Monday, December 01, 2008

Third, Simon Assaf, etc.

Monday, Monday. Can't trust that day. And as proof, New Adventures of Old Christine. Elaine and I were flying to C.I.'s Wednesday for Thanksgiving and we missed the show. No problem, it just means I grab it online. Forget it! They have taken the episodes down at CBS and only offer clips. Is that a glitch or the way it is from now on? I'll get to the see episode anyway. (I already whined to C.I. and a copy's on the way.) But I have heard from everyone how great the Thanksgiving episode was and I planned to (a) watch it today and (b) link to it here and encourage anyone who missed it to check it out. But now I can't do that because they don't have the episode up or, in fact, any episodes up. Just clips.

So let's talk Third and here's who worked on the edition plus Dallas:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.

And here's what we ended up with:

Truest statement of the week -- John Ross. He was the only one any of us recommended because it was such an obvious choice.

Editorial: The Treaty -- The editorial wasn't supposed to go here but it's where it's staying. I really want to say read the editorial but most of all I think we owe a HUGE thank you to C.I. who covered the treaty and never flinched or lied. Look around and find anyone else you can say that about. I can even think of a Congressional witness recently who blogged last week -- after insisting to the Congress that if it wasn't a 2/3 vote, it didn't count -- that 'it's all good.' C.I.'s got the courage and strength. The boys are all posers.

A note to our readers -- Jim's note where he breaks down the edition.

TV: Rosie and Other Bombs -- This really is hilarious and Jim was telling me not to expect much because he'd read the draft they were working on (Ava and C.I.) before the long break. We needed the long break and when Ava and C.I. came back from it they just zoomed in on this. This is really amazing and may be one of my favorites for the year, like top ten.

The E-Z Bake critics of Panhandle Media -- I am so damn sick of the attacks on Hillary. I've read the e-mails going around about how Joshua Frank's the latest to join in the attacks and how DV is censoring comments. No surprise. On either. I guess they all intend to spend 4 years writing about Hillary. See the sexism of 2008 gave them a real gift, it allowed them to grab all the garbage the right-wing shat out in the 90s and repackage it under their own names. They truly are disgusting. And ignorant because if they could burp up tired stuff, they'd have nothing to put their names to.

Video On Demand? -- Good feature. Pain in the ass to do. I was waiting and waiting on the dial up computer. Ty and I forget who else and me were assigned that one (we picked it, actually) and if you're trying to do dial up, just forget it. You just don't exist online and might as well pack it in. I'm not saying that's how it should be, I'm saying that's how it's becoming and I really am amazed at how little concern there is for those who are poor or in rural areas and cannot get DSL or wireless so dial-up is all they have.

Book discussion roundtable -- This took forever and a lot of stuff isn't in it. It was a monster to type up. Jim did most of the typing. But it was a monster just to do. I think there are a lot of strong points in it and it's probably my favorite roundtable of all the ones we've done. The thing took three hours to do. That's why we hate book discussions. But we did one. If we do no other, we did one more at the request of readers, right?

Simon Assaf's "Iraq deal does not end the war" -- reprint of an important article by Simon Assaf. In fact, I'm reprinting it at the end of this to make sure everyone sees it. It's an important article.

Then and Now -- Short feature warning about then and . . . well, now.

Greens and Marcelo -- Kimberly Wilder's upcoming Green event.

Highlights -- Stan, Ruth, Rebecca, Betty, Kat, Cedric, Marcia, Wally, Elaine and I wrote this (I feel like i"m forgetting someone!) and picked out the highlights unless otherwise noted.

Note -- Jim's note explaining we'd be running late.

Okay, here's Simon Assaf's "Iraq deal does not end the war" (Great Britain's Socialist Worker):

