Thursday, April 17, 2014

A tale of two Normans

Norman Pollack has a new piece at CounterPunch:

The putsch has become outmoded; the bowdlerization of race and gender is a sufficient cause of false consciousness, of feel-good celebration of diversity, as the upper 0.1% tightened their hold on the levers of power. A black president? a woman president? What would Paul Robeson think—or Rosa Luxemburg! If a white president abused power, from Espionage Act prosecutions to the hit list of drone assassinations, in the way Obama has, one might hope to see street demonstrations—a hope perhaps futile given the decline of societal awareness already rife in the way war crimes, corporate giveaways, and the celebration of wealth pass unnoticed.

Norman Pollack is the smart and brave Norman.

There's also Norman Solomon.  This is from his latest:

The most renowned media critics are usually superficial and craven. That's because -- as one of the greatest in the 20th century, George Seldes, put it -- "the most sacred cow of the press is the press itself."
No institutions are more image-conscious than big media outlets. The people running them know the crucial importance of spin, and they'll be damned if they're going to promote media criticism that undermines their own pretenses.
To reach the broad public, critics of the media establishment need amplification from... the media establishment. And that rarely happens unless the critique is shallow.

And I agree but Solomon still really hasn't gone beyond superficial and craven when it comes to Barack.  He's still been in the tank for Barack.

And since he was a 2008 delegate for Barack to the DNC convention, he has a lot to make up for.  A lot.  So Norman Pollack's the strong Norman who stands up for what is important and Norman Solomon's the Norman who hasn't managed to do so yet.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's assault on Anbar continues and we take a look at these War Crimes which have taken place since the start of the year, Iraq comes in at the top of a list (for getting away with murder), and much more.

In Iraq today, Nouri continued his streak of War Crimes as he continued his targeting civilians with collective punishment.  NINA notes the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left 16 civilians dead and nineteen injure. From Ned Parker offers "Iraq: The Road to Chaos" (The New York Review of Books):

In interviews, US officials portrayed the fight in Anbar as a battle between Baghdad and al-Qaeda, and sent hellfire missiles for Maliki to use, regardless of the consequences and of the lack of a clearly defined objective. As my Reuters colleagues and I have documented, in recent weeks Iraqi Special Forces soldiers have bragged of executing suspected militants in Anbar. They describe it as revenge for what ISIS did to them. On Facebook community pages, Iraqi soldiers post pictures of ISIS fighters they have killed, depicting the executions as part of a regional war against Sunni extremists that spans from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. Despite such boasts, control of the province’s main cities, Fallujah and Ramadi, is now divided among the Iraqi security forces, tribal leaders, ISIS, and other Sunni insurgents. ISIS has even seized a dam near Fallujah and flooded land to prevent the military from approaching its strongholds.

That's important and thank goodness there's a reporter like Ned Parker. But let's go back to the civilian issue.

When is the world going to object?  When are people going to express their outrage?  The US has weaponized Nouri, giving him what he needs to kill civilians.  And he's killing them.

Will anyone speak out?

BRussells Tribunal carried "Iraq - Genocide in Fallujah" by the European Parliament's Struan Stevenson:

The unfolding tragedy in the Iraqi city of Fallujah seems to have slipped off the international radar screen, as the focus of the global community drifts from Syria to Kiev and back again. The humanitarian situation in Fallujah is dire. The sectarian prime minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki has surrounded the city with thousands of troops, effectively sealing it off. The Iraqi air force has mounted daily bomb attacks, cutting off electricity and water supplies and destroying several bridges in an effort to prevent food and water from reaching the besieged inhabitants. Last week, they bombed Fallujah General Hospital, killing nearly all of the doctors and nurses and many of the patients and forcing its closure. More than 300,000 people have been made homeless.
Ban Ki Moon and the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) continue to plead with Maliki to provide humanitarian aid to the city and to enter into negotiations that can bring an end to violence in the predominantly Sunni, Al Anbar Province. The sharp response from the aggressively pro-Shia prime minister was there would be "no negotiation with terrorists." In a single sentence he has labeled all of the residents of Iraq's largest province as "terrorists" in order to justify his genocidal campaign.

