Sunday, March 15, 2015

Arrow (he's going to become 'brooding')

Ross A Lincoln ("Deadline") reports:

First up, the Arrow panel, where moderator Aisha Tyler kept the conversation focused on character and generally hilarious during the Arrow panel. That was thanks in part to Malcolm Merlyn actor John Barrowman, who alternated between trenchant observation and zings. He confirmed, for instance, that his character would have preferred to have Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) as a son rather than Tommy Merlyn, (who died during the season 1 finale but returns in periodic flashbacks). Shortly after, he joked that he’d love to see his character paired off with the cocktail waitress mother of Arrow ally Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards).
As for what to expect when Arrow returns this week, after a two-week hiatus, Oliver Queen had just been asked by Season 3 villain Ra’s al Ghul to take over leadership of the League of Assassins. According to star Stephen Amell, Oliver may be accepting that offer. When the show returns, Arrow will take stock of what he’s accomplished in the two and half years since returning to Starling City, and realize he’s disappointed by the results. “That makes being the idea of being the person who commands the League of Assassins in any way that he sees fit really appealing,” he said. Not that there might be a choice in the matter. “It’s an offer in name only,” Amell said, adding that “If Oliver says no, there will be dire consequences.”

So we're supposed to be getting a darker and more morose Oliver in season four.

He's going to be 'brooding.'

Which, for The CW, begs the question if he'll also become a vampire or zombie?

(He won't.  I'm just mocking The CW.)

I really found the article useless -- other than it noting Aisha's comedic skills.

What I want to know about is the Atom and Black Canary.

That's what I care about these days.

And if Oliver's going to get morose and the Atom ends up with a spin-off, they need to send Felicity off to that show because I really can't take them misusing Felicity anymore.

I'm already tired of the way they jerked the character around this season.

They've given the actress more to do in her guest spot on "The Flash" than they have on her episodes of "Arrow."

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the Tikrit attack proves to be humiliating for Baghdad and Tehran, lies and more lies from the US government on Iraq get exposed, we note the shooting death of an Iraqi in Dallas, Texas, and much more.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) reports that Badr militia leader Hadi al-Amiri has praised Iran for it's "unconditional" aid and support as contrasted with the US -- Iraqi leaders "kiss the hands of the Americans and get nothing in return."

Oh, Hadi, you're such an embarrassment, such an idiot.

Do you really think we've forgotten you or your weakling son?

Or the 2014 incident where your little baby (grown adult son) threw a tantrum because an airline refused to delay a flight for him.

Or that you, as Transportation Minister, then refused to allow the flight to land in Iraq?

Oh, Hadi, you stupid ass.

The world has not forgotten.

Nor has the world forgotten that, in your denials (lies) about the incident, you promised a full investigation.

There was never an investigation.

Which was good for your little boy, right?

Because you'd publicly insisted that if he was responsible, you'd turn him over to the authorities.

Poor little Hadi.  Such a joke on the world stage.

And part of the reason the US government did not back, last summer, Ammar al-Hakim for the post of prime minister.  Hadi's part of the al-Hakim led Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.  All Iraq News reports Ammar met with Brett McGurk of the US State Dept to tell McGurk that Iraq doesn't need the US.

Good enough, let's pull all US troops out of Iraq (at last).

Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held an important hearing on Iraq and the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that US President Barack Obama has requested.  We've covered the hearing in the Wednesday and Thursday snapshots and will cover it later in this one.  But for now, let's note what Ranking Member Robert Menendez stated as the hearing was coming to a close.

Ranking Member Robert Menendez:  Finally, I do hope that we can get to a point to find the right balance and that's not easy in this proposition to give you an AUMF that gives you the wherewithall to degrade and defeat ISIL but by the same token doesn't provide an open-ended check.  And I think that the real concern here  is for some of us who lived under shock and awe and were told that Iraqi oil was going to pay for everything and saw a lot of lives and national treasure spent, that even well intentioned efforts can move in a totally different direction.  And this is the most critical vote that any member of the Congress  will take which is basically a vote on war and peace and life and death.

