineup and an airdate.
The Saturday Night Live alum returns to the network with The Maya Rudolph Show special, which will air Monday, May 19 at 10 p.m. PT/ET on NBC, which also serves as a test run as the network toys with a series order.

Wouldn't that be something?

I'm a fan of Maya Rudolph's and I also love variety shows.

Wouldn't that be something if Maya had a funny variety show like Carol Burnett used to do?

I would watch that like crazy.

But I don't want political.

Rosie O'Donnell did a TV variety special that was supposed to kick off a variety special.

I like Rosie but I hated that.  I didn't need politics -- I didn't need Alec Baldwin, etc.

Carol didn't do politics, it's why the show holds up all these decades later.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Falluja remains under attack, Jen Psaki lies badly at today's US State Dept press briefing, Abu Ghraib closes, well known James Clapper whines again but still doesn't apologize, Sarah Jessica Parker -- on the verge of 50 -- makes an idiot out of herself giggling on the radio with Falluja Filkens, and much more.

We frequently decry the lack of Iraq coverage in the US . . . and then we get bad coverage and realize we're actually better off with no coverage.  Today, we got a failed film actress acting as though she were 17 (she wishes) and giggling through war when not stumbling repeatedly for words and we'll also drop back and note a really bad (and sexist) New Yorker podcast from March 31st since both offered the same war propagandist.

First off?

Sarah Jessica Parker waited too long to have her chin wart removed, it had already killed any shot at a big screen career by the '00s.  The wart was repugnant on the big screen but she was attached to it.  Maybe it contained her brain?

What else could explain her garbage today guest hosting The Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC?   There she described the former propagandist for the New York Times, Dexter Filkins, as "one of the best war correspondents of his generation."

Dexter Filkins -- Falluja Filkins -- won an award for his awful piece of 'reporting' on the US attack on Falluja -- eye witness 'reporting' that missed the use of White Phosphorus and other weapons in a story published November 21, 2004 -- a story of events on November 15, 2004 that is published November 21, 2004.  Was Dexy using The Pony Express to get his copy to the paper?


But the US military vets copy very slowly.  And Dexy doesn't do anything the commanders didn't approve of.

After all, as Molly Bingham publicly revealed, when Dexy was bragging about an interview he'd set up with a resistance leader in Iraq, he got a unpleasant look from a US military officer and that was that.  From her "Home from Iraq" (Courier-Journal):

The intimidation to not work on this story was evident. Dexter Filkins, who writes for The New York Times, related a conversation he had in Iraq with an American military commander just before we left. Dexter and the commander had gotten quite friendly, meeting up sporadically for a beer and a chat. Towards the end of one of their conversations, Dexter declined an invitation for the next day by explaining that he'd lined up a meeting with a "resistance guy." The commander's face went stony cold and he said, "We have a position on that." For Dexter the message was clear. He cancelled the appointment. And, again, this is not meant as any criticism of the military; they have a war to win, and dominating the "message," or the news is an integral part of that war. The military has a name for it, "information operations," and the aim is to achieve information superiority in the same way they would seek to achieve air superiority. If you look closely, you will notice there is very little, maybe even no direct reporting on the resistance in Iraq. We do, however, as journalists report what the Americans say about the resistance. Is this really anything more than stenography?

Dexy was in Falluja during the assault and never reported the US military used White Phosphorous.  November 2005, Robert Burns (AP) would report, "Pentagon officials say white phosphorous was used as a weapon against insurgent strongholds during the battle of Fallujah last November, but deny an Italian television news report that it was used against civilians."  The BBC noted, "The US had earlier said the substance - which can cause burning of the flesh - had been used only for illumination.  BBC defence correspondent Paul Wood says having to retract its denial is a public relations disaster for the US."  But Sarah Jessica Parker didn't ask about that.  Mainly because she's too stupid and too busy giggling about "David" (Dexter boss) and what he told her to talk about.

Dexter's a reporter worth praising?

To Sarah Jessica Parker it is.  As she stumbled and fumbled for words on live radio today, it was obvious she should sticky to her tacky ready-to-wear line.  "To-to-to"?

She offered one air-head question after another, making it clear (a) she'd done no research and (b) that, for Sarah Jess, the latest issue of Vogue is 'heavy' reading.

