Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Done with Manning

Hump day.  And not a good one.

Watching TV, my jaw just dropped.

Chris Lawrence told Jake that Bradley Manning spoke "and he basically issued an apology.  First, your honor, I want to issue an apology.  I understood what I was doing was wrong but I didn't appreciate the broader effects of my actions."

Okay then.  That's interesting.

I kind of thought what Bradley did was brave and the right thing to do.

Now that he's apologized will those celebs in the "I Am Bradley Manning" video join him in apologizing?

I don't know what to say.

I advocated on his behalf and I defended him.

Today he apologizes and tells the court he was wrong.

Whatever, huh?

He and his support network can have each other because I'm done with him.

As I explained in a roundtable we did tonight, other people should do what they want.

But I do have a law degree.  I did public defending pro bono.

And you don't do what Brad did today.  Not to lessen a sentence (or try to).  You don't disown actions you're proud of.

Bradley's lost his ethical high ground now.

Others can defend him.  I won't attack them for it (in the community or out).  But I'm done with him.

I've got a life and I'll be living it no longer worrying about him.  He disowned his actions?

I supported those actions.

I'm done supporting him.  And since he's admitted to damaging the country (yeah, he said that too), he'll get whatever sentence Col. Denise Lind gives him.  And if she now throws the book at him, oh well.  That's his problem.

You should do what you want but I'm done with Manning.  Again, I was a public defender.  I do know about what you do to try to lessen a sentence.  But you never give up your ethical stand.  How sad.

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri makes a speech, calls continue for him to nominate people to head the security ministries, Ralph Poynter continues to fight for his wife US political prisoner Lynne Stewart,  awful attorney David Coombs explains whistle-blowing is a disorder linked to other 'disorders,' Bradley Manning says he damaged the US and was wrong, and more.

Starting at Fort Meade in the US where whistle-blower and Iraq War veteran Bradley Manning has been subjected to a military proceeding.  The court-martial is now determining sentencing and Bradley's attorney rested the defense (or 'defense') today.  Selena Hill (Latinos Post) explains today's events/circus:

Cpt. Michael Worsley, who treated Manning from December 2009 to May 2010 during his deployment in Iraq, testified that Manning lived in a "hyper masculine environment" and had little support for his gender crisis.
[. . .]
Navy Cpt. David Moulton, a psychiatrist who interviewed the private for 21 hours at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. after his arrest, testified that Manning had a troubled childhood, was neglected and grew up with two alcoholic parents. Manning showed signs of narcissism, borderline personality disorder and obsessive compulsivity, Moulton said.

That was the least of today's events.  Bradley also spoke for the first time since February.

Before we get to what he said, let's go over what led up to today.
Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released  military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December. At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial. Bradley has yet to enter a plea. The court-martial was supposed to begin before the November 2012 election but it was postponed until after the election so that Barack wouldn't have to run on a record of his actual actions. adds, "A court martial is set to be held in June at Ford Meade in Maryland, with supporters treating him as a hero, but opponents describing him as a traitor."  February 28th, Bradley admitted he leaked to WikiLeaks.  And why.

Bradley Manning:   In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as [missed word] as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

For truth telling, Brad was punished by the man who fears truth: Barack Obama.  A fraud, a fake, a 'brand,' anything but genuine, Barack is all marketing, all facade and, for that reason, must attack each and every whistle-blower.  David Delmar (Digital Journal) points out, "President Obama, while ostensibly a liberal advocate of transparency and openness in government, and of the 'courage' and 'patriotism' of whistleblowers who engage in conscientious leaks of classified information, is in reality something very different: a vindictive opponent of the free press willing to target journalists for doing their job and exposing government secrets to the public."

Today, John Fritze (Baltimore Sun) reports Bradley briefly spoke:

"I'm sorry that my actions hurt people. I'm sorry that I hurt the United States," Manning said in an unsworn statement, which meant he spoke from the witness stand but did not face cross-examination from prosecutors. "At the time of my decisions I was dealing with a lot of issues."
 Alexa O'Brien is an activist but not a journalist as she demonstrates with the following Tweets:

  1. Everything has done and seem to continue to do, make the USG actions starkly wanton and prejudice.
  2. Who has used rhetoric and spun the media? Who never spoke to the press outside of text based factual statements?
  3. Compare defense behavior to USG's? Who has shown candor to Court? Who has hidden the ball? Who has been tempered in speech? ...
  4. And, remaining real is what shines a light so much more fully on this prosecution and USG.