As if to underscore the points he was making Wednesday, CBS News reported Friday:

A U.S. soldier at an Iraqi training base was injured by gunfire directed at the base, marking the first time an American soldier has been wounded by fire from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.
A Pentagon spokesman told Martin that the soldier received superficial wounds to his face after the incident, which occurred Wednesday at 3:00 a.m. Iraqi time.

National Iraqi News Agency adds, "The Spokesman of the Pentagon said that this is the first time that a US soldier wounded are carried out on the ground, since the United States began training Iraqi forces as part of coalition efforts to defeat the IS organization."  All Iraq News quotes the Pentagon spokesperson, Steve Warren, stating that "US soldiers returned fire."

Oh, what a beautiful city
Oh, what a beautiful city
Oh, what a beautiful city
Twelve gates to the city
There are three gates in the east
And three to the west
There's three to the north
And three to the south
There's twelve gates to the city
-- "Twelve Gates To The City," traditional song recorded by Carly Simon on her Christmas Is Almost Here

Twelve Gates To The City, and 12 days to reach Tikrit.

That's how long it's taken the Baghdad-Tehran alliance.  On Thursday, the 12th day of the operation, they finally reached Tikrit.  Apparently, there was no direct path so they had to take stop overs, possibly they traveled Jet Blue via Miami.

Thursday, All Iraq News reported that Khalid al-Khazrji (Deputy Chair of the Local Security Committee) was insisting, "The Iraqi forces have completely controlled over Tikrit."

Oh, the lies and the liars.

Like Khaled al-Obeidi.  Thursday, National Iraqi News Agency reported that Defense Minister al-Obeidi declared that the battle for Tikrit "will be today and will be a decisive battle."

Didn't happen.

But Iran and Baghdad's Shi'ite forces had finally made it to Tikrit.


Jean Marc Mojon (AFP) didn't seem to grasp what he reported on Friday morning:

Iraqi forces on Friday battled jihadists making what looked increasingly like a last stand in Tikrit but the Islamic State group responded by vowing to expand its "caliphate".
Thousands of fighters surrounded a few hundred holdout IS militants, pounding their positions from the air but treading carefully to avoid the thousands of bombs littering the city centre.

The bulk of Islamic State fighters had left, only a "few hundred" remained and that was still too much for the combined might of Baghdad and Tehran.

Offering a more clear-eyed assessment on Friday was Saif Hameed (Reuters) who reported:

The offensive to retake Tikrit appeared to stall on Friday, two days after Iraqi security forces and mainly Shi’ite militia pushed into Saddam Hussein’s home city in their biggest offensive yet against the militants.
A source in the Salah Al-Din Operations Command said Iraqi forces would not move forward until reinforcements reached Tikrit, of which the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) still holds around half.

Using guerrilla warfare tactics, the militants have turned the city into a labyrinth of home-made bombs and booby-trapped buildings, and are using snipers to halt their progress.

Adam Rawnsley (War Is Boring) notes that, "in a sign of Tehran’s growing military presence in the Iraq, Iranian weapons were a nearly ubiquitous sight in images and videos coming out of the offensive to take the mostly Sunni city."  Yamei Wang (Xinhua) adds that Friday saw at least seventy-two security forces injured and another 26 killed.

And today?  Xinhua reports:

Iraqi security forces fighting to free the besiege city of Tikrit planned to clear the city from the Islamic State (IS) militants within 72 hours, a militia spokesman said on Saturday.
The city "will be liberated within 72 hours," Karim al-Nouri, a leading figure of the Shiite party Badr Organization and the spokesman of the government-backed militia of al-Hashed al-Shaabi, said in the town of Awja, south of Tikrit.

But reality is not what's above.  Reuters reports reality which is that the Islamic State still controls at least half of Tirkit and the security forces who entered the city?

