Thursday, February 20, 2014

The terrorizing war

Noah Feldman has a really important piece which opens with:

"Information Clearing House - "Bloomberg" - - Every time you think the war on terror can't get any weirder, it does.
In the latest manifestation, White House officials are leaking to the news media that they are considering whether to use drone strikes to kill an unnamed American in Pakistan. This behavior is bizarre as a matter of national security: If a terrorist really poses an imminent threat, how exactly does the administration have time to test the political waters before taking him out? But it is the inevitable result of a more fundamental, long-term problem with the U.S.'s use of drone strikes. President Barack Obama's administration has kept secret the legal justification for such strikes on Americans, as well as the internal procedures to be followed in making the decision. The secrecy shrouds the drone program in a basic sense of illegitimacy. No wonder the administration feels it can’t just kill our enemies, but needs to send up trial balloons first: The whole program is operating under a bad legal conscience.
The backdrop to the current mess is the fundamental problem of secret legal opinions. In 2013, the Justice Department released a “white paper” -- not, it must be noted, a legal term -- vaguely explaining why it believed that it was constitutional and lawful to kill an American abroad if he or she was a “senior operational leader of al-Qaeda.”
The white paper offered a kind of sketch or “framework” based on a secret Office of Legal Counsel memorandum that presumably provides the actual legal arguments on which the government relies in making such a momentous decision. But the memorandum itself has never been declassified: We have no idea what it really says, or whether the white paper accurately summarized its reasoning.

Barack is such a criminal.

He should be impeached but he won't be.

The government is out of control.

But as much as we can blame Barack for that, we can blame ourselves even more.

We act like its our duty, on the left, to defend Barack.

No, it's not. 

It's our duty to defend the Constitution.

It's our duty to express our outrage.

But we'd rather waste our time and destroy our country instead of saying, "That's enough, that's more than enough."

The reason Democrats in Congress can betray us is because we let them.  We don't make it clear that we have real expectations and a song and dance on MSNBC isn't going to cut it, we want real action.

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

Wednesday, February 19, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Anbar continues, the calling out of Nouri's War Crimes grows (outside the US), in the US Medea Benjamin tries to rewrite history and hopes everyone has amnesia, and much more.

It takes a whore.  Apparently, it takes a lot of whores.  Let's start with the one Elaine calls a "disease ridden whore" -- and that's when Elaine's feeling nice.  And she's right. Though I call out Medea Benjamin, I foolishly repeatedly give her chances to redeem herself.

There is no redemption for her.  She has betrayed the peace movement and she's still lying about that.

Paul Jay (Real News Network) interviews her here and there's video and,  for those who can't take her whiny voice, there's also a transcript.  Her lying is beyond belief.

Paul Jay asks her about the death of the peace movement and this is her lengthy reply:

BENJAMIN: Well, you said it. It's a one-word answer. Obama. And it wasn't Obama getting in; it was the leadup, it was the campaigning for Obama, when people were so desperate for an alternative to Bush that they said, I'm going to throw myself into this, I'm going to take off of work, students taking off of semesters, I'm going to put my life into getting this guy elected who said he was against the war in Iraq. And we put all our hopes and dreams into Obama, thinking that because he was against the war in Iraq and because he said Afghanistan was a good war--he didn't really mean that; you know, he was just saying that to get elected. But he was a smart guy, and he understood that war was not the answer, and he was going to get us out.

And so the steam was just taken out of the whole movement. And it was amazing to see, because you said tens of thousands. I mean, there were eight times, during the Bush administration, that we got over 100,000 people. And we had a huge movement. You just look at one group, like Code Pink: we came out of nowhere, and suddenly we had over 300,000 people on our mailing list, and we had over 300 groups around the country and, really, around the world. We weren't even trying to set up chapters, and they were just springing up on university campuses, small towns, big towns, everywhere. (08:34) When Obama started to gain steam as a candidate, those started fizzling out. And when he won the election, we had half the numbers of people we had before on our mailing list. And most of the groups started to disintegrate.