Typical 'question' from Sarah Jess, "And do you think that-that this is a disposition that you sort of st-stumbled upon in some way, that this-this character that is . . . needed and-and maybe even this photographer that you met up with, is this something that's-that's-that is in some ways the criteria for-for-for a person who does your work or do you -- can you acquire -- is it like learning to like . . ."  She's nowhere near the end of that question but we'll cut her off there.

Falluja Dexy didn't just cover up for a massacre ("It's fun," he said at one point in the interview), he also lacked any professionalism or ethics as he slept with everything he could in Baghdad -- everything -- and destroyed his marriage and then tried to attack a female colleague for calling out the toxic work environment he had created.

Sarah Jess didn't ask about that.  Doesn't know about it.  But she'll be subbing tomorrow as well so heads up on that and you can turn it into a drinking game by doing a shot every time she says "Wow."  Warning, if it's anything like today, you'll need several bottles of tequila.  "Wow."

Here the Propagandist and the Hacktress 'discuss' Falluja:

Dexter Filkins:  And I can say when I was embedded with the Marines before they went into Falluja which was --  turned out to be the biggest battle of the Iraq War, uhm, yeah, I knew that was coming [going into Falluja], uh, uhm, I guess a day before hand they gave us the briefing and said, 'Here's what we're going to do, we're going in tomorrow night.'  Uh-uhm, I- you know, if we were to write that, then that was -- that would basically tip off 

Sarah Jess: Right.

Dexter Filkins: -- the-the bad guys and-and then get a lot of people killed.  And so  that's not something -- that's something that you're going to say  Okay, look, we're making a judgment here that we're not in the business of getting people killed so, uhm, we'll withhold something.  But it's rare.

For the record, the killed in Falluja?  That tended to be Iraqis and, yes, Dexter Filkins is in the business of getting people killed.

Judith Miller's bad reporting, at worst, helped get the US military into Iraq.  Dexy Filkins propaganda kept the US military there for years and years.  And he'd lie in print, then come back to the US, do a campus speaking tour and tell people about how badly things were actually going, then go back to Iraq, file some more lies, and then come back offer some more Pianissimo-voiced confessions. At least Judith Miller believed the crap she wrote.

Falluja Filthy Filkins did other audio at the end of March.  March 31st, Sasha Weiss hosted the discussion between Dexy and War Hawk George Packer about "fiction, poetry, and memoir writing about the Iraq war by the veterans of that conflict."  Somehow that translated to Packer wanting to talk "Iraqi humor" which he characterized as "a lot of them had to do with dismemberment -- the sexual dismemberment -- of hated figures in the old regime."

They do make time to enjoy Phil Klay's writing which turns war into sex -- something that says a great about Klay and about the two pigs Packer and Dexy but it's something that Weiss doesn't wish to explore or follow up on.

19 minutes into the 24 minute podcast, Sasha Weiss states, "Let's talk about women for a minute.  It hasn't really come up."

Sasha wasn't lying.  They spend about a minute on the topic. One minute and nine seconds.

The bulk of that minute is used by George Packer as he offers insulting statements about women that I'm not going to transcribe.  He was born a pig, he'll die a pig and, when that day comes, few will miss him.

He does manage to note one woman, after blathering on about women and combat, Kayla Williams [Kayla Williams has authored Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army  and her just released Plenty of Time When We Get Home: Love and Recovery in the Aftermath of War] "but basically this is a male genre."

Sexist men to love to say that.

It's their excuse for not noting women.

Just off the top of my head, I'd note Jessica Goodell's Shade It Black: Death and After in Iraq, that women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan share their stories in Laura Browder and Sascha Pfaefing's When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans, Lisa Bowden and Shannon Cain edited Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq, there's veteran Miyoko Hikiji's All I Could Be: The Story of a Woman Warrior in Iraq, Heidi Squier Kraft's Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital, Shoshna Johnson's I'm Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen -- My Journey Home, Jane Blair's Hesitation Kills: A Female Marine Officer's Combat Experience in Iraq, retired Colonel Kimberly Olson's Iraq and Back: Inside the War to Win the Peace, Melia Meichelbock's In the Company of Soldiers, and Janis Karpinski's One Woman's Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story.

Now since they made time to discuss a book that hadn't even been published by someone who wasn't in the military and that they don't believe was in Iraq during the Iraq War, it's fascinating that they only had one minute and nine seconds to discuss women veterans sharing their stories and that the entire discussion was about how Packer didn't believe women in Iraq saw combat and ended with a brief mention of Kayla Williams and the declaration that "this is a male genre."