They have "paused their offensive for a second day on Saturday as they awaited reinforcements, a military source said."

This is also echoed by the Oman Tribune, "Earlier, Iraqi forces and Shia militia battling to wrest full control of the city of Tikrit from Baghdadi militiamen paused their offensive for a second day on Saturday as they awaited reinforcements.  A source in the local military command centre said military commanders had reached a decision to halt the operation until a suitable, carefully set plan is in place to break into central Tikrit."

So the operation starts with claims that are never met (they were supposed to have entered and seized Tikrit two Fridays ago -- that is what the officials promised) and after they finally arrive in Tikrit and face significantly fewer Islamic State forces than they expected, they're still so inept that they have to pause their fighting and wait for reinforcements.

Hundreds of Islamic State fighters.

Thousands of security forces.

And the security forces have to wait for reinforcements before continuing the battle.

This was supposed to be a confidence builder.

It has been anything but.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is again demonstrating he's no different than Nouri al-Maliki.

In 2008, you may remember, Nouri decided to attack Basra (and Sadr City in Baghdad).

It was an operation that the US was planning with Iraqi forces.

But Nouri jumped the gun.

And Iraqi forces, once fighting began, began deserting.

And Nouri hadto count on the US forces to rescue his plan.

But because the US government needed to promote Nouri as a leader, it was considered unkind to point out that it was only US forces that diverted the disaster.

And now there's Haider.

Who didn't want US help on this.

And the forces -- with all of Tehran's help -- couldn't even make it into Tirkit on time.

And when they did?

They can't even fight a much smaller than expected group of Islamic State fighters.

This was supposed to be the morale booster.

It should be the wake up call.

Yes, the US military assessment was correct:  Iraqi forces (with or without help from Tehran) are still not ready or maybe just still not committed to the actual fight.

Sending Shi'ites into Saddam Hussein's home town?

It was supposed to be a morale builder because Shi'ites hated (and continue to hate) the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

This was the area they would shoot up and destroy, feeding on their own hatred.

But even with all that, they still can't pull it off.

They're an embarrassment.

So is stupidity.

We're not even going to go into Nancy A. Youssef's idiotic efforts to claim a slice of Tikrit for the US -- she (and brass) feared the operation would be a success -- because they're unable to use their eyes and ears -- so she did a piece of whoring -- like what she used to do for McClatchy all the time.  We're not linking to her nonsense.

But we will go to greater stupidity.

Foreign Policy, we mean you.

Why did you ever hire idiots like David Frances and Sabine Muscat who wrote on Friday:

Congress sits by as Christians are besieged by the Islamic State. Last August, President Barack Obama signed a bill creating a special envoy charged with helping Iraq’s Christian communities and other minority religious groups targeted by the Islamic State. Seven months later, the post is still vacant, and Congress seems in no rush to fill it. FP’s Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Yochi Dreazen report on a “small but concrete example of Washington’s passivity in the face of an ongoing wave of atrocities against the Assyrian, Chaldean, and other Christian communities of Iraq and Syria.”

Leave out Yochi and Bethany because they don't argue what Frances and Muscat stupidly do.

Have you finished the third grade?

If so and you're an American citizen going to school in America you should be rolling your eyes at what Frances and Muscat wrote.

Congress isn't sitting by.

They're not the ones "in no rush to fill it."

Because, even though Frances and Muscat are too stupid to know it, Congress merely votes to confirm (or deny) someone the president nominates.

What kind of whores are Frances and Muscat to blame Congress for Barack's inaction?

Stupid whores if they think they can get away with it.

Again, the linked to article by Yochi and Bethany does not make the claim Frances and Muscat do.

Frances and Muscat are wrong, they're wrong about the Constitution and they really shouldn't be allowed to cover these topics anymore because either they're too stupid or they're too biased to be trusted.