It is being hailed as an honourable end to a disreputable war, the Status of Forces Agreement signed by the Iraqi cabinet last weekend sets out a timetable for the withdrawal of US combat troops from cities by June 2009, and the whole country by December 2011.
But the deal, the full text of which is yet to be published, will not end the occupation.
By signing the accord the Iraqi government is agreeing to a ten-year mandate for US troops to "guarantee the security of Iraq" against war, coup, rebellion or revolution.
The US will have the right to maintain 50 military bases, store military equipment, control Iraqi airspace, sail warships in its waters and continue its "supervision" of the interior and defence ministries. The military will also have the right to seize any Iraqi "working against US interests". The US has made small concessions over the prosecution of US soliders or citizens who break Iraqi law while not on operation duty -- but this can only be done in agreement with a US military panel.
The deadline for the withdrawal of troops can also be changed if the US or Iraqi government feels that the "situation on the ground" has changed.
Opposition to the agreement threatened to sink the deal. But after threats against the country, which included withdrawal of $50 billion in aid and the sequestration of its assets held in US banks, the Iraqi government caved in.
The powerful Shia religious establishment, headed by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, withdrew its opposition to the pact. All Iraqi parties that are allied to the occupation have also dropped their objections.
Britain hopes for a similar agreement guaranteeing its role in the south of the country.
The only voices of dissent to the accords are those of rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his supporters. Sadr has denounced the accords and called a protest on Friday of this week.
Far from ending the occupation, the Status of Forces Agreement would leave the US in almost total control of the country, and guarantee the future of the occupation.The following should be read alongside this article:
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© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.If you found this article useful please help us maintain SW by » making a donation.

See, that was pretty damn important. Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, December 1, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Miss Bully Boy's Regrets, a Reuters photographer is ordered released but still not released, liars continue to pimp the treaty and more.

"Even though the security in Baghdad has improved so much in this past year people there still live in constant fear of bombings and assassinations,"
Renee Montagne declared showing just what a loon inhabits NPR's Morning Edition. No things have not "improved." "Improved" is an insulting term to use for a war-torn country and an ignorant one. Renee would have sounded like an idiot on any day but especially on a day when bombings claimed over 30 lives. She was introducing Ivan Watson's report and, possibly, had NPR itself not been targeted in Baghdad, Renee and Morning Edition wouldn't have even bothered today with the Iraq War. Watson, Ali Hamdani, Mohanad Adhab Mahdi and Dawood Slman went to Rabiye Street in Baghdad to check what, before the start of the illegal war, was a commercial district and had become "the height of the fighting in 2005, 2006 and 2007". What did they find?

Ivan Watson: We paid a short visit to Rabiye Street yesterday to see if, after several months of relative calm, life was getting back to normal? Instead we found this shopkeeper who asked not to be named standing in his empty pastry shop.

Ivan Watson (to shopkeeper): Have you had any customers today?

Shopkeeper (translated): Just one.

Ivan Watson (to shopkeeper): What happened?

Ivan Watson: The shopkeeper laughed at the question saying everybody knows what happened in Baghdad. This place was horrible, he added, there were massacres here and dead bodies in the street. One of the only restaurants open on Rabiye Street is the Mosul kebab shop located next to an Iraqi army checkpoint. The owner, Athir Abdul El Mawjood, had to close his restaurant for eight months during the worst of the fighting.

Athir Abdul El Mawjood (translated): RPGs were everywhere in this city, gunmen were everywhere, clashes regularly.

Ivan Watson: Mawjood invited us in for lunch. NPR's four man reporting team included Iraqi translator Ali Hamdani and Iraqi drivers Mohanad Adhab Madhi and Dawood Salman. Our two cars were both parked in front of the restaurant. We were walking back to the vehicles after lunch agitated Iraqi soldiers suddenly ran up screaming "Abwa!" -- which means "bomb" in Iraqi Arabic. Iraqi army Lt. Mohamed Jabbour was pushing our drivers Mohanad and Dawood away from the cars. Seconds later this happened.

[Shouting. Cars honking. The sound of an explosion.]

Ivan Watson: That's the sound of our armored BMW exploding in a flash of fire about 15 feet from where we were standing. It took several shell shocked seconds for reality to sink in.

Watson goes on to explain it was a sticky bomb placed under the driver's side of the car. That was reported today on Morning Edition. Yesterday, when the bombing took place,
Watson discussed the bombing with Andrea Seabrook on All Things Considered.

Ivan Watson: And the force of the blast blew up the armored plates in the car, completely vaporized the steering wheel. I couldn't find the steering wheel and, uh, I'm pretty sure anybody who would have been a passenger inside would have been killed or severely injured by the force of that explosion. None of us were injured, thank God, none of the Iraqis who were standing on the sidewalk with us were injured. No windows were broken next to us and in fact there was a street vendor who had a table of crates of eggs about six feet away from the parked BMW that blew up and not a single one of those eggs was damaged.