Here's a thought, how about you cover what took place and not your fantasies of what took place?

Bradley's defense failed him and betrayed him throughout.  Was that intentional?  Some think so.  I just think David Coombs is inept. 

Alexa looks like a real idiot with those Tweets, especially this one:

  1. Who has used rhetoric and spun the media? Who never spoke to the press outside of text based factual statements?

David Coombs was supposed to speak to the press.  I was among the many present at the awful DC event where he couldn't stop yacking about himself.  That December 3rd night event was covered in the December 4th snapshot:

Some notes.  I attended with a National Lawyers Guild friend.  I'm sure we weren't the only ones rolling our eyes as various 'political prisoners' got name checked and Lynne Stewart was ignored.  We didn't attend expecting to hear Lynne's name but when you've got time to name check others, you've got time for Lynne.  Lynne's always had time for everyone else and, yes, you owe Lynne Stewart.  You might also have included her on the 'great attorneys' of the past list -- but, of course, no women made that list either.

There was time to thank reporters, time to mention them by name, time to applaud them, time to weigh in on Subway and working lunches.   As that speech was finally winding down, my friend pointed out, "Now we know why they can't make a credible argument for Assange."  Indeed.  Does no one organize before speaking to an audience?  You're not there to tell the history of time.  You choose a few key points.  You make those points, you're done. It appears presentation has [beem] confused with filibuster.

At last came David Coombs, Bradley Manning's attorney, and I wrongly thought (yet again), "Okay, get ready to take notes."  Wrong.  Key moment from the speech?

Probably when Coombs was climbing the cross to praise himself -- the first time.  Now attorneys tend to have oversized egos, that's not surprising.  But what was surprising was hearing someone self-aggrandize to a packed room about how great they were because they turn down all interview requests.  ("I also avoid any interviews with the media.")  That's not great at all. 

You're in a media war, David Coombs, you need to be taking every interview request and then some.  Your failure to do so goes a long, long way towards explaining how Bradley has disappeared from the radar so often.

The failure to grasp that this was a press event and not an ABA convention further hurt Bradley.  Going on about how the pre-trial motions blah blah blah, Coombs suddenly declares, "I'm enjoying my opportunity to cross-examine those who had Bradley Manning in those conditions for so many months."  And like dutiful idiots, many of those applauded that crap.

Well, hey, then, let's let this trial go on for 30 years.  For those of us who are actually outraged that the US government has refused to provide Bradley Manning with a fair and speedy trial, the 'enjoyment' of the defense attorney really isn't our concern.

Here's another tip: "Those people."  No one gives a damn about some free floating, nebulous menace.  Even the idiot Bully Boy Bush knew he had to paint a face on what he dubbed the "axis of evil."  But there was Coombs pontificating endlessly about "those people" who knew Bradley was being wronged but did nothing, could see with their own eyes that Bradley was being wronged but did nothing.  Who are these people?  Do you mean guards?  If so, why can't you say that?

 "Change"?  Unless you're talking coins, stop using that empty phrase -- especially as a noun.  The 2008 election drained it of all value.  At one point, Coombs wanted to liken Bradley to Daniel Ellsberg.  I'm sorry but I was at rallies for Daniel Ellsberg -- actual rallies -- and this 'presentation' was more self-congratulatory then anything we had for Ellsberg.  Everything is not an applause line and people need to stop applauding themselves.  It's not only immodest, it's counterproductive.  A real discussion could have taken place if everyone hadn't decided that self-suck was more important than addressing reality.  After three solid minutes of various thanks (with no end in sight), my friend leaned over and asked if he did "the E-Z checks plan, will they give me my PBS mug so we can leave already?"

Alexa O'Brien is a Twitter genius.  She's clearly not a journalist or anyone who understands journalism.  When your client is targeted by the US government and can't speak for themselves, you take every media opportunity offered to tell your client's story.  That's basic and only an idiot named David Coombs could miss that.

As for  the defense that she can't stop praising?  Inept and stupid.  Earlier today, O'Brien was treating that this was about the military's inability to deal with gender and all this other crap that read like defense talking points.

Step away from the hookah and clear your brain for just one moment.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell was repealed.  That repeal allows gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.  It has nothing to do with a soldier enlisting while one gender and then stating he or she is actually another gender.