And, as BRussells Tribunal points out, the European Parliament as a body has called out these attacks on civilians and did so in the European Parliament resolution 27 February 2013 on the situation in Iraq:

Is deeply concerned about the continuing acts of violence perpetrated against the civilian population, vulnerable groups and religious communities; calls on the Iraqi Government and on all political leaders to take the necessary measures to provide security and protection for all people in Iraq, in particular members of vulnerable groups such as women, journalists, young people, fundamental rights activists, trade unionists and religious communities, including Christians; calls on the Iraqi Government to ensure that the security forces comply with the rule of law and international standards;

In January,  Human Rights Watch issued "Iraq: Protect Anbar Residents From Abuses." And that's it for the world's attention.  It's a shame other bodies and government officials can't call out these War Crimes.  The White House not only can't call Nouri out, they can't stop arming him, it's like an addiction with them.

And yet there's no outcry in the US.  Everyone looks the other way and rushes to find some problem -- real or faux -- to pretend they care about.

How many civilians have to die before Nouri's assault is called out?

Maybe people think, "Oh, it's just a few."  It's a number nearly every day.

We're going to through past snapshot's to illustrate.  Please note, there's more than we've covered.  And there's more than the below and our missed coverage.  This is one of the most under-reported series of killings by the press.

From the January 10th snapshot:

And fearful, scared Nouri resorted to collective punishment again today.   Iraqi Spring MC reports Nouri al-Maliki's air force bombed residential areas in Ramadi today, denied humanitarian aid to Falluja, killed a child named Taha Ayoub Aelchortani and left two more injured with his bombings, bombed homes in Falluja, Ramadi's hospital has received 200 dead or wounded from Nouri's bombings and Falluja has received 150 dead or wounded.  Omar al-Jaffal (Al-Monitor) reports:

Meanwhile, the head of the tribal council in Anbar, Abdul Rahman al-Zobaie from Ramadi, told Al-Monitor, “The army ought to stop the indiscriminate shelling of civilian houses.” He noted, “This has killed and injured hundreds of civilians and destroyed a large number of houses. The government of Anbar ought to expedite measures to meet the needs of the affected families.” 
Zobaie said, “Local police forces are deployed at the entrance of the city, and checkpoints have been established in all areas in Fallujah, [and are] working on protecting the governmental institutions with the support of the tribes. There are no members affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham [ISIS] as propagated by some politicians and the government of Anbar.” 
He added, “The government of Fallujah, with all its tribal sheikhs and dignitaries, are demanding that the central government and the armed forces stop the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and withdraw the armed forces, as the [local] police are the only party responsible for managing the crisis.”

Now for, January 18th:

 Cheng Yang (Xinhua) adds of Falluja, "The city has no electricity for several days as large parts of the electric power grid were destroyed by the bombings, the source added." 

January 19th:

Nouri's military has resumed bombing in Falluja and Nouri's military helicopters resumed bombing of Falluja and Ramadi as Nouri's assault on Anbar continues.   NINA reports, "The city of Fallujah has seen this morning major displacement, not seen since the start of military operations since more than two weeks because of the intensification of indiscriminate shelling by the army forces stationed on the highway outside the city."

January 21st:

The assault on Anbar continues.  Kareem Fahim and Yasir Ghazi (New York Times) report, "Thousands of residents have fled Falluja in recent days, fearing worsening violence after the failure of negotiations between local leaders and jihadist militants to end a standoff that has lasted weeks, leaders from the city said Monday." AFP reports 22,000 families have been forced to flee their homes due to the Anbar operations and they note, "The UN said the actual figure was likely to be higher, as not all those who fled had registered. It said of those who had left, most had found refuge elsewhere in Anbar, but some had gone as far afield as the northern Kurdish region."   UPI adds, "Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is having a tough time trying to dislodge al-Qaida forces who hold much of the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi because his army doesn't seem to be up to the task, despite emergency shipments of U.S. arms."

