Saturday, January 04, 2014

Iraq and the lies some tell

Please go read Dirk Adriaensens' "Another year of slaughter in Iraq claims the lives of at least 21 media professionals."

It's a great piece, a strong one, about how journalists are killed in Iraq and it includes how certain outlets like CPJ don't count all the deaths.

For years, C.I. has made a point to note that she will not divide between 'stringer' or this or that.  Her attitude is if you're part of the production of news in Iraq, you're a journalist.  You're asked to do so much and you deserve credit -- especially if the credit comes after your death.

She's held CPJ and others accountable.  Reading Adriaensens's article, I learned from him that CPJ now applies that policy to Syria -- but still won't to Iraq.

We really are responsible, Americans, for the tragedy in Iraq.

And instead of owning our (bad) actions, we gladly pretend Iraq's perfect and wonderful.  We pretend Barack improved Iraqis' lives.

Nothing has gotten better in Iraq.

And the White House puppet Nouri al-Maliki is terrorizing the Iraqi people.

On the TV right now, they're saying "al Qaeda" has seized Falluja.


That sure is interesting and probably not true.

Nouri's been attackin Falluja (in Anbar Province) and it's probably that the people of Falluja -- armed I'm sure -- have taken back their town.

But the US press loves to whore for Nouri, loves to pretend he's not the new Pol Pot.

They work overtime to look the other way.  But then 'reporters' like Jane Arraf did that under Saddam Hussein as well.  Remember when the head of CNN wrote the NYT op-ed in 2003 after the start of the war about all the things CNN refused to report?  That's when Jane ran CNN's Iraq news desk.

So it's no surprises the she lies for Nouri today in her 'reporting' for Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor.  She lied before the start of the war -- refusing to report ugly news about Saddam and his family -- and she does the same today for Nouri.

Okay, it's the new year, make sure you caught the community coverage -- end of year coverage:

Yesterday, "2013: The Year of Exposure" went up here.  Other 2013 year in review pieces include Kat's "Kat's Korner: 2013 In MusicRuth's "Ruth's Radio Report 2013,"  "2013 in Books (Martha & Shirley)" and Ann's  ""10 Best Films of 2013 (Ann and Stan)" and Stan's "10 Best Films of 2013 (Ann and Stan)" which we reposted "10 Best Films of 2013 (Ann and Stan)," Rebecca's "10 most f**kable men of 2013" which we reposted "Rebecca offers up the 10 most f**kable men of 2013"  and Third's year in review edition included:


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

Friday, January 3, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the people of Iraq continue to be terrorized by Nouri al-Maliki, Abu Rhisa is a mobster the US government got in bed with, US combat pay is cut in many places but not Iraq, Iraq becomes a major topic at today's State Dept press briefing, Human Rights Watch wants answers, and more.

For those to foolish to grasp that US forces remain in Iraq -- as trainers, the US Army Special-Ops sent back into Iraq in the fall of 2012 by US President Barack Obama, etc -- check out Australia ABC's report on the Defense Dept cuts on combat pay in many locations around the world and pay attention to this:  "Military personnel will continue to receive imminent danger pay for serving in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where the US fought wars over the past decade."

Now we're moving to a lengthy section of today's State Dept press briefing.  After this morning's "Oh, look, it's al Qaeda! Oh, no, it's not! It's sometimes al Qaeda!," some may think spokesperson Marie Harf's saying what I want heard so we're including all of this!  No.  Although quickly, better eye glasses, Marie, they fit your face.  We're noting this because of the December 27th snapshot where I asked, "So before the year ends is anyone going to call the press on their b.s.?"  You can't say al Qaeda's increasing in Iraq and also applaud Barack's position.  There's an inconsistency there.  This was explored in the exchange that follows.  Lucas Tomlinson is with Fox News, Matthew Lee is with the Associated Press and Said Arikat is with Al Quds.

Lucas Tomlinson: Do you have an update on the violence in Iraq?

MS. HARF: Not an update from yesterday. I know we talked about this a little bit. Let me see what I have in here. Obviously, as I said yesterday, a number of our folks on the ground and in Washington remain in touch with all of the different parties in Iraq. I think I’d make the points I made yesterday that our overall point is to encourage moderates on all sides and isolate extremists on all sides, support the government in our fight against al-Qaida – a fight, as you know, we share – and help them learn from the lessons that we learned from fighting this. Obviously, we know the situation is very serious. No update on that today, but it’s something we’re very concerned about.

Lucas Tomlinson: Yesterday, you indicated that Syria was to blame for the increase in violence.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

Lucas Tomlinson: Do you stand by those comments?

MS. HARF: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, largely to blame. Obviously, there’s a lot of factors at play here. We know some of the recent history in Iraq with some of the sectarian tensions. I’d note that we are pleased that different political leaders have called for calm and have taken steps to try to move away from this kind of violence. But Syria obviously is an incredibly destabilizing force, not just in Iraq but elsewhere.

Lucas Tomlinson: Would you say al-Qaida is a part of this destabilizing force?

MS. HARF: Well, again, I think it’s sort of what you asked yesterday. There are different either affiliated groups with al-Qaida in the region or groups that might take ideology from al-Qaida that aren’t official affiliates. Certainly, we’re concerned about that. We have been in Iraq for a long time, as you know, with the al-Qaida affiliate there. But I’d say there are extremists on both sides here, and there are moderates on both sides, and that’s why we’re encouraging the moderates to step up increasingly and show these extremists that that’s not the way forward for Iraq.

Lucas Tomlinson: How would you define al-Qaida?

MS. HARF: In general, or in Iraq?

Lucas Tomlinson: Just in general.

MS. HARF: Okay. Well, what we’ve talked a lot about, I think, is – we talk a lot about al-Qaida core in here, right, and the success we’ve had in Afghanistan and Pakistan against the al-Qaida core group, which, quite frankly, is today a shadow of what it was, certainly on 9/11 but even after. At the same time, over the past few years, we’ve made it clear that we’re increasingly concerned about either official affiliates like AQAP or al-Shabaab, AQ in Somalia or elsewhere, but also concerned with extremist groups who may claim ideology with al-Qaida but aren’t official affiliates, and also concerned with sort of the lone wolves that are out there that may go on the internet and see extremist ideology and want to act on it.  So that’s why I think you’ve heard the President speak about this most recently at NDU, when he talked about the way forward and the threat we face and how we’re going to fight it.

Lucas Tomlinson: There was a UN report that was just released that said there were over 8,000 civilians killed in Iraq over the last year --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

Lucas Tomlinson: -- the most deadly year in Iraq since 2008. And critics of the Administration’s policies would say their policy in – your policy in Iraq would say that we abandoned the country. Can you respond to that?

MS. HARF: Well, a few points. Obviously, we’ve condemned this violence in the absolute strongest terms. But let’s be clear who’s responsible for the violence. It’s the terrorists who were behind it. That’s why we are partnering with the Iraqi Government very closely to fight this shared threat, because at the end of the day we can certainly help them fight it, but we also want to help them build their own capability to do so themselves, because ultimately that’s the best way forward for Iraq. So I don’t think we need to relitigate policy decisions that were made however many months ago. But today, what we’re focused on is the relationship, how we work together very closely on this issue, and fighting this challenge, certainly, together.

Lucas Tomlinson: Bottom line, would you say the threat of al-Qaida is increased in Iraq and Syria?

MS. HARF: Well, I think I would say both in Syria and Iraq – well, certainly – let’s start with Syria. I think the threat of terrorism and extremism has increased as a direct result of the atmosphere the Assad regime has created in Syria, the fact that they have decided to engage in violence against their own people and really create a security vacuum has led to a very serious situation where terrorists like al-Qaida affiliated or people that claim ideology with al-Qaida can flourish. Obviously, that’s why we’ve said that we need to move quickly to end the civil war there even though it’s very, very complicated and hard to do.

Lucas Tomlinson: Doesn’t the al-Qaida threat in Syria, the al-Qaida presence, come from Anbar province in Iraq?

MS. HARF: Well, I think that’s an oversimplification of sort of the al-Qaida picture in the region. I think that there are extremists and terrorists operating in both. I don’t know what the flowchart looks like necessarily or where all the fighters are coming from when we look at Syria. I’m happy to check with our experts and see, certainly, where they come from and how they get to Syria. But we’re concerned about it in both places, quite frankly, and that’s we are encouraging moderates within Iraq – in the government, in Anbar, and elsewhere – to step up and say this is not what we want for our country, to learn some of the lessons we learned, and to move forward, hopefully, with a less violent future.