So what was the point of today?

The idiotic defense let the military off the hook.  They insinuate that Bradley's "gender disorder" was not addressed properly.  Wherein the UCMJ is transgender issues?

I'm not mocking transgender issues.  I'm talking about the law -- remember, that's all you can argue when you are an idiot who presents your case to a 'military judge' instead of insisting on a jury trial.  The law doesn't help that defense.

Does it create sympathy for Bradley?

For that to happen, the defense would need to spell it out and stop playing cutesy.

Is Brad a transgendered person?  Was he someone who only thought he was (due to stress, confusion or something else -- there's a reason that the process of biologically changing a gender is a process and not a one day visit -- because there can be surrounding issues that are masked and need to be addressed first before a determination can be made)?

Who did it create sympathy for?

How about the superior officer who gets an e-mail from Bradley that never states "gender disorder" but says this is his problem and "this" refers to a photo of himself in a wig and make up?

That superior officer has a photo of a young man wearing a wig and make up.  What's the problem?  Is the problem one of cross dressing?  If so, someone in the military needs to wear the uniform when on duty but off duty, in private life, a man can wear a wig.  Is the superior officer (who is as in the dark as anyone following Coombs' 'defense') supposed to think that Bradley is fighting dressing up, pretending to be a woman, becoming a woman, being gay?

We do get that those are various aspects and orientations, right?  Because throughout Coombs, who is paid to represent Bradley, has mingled them all under the heading of  'gay' -- that's incorrect.

But doing that creates sympathy for the military -- if Brad's attorney can't keep it straight, how could someone in the military?

Alexa O'Brien shares the contents of the e-mail:

"This is my problem. I've had signs of it for a very long time. It's caused
problems within my family. I thought a career in the military would get rid
of it. It's not something I seek out for attention, and I've been trying
very, very hard to get rid of it by placing myself in situations where it
would be impossible. But, it's not going away; it's haunting me more and
more as I get older. Now, the consequences of it are dire, at a time when
it's causing me great pain it itself.

As a result, I'm not sure what to do about it. It's destroyed my ties with
my family, caused me to lose several jobs, and it's currently affecting my
career and preventing me from developing as a person. It's the cause of my
pain and confusion, and turns even the most basic things in my life
extremely difficult.

I don't know what to do anymore, and the only "help" that seems to be
available is severe punishment and/or getting rid of me. All I do know, is
that fear of getting caught has caused me to go to great lengths to
consciously hide the problem. As a result, the problem and the constant
cover-up has worn me down to a point where it's always on my mind, making it
difficult to concentrate at work, difficult to pay attention to whatever is
going on, difficult to sleep, impossible to have any meaningful
conversations, and makes my entire life feel like a bad dream that won't

Like I said, I don't know what to do and I don't know what's going to
happen, but at this point, it feels like I'm not really *here* anymore, and
everyone's concerned about me and afraid of me. I'm sorry.

What the hell, if you received that e-mail (and the photo of Brad in the wig), would you think?  The letter identifies a non-identified issue as a "problem" and it has caused problems with the family and he is attempting to address it.  Bradley writes that he doesn't know what to do "and the only 'help' that seems to be available is severe punishment and/or getting rid of me."

If you read that, be honest, you might say, "I"m keeping this kid.  He's suffering with something, he's trying to address it, he fears talking about it is going to get him kicked out.  I'm not going to do that to him.  He's in pain and I'm not going to turn on him."

Coombs presented a defense that didn't indict the military, it actually made it possible to see keeping Brad in the military as potentially being his superiors' attempt to help him.

I would love for Alexa O'Brien's Tweets to be accurate but they're not.  She's in fantasy land with what she wishes would happen.  When we cover military proceedings or trials, we don't sugar coat or feed fantasies.  We talk about what actually happened.  And what happened here is Coombs' argument is that the superiors were wrong to deploy 'sick' Bradley but the arguments made don't make the superiors look uncaring.

Let's deal with the other damage today.  Brad's statements.  An attorney can't stop a client from speaking.  Brad may have wanted to speak and may have wanted to speak those words.  Guess what?  You scream and yell and try to get across to him not to.

Bradley stated today he was wrong, he should have tried military channels, he was sorry for the damage he had done.

What the f**k was that?

