Saturday, June 07, 2014

Idiot of the week

Norman Pollack has another great piece at CounterPunch.

My choice for Idiot of the Week this go round?

Bob Somerby.

He was yawn and coma inducing all week long.

He usually is when he writes about education and forgets how to hold readers' interests.

But there is a silver lining.

By focusing on education all week, he had no time to defend his beloved Susan Rice.

Susan Rice stepped in it again on Sunday morning TV.

POLITICO reports that she was so bad last Sunday -- facts is hard! -- that former press secretaries from both sides of the aisle are saying the White House shouldn't put her on TV again.

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

Friday, June 6, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's War Crimes continue, the UN Security Council struggles with reading comprehension and possibly basic math as well,  more are displaced in Falluja, US Senators issues a bi-partisan call with regards to the VA, we take on a conspiracy theorist, and much more.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office (202) 224-2834
Friday, June 6th, 2014                     
VETERANS: Murray Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators to Urge Administration to Accept Free Private Sector Help to Fix Broken VA Scheduling System
In letter to President Obama, Senators urge top-level private sector review of VA systems
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, joined a bipartisan group of nine U.S. Senators to call on the Obama Administration to accept private sector assistance in fixing the broken Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) scheduling system. In the letter, Murray along with Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Richard Burr (R-NC), Al Franken (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and Michael Bennet (D-CO), urged the VA to follow the example of the Army, which in 2010 allowed a consortium of leading technology companies to provide expertise in designing a corrective plan, at no cost to the taxpayers, to fix widespread data management issues uncovered at the Army’s Arlington National Cemetery.
“Because of the immediacy of the many challenges at the VA, we urge you to work with us to implement a similar cost-effective, private sector initiative so we can begin restoring the trust of our veterans and the American public in the ability of the VA to meet the commitments our nation has made to our veterans.  Our military men and women, their families, and our veterans deserve nothing less.”
“Engaging the tech sector and the best minds from leading American IT firms produced a comprehensive business plan to help the Army modernize its workflow procedures and upgrade the data management systems at Arlington.  That effort, conducted at no cost to the taxpayers, represented the very best traditions of corporate citizenship,” the senators wrote.
Full text of the letter is below, and a PDF of the signed letter can be accessed here.
June 5, 2014
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C.
Dear Mr. President:
Like most Americans, we are outraged at the documented misconduct at the U.S. Veterans Health Administration that has caused our military veterans to face long waits when seeking the medical care they have earned.  That some veterans actually have died while waiting for needed care adds urgency to our efforts to act immediately.  While last week’s preliminary Inspector General’s (IG) report indicated this is a systemic problem that dates back many years, it is our responsibility to take swift, decisive action now.
The IG report details widespread information technology challenges that enabled many of the unacceptable and inappropriate use of scheduling gimmicks and outright fabrication of performance metrics at the VA.  We should be able to move quickly to begin restoring confidence in the VA by addressing these technology and data management problems in the current scheduling system.
This is a crisis that requires immediate action, and we recommend enlisting the expertise of the private sector to provide an assessment and recommendations for improvements to the current IT and workflow challenges at VA.  By calling on our best minds across the private sector in a pro bono demonstration of solid corporate citizenship, we could create a blueprint for achievable action the VA should undertake within 60-to-90 days.  Our veterans deserve this quick action on these urgent issues. 
We already have an effective template that sorts through most of the legal and process issues to allow this type of private-sector assistance.  For example, a 2010 Inspector General’s investigation revealed widespread mismanagement at the U.S. Army’s Arlington National Cemetery, including misplaced and mishandled remains of our warfighters.  The IG report also revealed that Cemetery managers continued to rely upon decades of vulnerable, hand-written paper files in managing burial records.  A consortium of technology companies operating under the auspices of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) jumped in quickly to provide their services and expertise at no cost to the taxpayer.  This task force ultimately worked with the Army to create a legal framework that enabled the Army and Arlington National Cemetery to accept their pro bono help.
Engaging the tech sector and the best minds from leading American IT firms produced a comprehensive business plan to help the Army modernize its workflow procedures and upgrade the data management systems at Arlington.  That effort, conducted at no cost to the taxpayers, represented the very best traditions of corporate citizenship.
We are confident that private sector expertise from across the country could be assembled to provide a similar pro bono service to help fix the challenges at the VA, and we stand ready to assist the Administration in moving quickly to help empanel this group. 
Not every problem requires a government solution.  Because of the immediacy of the many challenges at the VA, we urge you to work with us to implement this cost-effective, private sector initiative so we can begin restoring the trust of our veterans and the American public in the ability of the VA to meet the commitments our nation has made to our veterans.  Our military men and women, their families, and our veterans deserve nothing less.
Kathryn Robertson
Deputy Press Secretary 
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510


Meanwhile, Jennifer Jackett (Gospel Herald) reports:

Open Doors International, the "world's largest outreach to persecuted Christians in the most high-risk places," released a top 10 list, comprised of countries in which Christians have experienced the most violent incidents for their faith in Jesus Christ.  The report, based on persecution incidents that have occurred between November 1, 2012 and March 31, 2014, is topped by Nigeria and Syria.
The remainder of the countries that made the list are: 3. Egypt, 4. Central African Republic (CAR), 5. Mexico, 6. Pakistan, 7. Colombia, 8. India, 9. Kenya, and 10. Iraq.

What a proud moment for War Criminal Nouri al-Maliki, chief thug and prime minister of Iraq.

He continued his War Crimes today.  National Iraqi News Agency reports Nouri continued bombing residential neighborhoods in Falluja and 3 civilians were killed with eleven more left injured.

Nouri's been bombing Falluja like this for months now, killing civilians since January, bombing hospitals, water plants, electrical plants, you name it.  These are War Crimes and he is a War Criminal.

The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees issued the following on Falluja today:

GENEVA, June 6 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Friday said that violence in central Iraq's restive Anbar province has displaced close to half-a-million civilians so far this year. "With a deteriorating security situation, it is also becoming harder for humanitarian actors to reach those in need," said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards.
He told journalists in Geneva that the Iraqi government puts the number of displaced since January at 434,000 men, women and children. "However, the full scale of the displacement from this under-reported conflict is unknown, as the Iraqi authorities have had to suspend registration over the past month because of insecurity," he said, adding: "UNHCR believes the current figure is now close to 480,000."
Iraq's new displacement crisis began in January with fighting between government forces and rebels in eastern Anbar. It has continued in various waves as the fighting locales shifted within Anbar. There was further displacement last month when fighters deliberately breached a dam in Anbar's Abu Ghraib district, flooding the area and forcing some 72,000 Iraqis from their homes.
While the floodwaters have subsided, and people are returning to their homes, there are now health and recovery worries. Access to clean water is a pressing concern, because the flooding damaged water treatment plants. Local officials say 28 tanker truckloads of potable water are being delivered to the area every day, but this is only meeting 50 per cent of needs.
There are also fears about further civilian flight from the city of Fallujah. Recent shelling of the city has sparked new displacement and hit a city hospital and water plant there.
"Our field teams report that many displaced people are struggling to cope in desperate conditions, spread out across Iraq," UNHCR's Edwards noted. The highest concentrations of displaced people are in the Anbar and Salah al-Din governorates (provinces), followed by Erbil, Kirkuk, Sulaymaniyah and Baghdad.
The more fortunate are living with friends and relatives, but others are in tents, schools, unfinished buildings and other types of communal shelters. In Anbar alone, where there are almost 300,000 displaced people, more than two-thirds are living in schools.
"Displaced people tell us housing stock is limited, and increasingly expensive. Most are without income and are going into debt to pay for essential needs. Families say access to housing and food is a top priority," Edwards said.
While UNHCR has provided emergency relief kits to more than 48,000 people and emergency cash assistance to 3,000 of the most vulnerable people, this represents a fraction of what is needed.

"We urgently need to ramp up our response," Edwards stressed while noting that the challenges included difficulties reaching people because of the insecurity; the displaced are spread out across the country; and there is insufficient donor support. A UNHCR special appeal for US$26.4 million launched in March is only 12 per cent funded. "Better funding is critical to help those who are displaced now, and when they return home in the future," Edwards said.

While the UNHCR cares, the United Nations Security doesn't give a damn about Iraq.  They make that clear again today with their latest nonsense.  Here's the first paragraph, see if you can spot the problem:

The United Nations Security Council has stressed its support for the engagement of all political groups in Iraq, where nearly 800 people fell victim to violence last month, on concerted efforts to ensure security for its entire population, particularly in Anbar province, which has been embattled for months.  

Did you spot the problem?

Zoom in on "nearly 800 people fell victim to violence last month."

Last month would be the month of May.

I think we can all agree on that.

800 victims of violence?

There we've got a problem.  Victims of violence would include the dead as well as the injured.  Yes, the injured are victims of violence.

'Okay, they said nearly 800 victim to violence when they meant 800 dead.  Big deal.'

Well, it is a big deal.