Lucas Tomlinson: Can we agree that the threat of al-Qaida has increased in the Middle East?

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t – when you say “the threat from al-Qaida,” that’s sort of an overly vague and broad and almost without-meaning term.

Lucas Tomlinson: Well, the source of these attacks --

MS. HARF: Well --

Lucas Tomlinson: -- in Iraq came from al-Qaida.

MS. HARF: I think in some places, the terrorist threat has gotten worse. Like I said, in Syria, certainly as a direct result of what the Assad regime has done, the security situation, certainly the threat of either al-Qaida affiliated or ideologically affiliated groups has gotten worse. But when we take about, quote, “al-Qaida,” I’m not sure if you’re referring to al-Qaida core, which actually we don’t think has the reach into these places that it did in the past or that some people might think. It doesn’t mean they’re less dangerous, but when you’re talking about how to confront these groups, it matters where they take their direction from, quite frankly. And when you use the term al-Qaida, it matters what that means.

Lucas Tomlinson: Well, from the podium you’ve mentioned foreign fighters --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

Lucas Tomlinson:  -- and having – going towards Syria responsible for attacks against the Assad regime. Part of these flood of foreign fighters do come from Iraq --

MS. HARF: Absolutely.

Lucas Tomlinson: -- and from Anbar province.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

Lucas Tomlinson: And over the last year in Iraq, we’ve seen 8,000 civilians killed. I think it’s fairly self-evident that violence has increased and the cause of that increase in violence is the al-Qaida franchise.

MS. HARF: Well, I think the use of “franchise” is a helpful caveat. But again, who’s giving direction, operational direction, operational planning to the folks that are perpetrating this violence in Iraq? I’m happy to check in with our folks and see specifically what part of the terrorist org chart that is. Because again, it matters not just in the words you use but in how you fight it, something we’re working with the Iraqi Government to do all the time, and the Lebanese Government, as we talked a lot about, and others in the region as well.

Lucas Tomlinson: So lastly, you will not say from that podium that the threat of – from al-Qaida is increasing in the Middle East?

MS. HARF: Well, I would say the threat from al-Qaida core has significantly decreased because of our efforts over the past several years. The threat of – from al-Qaida affiliates in some places has increased, certainly in Syria – we’ve talked about that. We’ve talked about that in Yemen. Each country is different, each group is different, and we will evaluate the threat each place differently. It’s just a little more complicated than that.

Matthew Lee: Without relitigating the decisions that were made in the last term or over the past couple years, can you just address the suggestion in one of the earlier questions that the United States abandoned Iraq?

MS. HARF: Well, I would fundamentally disagree with it. Just because we don’t have troops on the ground doesn’t mean we don’t have a continuing close partnership with the Iraqi Government. You see that all the time from the assistance we give them. We talked a little bit about it over the Christmas holiday, I think, some of the additional military assistance we’ve given them. So we don’t define a relationship with a country based on boots on the ground. In fact, it’s the opposite. We very much have a close and continuing partnership and we’ll keep working with them on this joint threat.

Matthew Lee: Was it not the Administration’s preference to keep a number of troops on the ground in Iraq?

MS. HARF: I’m really not going to relitigate the --

Matthew Lee: I’m not asking you to relitigate it; I’m just --

MS. HARF: Can I finish?

Matthew Lee: Yes.

MS. HARF: Thank you. I’m not going to go back into internal deliberations about whether we were going to and wanted to put a new SOFA in place, something that happened, what, two years ago now, two and a half years ago now? I just don’t think that’s a beneficial discussion to have from this podium. The President was very clear when he came into office that our goal was to end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. I just don’t think it serves any purpose to re-litigate those discussions from, what, 2011, in 2014.

Matthew Lee: I’m not asking you to relitigate it. Was the Administration not interested in concluding a SOFA with the Iraqi Government?

MS. HARF: I’m just not going to go back down that road. I don’t --

Matthew Lee: Well, the answer is yes, okay? And I don’t see why you can’t say --

MS. HARF: Do you want my job, then? You want to answer?

Matthew Lee: No, but I would prefer that you not try to sidestep. I mean, it’s a pretty --

MS. HARF: I’m not trying to sidestep it.

Matthew Lee: Yeah, you --

MS. HARF: We’re focused on 2014 and where we go from here. A discussion or debate about what we may or may not have --

Matthew Lee: His question was, “How do you respond --

MS. HARF: -- about what we may or not have wanted in 2011 --

Matthew Lee: Hold --

MS. HARF: -- is not relevant to the discussion today, Matt.

Matthew Lee: It’s completely relevant --

MS. HARF: It’s just not.

Matthew Lee: -- to the question that he asked --

MS. HARF: I disagree.

Matthew Lee: -- which was that critics– his question was critics suggest or say, claim, accuse the Administration of abandoning Iraq. And --

MS. HARF: And I disagreed with the premise.

Matthew Lee: Okay. And I’m asking you --

MS. HARF: Because I said --

Matthew Lee: Was the Administration interested in concluding a SOFA with the Iraqi Government or not back several years ago?

MS. HARF: I’m just not going to – I’m not going to go back down that road. What I’ve said is that you don’t define being --

Matthew Lee: Okay. You’re looking for a – you think that I’m trying to set a trap for you, and I’m not. I’m just trying to get a straight answer, and it’s a historical fact that you were involved in negotiations with the Iraq --

MS. HARF: Absolutely. I’m not saying we weren’t involved in them.

Matthew Lee: Okay. Well, then, what’s wrong?

MS. HARF: But you were asking what we wanted, what we didn’t want, what the content of the discussions were.

Matthew Lee: The whole point of the SOFA was the same point as the BSA in Afghanistan, which was to allow --

MS. HARF: They’re actually quite different.

Matthew Lee: I understand that, but it was to keep some presence --

MS. HARF: So don’t make that comparison.

Matthew Lee: -- to keep some presence on the ground in Iraq.

MS. HARF: Again, they’re very different situations.

Matthew Lee: Yes.

MS. HARF: Very different situations.

Matthew Lee: They are. But the suggestion if you deny that the U.S. abandoned Iraq --

MS. HARF: Absolutely. Because I don’t think it’s defined --

Matthew Lee: -- then you might want to explain --

MS. HARF: -- by boots on the ground.

Matthew Lee: Then you might want to explain to people that the Administration did try to conclude a SOFA with the Iraqis that would have allowed --

MS. HARF: I just don’t think that’s a helpful discussion to have today.

Matthew Lee: It’s the answer to the question, though.

MS. HARF: I don’t think it’s a helpful discussion to have today --

Matthew Lee: And if you --

MS. HARF: -- and I think I would define our engagement with Iraq not by boots on the ground.

Matthew Lee: Fair enough.

Lucas Tomlinson: But after 8,000 people are killed, that’s also not a helpful way to define our involvement in the country.

MS. HARF: Well, certainly we’re doing what we can to help them build their capability. We have been very clear that we are partners with Iraq in this shared fight, but we also were very clear about – the President was when he came into office about ending the war there, about building a new relationship going forward, and focusing on other security threats going forward.  So again, this isn’t something we’re going to relitigate here, something that happened in 2011. What we’re focused on now is how we continue building the relationship and building their capabilities.

Lucas Tomlinson: But to Matt’s point in – for the Administration to end the war in Iraq, did you all perhaps forget to leave behind some tools that could aid them in defeating adversaries?

MS. HARF: Absolutely not. Again, you don’t define a relationship with a country by boots on the ground. That’s just ridiculous.

Lucas Tomlinson:  But some would define the relationship about peace, and they define the relationship --

MS. HARF: Well, again, we can’t impose peace on people. I think that’s --

Lucas Tomlinson:  But you give them tools to aid them.

MS. HARF: Which is exactly what we’re doing. But it’s a tough fight and it’s a hard challenge, and these issues aren’t easy. If they were easy they would have been dealt with years ago. So it’s not like if we just flipped a switch and did x, y, or z, the terrorist threat in Iraq would go away. That’s just not how the – that’s not how it works.
So we’re helping them build their capability. We’re helping provide them with the tools, the guidance, the assistance, as they fight this fight. But it’s really up to them, in conjunction with us helping them, to push out the extremists, to encourage moderates, to learn the lessons we all learned from the years we were there when we did have boots on the ground, and try and move the situation forward in a better way.
Said. I’ve missed you.