Packer's a pig, Dexy's a pig.  Both pigs were enabled by women.  At least Sasha didn't repeat "Wow!" over and over or giggle repeatedly the way 49-year-old would-be-but-failed-sex-kitten Sarah Jess did.

Along with being pigs, Packer and Dexy are both War Hawks which is why their supposed discussion of books by veterans ignored Camilo Mejia's Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Sergeant Camilo Mejia, Joshua Key's The Deserter's Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq, Aiden Delgado's The Sutras of Abu Ghraib: Notes from a Conscientious Objector in Iraq, and Kevin Benderman's Letters from Fort Lewis Brig: A Matter of Conscience.

The topic of Iraq fared a little better at the US State Dept press briefing by spokesperson Jen Psaki today.

QUESTION: Can I ask a couple questions about Iraq and Kurdistan?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Do we have any more on Iran? Okay, go ahead. Iraq and Kurdistan.

QUESTION: We had Brett McGurk like a few weeks – a couple weeks ago in Iraq to help mediate peaceful efforts between Kurdistan and Baghdad.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But apparently, he achieved no meaningful result because we just saw yesterday President Barzani saying in the media that a Kurdish independent state is on the way. First of all, like, do you agree with me that Brett McGurk like basically failed in achieving – in bringing Baghdad and Kurdistan together?
And secondly, what’s your reaction to Barzani’s statement about a Kurdish independent state coming soon?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, our position has been pretty consistent. We continue to support an Iraq that is federal, democratic, pluralistic, and unified. And we urge all parties in Iraq to continue working together toward that objective. It would be hard to find a more tireless diplomat who has worked as hard as Brett McGurk has on helping the Iraqi people, helping promote the unity of the Iraqi Government. And my suspicion is he will continue working on that. And the sign of a good diplomat is somebody who doesn’t give up when it’s hard and doesn’t throw in the towel, and so I would just caution you to call him out because he’ll keep working on it.

He'll keep working on it?  April 9th we were showing skepticism about the latest claims from Iraq's Minister of Oil that a solution to the unresolved oil issues between Baghdad and Erbil would "be reached within days."  Very unlikely based on the past history and the current events but some reporters did run with it, treating the pronouncement as fact.  (Stenographers for the US government).   It's not happening "within days."  All Iraq News reports today:

MP, Mahmoud Othman, of the Kurdistani Alliance ruled out settling the disputes between the Kurdistani Regional Government and the Central Government.
He stated to AIN "I do not expect solving the problems between Baghdad and Erbil before the elections."

Another failure for Nouri. Rudaw reports, "An Iraqi delegation that arrived in Erbil on Monday to resolve budget and energy disputes with the Kurdish government has returned to Baghdad without reaching any agreement."

Back to today's State Dept press briefing.

QUESTION: What about the independent state, Kurdistan? Are you against that?

MS. PSAKI: I think I just answered what our position is on Iraq – federal, democratic, pluralistic, and unified.

QUESTION: But that does not mean that you won’t be against a Kurdish state if it --

MS. PSAKI: That means we believe Iraq should be unified, including all portions of Iraq.


QUESTION: That means you don’t believe.

MS. PSAKI: Correct, yes. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Jen, today the head of ISCI, Ammar Hakim, and Sadr, Muqtada al-Sadr, the head of the Jaish al-Mahdi, they formed an alliance against Maliki. Are you concerned that after the election, and if Maliki wins as he is predicted to, that the country will actually fragment?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not --

QUESTION: And descend into chaos?

MS. PSAKI: Obviously – obviously, the government of – or I should say the country of Iraq is working towards elections. We do have concerns about the nature of attacks that have happened, the recent increased levels of violence. And ultimately, the preparations for national elections at the end of – soon, in coming weeks, is a constant reminder of the formidable challenges they continue to face on the security front.
I’m not going to make any predictions. Obviously, our efforts and our work and the work of Brett McGurk and other diplomats is to support the people and the Government of Iraq, and maintain a democratic, pluralistic, and unified Iraq.

QUESTION: Are you – will you be taking, like, special security measures during the elections?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any details on that. We obviously have been expediting our security assistance, as you know and we’ve talked about a little bit in here, and we’re working closely with the Iraqi Government on that. But I will see if there’s more to report around the elections specifically.

QUESTION: Just one more question.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Barzani also said in his interview that it’s very strange that the United States and Iran disagree on most everything, but they agree on Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. What do you make of that statement?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I have any further comment than he’s been elected to lead Iraq. So go ahead.