NINA reports today:

Security source announced on Tuesday the continuation of the displacement of hundreds of families in several neighborhoods of Fallujah as a result of the shelling of the city by the army.
A security source in Anbar, told / NINA / that hundreds of families fled the city of Fallujah, because of the artillery intense shelling that led to the killing and wounding of many civilians.

And they note that among the Falluja shelling targets today was a school.  Steve Inskeep (NPR's Morning Edition -- link is audio and text) spoke with AFP's Prashant Rao this morning about the violence.

RAO: In terms of how the government is responding though, it varies depending on the area. In Baghdad, they have locked out a lot of areas. They've sort of increased checkpoints and they've sort of tighten those checkpoints. But in Anbar, the response have been a combination of the deploying of U.S.- supplied Hellfire missiles and also clashes in some towns in between Ramadi and Fallujah, where the Iraqi army and Iraqi police, allied tribal fighters are all looking to take back territory that the government lost about three weeks ago.

From January 23rd:

the Iraqi military's shelling of Falluja left 2 civilians dead and ten more injured ("including women and children")

From Janaury 24th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports that the Iraqi military's mortar shelling last night left 4 people dead and 32 more injured "including women and children" and today's military shelling of Falluja left 5 people dead and 14 more injured -- "most of them women and children."   Collective punishment is what Nouri's pursuing.  If you doubt that:  Iraqi Spring MC notes that Nouri's army shelled Falluja General Hospital.

From January 25th:

 Alsumaria quotes medical sources who explain that the residential neighborhoods in Falluja are being targeted and that many citizens are being killed and injured.  It's so bad that even Abu Risha called today for the bombing of Falluja to stop. NINA reports that the military's shelling left three people injured in Ramadi in one incident, another incident of the Iraqi military shelling Ramadi with mortars left 3 civilians dead and five more injured,  the military's shelling on Falluja left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured and a second military shelling on Fallua left 3 civilians dead and six more injured.

From January 27th:

NINA notes that "hundreds" continue to flee Falluja as military helicopters continue to bomb Falluja and Ramadi which today left 8 civilians dead and thirty-nine more injured.  Dar Addustour reports that multiple cities in Anbar have been placed under curfew.

From January 28th:

Mohammad Sabah (Al Mada) reports that the MPs stressed today in the Iraqi Parliament that there is no "military solution" to Anbar, there is only a "political solution."  They noted that the use of the military had only increased tensions and inflamed the crisis   NINA reports security sources tell them seven civilians were wounded in the military bombing of Falluja today.

From January 30th:

احد الجرحى الذين اصيبوا اليوم بسبب القصف المتعمد من قبل مليشيات المالكي التي تستهدف الاحياء السكنية في ،

That's one of Nouri's victims today --  injured by his forces shelling Falluja.  NINA reports that hospitals have received 141 civilians have been killed in Ramadi and Falluja alone this month with another 509 injured and:  "He added that this can not be considered as final number because there are dead and wounded in areas which could not be moved to the hospital."  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 1037 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.  It's doubtful many counts will include the 141 civilians killed by the bombings and shellings from Nouri's forces.  NINA also notes military shelling left 3 civilians dead in Ramadi with eight more injured

From February 7th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports Falluja General Hospital received 5 dead and twenty-injured people as a result of Nouri's shelling of the city (the dead and wounded included children and women),  

From February 10th:

Falluja General Hospital was again shelled (by Iraqi military) and 1 person was killed with fourteen more left injured ("including a doctor and three nurses"),