Is that statement supposed to help when the defense appeals?  Is that statement supposed to lead tons of people to gather with signs that "WE SUPPORT BRAD! HE WAS WRONG!"

Brad's been found guilty in the military proceedings.  Those statements should have been made before that ruling.  Are they sincere?  Who knows but if he was wrong and he did damage, why did the defense argue that damage was not proven?

As a defense attorney, your job is to save your client.  And you can say almost anything to do that and I will more than understand.  We went over that before Bradley admitted to being the leaker.  For three years, we pointed out he might maintain he was innocent or any number of things and that he had a right to do that or whatever was needed to save him.

The statement today will not save him and may just cost him legitimacy.  Coombs should have made that clear to him.  He should have said that the admission of guilt and being wrong should have been made during arguments of guilt or innocence.  Barring that, when the court-martial moved into the sentencing phase, if the statement had to be made, it should have been made at the start of defense arguments, not as they were concluding.

Colonel Denise Lind concluded Brad was guilty.  She and only she will determine the length of his sentence.  The statement will likely have little impact in decreasing the years she sentences Brad to.  They may make her sentence him to a longer sentence.  Why?  He's acknowledged guilt, he's bought into the prosecution's argument that he did great damage.  So if he feels that way, why does she need to consider that the prosecution was wrong or over zealous?  She doesn't.  Equally true, coming when it did, the statement can come off craven and Lind could see it as an attempt to manipulate her.

It was a huge mistake.

David Coombs is an awful attorney.  He's refused to address whatever Bradley's orientation is while arguing 'sickness' and now the client is stating his whistle-blowing was wrong and did damage?  If you're not getting how badly Coombs handled serious issues grasp that the e-mail noted in yesterday's hearing, which had a photo of Brad in a wig?  The military, which sits on the court transcripts, managed to release the photo of Brad in the wig today.  Coombs took serious issues, refused to address them and now the whole thing's basically a freak show.

Kevin Gosztola (FiredogLake) reports, "What came out is Manning was suffering from gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID). His therapist in Iraq, Cpt. Michael Worsley, diagnosed him with GID after he opened up to him in May 2010. The sanity board that reviewed whether he was fit to stand trial diagnosed him with GID in April 2011. And the forensic psychologist, who was tasked with reviewing Manning’s records for the defense, Navy Captain David Moulton, diagnosed him with GID and found that to be the primary disorder of which he was suffering."  In that quote, Gosztola is reporting what witnesses said.  It doesn't tell us a damn thing about Brad.  That's not me dogging Kevin G.  He reported on the hearing in that quote.  It's got nothing to do with him.  But Brad was ruled competent to stand trial so Brad is competent enough to define himself and I don't know any LGBT groups that would argue the government gets to define who you are.  All Coombs did was tell you what government employees -- after the leak -- thought.  If you're going to make this defense an issue, you're going to need to speak for Brad on it or have Brad speak on it.  Sexuality, please pay attention here, can not be defined by others.  That's what creates sexual closets (and discrimination laws).  Sexuality can only be defined by the individual.  Coombs is an idiot and his arguments are honestly offensive -- the the transgendered, to the whistle-blowers, you name it.

So, no, Alexa O'Brien, that is not a win -- certainly not for other whistle-blowers.  David Coombs is a damn idiot who screwed up the case (I believe because he's so stupid but questions have been raised for months as to whether Coombs was part of an effort to railroad Brad).

Let's also be really clear that with this argument made by the defense, they could have made it in 2010 or 2011 or 2012.  Meaning Bradley's being locked away for all those years was for what?  Had the defense told the government that Brad intended to plead guilty and to admit he was wrong and had done damage, the military would have either immediately started the court-martial or drawn up a plea agreement for Brad to sign.

Years were wasted so that Brad could disown his actions and agree with the government's argument against him?

Don't portray that as a victory.

(I look forward to Brad having a different attorney in appeals.)