Said Arikat: Happy New Year.

MS. HARF: We’re going to go to Said next. Happy New Year.

Said Arikat: I just wanted to follow up – happy New Year to you. I wanted to follow up on Iraq. So you agree with the tactics that the Maliki government is using? Is that what you’re saying?

MS. HARF: That’s not what I’m saying --

Said Arikat: All right.

MS. HARF: -- at all. We’re obviously --

Said Arikat: But you said you’d leave it up to them how they want to conduct this operation.

MS. HARF: Well, that was a broad statement. So we’re obvious following – if you’re talking about Anbar --

Said Arikat:  Right.

MS. HARF: -- we’re obviously following the events in Anbar. We’ve been encouraged by efforts by several of Iraq’s political leaders to contain the crisis in Anbar and unite forces against extremists. Obviously, we’re in close contact from the ground by Ambassador Beecroft here, from Brett McGurk and others, with the Iraqi Government at all levels to discuss the way forward. We’re following the situation there and helping in any way we can.

Said Arikat: Now, seeing how the United States is also sending drones and so on to strike terrorist camps in Yemen and other places, why not do the same thing in Iraq?

MS. HARF: Each country is different. Each situation is different. And we provide assistance with counterterrorism in different ways everywhere. They’re just not always comparable situations.

Said Arikat: Is that because there is a lack of agreement on these things between you and the Iraqi Government?

MS. HARF: There’s just different situations. I would hesitate from making any generalizations or analysis of it. They’re just all different.

That's the State Dept transcript (I think I edited out a one line exchange -- not from the three reporters -- as I rushed to insert the names of the reporters -- it's something like "Happy New Year" -- it's not pertinent to the exchange if I did edit it out by accident).

Let's move to Bob Somerby who's really flaunting the ignorance these days.  He continues to pimp that bad New York Times article but he's really flaunting his ignorance in a way that you rarely get.  At least not since we ridiculed him for at Third Estate Sunday Review many years ago.  Since then, Bob's kept that embarrassing and stupid side of himself hidden.  Today he's takes his crazy for a cruise down the freeway:

Krugman was right on target! Over the past several decades, our discourse has been ruled by script. Again and again, these “story lines” have shaped the coverage of various issues and events, often “in the teeth” of rather obvious evidence.

A) It's not 'script," it's narrative you morons -- that's Krugman and Bob.  Narrative.  That's what called throughout the 20th century and if either man understood journalism, they might grasp that.

B) In fairness to Krugman, he hopefully has learned something since 2004.  If not, he's as ridiculous as Bob Somerby because . . .

C) Check out the vanity on Somerby.

'The press went after my roommate Al Gore!  And I discovered the press wasn't fair!'

Who the hell do you think you are?

He's an ahistorical idiot who repeatedly glorifies the press up until Al Gore's persecution by the press.  He's forever waxing on about Walter Cronkite and how wonderful the press was then.

His vanity that tells him he's discovered a new land?  It's lying to him.

We lived up in Cambridge
And browsed in the hippest newsstands 
Then we started our own newspaper
Gave the truth about Uncle Sam
We loved to be so radical
But like a ragged love affair
Some became disenchanted
And some of us just got scared.
Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you just playing possum for awhile
-- "Playing Possum," written by Carly Simon, first appears on her Playing Possum

In 1908, Mary Baker Eddy started the Christian Science Monitor.  Why?  As the paper explains:

One answer might be found in a story the Monitor’s Washington bureau chief, David Cook, related in a talk several years ago:
"Consider this case. It is 1907. An elderly New England woman finds herself being targeted by Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. She is 86 years old and holds some unconventional religious beliefs that she expounds in a book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The book becomes a bestseller, making her wealthy and a well-known public figure.
The New York World decides she is incapable of managing her own affairs and persuades some of her friends and her two sons to sue for control of her estate. Although Boston and New Hampshire newspapers and major wire services interview this woman and find her competent, the New York World is unrelenting. The lady in question finally is taken to court where the case against her is dropped.
And the next year this woman, Mary Baker Eddy, founds The Christian Science Monitor.
Given her experience with the press, it is not all that surprising that she sets as the Monitor’s goal 'to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.' In one of life’s little ironies, Joseph Pulitzer went on to endow the Pulitzer prizes for journalistic excellence.
And Mrs. Eddy's newspaper has gone on to win seven Pulitzer Prizes so far, the latest in 2002 for editorial cartooning.

Here's another name: Ida B. Wells and, guess what, her problems with the press were a lot more serious than their mocking of some Ivy league-er who was forever sticking his own foot in his own mouth.  From PBS' The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow:

While living in Memphis, Wells became a co-owner and editor of a local black newspaper called THE FREE SPEECH AND HEADLIGHT. Writing her editorials under the pseudonym "Iola," she condemned violence against blacks, disfranchisement, poor schools, and the failure of black people to fight for their rights. She was fired from her teaching job and became a full-time journalist. In 1892, Tom Moss, a respected black store owner and friend of Barnett, was lynched, along with two of his friends, after defending his store against an attack by whites. Wells, outraged, attacked the evils of lynching in her newspaper; she also encouraged the black residents of Memphis to leave town. When Wells was out of town, her newspaper was destroyed by a mob and she was warned not to return to Memphis because her life was in danger. Wells took her anti-lynching campaign to England and was well received. 

In the 18th century in the United States, there was Helen Hunt Jackson and her work documenting the governmental abuse of the Native Americans:

Her interest in the subject began in Boston in 1879 at a lecture by Chief Standing Bear who described the forced removal of the Ponca Indians from their Nebraska reservation. Jackson was incensed by what she heard and began to circulate petitions, raised money, and wrote letters to the New York Times on the Poncas' behalf. As one observer noted, she became a “holy terror.” (Friends and critics have variously described her as “passionate,” “volatile,” “defiant” and “uncompromising.” Historian Antoinette May said she “lived a life that few women of her day had the courage to live.”) Jackson also began work on a book condemning the government's Indian policy and its record of broken treaties. When A Century of Dishonor was published in 1881, Jackson sent a copy to every member of Congress with the following admonition printed in red on the cover: “Look upon your hands: they are stained with the blood of your relations.”

In the same century, feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage would purchase Ballot Box to advance the fight for women to have the right to vote.  There was Nelly Bly, Ambrose Bierce and Henry Demerest Lloyd among others.  Of all from that time period, one of the most famous may be Frederick Douglass who started the anti-slavery newspaper The North Star.  Douglas used his press to fight for an end to slavery.

And Bob Somerby uses his to disprove the press claim that Al Gore said he invented the internet?

Some perspective, please.

In the 20th century, feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman would not only write the short story classic "The Yellow Wallpaper," she would also work on various magazines including her own, The Forerunner (1909 to 1916) where many of her finest works would appear including "If I Were A Man."  In 1970, feminists Norma Lesser, Colette Reid, Heidi Steffens, Marilyn Webb and Marlene Wicks started the periodical off our backs.  Prior to that, Progressive Party members James Aronson, Cedric Belfrage and John T. McManus founded the National Guardian newspaper (1948) to combat the Cold War mentality that dominated so much of the US press. It became the Guardian in 1968. It's Vietnam coverage included Wilfred Burchett's articles on the NLF.   And of course the 20th century saw I.F. Stone.  August 24, 1964, he opens his (non-MSM) report:

The American government and the American press have kept the full truth about the Tonkin Bay incidents from the American public. Let us begin with the retaliatory bombing raids on North Vietnam. When I went to New York to cover the UN Security Council debate on the affair, UN correspondents at lunch recalled cynically that four months earlier Adlai Stevenson told the Security Council the U.S. had "repeatedly expressed" its emphatic disapproval "of retaliatory raids, wherever they occur and by whomever they are committed." But none mentioned this in their dispatches. 

A one-person publishing industry and truth teller, Stone was needed precisely because the media little Bobby Somerby thinks was so fair once upon a time was not fair at all.  "All governments lie," Stone rightly said.