But he wasn't elected, Jen Psaki.

Why are you lying?

The 2010 elections?  His State of Law lost to Ayad Allawi's Iraqiya.

He didn't even win a parliament vote.

What he 'won' was the US brokered contract, The Erbil Agreement.

That's how he got his second term.

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections.  The Guardian's editorial board noted in August of that year, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 

What were they talking about?
Nouri refusing to step down after he lost.  For eight months, he refused.  And to reward their puppet, Barack had US officials in Iraq negotiate The Erbil Agreement.
This is why, November 11, 2010, Parliament finally held its first session since the election.  The Erbil Agreement.  The US sold it to the leaders of Iraq's political blocs by saying Nouri could drag things out for another eight months, so be big and, for the good of Iraq, agree to give him a second term and, so you're not out in the cold, we'll do this via a contract and since Nouri's demanding a second term, you can put your own demands into this contract and this contract is legal and binding and has the full support of the White House.
Of that process on The Erbil Agreement, Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) reported:

Vice President Biden made numerous calls to senior Iraqi leaders over the past several months and U.S. officials directly participated in top-level negotiating sessions that lasted until just moments before the Iraqi parliament finally convened to approve a new power-sharing government Thursday, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. 
Every bloc had their own issues written in.  We usually note the Kurds here.  Let's instead note Allawi.  He wanted to be over a National Council On Higher Policy -- a national security council.  That was written into the contract.  But on November 11, 2010, after President Jalal Talabani named Nouri prime minister-designate, Nouri announced it would take time to implement The Erbil Agreement.  From the November 11, 2010 snapshot:

Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports one hiccup in the process today involved Ayad Allawi who US President Barack Obama phoned asking/pleading that he accept the deal because "his rejection of post would be a vote of no confidence". Ben Lando, Sam Dagher and Margaret Coker (Wall St. Journal) confirm the phone call via two sources and state Allawi will take the post -- newly created -- of chair of the National Council On Higher Policy: "Mr. Obama, in his phone call to Mr. Allawi on Thursday, promised to throw U.S. weight behind the process and guarantee that the council would retain meaningful and legal power, according to the two officials with knowledge of the phone call."  
But Allawi never got that post because the council was never created because Nouri used the contract to get a second term as prime minister and then refused to honor the other promises in the contract.  
And the White House that had sworn to back the agreement, that Barack had told Allawi that he would "throw US weight behind the process"?
They played dumb.
And a whorish media quickly played dumb with them and pretended The Erbil Agreement never existed.
Not everyone in the media is a whore.  We'll note one who called it correctly in November 2010 later this week.  But in addition to her, there's Ned Parker.  The former Los Angeles Times correspondent now works for Reuters.  His work in Iraq has included exposing Nouri's secret prisons.  Today, he contributes an essay on Iraq to The New York Review of Books:

Meanwhile, instead of producing a decisive outcome, the 2010 election left the country deeply divided. The vote was a near draw between Maliki and Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc, and it took nine months of negotiation and heavy involvement from both the Americans and Iranians to forge a new “national unity” government. According to the compromise reached, it was to be headed by Maliki with important cabinet positions allocated to Iraqiya, including the vice presidency and the ministries of finance and defense. Allawi himself would head a new military and political council, a step the US had strongly pushed for. But as soon as the new government was seated, Maliki refused to relinquish control of the defense and interior ministries, and thwarted the establishment of Allawi’s council. He eventually chased his Sunni vice president and finance minister away with the threat of arrest warrants. As Maliki saw it, his political survival depended in part on ruthlessly limiting his opponents’ power, and he could not leave himself exposed to enemies, whether Shiite Islamist rivals or members of the Sunni opposition. 
Jen Psaki lied today.  Nouri was not elected to a second term.  He lost the parliamentary elections and the only way he got a second term was The Erbil Agreement which is not an election.
Jen Psaki really should stop lying.
Back to her briefing. 

QUESTION: Can we stay here in Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: And just one more question regarding this independence question.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: One of the factors of the situation is the oil transfer made by the – I mean, the KRG to Turkey. And I know that your position was against this.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And do you have any update? Because the oil – oil delivery is still going on and there was a dispute on the – in interests in revenue sharing on this oil trade between the two --

MS. PSAKI: Our position is exactly the same as it has been. Nothing has changed on that front.