Betty's "Worthless Women's Media Center" notes Gloria Steinem is about to claim a Medal of Freedom from the White House:

At a time when Bradley Manning is being railroaded in a military procedure (like C.I., I'm not calling that a "trial" -- I'm not giving it that sort of credence), when Ed Snowden is being savaged by the White House for being a whistle blower, when the government is illegally spying on us, when The Drone War is killing hundreds, when the White House refuses to call out the military coup in Egypt or to cut off funds, Gloria Steinem is going to accept an award from this administration? In the words of Saturday Night Live, "Bitch Please." Not only is Gloria a disgrace, but so is Women's Media Center.  You want tp whine like a little bitch that women aren't brought on to be experts/gasbags by the media on all sorts of topics?  You want to bitch that women only get brought on for so-called 'women's issues' topics? Then get off your old, tired asses and start letting women weigh in at your site on illegal spying and other issues that effect us all.  You are the problem with every article being about media portrayals and avoiding what's being done in America. That some crap about Wimbeldon passes for hard hitting at WMC is embarrassing. That you don't realize you are now the problem - unable to feature women taking on today's political issues at your political site -- is appalling. Again, Robin, Gloria, you lied for years.  Like most Americans I didn't know you were Socialists.  If I had, it wouldn't have been a problem.  But to find out that you tricked and lied all those years?  I don't ever want to hear you during the Democratic primaries.  Just shut your mouths.  Democratic primaries are for Democrats so shut your mouths. And Gloria, I'm going to get a lot more vocal here if you accept an award from Barack.  You damn well know the right thing to do, the only thing to do, is to turn it down on behalf of the Muslims who are targeted and killed around the world by Barack, on behalf of the whistle-blowers like Bradley Manning and Ed Snowden, on behalf of brave journalists like NYT's James Risen, on behalf of those condemned to Guantanamo. Don't make me go all  Stacey Lattisaw on your ass, by which I mean "Nail It To The Wall."

Agreed.  And if Gloria accepts that award while Lynne Stewart remains dying in prison, may she face the full wrath of everyone.  There is no reason for a feminist or anyone concerned with social justice to accept the award from the administration.  But while Lynne remains dying in prison?

Shame on you, Gloria, shame on you.

Lynne Stewart is a US political prisoner.  For the 'crime' of issuing a press release, she was eventually tossed in prison.  The 'crime' happened on Attorney General Janet Reno's watch.  Reno has her detractors who think she was far too tough as Attorney General.  She also has her supporters who see her as a moderate.  No one saw her as 'soft.'  Reno had her Justice Department review what happened.  There was no talk of a trial because there was no crime.  No law was broken.  The Justice Department imposes guidelines -- not written by Congress, so not laws -- on attorneys.  Lynne was made to review the guidelines and told not to break it again.  That was her 'punishment' under Janet Reno.  Bully Boy Bush comes into office and the already decided incident becomes a way for Attorney General John Ashcroft to try to build a name for himself. He goes on David Letterman's show to announce, after 9-11, that they're prosecuting Lynne for terrorism.

Eventually tossed in prison?  Even Bully Boy Bush allowed Lynne to remain out on appeal.  It's only when Barack Obama becomes president that Lynne gets tossed in prison.  It's only under Barack that the US Justice Depart disputes the judge's sentence and demands a harsher one (under the original sentence Lynne would be out now).  Lynne's cancer has returned.

She needs to be home with her family.  Her time is limited and it needs to be spent with her loved ones.  Lynne's a threat to no one -- not today, not ten years ago.  She's a 73-year-old grandmother who has dedicated her life to being there for people who would otherwise have no defenders.  Even now in prison, she shows compassion towards those who have had none for her.  Barack Obama needs to order her immediate release.  If he fails to do so, then it should be a permanent stain on his record.

This week on Black Agenda Radio (airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network),  hosts Nellie Bailey and Glen Ford spoke to Lynne's husband Ralph Poynter.

Nellie Bailey: But first, supporters of Lynne Stewart, The People's Lawyer, serving a ten year sentence, who is suffering from Stage IV breast cancer got some bad news last week.  The judge who sent her to prison rejected her request for compassionate release saying he had no choice in the matter because the Obama administration had previously turned her down.  Ralph Poynter is Lynne Stewart's husband and lifelong comrade in struggle.  We asked him what's the next step?

