Sunday, March 12, 2017


I did not expect to like KONG: SKULL ISLAND.

I like Samuel L. Jackson so I was willing to give it a chance.

I was surprised by how much I liked it.

The special effects really sell the movie as do the other visuals.

I'm not sure how it will look in ten years but right now it's everything visually that any movie should be.

In terms of performances?  Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson are great.  The rest largely are good except John C. Reilly who really needs to get some new shtick.

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

Friday, March 10, 2017.  Chaos and violence continue, facts do not necessarily lead to solid interpretations, The Mosul Slog continues (as does the civilian tragedy) and more.

"When the heartache is over, you know I won't be missing you," sings Tina Turner.  Amen.

When the Iraq War is over -- surely that day has to come -- there's so much I won't miss.

Chief among them self-deception.

Danny Sjursen has a post that's all over the internet.  Sometimes it includes the lie that the January march against Donald Trump was larger than the protests against the Iraq War.  No.  DC and LA had strong turnout in January.  But the Iraq protests spread out across all of the US -- not just media centers -- and they were huge.

It's typical of 'the resistance' to have spread that lie (not calling Sjursen part of 'the resistance').  They didn't take part in the protests against the Iraq War.  And now they try to build their lies on the foundation of real work.

We'll link to Sjursen's article at THE NATION because at least it ditches the intro that includes that lie about the January protests being greater than the 2003 protests against the Iraq War.

Sjursen declares the Bully Boy Bush "surge" of Iraq a failure.

There are facts and there are interpretations of facts.

I think Sjursen's failing in both.

Bully Boy Bush's surge (which we opposed, check the archives) was about (a) increasing the number of US troops in Iraq to address the violence and (b) this providing space for the Iraqi politicians to work on reconciliation.

Sjursen seems completely unaware of the second part.

He judges the first part to be a failure.

I disagree, it did what it was supposed to do.

He's not honest about what that was.

I'm tired of the self-deceptions people tell themselves to feel good.

(I'm also tired of pieces on Iraq that focus on Bush and Trump while ignoring Barack Obama.)

Sjursen talks about "civil war" (we used the term long before the surge) and how Baghdad became a Shi'ite city.

By the time Sjursen was part of the surge, we were already calling it what it was: Ethnic cleansing.

I'm really sorry that he can't deal with the reality of what went down in Iraq.

It was ethnic cleansing.

He can denounce Nouri (while never calling Barack out for giving Nouri a second term when the Iraqi people voted him out in the 2010 election).

He can talk about what Nouri did and the attacks on the Sunnis.

He just can't connect the dots -- we were doing so in real time, a decade later he still wants to self-deceive.

Part (a) of the surge was a success.  The military part was a success.

The military did what they were tasked to do.

But what were they tasked to do?

To support a government carrying out abuses.

That meant taking sides.

Which they did.

The ethnic cleansing was conducted with their assistance.

That's what they provided cover for.

The US government installed the Iraqi government and the US government used the US military to keep it propped up.

It was US policy.

That's why, when Iraqi voters rejected Nouri in the 2010 elections, the US government -- then led by Barack Obama -- did not force Nouri to step down but backed him as he refused to step down for 8 months -- bringing Iraq's goverment to a stand still.

That's why when Iraqi voters rejected Nouri -- whose crimes were already known from his first term -- Barack gave Nouri a second term via The Erbil Agreement.

You can blame Iran -- as Patrick Cockburn always does -- but Iran didn't have any part in negotiating The Erbil Agreement -- that was the US government that did that.

And had Barack moved quickly, even up to month six after the election, he could have forced Nouri to honor the results.  As late as that point, Shi'ite cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr was still calling for Nouri to step down.

Hayder al-Abaci has done very little, accomplished even less.  But it doesn't matter to the US government -- now led by Donald Trump.  They will support him no matter what.

Barack had personal distaste for Nouri al-Maliki, refused to take his congratulatory call after Barack had won re-election in 2012 (he fobbed it off on Joe Biden).  But he still gave him the US government's backing.

Didn't matter that he was committing crimes, even War Crimes.

Didn't matter a bit in the end.

Until we can be honest about that, I don't know how much point there is in talking about the (ongoing) Iraq War.

The military did what they were tasked with in the surge.

That was propping up an abusive government.