I don't know if she realized she told the truth there.  The official position of the US government for public consumption is that oil is an issue that the Iraqis need to sort out but, as the reporter noted, the US government is against the Kurdish Regional Government doing anything that the Baghdad-based central government disapproves of.

That's why KRG President Massoud Barzani has spent 2013 and this year demonstrating more and more independence from the US.

Parliamentary elections are supposed to be held April 30th. Osama Al Sharif (Arab News) observes:

In Iraq too, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki is trying to win a third term in spite of sectarian and ethnic divisions and wide criticisms of his authoritarian rule and intervention in the legislative and judicial branches of government. Al-Maliki has used his powers to hunt down his political opponents, while the country is being ripped apart by terrorism. The Kurds are talking about independence from Iraq while the Sunnis complain of a conspiracy to prevent them from participating in the polls and deprive them of a power sharing deal. The security situation in Anbar province is proof that Al-Maliki is seeking to exclude the Sunni tribes from the political process.

Bilgay Duman (Daily Sabah) shares, "The public has very low expectations about what politicians can do to end violence and instability. This could be seen as a factor that will motivate political parties and leaders during their campaigning. On the other hand, this could also be seen as an impediment to free and fair elections."  Mustafa Sadoun (Niqash) reports on one segment of the electorate:

Iraq’s upcoming general elections are proving a worthy platform for sectors of local society that are not often heard from. Iraqis with special needs are running for office to get more help from the government and increase their visibility. Considering there’s an estimated 3 million disabled people in Iraq, their chances are good. 

In Iraq, people with special needs or handicaps are not substantially supported by the Iraqi government or the local social welfare system. Although authorities will hold special days, or organize events, and they may even give them some extra money, any financial support is usually not even enough to buy a wheelchair. After all, Iraq has trouble looking after the average citizens’ health, let alone those with special needs. 
Currently there are no accurate statistics on how many disabled people there are in Iraq. The latest estimates from the Iraqi Ministry of Health, based on research conducted over two years ago, indicates that there are more than one million disabled Iraqis. Of this number, approximately 43,600 had been handicapped because of injuries suffered during the wars that the country has been involved in almost continuously since 1980. There are close to 100,000 amputees, over 100,000 blind people and around 205,000 are at risk of blindness or suffer visual impairment of some kind.

In other news, thug and prime minister of Iraq continues his assault on Anbar by killing civilians in Falluja.  National Iraqi News Agency reports his shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhood have left 7 civilians dead today and seventeen injured.  These are War Crimes.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports the Ministry of the Interior announced they killed 12 suspects "on the outskirts of the city of Fallujah,"  an al-Radhwaniya roadside bombing claimed 2 lives and left six more people injured, 1 person was shot dead in Alkhotway, 1 person was shot dead in Hartha,  1 person was shot dead and another left injured in an Abu Ghraib attack, an eastern Mosul battle left 2 rebels dead, a Mosul roadside bombing left 2 police members dead and a third injured,  2 Ramadi suicide bombers took their own lives and the life of 1 police member (with four more injured), 1 male corpse was found dumped on a street in Kirkuk (Alsumaria notes he was blindfolded and his hands were bound), and 3 corpses were found dumped "in an orchard are in Arab Jaour, south of Baghdad" (shot "in the head and chest").  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 435 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.

For the last few weeks, Nouri's been moving prisoners out of Abu Ghraib prison.  World Bulletin notes that "the prison was also used as a torture facility by Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime."  AFP adds, "In 2004, then under control by U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a scandal over detainee abuse."   AP also offers a brief sentence about the Abu Ghraib War Crimes, "Under U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a 2004 scandal over detainee abuse."   The Saudi Gazette elaborates:

From late 2003 to early 2004, during the Iraq War, military police personnel of the United States Army and the Central Intelligence Agency committed human rights violations against prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison. They physically and sexually abused, tortured, raped, sodomized, and killed prisoners. It came to public attention in early 2004, beginning with United States Department of Defense announcements.  As revealed in the Taguba Report (2004), an initial criminal investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway, in which soldiers of the 320th Military Police Battalion had been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse.
In April 2004, articles describing the abuse, including pictures showing military personnel appearing to abuse prisoners, came to wide public attention when a 60 Minutes II news report (April 28) and an article by Seymour M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine (posted online on April 30 and published days later in the May 10 issue) reported the story.  The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery.