Here's reality, Barack waited 10 days to sign the bill in question (passed by Congress) and did so quietly, as Yochi and Bethany note, "the White House quietly announced the signing in a late-afternoon press release that lumped it in with an array of other low-profile legislation. Neither Obama nor any prominent lawmakers made any explicit public reference to the bill."

When Barack's failure to nominate someone for the post results in two 'reporters' rushing to slam Congress, then Foreign Policy needs to do a house cleaning.  Frances and Muscat are not qualified to even write up synopsis so they shouldn't be working for Foreign Policy.

Yochi and Bethany write an even-handed report which includes:

Administration officials say they are paying close attention to the plight of Iraq’s religious minorities and doing all they can to help. In an interview, Rabbi David Saperstein, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said that he has devoted the majority of his time since assuming his post last December to the plight of the Christians and other groups that find themselves in the crosshairs of the Islamic State.
Saperstein noted that when the Islamic State encircled thousands of members of the country’s Yazidi community and threatened to exterminate them last year, it was American warplanes that beat back the militants and allowed the civilians to escape their clutches. “There are scores of thousands of people who are alive because of what we did,” he said.

The issue is Iraqi Christians.

If Saperstein is too ignorant to know that Yazidis are not Christians may be he's not up for his job.

The Yazidis should have been (and were) provided with supplies dropped from planes.

In addition, they were used to put US forces (publicly) back into Iraq.

The Yazidis are now aligned with the neocons -- via their sole MP in Parliament who spends so much of her time in England, Canada and the United States.  They really don't need an advocate.

But Iraqi Christians have been very public about the fact that the Yazidis have gotten the world's attention while the slaughter of Iraqi Christians in Iraq goes largely unnoticed.

The so called objective press might want to explain to their news consumers why that is, why they ignore the Iraqi Christians while they provide tons of coverage to the group advocating for US combat troops in Iraq -- because that's what the Yazidi leadership signed off on when they agreed to take neocon money in an effort to publicize themselves.

On the battles in Iraq, Kareem Shaheen (Guardian) reports:

On Friday a prominent Iraqi Sunni preacher urged authorities to prevent Shia militias from carrying out revenge attacks. Sheikh Abdel Sattar Abdul Jabbar said that if the government failed to stop revenge attacks by Shia militias, the country would face reignited sectarian tensions such as the ones it witnessed at the height of the war in 2006 and 2007.
“We ask that actions follow words to punish those who are attacking houses in Tikrit,” Abdul Jabbar said during his Friday sermon in Baghdad. “We are sorry about those acting in revenge that might ignite tribal anger and add to our sectarian problems.

Analysts say the campaign to liberate Sunni areas must be led by members of the community, fearing retributions and revenge attacks that could upend the campaign to drive out Isis. 

Back to Wednesday's hearing.  Isakson questioned the need for a time limit on Barack's proposed AUMF -- which currently has a 3-year-provision calling for a review three years after it is passed.  Isakson wondered, "Wouldn't we be better off sending a clear signal that there is no end to this conflict as far as we are concerned until we win the victory?"  Click here for the press release from Senator Isakson's office.

For any wondering about the answer, Ash Carter repeatedly stated this was a "political consideration" and that the Good and Powerful Barack didn't want to tie anyone's hands.

Strange because Bully Boy Bush signed a three year agreement with Iraq after -- after -- the 2008 elections which saw Barack win the presidency.  Before Barack won the presidency, he (and Joe Biden) insisted they would oppose Bully Boy Bush doing any such agreement without the Senate signing off.  Immediately after the election -- Deletion You Can Believe In -- that promise disappeared from the campaign site and neither Barack nor Joe ever brought it up again.

Ash Carter is the Secretary of Defense.  He appeared at the hearing to offer testimony as did Secretary of State John Kerry and General Martin Dempsey who is the Chair of the Joint Chiefs.

Let's jump in on this exchange.