From February 11th:

shellings left 5 people dead and thirty-one injured in Falluja, a mortar attack on Falluja Educational Hospital left one doctor injured,

From February 12th:

NINA notes Iraqiya MP Leaq Wardi stated, "The continuation of indiscriminate shelling and concentrated, the past few days, on the health institutions, especially the Falluja General Hospital, confirms the existence of a deliberate intention not to resolve the crisis, despite the announcement of continuous initiatives to solve the crisis." [. . .]   military shelling in Falluja left 3 civilians dead and seven more injured,

And let's really emphasize this:

A security source told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / that"a number of artillery shells of army forces stationed outside the city fell on the building of Fallujah hospital, wounding / 9 / workers, including / 3 / Indian doctors and two nurses from Bangladesh as well as four Iraqi employees. "

These are War Crimes.  You are not allowed to target hospitals.

Alsumaria notes a family of 6 in Falluja are dead from a shelling.

NINA explains:

5 civilians have been killed and ten others injured on Sunday 23, Feb as a result of the bombing of military forces to Fallujah despite the decision to suspend military operations for three days .
A security source told the reporter of the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA / "The army forces stationed outside the city of Fallujah pounded, with heavy artillery and tanks, Fallujah despite the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces' decision yesterday to stop military operations in Fallujah for / 3 / days ."
He added, "The bombing killed five civilians and wounded / 10 / others , including 3 children ."

Military bombing in Falluja today left three civilians injured.  

From February 25th:

NINA reports 5 civilians were left injured by the military's bombing of Falljua's residential neighborhoods of Jubail Nazal and al-Sinaei while the military's bombing of western Falluja left 1 woman dead and three members of her family injured in Albu Alwan Village.

From February 26th:

Nouri's military shelling of Falluja left five family members ("including two children") injured,

From February 28th:

NINA notes Nouri's forces have walled off Falluja with dirt and one of their mortar attacks today -- during the supposed 'truce' and 'cease-fire' -- left two children and two adults injured when the mortars hit their home.

From March 1st:

If the military's shelling of western Falluja (Nassaf Village) today left three civilians injured, there is no cease-fire.
If another Falluja shelling leaves 1 child dead and nine people injured, there's no cease-fire.

From March 2nd:

NINA notes Nouri's military shelled Falluja Sunday evening leaving eight civilians injured,

From March 3rd:

Today, Anadolu Agency reports:

Four Iraqis have been killed in an airstrike that targeted a passenger vehicle in the western city of Fallujah, a tribal source said Monday.
"The aircraft shelled a vehicle carrying ten people in the city," the source told Anadolu Agency."

And in another incident today, NINA notes Nouri's shelling of residential areas in Falluja left ten people injured -- including three children.

From March 5th:

NINA reports the military's bombing of Falluja left 4 civilians ("including a child") dead and seven more injured.  And the military's airstrike in Ramadi left a man and a woman dead and three more in their "civilian car" injured.

From March 6th:

Under the guise of fighting 'terrorism,' Nouri continues to kill Iraqis.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Nouri's military shelled  al-Jughaifi, al-Shuhada and al-Asakari neighborhoods in Falluja leaving 4 civilians dead and twelve more injured (three of the injured were children).  Another round of shelling left 1 civilian dead and twelve more injured.

From March 8th:

That wasn't the only way Nouri celebrated International Women's Day in Iraq.  No, he had his military again shell residential areas in Falluja leading to the death of 1 woman and 1 child with six more people ("including two young girls") being left injured.

From March 9th:

Collective punishment is defined as a War Crime and Nouri excels at War Crimes.  So today, his indiscriminate shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods left 6 people dead and seventeen injured.

From March 12th:

As his assault on Anbar Province continues, so do Nouri al-Maliki's War Crimes.  The thug and prime minister of Iraq continues to resort to the crime of collective punishment.  Today that means his military shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods today left 1 child dead, two children injured, one woman injured and one man injured.