So that was indicative of what was happening to the whole peace movement.

JAY: And had you drunk any of the Kool-Aid yourself?

BENJAMIN: I drank the Kool-Aid myself, in the sense that I voted for Obama the first time around and I'm usually a Green Party voter, always voting for something other than the Democrats and Republicans. I drank the Kool-Aid in that I was very, very anxious to vote for somebody who was going to win and have somebody who was going to be an alternative to those eight horrible years of Bush.

And I was--we immediately did up a list of Obama's promises. That went from, you know, getting out of the war in Iraq to closing down Guantanamo and other things. And we started out right away: Obama, keep your promise.

And I physically moved from San Francisco, where I'd been living for 26 years, to Washington, D.C., to say, now is the time to be there to make sure Obama fulfills his promises like closing Guantanamo, getting out of Iraq.

And so I was full of hope, I would say. Yeah.

She was -- and is -- full of something but it's not hope -- hope doesn't stink like that.

There are so many lies in that quote.

First off, usually votes Green?  No, not in presidential elections and she urged people to vote for John Kerry in 2004.  (I voted for John in 2004 in the primary and in the general election.  I donated to his campaign and I campaigned for him.  But I've never pretended to be a Green and, unlike Medea, I've never popularized the lie that Ralph Nader was a "spoiler" in 2000 -- and I voted for Gore in 2000.)

Second, she doesn't vote Green in 2008?

If there was ever a time for her to vote Green it was when Cynthia McKinney was the presidential candidate.

"I was very, very anxious to vote for somebody who was going to win" -- Medea's vote was wasted.  At that point, she lived in California and Barack was going to carry California.  But read that statement, that's not political activism, that's a desperate (and sick) need to fit in.

And moving to DC to be a lobbyist is not activism.

As for her claim that Barack gained steam as a candidate and CodePink chapters started fizzling?

CodePink refused to hold Barack accountable.

In 2008, it was us here on the 4th of July weekend and it was Tom Hayden calling out Barack's capitulation on Iraq -- public capitulation.

That was also when Tom finally discovered what we'd been noting since March7, 2008, that Samantha Power told the BBC (this is why she left the campaign, it wasn't about Hillary) that Barack's promises on Iraq?  They weren't promises.  He'd decide what to do, she explained, after he got elected.

Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House.  So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?

Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009.  We can'te ven tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth.  He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

In the interview, the whorish Medea notes that CodeStink bird-dogged Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party primaries.  She 'forgets' that they never did that with Barack.  She 'forgets' to note that CodeStink co-founder Jodie Evans was a bundler for Barack.

Wasn't that something CodeStink should have revealed?

When they were doing all their Democratic primary actions, shouldn't they have revealed that?

They didn't.

They used their so-called independence to destroy any of Barack's rivals.

They whored, they are cheap and useless whores.

In 2006, I was so very kind.  They did their stupid action of fasting and we noted it here with medical warnings they should have provided and we also noted that you could do a one day fast.  We noted that fasting wasn't really a political action for women -- not in a country where women have so many eating disorders.

They stopped all actions on Iraq.  September 2012, when Tim Arango reported Barack sent an Special-Ops brigade into Iraq, CodeStink didn't say one damn word.

They're little whores whose inaction destroyed the peace movement.

They're part of a ridiculous group right now.

We'll highlight them in their own entry but I don't pollute the snapshots with them.

Their key lie right now is that what's needed is to focus on local.

No, that's the same damn lie they used after January 2007, when the Dems took control of both houses of Congress,  They never again wanted a DC action.  They were fine with it when it put the spotlight on Republican War Hawks but once Democrats were in charge of both houses of Congress, gone were the DC actions.

What really stands out from the whores interview is how little Iraq mattered to her.

There's no CodeStink condemnation of Nouri's assault on Anbar or of Nouri's abuse of Iraqi women or of the US government -- Barack -- supplying Nouri with weapons.