The wounded are a big deal.

The wounded have to live in the violence. The dead are lucky in that regard, their suffering ended.  They're not now, for example, living in a war zone but without a limb.

But that's not even the problem.

Yeah, the UN Security Council meant nearly 800 dead.

They meant it but they were too stupid to say it.

You know what else they were too stupid to do?


Read and comprehend.

This is the UNAMI statement containing the figures that the Security Council is using:

Baghdad, 1 June 2014 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of at least 799 Iraqis were killed and another 1,409 were injured in acts of terrorism and violence in May*.

The number of civilians killed was 603 (including 144 civilian police), while the number of civilians injured was 1108 (including 218 civilian police). A further 196 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed, and 301 were injured (not including casualties from Anbar operation).
“I strongly deplore the sustained level of violence and terrorist acts that continues rocking the country. I urge the political leaders to work swiftly for the formation of an inclusive government within the constitutionally mandated time frame and focus on a substantive solution to the situation in Anbar”, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG), Mr. Mladenov said.
Anbar excluded, Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 932 civilian casualties (315 killed, 617 injured), followed by Ninewa (113 killed 248 injured), Salahuddin (94 killed 146 injured), Kirkuk (22 Killed, 60 injured), Diyala (38 killed 28 injured). 
*CAVEATS: Data do not take into account casualties of the current IA operation in Anbar, for which we report at the bottom the figures received by our sources.

Operations in Anbar
According to information obtained by UNAMI from the Health Directorate in Anbar, the total civilian casualties in Anbar up to 30 May were 195 killed and 499 injured, with 95 killed and 222 injured in Ramadi and 100 killed and 277 injured in Fallujah.

How many people died in the month of May from violence?

If you say "799," you may be stupid enough to serve on the UN Security Council -- in fact, you may be dumb enough to qualify as a permanent member.

799 excludes Anbar Province.  Add the 195 to 799.  The total is 994.

994 deaths is what UNAMI has for the month of May. 994 isn't "nearly 800," it's over 800.

Let's stay with violence.  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Tikrit bombing left 1 police officer dead. a Baquba bombing and mortar attack left 1 person dead and five more injured, a Baghdad mortar attack left seven people injured, a Hawija attack left one officer injured, a Ramadi battle left 1 Iraqi soldier and 3 rebels dead, a Kirkuk car bombing left three people injured,  and 2 Qadisiyah bombings left one police member and his brother injured.  They also noting fighting in Mosul has left 7 Iraqi soldiers dead and three more injured, six police members injured, 25 rebels were killed, 7 police members were killed and twenty-three injured, 10 Iraqi soldiers dead and fourteen injured, and 2 car bombings left 25 civilians dead and thirty-five injured.  AFP reports that "two suicide bombers blew up vehicles in the Shabak village of Al Muwaffaqiyah, east of Nineveh provincial capital Mosul, killing four people and wounding 45, police and medical officials said." Margaret Griffis ( counts 166 violent deaths today with 101 people left injured.

Moving over to conspiracy theories, nut job MJ Rosenberg (MWD) froths:

The Bergdahl frenzy is the phoniest pretense for Obama bashing since Benghazi. But that does not mean it won't succeed.
In fact, I think it is possible that a Republican Congress will impeach Obama over one or both of those issues (ike President Clinton, he would not be convicted because even a GOP Senate could not muster 67 votes for conviction.)

Is that what you think, you raving nut job conspiracy theorist?

MJ Rosenberg is a graduate of Media Matters which means he majored in sexism and minored in delusion.  He lets the crazy run free because that's what Professor David Brock taught -- carrier monkey that he is.  Excuse me, diseased carrier monkey that he is bringing all of his unethical methods over to the left from the right after he'd burned his bridges there.

Taught by the master teacher in deception and lies, David Brock, a student can learn to make up any lie in the world and pimp it.  That's what the disgraced David Brock did to Anita Hill, after all.  A cheap little liar who has never made amends.

MJ Rosenberg studied under a quack and a liar so he is what he was taught.

But in the real world, there are many reasons to be upset with Barack surrendering 5 prisoners from Guantanamo for one US soldier.

1) The Congress wasn't informed.  First and foremost -- though a 'graduate' from Media Matters would never understand this, those who train under David Brock don't learn the Constitution -- this is a democracy, this is not a monarchy.  Senator Dianne Feinstein is offended by the lack of notification to Congress.  I've known Dianne for years.  I'll say about 20% of her being offended is personal as a member of Congress who should have been notified.  But the other 80%?  That's Dianne being offended -- rightly -- because of her role.  It's not about her.  It's about America's representatives.  That's what Dianne is, she's in the Senate to represent the people of California -- so is Senator Barbara Boxer.  And whatever other faults I have with them, both women do grasp the importance of their roles.  I would argue that's true of other senators as well.  Senator Al Franken takes it so seriously it's almost an obsession.  (And that's a great obsession to have, trying to represent the people of your state.)  Those are just Democrats but there are Republicans -- many -- in the Senate who take this role and this obligation seriously.  We have a system of checks and balances.  We do not have a king in the US.

Glenn Greenwald:

But as even stalwart Obama defenders such as Jeffery Toobin admit, Obama “clearly broke the law” by releasing those detainees without providing Congress the 30-day notice required by the 2014 defense authorization statute (law professor Jonathan Turley similarly observed that Obama’s lawbreaking here was clear and virtually undebatable).

2) Glenn Greenwald has made this very clear: By ignoring Congress to release the 5 from Guantanamo, Barack has made it clear that he thinks he could have released everyone there and closed it.  So why hasn't he?  He swore he'd do it if elected.  Then he got sworn in (January 2009) and broke his promise.  As Glenn has noted, this is a rather big point of the story.  Mike weighed in on that point earlier this week.

3) Any soldier rescued would raise questions.  Jessica Lynch never lied about what happened to her.  I'm really tired of the dicks -- including Rachel Maddow and her phantom penis -- who try to lie about Jessica Lynch or use her name as a punchline.  When she spoke, she spoke the truth.   She was not responsible for the lies and the spin created by an administration trying to rally support for their illegal war.  My point here is that even when the spin was that she was being tortured or harmed, there were still some who wondered why a rescue mission was being carried out for her?  (There was no rescue mission.  She was being cared for -- as she herself notes -- in an Iraqi hospital.  She was not a prisoner.) Even at the height of the administration propaganda, there were people who questioned whether Jessica was 'worth' a rescue.  And, guess what, in a democracy that's allowed.  In a democracy, people discuss issues and find the point where everyone can agree.  That's what self-rule is. So the US soldier who was released in exchange for the five prisoners Barack surrendered, he was always going to be a question mark.

4) Find a better family spokesperson.  I saw that crap this morning.  Good talking points.  Some of them cribbed from here.  But  he should have stuck to what the White House told him.  I picked up the phone while that nonsense was airing and asked, "You didn't tell him to talk about the mom did you?"  Don't talk about the mom.  She may be wonderful, she may be awful.  But she's married to the father and the father has been a bad image on this story since Saturday.  He needs to shave his beard immediately and appear in public and if anyone doesn't like that, my response is, "Grow up, this isn't about him.  This is about his son." You better believe if one of my children were in trouble, I would change anything -- hair, clothes, whatever -- to lessen any hostility towards one of my children.  This isn't about your right to grow a beard.  No one questions that right.  This is about you getting off your ass and helping your son.  Shave the damn beard.

(FYI, when I saw the photos Saturday, I called an administration friend to ask why the hell the father didn't shave before appearing with Barack.  That bushy crap -- not shaped, not styled -- was disrespectful to the office of the president. Worse than that, it fed into the image of 'these are strange people.'  Shave the damn beard.)

5) The White House has offered an ever changing storyline.  That doesn't help.  Each day is a new day for the novelist.  At this point, this late in the game, stop changing the story.  It makes the White House look dishonest.  Bite the bullet and own the decision or continue to have this dominate the news cycle.  See Frank James' "Explaining The Bergdahl Swap Hasn't Been Obama's Finest Hour" (NPR).

6) The terms of the deal have been criticized.  The US got one person, the Taliban got five.  Elise Labott (CNN) noted earlier this week:

While secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was skeptical of early plans to trade Taliban prisoners for American captive Bowe Bergdahl, former officials involved in the process told CNN on Tuesday.
Clinton pushed for a much tougher deal than the one with Qatar that secured the Army sergeant's release in exchange for five terror detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, they said.

Josh Rogin (Daily Beast) reports:

Despite that the White House’s claim this week that the United States did not negotiate “directly” with the Taliban to secure the Bergdahl swap, the State Department, Defense Department, and White House officials did meet several times with Taliban leaders in 2011 and 2012 to discuss the deal. The negotiations, held in in Munich and Doha, fell apart in early 2012. But before they did, Clinton had a framework deal drawn up that was much tougher on the Taliban than what ultimately got done two years later.
Three former administration officials who were involved in the process told The Daily Beast that Clinton was worried about the ability to enforce the deal and disinclined to trust the Taliban or the Haqqani network in Pakistan, which held Bergdahl until this weekend. Clinton was so concerned, the former officials added, that she may not have even signed off if the negotiations had succeeded.