Ralph Poynter:  What is next is what Lynne had expected.  She had urged her lawyers to file for compassionate release even if the papers were not finished.  And, as a matter of fact, three weeks ago she reapplied for compassionate release to be ready the moment that it was turned down by Judge [John] Koeltl.  He had said he would give it expeditious attention when it came from the Bureau of Prisons.  Now that is the letter of the law, that it has to come from the Bureau of Prisons, recommended by them.   Now under Lynne's first appeal for compassionate release, the warden at Carswell Federal Medical Center and the physicians there agreed that Lynne should have compassionate release and they filed for it as per the law.  And then, in an extraordinary situation, the Justice Dept, under Samuels who is the head of the national Federal Bureau of Prisons let it sit on his desk for eight weeks never answering it.  Now I will allow people to use their own judgment as to what happened there.   And along with this set of facts that the Bureau of Prisons, Samuels in Washington, DC didn't act on the warden's, from Carswell's, application for compassionate release for Lynne, as per law.   Then we find out that the Justice Dept has argued against Lynne's cert before the Supreme Court to have her case heard in another very unusual situation.  So we have the administration in Washington -- that is Obama, Holder -- to keep another whistle-blower, Lynne Stewart, in prison.

Glen Ford: They seem intent on keeping her there until she departs.

Ralph Poynter: Until death.

Glen Ford:  Now the judge, what do you read into his ruling?  The legal language is rather dry, but did you get the impression that he would have liked to have --

Ralph Poynter:  Yes, that is what he has been saying.  That if he were to grant Lynne's compassionate release, it would be breaking the law.  The law is very specific, that says that after a person applies for compassionate release, the warden has to look at that and then forward it on the behalf of the prisoner.  The prisoner cannot do it without the warden's consent.  The warden at Carswell consented.  He read the papers of the attending physician and they said Lynne has complied with all the necessary conditions for compassionate release and this is where the trouble continued, in Washington, with [Charles] Samuels, with the Justice Dept and I call it under the guise of President Obama who seems to enjoy doing the work of this oppressive, corporate juggernaut that is squeezing us all and keeping the truth from us all and continuing the oppression of the American people.  But the judge did question the prosecutor as to his understanding that Lynne was dying.  And the prosecutor answered that he was perfectly aware but he challenged the judge on the law.  This is where we are.  And I just want people to understand it is clear where this is coming from.  And you put that together with the government's opposition in a rare situation to challenge Lynne's right to go to the Supreme Court, it makes sense.  It begins to fit -- even for those who do not want to recognize who and what Mr. Obama is and who or where this government is going.  

Glen Ford: And now for Lynne's supporters, the pressure must be brought directly against Eric Holder and the President.

Ralph Poynter:  Exactly and we can no longer kid ourselves.  We must notice that the unions who have talked about bringing justice to their membership -- and if you don't have a lawyer, there can be no justice.  The unions have not participated as a group in Lynne Stewart, Bradley Manning, [Ed] Snowden or any of the other issues around the Bill of Rights, Freedom of Speech, etc. The ministers have not participated in this struggle.  And what I say to people of color who voted for Obama on the average of 90% must understand who is on their side. And if they understand that 35 years of service to our community by Lynne Stewart and then see what their president is doing to Lynne Stewart -- and I'm continuing my dance in front of the White House until Lynne is freed or until we pick her up in a box.

Law and Disorder Radio  has provided these numbers for people to call and demand Lynne be released:

Please call to push for Lynne’s release from prison.

  • U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels – 202-307-3198  Ext. 3
  • U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder – 202-514-2001
  • President Barack Obama – 202-456-1111]

Ralph's fighting for his wife to be able to die at home among her loved ones and Gloria's planning to grab an award from the administration working to see that Lynne dies in prison?  Who was it that said: "Once we give up searching for approval we often find it easier to earn respect"?  That's right, Gloria Steinem.  It's time to walk it the way you talk it.

The US State Dept issued the following this afternoon:

Secretary Kerry to Deliver Remarks to Open U.S.-Iraq Diplomatic and Political JCC

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 14, 2013
On August 15, Secretary of State John Kerry and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari will convene the fourth meeting of the Political and Diplomatic Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA). This JCC builds on the Secretary’s visit to Iraq in March and provides another opportunity for direct engagement on this important bilateral relationship.
The Strategic Framework Agreement – established in 2008 – is the foundation of the U.S.-Iraq relationship and the vehicle to strengthen our bilateral strategic partnership. Political and diplomatic engagement is one of the seven areas of cooperation under the SFA to strengthen coordination and cooperation in areas of critical interest to both countries. The last JCC was held in Baghdad in September 2012, and remains an important venue for advancing key bilateral priorities in support of Iraqi and regional stability.
The Secretary and Foreign Minister will deliver remarks to open the JCC at 11:15 a.m. at the Department of State.
The Secretary and Foreign Minister’s opening remarks will be open to the press.
Pre set for video cameras: 10:30 a.m. from the 23rd Street Lobby.
Final access time for journalists and still photographers: 11:00 a.m. from the 23rd Street Lobby.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport).
For further information, please contact the Office of Press Relations at (202) 647-2492.