Andrea Seabrook: Ivan, this has never happened to NPR personnel before. What are the authorities saying?

Ivan Watson: The Iraqi troops at the scene and one of the reasons we felt comfortable -- more comfortable -- conducting interviews in this kebab shop was because there was an Iraqi army post about twenty, thirty feet away from where we parked the car. They saved our lives because they say they got a call from an informant about three minutes before the bomb went off and they ran forward first and actually pulled back one of our drivers who was trying to get into the car. They said that this was a -- one of the lethal bombs that have been used lately over the course of the last year in Iraq. "Sticky bombs" which magnetically adhere to the bottom of vehicles and have been killing Iraqi officials and police and recently a bus that was carrying at least a dozen women working for the Trade Ministry with a high death toll.

Andrea Seabrook: We here in the States have been hearing for months that security in Baghdad has been improving greatly but obviously there is still a significant risk to covering the war

Ivan Watson: Compared to a couple of years ago, it does feel safer and there are neighorhoods where people are out in the streets, where there is now night life, shops are open and it's been a real treat as a reporter to go and explore these areas tentatively -- perhaps to step out and not feel like you're a target. I think in the wake of this incident, foreign news operations in Iraq are going to have to rethink their approach to working in this city the speed with which the people placed this bomb under the vehicle, it's really terrifying to think about how close we came to not being here with you tonight.

Meanwhile, mark the calendars,
Jodie Evans and I-Need-Attention Benjamin may not be the biggest idiots of the week. Red Diaper Baby Amy Goodman, so busy pleasuring herself over Barack Obama's win she helped so much with, demonstrated just what a loon, idiot and non-journalist she's always been -- independent or otherwise -- today on the trashy, daily hour of propaganda Pacifica Radio broadcasts where she declared of the treaty voted on by Iraq's Parliament Thursday that it was "landmark" and it "paves the way for U.S. forces to withdraw by the end of 2011." Blah, blah, blah. The most useless tool of US imperialism is what Liar Goody's become (which does explain her week at the Aspen Institute last summer and her need to parade their speakers on her program without informing her listeners of that fact) decided the way to 'round out' her propaganda was to quote the puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki -- surely a trusted voice! Democracy Sometimes! cries Goody, just never, ever today. So nice of the non-reporter and non-journalist to toss out about 30 bad seconds to the Iraq War -- remember, the war she tried to ride to fame, the one she got her tired, droopy ass booked on the cable shows via, "Only I, Amy Goodman, tell the truth about the Iraq War, only I, Amy Goodman, cover the Iraq War, only I, Amy Goodman . . . " Today, not only can she not get the facts right, she expects her increasingly dwindling audience to be grateful she managed to toss out a 'shout-out' to an ongoing, illegal war that will hit the six-year mark this March.

In the real world, the treaty passed the Parliament on Thursday. It was covered in the
Thursday and Friday snapshots last week. Amy Goodman called it a "landmark" -- Xenophobic Whore says what? While The Liar Goody chants "USA! USA!", the reality is that the treaty went before the 275 member Parliament and was voted with 149 members voting for it. No, that's not a landmark, nor is it the two-thirds required by Iraqi's own Constitution. As for "landmark," AFP explained Friday who was calling it that, the United States government. If we can get past Liar Goody's "USA! USA!" chants, lets remember what Iran's Press TV reported:

"Washington echelons repeatedly threatened to overthrow the Iraqi government if they continued their opposition to the security deal," said Tehran's interim Friday prayers leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati. Iraq's al-Morsad reported on Oct. 10 that US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte had warned that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would be 'ousted' unless he signed the US-proposed security pact. Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi has also claimed that the Bush administration had threatened to cut off vital services to Baghdad if it further delayed the accord, saying the threats were akin to 'political blackmail'. "It was really shocking for us…Many people are looking to this attitude as a matter of blackmailing," al-Hashimi said on Oct. 26.

As we noted during the holiday,
The Scotsman explains the treaty better than any domestic outlet: "On Thursday, Iraqi lawmakers approved a pact allowing US forces to stay in Iraq for three more years." It does not guarantee the US leaves at the end of 2011. It takes a real liar, a real whore to repeat that lie (hello, Amy Goodman, tired and old but someone's tossing dimes on her night stand). For those who missed reality, we'll drop back to Thursday's snapshot.