In Barack's administration, Leon Panetta headed the CIA and later was Secretary of Defense. David Conti (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) reported Wednesday:

 “I don't fault the administration for wanting to get him back. I do question whether the conditions are in place to make sure these terrorists don't go back into battle,” former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told a gas industry gathering in Pittsburgh.
Panetta, who was in the Cabinet for four of the five years Bergdahl spent in Taliban custody, said he opposed a swap for the terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, when he was Defense secretary.
“I said, ‘Wait, I have an obligation under the law,'” Panetta said during a lunchtime address at the Hart Energy Developing Unconventionals DUG East conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown. “If I send prisoners from Guantanamo, they have to guarantee they don't go back to the battlefield. I had serious concerns.”

That's two people who were in the administration and they're not rushing to dance in the streets.  If members of the administration were skeptical are you really surprised that there are Americans who would be as well?

7) CBS News reports Hillary writes in her book (which is officially released Tuesday) on negotiating with the Talbian:

I acknowledged, as I had many times before, that opening the door to negotiations with the Taliban would be hard to swallow for many Americans after so many years of war,

Wow, is Hillary a psychic?

No, she's just got more common sense than MJ Rosenberg.

8) The soldier is a 'deserter' in the eyes of many.  If he self-checked out and had he gone public, we would have covered him here.  We cover war resisters.  I find MJ Rosenberg's sudden concern for war resisters to be suspect.  First off, he only applies it to one person.

We cover war resisters.  We used to cover them all the time, for years and years.  There's just not enough information to cover them as much as we used to.  But we covered them and I know the hate mail that came in for that.  I personally support war resisters.  You don't have to agree with me on that.  But to be so outraged that they were even mentioned?  They are part of history.  They are news.

This is from the April 17, 2007 snapshot:

Starting with war resister news, Ehren Watada's father, Bob Watada, shared Saturday of how his son's struggle has inspired him.  Ehren Watada, in June 2006, became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq.  In February 2006, his court-martial ended a mistrial and his next court-martial is scheduled for July 16th.  Brian Charlton (AP) reports that Bob Watada spoke Saturday at a Honolulu meeting of the Society of Professional Journalists where he explained, "It was because of him that I've gone out and educated myself."  Charlton notes the stroke Rosa Sakanishi (Ehren's step-mother) suffered.  That was in January at the rally in DC, shortly after Bob Watada spoke.  Ann Wright managed to catch Sakanishi as she was falling.
There are many lessons to be learned from Watada and other war resisters.  Ehren Watada  is part of a movement of war resistance within the military that also includes Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Justin Colby, Camilo Mejia, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson,  Kyle Snyder , Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Joshua Key, Ricky Clousing, Mark Wilkerson, Agustin Aguayo, Camilo Mejia,  Patrick Hart, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Jeremy Hinzman, Stephen Funk, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Katherine Jashinski, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake and Kevin Benderman. In total, thirty-eight US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum. 

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at Center on Conscience & War, The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline, and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters.

That second paragraph?  It appeared daily in every snapshot for about two years.  Maybe longer.

When a non-war resister in Canada attacked me online, we continued to cover war resisters.  When a name mentioned in the list had a freak-fest in the e-mail, we continued to cover war resisters.  (And I continued to cover him.)  We covered them because their stands are important.  We also covered them because of the hate mail from people who were outraged that we would cover war resisters.  There were tons of e-mails every week expressing hate and threats.  I don't back down in the face of threats, I never have.  Threats usually make me determined to continue to do something.

The Iraq War is illegal (it's also ongoing though people in this country don't want to admit that either).  I do not slam anyone for deploying to Iraq.  I also do not slam anyone for refusing to deploy to Iraq (or redeploy).  My non-slam policy does not extend to those who planned and started the illegal war.  But I don't condemn  those who served or those who resisted -- I do condemn those who gave the orders for war and those who continued the war -- that includes liars in the press, cowards and liars in the Congress, it's a long, long list which includes President Barack Obama and former Oval Office Occupant Bully Boy Bush.

Jim Acosta (CNN -- link is text and video) reports on National Security Advisor Susan Rice:

Susan Rice, who on Sunday said Bergdahl served the United States with "honor and distinction," told CNN in an interview that she was speaking about the fact the Idaho native enlisted and went to Afghanistan in the service of his country.
"I realize there has been lots of discussion and controversy around this," Rice said. "But what I was referring to was the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing."

Great, Susan.  So you'll now praise Joshua Key for doing "a very honorable thing" since he enlisted and deployed to Iraq?  He self-checked out as the press insists Bergdahl did.  Will you take the time to say he served with "honor and distinction"?  What about Camilo Mejia or Kyle Snyder -- both of whom served in Iraq and then self-checked out?

No, you wouldn't, Susan.  You're a hypocrite just like the goons of MSNBC or, for that matter, Media Matters.

I defend war resisters.  I am very aware that many others do not.  So MJ Rosenberg needs to stop his whoring and his hypocrisy.  There is no real caring on his part for war resisters.  He's whoring to protect Barack.

9) This is not the first time Barack has released killers in US custody.  That was the whole point of "Now you're outraged by negotiations with terrorists."  Barack entered into negotiations with the terrorist group the League of Righteous.  That group killed and kidnapped many foreigners in Iraq -- including US service members.  Barack released their leaders -- who had been in US military custody -- to Nouri.  And did so over vocal opposition in the Senate.  He insisted that they would be held in prisons by Iraqis but instead they walked -- on all the charges, they walked.  Nouri set them free.  Now he arms them and gives them uniforms so they can terrorize Sunnis in Iraq.

MJ Rosenberg is an unethical hypocrite.  Those are only nine things about the deal which might trouble Americans.  If it does trouble them, they need to address it, the media needs to address it, it needs to be part of a national conversation.  That's what happens in a democracy.

I can be mature enough to know that as much as I support war resisters, there are Americans who never will.  That's their right.  They need to be true to their beliefs just as I need to be true to mine.  The expression of their beliefs and their objections does not mean they hate Barack, they want to impeach him or any thing else.  But conspiracy theorists like MJ Rosenberg have to see hate everywhere.

As for the soldier in the news, did he self-checkout?

I've stated all week, we don't know what he did and what he didn't do.  (Click here for a three-part video report on him from CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper.)  A few have e-mailed to say we should call him a war resister based on what is known.


We made that mistake about eight years ago.  A family member of a soldier labeled the soldier a war resister  in press interview after press interview and we went with it and the press went with it and we walked it back months later saying ____ was not a war resister. When ___ finally spoke, ____ didn't speak of war resistance.  I can be the biggest idiot in the room but I do learn from my mistakes.
Which is why, despite supporting Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic Party primaries, I won't be supporting her now.  I do learn from my mistakes.  The former First Lady, US Senator and Secretary of State has held hostage the willing news media with another book she had help writing -- why don't you credit co-writers, you just look stupid and vain otherwise -- and CBS News got an advance copy of the book and noted many things including this passage on Iraq:

"[M]any Senators came to wish they had voted against the resolution. I was one of them. As the war dragged on, with every letter I sent to a family in New York who had lost a son or daughter, a father or mother, my mistake become (sic) more painful."
"I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn't alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple."

As we noted this morning, "At this point, Hillary, what difference does it make?"  She should have said it in 2008.  Instead, it's taken her 12 years to get to this point.  A presidential term is four years.  I don't know that American can afford a slow thinker in the post.  She was in pain, you understand, because she had to write letters to families who had lost a loved one.

Her pain?

That's what she goes with?

Her pain?

How hard it was on her to write people whose loved one had been killed in Iraq?

Again, I do learn from my mistakes.  Should she run in 2016, she will not have my support unless she gets honest about Iraq (including about how Nouri is a thug which she knows and has stated) and apologies to Pat Smith and others.

I've said this before.  If Bill Clinton was the person involved, he would have already called Pat Smith and apologized to her.  (Pat Smith's son Sean Smith died in Bengahzi September 11, 2012.  Smith feels misled by Hillary and ignored by her due to Hillary failing to keep a promise she made.  The other three Americans who died that day -- who are known to have died that day -- were Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Chris Stevens.)

Hillary's too politically stupid to grasp that she needs to apologize to Pat Smith.  She's also too politically stupid to come clean on Iraq.  If you wait 12 years to offer anything "plain and simple," people have a right to expect that you have reflected deeply during this time and have something of value to share.  Hillary is being as superficial in her 'reflection' as she was the day she voted for the Iraq War.

elise labott

Friday, June 06, 2014

Meet the rip-off artists Glenn R. Bergmann and Joseph R. Moore

Truth Out features two douche bags copying and pasting while they pretend they're reporting.