Senator Cory Gardner:  . .  . what weight of effort would you say that the Peshmerga or other fighting in the region are pursuing against ISIL?

Gen Martin Dempsey:  The early successes against ISIL were largely through the Peshmerga.  And that will evolve over time but they've been carrying the majority of the effort thus far.

Senator Cory Gardner:  And by majority of effort, is there a weight?  Like they're carrying out a third?   Three-quarters?  Ninety percent?

Gen Martin Dempsey:  No, Senator, I can't actually put

Senator Cory Gardner:  -- the weight of effort on it?

Gen Martin Depmsey:  -- but the early, uh, the early effort to blunt ISIL's momentum were north and therefore with the Peshmerga

Senator Cory Gardner:  And reports in the news and other places have stated the Peshmerga are only getting about 10% of the arms that have routed through -- that have been routed through Baghdad.  Is that correct?

Gen Martin Dempsey:  Uh, again, I don't have the percentage but I can certainly take it for the record.  But there were some friction early on with the willingness of the government of Iraq to provide weapons to the Peshmerga but we think we've-we've managed our way through that.

Senator Cory Gardner:  And so right now you feel confident that the process by which arms will reach Erbil have now been settled or resolved?

Gen Martin Dempsey:  I am confident that we've broke through the initial friction but it doesn't mean it won't return.

He was confident on Wednesday.

Is he still confident?

Or is he just a liar?

Massoud Barazani is the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Hours after the hearing, The NewsHour (PBS -- link is text, audio and video) aired an interview with Barzani which included Barzani declaring:

We are satisfied with the [US] air support. We are getting good support, but, in reality, to this present moment, we have the same view as in the past on arming and equipping the Peshmerga forces with the right weapons.  It’s not to the standard we want.

If that's confusing for anyone -- possibly confusing for Dempsey, the title of the segment is "Kurdish leader says more U.S. weapons needed in fight against Islamic State."

Peshmerga forces include women and Cale Salih has written about that for CNN here.

But to the point of Dempsey's dishonesty?

That's all the hearing offered: dishonesty from the witnesses.

Hour after the hearing,  James Gordon Meek, Brian Ross, Rym Momtaz and Alex Hosenball (ABC News) broke the news that Shi'ites were committing War Crimes (they called it "human rights violations") in Iraq.

At the hearing, John Kerry lied non-stop including, "So as long as we continue to work on the integration, the  internal inclusivity of Iraq and its government -- to help the Iraqis to be able to do this themselves, help the region feel empowered by it, that is a long term recipe for the United States not to have as much risk and not to have to put ourselves on the line the way we have historically."

There is no 'inclusivity' in Iraq.  Shi'ites forces are targeting, terrorizing and killing Sunni civilians.

A fact Kerry didn't raise before the Committee.

Let's again note, the Thursday broadcast of ABC World News with David Muir:

David Muir: Now to new fall out after our ABC investigation last night. It involves the fight against ISIS known for those awful videos, lining up their victims on the beach.  And now a new concern.  Are some of the Iraqi forces -- trained and paid for by US taxpayers -- using techniques that are just as brutal?  Well the State Dept tonight responding to our report and ABC's chief investigative reporter Brian Ross back on the job tonight.

Brian Ross:  The State Dept called these scenes today serious and disturbing.  Brutal images of what appear to be Iraqi forces and militias carrying out, celebrating, torture and beheadings.  In this torture scene, two US weapons against the wall. This video shows two civilians, pleading for their lives, about to be shot dead.  A man with an American supplied weapon walks by, a gunman with what appears to be the insignia of Iraqi Special Forces caught on tape.

US State Dept spokesperson Jen Psaki: Their behavior must be above reproach or they risk being painted with the same brush as ISIL fighters.

Brian Ross:  The Pentagon says it has already cut off money to some Iraqi units because of gross human rights violations.  But Senator Patrick Leahy says the ABC News report shows the government should cut off money to more Iraqi units.