Seymour Hersh's reports on the abuses of the government under Bully Boy Bush were welcomed in The New Yorker.  Today he has to go to The London Review of Books to get "Whose Sarin?" published.  If he only he could have made himself useless like Jane Mayer who once had the guts and courage to report on torture and Guantanamo but now pads out DNC talking points and calls that reporting.  (Don't hiss too loudly.  Jane's best friend made the WikiLeaks documentary and she's suffered on the party circuit as a result.)

Bob Somerby longs for the return of a time that never existed -- people like him are the reason some see nostalgia as a sickness.

Whenever Bob Somerby starts 'explaining' the world to us, I groan and remember this:

None of these women need lectures from Washington about values.  They don't need to hear about an idealized world that never was as righteous or carefree as some would like us to think.

That was Hillary Clinton, the first time I ever heard her speak, August, 1992 at the ABA convention in San Francisco.  I miss that Hillary.

But I remember her words about how women didn't need "to hear about an idealized world that never was as righteous or carefree as some would like us to think" whenever Somerby's off on his idiotic claims of the wonderful press until the days when they went after Al Gore.

Bob Somerby wants to reinvent the wheel and divorce himself from history because, point of fact, the treatment of Al Gore was not the end of the world or even the most outrageous behavior of the press.

The press is out of control in every country and long has been because it sells the premise that it serves the people.  It doesn't.  It serves the power, it covers up for the power.  Every now and then, things get a little too outrageous -- even for those in power -- and we get an 'active' press.

The history of the press around the world is the same which is why I have less and less use for the critique of the for-profit press in a for-profit society.  The press works for those in power and serves those in power.

It treats public servents as divine kings, born of virgins, who must be worshiped.  It's disgusting.

To tell the truth of how power holds onto power, of who it victimizes and how it harms?

Historically, you've always needed something other than the mainstream press for that.

As is evident with the ongoing terrorization of the people of Anbar Province and the western press refusing to recognize those being harmed, wounded and killed.  Contrast western media's stenography with actual reporting from National Iraqi News Agency:

The people of Falluja are calling for help from the intensified artillery bombardment the city is being subjected to on Friday evening, Jan. 3.
Eyewitnesses say that Askari, Jighaifi and Shuhada neighborhoods are being subjected to heavy random bombing, and civilians are not safe anymore.
They point out that military units are trying to enter the city from the south and east, but heavy fight has forced them to withdraw.
Medical source at Falluja Hospital said that 3 bodies and 28 wounded have been received so far as a result of the bombing.

Among today's violence, NINA reports 2 police members were killed in a Ramadi armed clash, a Baquba attack left 2 Iraqi soldiers dead and a third injured, Anbar Operations Command announced they had killed 10 members of Levant and the Islamic State of Iraq, a Baghdad armed attack claimed the life of 1 police officer and left five more injured, 2 fighters in Ramadi were shot dead, a Hilla bombing left 1 police member dead and ten more injured, Tunisia's Abu Bara was killed by security forces,  and the Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq Abdul Rahman al-Baghdadi and 1 of his lieutenants were killed in Ramadi.

Throughout the week, Sahwa leader Ahmed Abu Risha's been stamping his feet and issuing statements (such as here) demanding other tribal leaders and the people of Anbar join with Nouri's assault.


Why's actually two part.

First off, no one really listens to him.  Other tribal leaders are stronger -- especially those not echoing Nouri's calls.

We're not talking about whoring -- yet -- although Risha is a whore.

We're talking history.

The tribes fall apart as a real influence in the 1960s.  As Iraq moves closer to a nation-state, the tribes matter less.  The US government, after the illegal war started in 2003, began (briefly) talking up the tribes and did so for a number of reasons.  The two primary ones?  The US was losing the illegal war and desperate to grab onto anything so the notion that the tribes had been helpful in 'pacifying' Iraq earlier became something to pimp.  But earlier was with the British at the start of the 20th century.  Again, by the 1960s their power had waned.

Their power waned because of the second reason that the US government wanted to pimp the lie.  If tribes really matter, heavens, why hasn't the US government been pumping money into them!  Immediately that began.  And that's why tribal leaders lost influence in the 1960s.  A number of them were cheap whores -- that includes Risha's family -- and took money from Saddam Hussein.  They ran corrupt little areas and grew rich.

And the people in the tribe were betrayed.

Not all tribal leaders in Anbar were like that.

And some still have influence because they were not bought paid for -- by Saddam or the US.

And it's these leaders that Whore Risha tries to intimidate and bully.

Risha knows a lot about bullying.  He learned it from his trashy mafia family.  His brother was a 'hero' to the US government in the early part of the illegal war.  Maybe the same fate awaits Risha?  September 13, 2007, his brother -- then the leader -- was assassinated on the outskirts of Ramai.  That's when Risha takes over.  He's known as the less charismatic brother.   Making Sense of Proxy Wars: States, Surrogates and the Use of Force (edited by Michael A. Innes) notes Risha is considered mafia in Iraq. He's a mobster.  He was that before the US came calling and put him in charge of Sahwa (also known as Awakenings and Sons Of Iraq).

In 2009, Dahr Jamail (Huffington Post) reported:

As early as April 2006, the Rand Corporation released a report, "The Anbar Awakening," identifying America's potential new allies as a group of sheiks who used to control smuggling rings and organized crime in the area.
One striking example was Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, who founded the first Awakening groups in al-Anbar and later led the entire movement until he was assassinated in 2007, shortly after he met with President Bush. It was well known in the region that Abu Risha was primarily a smuggler defending his business operations by joining the Americans.
Not surprisingly, given the lucrative nature of the cooperative relationship that developed, whenever an Awakening group sheik is assassinated, another is always there to take his place. Abu Risha was, in fact, promptly replaced as "president" of the Anbar Awakening by his brother Sheik Ahmad Abu Risha, also now in the "construction business."

[. . .]
Abu Risha's compound in Ramadi was even larger than Sheik Aifan's mansion -- and even more heavily guarded. We arrived to find an election official already waiting to take Aifan's written complaint on the rigging charges. The chief of police for the province was in attendance too, a sign of the power and influence of these two men who share a bond of power and money. (Abu Risha even owns a camel farm.)

Was it necessary to note that Risha's a thug, a mobster?  Considering that in today's State Dept press briefing, Marie Harf referred to the crook as a "moderate," yeah, it was.

Last year, Eli Lake (Daily Beast) jotted down Risha's whines.  He sounded like a man doing a very bad impression of Aretha Franklin singing Van McCoy's "Sweet Bitter Love" (from Aretha's Who's Zoomin' Who).

Why have you awaken and then forsaken
My magic, my magic dreams
They've all, they've all, all lost their spell
And where there, where I had a little bit of hope
Yes, sir, there is 
Oh, look at me now, there is an empty shell

In 2008, Risha met with Barack face-to-face.  But since?

He told Eli Lake, "There is no contact right now."  And he wanted to ask Barack, "Why did you leave Iraq to Iran? Why did you give up the many sacrifices that Americans made?"

Today, the Falluja Board of Directors released a statement: They're not on board with the attack on Anbar.

Risha can take comfort in the fact that a number of artists in Baghdad have endorsed the assault.  If that surprises you, you must have missed how many 'titans' of the entertainment industry got in bed with Bully Boy Bush. Or for that matter decided to whore for Barack -- I'm referring to the idiots who see their job as convincing Americans to support this or that program.  Maybe if, for example, Amy Poehler worried less about what Barack wanted her to say and more about her real job, Parks and Recreation wouldn't have such bad ratings, such lousy storylines (all that work for Barack allowed her to miss the fact that she's been turned into a supporting character on her own show) and this season might be the show's last.

As a general rule, when people put their trust in you, you need to be careful how you use it -- whether that's advertising or for some government.  You cheapen yourself when you whore and you should never betray your public by presenting them with a message you've failed to explain you were asked, by a politician, to present. Champion a cause, by all means, but that's different than being a megaphone for government.

That's whoring.  And that's what the artists covered in the story are doing as well.

Nouri's assault began this week with the attack on the peaceful protesters.