Here's a sample of Glenn R. Bermann and Joseph R. Moore's 'borrowing:'

A disability claim becomes an appeal when the veteran disagrees with the original VA decision. Why are there suddenly so many appealed claims? The agency's rush to fulfill the president's promise to eliminate the initial claim backlog by next year is resulting in a surprisingly high error rate, which the American Legion suggests is 55 percent. That means, for every 100,000 VA decisions on disability claims, 55,000 have errors and would warrant an appeal. 
By deciding these claims quickly (and too often erroneously) the VA effectively transfers their "initial claims" backlog into an unreported pool where the logjam of appeals is growing by the day.

That's shocking news . . . if you live in a coma.

"Josh Hicks plays How To Be A Stooge In 5 . . . 4 ...."

That's C.I. from April. 

She's covered it since (including last week) and long before but that one from April is my favorite of her reports on this.

And let's note that she didn't call it out this year or last.

She called it out when the VA presented the plan to Congress.  She said all this would do is create a large backlog for appeals.  She wrote that the day the VA presented it to Congress.

It's interesting how, after she's paved the road for years, Glenn and Joey show up for a joyride.

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri loses control of Samarra, the KRG continues to maintain their independence with regards to the oil issue, in the US some lawmakers reach a deal on VA efforts, a prisoner trade continues to haunt Barack, Ron Jacobs confuses a TV movie with the attention today's war resisters could use, and much more.

Starting in the US, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following statement today:

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or


IAVA Applauds Bipartisan Senate Compromise to Begin Reforming the VA 
As Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson admits 18 vets died while waiting for appointments in Phoenix, IAVA calls for presidential leadership and urges Congress to move forward with legislation

Washington DC (June 5, 2014) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, today praised Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle for their bipartisan work on addressing critical access issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Earlier, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), one of two combat veterans in the Senate, announced a bipartisan deal that would address access and care issues for veterans within the VA system. 

The compromise was announced the same day Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson addressed the ongoing VA scandal, saying that 18 veterans died while waiting for appointments with the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

On Monday, IAVA CEO & Founder Paul Rieckhoff, joined by IAVA veterans from across the country, unveiled eight steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take now to restore confidence in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among the steps are recommendations from IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda. IAVA urged Congress and the President to enact all of the recommendations from the plan.

“Reforming the VA requires a bipartisan effort on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. We are very encouraged by the compromise forged by Senators Sanders and McCain,” Rieckhoff said. “Today’s progress shows veterans issues is the one thing that parties can come together on. We hope the Senate and House can move forward to enact legislation that will ensure veterans get the care and benefits they have earned.  However, we still need the President to step up and take a more active role in restoring confidence within the VA and lay out a strategy for the way forward.” 

Rieckhoff added: “Many of the provisions announced in today’s compromise are part of IAVA’s eight-part ‘Marshall Plan’ for veterans. The VA scandal is far from over. We urge Congress and the Administration to embrace all our recommendations. As the VA confirmed how severe mismanagement was in Phoenix, it is imperative that the men and women who served our country never have to wait for care.”

The legislation directly addresses accountability issues at the VA by allowing poorly performing SES employees to be immediately dismissed without pay while also establishing an expedited appeals process to discourage fraudulent dismissals. This legislation will also allow veterans to see providers outside the VA system if the wait times for appointments are too long or if the veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA hospital or clinic. The need to address the VA's technological capabilities, particularly with scheduling, will also be evaluated through the establishment of a Tech Task Force. In addition to these access and accountability measures, this legislation also includes several other major provisions supported by IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda, including much needed major medical facility lease authorizations, in-state tuition for veterans using GI Bill benefits, and increased access to health care for survivors of MST. 

NOTE TO THE MEDIA: IAVA leadership is available for interview. Press can email or call 212-982-9699.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator. 
# # #

Jake Lefferman and John Parkinson (ABC News) quote Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Bernie Sanders stating, "We have a crisis on our hands.  It is imperative that we deal with that crisis." Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and, prior to that, she was Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (she still serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee).  Her office issued the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Thursday, June 05, 2014                                                                            (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Statement on Deal to Address VA Accountability, Transparency
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement after Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and John McCain (R-AZ) announced a path forward for a legislative compromise to address the serious accountability and transparency deficit at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Today’s announcement is an excellent example of what Congress can do when we work together to put veterans first and work toward substantive solutions to the challenges they face. Finalizing this legislation is a critical step toward addressing some of the immediate accountability and transparency concerns plaguing the VA and fixing its deep-seated structural and cultural challenges.
“I will be working closely with my colleagues to build on this bipartisan momentum. These are not new problems and Congress must continue to take action on them, while addressing the inevitable issues that will be uncovered as ongoing investigations and reviews are completed.
“As we all know, there are serious problems at the VA that will not be solved through legislation alone or by simply replacing the Secretary. However, I am hopeful these steps will spark long-overdue change from the top down in order to ensure our veterans are getting the care and support they expect and deserve.
“I want to commend Chairman Sanders and Senator McCain for working in good faith to put veterans’ needs ahead of political differences.”
Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) points out that this bipartisan deal was unveiled less than a week after VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned and he writes:

Since Shinseki's departure, the department has reached out to all of the approximately 1,700 veterans that a Phoenix VA hospital placed on unofficial wait lists that hid treatment delays. Acting Secretary Sloan D. Gibson visited the Phoenix facility Thursday. The department is also facing a Office of Special Counsel investigation into allegations that officials retaliated against 37 whistleblowers, including some who tried to report actions related to the recent scheduling scandal.

Richard Simon (Los Angeles Times) adds that Senator Richard Burr, Ranking Member on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has announced his support for the bipartisan deal and that:

As Congress ratcheted up its response to the VA scandal, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday provided funding for the Justice Department to play a bigger role in the investigation of VA employees falsifying records to cover up long waits for medical care.
And the House Veterans Affairs Committee called a Monday night hearing that could shed new light on the scope of the VA mess. The panel asked for an update from the VA inspector general, who has been investigating 42 sites and issued an interim report last week that found a systemic problem nationwide in scheduling veterans for healthcare in a timely manner.

In Iraq, the day started with rumors that the Baghdad-based Iraqi government had lost control of Samarra, a Sunni town with an estimated population of around 350,000 people.  It would be the end of the day before it would be known if Baghdad had lost control.  Fighting took place, regardless of who was in control.  National Iraqi News Agency quoted a police source stating 54 people have been either killed or wounded in the ongoing battles so far.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports, citing health officials, that 23 people were dead and thirty-three injured.

Mahmud Saleh (AFP) states fighters control parts of Samarra and that they were "travelling in dozens of vehicles, some mounted with anti-aircraft guns, attacked a major checkpoint on the southeast side of Samarra, killing the security forces guarding it and burning their vehicles, witnesses said."  Xinhua adds, "The gunmen raised their black flag belonging to the ISIL on several government buildings and the main Sunni mosque in the city, which located just 1,500 meters away from the Shiite shrine of Imam Ali al-Hadi in central the city. The shrine contains the tombs of Ali al-Hadi, who died in 868 A.D. and his son Hassan al- Askari who died in 874 A.D."

NINA notes Ministry of the Interior spokesperson Saad Maan declared that no "police stations or security sites in Samarra had fallen in the hands of the gunmen."  But the rumors of Baghdad losing control were apparently true.  NINA reports the Ministry of Defense issued a statement announcing they had liberated Samarra.


The Ministry of Defense liberated the city by night fall?

So, to be liberated, Samarra had to first be taken over.

So this is another city Nouri's lost.  He lost control briefly, that is true, but he still lost control.

How humiliating for him.

Nouri has used similar events as an excuse to attack the civilians in Falluja, an attack that began at the start of the year and has now entered its six month.

Is this his 'model' for how to address events in Samarra?  If so, he's failing yet again as a leader.

His War Crimes in Falluja have only outraged many Iraqis.  Aswat al Iraq reported earlier this week:

Deputy Premier, Chairman of Arabia Alliance Saleh al-Mutlaq stressed that "there will be no dialogues with any political bloc without Anbar and Fallujah questions will have the priority". In a statement, he added "We cannot bear the events taking place in these two cities and the killings of women, children and innocent people inside the university campus".

On people killed inside the university campus, yesterday's snapshot included this:

The Iraqi people are being terrorized by Nouri.  And it goes beyond Falluja.  BRussells Tribunal notes Sama Laith Mouayad was shot dead.  The college student was sitting in the exam hall of Ramadi's Al-Anbar University when she was shot dead by a military sniper.
Kent State.  The May 4, 1970 assault is still remembered each year.  And yet Nouri's forces kill a college student, shoot her dead as she's sitting in the exam hall, and that's okay?
In what world?

BRussells Tribunal published this photo of where Sama was sitting when she was shot dead by Nouri's military:

Will any reporter at today's State Dept press briefing have the guts to inquire when it became appropriate to shoot unarmed college students who are seated to take exams?

Or will they prove that the bigger your news outlet, the greater your silence?

