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Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, June 24, 2022. War on Russia continues and requires obliterating uncomfortable truths, the persecution of Julian Assange continues, Iraq has a new make up in their legislative house, and much more.
Starting with the war on Russia, Larry C. Johnson looks at all the US intelligence failures in a column at ICH and concludes:
The CIA is learning the hardway the truth of Sun Tzu’s aphorism:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
That is where the United States intelligence community is; it is ignorant of itself and the Russians.
One of the old intel codgers, Graham E. Fuller, who was Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council at CIA back when I was an analyst, has it figured out. He wrote a piece sure to get him removed from woke Washington, DC parties:
The war in Ukraine has dragged on long enough now to reveal certain clear trajectories. First, two fundamental realities:
- Putin is to be condemned for launching this war– as is virtually any leader who launches any war. Putin can be termed a war criminal–in good company with George W. Bush who has killed vastly greater numbers than Putin.
- Secondary condemnation belongs to the US (NATO) in deliberately provoking a war with Russia by implacably pushing its hostile military organization, despite Moscow’s repeated notifications about crossing red lines, right up to the gates of Russia. This war did not have to be if Ukranian neutrality, á la Finland and Austria, had been accepted. Instead Washington has called for clear Russian defeat.
Contrary to Washington’s triumphalist pronouncements, Russia is winning the war, Ukraine has lost the war. Any longer-term damage to Russia is open to debate.
Sadly for Washington, nearly every single one of its expectations about this war are turning out to be incorrect. Indeed the West may come to look back at this moment as the final argument against following Washington’s quest for global dominance into ever newer and more dangerous and damaging confrontations with Eurasia. And most of the rest of the world–Latin America, India, the Middle East and Africa– find few national interests in this fundamentally American war against Russia
This war could end today, said Sara Flounders back in March, but that would require reality being addressed. For eight years, US officials and their military machine have fueled and organized to use Ukraine as a pawn for the war on Russia, have shelled the Russian border for eight years. This is without a doubt. There's just no mention in the media that it's US-NATO weapons that are responsible for 1400 civilian deaths . . ."
We can't get honest about that. We can't get honest about the fact that Mila Kunis does not speak for Ukraine that, like any whore of war, she simplifies and pretends Ukraine is filled with people who 100% back a war on Russia. That's not reality.
The nazi faction does back a war on Russia and separation from Russia.
Earlier this week, Trina noted:
How stupid is Ben Stiller? He made a point to go to Ukraine and meet his ''hero'' Zelensky -- hero? This week, we learn Ben Stiller's hero is banning books and music. Guess Ben doesn't support the arts. Well, that would explain THE CABLE MAN and so much of the garbage he has appeared in. There was no reason for him to go to Ukraine. In a few years when we all accept the reality that the government of Ukraine was neo-nazis, I don't want to hear excuses from Stiller. No one twisted his arm. He elected to stand with and praise a racist.
At WSWS, Jason Melanovski reported yesterday:
A Ukrainian court has officially banned the activities of the country’s largest opposition party, the Opposition Platform—For Life party.
The decision was handed down by the Administrative Court of Appeals No. 8 on June 20 in Lviv and effectively upheld President Volodymyr Zelensky’s banning of 11 political parties that Kiev regarded as “anti-Ukrainian” and “collaborationists” earlier in March. The measure was then approved by the Ukrainian parliament in May.
Ten other pro-Russian and left-wing parties were included in Zelensky’s ban, among them the Socialist Party of Ukraine and the Party of Shariy led by the popular Youtube blogger Anatoly Shariy.
In addition to legally banning the party’s activities, the court also stated that the party’s property and assets will be confiscated by the State Treasury.
The banning of the country’s largest opposition party marks the temporary culmination of an undemocratic campaign initiated by the Zelensky government against parties and individuals who could potentially undermine the war that Kiev is waging against Russia on behalf of the imperialist powers.
Led by oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, the party controlled 44 out of 450 seats in Ukraine’s parliament, surpassed only by the ruling Servant of the People party of President Volodymyr Zelensky. Prior to Russia’s invasion in February, several opinion polls showed the Russia-aligned party leading hypothetical parliamentary elections or finishing second.
In eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, Opposition—For Life functioned as the dominant political party at both national and local levels. It was the effective successor to the Party of Regions of former President Viktor Yanukovych. In contrast to his opponents in the oligarchy that, with the heavy backing from US and German imperialism, toppled him in 2014 in a coup, Yanukovich spoke for a faction of the Ukrainian oligarchy that has been seeking to balance between Western imperialism and the Kremlin, and opposed a direct alliance of Ukraine with NATO.
You don't ban political parties, books and music if you're all in agreement.
You don't lie if you have truth on your side. But it's been one lie after another to keep the war going. No one can tell truth about the far-right in Ukraine and how the US government is supporting them. (They did the same in Iraq. A people under attack internally are less likely to be able to mount to fronts and expel the foreign invaders.)