I don't blame the US military for that, I blame the US government that issued those orders.

Maybe Danny Sjursen can't make that distinction yet?  Maybe he never will?

Until he does, he's writing sad little commentaries that are more confusing than enlightening.

This was US policy, this remains US policy.

Instead of explaining what happened, he offers bits of facts and never connects anything together because he refuses to see what took place.

Had more US troops stayed beyond the end of 2011 (all US troops did not leave -- and some who left were moved to Kuwait), as Nouri al-Maliki wanted, they would have been used to prop up Nouri's government.

Without them, Nouri more openly used Iraqi forces for this.

That's why he immediately had tanks circling the homes of Sunni MPs and went off on his tear accusing various Sunni politicians of terrorism.

Remember, the CIA profile of Nouri is what got him installed as prime minister -- his deep paranoia which the US government (headed by Bully Boy Bush at that point) saw as a plus -- they could use it to control him.

Why did the US go to war?  Why does the US continue the war?

ALL Wars are Bankers Wars They spill the blood of the ignorant poor to make rich men, richer Iraq and Afghanistan

When he can strip away the artifice, Sjursen might have something to offer.

Moving from the veiled to the ridiculous . . .

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney urges Iraq and the U.N. not to let ISIS "get away with genocide"

The talking beard.  Amal Clooney.  She looks so good in lavender, doesn't she?

Amal Clooney is outraged by a terrorist group.

She's not outraged by what the Iraqi government has done and continues doing the Sunni population.  Because she's not a human rights attorney.  She is an instrument of war.

She poses as a human rights attorney.

But then she poses as wife to George Clooney.

Neither is convincing.

Day 144 of The Mosul Slog.

: Latest displacement figures as tracked by 's . 10,279 families (61,674 individuals) displaced in last 14 days.

Mosul's a massacre.

And women who marry gay men because the gay men won't come out of the closet can pretend that they're helping (their husbands or the Yazidis) but they're really just perverting the truth.

An important analysis went up at Ross Caputi's FACEBOOK page.  The analysis is by Dirk Adriaensense (of BRussells Tribunal).

"This gives you an idea. The following figures date from end January 2016: I analyzed the database of Iraqbodycount for an article I wrote for an online newssite of the Belgian progressive community:

The "estimation" of Airwars,, is much lower than the numbers of Iraqbodycount. It appears that between 27 December 2016 and 21 January 21 2017, an overwhelming majority of the fatalities in the offensive against Mosul was caused by air strikes: 
Airstrikes: 450 
IED: 43 
Execution: 61 
Car bomb - suicide bomber: 39 
Gunfire 3 :
Shelling - Mortar: 87 
Sniper: 1

And these are the figures as compiled by Joel Wing:

The "estimation" of Airwars,, is much lower than the numbers of Iraqbodycount. It appears that between 27 December 2016 and 21 January 21 2017, an overwhelming majority of the fatalities in the offensive against Mosul was caused by air strikes: 
Airstrikes: 450 
IED: 43 
Execution: 61 
Car bomb - suicide bomber: 39 
Gunfire 3 :
Shelling - Mortar: 87 
Sniper: 1

And these are the figures as compiled by Joel Wing:

"There have been over 20,000 casualties since the start of the Mosul battle in October. Based on tracking reports in more than 40 papers per day including aid agencies there have 4,923 fatalities and 15,903 wounded. Civilians have been the biggest victims with 4,470 dead and 14,762 injured. Another 277 members of the ISF, 102 Hashd, 70 Peshmerga, 2 Kurdish Counterterrorism members, 1 Hashd al-Watani and 1 U.S. sailors have been reported killed, and 824 ISF, 253 Peshmerga, 59 Hashd, and 5 Hashd al-Watani wounded. The Islamic State has been accused of executing 2,749 civilians. Another 497 dead and 643 injured were blamed on Coalition Air Strikes.
Battle for Mosul Casualties Oct 17, 2016-Jan 14, 2017
4,923 Killed
1 U.S. Sailor, 1 Hashd al-Watani, 2 Kurd CT, 70 Peshmerga, 102 Hashd, 277 ISF, 4,470 Civilians
15,903 wounded
5 Hashd al-Watani, 59 Hashd, 253 Peshmerga, 824 ISF, 14,762 Civilians" 

The number of killed soldiers stated above contrasts with the last figures that were "allowed" to be released by UNAMI:

"On the first day of December 2016 the UN gave figures on the death toll for the month of November. CNN reported: "Iraq's military has disputed UN figures indicating that nearly 2,000 Iraqi troops were killed across the country in November, saying the number was "not accurate and much exaggerated."
Iraq's Joint Operation Command did not give CNN any numbers Saturday, saying it was not obliged to publish casualty figures while the battle against ISIS was ongoing."