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports an Ein al-Jahash Village killed 2 police members,  a Mahmudiya roadside bombing killed 1 person and left six more injured, 1 police member was shot dead in al-Bursa, a battle in ein al-Jahash village left 42 rebels killed, 1 woman was killed in a Mosul home invasion, 1 82-year-old man was killed in an Abu Saif Village home invasion, an eastern Baghdad roadside bombing left three people injured, a Sadr City bombing left 1 person dead and eight more injured, and a Latifiya home invasion left 4 family members dead.  All Iraq News adds an eastern Baghdad car bombing killed 1 person and injured ten more, a Beiji car bombing left 1 police officer and 3 police members dead (two more were injured) and 1 person was shot dead and another left injured in an attack in Khumaisa Village.

Let's drop back to yesterday's snapshot for the political scene:

Nouri's a War Criminal and he wants a third term as prime minister.  The elections were April 30th and there's still no government.  Kitabat reports National Coalition spokesperson Maysoun al-Damlouji states bloc leader Ayad Allawi has not yet aligned himself with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's party but he continues to oppose a third term for Nouri. Allawi issued a statement today calling the Parliament weak and noting "the upper hand in any democratic country is the legislative authority, and that this Parliament could not do its role -- even some of the decisions were taken by voting, rejected by the Federal Court." That would be the court Nouri controls, the court that acts as Nouri's rubber stamp.  NINA reports, "The National Coalition called on Tuesday the State of Law Coalition to withdraw their nomination for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for the third term."  All Iraq News adds that Allawi met with Iraqi National Alliance head Ibrahim al-Jaafari and that they discussed the election and the new government.

Today, Hamza Mustafa (Asharq Al-Awsat) reports:

Rival Shi’ite political blocs have reiterated their strong opposition to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki’s bid for a third term in office, amid claims by each side that they secured the majority required to form a government.
The National Alliance -- comprised of the leading Shi’ite forces, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), the Sadrist Movement, the National Congress and the Reform Trend -- has urged the State of Law coalition to withdraw the nomination of its leader, Nuri Al-Maliki, to head the new government, according to a statement read out by the coalition’s spokesman, Ibrahim Bahr Al-Ulloum, following a meeting by coalition leaders in Baghdad two days ago.

Maliki’s coalition came first in recent parliamentary polls, but failed to win an absolute majority that would enable him to form a government.

Tuesday, Aswat Al-Iraq noted, "The Sadrist affiliate Ahrar bloc and the Kurdish Alliance confirmed their rejection for Premier Nouri al-Maliki to have a third term."  Last month, US Labor Against the War offered a strong analysis of the elections by Ahmed Ali.  Excerpt.

Political groups are currently testing the waters for their future alliances as they wait for the official results to be released. The groups anticipate a long government-formation period and are posturing to maintain their political flexibility. However, the development of an anti-Maliki front is likely to materialize, modeled after the anti-Maliki local governments that formed in Baghdad and Diyala after the 2013 provincial elections. 

Prime Minister Maliki's plan will likely continue to be floating the concept of a majority government and assessing which groups he can play against one another. Additionally, he will likely continue to attack speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, Mutahidun, and the Sadrists. Maliki will enjoy an advantage as he will be a caretaker Prime Minister with full authority. It will be particularly important to watch if Maliki will use the security forces to his own advantage. The current major operation to re-take Fallujah from ISIS may be an example of precisely this, seeking to demonstrate his strength as a Prime Minister. 

Lack of elections in Fallujah and Jurf al-Sakhar can further increase sentiments of marginalization among the Iraqi Sunni population. To mitigate the consequences of these sentiments, the vote-counting that is underway must be transparent and occur without any alteration of results. Importantly, all political groups should work towards producing a government that is representative and inclusive. 

In related news, Anadolu Agency reports:

Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have signed a 50-year deal to export Kurdish oil, the prime minister of the administration has announced amid the ongoing spat between Baghdad and Arbil.
“We have signed an energy deal with Turkey that comprises of 50 years and can be extendable if necessary,” Nechirvan Barzani said June 4 during a speech at the Kurdish Parliament in Arbil.
Relations between Arbil and Baghdad have been strained by disputes over the sale of northern Iraqi oil through Turkey.

Steve Marshall (Upstream) adds, "He [Barzani] denied though the pact was an attempt to split Iraq but was motivated by a need for oil revenues after Kurdistan has seen its share of the federal budget cut due to the ongoing row over independent exports from the region, which Baghdad claims are illegal."  Yesterday, Nechirvan Barzani addressed the Kurdish Parliament.  Al Mada reports he explained it is the right, the Constitutional right, to export the oil and that they have said since the beginning this was a constitutional right and one granted to them by the 2003 and 2004 constitutions.  Not stated in the Al Mada article, but also true, Nouri's failure to ever pass a national oil and gas law also means they have this legal right.

Rudaw quotes him telling Parliament the following:

The problem with the federal government regarding oil is that it wants to control of this dosser. If they [Baghdad] had reached an agreement with us on the distribution of oil revenues, which is the most important law for Iraq, many problems would have been resolved.

Ufuk Sanili (Al-Monitor) adds, "The Kurdish administration in northern Iraq and the Baghdad government are at loggerheads over oil exports. The tanker carrying the first cargo of independently exported oil from northern Iraq is crisscrossing the Mediterranean without any clear destination or buyer, amid threats of legal action from Baghdad."  Hurriyet Daily News noted:

Turkey has insisted that the export of Kurdish Iraqi oil to the world is Iraq’s internal business, downplaying opposition from Baghdad, which has accused Turkey of worsening the row over who controls Iraq’s resources.
“The income to be generated from here [exports] will be distributed with a system that our Iraqi brothers established by themselves,” Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said June 2, answering reporters’ questions after a meeting in Ankara.
“Therefore, I don’t find it right to say things to Turkey that cannot be told to anybody else,” the minister said, when asked about his comments over the issue.

Turning to the controversy in the US over US President Barack Obama's negotiations with the Taliban of Afghanistan which saw Barack surrender five Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay (they were not classified of prisoners of war -- using that classification would have required the US government to follow certain guidelines the US government didn't want to follow) in exchange for one US soldier.  Today, The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN) reports:

Republican Sen. John McCain, himself a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, says his "heart goes out" to Bowe Bergdahl, but slammed the deal that swapped five Guantanamo Bay detainees for the captured Army sergeant.
"I wanted him home. I didn't want to risk the lives, and don't want to risk the lives of Americans," said McCain. "I would never agree with that."

The American Legion weighed in with the following:

Legion: Sgt Bergdahl release is good, Gitmo releases are bad
The leader of the nation’s largest veterans service organization raised some concerns about the circumstances surrounding the recent release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl by the Taliban.
“First, to Sgt. Bergdahl, I say, ‘welcome home,’” American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said today. “Your family has waited far too long to see you and we are happy that your five year nightmare has ended. To the administration, I say The American Legion has some very serious concerns.”
Dellinger, who is visiting troops in Europe this week, asked, “Has the United States changed its longheld policy of not negotiating with terrorists? Will this provide incentives for terrorists to kidnap other Americans? What assurances do we have that the five dangerous detainees being released from Guantanamo will not return to the battlefield?
“While Qatar will institute a travel ban on the released detainees for 12 months, our troops won’t be leaving Afghanistan until 2016,” Dellinger added. “There are many troubling aspects about this deal and the American people deserve some answers. Moreover, we hope the Department of Defense does a complete investigation of the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Bergdahl’s initial disappearance and take whatever steps are warranted by the findings of that investigation.”
With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars issued this statement:

WASHINGTON (June 3, 2014) -- The White House announced Saturday that America's only known prisoner of war has been released in exchange for five Afghani prisoners being held at the U.S. Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban on June 30, 2009, is great news for his family, and helps to ensure that no American is left behind once the U.S. ends its involvement in Afghanistan. But the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is very concerned that negotiating with terrorists sets a very dangerous precedent. 

At CNN, Frida Ghitis explores some of the competing ethics involved in the deal Barack made.  In "Explaining The Bergdahl Swap Hasn't Been Obama's Finest Hour" (NPR), Frank James explores the way the administration has communicated on this issue to Congress and the American people.

This morning, I noted a government official, low ranking, had acted badly and that we might discuss it in the snapshot.  I stated my hope that he would have apologized and we could move on and deal with other things.  He did apologize.  I'm going to leave it alone.  Three reasons.  1) He did apologize.  2) The media's beyond stupid.  They missed the point of the story -- and that's especially true of conservative outlets. 3) This afternoon, a mutual friend asked me to please consider not weighing in.  I do not know the official.  We do have a friend in common.  That friend, a male veteran, called me about the Tweets to begin with (and thought they were funny).  I was outraged (not for the reason that conservatives were).  He apologized.  I don't have time to correct every false story in the media.  And a friend asked for a favor.  I'm leaving it alone for those reasons.

Surprisingly, I'm not leaving Ron Jacobs alone.