What some of the artists of Baghdad don't care about, Human Rights Watch notes:

(Baghdad) – Iraqi authorities should immediately order a transparent and impartial investigation into violence between security forces and antigovernment protesters in the western city of Ramadi. The fighting on December 30, 2013, left 17 people dead.
The investigation should also look into the apparently related killings of the brother and five bodyguards of a member of parliament, Ahmed al-Alwany, during his arrest on December 28.  The authorities should ensure that all those responsible for unlawful killings and other misuse of force are brought to justice.
“The facts of the Ramadi incident are unclear, but government statements before the clashes and the deployment of the army seemed intended more to provoke violence than prevent it,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Seventeen people died at Ramadi and the Iraqi authorities need to find out exactly what happened and why.”
In the early hours of December 30, hundreds of security force personnel descended on the Ramadi protest camp, where 300 to 400 Sunnis were protesting Iraq’s Shia-led government’s alleged use of abusive counterterrorism measures. Two witnesses told Human Rights Watch that at around 6:30 a.m., army and special police (SWAT) forces with at least 30 Humvee military vehicles, 20 pickup trucks, and 18 armored vehicles surrounded the Ezz and Karama square.
Witness accounts differ as to who began the shooting, but an exchange of fire between the security forces and armed tribesmen outside the square resulted in six deaths and ten wounded.
For a week, the authorities had repeatedly threatened to remove the protesters in Ramadi and other largely Sunni areas. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on December 27 accused the protesters of harboring al-Qaeda leaders,saying, “Today will be the last day of prayers at the Ramadi protest site,” and threatened to “burn down” the protesters’ tents. On December 23, Fadel Barwari, the commander of Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service, which oversees the SWAT forces, had said on his official Facebook page, referring to government operations against al-Qaeda in Anbar: “I swear to God I will kill those dogs and those who are with them. I will wipe them out.” He said his soldiers should “stomp them out without mercy.”
On December 28, the Iraqi state news agency reported that 30 armored vehicles had been deployed about 500 meters from the protest camp in Ramadi. In the last year of ongoing protests in Sunni areas, security forces fired on and killed peaceful protesters in at least four other incidents.
After the army surrounded the square on December 30, hundreds of men from local tribes armed with guns who had positioned themselves to defend the square fought back, the witnesses said. One protester told Human Rights Watch that the protesters had dug ditches next to their tents for protection, a precaution “learned after Hawija,” referring to a security force attack on a protest camp in April that killed at least 51 people. “As soon as the fighting started, people threw themselves into the ditches for cover,” he said. Among those killed were three people not involved in the fighting.
One protester said that fighting between city residents and security forces spread throughout the city by 8 a.m. and was still going on at 6:30 p.m., when he last spoke with Human Rights Watch. According to news reports, the December 30 clashes left 17 people dead, and clashes have continued intermittently throughout the week.
“The fighting is all over the place,” another witness, who lived two kilometers from the protest square, said that day. Three other Ramadi residents reported particularly heavy gunfire in neighborhoods throughout Ramadi and Fallujah.
The Ramadi residents told Human Rights Watch that they hid in their homes throughout the day to avoid crossfire. One said he hid under a staircase because “we can hear the bullets whizzing over our heads.”
On December 28, Iraqi army and SWAT forces arrested al-Alwany, a Sunni member of parliament, at his home in Ramadi, claiming officials wanted al-Alwany and his brother on suspicion of terrorism. During the arrest, security forces killed five of al-Alwany’s bodyguards and al-Alwany’s brother, Ali.
Agence France Presse reported a “ministry statement” claiming that the two brothers and their guards had opened fire on security forces, killing one and wounding five. The arrests and the deaths ratcheted up sectarian tensions in the area. A photograph posted on Facebook appeared to show a soldier stepping on Ali al-Alwany’s head immediately after his death.
Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi went to Anbar province at the time of al-Alwany’s arrest, apparently to negotiate an end to the protests. When Dulaimi left Ramadi on December 29 at about 9 p.m., he issued a statement  that if the squares were emptied within 48 hours, he would release al-Alwany. Immediately following his departure, security forces cut cellular communications and Internet access across Anbar province, according to a Defense Ministry statement to local media.
Ramadi residents told Human Rights Watch that immediately following al-Alwany’s arrest, army and SWAT forces surrounded Ramadi and imposed a curfew, prohibiting residents from driving or entering or exiting the city, or bringing in food or propane.
Ramadi’s protest camp has existed for about a year. In a television interview on al-Iraqiyya channel on the morning of the December 30 raid, a Defense Ministry spokesman, Mohamed al-Askari, denied that the “removing of tents” had “caused any loss of life” and warned of a “media escalation” of events. Al-Mada Press news agency reported that another Defense Ministry source had confirmed that the Ramadi square raid had led to heavy fighting and that security forces had surrounded the city the day before.
The parliamentary speaker, Osama al-Nujaifi, head of the Sunni “Mutahidun” block, said he sent a parliamentary committee to investigate the attack on the Ramadi square, but that forces from Baghdad Operations Command prevented the committee from entering Anbar province on orders from Prime Minister Maliki. Forty-four Sunni members of parliament resigned to protest the security forces raid after Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlak, another leading Sunni politician, called on Sunni members of parliament and government officials to resign.
The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials state that security forces in policing situations shall “apply nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms,” and that “whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall: (a) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense and the legitimate objective to be achieved; (b) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life.”
The Basic Principles further state that, “Governments shall ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offense under the law.” Military forces, when performing law enforcement functions, are also governed by these rules.
“The situation in Anbar is only getting worse,” Stork said. “The government should be taking urgent steps to quell violence from all sides.”

Despite this week's assault, guess who didn't hide?

The people of Falluja who turned out today to protest as Iraqi Spring MC documents.

الموحدة في مدينة : .

الفلوجة قبل قليل: .

NINA reports:

Sheikh Adnan Mishaal Imam and preacher of Friday unified prayers in which held in al-Dawlah mosque in Ramadi, said : " The current government of Baghdad is working to foment the spirit of sectarianism in Iraq in order to keep in power, as is the case in Syria.
He added during Friday sermon : " We do not want the release criminals and murderers, but we ask for the release of innocent prisoners and the abolition of Article 4 as well as the liar detective informant.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The one-sided New York Times

I may write about a TV show tomorrow night.  I've got one in mind that I want to start covering.

Second, Norman Pollack has another great column at CounterPunch and here's the opening paragraph:

 New Year’s Day, Michael Moore grudgingly, in a New York Times op-ed, finds something positive in Obamacare—not good enough, when comprehensive political-economic condemnation is in order. Liberals-progressives-radicals(?), toss out your rose-colored glasses—Obama and the Democrats are complicit in war crimes and domestic spying, indeed, more than complicit, they have valid creds as authors and/or enablers of a Reactionary Posture nudging America further toward fascism, if by that we mean, among other things, a corporatism so complete as to leave America an hierarchical framework of drastic wealth-inequality, military-incentivized, ideological-driven, all to the point of the globalization of American hegemony. Stukas and half-tracks, concentration camps and gas chambers, monster parades, these represent old-style fascism, and are no longer needed to accomplish the same results of societal conformity and, ultimately, thought control, all on behalf of a voracious capitalism never certain of absolute security.

In other news, Greg Mitchell is an idiot.  He's a f**king moron.

He reTweets a NYT article, as C.I. notes in the snapshot (that I'll post in a minute).

It's a really bad article.

If you doubt it, let me quote just one paragraph:

In a telephone interview on Thursday, one tribal fighter loyal to the government, Abu Omar, described heavy clashes across Falluja, and said the government had started shelling militant hide-outs. 

There are at least two sides fighting.

Is there a reason NYT can't quote another side?

Oh, that's right, they're pretending it's 'al Qaeda.'

Even after the State Department today noted how limited that label was. 

But that's the one-sided New York Times for you.

Read the snapshot.  Today's killed 'terrorists' include 2 children with two more injured.

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

Thursday, January 2, 2014.  Chaos and violence continue, the New York Times played people for fools on Benghazi, today they rewrite history on Iraq, 'media watchdog' Greg Mitchell idiotically reTweets the Times, Nouri assaults Anbar, children are being killed, where did Iraq get fighter jets, and so very much more.

We're going to start with Benghazi.  September 11, 2012, an attack in Benghazi left 4 Americans dead: Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens.

Sunday, the New York Times published David Kirkpatrick's garbage on the Benghazi attack.  I heard in November, from a White House friend, that the Times was doing a major front page article on the attack to help improve Susan Rice's image.  The White House designated Rice a press leaker in the first term and she remains that.  She is one of those 'government officials' who is given anonymity to leak flattering details about the White House or to attack White House opponents.