From March 14th:

  National Iraqi News Agency notes that the military shelled a residential neighborhood in Rawa killing 1 person and injuring three members "from the same family."  Nouri also ordered bombings in Falluja's residential neighborhoods and 1 adult and 1 child were killed while another child, a woman and five males were left injured.  Civilians are targeted, hunted and killed in Nouri's Iraq.

From March 15th:

  Alsumaria reports the latest numbers from Falluja General Hosipital are that Nouri's shelling of the city has left at least 131 people dead and 752 more injured and that the victims have mainly been children, women and the elderly.  Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) reports 1 "civilian killed and seven others injured" in Falluja as a result of the military bombing residential neighborhoods.

From March 17th:

Moving to violent deaths, Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhood today have killed 1 child and 1 woman while leaving five more family members injured and a military bombing in Anbar last night left four civilians injured.

From March 18th:

In addition, Nouri's bombing of Falluja's residential neighborhoods left 1 civilian dead, two adults injured and two children injured.

From March 20th:

 NINA reports the military shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left ten civilians ("including three children") injured. 

Also on March 20th, Betty noted a second shelling:  "15 civilians died and forty more were injured on Thursday in Falluja due to Nouri's mortar attacks and bombings of residential neighborhoods."

From March 21st:

NINA reports that Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today left 3 civilians dead and eleven more injured.

From March 22nd:

Nouri continues committing the War Crime of collective punishment and his shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja left five civilians injured today.

From March 24th:

Nouri's continued assault on Anbar, specifically his bombing of residential neighborhoods, left 2 women dead and two children injured

From March 25th:

In addition, Nouri's continued assault on Anbar continues.  His shelling of residential neighborhoods in Fallujah today has left 6 civilians dead and ten injured (the injured include two children).

From March 26th:

NINA reports the military's shelling targeting Falluja not only left five people injured but also set afire a power plant -- burning over 50% of the plant.
From March 28th:

Doubt the victims of Nouri's shelling of Falluja residential neighborhoods with have a "Happy Friday!" either.  NINA notes 2 civilians are dead and thirty-nine injured from today's shelling.

From April 1st:

Nouri continues attacking civilians in Falluja. Anadolu Agency reports, "At least eight civilians were killed and 16 others injured in Iraqi army shelling of Fallujah in the western Anbar province, a medical official said."

From April 4th:

NINA notes the military's continued shelling of residential neighborhoods in Falluja -- this happens every day, this bombing -- has left 6 civilians dead and nine more injured.

From April 5th:

Nouri's assault on the civilians of Anbar continues.  NINA noted early Saturday that the military's bombing of Falluja neighborhoods had left 1 civilian dead and nine more injured and then, later in the day, 2 more civilians were killed and six more were injured.

From April 6th:

 NINA reports that a hospital in Falluja has been shelled by the military. The hospital isn't identified.  In the past. Falluja General Hospital and Falluja Teaching Hospital have both been shelled.  Nouri also continued the shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhoods and five civilians were injured.

From April 7th:

Yang Lina (Xinhua) reports the latest outcome of the Iraqi military shelling residential neighborhoods in Anbar:

Separately, artillery and mortar shelling on several neighborhoods in the besieged city of Fallujah left a civilian killed and nine others wounded, a medical source from the city hospital said.
Meanwhile, several mortar rounds landed on the town of Garma near Fallujah, damaging several houses and wounding four civilians, including a child, a local police source said.

From April 8th:

After all, today NINA reports, "23 civilians killed and wounded due to the resumption of indiscriminate shelling by army forces of the residential neighborhoods of Fallujah city today."  Five dead -- including one child -- and eighteen injured.  And when does the world call out Nouri's assault on the civilians of Anbar?  Every day brings news of more people in Falluja killed and wounded by Nouri's bombing of residential neighborhoods.  This is a War Crime.  Sometimes, as over the weekend, it also includes bombing of hospitals in Falluja.  War Crimes as well.  But the same White House that wants to convince you that Putin is 'evil' but they really, really care about human rights?  That same White House is arming Nouri al-Maliki and looking the other way as he terrorizes the people.   Anadolu Agency quotes Falluja General Hospital spokesperson calling today's shelling "the most violent."  Iraqi Spring MC reports that the military is also shelling residential areas in Abu Ghraib's Khudayr Zawbaa Village.