We used to note Ron all the time before he joined The Cult of St. Barack.  In fact, we had to walk away from the all the tools and idiots at US Socialist Worker for their rank hypocrisy.

But Ron decided to weigh in on the issue of the soldier released by the Taliban.  I don't even want to name the soldier.  I've said before I know nothing about him, an investigation is ongoing, and I have no reason to dislike him or comment on him.  His name's here at this site via statements of others.  I don't even want to learn how to spell his name.  He has too much attention on him and, if you've ever felt the crush of the public eye, you know how hard that can be.  So I'm not mentioning his name.

Ron's not so lucky.

Ron decided to weigh in on the matter.

Since Ron's pretty much permanently worn an Ass Face for the last six years, I don't even read him.  But the title of his piece ("Deserters Are Heroes" -- Dissident Voice) wrongly made me believe Ron might still be able to be useful.

This could be a very useful time.  The soldier in question is said to have self-checked out.  As a result of whoring, you have people like Rachel Maddow applauding him.  Let's be really clear that Rachel didn't applaud war resisters on Air America Radio.  She was for the Iraq War and for staying in Iraq.  We'll go over this on Saturday in "I Hate The War."  But the point right now is that those who self-checkout are getting a little bit of attention  because of the soldier in the news.

So with Ron offering a column of 900 words, hallelujah!, war resisters will get attention, right?

Joshua Key, Jeremy Hinzman and others still in Canada need attention.  No one bothers today except Global Research (here for audio) and Courage to Resist.  So how great that Ron Jacob's going to write about them, right?


Though Ron lays it on thick for the soldier whose release Barack made happen, he mentions no other war resister from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  He does manage to yack on endlessly about a 1975 TV movie starring Martin Sheen.

I wasn't aware Martin walked away from Iraq and went to Canada seeking asylum.

(He didn't.)

It takes a lot of whore to write a column you entitle "Deserters Are Heroes" while failing to mention any of the self-checkouts who have fought for asylum.

Ron Jacobs is useless and just another temple whore in The Cult of St. Barack.

Joshua Key is an Iraq War veteran.  He couldn't go back, not after what he'd seen.  He was raised in poverty here in the United States and he related to the Iraqi people who were suffering, he was appalled by the way house raids were carried out, he just couldn't continue.  So he self-checked out.  And Barack won't pardon these resisters.  And no one even wants to suggest that he does (we've suggested here repeatedly).  Ron's not about defending those who self-checkout, he's about whoring.

January 11th, Michael Welch spoke with Joshua Key for Global Research News Hour.  Excerpt:

Joshua Key: I had a lawyer check into it years ago, you know, if I was sent back to the United States or I went back voluntarily, what would they do?  You know, what would be the realm of prison sentence that I would get? 'Cause we all know -- or anyone who's kept watch on it knows -- that the soldiers who have been sent back to the United States have got anywhere from ten months in prison to sixteen months.  And I think in and around that.  But also, on a big level, the first one that was actually a veteran was Kim Rivera who was sent back and who received ten years and who was pregnant.  My goodness, she had her child while in custody in prison.

Michael Welch: That was ten months, right?

Joshua Key:  Ten months, yes.  But the people that -- what the United States government, the military sees is that, if you're a veteran, you're the worst of the worst because then you went and fought, you came to another country and then now you've talked about it, now you wrote a book about it [The Deserter's Tale].  The lawyer who I had check, he said -- and this was his specific words, "Don't you ever come back to the United States."  And I said, "Well what did they say?  What was there, you know, around?"  And he goes, "You wrote a book.  So it will be around 20 years."  20 years in prison for not wanting to go back and kill people.  I mean, that's just -- there ain't no easier way to break it down.  I didn't want to go back and I didn't want to kill anyone. I didn't see no reason to because basically them people was just like us.  They were just like me back in Oklahoma, doing everything they possibly can to survive and take care of their families.  Uh, I don't see how anyone of us would deserve a day in prison. 

On the topic of Iraq and service members, US Labor Against the War posted the following last month:



We urge you to commit now to not send any U.S. troops back into Iraq. Our national policy has come full circle in 20 years, from arming Saddam Hussein to illegally attacking, invading, and occupying Iraq, and then back to arming another autocratic Iraqi government. The way to break out of this vicious cycle is to stop promoting violence. Do not send U.S. troops back into a disastrous sectarian conflict in support of another ruthless autocrat. Our experience there should have taught us a lesson.

mohammed tawfeeq

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Parry can't stop whoring

Warning, link in a second goes to Consortium News.  Robert Parry's written another weak column but at least the description paragraph manages to call out Barack a little:

Exclusive: President Obama is still embracing Official Washington’s false narrative on Ukraine as he hypocritically blames the crisis entirely on Moscow and ignores the West’s role in toppling an elected president and provoking a nasty civil war, writes Robert Parry.

The column never lived up to the description.

Old Man Parry still has trouble calling out Barack.

It's a lack of spine, you understand.

A lack of will.

How sad it must be to have one stood for something and had ethics only to whore it all out.

Robert Parry had me fooled.

Up until 2007, I thought he was ethical and brave and a truth teller.

Turns out, he's just another whore working the block.

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri's War Crimes continue, the Iraqi military shoots dead a college student as she sits in the exam hall causing no harm to anyone, the VA scandal continues, Barack's terrorist trade continues to blow up in his face, and much more.

Yesterday, a bill was introduced in the Senate to address VA issues.  Senator Jeanne Shaheen's office issued the following:

In Response to Inspector General Report, bill addresses gaps in VA health system, prohibits bonuses for VA officials
June 3, 2014 (Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation today designed to address the gaps and gross mismanagement of Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) resources that were recently identified in an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report and have led to delayed care for veterans. Shaheen’s bill, the Veterans Access to Care Accountability Act, includes numerous provisions to remedy identified instances of veterans being delayed care, strengthen VA accountability and hold individual VA officials responsible, including through precluding bonuses from being paid to VA officials involved in mismanagement.
“The problems we’ve seen at VA hospitals across the country are unacceptable,” Shaheen said. “We need to do everything we can to make sure that veterans are getting timely access to the quality medical care they’ve earned. If there are problems, we need to know immediately, and those responsible need to be held accountable. This bill will go a long way toward improving oversight of the VA and ultimately providing our veterans with the care they deserve.”
Shaheen’s bill would implement a new random auditing requirement by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Office of Inspector General and other watchdog agencies for VA medical facilities and would require veterans be contacted within 48 hours and scheduled an appointment with an outside medical facility within one week if a report determines veterans have been delayed access to care. The Veterans Access to Care Accountability Act also includes provisions to hold VA officials involved in potential delays accountable, specifically banning the distribution of bonuses to VA officials who may have been involved in mismanagement.
The bill builds off bipartisan legislation Shaheen is co-sponsoring that has been included as an amendment to the FY 2015 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to give the Secretary the authority to fire or demote senior level employees based on their performance. Shaheen, who called for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki following the release of the OIG report, has also requested a full briefing on the findings of rapid audit teams deployed across the VA enterprise, including at the Manchester and White River Junction VA Medical Centers that serve New Hampshire’s veterans.

Good for Shaheen.  Sad that there's been so very little Senate action. Various bills are floating around.  That's about all.  Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following today:

IAVA Urges Senate to Reach Compromise on Critical Legislation

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or


IAVA Urges Senate to Reach Compromise on Critical Legislation
President Must Get Involved to Help Restore Confidence within the Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington DC (June 4, 2014) – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, today called for bipartisan cooperation among Senate leaders to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More than 40 bills to reform the VA, and improve benefits and services to veterans, are currently pending before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC). This includes a revised version of the Majority’s veterans omnibus bill introduced on Monday by SVAC Chairman Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and a new Republican proposal more narrowly tailored to health care access issues introduced on Tuesday by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). IAVA called for the Senate to advance all legislation that would garner filibuster-proof bipartisan support and would achieve real reform.  

Earlier this week, IAVA CEO & Founder Paul Rieckhoff, joined by IAVA veterans from across the country, unveiled eight steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take now to restore confidence in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among the steps are recommendations from IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda.

“Veterans don’t have time for political games. Reforming the VA requires a concerted national response – and Congress must play its part,” Rieckhoff said. “The Senate can start by working together to pass key initiatives that support veterans and help ensure they get the care they need. With very little time left in the legislative calendar, our members and the wider veteran community do not have time for more rounds of political stunts. 

Rieckhoff added: “This urgency underscores the need for presidential leadership, and why we need a Marshall Plan for veterans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi must sit in a room together and provide the bipartisan leadership necessary to support veterans.”

IAVA is endorsing the Veterans Choice Act of 2014, sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK). In the wake of revelations that the VA has been concealing excessive wait times at facilities around the country, it is clear that VA has an issue meeting demand. This bill will serve an emergency need to increase VA service capacity by temporarily authorizing veterans to get quicker care from approved private and community providers if, and only if, the VA cannot provide medical care to the veteran within a reasonable amount of time set by the VA or if the veteran would have to travel beyond a reasonable distance to receive VA care. While IAVA believes that a strong, sustainable, fully-funded VA is necessary for our country to meet its commitment to veterans, IAVA is also open to complementary solutions that augment VA's capacity and ensure that veterans receive the highest quality care possible in a timely manner. 