This was not addressed in today's State Dept press briefing but did come up in Monday's briefing spokesperson Marie Harf moderated:

QUESTION: Related to al-Qaida --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- al-Qaida claimed responsibility for a very bloody weekend in Baghdad. Do you have any --

MS. HARF: In Iraq?

QUESTION: -- anything to say about that? Iraq.

MS. HARF: Yes. And we put out a statement over the weekend, so I’d encourage folks to take a look at it. We condemn in the absolute strongest possible terms the cowardly attacks that took place in Baghdad, especially the fact that they were targeting families celebrating the Eid holiday. These terrorists who committed these acts are enemies of Islam and a shared enemy of the United States, Iraq, and the international community.
We made clear in our statement that most of these attacks have been perpetrated by al-Qaida in Iraq. We put out some more information over the weekend about their leader and the reward that we have out there for his capture. But again, I would reiterate what we’ve said that a majority of Iraqi people have rejected this kind of terrorist violence and that the leaders of Iraq have been working together along with us in a supporting role to help fight this common enemy.

QUESTION: So you did express your desire or your intent to shore up Iraq’s ability to fight al-Qaida. What kind of new efforts that you are doing with the Iraqis to do that?

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t have anything new to announce for you, and as a general matter we often don’t discuss specifics about counterterrorism cooperation. I will say that we’ll continue to work with Iraq to both overcome the threat of terrorism but also to bring justice to those who continue to perpetrate these crimes. Obviously, these are a constant reminder of the challenges that Iraq faces, but we will continue to explore at the same time possible ways to increase our counterterrorism cooperation going forward.

QUESTION: Has the Iraqi security force been capable up until this recent wave of bombings of maintaining security inside the country? And along with that, why couldn’t it be argued that this might be a possible moment for the U.S. to revisit the question of a status of forces agreement with Iraq to help it stabilize and restore security particularly in Baghdad?

MS. HARF: Well, I’d make a couple points. I think the first is that we have seen an uptick in recent months in al-Qaida in Iraq and terrorist attacks in Iraq. So we will continue working with the security forces, with counterterrorism cooperation. As al-Qaida has perpetrated more attacks, clearly we will look for new ways to cooperate on counterterrorism. I don’t want to venture to guess, hypothetically, what that might look like. Clearly, we have a close relationship with the Government of Iraq and will continue working with them, again, to fight this shared enemy.

QUESTION: What sort of proposals might Secretary Kerry bring to the Foreign Minister, Mr. Zebari, when he visits here on Thursday?

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t have any specifics to preview for you. I will just give you a quick preview of Foreign Minister Zebari’s visit. He’ll be visiting this week to join Secretary Kerry in co-chairing a meeting of the Political and Diplomatic Joint Coordination Committee under the U.S-Iraqi Strategic Framework Agreement. This meeting will take place on Thursday morning at the State Department. Foreign Minister Zebari will also engage with a number of senior State Department officials who will participate in the committee meeting, and then there’s a lunch to follow. I’ll have more details on this specifically later in the week.

 Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count counts 364 violent deaths so far this month.  And August's half-way mark still hasn't been reached.  That averages out to 28 violent deaths a day in the ongoing war.  But deaths aren't the only signs of violence.  There's being injured, there's being kidnapped.  Kidnappings have been on the rise in 2013 and National Iraqi News reports the latest is Mohsen al-Bayati, director of Oil Products Distribution, who was kidnapped today en route to Tuz Khurmatu.  In other violence, All Iraq News reports Ahmed al-Rahman, Baghdad Traffic Directorate Colonel, was assassinated by a sticky bombing.  NINA notes that a pharmacy in Tikrit has been blown up as has a military officer's home in Falluja. AFP reports 2 Baquba bombings have claimed 14 lives and left twenty-six people injured.  Xinhua adds, "Earlier in the day, a judge and his driver were shot dead by gunmen after he left a court in the town of Siniyah, some 210 km north of Baghdad, another police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity."

Nouri al-Maliki has no answers so the failed prime minister resorts to mass arrests.  NINA notes 75 arrests in Kikruk during the early morning hours. Prior to that announcement, Alsumaria notes Nouri announced today that already there had been 800 mass arrests across Iraq so far this week.