There's just lies from a cheap whore who thought DC was going to give her more media attention.

If you're not getting what a liar she is, note this exchange:

Benjamin: And so the steam was just taken out of the whole movement. And it was amazing to see, because you said tens of thousands. I mean, there were eight times, during the Bush administration, that we got over 100,000 people. And we had a huge movement. You just look at one group, like Code Pink: we came out of nowhere, and suddenly we had over 300,000 people on our mailing list, and we had over 300 groups around the country and, really, around the world. We weren't even trying to set up chapters, and they were just springing up on university campuses, small towns, big towns, everywhere. (08:34) When Obama started to gain steam as a candidate, those started fizzling out. And when he won the election, we had half the numbers of people we had before on our mailing list. And most of the groups started to disintegrate.

So that was indicative of what was happening to the whole peace movement.
On the other hand, I think that what was concerning to me was people who were a part of the collateral damage who weren't being acknowledged anymore. And if we allowed that to keep happening, it would keep happening. And so what we did is brought people from--who had direct family members killed on 9/11, brought them to Afghanistan, took them back to meet with their counterparts, which--there were many, unfortunately.

And they would say, yes, we hated the Taliban, but what did I have to do with that? And why was my family hurt? And why won't the U.S. government apologize for what they did to my family? And now how am I going to feed my kids? And my husdand's gone.

And so we did a campaign to get compensation for innocent victims. And it was--actually ended up, after a couple of years, being a successful campaign. The first pot of money was a $40 million fund in the name of one of the women that we worked with, Marla Ruzicka, to compensate innocent family victims.

JAY: And this was all under the roof of Code Pink.

BENJAMIN: This was before--it started before Code Pink, when we had a group of women that gathered--actually, it was a gathering around women concerned about the environment was when we had already invaded Afghanistan and there was talk about invading Iraq. And at that point we were saying, how can we allow the U.S. to go in and invade another country, this one that really had nothing to do with 9/11? We've got to do something about it. 

What the hell is that?

Marla died in Iraq in 2005.

Why is she connecting Marla to Afghanistan and stating this "started before"?

We could go line by line.  But what the interview does is find Medea lying repeatedly, pretending that the grassroots packed up the peace movement (when it was 'leaders' like Medea), find her explaining she just wants to go along with a crowd and refusing to take accountability for her actions then or since.

As Elaine frequently points out (such as here, here, here and here), Medea pretends to want to end The Drone War but her writing on it keeps 'forgetting' to mention Barack Obama, you know, the one running The Drone War.

It takes a village of whores to mislead us.  Which explains Nick Turse and his ridiculous piece at Mother Jones.

Nick's premise is that DoD is lying about Vietnam (they are).  But who's over DoD?  Chuck Hagel?  Try Barack Obama.  Nick's got a case of Medea Benjamin-itis and can't say Barack's name.

Funny thing though, if you're wondering how the government can lie about Vietnam?  It can only when a liar is in the Oval Office.

Barack's lied repeatedly about Vietnam.

Let's be really honest, the C-student 'learned' about Iraq stoned on the couch watching Rambo flicks.

In 2008, he repeated the lie that people in the US greeted Vietnam vets by spitting on them, he's offered a variation of that over and over. Especially when he speaks to the VFW.

DoD would not be able to lie about Vietnam as they are doing now without him allowing it.

But little Nicky can't tell you that cause truth is scary and he's just a little fellow.

Maureen Dowd (New York Times via the Chronicle Herald) shows more guts and honesty taking on the efforts of LBJ's family to rewrite Johnson on Vietnam and the Bully Boy Bush family to rewrite Bully Boy on Iraq.  By the way, grasp that if LBJ and Bush are book ends, that means Nixon and Barack are as well.  If you can handle more truth, check out Jay Yao's "Why the U.S. Will Stay in the Middle East for Decades to Come" (The Motley Fool via Daily Finance).