IAVA is currently reviewing the Restoring Veterans Trust Act of 2014, sponsored by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). This bill is essentially a redesign of the previous IAVA supported veterans omnibus bill that failed to garner the 60 votes necessary to clear the Senate. Following that failed vote earlier this year, military and veterans service organizations, including IAVA, asked Chairman Sanders to work proactively and cooperatively with the minority to craft the re-do of the veterans omnibus bill that has a chance of passing needed reforms through the Senate. Unfortunately, substantive engagement across the aisle has yet to occur, once again rushing critical reforms to veterans care and education to failure. IAVA has made it clear to Chairman Sanders that a pre-negotiated agreement that has a chance of passing is a necessary component of IAVA’s support of any further re-writes of the Senate veterans omnibus bill.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator. 
# # #

Other than bills, where is the Senate?

They're not holding a hearing tomorrow.  It's been postponed.

A veteran said to me today, he was at the April 30th Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing (we covered that hearing in the May 1st snapshot), that he couldn't believe that the Chair of the Committee (Senator Bernie Sanders) had stated in that hearing that his Committee would be up in arms if the accusations about Phoenix turned out to be true.

They are true.  The report the Office of the Inspector General released last week confirmed that the books were cooked and two sets of wait lists were kept.  Senator Dianne Feinstein does not serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, she does Chair the Senate Intelligence Committee.  She issued a statement Monday and we'll note this from it (I'll post the statement in full tomorrow morning -- there is not room for it to be included in full in this snapshot):

Senator Feinstein expressed frustration that a December 2012 GAO report identified a history of record tampering at VA health care facilities. In March 2013, GAO Health Care Director Debra Draper testified about the report before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Veterans’ Affairs, saying “staff at some clinics told us they change medical appointment desired dates to show clinic wait times within VHA’s performance goals.”
“The 2012 GAO report tells me one thing: that VA knew about this problem many months ago but instead of taking action to fix it, employees created schemes to cover up the problem,” Feinstein said. “This is inexcusable and speaks to deeper problems within the VA.”

On April 30, 2014, Feinstein wrote a letter to VA Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin calling for an expansion of the investigation into the Phoenix VA Health Care System to determine if similar problems were prevalent at other VA health care facilities.

There are senators calling out the scandal and making suggestions for reform.  But the reality is that the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee has failed to seriously address the issue as a Committee.  I'm not talking historical, I'm talking about since the scandal broke.  CNN was covering this story -- breaking it -- in April. It's now June.

Where's the hearing addressing the scandal?

The House can hold a hearing (and did, last week) but the Senate can't get it together to hold a hearing?

A number of veterans lost trust with Sanders over that April 30th hearing.  Instead of focusing on the news of the day, he wanted to cover acupuncture, yoga and other issues which, quite frankly, were not issues in need of dire attention.  That was the first wrong step by Sanders.  He then became seen as an apologist of the VA -- Chris Cuomo was the first to make that observation and did so in a live interview with Sanders.

I don't know what you do after you weaken or break the bond of trust.  I don't know how you come back from one stumble after another.  But veterans in DC are not very pleased with the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee or with the Committee itself right now.

Announcing this morning that a planned hearing (for tomorrow) was cancelled did not help.

So let's turn to the House of Representatives.  Beto O'Rourke is a Texas Democrat serving in the House.

And he issued this on the survey:

I recently sent an email to all veterans in our database, asking them to participate in a survey to determine the quality and access to care for primary and mental health at the El Paso VA.

Hundreds took the time to respond, and from their responses we’ve compiled a report with important information about access to care for El Paso veterans, including the significant discrepancy between what the VA is telling me and what you are telling me.

For example, for each month between March 2013 and March 2014, the El Paso VHA has reported to me that between 85% and 100% of veterans new to the system seeking mental health appointments saw a provider within 14 days of their appointment request. Our survey shows that on average it takes a veteran 71 days to see a mental health provider and more than 36% of veterans attempting to make an appointment were unable to see a mental health provider at all.

For those who do get an appointment, these sessions are routinely cancelled before they can take place. The survey also found that wait times for primary health were unacceptably long, with over 71.8% reporting that they could not schedule a primary care visit within 14 days of their request.

The recent scandal in Phoenix, where administrators kept secret wait lists and denied care to those they were entrusted to help, proves that we cannot depend on the VA to hold itself accountable. The best way to determine how the VA is doing is to ask the veterans themselves. In doing just that, this report can provide the basis for real accountability and improved service at the El Paso VHA clinic and perhaps serve as the model for allowing our country’s veterans to do the same for the national VA system.

Below are our full findings and steps we will take based on what we’ve learned.

For the full report, click here

Thank you for your service in uniform and your service today on behalf of your fellow veteran. It is an honor to serve you.

It is no longer just Phoenix that the administration admits was using two sets of wait lists -- a public one filled with lies and the real one hidden from the public.  Jim Salter (AP) reports, "VA officials first acknowledged the Midwestern lists in letters last week to U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both of Kansas. The letters included information about conditions in the VA's Heartland Network, with unauthorized lists maintained at facilities in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana."  Hannah Davis and Angela Smith (KWCH -- link is text and video) report on the use of a "secret wait list" at Robert J. Dole Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas.  Hanqing Chen (Pro Publica) offers a round up of reporting on the various VA scandals.

CNN notes, "Nearly six in ten Americans give President Barack Obama a thumbs-down on how he is handling the Veterans Affairs controversy, according to a new national poll."

Let's turn to another scandal.  Barack entered into negotiations with the Taliban, agreeing to surrendering 5 Taliban prisoners for one American soldier.  I don't know the soldier, I don't know his story.  I have not insulted him nor have I rushed to gush over him the way some idiots did today.  (The host could still claim to be going where the silences are but that would mean she would have needed to cover Kim Rivera and she didn't.)  He may or may not choose to tell his story.  The military is currently investigating the case.  At present his story is probably best characterized as "no one knows."  So we're not engaging in that aspect of the story.

The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN -- link is text and video) spoke with former FBI negotiator Chris Voss who stated, "I would have been embarrassed to make this deal. Five for one? I can't see how this was a good deal for us, on top of that, from what I understand, they named the people they wanted."  Elise Labott explores the meaning of the deal here.  Slate's Fred Kaplan tries to argue this was a mere prisoner of war trade.  No.  And the US government wouldn't argue that and couldn't argue that because if the five are prisoners of war -- if the US government admits to that -- then they should have been treated as such but the US government refused to do that and refused to classify them as prisoners of war.  Maria Nybondas (Asser Institute) offers an indepth look at that classification in a 2002 paper.  As Amy Davidson (New Yorker) observed yesterday, " One can’t have it both ways: there are laws associated with prisoners of war, too. The phrase 'P.O.W.' is not just shorthand hand for 'don’t have to go to court'."  Chris Moody (Yahoo News) reports, "Senators are frustrated with President Barack Obama for ignoring a legal provision requiring the secretary of defense to notify Congress 30 days before releasing detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Nouri's War Crimes continue as he continues bombing residential neighborhood.  National Iraqi News Agency reports 2 civilians were killed and eleven more injured in the latest series of bombings.  These War Crimes have been taking place since January and take place on a daily basis.  The Iraqi people are being terrorized by Nouri.  And it goes beyond Falluja.  BRussells Tribunal notes Sama Laith Mouayad was shot dead.  The college student was sitting in the exam hall of Ramadi's Al-Anbar University when she was shot dead by a military sniper.

Kent State.  The May 4, 1970 assault is still remembered each year.  And yet Nouri's forces kill a college student, shoot her dead as she's sitting in the exam hall, and that's okay?

In what world?

Nouri is a War Criminal who needs to be removed from office.

Instead, the White House can't stop providing Nouri with weapons.  Andrea Shalal (Reuters) reports:

Lockheed Martin Corp this week will deliver the first of 36 F-16 fighter jets to Iraq, marking what Baghdad's envoy to the United States called a "new chapter" in his country's ability to defend its vast borders with Iran and other neighbors.

They're going to do a little ceremony tomorrow in Fort Worth about this 'wonderful' move.

Blood money.  That's what Lockheed's raking in.

Nouri is a War Criminal and he's being provided with the means to further kill the Iraqi people and, yes, he will be sharing technology with the government of Iran.

Another wonderful move by Barack, another genius move.