 Back in July 2012, Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observed, "Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has struggled to forge a lasting power-sharing agreement and has yet to fill key Cabinet positions, including the ministers of defense, interior and national security, while his backers have also shown signs of wobbling support."  That remains true and that's on Nouri.  (It's also on Barack but we don't have time to review that today.)  As Ayad Allawi rightly noted in real time, this was a power grab and Nouri had no intention of appointing people to those posts.  (Nouri nominates, Parliament approves.  Once Parliament approves, the person has the appointment unless they step down -- or die -- or unless Parliament votes to strip them of the appointment.  Nouri cannot fire any Minister which is why he has refused to nominate people to head those ministries and instead created 'acting' ministers -- this allows him to control them -- and it is unconstitutional.) All Iraq News notes today:

 Mouaed al-Oubaidi, the leader within the National Reformation Trend headed by, Ibrahim al-Jaafary, called the government to expedite nominating the security ministers.
He stated to All Iraq News Agency (AIN) "The ministers of the Interior and Defense Ministries must be nominated, but the ministers must not be acting ones."

NINA notes that Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq's Ammar al-Hakim met with Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq today to address the breakdown in security.   National Iraqi News Agency reports:

The head of the Iraqiya coalition, the Secretary-General of the National Accord Movement, Iyad Allawi said "the commander in chief of the armed forces, Nouri al-Maliki shirks from responsibility trying to blame political partners, in managing the security file."
Allawi said in his personal account on / Twitter / that "after all these bombings al-Maliki Manipulates in words, trying to find justifications and shirks himself from responsibility and blame others."

All Iraq News notes the comments here.  With violence on the rise and criticism targeted at him, Alsumaria noted this morning Nouri planed to start delivering weekly speeches.  Reuters notes today's here.  It's ridiculous.  We may go over it tomorrow.  We don't have space or time today.

 Al Mada notes this Daily Beast commentary by Bruce Riedel about the latest version of al Qaeda.  Mark Thompson (Time magazine) observes, "The U.S. invaded Iraq 3,802 days -- and 4,486 American lives -- ago. As Iraq moves ever closer to civil war -- 1,057 died there last month, the highest toll in five years, with more than 100 perishing in nationwide bombings since last weekend --  the U.S. basically can do little to quell the violence its invasion a decade ago helped make possible."   John Defterios (CNN) notes the impact the violence is having on Iraq's oil output:

The latest figures from Iraq's ministry of energy illustrate the direct link between the violence and the country's oil output. In May, monthly production hit nearly 77 million barrels in the two major regions Basra and Kirkuk. That sunk, the ministry said, to fewer than 70 million in June as daily production tumbled to less than three million barrels a day.
According to the U.N., the death toll jumped from 595 killed in April to 963 in May -- and more than 1,000 were killed in July.
This is a quick turn of fortunes after Iraq surpassed neighboring Iran as the second largest oil producer within OPEC last year, hitting a peak of 3.4 million according to Standard Chartered Bank in its latest report on the country.

We're closing with this from Amy Davidson (New Yorker) on a day when whistle-blowers are attacked not only by the White House but also by a supposed defense attorney:

What has Edward Snowden done for Barack Obama? According to the President, who spoke at a press conference on Friday, all Snowden did was rush him; he was already going to look and see if “some bolts needed to be tightened up” on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs before Snowden gave any documents to the Guardian or the Washington Post. Obama just would have done it quietly, getting a few things straight. Instead, here he was, coming out with a list of proposed reforms that somehow directly touched on programs and previous lies exposed by the leaks, and being asked by Chuck Todd if he considered Snowden a patriot.
“I don’t think Mr. Snowden was a patriot,” Obama said—quite a statement about a man he has never spoken to, and who has not yet been convicted of anything. “My preference—and I think the American people’s preference—would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws; a thoughtful, fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place.” Maybe “Mr. Snowden’s leaks triggered a much more rapid and passionate response,” and without him “it would have been less exciting and it would not have generated as much press.” But absent the passion, minus the risks, Obama was sure that if he had “sat down with Congress and we had worked this thing through,” the civil-liberties concerns would have been met in the same way—sometime or other.
What, one wonders, would have been the role of the public in this “fact-based debate,” given that so many of the facts were secret?

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