From April 9th:

 NINA reports his bombing of residential neighborhoods in Falluja today killed 7 civilians and left twenty injured.  In an update, Alsumaria notes the tolls increased:  9 dead and twenty-three injured. War Crimes. 

From April 10th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports 5 civilians ("including a child") died from the bombings with fourteen more injured.  Meanwhile, Nouri's ordered the same bombings in Ramadi and NINA reports people are fleeing their homes, being rendered refugees, as a result.

From April 11th:

 Alsumaria reports three children were wounded in the bombing of the residential areas of Falluja and 3 more children were killed.

From April 12th:

 NINA reports 3 civilians were killed and nine ("including two women and a child") were left injured.

From April 13th:

NINA reports Nouri's continued shelling of the residential neighborhoods in Falluja left 5 people dead (including one child) and eighteen people injured.  NINA reports that.

From April 14th:

 In his latest bombing of Falluja residential neighborhoods,  NINA reports, 2 women have been killed and two children badly wounded. These are War Crimes and not only has the US government provided the weapons for Nouri to kill civilians, they're also training and advising on how.  World Tribune reports, "Officials said U.S. advisers were training and mentoring Iraqi SOF units in the war in Anbar. The officials said the advisers were training the Iraqis in urban warfare, counter-insurgency techniques, bomb detection and coordinated helicopter assaults."

From April 15th:

National Iraqi News Agency reports his shelling of Falluja's residential neighborhood have left 7 civilians dead today and seventeen injured.

Does is start to overwhelm?

Do you see how long this has been going on?  These are War Crimes and the White House pretends to give a damn about the Ukraine in yet another pissing match while they're the ones arming Nouri.

I don't want to hear any more crap about Bully Boy Bush from Americans who can't call out the above murders.  The US has had months to get it together enough to respond.  No one in Congress has called it out.  No leading figure of the left has called it out.

In the US, there's not even serious coverage of this issue.

There's been plenty of time.

It's April, it's been going on since January.

Where's the concern?  Where's the dismay?

In the months that these War Crimes have taken place, US talking heads and gas bags have found time to pontificate about Bully Boy Bush this and Dick Cheney that but they haven't had the spine, courage or guts to call out what's going on right now.

I don't give a damn about their electoral choices or  other partisan crap.

And clearly they don't give a damn about humanity or what happens in Iraq.

Iraq matters to them then and now only as a political football.

Today the BRussells Tribunal kicked off their two-day Towards Accountability and Justice for Iraq Commission  Among the notable participants are Dirk Adriaensens, Michael Chossudovsky,  Dahr Jamail, Mike Powers, Haifa Zangana, Sabah Al Mukhtar,  Ross Caputi, Eman Khamas, Lindsey German and Niloufer Bhagwat.   The commission continues its work tomorrow.  Also tomorrow, the Dubai International Peace Convention takes place.

Dubai Internation Peace Convention
17-18-19 April 2014
Speakers at the Conference
Sheikh Mishary Al Afasy -
Dr Zakir naik - Yusuf Estes - Mufti Ismail Menk - Nouman Ali Khan -Tawfique
Chowdhury - Muhammad Salah