Today, Nouri gave another weekly speech and now he's wanting a unity conference on Anbar Province.  Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) types up:

Sheikh Mohammad al-Bajari, an influential tribal leader in Fallujah, told Al-Monitor, “Maliki’s call for holding this conference came too late. He should have called for it when we were peacefully staging a sit-in in the desert, before things evolved.”
“Fallujah and Anbar sheikhs and tribes do not trust the government and the conference’s intentions. If there is indeed a desire to solve the crisis in Anbar, the government will have to show good will. For instance, it should stop the shelling on Fallujah and several other regions, withdraw the army from the cities and hand in the people implicated in the murder of the innocent to the courts,” he added.
Far from the political tensions surrounding the conference, the Iraqi government acknowledged that it was important for the political, security and military courses of action to go hand in hand, rather than separately, to solve the Anbar crisis. This is a development in itself, late as it might be.
Perhaps the debate about Maliki’s late invitation to hold the conference, 18 months after the outbreak of protests in Sunni cities, and five months after the outbreak of bloody confrontations following the Iraqi army’s raid into the Anbar sit-in square late 2013, is not as effective as the different parties’ investing in a positive environment to reach a final solution to the crisis.

It's cute what gets paraded and what is hidden.  For example, the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija resulted from  Nouri's federal forces storming in.  But that's not being included, is it?   Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll rose to 53.  UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

Again, some things get remembered.  Some get buried.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

MP for Alarabiyah coalition Liqaa Wardi , called on international and local human rights organizations to adopt a firm stance against the massacres that Anbar province experiences, especially the "genocide ," against Fallujah, the source said .
Wardi also said in a press statement " what the government forces are doing against the province of Anbar and Fallujah in particular ,situate within the framework of genocide against innocent civilians.
She added : "The murder of a student at the College of Agriculture, targeting doctors, service workers and forcing families to emigrate , but a systematic attempt to break the will of the people of this province who only demanding their legitimate rights to live in safety and peace.

Nouri's a War Criminal and he wants a third term as prime minister.  The elections were April 30th and there's still no government.  Kitabat reports National Coalition spokesperson Maysoun al-Damlouji states bloc leader Ayad Allawi has not yet aligned himself with Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi's party but he continues to oppose a third term for Nouri. Allawi issued a statement today calling the Parliament weak and noting "the upper hand in any democratic country is the legislative authority, and that this Parliament could not do its role -- even some of the decisions were taken by voting, rejected by the Federal Court." That would be the court Nouri controls, the court that acts as Nouri's rubber stamp.  NINA reports, "The National Coalition called on Tuesday the State of Law Coalition to withdraw their nomination for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki for the third term."  All Iraq News adds that Allawi met with Iraqi National Alliance head Ibrahim al-Jaafari and that they discussed the election and the new government.

NINA notes the rumors that Nouri has received backing from the Tehran government for a third term as Iraq's prime minister.  Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:

Thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki wants a third term.  His office issued the following today:

His Excellency Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki said in an interview with Al-Iraqiya TV which will be aired at a later time we now have 175 guaranteed votes, but we want more partners who agree with us in the program and principles to be adopted in the next government , and he called on all political blocs to adopt understanding and dialogue in order to form the government as soon as possible and move towards construction and development.
With regards to the adherence of some political blocks and some politicians to what they call red lines against this or that party , Mr. Prime Minister said: I recommend that everyone read the developments well , there has been so many developments during the past four years and none can holds the neck of the political process anymore .
On the goal of the conference, which the Prime Minister called for in Anbar , his Excellency said it is intended to isolate the terrorists and strengthen national unity in Anbar and address reconstruction efforts .
On the issue of exporting oil from the Kurdistan region and its consequent effects , the Prime Minister said, that this act is in violation of the Iraq's sovereignty and Iraq's constitution , it cannot be accepted under any conditions. He stressed that there is no such thing as cutting the salaries of the Kurdistan region, but this is a banner raised for mobilization and incitement.

Nouri may or may not have the votes his office states.  He's prone to making claims that aren't true.  All Iraq News notes, "The Ahrar bloc within the Sadr Trend and the Kurdistani Democratic Party announced rejecting the nomination of the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki, for the third term of the Prime Minister Post."

NINA notes National Union Forces coalition MP Raad al-Dahlaki declared today that Nouri's 175 claim was "nothing but a negotiating message to other political blocs, to try and make them join the convergence to the government of the political majority that calls for it."  Yes, Nouri is lying in an attempt to make it appear a done deal.  He is no closer to a third term today than he was on April 29th but he hopes lying will frighten off challengers.

Nouri's a menace, let's turn to violence.  Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports, "Back-to-back car bombs" left 17 dead in Kirkuk.  National Iraqi News Agency reports the death toll increased to 19 and that  1 person was shot dead in Abi Saida Village, an al-Shura school worker was shot dead, a Mosul roadside bombing left three Iraqi soldiers injured, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 5 suspects, then they announced they killed 17 more,  1 person was shot dead in eastern Mosul, security forces killed 11 suspects in Alsijr, a western Baghdad roadside bombing left three people injured, an Iraqi soldier was injured in a Fadliliyah shooting, a Meshahda shooting left one Iraqi soldier injured, 1 person was shot dead in Ghazaliya, and a Hilla car bombing left 6 people dead and twenty-four injured.

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 140 deaths -- that's just in the first three days of the month.  If you add in the 62 noted above, that's 202 deaths.   Yesterday's deaths, Mohammed Tawfeeq and Chelsea J. Carter (CNN) note, included Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha:  "Abu Risha is the nephew of Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, head of the Anbar Awakening Council -- a group composed primarily of Sunni Arab fighters who turned on al Qaeda in Iraq in late 2006 and joined forces with the U.S.-led coalition."

Moving over to England where an inquiry into the Iraq War began when Gordon Brown was prime minister.

Well that was a long time ago
Sounded good on a
Delicate white-ribbon card

-- "One More Big Time Rock and Roll Star," written by Stevie Nicks, first appears as the flip side of the single "Talk To Me," first appears on CD on the Enchanted boxed set

That was a long time ago.  And yet the report from all those public hearings has still not been released.  The White House -- the current White House, Barack's White House -- has done everything they can to stop the release of the report.

Today, Gary Porter (Daily Post) reports: Bob McFerran is charging a cover up in the decision "not to publish the full exchange between Tony Blair and George Bush" He fears the truth will most likely not be known as a result and he is the father of Peter McFerran who died in a Basra bombing in July 2007 while serving in the RAF.  He is not the only parent of one of the fallen in Iraq who feels this way.  Last week, Rowena Mason (Guardian) reported:

Meanwhile, the mother of a 19-year-old soldier killed in Iraq has said she feels sickened by the decision to publish only partial extracts of the Blair-Bush exchanges before the war.
Rose Gentle, whose son Gordon was killed in June 2004, said she believed the former prime minister was laughing at the families and would "walk away from it with a smile on his face".
"I feel sickened," Gentle said. "How will the families get to know the truth? We are just shoved aside. We just feel, what's the point?
"I think Tony Blair has got a lot to do with the decision. He is kind of behind it."
Gentle said the limited disclosure would mean the families were "still going to be wondering" about what had actually gone on between Blair and Bush before the invasion.

"I think it is definitely a whitewash. I feel Tony Blair is going to walk away from it with a smile on his face. I feel he is laughing at us."

Considering all the money being spent to make Ed Miliband  a serious contender for the next prime minister, it's amazing the American 'dream team' doesn't grasp that Miliband can be sunk with this report.  If the British people feel jerked around, it will bring up hostility towards Labour (Tony Blair is a member of the Labour Party as is Ed).  This issue needs to be dealt with fully and honestly.  And, for Ed, quickly.  The American 'dream team' does grasp that Tony Blair needs to be buried and they've done a solid job with regards to that.  But the report needs to come out and needs to come out immediately.  Robert Stevens (WSWS) offers:

A deal reached between the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood and the Inquiry will allow only selected “quotes or gists” of discussions to be published from 25 notes from Blair to Bush and more than 130 records of conversations they held. It also stipulates that not a single view expressed by Bush to Blair during the exchanges will be made public by the Inquiry.
The agreement comes after the Chilcot Inquiry had first offered to block out anything from the Bush-Blair documents that the UK government thought should not be included. Indeed, once the government told Chilcot in January 2011 that the Blair-Bush records were off limits this was accepted without a hint of protest.
On May 28 Chilcot wrote to Heywood, “Accordingly, the requests submitted by the Inquiry last summer were for permission to disclose quotes or gists of the content. We have concluded they are sufficient to explain our conclusions.”
The letter further reassures the government that only a glimpse of what was discussed between the conspirators will make it into the report, with Chilcot adding, “We have also agreed that the use of direct quotation from the documents should be the minimum necessary to enable the Inquiry to articulate its conclusions.”
There is no end to the cover-up. Last month it was revealed that a personal letter written by Blair to Bush in July 2002, fully nine months before the invasion of Iraq, reportedly beginning with the words, “You know, George, whatever you decide to do, I’m with you,” has “gone missing” from the US Presidential library.
The inquiry was always a fraud. When setting it up, former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who succeeded Blair in 2007, ensured that no one would be held accountable for anything, let alone be brought to justice.

elise labott

mohammed tawfeeq
chelsea j. carter
mushreq abbas