Yeah, it's a one-year agreement. Only 2009 cannot be changed or cancelled. Everything else that the White House says is set-in-stone is actually a conditional option that can be wiped away by either side. Today the White House finally released the agreement in English. We'll jump in at Article 30 The Period for which the Agreement is Effective:

1) This Agreement shall be effective for a period of three years, unless terminated sooner by either Party pursuant to paragraph 3 of this Article.

Get it? Paragraph three: "This Agreement shall terminate one year after a Party provides written notification to the other Party to that effect." Meaning only 2009 is set in stone. It is too late for either party (US or Iraq) to give one year's notice and cancel it in 2009. They can give notice to cancel in 2010 or 2011. The second clause is also worth noting because it weakens the strength of any agreement as well: "This Agreement shall be amended only with the official agrement of the Parties in writing and in accordance with the constitutional proceudures in effect in both countries." That's the aspect that allows for a change and all the 'flowery' respect for Constitutional procedures is hog wash. The Iraqi Parliament needed to have two-thirds of all members (not just members present) to pass the treaty today. They did not have that. According to their Constitution and their laws, that's what was needed. In the US, Congressional approval is needed over all treaties and we know that has not take place. We further know that Barack Obama -- alleged Constitutional scholar -- doesn't give a damn about the Constitution. He show boated and did his little pretty words number while campaigning but despite all his insisting that the treaty would have to come before the Congress -- including becoming one of thirteen co-sponsors on Hillary Clinton's Senate bill insisting upon that -- he shut his corporate mouth and put his tiny tail between his legs to slink off like the disgusting, cowering trash he is. He's not going to stand up for the Constitution 'later.' He couldn't stand up for it right now.

An agreement built upon a systematic disrespect for the rule of law does not suddenly develop one. An agreement built upon lies does not suddenly embrace honesty. The treaty is built on lies and they include the lies to the American people. Why is the US pursuing this treaty? The White House keeps talking about these 'recent' gains in Iraq. Today is November 27th of 2008. Recent would, for most of us, go back no further than the end of spring. But Article 25 explains Nouri al-Maliki and Condi Rice notified the United Nations that the Security Council's mandate would be cancelled at the end of this year . . . last year. al-Maliki's letter was dated December 7th, Rice's December 10th. 'Recent' events?

The agreement the White House has released may not be the official agreement or the final one. It is the one that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari signed November 17, 2008. The note above their signatures states: "Signed in duplicate in Baghdad on this 17th day of November, 2008, in the English and Arabic languages, each text being equally authentic."

That version is published online by the White House in PDF format (
click here). The Bully Boy of the United States released the following statement today: "Earlier today, in another sign of progress, Iraq's Council of Representatives approved two agreements with the United States, a Strategic Framework Agreement and a Security Agreement, often called a Status of Forces Agreement or SOFA. The Strategic Framework Agreement sets the foundation for a long-term bilateral relationship between our two countries, and the Security Agreement addresses our presence, activities, and withdrawal from Iraq. Today's vote affirms the growth of Iraq's democracy and increasing ability to secure itself. We look forward to a swift approval by Iraq's Presidency Council. Two years ago, this day seemed unlikely -- but the success of the surge and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi parliament. The improved conditions on the ground and the parliamentary approval of these two agreements serve as a testament to the Iraqi, Coalition, and American men and women, both military and civilian, who paved the way for this day."

That was all in Thursday's snapshot. No reason for the alleged 'independent' media today to still not know what the hell they are talking about. But have they ever needed a reason to demonstrate why they couldn't get real jobs in the real media? No. On Friday, we addressed how little bits of reality surfaced in the reporting from the MSM, buried deep, but they surfaced. The
Washington Post managed to include the following on the treaty:
". . . the pact also allows the Iraqi government to negotiate with the United States to extend the presence of U.S. troops if conditions on the ground are not stable. The
Los Angeles Times manages to note: "The pact allows for amendments if both sides agree to them. U.S. officials have indicated that they interpret that as permitting an extension, if security conditions in Iraq are deemed too shaky to leave Iraqi forces in charge. 'There is a provision for extension, by agreement of both sides,' one U.S. official said."