And if you're really up for some hard truths, read Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Hana Al Bayaty, Ian Douglas and Eman Ahmed Khamas' "Iraq: Stop the Massacre of Anbar Civilians" (Global Research).  Excerpt:

This new round of bombing has already produced 300,000 displaced, adding to the tragedy of the millions of Iraqi citizens already displaced by the failed and brutal US occupation.
 While states are legally obliged to refrain from assisting other states to undertake internationally criminal acts, the United States is upping its supply of arms and military advisors to Iraq, along with intelligence cooperation. A new US “Surge” is in the making and will only bring more death and destruction.
 Maliki’s government cannot wantonly kill civilians and claim a “State of Law”:

— Collective punishment is illegal under international law.
— Shelling water and electricity facilities, religious buildings, and hospitals are war crimes and crimes against humanity.
— The scale and target of the Maliki military strikes and shelling is utterly disproportionate and illegal and criminal in the face of the legitimate demands of the Anbar tribes.
— The lack of proportionality itself constitutes a war crime and crime against humanity.
— It is paramount for people everywhere to mobilise now to save Fallujah’s and Anbar’s civilians, understanding that their suffering mirrors the impact of the fascist sectarian regime that the US occupation created.

[. . .]

 We call on all to join us, sign and spread this appeal. To endorse, email to:

These are War Crimes and yet so many peace 'leaders' like Medea can't call them out -- might embarrass the White House, you understand.

Cleric and movement Moqtada al-Sadr announced his political retirement Saturday.  Yesterday, he delivered a speech.  CounterPunch posts the speech in full today.  Excerpt:

So a dictator would become in charge of wealth, and he steals it, and of lives of people and he kills them, and of cities and he attacks them, and of sects and he divides them, and of minds and he buys them, and of hearts and he breaks them, so that everybody votes for him to stay in power.
Iraq with no life, no farming, no manufacturing, no services, no security or safety, no peace. And elections that thousands of lives are scarified for, all that, so a government would rule us, disregarding our rights and opinions, and a Parliament, with its worn seats, that can’t protect itself, let alone protect others.
A Parliament that can only agree to vote in one condition; if there are special rewards for MPs; but if there are (laws for) general benefit of the nation, everyone steps back, or the matter reaches the cabinet, where they (the laws) would be turned down/vetoed. But the cabinet would never veto against the MPs special rewards or their pensions.
Iraq that is ruled by wolves, thirsty for blood, souls that are eager for wealth, leaving their nation in suffering, in fear, in water puddles, in dark nights, lightened only by moonlight or a candle, swamped by assassinations based on differences or after ridiculous disagreements. All that and the government is only watching.
Iraq that is ruled by a group which came from beyond the borders. We long awaited for them to free us from the dictator, only for them to hold firmly on to the seats themselves, in the name of Shia, and Shiaism.
Was the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (peace and blessings upon him) able to sleep whilst there was a hungry person near to him? And now, how full are the streets with (people) with no roofs, no walls, no basic food, instead they sleep on the bare ground, covered by the raining sky.
A government that is overstuffed, has forgotten those who live beyond the guarded walls, has become blinded with wealth, houses, palaces, and aeroplanes, ignoring a prison that is called ‘Iraq’.
An honourable nation, that has been engulfed by wars, with harsh conditions that left it an easy bite that has fallen between the jaws of politicians and leaders. A nation that does not want food, but it demands honour, a heard voice and freedom, that lead it to the pleasure of the Lord, and to prove itself.
But, a government has come to shut the voices, to kill the opposition, to force them into exile, to fill prisons with them, and with everyone who resisted and tried to free his country from the tanks and aeroplanes of the occupation.

That captures Nouri -- shuts down the voices, kills the opposition, forces them into exiles, fills the prisons, and uses weapons to attack the Iraqi people.  Alsumaria notes a family of 6 in Falluja are dead from a shelling.

That's only some of today's violence.