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 4 suspects, a battle in Shura left 2 rebels dead, five homes being built in Khanaqin left two people injured, 1 person was shot dead in Sha'ab, a bombing in Hammam al-Alil left 1 military captain and 1 soldier dead with two more injured, a Sab'a Bour roadside bombing left 2 people dead and nine others injured, a battle at a Ramadi police station left 12 rebels dead, 3 suspects were shot dead by security forces in Tahrir, an attack on a Haouz checkpoint left 4 Sahwa and police dead and six more injured, security forces killed 8 suspects in Babil Province, and an attack on Colonel Salman Mohammed Sheet's car in Mosul left him and his son injured. All Iraq News notes 1 traffic police member was shot dead "north of Mosul city," 2 Ramadi "suicide bombers detonated their car bombs near Ahmed Abu Risha's house," 1 butcher and 1 shop owner were shot dead in Basra, and 2 corpses were discovered dumped "to the north of Salah-il-Din province."  Alsumaria notes that 2 suicide bombers attacked Anbar Operations Command leaving 2 soldiers dead and two more injured as well as three members of the police injured.  Xinhua updates that toll, "The blasts killed five soldiers and three policemen, and wounded seven others, the source said."

Still on violence,  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) writes, "An Iraqi Justice Ministry official said Wednesday that this week's closure of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad is temporary and that it will be reopened once the security situation in the surrounding area is stable."

So which is it?  It's temporary or it's until the security is stable -- because those are two different things.

lastly, it's award season all over again.  Monday, the Pulitzers were announced and Jane Arraf won The Quil Lawrence Award.  Iraq has come in first in a poll.  It would be a proud moment for Nouri if the poll were a good thing.

The Committee to Protect Journalist has released its "Impunity Index" and Iraq tops the list:

With 100 journalists murdered in the last decade and 100 percent impunity, Iraq is the worst offender on the Impunity Index, a spot it has held since 2008, when CPJ first compiled the index. Nine new murders in late 2013 amid a resurgence of militant groups broke a two-year quiescence in fatal anti-press violence. Three of the victims, plus two media workers, were killed in a single attack when armed militants bombed and stormed Salaheddin TV station in Tikrit on December 23. Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, according to news reports accusing it of warring against the Sunni people.
Impunity Index Rating: 3.067 unsolved journalist murders per million inhabitants
Last year: Ranked 1st with a rating of 2.818

For the second year in a row, Nouri's Iraq has come in number one when it comes to getting away with murdering a journalist.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NSA, Clapper, Iraq

Patrick Martin (WSWS) offers:

Columbia University has given the most prestigious award in journalism, the Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service, to the newspapers that published articles based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
The Washington Post won for articles written by Barton Gellman and filmmaker Laura Poitras, while the British Guardian won for articles written by Glenn Greenwald, Ewan MacAskill and Poitras. All four journalists made extensive use of the material provided by Snowden, and Greenwald, Poitras and MacAskill met with Snowden in Hong Kong to begin the process of exposing illegal and unconstitutional spying by the NSA.
The citation from Columbia is a political slap in the face to the Obama administration and the US and British intelligence apparatuses. The US government is seeking to extradite Snowden for trial, imprisonment and possible execution as a traitor. Both it and the British government have harassed and sought to intimidate the journalists honored by the awards.
The public service medal is awarded “for a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site.” It went to the Washington Post “for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security,” and to the Guardian US “for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”
A similar gold medal was awarded to the New York Times in 1972 for its publication of the Pentagon Papers, leaked by another whistleblower from within the national security apparatus, former Pentagon official Daniel Ellsberg.

If you missed it, the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is having a hissy fit over the award.  His panties are all in a wad and he's pissing them.

Clapper is a liar who lied to Congress.

And Barack didn't fire him because lying is what the White House does.

He is a government official who lied to Congress.

Meanwhile DPA reports:

The Iraqi army's head of operations in the region was killed along with a number of other officers in a helicopter crash, army officials said.
The officials, who were not authorized to give their names, said that the crash was due to a technical fault.

They always say it's 'technical' -- especially when they're shot down.

No surprise there.

And it's probably the case here where it was shot down.

Here's 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 ( 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.