Senator Patrick Leahy: When you look at at the videos and look at the uniforms being worn, do we really want to say the US condones that?

Brian Ross: US officials tonight tell ABC News that America's top military leader Gen Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, has repeatedly warned Iraqi leaders about the conduct of the Iraqi military and the militias that fight with them -- especially because the US is sending $1.5 billion to the Iraqi army and almost 3,000 American troops to help train them.

The hearing on Iraq?  John Kerry should have informed the Committee.

Especially since this was Senator Bob Menendez's concern.

Not his concern today.

His concern back in November of 2013.

He was very concerned -- and very public about it -- that the US government would be arming thugs who would use the weapons to terrorize the people.

The White House not only assured him that would not happen, they promised that if it did, they would -- as the law requires -- cut off all arm shipments to Iraq.

Starting to understand why John Kerry lied and failed to disclose the abuses to Congress?

It was one lie after another.

And Kerry was also caught this week in yet another lie.

Last month, he was grandstanding in Munich -- yet again acting as though he were the Secretary of Defense -- and he created a figure -- how very Brian Williams of him -- that really didn't exist as he claimed that 50% of the Islamic State's leadership had been decimated in Syria and in Iraq.

Eli Lake and Josh Rogin (Daily Beast) reported Friday:

When asked about Kerry's 50 percent claim, Army Captain John J. Moore, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told us: "We currently don't have a percentage attached to that statistic."
Experts told us Kerry’s estimate is tough to understand, because defining the Islamic State’s “leadership” is subjective. Cole Bunzel, a Princeton University scholar of Near Eastern Studies who closely follows Islamic State, said its leadership structure is opaque, and not much is known about the true membership of its Shura and Sharia councils, which play an important role in the organization. When the Islamic State has announced major decisions, such as its decision to expand into Syria or declare itself a caliphate, said Bunzel, it has made clear that one or both of those councils were consulted by Baghdadi.
"I am very skeptical of the claim that the coalition has killed 50 percent of the leadership of the Islamic State, whatever that means,” said Bunzel.
He later added, "The Islamic State has publicly announced when senior members of the group have been killed. But they have never talked about anyone in the core leadership being killed since 2010."

It's just been one lie after another.

And that's why Congress should be very alarmed at the wording in Barack's requested AUMF.

In the hearing, Senator Chris Murphy noted:

I remain as frustrated as many of my colleagues with this question over these definitions
I think the problem is in part every different member of the administration  we talk to does seem to have a slightly different interpretation of what these words mean and I can't blame them because, I think, as Secretary Carter said there's no historical operational definition of these words.  But I think the lack of consistency has hampered our efforts to get on the same page together.

Senator Rand Paul noted in the hearing, "It's disdainful to say, 'We want you to pass something but it really doesn't matter, we'll just use 2001' -- which is really absurd.  It just means that Congress is inconsequential and so are the people and the country,"

And it was disdainful for the witnesses to lie to Congress.

And Kerry's entire presentation was disdainful and, yes, shameful.

He needs to learn to shut his mouth.

Yeah, he chaired the Committee -- back when people traveled in wagons.  He's Secretary of State now and he needs to learn to shut his mouth.

At one point, the Chair told him he was done.

Kerry insisted he wasn't.

Chair Bob Corker said he was done with his "speech" and that he had taken five minutes and 20 seconds to 'answer' a question.  The time was up.  The Senator asking questions had already pushed the time limit before finally giving Kerry a chance to speechify. It was time for the next Senator to ask questions.

When the Chair tells you that, you don't keep talking, you don't argue.

You just shut your damn mouth.

When he chaired the Committee, Kerry certainly understood that.

His preening ego, however, prevents from understanding it today.