These figures give an idea about the under-reporting on the number of victims.

Les Roberts, author of The Lancet study, in 2007: "A study of thirteen countries affected by war, presented at a conference at Harvard, found that more than 80 percent of violent deaths in conflicts is not mentioned by the press and governments . "(...)" There are now two polls and three scientific studies that suggest that the official figures and media-based estimates in Iraq have missed 70-95 percent of all deaths. Data show that the extent of under-reporting by the media is only increasing with time. "(Les Roberts, September 20, 2007)

On many casualties are missing. Based on a comparison of the IBC-figures and the estimates of the mortality studies on Iraq ("Body Count - Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the ‘War on Terror"): , one must assume that the real number of deaths is 5 to 10 times higher as the estimate of the IBC. 

The large number of attacks alone and the Pentagon "success stories" about destroyed targets and killed fighters associated to Daesh (45.000) suggests a much higher number of civilian casualties than those mentioned by Airwars and IBC. (See Joachim Guilliard's article: "Continued Cover-up – Civilian Casualties in the Air War of the US Alliance in Syria and Iraq"

Let's keep this in mind when looking at the numbers of casualties. It's a massacre."

My apologies that I can't find exactly where on Ross' FACEBOOK page this is, it was noted in an e-mail and I've looked for it but I don't FACEBOOK and I'm obviously missing it.

It's a civilian tragedy.

But no one wants to talk about that in the press.

Not even faux human rights attorneys who break from their faux marriages to pretend to care about the world.

We're closing with this from Thursday's US State Dept press briefing by spokesperson Mark C. Toner (who did the briefing via phone).

OPERATOR: Thank you. And next, we’ll go to Laurie Mylroie with Kurdistan 24. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, Mark. Two questions. Ambassador Haley said yesterday that a political settlement in Syria required that it no longer be a safe haven for terrorists – quote, “We’ve got to make sure we get Iran and their proxies out.” Is reducing in a significant way Iran’s influence in Damascus a new U.S. objective in regards to Syria?

MR TONER: Not at all. We’ve consistently raised our concerns about the destabilizing nature of Iran’s activities in the region, but certainly in Syria, and we continue to hold the Iranian Government accountable for its actions, using the tools at our disposal.
On Syria, frankly, the support the Assad regime has received and continues to receive from Iran has enabled it to avoid pursuing what we all agree is the only outcome possible there to resolve the conflict, and that is a peaceful political outcome. It’s avoided – it’s allowed them to avoid seeking a negotiated end to the conflict, and that’s an issue.
We’ve imposed targeted sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as well as its Ministry of Intelligence and Security for their support of the Assad regime. So as I said, we’re looking to counter those destabilizing actions, and we recognize – and we have recognized for some time – that Iran is playing a very destabilizing role in Syria. That should come as a surprise to no one.
You had a follow-up?

QUESTION: Yeah. It had to do – you mentioned this counter-ISIS meeting that you’re going to hold later this month. Are you considering or might you consider KRG representation at these meetings?

MR TONER: Well, again, this is something that the Government of Iraq would be attending, and we’ve talked about this before: We are very appreciative and aware of the sacrifice and effectiveness of Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIS, but we also recognize that they operate under the command and control of the Iraqi Government. That’s been very clear in all of our dealings with the Iraqi Government and our support for forces in Iraq that are fighting ISIS that we operate under the mandate of Iraqi Government command and control to all of our assistance, and that continues.
That said, we – and our Special Envoy Brett McGurk has frequent conversations with Kurdish leadership on the ground, and we consult with them closely. So we believe they’ll be represented here by the Government of Iraq.

QUESTION: Any chance you might encourage the Government of Iraq to bring along some Kurdish officials?

MR TONER: Well, look, that’s something for the Government of Iraq to work out with Kurdish officials themselves.

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