The silly Bob Somerby applauded the article, he wasn't the only one to do so.  I avoided the article thinking it would need a mention or two in the year-in-review.  Then I read it when I started writing  "2013: The Year of Exposure."

People who value journalism should not value this crap.  Andrew Rosenthal wrote an idiotic defense of the article and attack on its critics.  When the paper gets defensive, it's because they're caught lying.

Not caught by the people, they never give a damn about that.  But Democrats and Republicans in Congress have pushed back.  That's a bit of a surprise if you consider this is a week when people take time off.

So now the paper gets defensive.

In the year-in-review, I focused on the YouTube nonsense.  In paragraph ten of the long, long article, Kirkpatrick claims that the video is connected to the attack.

Alright then.  Walk us through it.

I believe he's given at least 7,200 words.

Few people will get 1,000 words to back up their point.

But Kirkpatrick can't back up his point.  The closest he comes is telling you an Egyptian program broadcast a clip of the video then moves to a Libyan man who supposedly backs up that the program is watched in Libya -- apparently by those with satellite TV.

Here's the thing though.  The Libyan man says they watch the Egyptian program on TV Fridays before morning prayers.  Okay well there are problems with that claim but let's let it go forward.  The article tells us that the Egyptian program aired the clip in the September 8th program.  Since the attack was in September 2012, we're talking about September 8, 2012.

Here are the two paragraphs we're talking about.

Then, on Sept. 8, a popular Islamist preacher lit the fuse by screening a clip of the video on the ultraconservative Egyptian satellite channel El Nas. American diplomats in Cairo raised the alarm in Washington about a growing backlash, including calls for a protest outside their embassy.
No one mentioned it to the American diplomats in Libya. But Islamists in Benghazi were watching. Egyptian satellite networks like El Nas and El Rahma were widely available in Benghazi. “It is Friday morning viewing,” popular on the day of prayer, said one young Benghazi Islamist who turned up at the compound during the attack, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

I can't believe how gullible and complaint people are.

Did no one read this damn report?

It's too long, granted.  But if you read it where was your brain?

September 8, 2012, one of the entries that went up here was "Nouri's criminal ways."  What didn't go up?  An Iraq snapshot.  Why was that?

I don't do a snapshot on Saturdays.

The argument is the Egyptian program popularized the video and the program is watched in Libya Friday mornings before prayers and that Friday they watched the program, saw the clip, it incited rage.  None of that is proven or even backed up.  But worst of all, if the clip was broadcast September 8th, no one in Libya saw it on that Friday because that was Friday, September 7, 2012.

Not only did the readers -- if anyone did read it -- fail to use their critical thinking, but there was no fact check of this awful article.

This article -- in an earlier form -- was so bad that the paper didn't run it.  In June, Kirkpatrick wrote a version of it.

You need to grow the hell up and grasp when you're being conned.  An article that didn't qualify to the paper as "all the news that's fit to print" in June is printed at great length in December?

What changed?

The deal to rehabilitate Susan Rice's image.

You're being conned and you're being lied to and if that's okay with you, then cheer the stupid article, but if you've got a brain in your head, now's the time to use it.

The article's being pimped as proof of two things -- the YouTube video caused what happened and that al Qaeda was not involved.

Earlier today, Mike and I talked about the article for his "Benghazi."  From that:

[Mike:] The other assertion is that al Qaeda was not involved.

C.I.: I don't believe the article proves who was involved but on al Qaeda, Kirkpatrick plays stupid.  I'm sorry, I'm doing the Iraq snapshot every day but holidays and I see the way the western press covers Iraq.  I have repeatedly noted that "al Qaeda" did not carry out this or that attack.  Sometimes the press will allow "al Qaeda-linked."  But I have repeatedly noted that the press needs to be precise in their reporting.  Kirkpatrick attempts to pin the blame on a group -- I don't think he succeeds which doesn't mean the group's innocent, it means he didn't back up his claims -- but that group -- which is not al Qaeda -- has been reported in many outlets before -- including the New York Times -- as al Qaeda or al Qaeda-linked.  To be clear, I don't know which group or groups carried out the attack.  I don't claim to.  But what I'm saying is Kirkpatrick's insisting it's group Z and group Z has often been said to be al Qaeda.  It's not.  Group Z is not.  But that is true of many groups the press falsely dubs al Qaeda. I've frequently written about this at The Common Ills and repeatedly the press needs to be precise when they speak of these groups.  Kirkpatrick can argue he is being precise to which I would reply I'm glad he's being precise and I hope everyone at the paper will be from the publication of his article forward.

Repeatedly here, I have called out various outlets that insist "al Qaeda in Iraq" or just "al Qaeda."  They use it as a catch-all.  Sometimes, with the same groups, if we've harped on it here enough, they'll go a week or two of saying "al Qaeda-linked" or "al Qaeda-affiliated."

Jonathan Karl (ABC News) quoted the CIA version of the events from an early draft:

The Agency has produced numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya.  These noted that, since April, there have been at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British Ambassador’s convoy. We cannot rule out the individuals has previously surveilled the U.S. facilities, also contributing to the efficacy of the attacks.

Here's Karl again:

Like the final version used by Ambassador Rice on the Sunday shows, the CIA’s first drafts said the attack appeared to have been “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” but the CIA version went on to say, “That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.”  The draft went on to specifically name  the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar al-Sharia.

Now I'm real sorry that Bob Somerby's an idiot.  But for several years now, we've argued here that this 'classification' is imprecise and needs to stop.

But it hasn't stopped.

I don't see that the New York Times article proves anything about who was behind the attack -- clearly the US government agrees with me on that since there are still no arrests for the attack -- but it's crazy for people to being splitting hairs over this.  I'm fine -- I am more than fine -- with a strict definition of al Qaeda.  But until that day comes, we've got what we've got.

Feel free to join me in demanding a strict definition.  I'm unaware that anyone has outside of the United Nations.  I'm certainly Bob Somerby's never bothered with the topic in all of his useless prattles.

A USA Today friend called to ask if we could note J.D. Gordon's column on Benghazi (it's online, it will be in tomorrow's paper).  We'll note this from it:

 Not only does that contradict U.S. intelligence authorities, including sworn testimony before Congress, it also purposely downplays the danger posed to all Americans from a wide variety of radical Islamic terror groups that routinely communicate and coordinate with each other. Many of these groups openly claim to be "affiliates" of Al Qaeda. Some of them almost certainly were among the Al Qaeda affiliates who participated in a rally in Benghazi in June of 2012, three months before the consulate killings. But when it comes to Al Qaeda, the Times defines the term even more narrowly than White House spokesman Jay Carney's reference to "Core Al Qaeda".

You can't keep stretching it back and forth.  Join me in demanding a strict definition or accept things as they are now.  If you're accepting them as they are now, Kirkpatrick's 'reasoning' doesn't hold up -- nor does it match other work product from the paper.

People need to learn to use their critical abilities.

Patrick Martin (WSWS) read the report and found a takeaway that's not going to thrill everyone:

A lengthy front-page report in Sunday’s New York Times provides additional confirmation that the attack on a US facility in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012 was the outcome of the Obama administration’s use of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists in its war against the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
The Times article, based on dozens of interviews in Benghazi, asserts that the attack that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was carried out by Libyans who had previously been allied with the US government in the 2011 war that overthrew and murdered Gaddafi. Times correspondent David D. Kirkpatrick writes that the attack was not organized by Al Qaeda or any other group from outside Libya, but “by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi.”

Just the fact that the paper published this tired story in the dead week tells you they knew it was nothing.  Unless a natural disaster takes place -- like the tsunami a few years back -- the paper's dead this time of year.  So the fact that they slip the article in this time of year should have raised eyebrows automatically.

If they had any faith in it, they would have run it in June.

If you're praising the article, you're not reading critically.  In fact, if you're eyes moved over this article and you're praising it,  I'm not even sure  we can call it reading, maybe "absorbing"?

Over 7,000 words and none of them back up the central claims.  No direct links are presented.  Kirkpatrick's article is like an early Sonny and Cher recording, it goes round and round but never hits the actual note.

If you were fooled by the Times again, take comfort that there's always a bigger fool.