Nicholas Paul Pacheco and I are not in agreement on Ukraine and I want that clear so I'm not accused of distorting him. But a lengthy piece he wrote for INKSTICK MEDIA notes:
The Azov’s success in battle has spanned back to the 2014 Crimean War, and the Ukrainian government has built a reliance on their fierce fighting capabilities in several theaters. Yet, despite dismissals of their danger to stability in Ukraine, several troubling patterns suggest that Azov and its political wing, the National Corps, should not be overlooked, especially in a post-war Ukraine. First, the Azov has increased its number of fighters from 300 in 2014 to between 900 and 2500 in 2022, which is in tandem with the National Corps’ growth in size to a party membership of between 10,000 and 15,000 people. Second, they retain popular support from all spectrums of the ideological zeitgeist, from nationalists to conservatives to neo-Nazis, who are now being conscripted to fight in the war. And third, while the party and the battalion are primarily men, there have been reports of women volunteering for various militias, including the Azov under the National Guard.
Signs of strategic indifference from policymakers and media have been expressed with the US military reversing its ban on training Azov soldiers and Facebook lifting the ban on its social media page. Withstanding the current Russian encroachment is pivotal to ensuring further aggression does not take place across Eastern Europe. But just like in the 1980s, when priorities of the Cold War resulted in policy oversights in Afghanistan, the United States and NATO may find themselves in a quagmire with a potential transnational actor that is not separated by a continent and dense terrain but rather has easy land access to various European states.
The reality on the ground of the far-right’s size in Ukraine cannot be defined by how many fighters are listed as serving under the Azov Regiment. At the start of the year, around two months before the invasion, former FBI agent Ali Soufan estimated that more than 17,000 foreign fighters had come to Ukraine over the past six years from 50 countries, with Azov orchestrating recruitment for a network of extremist groups that spanned from California, through Europe, and to New Zealand. As Soufan explains, consistent with the modus operandi of ideological non-state groups, the spread of far-right extremism is a transnational movement that actively recruits and spreads ideas beyond borders.
While not all of the recruits were confirmed to be neo-Nazis or even considered “far-right” by any kind of ideological litmus test, Azov has had a history of actively communicating with groups across Europe. For example, members of the group utilized the neo-fascist chat forum Iron March to convene with other neo-fascist organizations in Europe, including Italy’s CasaPound, the UK’s Blood and Honour, Sweden’s Nordic Resistance Movement, Greece’s Golden Dawn, and Serbias’ Serbian Action. There was also a confirmed correspondence by members of Azov with US-based Atomwaffen co-founder Devon Arthurs attempting organizing a visit to Ukraine according to monitoring undertaken at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. Arthurs’ correspondence showcases what potential the dichotomy of Azov’s continued growth can result in; the ability for radicals to travel and receive training and/or combat action.
Inquiries by independent researchers and international organizations, including the UN, also suggest assertions contrary to the notion that the Azov has gone legitimate and is now accountable to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as reiterated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In 2016, a report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights found that members of Azov were engaged in activities beyond their jurisdiction after the Nov. 11, 2014, date of their assimilation into the National Guard as a unit. These activities included corroborated reports of extrajudicial torture, sexual violence, and politically-motivated subversion of a Ukrainian television channel. In 2017, they proceeded to publicly project themselves as the vanguard of defense for the nation independent of the Ukrainian military, as their official Twitter account at the time tweeted: “When the Ukrainian Army ran, #Azov stood up to fight for #Ukraine” and followed this tweet with unsanctioned artillery shelling of pro-Russian separatist locations.
Even in the current conflict, despite the declaration by the Ukrainian government of a unified nation in this battle, reports on the ground have indicated there are instances of in-fighting between the Azov and Ukrainian military units. For example, independent journalist Patrick Lancaster, who’s been on the ground in Ukraine for the duration of the war, reports claims by locals of Mariupol that Azov fighters were opening fire on Ukrainian soldiers who were attempting to retreat under orders from their command because they wanted to stay and fight.
Again, reality matters. Truth matters. If they tell the truth for a losing cause -- like a meaningless war -- leaders lose support. If they tell the truth about someone they're trying to persecute, leaders lose support. Peter Osborne (THE NATION) notes:
And it is certainly true that the Wikileaks revelations has shone a horrifying light on crimes casually committed by the US during the so called “War on Terrorism.”
Wikileaks published a video of US helicopter gunmen laughing as they shot at and killed unarmed civilians in Iraq. Fifteen individuals were killed in the attack, including a Reuters photographer and his assistant.
The US military refused to discipline the perpetrators of this grotesque crime, who remain unpunished. But the US government has thrown the book at the man who revealed their crimes.
Wikileaks revealed that the total number of civilian casualties in Iraq was far greater than previously admitted by the US government. It disclosed the abuse meted out to the inmates at Guantanamo Bay, as well as the fact that 150 innocent inmates were held for years without charge.