2009 is the only thing binding by the treaty. It is not difficult to grasp at this late date. The only reason not to grasp it is because you don't want to. Liars, fools and whores need to be held accountable. Which is a good time to bring in the Bully Boy of the United States who thinks he can rewrite reality as well.
Lauren Sher (ABC News) reports he will appear on ABC's World News Tonight this evening to declare, "I think I was unprepared for war." Which one? Vietnam or Iraq? He continues, "In other words, I didn't campaign and say, 'Please vote for me, I'll be able to handle an attack'." Iraq didn't attack the United States and if Gibson doesn't correct Bully Boy on that the whole world will grasp why he spent the bulk of his TV time on a morning entertainment show (Good Morning America) and not in the news department. Repeating, Iraq did not attack the United States. Bully Boy thinks he can lie and get away with it and -- watch and see -- many people will allow him to get away with it. Gibson is a tool, a fool and a tired, tired whore. (He and Goody should go on vacation together.) Gibson asks him what if he'd known there were no WMDs? What if he'd known that? The public record indicates the White House always knew that. The public record demonstrates that. Apparently we're all supposed to forget Paul Wolfowitz' May 2003 statements and everything else reported including Colin Powell's original snarl that he wasn't going to say "this s--t" to the United Nations (he, of course, did). All forgotten because Bully Boy wants to allow that maybe he made a few mistakes. I guess it's easier to confess to mistakes than to war crimes. He truly is the spawn of Tricky Dick. And if you doubt that, UPI reports that while pretending to have some sort of sorrow, he also wanted to insist that Iraq was "his greatest accomplishment" and quotes him stating, "I keep recognizing we're in a war against ideological thugs and keeping America safe." Iraq DID NOT attack the United States.

But Iraq is always under attack and today primarily in Baghdad and Mosul.
Jomana Karadsheh (CNN) reports a double bombing at a Baghdad police academy which claimed at least 16 lives with forty-six people injured. Sudarsan Raghavan and Zaid Sabah (Washington Post) quote Lt. Ahmad Kadhim explaining that the police academy students "had left their posts to receive their salaries" which makes Kahdim believe, "The bomber seized this opportunity, so it seems the suicide attack was organized. The bomber received information from inside the academy telling him that the SWAT team is not available." Katherine Zoepf (New York Times) reports,"About an hour after the attack, dense pools of blood lay coagulating on the pavement among scattered sandals and combat boots, one of which clearly still contained a blood-stained black sock enveloping a piece of foot. The display light from the top of a taxi lay on the ground, next to a hubcap, a few burned strips of clothing and some torn Iraqi dinar notes in small denominations. As police officers prepared to tow away the damaged cars, a young man with a blue and white plastic sack walked around gathering up scraps of human remains with his gloved hands." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) quotes police recruit Muhannad Mohammed stating, "We were entering in groups, and my shift was made up of 60 men. As I was going inside, I heard a loud explosing. We all rushed toward the scene. It was a car bomb. I was looking to see if any of my friends were hurt as they were many dead and wounded bodies on the ground. Soon, another bigger explosion took place."

The other big attack of the day was in Mosul.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) states the attack was a man who "detonated a suicide vest near a convoy of coalition vehicles . . . killing up to 16." Katherine Zoepf notes the bombing "killed at least 17 people" while the US military claimed only nine and that "differing casualty figures in the immediate wake of a violent attack are not uncommon."

That was not the only violence in Iraq today.

Laith Hammoudi reports a Baghdad bombing "near the house of General Mudhir al Mawla, an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki" which claimed 3 lives and left ten injured, a Baghdad bombing that left four people wounded,


Laith Hammoudi reports 2 women shot dead in Mosul and two school teachers shot dead in Mosul


Laith Hammoudi reports a doctor was kidnapped in Mosul.


Laith Hammoudi reports 12 corpses discovered in Kirkuk.

In other news, Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam has been a prisoner in Iraq since Sept. 1, 2008 when US and Iraqi military forces drug him from his Mahmudiyah home. He has been held a prsioner since then at Camp Cropper.
Reporters Without Borders and Journalistic Freedom Observatory have been calling for his release. Reuters reported yesterday that Iraq's Central Criminal Court has ordered that Ibrahim be released because "there was no evidence against" him; however, "There was no immediate response from the U.S. military to the ruling." Daryl Lang (Photo District News) adds, "Jassam's case resembles those of several other Iraqi photographers and cameramen working for Western news organizations, all of whom were eventually freed. And the decision comes as the U.S. is releasing thousands of security detainees and preparing to turn its much-maligned detainee system over to the Iraqi government."

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