Moving from Kerry's never ending jaw boning and lying to violence in the US, All Iraq News notes the fatal shooting of Iraqi Ahmed al-Jumaili in Dallas, Texas.  Al-Jumaili was an Iraqi refugee who had only recently arrived in the US.  CBS News reports:

The victim's wife, Zahraa Altaie, told the station they noticed the men that night but paid no attention to them nor did anything to provoke them. She said the shooting appeared to be random.
"I put my hand on his heart. I still feel his heart beating. I tried to stop his bleeding, but I couldn't," said Zahraa.

Iraqi community members are e-mailing asking where the left is on this?

They note that the American left was calling out the movie American Sniper.  (Some were calling it out.  I didn't call it out.)  They note the protests in Ferguson over the killing of an African-American (Michael Brown) by police.

So why isn't this faction of the left also objecting to the murder of Ahmed, the e-mails ask?

That's a question they'll have to answer.  I don't think it will be a pretty answer so I'm guessing those that called out a film -- Debra Useless Sweet, Cindy Sheehan and all the others -- will not call out the killer who, for the record, is African-American.  Nykerion Nealon is the killer's name.

Rachelle Blinder (New York Daily News) reports:

Nealon, who went by the nickname Kaca, did not know al-Jumaili and shot him while seeking revenge, Cotner said. Someone reportedly shot at his girlfriend's apartment in a neighboring complex, making Nealon round up three buddies to look for the suspect, a witness told police. They went to Nealon's apartment to get his assault rifle and then headed to Al-Jumaili's apartment complex.
The thug saw al-Jumaili taking pictures of the snow and raised his rifle, one of his friends told police. The friend took cover under bushes and heard shots ring out, he said. 

Al-Jumaili ran back to his apartment as Nealon followed him with his eyes, continually aiming his rifle and firing at him, Cotner said. Al-Jumaili was shot in the chest.

15 shell casings were found at the crime scene.

Let's also note that the claim of Kaca's girlfriend's apartment being shot at was made -- in a phone call to the police -- after Kaca shot dead Ahmed.  After.  Whether the claim is true or not, no one knows.

Whether it's true or not, it does not justify Kaca grabbing a gun and killing anyone.

But it's important to remember the claim came after the fact.

It's important to remember Kaca shot dead Ahmed.  Kaca and friends then ran to girlfriend's apartment. Then the police were called and the alleged shooting at girlfriend's apartment was reported to the police but they didn't report the murder of Ahmed.  They didn't report that Kaca had shot Ahmed.

As Telemundo reports, the police only discovered Kaca shot Ahmed because Kaca was caught on security cameras (with his rifle).

I wouldn't believe, were I on the jury, the claim of a shooting at an apartment without physical evidence.  That said, were I the defense attorney, I would be sure to put Walnut Bend Apartments on trial and note that the ownership (BH Management) is notorious for its shoddy practices -- including falsely telling renters that  eviction processes had been started, including failure to salt frozen stairs and walk ways, etc.  They have one of the worst images of any in the region.  They do not have security, they often arrange drive throughs with local police.  Were I the defense attorney, I'd be asking what the security was like and how responsive the management was to security concerns.

Regardless of whether or not the shooting at his girlfriend's apartment can be proven, if BH Management did their usual poor job of security and of responding to safety concerns, a case for Kaca could be built around that.  And it's winter -- almost over -- so BH Management probably distributed in January or February a flier to the residents of Walnut Bend Apartments that would basically make clear how little responsibility BH Management takes for their properties.  I'd get a copy of that, were I the defense attorney, to explain why Kaca might have felt it was necessary to defend his girlfriend himself.

If he is convicted?  A few e-mails from Iraqi community members ask about the death penalty? Texas is a death penalty state.  If tried as an adult (Kaca is 17), the killer could face the death penalty.

(We are not calling the victim, Ahmed, by his last name because we humanize people by calling them by their first names here.  Due to the accused's age, we're also going with something other than the last name.  And we would have gone with his first name but when people have a preferred name that is on the record -- such as Ed Snowden always introducing himself as "Ed" -- we call them by the name they prefer.)

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