Remember this:

Unlike a lot of media and political writers I am not one to let bygones be bygones, at least in a very few tragic or high stakes cases.  For example, the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences.  This explains my reaction to the Columbia Journalism Review today announcing, after a widely-watched search, that it was hiring Liz Spayd of The Washington Post as its new editor.

Now, I suppose I should review her entire career, for context, though others are doing it and you can read about it in plenty of places.  She has been managing editor of the Post for years now and obviously supervised a good deal of important work (and some not so terrific, of course).  But I am moved to recall, and then let go,  one famous 2004 article, by Howard Kurtz, then media writer at the Post, which I covered in my book on those media failures and Iraq, So Wrong for So Long.

That's Greg Mitchell in November and we called him out.  We didn't see sincerity in his remarks, no, we saw opportunism.

For those who think I was too harsh on noted sexist Greg Mitchell, he Tweeted today:

  • Think of the wasted lives, and scream: NYT reports radicals in Iraq possibly about to take over Fallujah and Ramadi.

  • So he was pissed about the press and Iraq and savaged a woman but today he's Tweeting the New York Times?

    I'm sorry, I thought Greg wrote:

    Unlike a lot of media and political writers I am not one to let bygones be bygones, at least in a very few tragic or high stakes cases.  For example, the media failures in the run-up to the Iraq war, given the consequences.

    He did.  He wrote that.

    He's not going to let bygones be bygones, he insists, and he's appalled still by "the media failurs in the run-up to the Iraq war" -- but not so appalled and not so anti-bygones be bygones that he's not going to reTweet the New York Times.  (And it's bad article on top of that -- it's more revisionary crap from the Times that sold the illegal war, but he's reTweeting it?)

    Okay, let's move to Iraq.  Today, the topic came up when spokesperson Marie Harf was doing the US State Dept press briefing.

    QUESTION: Marie, moving over to Iraq, does State Department have any comments on reports that al-Qaida has captured parts of Ramadi and Falluja?

    MS. HARF: Let me see what I have on that. So we continue to follow closely events in Anbar. We’re working to help all leaders focus on the threat to Iraq posed by al-Qaida. This is a common threat that we are obviously very familiar with, and we are helping to support the Iraqi Government in this common fight. We’ve been in constant – in close communication with the Iraqi Government. Ambassador Beecroft on the ground, Brett McGurk here from Washington have been engaging with government officials at the highest levels across the ethnic and sectarian spectrum in Iraq on this issue. We’ve encouraged the government to work with the population to fight these terrorists to draw on some of the lessons, quite frankly, we learned when we were there, to isolate extremists which exist on both sides, and encourage moderates on both sides. We obviously condemn in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks we’ve seen. There’s no place for this kind of violence in Iraq, and we are very committed to continuing to work with them to fight this common enemy together.

    QUESTION: Do you think the threat from al-Qaida is increasing in the Middle East?

    MS. HARF: That’s a pretty broad question. I think there are in some places, as I said I think to Matt’s question, either al-Qaida affiliates or groups that may share some sort of extremist ideology with al-Qaida, that in some places, particularly because of the civil war in Syria, have taken advantage of the security situation to perpetrate terrorist attacks. That’s certainly what we’ve seen in Iraq, we’ve seen it in Lebanon. It’s something we’re concerned about. I think it’s not as simple as saying al-Qaida. Each of these groups is a little bit different, and that’s important because when you’re trying to figure out how to combat them and fight them, it actually matters who they take guidance from and who’s giving them orders and who’s planning these attacks.

    QUESTION: So do you blame Syria for the increase of violence in Iraq?

    MS. HARF: That’s certainly a huge part of it, absolutely. We’ve seen the kind of terrorist violence we’ve seen in Syria, and that’s certainly spilled over into Iraq. But we are very concerned about it. That’s why we’re engaged consistently with the Iraqis to help fight it together. But it is a problem we’re very concerned about, absolutely.

    QUESTION: Yep. Wait – anything else on the Middle East?

    Marie Harf says, "It's not as simple as saying al Qaeda" and at least Marie Harf and I agree on something. Maybe others can agree and we can all get a little more mature?

    It won't happen any time soon.  Jim Michaels didn't get the memo.  He opens his USA Today report tonight with this, "Al-Qaeda militants in key western Iraqi cities launched a series of brazen attacks against police stations and fought battles with government forces Thursday amid growing sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shiites."  To stage this operation?  Nouri has to pull troops from across Iraq.

    Iraq Times reports that troops were pulled from Dhi Qar and, now in Iraq, they don't have sufficient food rations.  More poor planning from Nouri.

    سيطرات في مناطق السعدان بقضاء غرب العاصمة بغداد بعد فرار عناصرها. .

    Militants/terrorists/rebels/who knows attacked/defended/ who knows.  But turmoil continued in Iraq today. All Iraq News notes Baghdad Opertations Command says they've killed 30 people (suspects) in Anbar.  National Iraqi News Agency reported clashes taking place in Ramadi, a tribe has taken 'back' a Ramadi police station from militants, the governor of Anbar says Ramadi is quiet and police should return to their posts and help citizens repair police stations  and Jabbar Yawar (Secretary Generl of the KRG's Ministry of Peshmerga) declared, "The Peshmerga forces are protecting citizens in the areas between Nafutkana and Vichabour, which include Salahuddin, Diyala and Kirkuk provinces, and part of Nineveh."  You get what the 'safe to return' message from the governor is, don't you?  People deserted their posts.  A Ministry of Interior announcement today also made that clear.  Here you can see a photo of the military force in Anbar after Nouri's forces fled.  Al Mada notes that for several hours today fighters were able to seize police stations in Ramadi and Falluja.  Irish Times reports on the seizures and includes this:

    “The tribesmen are now fighting the army. What is the army doing in our city and why did they come?” Sheikh Adnan al-Mehana, the head of one of the biggest tribes in Anbar, said by phone from Ramadi.
    “Today, we defeated the army and if another force will be sent, we are ready for them,” he said.

    Grasp that?


    For the second time this week, the BBC's Rafid Jaboori has provided lies as news.  I hope Nouri's f**king Rafid, because I hope Rafid's getting something out of his whoring.  Here he is today, offering 'analysis:'

    Al-Qaeda has moved into Anbar to exploit the dispute between the Sunnis and the government. However, Mr Maliki has now secured backing from key Sunni tribal leaders.

    Maybe if you just follow the BBC you can pretend Rafid's offering analysis.

    Iraqi Spring MC notes that Anbar tribal leaders are pointing out that they did not ask for Nouri's forces to be sent into the province and the tribal leaders maintain they're more than able to provide security without Nouri's forces.

    Nouri's forces are committing genocide.  You can pretty as much you damn well want and you kid yourself however you need to, but that's what's happening and that the United States government is allowing to happen.  They have armed a despot.

    As the day wound down, NINA reported that police Colonel Mohammed al-Thiyabi had been shot dead in Ramadi.  Iraqi Spring MC reports that tanks shot at rebels on a bridge in Anbar and that Nouri's aircraft dropped bombs on homes in Ramadi.   His forces also bombed Falluja and many people were wounded and taken to Falluja General Hospital.  A 6-year-old girl named Estrabraq was killed by the bombs Nouri's forces dropped and two more children were left wounded.

    The people are being terrorized and maybe someone can ask the State Dept about that?  Maybe they can ask about this child that Nouri's forces shot dead in Iraq?

    عناصر تقتل طفلا-8 سنوات- باطلاق الرصاص باحدى سيطراتهم في الصقلاوية. . .

    That little boy was shot dead by Nouri's forces in Saqlawiyah which is an Anbar Province city near Falluja.

    Nouri's forces always get away with killing children.

    Former US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey tells USA Today (on the Anbar assault, not about children dying), "Maliki has taken a very serious and unfortunate step toward pushing a large percentage of the Sunni population to feel disenfranchised."

    There are multiple reports in Arabic social media that "fighter jets" are being used.  Iraq has no fighter jets.  That's what Congress was told in December, just weeks ago.  So where did these fighter jets come from?

    Also, the White House might want to check with the propaganda channel Voice of America -- it's also saying fighter jets are being used in Anbar.