This morning, only France24 could note, "Fresh abuse claims surfaced in 2013 after the facility became known as Baghdad Central Prison."  Ed Adamczyk (UPI) later noted the continuous history of abuse, "The prison has a long history of abuse, under Saddam Hussein, during the occupation of Iraq by U.S. troops, and, human rights advocates say, under the present leadership. Critics accuse Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki with filling prisons, including Abu Ghraib, with young Sunni men -- many, advocates claim, are innocent of insurgency."

Today, Abu Ghraib prison is closed.  Fars News Agency reports:

The Iraqi justice minister announced the closure of a prison in West of the capital Baghdad, and evacuation of all inmates over security concerns.
Hassan al-Shimmari said on Tuesday that 2400 inmates have been transferred from the Baghdad Central Prison, formerly known as Abu Ghraib prison and situated 32 kilometers (20 miles) West of Baghdad, to prisons located in central and North provinces, press tv reported.

Cheng Yang (Xinhua) notes:

The ministry's move came as insurgent groups, some believed to be linked to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), closed the gates of a dam on Euphrates River, located some 5 km south of the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, to flood some areas between Baghdad and Fallujah, including Abu Ghraib area, to cut the supply routes of the Iraqi army and to cover the gunmen attempt to push toward Baghdad.
Among the most vital installations near the battlefields are Baghdad international airport, just southwest of Baghdad, and Abu Ghraib prison, some 25 km west of the capital, and several major military bases.

BBC states, "It was not clear whether the closure was temporary or permanent."  Nouri's shutting down the prison because he's such a failure at security, he can't even guarantee the protection of a Baghdad prison.   As Jason Ditz (Antiwar.com) observes, "Ironically, it wasn’t anything to do with the prison itself that finally forced the closure, but the city of Abu Ghraib, which fell last week to an offensive by al-Qaeda of Iraq (AQI)."

What a loser, what a failure.  And yet he thinks he deserves a third term as prime minister.

Yesterday, the Pulitizer Prize winners were announced.  Today, Howard Altman (Tampa Tribune) reports on a big cry baby:

A day after the Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers won a Pulitzer prize for stories based on leaks provided by former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden, the Director of National Intelligence blasted Snowden, saying he risked lives and cost the U.S. valuable intelligence assets.

“This is potentially the most massive and most damaging theft of intelligence information in the nation’s history,” James Clapper told several thousand gathered for the GEOINT 2013* Symposium at the Tampa Convention Center. “What Snowden has stolen and exposed has gone way way beyond his professed concern for the expression of privacy. He stole and leaked secrets about how we protect U.S. businesses from cyber threats, and how we support U.S. troops in war zones, and other leaked documents directly put Americans lives at risk and as a result we have lost critical foreign intelligence collection sources.”

You know what Ed Snowden didn't do?

Lie to Congress.  That's a crime.  A punishable crime.  It's bad for a private citizen and it's even worse when the liar is a government official.  In a functioning administration, a president would have told James Clapper that lying to Congress meant he was no longer able to serve as Director of National Intelligence.

The Pulitzer awarded to the Washington Post and the Guardian were deserved awards.  As Amy Davidson (The New Yorker) points out:

The public-service successes wrought by these stories were not inevitable. As explosive as the papers would have been on their own, with no mediation, the shape of the scandal has also been a function of careful journalism. It didn’t have to play out this way: either paper could have bungled it. They had to be judicious and brave. Each has more documents than it has published, and has been scrupulous about what it shares, making sure to give a sense of what the acronyms and connections mean. (In a way, the Pulitzer is also for what the papers have not made public.) Each has also reported out the stories, which includes going to the government for comment—listening to what it has to say, dealing with its pressure sensibly and not reflexively—and then publishing certain things that it has been told it should keep secret. The newspapers have been called criminal. As Janine Gibson, the editor-in-chief of Guardian US, said after the award announcement, “It’s been an intense, exhaustive, and sometimes chilling year working on this story.”

Ed Snowden's a hero.

Help me out here.  Did I miss the moment where Clapper apologized for lying to Congress?

I know he never got punished, but did he apologize?

And I'm not talking about his weak ass 'apology' to Congress.

Clapper serves the people of the United States.  That's who pays his salary.  They are his boss.  I've not yet heard offer any apology to the American people for his lying to Congress.

If the fat ass has time to offer media criticism, he has time to drop to his knees and beg forgiveness from the American people for lying.  Even a filthy idiot like Clapper knows it's wrong to lie.


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