National Iraqi News Agency reports Tikrit bombing (Aldor district) left 4 civilians dead, a Samarra roadside bombing left 1 Sahwa dead and another injured, a Muradid roadside bombing left two police members injured, a southern Baghdad (Dora district) roadside bombing left four people injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing left one cab driver injured, 2 bombings "south of Kirkuk" left six police members injured,  a Mosul roadside bombing left seven people injured, a Safet Village roadside bombing left 3 Iraqi soldiers dead and three more injured,  a Sulaiman Bek bombing assassination attempt on Salahuddin Province Police Chief Jomaah Saadoun did not harm the chief but left 3 of his bodyguards dead, and a Kirkuk attack on MP Arshard Salhi (Turkmen Front leader) did not harm Salhi but the bombing left two civilians injured.  All Iraq News adds, : "Unidentified gunmen attacked a military checkpoint in Muthana quarter of eastern Mosul with a grenade to result in injuring a soldier and four women who were near the checkpoint."  Safaa Abdel-Hamid and Mohammed Shafiq (Alsumaria) reports a Baghdad market bombing left 1 person dead and six more injured.


National Iraqi News Agency reports  1 police member was shot dead at an Um al-Edham checkpoint, a western Baghdad (Ghazliya area) drive-by left 1 civilian dead, 2 taxi drivers were shot dead in "two separate incidents in Mosul,"  an armed battle in Mosul left 7 rebels dead, a southern Baghdad (al-Mada'in district) attack left 1 Ministry of Communications employee shot dead, and a Jurf al-Sakhar battle left 7 rebels dead.
Safaa Abdel Hamid (Alsumaria) reports a sniper shot dead 1 Iraqi army lieutenant in Mosul.

That's 38 reported dead and 37 injured.  Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 592 violent deaths in Iraq so far this month.  Add today's 38 and you have 630.

On yesterday's bombings, NINA reported:

Chairman of al-Wataniya Coalition Iyad Allawi condemned on Tuesday 18 Feb. the explosions that targeted today several areas in Baghdad and the provinces, holding the government responsible for what is happening.
Allawi said in a press statement that they strongly condemn the criminal outrageous bombings that targeted innocent citizens in several areas and resulted in a large number of victims, stressing that these heinous acts come in a series of lawlessness gripping the country, and holds the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the government responsible for everything that is happening.

Changing topics, we'll close with this from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

CCR Says Evidence Makes Clear Need for Asylum

February 18, 2014, New York – In response to recent revelations by Edward Snowden of the NSA’s global effort to surveil, intimidate and target WikiLeaks, its publisher Julian Assange, and their associates, supporters and counsel, the Center for Constitutional Rights, U.S lawyers for Assange, issued the following statement:  

These documents shed even more light on the Obama administration’s continuing attacks on bona fide journalists and whistleblowers, and confirm the administration’s attempts to criminalize and put a stop to the journalistic work of the WikiLeaks media organization. The U.S. government has been spinning a web around Assange, WikiLeaks, and their supporters in order to prevent the truth about government criminality, corruption and hypocrisy from being revealed. The U.S. tried to pressure other countries to do the same.
These NSA documents should make people understand why Julian Assange was granted diplomatic asylum, why he must be given safe passage to Ecuador, and why he must keep himself out of the hands of the United States and apparently other countries as well. These revelations only corroborate the expectation that Julian Assange is on a U.S. target list for prosecution under the archaic “Espionage Act,” for what is nothing more than publishing evidence of government misconduct.
The documents show that the NSA was considering designating WikiLeaks a “malicious foreign actor,” which would have authorized surveillance of all communications with the Assange/WikiLeaks website including communications of people in the U.S., including the Center for Constitutional Rights as U.S. counsel for Assange, in clear violation of his rights, particularly at a time when the U.S. was urging other countries to prosecute him.
The documents show that the NSA has no hesitation in monitoring Americans' web surfing of news sites like WikiLeaks if those sites are deemed 'associated with malicious cyber activity against the U.S.'
CCR will examine these revelations to determine if any legal action is necessary to put an end to this unlawful government activity.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.