This persecution of Julian is about silencing the press. Monday April 5, 2010, WIKILEAKS released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. That is when the persecution begins. It was an intimidation carried out by multiple presidents starting with Barack Obama, continuing with Donald Trump and now the baton for killing the press has been handed off to Joe Biden. This has had the effect of scaring off many traditional news outlets. They once partnered with Julian to report and now they act as though they've never heard of him. Saving their own asses? They may think that. If they do, they're dead wrong. An attack on Julian is an attack on all. And if the attack on Julian is not loudly and publicly rebuked, you can be sure that next up will be THE WASHINGTON POST or THE MIAMI HERALD or some other institution -- despite the US Constitution -- the same one that's being ignored in this attack on Julian.
Oscar Grenfell (WSWS) reports:
Immediately after British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Friday last week that she had approved Julian Assange’s extradition to the United States, the publisher and journalist was stripped naked and placed in a bare cell of London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison.
This latest abuse of Assange’s democratic and human rights was reported by his father John Shipton to a rally in Berlin last Tuesday and at other speaking engagements in Europe. The brutal treatment was meted out on the grounds of preventing Assange from taking his own life.
In reality, it is a continuation of what outgoing United Nations Rapporteur Nils Melzer has branded as the state torture of Assange by the British and US authorities.
The persecution of the journalist is proceeding along two tracks. On the one hand, there is the pseudo-legal extradition process, aimed at dispatching Assange to the US where he would face 18 Espionage Act charges and 175 years imprisonment for publishing true documents which exposed American war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On the other is the ongoing brutalisation of Assange, who has been subjected to different forms of arbitrary detention for more than a decade. This includes over three years imprisonment in Belmarsh Prison, a facility dubbed “Britain’s Guantanamo Bay,” the vast majority of that time without conviction.
On Twitter, Assange’s wife Stella Moris also reported that Assange had been denied visitors the entire weekend after Patel’s announcement. The extradition order will be subject to a further appeal through the British courts. But under conditions of a momentous decision, which has vast and potentially dire consequences for his life, Assange was deliberately isolated and left entirely alone.
The clear aim of the British authorities was not to prevent Assange’s suicide, but to intensify his suffering as much as possible. The implications of such treatment being meted out to a man with intense psychological issues, stemming from the protracted US-led persecution, are clear. The British state wants Assange dead.
They want what Joe Biden wants because that's who they're sucking up to. Argentinian international law expert Beltran Gambier notes that Joe Biden has the power to end this nonsense, that Barack Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning and wonders how Joe can reconcile that while continuing to pursue the extradition of Julian?
The world is watching and it's not like Joe's not already embarrassing himself on the world stage.
From yesterday's snapshot:
The fake assery of Joe Biden. That included, please remember, backing Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq. Joe loves to trot out Beau Biden and Beau's service in Iraq. Didn't stop him from siding with Moqtada who is responsible for the deaths of many US troops. Didn't stop him from channeling the bribe through the US State Dept last August to get Moqtada to reverse his position on the Iraqi elections and instead announce that he now supported them.
Those elections took place October 10th. Over eight months later, still no prime minister, still no president. Moqtada had a hissy fit recently and took his toys and went home. He demanded that his MPs resign from the Parliament. And they did.
His usual sycophants in the media tried to spin this. Just a bluff. Or some great move that he's going twist around and . . .
They're gone. They're replaced (by the next highest vote getters from the October 10th elections).
Today, AL-MONITOR observes:
Today, 64 new members took the oath in the parliament, including 40 seats for the Iran-backed Coordination Framework. The other 24 were distributed among the Sunnis and the independent members.
The other 9 members did not attend. Four of them belong to the Hoquq bloc, affiliated with the Kata'ib Hezbollah, and the others are independents.
Hoquq Movement issued a statement shortly before the parliament session, announcing that they will not take the Sadrist seats and they will resign as well, as a sign of solidarity with the Sadrists.
The Coordination Framework has 130 members now, but they need 90 more members to select the president. This requires an alliance with the Sunnis and the Kurds. However, this task is not easy for the Coordination Framework, due to the lack of confidence among those groups.
The Sunni leaders' headquarters and the Kurdistan region have been constantly attacked by the Shiite militias affiliated with the Coordination Framework.
Just yesterday, the Dana Gas company, which operates in the Kurdistan Region, was attacked by rockets around Kirkuk.
Moreover, the Coordination Framework was able to push the federal court to rule against Kurdistan's oil and gas law, creating serious obstacles against the international companies to work in the region.
Now, the KDP is setting terms and conditions on the Coordination Framework to accept the alliance with them — including nullifying the federal court ruling.
The Sunnis as well see this political change a great opportunity to set terms and conditions in their political interests.
In such circumstances, the negotiations over forming the government are likely to take time, if an agreement is even possible at all.
The following sites updated:
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