    Let's drop back to Monday's snapshot:

    Rudaw also notes, "The scholars also demanded that all Sunnis involved in the political process withdraw from the so-called Document of Honor, because 'Maliki has proved that he does not respect treaties or covenants'."  Let's get back to the resignations noted earlier in the snapshot.  Al Mada reports 44 MPs with the Motahidon Alliance have submitted their resignations to Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi because of today's attacks on the protesters in Anbar.  All Iraq News notes the spokesperson for the Motahidon Alliance held a press conference and stated that the resignations are taking place and "that the war in Anbar is unconstitutional and violate all patriotic terms."  KUNA covers it here. Liu Dan (Xinhua) reports, "The MPs from the Sunni Motahidoon (United) Alliance also demanded the withdrawal of the army from cities in the Anbar province and the release of Ahmad al-Alwani, a Sunni lawmaker who was arrested on Saturday, the bloc's spokesman Dhafer al-Ani said at a televised press conference."  Matt Bradley (Wall St. Journal) points out, "Mr. Awlani was an early supporter of the year-old Sunni protest movement against Mr. Maliki and his Shiite-dominated government."

    Monday at Marie Harf's State Dept press briefing some of that was asked of:

    QUESTION: Today, a number of parliamentarians have resigned and the government continued to pound areas in Ramadi and Anbar and so on, and at the same time, you have already sent in some drones and other material to fight terrorism. Do you have any comments on that?

    MS. HARF: Well, we’re tracking the events in Anbar closely. We’re concerned by the reports of soldiers and civilians who have been killed in clashes. We, from the U.S. side, have been intensely engaged from both Baghdad and Washington with Iraqi leaders on all sides. We’ve been urging restraint, dialogue, and certainly for all sides to take steps to de-escalate and not to further escalate the situation. We’ll continue to gather facts on the ground and continue to engage with Iraqi leaders as this moves forward.

    QUESTION: Yeah. Are you talking to the – to people, like, from the Iraqiya and the dialogue like (inaudible) and so on who have just withdrawn, including the speaker of the parliament and --

    MS. HARF: Well, I think we’re still gathering facts on that, Said. I saw some of those reports before I came out. I think all the facts aren’t entirely clear. Suffice to say, we’re talking to folks from all different sides that are involved in this.

    QUESTION: Are you concerned that the government may collapse?

    MS. HARF: I think you’re getting 15 steps ahead of where we are. What we’re calling on folks to do is to de-escalate the situation on all sides.

    QUESTION: Don’t you think that the security forces has overreacted in dealing with the protestors in Anbar?

    MS. HARF: Again, we’re still looking at the situation to get all the facts on the ground. I just don’t want to go further than that before we know exactly what happened. We’ve called on all sides to show restraint. That includes, certainly, the security forces and other folks as well. So we’ll see what exactly happened and go from there.

    QUESTION: And on what level are you talking to the prime minister?

    MS. HARF: I can double-check and see if there’s some specifics I can share about what level.

    Let's note what's going on with imprisoned MP Ahmed al-Alwani -- illegally imprisoned.  NINA reports:

    A parliamentary delegation headed to the Anti-terrorism center to meet MP Ahmed al-Alwani.
    MP, of the Iraqiya coalition, Sumayya al-Qallab told the National Iraqi News Agency / NINA /: "The delegation includes MP Khalid al-Alwani, MP Hamid al-Zobaie and Sumayya al-Qallab."
    The Acting Defense Minister, Saadoun al-Dulaimi and the head of the Iraqi Awakening Conference, Ahmed Abu Risha met Alwani yesterday, emphasizing that he enjoys good health, and he was allowed to contact with his family, and he will be presented to the investigating judge on Thursday.

    Why did that visit take place?

    Before today's visit was being reported, Wednesday, in fact, Iraq Times was reporting that Nouri had acknowledged that al-Alwani was not responsible for shooting anyone or transferring weapons and would allow the visit to take place.

    How nice of him.

    Per the Iraqi Constitution, al-Alwani cannot be arrested unless he's arrested while he's committing a crime or the Parliament strips him of his office.  At his home at dawn, asleep, on Saturday, he was not in the midst of any crime.

    He has not been stripped of his immunity.

    The arrest was illegal.

    He was said to be -- yes, it's coming -- a 'terrorist.'  And an assassin.

    Why have the charges not been made public?

    Where's the government release noting why he was arrested?

    It doesn't exist.

    But Monday, Nouri's office did issue a statement of him claiming the assault on Anbar was uniting the province.

    Monday was when Nouri ordered his forces to attack the peaceful protesters.  Yasir Ghazi and Tim Arango (New York Times) live in a curious world -- one that pimps al Qaeda, granted, "The fighting began after Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered security forces to dismantle protest encampments in Falluja and Ramadi."

    So if I set your house on fire and you turn around and do the same to me, I can claim that the trouble started with you?

    Nouri attacks and then the fighting begins?

    I think the fighting began when Nouri's forces attacked.

    That is what happened even if the New York Times can't handle logic.      

    Gulf Daily News reminds (what the New York Times 'forgot'), "Ten people died when the government moved against the camp in Ramadi on Monday."

    As all the above takes place, so do other incidents of violence.  Reuters notes a Balad Ruz suicide car bomber took his own life and the lives of "at least 12 people who had gathered to buy and sell cars."  NINA reports  1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul, a Mosul rocket attack killed 2 Iraqi soldiers, a Shura bombing claimed 1 life,  a Falluja bombing claimed 1 life and left four people injured, a Latifiyah attack left 2 Iraqi soldiers and 2 rebels killed and two rebels were injured, a Nineveh operation leaves 3 suspect dead and six more injured, security operations in Qayyarah left 1 suspect dead, and 1 doctor was kidnapped from a Baquba medical clinic. and a Hilla bombing left five Iraqi soldiers injured.  EFE reports a Baquba truck bombing has killed 15 people and left thirty injured.

    On medical, All Iraq News reports a fire broke out in Dhi-Qars Hussein Hospital ("reasons behind this fire are unknown").'s Jason Ditz (CounterCurrents) notes:

    2013 in Iraq began much the way 2012 did, with violence well down from the levels of the US occupation era. Then the Maliki government attacked a peaceful protest in Hawija in mid-April, and a sectarian powderkeg just exploded.
    By summer the death tolls were again rivaling the worst of the US surge-era, and 2013 ended with well over 10,000 dead, and 1,180 killed in the month of December alone. The toll is the worst since 2007.

     Iraq Body Count counts 983 violent deaths for the month of December and 9475 violent death for the year.   The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq issued the following:
    Baghdad, 1 January 2014 – According to casualty figures released today by UNAMI, a total of 759 Iraqis were killed and another 1,345 were wounded in acts of terrorism and violence in December*.
    The number of civilians killed was 661 (including 175 civilian police), while the number of civilians injured was 1201 (including 258 civilian police). A further 98 members of the Iraqi Security Forces were killed and 144 were injured. 
    The total number of civilian casualties (including police) in 2013 has been the highest since 2008, with 7,818 killed (6,787 in 2008) and 17,981 (20,178 in 2008) injured. 
    “This is a sad and terrible record which confirms once again the urgent need for the Iraqi authorities to address the roots of violence to curb this infernal circle,” the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG), Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, said. 
    The most violent month of 2013 was May, with a total of 3,154 civilian casualties (including police), of whom 963 were killed and 2,191 wounded. Since April 2013, the total number of civilian casualties (killed and injured, including police) has been consistently above 1,500. 
    “The level of indiscriminate violence in Iraq is unacceptable and I call on the Iraqi leaders to take the necessary steps to prevent terrorist groups to fuel the sectarian tensions, which contribute to weaken the social fabric of the society,” Mr. Mladenov added. 
    Baghdad was the worst affected Governorate with 809 civilian casualties (254 killed, 555 injured), followed by Salahadin (102 killed 160 injured), Diyala (99 killed 161 injured), Ninewa (105 killed 147 injured), and Anbar (62 killed 79 injured).
    Kirkuk and Babil also reported casualties (double digit figures).

    *Data do not take into account casualties of the current IA operation in Anbar, for which we do not have sufficient information.

    Disclaimer: The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq undertakes monitoring of the impact of armed violence and terrorism on Iraqi civilians in accordance with its mandate. UNAMI relies on direct investigation, along with credible secondary sources, in determining civilian casualties. UNAMI figures are conservative and may under-report the actual number of civilians killed and injured for a variety of reasons. Where different casualty figures are obtained for the same incident, the figure as verified by UNAMI is used.

    the new york times